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To the critics of my comments on feminism…

The idea behind the ‘Sexy Secular Conference’ at the University of Akron was apparently to present progressive concepts on non-traditional courtships, romantic expression, bending gender roles, and so on. This was not my usual choice of topics, and it’s not going to become one either.  But I took that opportunity to express an opinion, and to share a few concerns I had and still have about myself.  I have never ‘grown’ more as a person than when I realized that I had prejudices, and that they needed to be corrected.  That’s really what this is about.

Now that the video is posted, I’d like to respond to a number of criticisms I’ve seen in the comments; not the replies, just the comments.  Most of them merely repeated fallacies I had already addressed in the video. For example, the idea of women having equal rights with men somehow means something different than gender equality, as if men wouldn’t have equal rights with women at the same time, a logical fallacy.

Otherwise, critics did as I predicted, twisting my words into things I never said. For example, I never said women deserved special treatments. In fact, I said that even according to the leader of the feminist movement, they did NOT deserve special treatments -despite my critics’ many allegations to the contrary.

Someone accused me of accusing Thunderf00t of something, and this person said that I am wrong about Thunder in that he doesn’t hold the position [they say] that [I think] that he does.  They didn’t tell me how I got it wrong, and I can’t guess, because they didn’t tell me what I was accusing him of either.  The only information they did give was their assumption that I was talking about Thunder’s video. I wasn’t.  Although I was at one point thinking about a conversation we’d had.

The things I addressed in my video are things that I have personally experienced, or that both sides of the aisle have confirmed, and they didn’t necessarily rely on patriarchy theory.  I know that goes on, but it doesn’t have to be the sole force behind the oppression of women as I see it.  Western religion is unarguably patriarchal, and religion is now and always has been the dominant oppressor of women.  But that obviously doesn’t explain misogyny in the atheist community.

One very weird comment was the charge that I was reciting the mantra of the religion of feminism, and that feminists over-emphasize women, neglecting the rights of men.  This is an important point.  I did mention the inequity of judicial bias toward ‘the mother’ in family court cases.  When I split from my daughter’s mother, several lawyers refused to take my case because [they said] “the mother always wins“. Looking into that at the time, I read and heard from female feminists who said that the bias toward the mother was sexist -in more than one aspect -even though it favored the woman!  That is why that bias has since been corrected!

Can anyone cite for me any instance wherein women are granted superior status?  Or when men are deprived of rights in order to benefit women?  Because I have even heard female feminists arguing that it is sexist to save the women and children first.

Someone said that the standards for women in the military were lower than for men.  My daughter says that is not the case.  She says women can be Marines now, but they still can’t be SEALs because the Navy tested promising female recruits and none of them could meet that standard.  So I don’t think that criticism is true either.

My critics accused me of a false dichotomy when I said that if one is not feminist, then one is sexist. First of all, I said made very clear that it was not a dichotomy at all, that we are all likely to be both to some degree.  But if it was a dichotomy, then it wouldn’t be a false one -according to the very definition of the word.

A lot of people criticized me for using the wrong definition, saying that the dictionary is wrong.  OK, I can point to a few other instances I know of where I can show that practically every dictionary is wrong.  Look up ‘animal’ or ‘abiogenesis’ for example.  However in both of those instances -as in all others- I can show what the real definition is, where to find it, and how to confirm whether it’s accurate.  None of my critics did any of the above. They wouldn’t provide any citation to any other definition, and gave no way to see whether their contention is valid. They said “go watch this”, or “go read that”, but they couldn’t relate or explain -or even show- any arguments supporting their position.

Now someone did produce a quote from Valerie Solanas, an attempted murderer who appears to be THE man-hating lesbian who served as the template ‘radical feminazi’ for all the Wimmin’s Libber–haters I knew growing up.

“The male is a biological accident: the Y (male) gene is an incomplete X (female) gene, that is, it has an incomplete set of chromosomes. In other words, the male is an incomplete female, a walking abortion, aborted at the gene stage. To be male is to be deficient, emotionally limited; maleness is a deficiency disease and males are emotional cripples.”

I’ve also been accused of ignoring the extremists, which I never do. If we argue that Valerie Solanas represents feminism, then we should say that the Westborough Baptist Church represents Christianity.  However even though the Ku Klux Klan say they are exclusively creationist Christians, they also say that Fred Phelps’ Kansas clan is too extreme to represent their views.

It should also be said that if we compare the “God is love” Christians to the “God hates fags” Christians, we can confirm which is closer by comparing each of their philosophies to the doctrine they’re both supposedly based on.  Doing that, we will see that Phelps actually does represent the Christian religion pretty closely, but that Solanas doesn’t match the feminism movement at all.

Solanas’ position clearly neither fits the definition of ‘feminist’ in any dictionary nor any description given of the 5 feminist movements that I have yet seen either.  It is opposed in the sentiments of Gloria Steinem, and all of the other leaders of those movements, as well as their platform itself.  Look them all up in Wikipedia. All the sources I have yet found give the same definition I do.  Where is there a different one?

Some of my critics said the definition I use is not the one used by the majority of feminists they know.  I find that curious because it *is* the definition used by the ENTIRETY of the feminists *I* know, and I know a LOT of feminists!

Someone drew a pretty fair analogy between the definitions of feminism and the meaning of PETA, implying that both should be treated as a movement, rather than sticking to the described meaning of their names.  OK, if we do that, then when and where does the leadership and platform of that movement show this deviation?  Can anyone name the current leaders of whatever phase of the feminist movement we’re currently in? And show me where the platform indicates how I am wrong?

The best criticism I have so far received is that I may be using an out-dated term which might not be the most appropriate, considering that words change meaning over time.  I can understand that.  I mean, I used to identify as agnostic when I was really atheist.  I called myself all kinds of things before BionicDance invented the word, ‘apistevist’.  It was only relatively recently that I started calling myself ‘feminist’.  I used to identify as ‘egalitarian’, and I liked that word much better.  However, that was until someone explained to me the full definition of egalitarian. It refers not only to gender and race, both at the same time, without specification; it also implies that everyone should have the same social and economic status.  Not ‘rights'; ‘status’, as in ‘class’.  The word was being used to promote Communism, in that an egalitarian society meant one in which all the wealth and power was redistributed equally.

Now if that is no longer the sense in which that word is applied, (and that now may be the case) then anyone who prefers to label themselves that way is of course welcome to do so securely.  Although I would still like to differentiate exactly which context of equality I’m talking about in a given instance.

One final note on the topic of feminism/sexism/humanism and so on is this:  Some people say they would rather identify as humanist than feminist.  Greta Christina identifies as a feminist, and just a few months ago, I saw her receive a Humanist-of-the-year award by the American Humanist Association.  Greta is also posts at Freethought Blogs as a proponent of “Atheist +”, a branch of infidel activists primarily concerned with issues of social justice.  There was a lot of animosity against A+ when they formed.  Because of one or two poorly-worded comments, they were seen as divisive and exclusionary.  However, when I told Greta that I choose not to use her label, and that I would refer to myself as a progressive atheist instead, she responded quite clearly, -on camera, and in front of live audience at a major conference:

“I don’t give a damn what people call themselves.
If they’re atheists, and they’re on-board with social justice,
then they’re a friend of mine.”

So in their own words, the leaders of mainstream feminism are not man-haters. They’re not exclusionary or divisive, and they’re not trying to gain superiority over men either.

I should also say this to Greta: In the Q&A, I should have answered that this dialogue still needs to happen. I’m not telling anyone to be quiet about anything they feel is important.  But when we disagree -as we frequently will- I hope we can do it productively.

On the matter of the chromosomal difference between men and women, and the criticism against anyone who says that men are genetically half-female, I know the biology too well to say otherwise; it’s true.  Not all facts are comfortable ones.  Take for example what I said about sexually ambiguous characters like Michael Jackson or ‘Ms Hathaway’ from the Beverly Hillbillies.  I realize my comments will seem insensitive to trans-gendered people.  That is not my intent.  I am not comfortable with the fact that I felt a sort of revulsion against androgynous people when I was a child.  But it is a fact that I did, and I think it would be disingenuous to conceal it.  It might even have clinical value in that (I think) it was a biological rather than cultural response.

Finally I can’t believe that I said Rob Halford was in Iron Maiden.  There was a guy in the audience wearing an Iron Maiden tee-shirt; that might be why.  I am probably more embarrassed about that than anything else.  I’m not even a Maiden fan.  I mean, I’ve seen them live, and it was a great show!  But I love Priest!  Screaming for Vengeance and [ironically] Defenders of the Faith are two of my favorite albums!  So yeah, I’m feelin’ pretty stupid about that.  But I appear to be spot-on about the definition -and application- of feminism.

Comments

  1. says

    Aren’t there a number of life forms where the individual is male if it has an odd number of X chromosomes and female if it has an even number? No Y chromosome at all?

      • kestra says

        (*dredging up college class on animal behavior*) Also, scientists theorize that the haplodiploid genetics allow colony-style communal living in insects to make sense from a natural selection point of view: all the female non-queen bees are actually more genetically related to *each other* than to the queen because their father-sperm were genetically identical, and thus have a vested genetic interest in raising more sister-bees and drones, even tho they don’t produce viable offspring themselves.

  2. says

    Western religion is unarguably patriarchal, and religion is now and always has been the dominant oppressor of women. But that obviously doesn’t explain misogyny in the atheist community.

    It could explain it, if the men in the atheist community haven’t cast off the culturally imposed patriarchal norms that derive from religion. I see no reason to think that they would, just by rejecting the proposition that a god or gods exist. You need deeper introspection and scepticism than that which gets you to the god(s) probably don’t exist answer. Men as the dominant force in society is pervasive, men’s voices are preferred over women’s. From “Its a guy thing” to using “Ev Psych” to prop up sexist ideas – atheists are seemingly just as good at justifying prejudice with lazy thinking as the religious.

    In regard to the Solanas feminists there are a bunch of feminists who get close to the MRA fantasy of the man-hater. The Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERfs) with Cathy Brennan as a leading light in that “movement” are anti-trans, will happily say literally “all men are rapists”, will happily call you a rapist if you argue with them. They are sex-negative and mostly against sex worker agency and fit into this “bad” feminist mold fairly well. Fortunately these feminists are mostly hated and rejected by mainstream feminism, it seems the only “celeb” that promotes them is Roseanne Barr. I’m not entirely sure what sort of celeb she is but I understand she is not known for her feminism. Even the MRA boogeywoman Dworkin has distanced herself from the TERfs and partially apologised for her own anti-trans sentiment.

    Just it’s useful to know about them as I also used to say all the feminists I know are cool, they are on FTB/Skepchick etc. Although you’d think they were the worst kind given the reception they get from many men and women in the community. However the “bad” ones do exist and it’s good to know about them.

    • Athywren says

      It could explain it, if the men in the atheist community haven’t cast off the culturally imposed patriarchal norms that derive from religion.

      If you ignore those who insist that religions have, in fact, been built around the elevation of women and denigration of men, it could even explain why they’re so ridiculously enraged by any suggestion of sexism.

      1 Sexism comes from religiosity.
      2 By calling me sexist, you are calling me religious.
      3 Religion is evil!!!!111!!11!!!!1!!!
      4 By calling me religious, you are calling me evil!!!!1!1!!
      5 Rargh.

      I mean, it’s questionable logic but… yeah.

      • Freethinkin Franklin says

        not seeing the issue… either folks understand the meaning of the word equal or they don’t. if they do not understand or moreover accept the definition of the word equal, then we are not bound to treat them as such.

        • Athywren says

          I’m not saying we should treat them in any particular way because of their reasoning, just that this might explain why some of them are so offended to be told that they are what they are.

          • Freethinkin Franklin says

            I’m a big fan of telling people exactly what they are and I am proud of what I am ( some might call me it as an insult) a proud heathen.

    • geekgirlsrule says

      That’d be a neat trick, since she died in 2005. I don’t recall her apologizing for her anti-Trans stance before her death, but I may have missed it.

  3. Ullrich Fischer says

    I agree with oolon. Given that Bill Maher is clearly an atheist who still is pretty gullible about issues like vaccination, it is not a stretch to think that many men who reject the horrendous death cult dogma of their birth might still retain some of the prejudices that came with that. The fact that Aron managed to throw out all the religion-related BS in his life along with the religion is great and makes him a wonderful example for all men everywhere, but IMHO, it is pretty obvious that there are still plenty of full blown atheists who think women are somehow less than men or who think queers are icky. Humanists are another matter, though. If you’re a humanist who is not also feminist, you’re only a half-humanist. :)

    • swedgen says

      In response to Ullrich Fischer,

      “it is pretty obvious that there are still plenty of full blown atheists who think women are somehow less than men or who think queers are icky”.

      I just have a brief comment to make. I can’t speak for the US or Canada, but in Australia at least, of the atheists I do know (I wish I knew more), I can attest there is not a shred of misogyny, sexism or homophobia among them. As you would expect, they are by far the most liberal, rational and enlightened people I know. We do not see any difference whatever between men, women, homosexuals or anyone else. To us equality means just that – we are all equal.

      • John Morales says

        Hey, I’m Australian and I’m an atheist too.

        And I reckon you are either extremely sheltered, extremely ignorant, or lying.

        (Hopefully, the first)

  4. Ullrich Fischer says

    This may well be Aron’s best speech. There wasn’t a single thing other than the idea that religion couldn’t explain all bigotry with which I disagreed. It looks like it is well on its way to a million views. 8k after one day is not bad at all.

  5. says

    Aron,

    I’m a Chief Warrant Officer in the USMC with over 15 years active duty time. I can speak to the issue of standards in the military (well, at least in the USMC. I honestly don’t know how the other services run their physical testing programs).

    In order to save a bit of re-typing stuff I’ve already articulated, let me just point out that I had this conversation very recently over on Ed Brayton’s blog. I will extract a sample and paste it here for your convenience, but if you want the full meat of the conversation (it wasn’t too lengthy), check out the comments 7, 12, and 24. In 24, I described a situation by which two Marines can be physically equal (actually, the male Marine could be in better shape), yet due to men and women being measured by different metrics, the woman will retain a professional advantage:

    Just being in the military is a perpetual cycle of re-qualification. Our physical fitness levels are tested semi-annually, as is our body weight and composition. The results of this testing significantly affects each service-member’s prospects of advancement and promotion. For example, a Marine (male) who runs three miles in 21 minutes and scores perfect on all other events will have a PFT score of 282. A female who does the same will have a perfect score of 300.

    How relevant is this? Well, in the USMC a 285 score will earn you special *documented* recognition. A 300 gives you straight-up bragging rights, and all else being equal, when both Marines are being briefed to a promotion board, a Marine with a perfect PFT score will be picked before a Marine with a 282.
    On top of that, there are service limits for some of the more junior pay grades (up to E6), and if you fail to get promoted before you reach your service limits, you will be denied re-enlistment. (On the officer side, there is a comparable system).

    Therefore, in a very literal way, the disparity between the way men and women are scored could *very realistically* result in a scenario where two Marines run the exact same speed, score perfectly in all other events, and the *male* Marine will be the one whose career comes to a screeching halt because the female standard is lower.

    In fact, it’s actually worse than that. In the above scenario, the male Marine would likely be able to easily max-out the “flex-arm” hang event that the females have to do, but I’ve never met a woman in my life that could do the requisite 20 pull-ups that the men have to do (for a perfect score). In fact, it’s not easy for the guys to pull that one off. In 15 years, I’ve only done it twice.

    So now we have a scene where a man who is actually *more physically capable* than a woman has his career cut short due to this disparity, because she is measured by a different metric that labels her *more physically fit*.

    The above discusses an institutionalized inequity. I also described a couple of cultural inequities:

    A few months ago I was down in the hangar bay (I’m deployed on the USS Kearsarge right now) and we had just had a RAS (replenishment at sea), and a bunch of junior personnel were hauling boxes from the hangar bay to wherever the supplies needed to go. The boxes were not terribly heavy, and I watched a scene play out that made me think of this issue… the guys were carrying 2 and 3 boxes at a time, while the females were carrying one at a time. I even saw at least one instance were a guy who was carrying a couple boxes playfully snatched the single box a girl was carrying and stack it on top of his so she could go back and grab another one.

    Now, these were all junior personnel, and they were having a good time with it. No one was complaining about anything. They liked working with each other. None of the guys were whining about the clear female *privilege*… the unspoken expectation that the guys would simply shoulder more of the burden of hauling boxes. It was just accepted as a given. Guys carry more. It was that simple. No politics, no activism, no whining, pissing, or moaning about it.

    About 10 years ago I was with a unit. It was a top-heavy unit (MARFORSOUTH) and we all went out running as a group each Friday. Cadence would usually get called by the junior guys. We had a female Captain complain about a cadence that was being called out, and the Colonel passed word that the cadence was no longer to be used. Why? Because a single female was offended by it.

    I can assure you that if a male – any male – had communicated such a sentiment, he would’ve been ridiculed and told to “shut up and color”. He probably would’ve been laughed at. He certainly would not have been accommodated. But this particular lady basically was offended by everything – super delicate – and the unit bent over backward to ensure that she was pandered to at all times. Because god forbid we ever get an EO complaint!

    Ready for the punch line? The offending cadence was as follows:
    “Little yellow birdie with the little yellow bill
    Landed on my windowsill
    Lured him in with a piece of bread
    Then I smashed his little head”

    I want to be clear that I cited these examples of inequities not out of contempt for the inequities, but as a demonstration that inequities are not inherently wrong or bad. I approach the issue from an angle different than that which I see in this community… rather than attempting to weed out all inequities that exist, whether cultural or institutionalized, and then furiously acting to correct them, I choose to critically examine the idea that all such inequities are inherently bad.

    I believe that equity ought to be unquestioned and axiomatic where law is concerned. All equal under the law. All treated equally by government. All citizens guaranteed the exact same rights and civil liberties.
    But where claims of “equality!” are demanded in areas where human being are made differently by the very fabric of their being, I think such a claim merits critical examination.

    My problem with feminism is that such critical examination is considered by feminists to be verboten. Indeed, to even suggest such a thing will earn you all sorts of wonderful titles. But I find the stifling of that discussion to be inconsistent with critical thinking and a reason-based cultural movement.

    (Note: I cannot preview, so I apologize in advance for any HTML glitches)

    • Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

      “My problem with feminism is that such critical examination is considered by feminists to be verboten”

      Which phantom “feminists” are these? Because, this certainly doesn’t apply to any I’ve met in the last 20 years of social justice activism.

    • says

      It’s clearly unfair that a qualified male Marine is held back purely due to an asymmetry in physical standards. This is NOT the kind of IN(Equality) that anyone really wants. Rather than create new inequalities like this we need to look at why the inequality exists in the first place and see if we can make it right.

      In this case, it seems to me, that binding ones military career advancement so tightly to purely physical standards is the source of the problem. Surely traits like strategic & tactical ability, negotiation, and finesse are important in addition to raw physical fitness. It is the devaluing of these traits in our male-dominated society that is the essence of the problem with equality. So rather than break equality we should address these kinds of issues at their core.

      There are certainly tasks where physical fitness standards make sense and where they apply they should be applied equally to men and women. If you need to be able to lift and carry 150 pounds for 10 miles then fine, that is the requirement, gender shouldn’t matter. But making such an arbitrary physical standard merely for advancement, where you actually care about these other properties, is damaging to the military itself.

      Fit people to their talent. Don’t pick people based on a tradition of hazing and one-dimensional competition.

      I’m not attacking anything or anyone here – just giving a different perspective from which to think about these problems.

  6. captainahags says

    @Kacyray
    Just to preface, I read the thread you linked to. On this article I was going to point out that there is a numerical difference between PFT/PFA whatever they call it in the various branches for the sexes, because technically it is a different standard. However, I’d say this: Men and women are physically different. Not as much as some people would have you think, but there are differences.
    To hold men and women to the same numerical standard is to say that women need to be, on average, more in shape than their male counterparts. Leaving extreme distance running aside, men are on average faster runners than women. Your example of a man getting a 92 for a woman’s 100 on the run is a situation which you may find unfair. But to insist that they get the same score for the same time neglects the fact that the average woman would then have to work a good bit harder (and probably be in better shape) than the average man to get the same score.
    Now, if you’re talking about combat capability, it’s kind of a moot point anyway, because the PFA is AFAIK pretty far below the stuff you’d go through at an infantry MOS, correct me if I’m wrong there. As well, doesn’t the USMC do a Combat Fitness Test, that tests the buddy drag/carry, ammo can lift, etc?
    Summary- If you’re only concerned with combat fitness, the CFT or passing infantry MOS takes care of that I do believe. If you’re concerned with promotions with respect to PFA scores, the metrics are weighted to score people based on how fit they are above the average, in essence. So, to assign the same scores is to deny promotions to all but the fittest women, while giving them to men who aren’t in as good shape. At least that’s how it looks from here.

    • ildi says

      Yesterday on dodlive . mil:

      The first female Marines to ever attend infantry training with the Infantry Training Battalion, School of Infantry-East on Marine Corps Base Camp Geiger, N.C., completed the first week of training Sept. 28.

      Fifteen female Marines began the training following graduation from boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., as part of ongoing research on the incorporation of women into combat-related jobs.

      The research is a result of the lifting of the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Assignment Restriction earlier this year, which required all services to implement a plan to completely integrate women into combat positions by 2016.

      The 15 female students were among 119 recent graduates from recruit training. Forty-eight of the women met the initial physical requirements for the course, but only 19 volunteered to join Infantry Training Battalion, or ITB. Four later opted out of the training, instead choosing to attend Marine Combat Training, a course required for all Marines, regardless of occupational-specialty.

      All Marines attending the infantry training are expected to meet the same physical standard, known as the “ITB standard,” during scored events — regardless of gender. The standards of the battalion have not changed; they are the same standards outlined by the Marine Corps prior to the start of the current research.

      The remaining 15 students chose to go above and beyond what is required of female Marines by attending the infantry course. Upon completion of the course, the female Marines will not be awarded the 0311 infantry job designator and will proceed to their previously selected occupational specialty training.

      “I asked them why they are doing this,” Staff Sgt. Kenneth Hayden, a combat instructor with delta company at ITB said. “Their answer to me was that they wanted a challenge. I think all Marines come to the Marine Corps for a challenge, and this was a way for them to put in a little more effort and do something that most people wouldn’t volunteer for.”

      The students spent the first week completing rigorous physical screenings to include the physical fitness test, the combat fitness test, the high intensity tactical training assessment and a 5-kilometer hike.

      Hayden said he and his fellow combat instructors aren’t treating any of the Marines differently.

      “These are Marines,” Hayden said. “No matter what, they’re going to be treated the same as every other Marine.”

    • says

      Not to mention, there are a lot of cases in which a requirement exists to be hired for a job (the ability to lift 75lbs is a common one), but the job doesn’t actually require that ability. I’ve seen office jobs in a warehouse with that requirement, as well as that requirement in a warehouse with a strict policy of team-lift for anything over 50lbs.

      The requirement existed for no purpose other than to keep women out.

      Even in the marines, a lot of the requirement levels are unnecessary and exist for no purpose other than to keep those who don’t meet a certain physical standard out.

      • says

        @WithinThisMind

        The requirement existed for no purpose other than to keep women out.

        With respect, i think that statements demonstrates your prejudices more than it highlights the prejudices of those you are criticising. It is just too much of an assumption to make.

        Two points.

        1)I can tell you that in the UK fire service entry standards have dropped a number of times the last few decades as a direct result of a bid to make them more attainable for female recruits. Go back forty years and the tests were very tough indeed, far tougher than today. The problem for you is that, in those days, only men were allowed to join the fire service, so if the only reason for having overly stringent physical tests is to deny women women the chance of entry, as you claim, why were the tests – given that they were for men only – not trivially easy? i suggest instead, the tests were very hard because they could be: a hundred applicants for every post, you can afford to set the bar high.

        2) Secondly, whilst i wholeheartedly agree with you that such tests need to be relevant to the role and not unnecessarily difficult, there are very sound reasons for setting levels higher during testing than is expected during day to day activities. For example, the UK fire service calculated, as part of the FireFit project, that to perform typical duties on an incident ground requires a cardiovascular (Vo2) capability of 35ml/kg (o2). Now this is actually a very female-friendly way of assessing capacity. For the most arduous typical tasks absolute capacity is actually more relevant (FireFit admitted that) because fixed loads involved (in filled fire hose, heavy eqpt etc) are relatively lower for a big’un than a small’un, but that isn’t the point to be made here.
        The point is that almost all brigades actually set an entry requirement, and a bi-annual fitness test requirement of 42 ml/kg rather than 35. Now you may read that as “existing for no other purpose than to keep women out” but it is actually there for very good reasons. If you allowed people a pass at the 35ml/kg level what you are effectively saying is that you accept that they will be working at 100% aerobic capacity for sustained periods of time – no safety margin whatsoever. It could be that at that level an individual is on the point of keeling over and clutching their chest. So just as civil engineers always allow a safety margin in their projects, not because they hate women, but because it makes buildings and structures safer, so it makes absolute sense to do as has been done in this case and say that they think it reasonable asnd good health and safety prectice that no-one should be required to work for periods above 80% of their maximum aerobic capacity.
        You could make the same case with lifting. If 50 lbs is right on the very limit of what you can lift then what do you think the consequences might be of testing someone just to that limit (on a controlled test) and on that basis alone expecting them to regularly lift to that limit (and uncontrolled lifts inevitably involve torsion of the spine as people shift the weights around which controlled static lifts do not involve)? I tell you what the consequence is: injured workers and industrial compensation claims. It seems eminently sensible to test to a higher level than is required on a dailt basis to give some safety margin, there is nothing unreasonable there.

        Not only that, i reckon my mum could lift 75 lbs and she is a 70 year old, it is hardly some kind of elite standard you are talking about there

  7. Freethinkin Franklin says

    Not seeing the bitch here. Equal means EQUAL. No special rights, no special quotas, no special tests, no intentionally lowering the bar due to gender (or race for that matter). Same work = same pay, its simple until folks start deviating from what the word equal means to make it suit their needs, does that sound a bit familiar? Brother Aronra you’ve done nothing wrong.

  8. freeze01 says

    Too bad for ms. Solanas the second copy of the X-chromosome is (nearly) 100% deactivated, meaning women effectively also only have the one X chromosome (via lyonization).
    It creates a visible ‘smudge’ in the nucleus of the cell called a Barr body.

    Fun fact (or at least i find it fun): it isnt always the same X-chromosome that is deactivated, leading to mosaics, such as the tortoiseshell cats, or why some women cant sweat on certain parts of their body.

    ———–
    Just wanted to share that, and say it was an impressive talk. Not everyone can find their way out of the quagmire of short sighted upbringing.

  9. geroche says

    AronRa

    Looking into that at the time, I read and heard from female feminists who said that the bias toward the mother was sexist -in more than one aspect -even though it favored the woman! That is why that bias has since been corrected!

    I’m not sure I follow what you mean by corrected. Are you saying that the judicial bias towards mothers getting custody etc is no longer the case? If so, I haven’t heard this claim before. Like you I have experienced bias towards the mother in a divorce, but as one of the children involved. This was a little over a dozen years ago, but I’d be curious to see what suggests the bias has since been corrected.

    • says

      A quarter century ago, no lawyer in Texas would take my case because “the mother always wins unless you can prove she’s unfit”. Less than a decade later, (when I divorced my son’s mother) the situation had changed such that everyone gets joint custody by default, and neither gender has any particular advantage.

      • kevinsolway says

        ” Less than a decade later, (when I divorced my son’s mother) the situation had changed such that everyone gets joint custody by default, and neither gender has any particular advantage.”

        So men now have equal access to their children? I don’t think so!

        If the mother marries another man, and moves to another part of the country, the children will generally go with the mother.

        “Joint custody” usually means that women have the children, and men have to pay the bills.

        Contrary to what you purport to believe, feminism doesn’t concern itself with men’s rights in these situations.

        • says

          Yes, it does.

          Feminism isn’t a “women get everything” type of belief. There are countless number of mothers who are terrible caretakers. The child should go to the men in those situations, and the fact that often they don’t is simply sad.

          Feminism certainly is concerned about the problems with that, and with other men’s rights issues (violence largely being against men, men’s health being incredibly neglected, men feeling as if they need to work themselves to death.)

          It’s the straw-feminists and the straw-women that MRAs bring out that we don’t care about.

          • Data Jack says

            Yep, you nailed it. The feminists that most MRAs rail against don’t seem to exist outside of their minds, some odd anecdotes, and some often repeated isolated incidents.

      • Astrokid.NJ says

        1) What do you make of all the testimony of numerous people who claim otherwise?

        A) Kris Titus of Fathers-4-Justice Fathers For Justice Canada, Part 1 of 2
        http://youtu.be/kH1op4MSy90
        She explains at 5:35 the process she encountered when divorcing her husband, whom she wanted to have SHARED custody of her son. (SHARED custody means 50-50 time & effort split between parents.. being different from JOINT custody which means one parent typically gets children once in 2 weeks and makes ALL the child support). She had to run through 7 attorneys coz all the previous ones would lead her to a path of scrupulousness and inequality.

        B) Child Protective Services woman who reduces a Father who gets once in two weeks access, to a non-parent?
        CPS (Child Protective Services) interrogation and inquisition for normal parenting discretions.
        http://youtu.be/NIsnbUxAPhs

        2) What do you make of the stance of NOW, that claims Fathers are USUALLY the abusive parents, when stats indicate that women commit more child abuse than men.
        They even deny such a thing as Parental Alienation Syndrome. NOW is a pretty powerful lobbying org.

        NOW has to say very recently, in its Fall 2012 Newslatter http://www.nowfoundation.org/issues/family/FamilyLawNewsletter-Fall2012.pdf
        On Page 1, Intro:

        This Special Report of the NOW Family Law Ad Hoc Advisory Committee focuses on the destructive ability of abusive parents (usually the father) – aided by fathers’ advocacy groups or fathers’ rights groups – to deny the protective parent (usually the mother) custody of minor children. Discussed in this issue is how abusers deny custody, and the damage it causes to a half million or more children exposed to continuing physical, psychological and sexual abuse.

        There you go.. the abusive parent is usually the father and the protective parent is usually the mother. This mainstream feminism, for last 50 years.

        Anti-Science and Anti-common sense as well.

        NOW TO DENOUNCE SO-CALLED PARENTAL ALIENATION (SYNDROME)
        2006
        WHEREAS, the term Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) was created by the psychiatrist,
        Richard Gardner. It is used as a tactic in courts by litigating attorneys as a defense strategy for batterers and sexual predators that purports to explain a child’s estrangement from one parent, or explains away allegations against the estranged parent of abuse/sex abuse of child, by blaming the protective parent;

        THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Organization for Women (NOW)
        denounces Parental Alienation Syndrome and recommends that any professional whose
        mission involves the protection of the rights of women and children denounce its use as
        unethical, unconstitutional, and dangerous.

  10. UnderINK says

    I don’t advocate using another term because the fact we’re being pressured not to use a word containing the stem “feminine” basically justifies the need for feminism in the first place.

  11. says

    captainahags @6

    However, I’d say this: Men and women are physically different. Not as much as some people would have you think, but there are differences.

    Oh, I know! Like I said, I’m not complaining about the different metrics. I’m only pointing out that they exist. And they do the best they can to account for the very real differences between men and women.

    Your example of a man getting a 92 for a woman’s 100 on the run is a situation which you may find unfair.

    Again, not once did I say it was unfair. I very specifically said “I want to be clear that I cited these examples of inequities not out of contempt for the inequities, but as a demonstration that inequities are not inherently wrong or bad.”

    But I find it interesting that you still interpreted my information as a complaint. I’m not knocking you for it… it actually serves as a great example of how one can be misunderstood very easily.

    But to insist that they get the same score for the same time neglects the fact that the average woman would then have to work a good bit harder (and probably be in better shape) than the average man to get the same score.

    Agreed. And you’re saying what I’m saying – when nature itself deals different sexes different hands, in order to equalize, unequal treatment must be applied. And that presents a dilemma for those who claim to support equal treatment to all… because as you’ve pointed out, to treat men and women exactly the same (in the military context) would be inherently unfair to women.

    Might not this principle apply elsewhere?

    Now, if you’re talking about combat capability, it’s kind of a moot point anyway, because the PFA is AFAIK pretty far below the stuff you’d go through at an infantry MOS, correct me if I’m wrong there.

    Doctrinally, every Marine is a rifleman, and every Marine is supposed to be trained and prepared to go to combat at any point. That is one distinction that Marines carry from other services.

    As well, doesn’t the USMC do a Combat Fitness Test, that tests the buddy drag/carry, ammo can lift, etc?

    Yes, we started doing that about 5-6 years ago. The Combat Fitness Test replaced one of the semi-annual PFT’s. It was intended to counter the charge that the Physical Fitness Test didn’t necessarily translate into combat fitness.

    Summary- If you’re only concerned with combat fitness, the CFT or passing infantry MOS takes care of that I do believe. If you’re concerned with promotions with respect to PFA scores, the metrics are weighted to score people based on how fit they are above the average, in essence. So, to assign the same scores is to deny promotions to all but the fittest women, while giving them to men who aren’t in as good shape. At least that’s how it looks from here.

    Yep.

    • hjhornbeck says

      kacyray @12:

      I’m only pointing out that they exist. And they do the best they can to account for the very real differences between men and women.

      Are there, though? Or, perhaps a bit more accurately, are there differences worth noting?

      I’ve previously pounced on Aronra over a comment on upper-body strength, so I’ll keep it short this time. When looking at weightlifting records, we find that women can lift 90-94% of what men can, after compensating for height (via weight) and body fat. A scientific paper I dug up claims that 97% of the difference between men’s and women’s upper body strength can be explained by arm length and fat content. It recommended ditching gender as a measure of performance, in favor of those two.

      And that’s the crux: these aren’t gender differences, they’re size differences. Yes, one group of people are more likely to have shorter arms than the other, but that’s only a statistical relation. Filtering by gender is, at best, a lazy approach.

      But on top of that, there’s also the issue of latent capacity. I could triple the amount I can lift just by working out a bit, as could most women; I know one who’s five foot even, for instance, yet can toss around boxes better than her much-taller male counterparts. And in practice, very few jobs demand as much raw power as a human being can muster. Latent capacity is almost always enough to pick up the slack, and render any difference between men and women irrelevant.

      So why bother with differences? Treat the sexes as physically equal, and measure against what the job requires instead.

      • says

        And that’s the crux: these aren’t gender differences, they’re size differences. ……. Filtering by gender is, at best, a lazy approach.

        I’m curious, then, how you account for the disparity in the performance of men vs women in sports like golf, chess, pool, and bowling – pursuits where physical strength have very little (if anything) to do with performance.

        Christ, even looking at the official page for Rubiks cube records, with dozens of categories of records kept, you can’t find a woman on it.

        If men dominated a single non-physical sport (such as speed-cubing or chess), you could write it off as an anomaly. When they dominate a physical sport such as basketball, you can chalk it up to height or size.

        But when men dominate all of the aforementioned non-physical sports (or you could refer to them simply as “games” if you’re a sporting purist)… it becomes a bit hard to swallow when I hear someone say that there’s hardly any difference between women and men except size proportion.

        Seriously… Rubik’s cubes? I’m sorry, you can’t convince me that the reason men hold all these records is because they a little stronger or bigger. And if you say it’s because there are simply more males interested in chess and speedcubing than females… well, that indicates a difference between the sexes that merits an explanation as well.

        For Aronra – this is one of the weaknesses I find in your definition of feminism – “the belief that the sexes are equal.” “Equality” is an ambiguous term that can refer to different aspects of being. Feminists label me a sexist because although I believe in political equality for everyone (equality under the law) I see obvious differences between men and women – differences that aren’t explained away by mere size or cultural history.

        So if I believe there are inherent physical and psychological differences between men and women, yet I believe that there is no inherent *value difference* between them, does that make me a sexist? Does that make me a feminist? The definition you’ve offered fails to support an answer either way, and that’s why I find the definition to be inadequate.

        (Note: I cannot preview, so apologies in advance for any HTML failures)

        • Barb's Wire says

          And yet, in a sport that is a combination of strategy as well as incredible endurance & strength & sheer survival ability, women excel. There is a saying in Alaska…. “Alaska… where men are men and women win the Iditarod.” Libby Riddles won the 1400 mile race in 1978; Susan Butcher in 1986, 1987, 1988 & 1990 (she passed away with cancer in the 1990’s); DeeDee Johnrow came in 2nd in 1993 and has consistently placed in the top 10 finishers every year in a field admittedly dominated by males; last year in a field of 66 mushers, the following women were in the field competing side by side with men: Cindy Abbott, Jodi Bailey, Anna Berington, Kristy Berington, Paige Drobny, Cindy Gallea, Kelley Griffin, Jessica Hendricks, Karin Hendrickson, DeeDee Jonrowe, Michelle Phillips, Christine Roalofs, Jessie Royer, Jan Steves, Angie Taggart, and Aliy Zirkle.

          Top 2 finishers of the worlds most grueling endurance race, less than 30 minutes apart in the 9 day race:

          1 Mitch Seavey (male) Age: 36 Nome 3/12 22:39:56 9 days 7 hours 39 min.
          2 Aliy Zirkle (female) Age: 27 Nome 3/12 23:03:35 9 days 8 hours 3 min.

          Put that where the snow don’t get to.

  12. M says

    You know… much as I still do like Aron Ra (And the amount of atheist community big names I still like has dwindled to a handful.) And much as I think Aron Ra is one of the few where his heart is in the right place…

    And for the most part it’s even a pretty good speech. But I think it’s a lost cause at this point.

    I’ve recently figured…. Atheism isn’t what people have to rally around. It’s gotta be social justice/progressivism. I’d much rather work with socially progressive religious people (Who do exist.) Then with some goddamn fucking ayn randroid or libertarDian (MAN do I HATE these people. And fuck their philosophy, if you think your liberty should be tied to how much cash you have in your wallet you are NOT for fucking liberty.) who happens to not believe in god.

    I don’t believe in god, but the last few years more and more I just feel like FUCK this lily white middle class dudebro nerd atheist community. With their lily white middle class dudebro nerd attitudes. These aren’t my people. Aside from science advocacy and an interest in science I have just about nothing in common with these people and I don’t even LIKE them. (With a handful of exceptions who aren’t asses. But most are.)

    I mean, I AM a big science advocate, but I’m not down with these privileged (and obnoxiously arrogant) little shits. Who think they’re infallible. (Fuck Thunderf00t is like their patron saint, that douche thinks he’s infallible, usually nerds that actually DO something with their intelligence and become scientists know better, but not fucking Thunderf00t. He thinks he’s always right about whatever mood popped into his head at the time.)

    Fact is, yeah, I think people should be free to be atheists without being harassed. But I care VASTLY more about things like fighting poverty, like education and equal rights for women. Like overthrowing this VILE system of robber baron capitalism that rules the planet, like preserving what little wildlife we haven’t destroyed or consumed yet. I care VASTLY more about that and atheism, it IS more important. And way to many vocal atheists either don’t give a shit about any of that, or actively oppose that. and I can NOT be in the same group as those fuckers. They’re my enemies, and I don’t compromise with enemies. I spit on their graves. I don’t say compromise, I say fight, even if you have to kick over the entire goddamn applecart, you don’t compromise with regressives. The only thing they understand is asskicking anyway and if you let them, they’ll kick your ass without any mercy. That’s what they always do and always have done historically. Radical is a dirty word, but if you’re radical for justice, for saving worthwhile things, for giving people their rights and dignity, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think it’s what more people SHOULD be. Be angry about injustice and privilege I say!

    And if you’re progressive, then fighting for atheist rights can be a part of what you do. But join progressivism instead and do it from there. Don’t waste time on this stupid lily white privileged atheist community. I think it’s shown by now it’s not gonna change for the better. I say the GOOD people on there should just become vocal progressives. (And by all mean be open about being an atheist as well.) And really DO be a science advocate.

    Just stop wasting time on this atheist community. It’s proven it’s not worth it. Even if you CAN drag them kicking and screaming, there’s no way it’ll be unified enough to do shit. And what did it ever seriously accomplish? The religious right fuck over themselves (because like all authoritarians they overreach), and the atheists point it out. But what do they DO? What do specifically the atheist community do? Nothing, that’s what. It’s progressives, it’s the ACLU or group like that. It’s not he atheist community. They only point and laugh or point and berate. And that’s all they’ll ever amount to at this rate.

    • Freethinkin Franklin says

      i agree for the most part, but statistics prove that we (if we state our anti-theist views) are unaccepted by the very same folks you’d have us join and fight for. we are not wanted by these people who look at us as a paria. i belong to the Sierra club, and those folks would shun me like a redheaded step child if they were asked to support my atheist views as i do their views and causes… and you could plug any ANY group into that equation… fact is we are hated by everyone except those who are likeminded.

    • Monocle Smile says

      This is both the pro and the con of atheism. It’s a single position on a single claim. So it doesn’t suffer from any of the same problems as religious groups (though they project this onto us), but there are so many disparate ideologies consistent with atheism that doing anything as a community is a struggle at best, an impossibility at worst.

  13. kevinsolway says

    Aronra,

    Ignore how people define themselves, since people always describe their goals in the most glowing terms, and look at how people actually *behave*. That’s how you can know what feminism is – by looking at how those who call themselves “feminists” actually behave.

    You will quickly learn that what goes by the name “feminism” has nothing to do with the dictionary definition.

    A “Christian” is defined as a person who follows Christ. But how many of those who call themselves Christians actually follow the example of Christ? NONE, so far as I’ve seen.

    Likewise with “feminism”.

  14. kevinsolway says

    Aronra wrote:

    “Can anyone cite for me any instance wherein women are granted superior status?”

    Women are granted *different* status, based on their biological sex.

    If a man and a woman commit the very same crime, the man will tend to be judged differently than the woman. The man will tend to be viewed as an active agent, by both men and women alike, which in this case can be a disadvantage for the man. At the same time the woman will tend to be viewed as a victim of circumstance, which in this case will be in her favor.

    Women tend to be always viewed as victims, which is a situation most feminists try to promote, since being a victim is highly profitable in their warped view of the world.

    • Monocle Smile says

      It’s like you trolls patrol this entire blog site just itching to spread your garbage.

      • says

        Monocle Smile,

        I remember once, about 20 years ago…. I was in court with my daughters mother and stepfather. We were trying to settle custody and support issues. The judge brought up the fact that there was an open domestic violence situation between the two of them (fortunately it didn’t involve my daughter). It was a stabbing.

        The judge was going on about it for about 5 minutes before the stepfather realized… the judge had made the assumption that he was the perpetrator and she had been the victim. That was the “frame” the judge had been viewing the situation through. But it was she who had stabbed him in the gut with a steak knife.

        I hated that guy (still don’t like him), but I’ll never forget the look of shock on his face when he came to that realization. As much contempt as I’ve always had for him, I couldn’t help but sympathize with the injustice of the situation – the judge (a women) had clearly been regarding him as the dangerous one and the mother as the poor little victim.

        I realize you write off all such observations as MRA apology. You do yourself a disservice with such obvious confirmation bias.

        • Monocle Smile says

          No, I write that off as an anecdote. Evidence of nothing. The judge made a huge mistake. That’s it.

    • Kendall says

      I think the fact that some British feminists campaign for the virtual abolition of women’s prisons supports what you’re saying.

      Their argument is that women are more likely to be victims of circumstance and have a worse time in prison, therefore men should still be incarcerated, while women receive “intensive holistic support” aimed at rehabilitation. Maybe there’s a case to be made for that, but to me treating men and women differently under the law seems like a strange kind of equality…

      What frustrates me about many feminists is the way they’ll insist that they simply want completely equal treatment, yet find ways to justify rejecting gender neutrality as soon as different treatment leads to a better outcome for women.

    • Astrokid.NJ says

      Women are also largely granted PROTECTED status in dispensation of violence. And therefore when they dispense violence, society often brushes it aside rather than punishing them.

      There is an innate psychological tendency to view women’s agency as much weaker than men’s.
      ABC What Would you do: Reaction To Women Abusing Men In Public
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlFAd4YdQks
      Woman Drops Powder in Date’s Drink
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-57-i1S95Kk

      And culture has built on this.
      Traditional Christian Culture
      Dating – Overprotective Fathers
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVLFtNhMv34

      As well as Secular Culture.
      Message we get from POWERFUL men is this
      1 is 2 Many The White House
      http://youtu.be/XXox6ma1gtE

      End results: This woman beating men with impunity

  15. kevinsolway says

    Greta Christina wrote:

    “I don’t give a damn what people call themselves. If they’re atheists, and they’re on-board with social justice,
    then they’re a friend of mine.”

    What that means that unless you agree with every crazy, immoral, reprehensible idea they come out with, then you will be their sworn enemy.

    When you examine what they call “social justice”, that’s exactly what it turns out to be. Ignore their glowing descriptions of their own behavior, and instead look at what they are actually *doing*.

    • Al Dente says

      It’s funny how the MRAs spend all of their time whining about women and none of their time actually concerning themselves with men’s rights. You’d think MRAs hated men as much as they hate women. Or is it they’re actually libertarians and so hate anyone who isn’t them?

      • kevinsolway says

        “It’s funny how the MRAs spend all of their time . . ”

        That’s something Aronra should note about feminists. Any person who disagrees with anything a feminist says is an labelled an “MRA”, regardless of whether the person has any connection to the men’s rights movement, or even whether they have even heard of the term “MRA”.

        It’s no different to fundamentalist Muslims labeling people “non-believers”, and thereby considering that the non-believers don’t have any right to live.

        • Monocle Smile says

          Sorry, we’re not as stupid as you think we are.

          Look at your username. Now punch yourself in the face. We know who Kevin Solway is.

  16. bugmaster says

    @kacyray, captainahags:

    I know absolutely nothing about the military (or physical fitness, for that matter), so forgive me if this is a stupid question, but still: what is the purpose of all the physical tests that you guys are talking about ? Is simply it to ensure that every soldier is in perfect physical condition, or is it to ensure that they meet some external standard, imposed by the realities of combat ?

    To use a crude and imaginary example (again, because I know nothing about the military), let’s say that, according to battlefield statistics, a person’s chance of dying in combat increases dramatically unless he or she can do 20 or more pull-ups. But, since women have less upper body strength than men on average, women are granted a perfect score if even they can only do 18 or 19 pull-ups (*). Wouldn’t this testing protocol end up actually endangering women as they go into the field ?

    (*) I feel like I should be putting the word “only” in scare quotes here, seeing as I can barely do one pull-up myself…

    • says

      There are no stupid questions. Ask away. I am glad to share information.

      Physical ability is inextricably intertwined with military readiness. I agree that it might seem odd that, in an age of drones and nuclear weapons, that physical prowess is still considered essential, but believe it or not, the need for very strong, very durable men (people?) exists. I don’t think machines will replace boots on the ground any time soon, and when it comes down to it, war is a physical activity. The technology has advanced, but the principles have pretty much remained constant.

      I think there’s a tacit understanding in the USMC that the PFT/CFT can only serve as a raw data indicator. We do other activities that are not scored, and in doing so, we can gauge how in-shape the Marines in our charge are. Conditioning hikes, for example, tend to separate the men from the boys (so to speak), as do obstacle courses and unit runs.

      I personally think that the most important physical attributes a Marine can possess aren’t measured by a PFT or a CFT. Tenacity, endurance, and the ability to withstand serious discomfort for extended periods of time are, I think, much more important than how fast one can run 3 miles.

      Also, there’s one thing I’ve never been good at, and that’s standing a solitary post for hours on end without losing focus. Do you realize how difficult it is to stand in a tower, cowered behind a stack of sandbags, for 4-6 hours in the blazing heat, wearing 10 pounds of body armor that increases your core temperature about 10 degrees, staring at a barren desert, having to maintain sharp focus on the terrain on the one-in-a-thousand chance that your alertness might mean the difference between survival and death for your unit? Or even worse, to do so at night, in the dark, when every fiber of your being wants to go to sleep and you begin to go delirious with boredom and sleep deprivation?

      Those are the sorts of things that can’t be measured with a PFT/CFT. But how can you measure those things? I don’t know. I don’t have that answer.

      I realize I’ve gotten off on a tangent. I guess the short answer is that the old boxing adage “A good big man will always beat a good little man” applies to the military as well.

  17. bugmaster says

    @AronRa:

    I think your talk misses the point in at least one important aspect: you are using dictionary definitions of technical terms, and that never works out well. For example, according to the dictionary, “atheism” is “a disbelief in the existence of deity” or “the doctrine that there is no deity”. I believe that most atheists would contest the second definition at the very least, and I personally contest the first one (I don’t “disbelieve” that there’s some sort of a deity, I simply lack any evidence that one does exist).

    As far as I understand, the more accepted definition of “sexism” is “prejudice + power”. This is the definition that feminists use. By this definition, women cannot be sexist (though they can still be prejudiced); and thus, most feminists can’t be sexist simply by virtue of being women, and not due to any specific policies or items of doctrine. Thus, saying that “feminism is the opposite of sexism” is not entirely true, except in a trivial way.

    I think your speech is problematic in other ways, as well, but I’m not sure if this is the right place to list them…

  18. Capt. Obvious says

    Aron, women have been in the Marines since 1918. I don’t know what led you to believe that that was a recent development.

  19. says

    @bugmaster

    I agree that is a concern. This is especially true where minimum standards are set.

    We all perform our jobs as individuals, not as female workers and male workers (assuming we are performing the same role ofc), so if a minimum standard of x pull ups is deemed as required to adequately perform ones duties for one group, how can another group be deemed as adequately able to perform those duties performing less (or conversely, deemed as required to perform more).
    In other words, surely if a female marine can adequately perform her marinely duties having performed the easier hang test then surely that is all any marine needs to be able to perform to do likewise, irrespective of sex, gender, sexual orientation or otherwise.

    My other issue with such differing standards fits in with captainahags point, though i disagree on conclusions. If we accept that some people have lower average abilities on account of some group to which they belong and, hence, a lower expected performance, then how far do we take this? Why simply stop at sex? In fact simply stopping at sex is manifestly unfair to men and women who lie away from the mean values for their sex, granting them extra advantages or disadvantages over and above those they were born with (ie an exceptionally naturally unathletic chap versus an exceptionally naturally athletic woman competing with their innate differences, of course, but also against standards that are utterly against the ethos under which the varying standards were set in the first place – a double whammy scenario)
    Clearly someone who is naturally predisposed to obesity, or with poor sedentary Vo2 (and lower responsiveness to training, which varies wildly between individuals) is also at a disadvantage if everyone has the same standard. So don’t we reach a logical point, if we concede varying standards, whereby everyone ought to be judged by a seperate standard and we totally disregard talent and natural ability and judge each person purely on how well they have done given their innate shortcomings?

    Happily, in my work (UK fire service), they have chosen a different path and put in place the same minimum standards for everyone regardless of sex or age. As a result of this no-one is looked down on as haveing been recruited at a lower standard and no-one is set a standard greater than that which is necessary just because of what they have between their legs.

  20. Phillip says

    I remember when Judas Priest got into trouble for their song ‘The Ripper’ when a murderer with that nickname was killing women in the region I was living. I thought the feminists had a point about this even though the song was actually about the original Victorian guy – It did have an exploitative feel given the level of fear that women had of the Yorkshire murderer at the time.

    As for Iron Maiden, I won’t tell you something their lead singer said when he introduced the song ‘Charlotte the Harlot’ at a gig I was at. Mysogenistic it certainly was, and I’m not one who bandies that term about. But I will say that Aron need not worry because he’s definitely never heard of that particular gentleman. (Paul DiAnno – sacked for smoking too much)

    Don’t know if there’s a serious point to this or not. Perhaps I’m just wondering if any of Aron’s politically aware friends have ever tried to spoil his fun like I was used to having done to me back in the nineteen eighties.

  21. GrzeTor says

    So Greta Chistina said ““I don’t give a damn what people call themselves. If they’re atheists, and they’re on-board with social justice, then they’re a friend of mine.”?

    Unfortunately their own words make this statement false:
    “If you have anything at all to say about this that even remotely hints at implying that what George Zimmerman did was remotely defensible, or that this verdict was anything short of grotesque… do not comment in my blog. Now, or ever. Do not read my blog. Do not follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Do not attend my talks. Do not buy my books. Get the fuck out of my life, now. Thank you.”

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2013/07/15/trayon-martin-george-zimmerman-freethought/

    So she lied to you that the enough conditions are that you need only to be atheist + social justice type to be her friend, as clearly there is at least one, and perhaps more additional conditions to be fulfilled. Which (the condition) is quite stringent, as according to polls 51 percent of white Americans don’t fulfill those conditions.

    • Monocle Smile says

      That’s about a 9.5 on my Pedant-o-meter, and about a 7 on the dishonesty scale on your part. Also, it seems you don’t understand what “social justice” means.

    • Holms says

      If you actually believe the Zimmerman shit was remotely justified, then you are simply lying when you claim to be on the side of social justice. Hence, Greta’s vitriol.

      • GrzeTor says

        @Holms.
        Please define what do you mean by social justice, so that I am abl to check if your definition is OK, and what if Zimmerman case has anything to do with it.

  22. GrzeTor says

    Aronra wrote: “I said that if one is not feminist, then one is sexist”

    Ok, so you have this 3 groups: feminists and 2 groups of non-feminists: those who disagree with feminists, and those agnostic on the issue. So according to Aronara people who don’t have an opinion on women’s issues are sexist.

    Why would someone be agnostic on the issue? One of possible reasons might be that he is not interested in gender issues, thus spends 0 time thinking about them. So according to Aronra’s statement a person who is not interested in gender issues at all, and doesn’t act in any way on this subject can be recognized as sexist.

    • Monocle Smile says

      “Agnostic” is an improper term. You should say you are apathetic towards the issue. And his statement is clearly not talking about you…although you’re not likely apathetic on this issue or you wouldn’t be reading it and posting. Nor would you use this post to bitch about Greta Christina.

      • GrzeTor says

        First in this post there was nothing about me. The apathetic to the issue represents yet another example of the group that is neither feminist (expecially according to Aronra’s definition which requires being active advocating stuff), nor sexist (which requires either behaving badly towards the chosen sex one is sexist against, or having a state of mind that classifies such sex as generally inferior). There are many such groups, those who don’t know, haven’t yet made up their mind are too a group that is neither feminist nor sexist. There may also be people who have zero time budget for either doing something about the topic, or thinking about it, eg. because they are busy with something more important.

        So Aronra simply made a mistake claiming that not a feminist implies sexist. His entire chain of logic is wrong, with bad definition of sexist, and forgetting about non-feminists, who are not actively anti-feminist.

  23. Kendall says

    Someone drew a pretty fair analogy between the definitions of feminism and the meaning of PETA, implying that both should be treated as a movement, rather than sticking to the described meaning of their names. OK, if we do that, then when and where does the leadership and platform of that movement show this deviation? Can anyone name the current leaders of whatever phase of the feminist movement we’re currently in? And show me where the platform indicates how I am wrong?

    I’ve been told that mainstream feminism differs elsewhere, but when I look at feminism in the UK/EU, I see an overwhelmingly puritanical and authoritarian movement. At the moment most significant feminist organisations over here (e.g. the European Women’s Lobby, UK Feminista, or the EVAW Coalition) seem obsessed with fighting “sexualisation” (i.e. campaigns to ban porn/prostitution/stripping, increase censorship of the mainstream media, filter internet content, etc.), sometimes to the point of ignoring other issues entirely.

    As a social libertarian I’m unsurprisingly opposed to most of those feminist campaigns. To me the current feminist activism against things like sexualised music videos is about on a par with the “video nasty” scaremongering aimed at horror films in the 80s. Their campaigns aren’t supported with solid evidence of increased rape/violence against women (feminist theory about “rape culture” and “objectification” really doesn’t cut it), and I see no reason to take feminist moral panic more seriously than the conservative Christian version.

    I don’t think it makes sense for me to share a movement’s label when I strongly disagree with most of the organisations that represent it where I live. I definitely don’t want to risk giving my tacit support to policies that I oppose. If I’m labelled a sexist/misogynist because of that then I doubt I’ll lose any sleep over it.

  24. kevinsolway says

    Ironically, according to Aronra’s definition of feminism, all the “MRAs” and “misogynists” are the real feminists.

    • GrzeTor says

      Misogynist – not, by definition. Same with misandrists.

      MRAs – here the case is similar to feminists. These are both special interest groups, basically lobbies for one sex. So they usually lobby for “equal rights” only in cases where they perceive (rightly or wrongly) that the group they represent has some disadvantage. So both groups are more like “selective equal rights when advantageous”.

      Right now we are witnessing a new phenonmenon of people with generalits, universal tendency to support rights of everything (including nature, corporations, animals etc.), with the ability to accept compromises when these rights conflict. Such people would tell you that they suport women rights, man rights but they are neither feminists nor MRAs.

      And this is a correct categorization! Why? It’s because the definition of word “feminist” or “men rights advocate” is not given by some legal authority in the law, or based on underlying physics of the universe. So the only way to have it is just to derive it from the usage of the word in a real life. And the one AronRa provided is not compatible with modern usage of the word (perhaps it is just obsolete). If there are people who define themselves as supporters of women rights and equality, but reject the notion that they are feminists (eg. meaning they are not into special intererst) then it just means we need a new definition that respects that.

  25. Edward Gemmer says

    I appreciate any talks about feminism and other issues that aren’t steeped in demonizing other people. The skeptic community was born in easy things like disproving creationism and ghosts. Talking about complex, difficult issues like feminism, social justice, preventing rape, etc. etc. gets us to revert to the old tired tactics of demonizing people and playing games instead of facing the issues head on.

    • GrzeTor says

      I object to classifying disproving creationism (or creation in general) as an “easy thing”. In reality it was one of the biggest intellectual achievments of humanity, and required huge mind leap. Perhaps what you meant was “winning a debate with a modern creationist right now when creation has been disproven”. That is of course much easier but still not trivial, as modern creationsts have a well developed art of deception.

  26. =8)-DX says

    Did my comment die? Did I say anything banworthy? Just interested because its annoying when that happens. Either way great talk AronRa!

  27. Ted Smith says

    Aronra: “if one is not feminist, then one is sexist”

    I can’t help but feel that the simple and short response to this statement is, “What about those feminists who are sexist?”

    Radical Feminism and Separatist Feminism can be reasonably anti-male.

    So, you are either a feminist, or a sexist… unless you are a sexist feminist…

    • Joy inTorah says

      Radical feminism is not sexist. Neither is separatism. What’s hilarious is that most of 3rd wave feminism takes 2nd wave theory as its base. The only big difference in the two is that second wave saw the problems of prostituted women and pornography and 3rd wave just thinks that some autonomy issue. Radical feminists saw it as women being exploited by the very nature of it.

      Separatists just wanted to live in their own communities and absorb completely female perspectives.

      Nothing hateful in that whatsoever. Sure do some of them NOT like men? Yeah but that’s not the BASIS of the movement.

  28. Jackie teh kitteh cuddler says

    Ted, are you worried about “reverse racism” too?
    What about how much Christians are persecuted by atheists?

    • Ted Smith says

      Not so much, but it does exist. The second one annoys me a bit, although serious persecution is rare, whilst antagonism, anti-theism and vitriol is far more common.

  29. says

    @jackie
    I think you and Ted are talking across one another here.

    I take Ted’s point to mean that feminism, as with every other single political ideology known to humankind, will attract its share of radicals and extremists. That these people exist and operate under that label calls some doubt onto Aron’s fairly unnuanced statement.
    It seems to me, correct me if I am wrong, that your reference to reverse racism is meant to imply that as these individuals have few teeth that Ted has little to fear from and that if he does so he demonstrating his own biases more than anything else. However, I suggest to you that your point is irrelevant. The question at hand is what defines feminism and a bad definition is not made a better one by pointing out that an erroneously included group has little political power.

  30. =8)-DX says

    @noelplum & Ted

    AronRa qualified this in the video. Those “sexist feminists” are operating under a different definition of feminism than he was using – that’s to be expected of extremists. So in fact the “sexist feminists” are not really feminists or are only partially feminists (they don’t agree that women should be equal to men).

    • says

      But what makes his definition more legitimate than theirs?

      One problem I have with this definition (among many) is that it presents a false dichotomy. It almost seems like I’ve been defined into being a feminist, which I never asked for. I’d never describe myself as a feminist, although by Aronra’s definition, I am one.

      And if you’re wondering why I reject the title, it’s for numerous reasons, mostly involving the packaged-in ideologies that the feminists I’ve known seem to demand in order to merit inclusion.

      • =8)-DX says

        Words are just symbols so when comparing definitions any “legitimacy” has to be looking at several things: usage of words in the general populace, usage of words by people to label themselves, usage of words by people to label others and usage of words as techincal terms by experts in a given field.

        First of all – you are free to reject any labels you want, just as people are free to reject the label “atheist”. But that doesn’t stop Niel de Grasse Tyson from being an atheist, anymore than it makes the pope one. Second: a majority of people who label themselves feminists use the definition AronRa mentioned. People who label others feminists are therefore not using it correctly, if they take it to mean “woman who hates men, wants to have advantages over men”, because most feminists don’t think that way at all – it’s just an attempt to throw mud at feminists. The word “atheist” is in exactly the same position.

        I get why you dislike the “packaged-in ideologies” that feminists include in most discussions of the issues – I used to have a big problem with that as well. But it doesn’t take that much reading to realise that feminists have been dealing with these issues for years – at an academic level. All the talk of “silencing” and “female voice”, “male gaze” and “mansplainging” refers to actual things, actual demonstrably studied social behaviours and realities.

        And that gets to the last kind of word definitions: technical ones. AronRa’s definition really is the technically correct one. Reading up on feminist theory (there are lots of 101 sites) helps one understand the language and it becomes much easier to distinguish mainstream feminism from sex-negative / transphobic / manhating feminism.

        • says

          @=8)-DX
          All the talk of “silencing” and “female voice”, “male gaze” and “mansplainging” refers to actual things, actual demonstrably studied social behaviours and realities.

          I don’t doubt these things happen, I have witnessed silencing and mansplaining and, indeed, it would be amazing if they did not occur, such is the diversity of people in our societies. The problem is not whether they are tangible facts of our societies but overzealous application which often smacks of a stick to beat people with rather than anything of substance.
          A case in point would be the recent Magic Sandwich Show where the female guest Lilandra was talked over by a couple of the regulars. Of course, anyone who is familair withboth the show and the regulars will know just how regularly they do this with people they disagree with, regardless of age, sex, gender, ethnicity or favourite shampoo. But no: in some people’s eyes she was being silenced because she was a woman. the evidence?
          a) she is a woman
          b) they were talking over here
          case closed

          I must admit, I have spent three of the four decades (and a bit) I have walked the earth talking in a very direct and forthright way, whenever and to whomever, for so often as i am sure of my position even if I am not entirely sure if it is right or if I will end up maintaining it. This includes my many exchanges with Christians, who I am informed are the ‘privileged’ group in contrast with my own atheistic status.
          However, the last year or so I have been accused dozens of times of ‘mansplaining’, usually for addressing a female self-identified feminist in the same manner I address everyone (my ageing parents, my friends, my youtube regulars, my theistic opponents). That is misapplication and the only possible reason i can see for it is to take a conversation away from the issues and personalise it, or detract from the point being made by undermining the person making it (almost an ad-hominem response, if you like).

          i do agree with you btw that AronRa’s definition is the technically correct one. I just think we always look beyond technically correct definitions where political standpoints are involved. If I asked you what you thought of communism you would surely think beyond the egalitarian stateless ideals of communism in the ideal and also consider the actual real life examples we have of communist states. How could you not? clearly we would both do the same with MRA’s, whereby a stated goal of equality for men and women would not be enough to justify us labelling ourselves MRA’s on the grounds that this is a position we both espouse. No, I propose to you we would look at the ideals, positions and behaviours of people who lable themselves as MRA’s in the round before passing judgement.

          • GrzeTor says

            Definition by AronRa is not useful, as it doesn’t recognize between those who are special interest (interested specifically into women issues) versus those who are generalits/universalists (who grant rights to women as a part of a bigger package of granting rigts to everybody and everything). In modern usage of the word “feminist” means the first group. The second group would tell you “we are for the equality and womens rights, but we are not feminists”.

    • Joy inTorah says

      Yes, and that’s a serious problem. He can disagree with the politics of second wave feminism when it comes to their view on prostitution and pornography which the movement feels is oppressive to women but the goal of all feminism is the same. Equality.

      I’m tired of people throwing around the term radical feminist as if it means ‘extremist’. It DOES NOT. It’s simply a name for a feminism that has specific understandings of HOW women are oppressed. What systems oppress women sort of thing.

      Third wave feminists have one major difference from 2nd wave that I’ve already explained in a previous comment.

      The fact that AronRa dismisses second wave feminists as feminists is HIS problem.

  31. says

    AronRa:

    The definition of feminism according to merriam-webster is: the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities

    According to your, if you hold this belief, you are a feminist by definition.

    I’d like to accept that premise for the moment, and pose the following question:

    How do you reconcile this position with the following realities which play themselves out on the feminist-friendly blogs we see here at FTB each day?

    – If you believe that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities, yet also believe that all people have a basic responsibility to act in the interest of their own safety and security, you are dismissed as a sexist, misogynistic, rape-apologist MRA.

    – If you believe that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities, yet aren’t convinced that we live in a “rape culture”, you are dismissed as a sexist, misogynistic, rape-apologist MRA.

    – If you believe that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities, yet also believe that men and women are fundamentally wired differently (on a spectrum), with a woman’s primary drive leaning toward reproduction and a man’s primary drive leaning toward survival, you are dismissed as a sexist, misogynistic, rape-apologist MRA.

    – If you believe that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities, yet also believe that knowledge of social dynamics, particularly those related to the PUA community, are not inherently sexist and do have information value not related to sheer manipulation, you are dismissed as a sexist, misogynistic, rape-apologist MRA.

    – If you believe that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities, yet reject the idea that every professed victim should automatically be regarded as a confirmed victim with no critical examination whatsoever given to the victimization claim, you are dismissed as a sexist, misogynistic, rape-apologist MRA.

    I’ve seen example after example of ALL of these scenarios play out on FTB since its inception (some directed at me, mostly directed at others). All of these scenarios are examples of why I would never associate myself with the feminist movement, despite the fact that by the definition you purport, I am firmly in the feminist camp.

    I believe that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. But I guarantee you that as sure as I’m sitting here, I would be considered anything but that by the overwhelming majority of this community.

    How do you reconcile the proposition that the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities makes one a feminist by definition with the way these actual dynamics play out here each day?

    • Barb's Wire says

      If by saying,
      – “all people have a basic responsibility to act in the interest of their own safety and security”, means that you put your own interests ahead of ALL others and refuse to assist someone who is being harmed because, well, why should you be expected to put yourself in harms way for a woman?;

      – if by saying, “yet aren’t convinced that we live in a “rape culture””, you are proposing that there isn’t a problem right now with victim blaming, or with whole communities rising to the defense of their favorite sons and bullying rape victims and their families, or are saying that education about consent is not required for young men, or you dispute that by age 30, 1 in 4 women have been raped or sexually assaulted;

      – if by saying, “yet also believe that men and women are fundamentally wired differently (on a spectrum), with a woman’s primary drive leaning toward reproduction and a man’s primary drive leaning toward survival”, you are saying…. *ugh*. (That idiocy can stand in its own putrid ridiculousness without further deciphering);

      – if by saying, “yet also believe that knowledge of social dynamics, particularly those related to the PUA community, are not inherently sexist and do have information value not related to sheer manipulation”
      (Egad.That one doesn’t need clarifying either.) Patuee. Ack.

      – if by saying, “yet reject the idea that every professed victim should automatically be regarded as a confirmed victim with no critical examination whatsoever given to the victimization claim”, you fall into the camp that believes that false rape claims are rampant despite the torture and sometimes bullying women experience just in order to go through with a charge and conviction of her attacker,

      …..Ya just might be a sexist, misogynistic, MRA!

      Don’t know about rape apologist; I’d have to hear more of your ideas about rape but I’m sickened too much already so please, don’t.

    • =8)-DX says

      * slow clap at Barb’s Wire.

      Yes, you’d be called a sexist, misogynistic, MRA, because those are examples of things that deny men and women equal rights and opportunities. If you want to find out why, go read some feminist blogs or books or 101s!

    • Monocle Smile says

      Let’s take a look at this.

      -Victim blaming. If a burglar breaks into my house and shoots me, this line of thought puts me at the center of blame. There happen to be a few steps a particular woman can take to reduce her odds of being randomly raped in a dark alley, but not only does that only go so far, but it doesn’t account for the vast, vast majority of rapes. Most rapes are committed by someone the victim knows and trusts.

      -You must be living in some serious ivory tower if you think rape isn’t a problem and dismissed and/or overlooked far too often. Step on any college campus just to get a slight idea of the issue.

      -Naturalistic fallacy. Utter garbage.

      -PUA is nothing but spineless, egotistical manipulation of vulnerable women. It’s frat culture on steroids. I can think of few more repulsive legal cultures. You must be a member or living under a rock if this isn’t obvious.

      -Straw man. End of story. I sympathize with Brian Banks, but cases like his that go that far are rare.

      I don’t throw around the term “rape apologist” lightly, but you’re either a permanent resident of your basement or willfully ignorant of society. Or just straight-up dishonest, which is likely.

    • says

      “I’ve seen example after example of ALL of these scenarios play out on FTB since its inception (some directed at me, mostly directed at others).”

      Ironically, I suppose, if anyone is “playing the victim” here – it is you.

      If your ideas aren’t deferred to and the people you are talking to point out how you are wrong or how your ideas are problematic in some way; that is not “dismissing you” – that is called “disagreeing with you”.

      A more reasonable course of action (on your part) is to engage with topics on a case-by-case basis and have honest conversations with others – not belly-ache that you aren’t being agreed with.

      If you feel your ideas are being mislabeled or you are being personally attacked – you are free to point that out when it happens.

      Constant assertions that this or that *happens all the time* does not allow others to independently verify your conclusions.

      If you can come up with “example after example” – WHY DON’T YOU?

      And if you feel you have been treated unfairly – why not bring that up with the individuals that you have that conflict with?

      What really are you attempting to accomplish with your post? What action are you proposing that anyone reading that post take? What solution to your supposed plight are you forwarding?

  32. says

    Aronra,

    Aaaaand… there you have it! Check out 33.1, 33.2, and 33.3.

    See? It’s simply not enough that I believe women and men all ought to have the exact same rights under the law. It’s simply not enough that I believe that men and women ought to be afforded the same opportunities by our government. THAT IS NOT ENOUGH FOR FEMINISTS. That is INSUFFICIENT for them. They DEMAND that I swallow their ENTIRE WORLDVIEW WHOLE. If I don’t, then I embody everything they despise.

    Your entire premise was that if you meet the dictionary definition of a feminist, then hey… you’re one of us! But in practice, is simply ain’t true. There are many more ideologies packaged in. There are many more premises one must accept and swallow whole in order to avoid the dreaded MRA accusation, as demonstrated by our friends Monacle, DX, and Barb.

    What more evidence do you need that simply fitting the dictionary is not enough? They’ve provided you with a perfectly clear demonstration!

    You seem to be an honest type, and it seems as though you aren’t afraid to ruffle feathers – even those of your feminist allies – from time to time. I really hope that you can see what’s going on here. I know that being “right” is important to everyone, and there’s nothing harder than setting aside one’s confirmation bias. But you are looking straight at an example of how one can fit the definition of feminist that *you yourself* endorse, yet still be regarded as an MRA rape-apologist, woman-hating rape culturalist (made up word).

    So might it be a good time to re-evaluate your premise that simply fitting the dictionary definition of a feminist makes one a feminist?? I think it might. I think that has been demonstrated with damn-near certainty right here in your own house.

    What say you?

    • Freethinkin Franklin says

      its a matter of some folks not understanding the definition of the word equal, its never meant special or was meant to be used as an excuse for lower standards. it means and always will mean EQUAL, and i’m for that wholeheartedly.

      • GrzeTor says

        If we say “equal rights” shouldn’t we actually say to what they should be equal? Otherwise the equation is incomplete, thus it doesn’t carry all the necessary information (I tend to make this mistake too!).

        The problem is real and practical, as the equality might be to 2 things:
        – rights of women = rights of men
        – rigths of women = certain minmal standard.

        I have a suspiction that feminists use the following equation:
        rights of women = maximum (rights of men, certain minimal standard)

        The proof of it is that feminists don’t advocate for lowering women right when men rights are lowered, so they are not just for equality.

    • Monocle Smile says

      Yeah, having to actually accept facts and their rational conclusions instead of paying lip service dishonestly is rough, isn’t it?

      You can’t honestly claim to be in favor of equal rights for men and women and also hold the views that you expressed above. It would be like me saying I’m not gay, but I only have sexual feelings towards the same sex. Those aren’t “other ideologies,” they are applications of the SAME ideology.

      Have fun with your imagined victim complex.

    • EnlightenmentLiberal says

      I think you had maybe one good point buried in there. I agree in part about the victim blaming.

      However, the rest is bullshit.

      You can be a feminist if you actually hold to those values. It just also seems that you’re quite ignorant or delusional. We do live in a place whee many cultures of sub-areas are insufficiently against rape. It’s trivial to find cases. The idea that men and women think differently due to is quite undemonstrated for almost all such claims. “PUA” is a vague term for me – but if the idea is to lie, distort the truth, or otherwise manipulate someone to do something that they would regret, then it’s being an asshole.

      Also, most rape claims are not made up – just like most crime reports are not made up – and so if your first response is to post something which just questions the truthfulness, then you’re an asshole who is sending the message that rape is ok and women are liars. However, of course innocent until proven guilty and you should reserve judgment. This is a thing that depends on context, subtleties, and nuance.

      The biggest problem is that you seem to be coming here looking for a fight. It’s small stuff like that and your tone which make me think you’re quite caught up in your own privilege as a male and you don’t realize it. Or you’re a troll.

    • says

      FFS

      “THAT IS NOT ENOUGH FOR FEMINISTS. That is INSUFFICIENT for them. They DEMAND that I swallow their ENTIRE WORLDVIEW WHOLE. ”

      So, instead of giving you a cookie for wanting women to be able to vote, they engage with your ideas by explaining why they disagree with you?

      The horror. The horror.

  33. Kendall says

    Looks like my post never made it though moderation, presumably because I included a few too many links. I’ll give it another try without them…

    You say:

    Someone drew a pretty fair analogy between the definitions of feminism and the meaning of PETA, implying that both should be treated as a movement, rather than sticking to the described meaning of their names. OK, if we do that, then when and where does the leadership and platform of that movement show this deviation? Can anyone name the current leaders of whatever phase of the feminist movement we’re currently in? And show me where the platform indicates how I am wrong?

    My problem with feminism is down to the ideology of most organisations that operate under that label in the UK/EU. Feminism’s mainstream may be different elsewhere, but on this side of the pond the movement is dominated by some extremely authoritarian and puritanical groups (e.g. the European Women’s Lobby and UK Feminista). They generally represent the feminist view in the media and politics, and so much of their activism is focussed on the fight against “sexualisation” (i.e. campaigning to criminalise the sex industry, censor the mainstream media, filter internet content, etc.), that there often seems to be little else on their agenda.

    I’m opposed to most of those feminist campaigns. They’re in conflict with my social libertarian views, and I don’t think that those feminists back up their arguments with strong evidence (feminist theory about “objectification” causing “rape culture” just doesn’t cut it). To me, the feminists blaming rape and domestic violence on everything from raunchy music videos to pole dance fitness classes, are just as ridiculous as the conservatives who whipped up moral panic about “video nasty” horror movies back in the 80s. That mainstream feminist platform certainly goes beyond a simple belief in men and women being treated equally.

    Despite the dictionary definition of feminism, and the existence of some fringe feminists who I agree with, I don’t think it makes sense to willingly share a label with people who overwhelmingly push policies I fight against. Those mainstream feminists certainly wouldn’t want me associating with their movement, and I’d rather be called sexist for rejecting them than give them my tacit support. I tend to judge other ideologies and political movements based on their actions where I live, so I don’t think I’m being unfair or unreasonable in treating feminism the same way.

    • Monocle Smile says

      I didn’t realize that’s how it was in the UK. That’s pretty extreme. Radicals like the groups you listed are only hurting feminism as a whole. Worldwide, those groups are not mainstream.

      Objectification is a real thing and does influence rape culture, though not in the ways you (they?) list. It’s much more subtle than that…like seemingly harmless sitcoms involving the wife submitting to her husband just because she’s a woman, like “Leave it to Beaver.”

      I think atheism faces some of the same problems you describe here. There’s a social justice chunk, but there’s also big groups of Ayn Rand fanboyz whom I despise. I appreciate your input here.

    • hjhornbeck says

      Kendall @35:

      (feminist theory about “objectification” causing “rape culture” just doesn’t cut it)

      Does General Relativity also fail your test, because it too is just a theory? The concept of rape culture has some solid science behind it:

      Tested hypotheses derived from social psychological and feminist theory that acceptance of rape myths can be predicted from attitudes such as sex role stereotyping, adversarial sexual beliefs, sexual conservatism, and acceptance of interpersonal violence. Personality characteristics, background characteristics, and personal exposure to rape, rape victims, and rapists are other factors used in predictions. Results from regression analysis of interview data from 598 randomly selected adults indicate that the higher the sex role stereotyping, adversarial sexual beliefs, and acceptance of interpersonal violence, the greater an S’s acceptance of rape myths. In addition, younger and better educated Ss revealed fewer stereotypic, adversarial, and proviolence attitudes and less rape myth acceptance.

      Burt, Martha R. “Cultural myths and supports for rape.” Journal of personality and social psychology 38.2 (1980): 217.

      Many myths have been identified surrounding rape, rapists, and rape victims. This study reexamines the acceptance of rape myths across gender role ideologies and selected demographic characteristics to identify core myths. Three myth categories were established and investigated: blaming the woman, excusing the man, and justifications for acquaintance rape. Findings indicate that rape myths remain prevalent and adherence to myths is related to demographic factors and gender role attitudes. Overall, respondents tend to excuse the man more than blame the woman. Males accept rape myths more than females. Racial differences emerged most strongly on the justifications for acquaintance rape dimension. Individuals with a conservative gender role ideology believe rape myths more than those with more liberal ideologies. While core myths did not emerge from the data, the most revealing finding is that summative scaling techniques used in previous studies may mask important differences, between and within the three dimensions, in rape myth acceptance among the groups studied.

      Johnson, Barbara E., Douglas L. Kuck, and Patricia R. Schander. “Rape myth acceptance and sociodemographic characteristics: A multidimensional analysis.” Sex Roles 36.11-12 (1997): 693-707.

      A series of six studies were conducted to explore the structure underlying rape myths and to develop the 45-itemIllinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale(“IRMA”). In the first study, 604 participants (mean age 18.8 years, 53% women) rated their level of agreement with 95 pretested rape myth statements. Exploratory and confirmatory multivariate analyses revealed a structure consisting of both a general myth component and seven subcomponents. This structure was replicated in a second study using a new sample and paired comparisons methodology. Study 3 details the development procedures for the IRMA and presents statistics demonstrating its good psychometric properties. Finally, Studies 4–6 support the construct validity of the IRMA. Findings are discussed in terms of their implications for theory, measurement, future research, and intervention.

      Payne, Diana L., Kimberly A. Lonsway, and Louise F. Fitzgerald. “Rape Myth Acceptance: Exploration of Its Structure and Its Measurement Using the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale.” Journal of Research in Personality 33.1 (1999): 27-68.

      An all-male sexual assault peer education program focusing on how to help a survivor led to a decrease in rape myth belief among predominantly Caucasian participants immediately after and two months following a one hour program. Program participants believed fewer rape myths than the initial testing of a control group. In addition, a clear majority of participants reported a decreased likelihood of being sexually coercive as a result of attending the program. A new method of decreasing men’s rape myth acceptance by learning how to help a survivor is supported.

      Foubert, John D., and Kenneth A. Marriott. “Effects of a sexual assault peer education program on men’s belief in rape myths.” Sex Roles 36.3-4 (1997): 259-268.

      Incidentally, that first one has been cited 2,000+ times according to Google Scholar, and I didn’t bother with any study that had less than 50 citations. There’s quite a bit more if you want to look at the literature, just pull up Google Scholar and educate yourself on this “theory.”

      • Kendall says

        2nd try…

        The concept of rape culture has some solid science behind it:

        I don’t see how any of the studies you’ve cited address the lack of evidence that a more sexually permissive society increases rape and violence against women.

        Feminists campaigning against “sexualisation” sometimes cite “objectification” and “rape culture” as if that theory wipes away any need to support their specific claims with solid evidence. In my experience, those feminists can’t even show a correlation between porn/stripping/prostitution and increased sexual violence, let alone demonstrate that things like bikini models in music videos, topless charity calendars, pole dance fitness classes, etc. encourage rape or domestic abuse. Surely if the “rape culture” theory held up, and was applicable to this, there’d be other evidence to support those feminist claims?

        If anything, I view those feminists as the ones spreading “rape myths” when, despite a lack of evidence, they blame the long list of things they disapprove of for causing rape. I certainly don’t find their “theory” sufficient to justify the demands for censorship and authoritarian policies being pushed by many mainstream feminist groups.

        • hjhornbeck says

          I don’t see how any of the studies you’ve cited address the lack of evidence that a more sexually permissive society increases rape and violence against women.

          Wait, what? I don’t know anyone claiming that (though I wouldn’t be surprised to learn someone from the Taliban did). Rape culture is the spreading of myths about rape, with the effect of making it harder on victims and/or easier on perpetrators. Those four studies demonstrate the prevalence of myths, and that they’re correlated with an increase likelihood in perpetration. Promiscuity and prostitution have nothing to do with it, and while porn can sometimes promote these myths, it does not have to.

          If anything, I view those feminists as the ones spreading “rape myths” when, despite a lack of evidence, they blame the long list of things they disapprove of for causing rape.

          I’ve never heard of this. Do you have an example? And please be specific, I won’t accept vague allegations.

          • Kendall says

            Are you being serious? Complaints about “hypersexaulisation”, “raunch culture”, and the “pornification of society” leading to increased rape and violence, are among the most common arguments I see European feminists using to support censorship and criminalisation.

            The claim that tolerance of prostitution increases rape and domestic violence is a common feminist claim, used to support their “abolitionist” campaign:

            There is also evidence of a negative cultural impact, with places where it’s legal to buy sex often reporting higher levels of rape and domestic abuse.

            In reality, it requires heavy cherry picking of crime statistics to draw that correlation.

            For another recent example, how about the feminist campaign against pole fitness classes, such as this at Swansea University?

            As a Student’s Union, we should not be deaf to the very real issue of ‘pole fitness’ playing a part in upholding this Raunch Culture and objectification of women and girls and the impact of this on our female students. We have achieved some outstanding work on gender equality, notably by banning the sales of Lad’s Mags in the Union, the banning of sexist advertisements and the Zero Tolerance Campaign. We believe that allowing the Pole Fitness Society would not be in line with our gender equality work.

            Female students have gender equality legislation behind them in allowing them a student experience free from inequality, sexual oppression and objectification.

            Swansea City Council has recently passed a ‘Nil Policy’ for the establishment of Sex Entertainment Venues in the City, and Welsh Government has a ‘Right to Be Safe’ Policy which outlines its strategy for ending Violence against Women and Girls. Pole dancing and the sex industry is a part of that and are seen as a form of violence against women.

            Evidence also shows that young women aged 16-24 are the group of women who experience the most domestic and sexual violence. This is the age of a large group of our female students. We believe that activities such as ‘pole fitness’ contributes to an atmosphere where women are viewed as sexual objects and where violence against them is acceptable.

            You’ll note that feminist activists have already achieved a “nil policy” for Sex Entertainment Venues in Swansea (and many other British cities); closing down actual strip clubs and sex shops on the basis that they increase rape/violence (a feminist statistic still used despite being thoroughly debunked).

            Or the similar scaremongering campaigns against pop songs like Blurred Lines:

            Holly O’Connor, president of the University of Derby students’ union, says: “All the students I’ve spoken to are really offended by the song because it promotes rape and lad culture.”

            I remember exactly the same kind of thing from conservatives protesting against horror “video nasties” back in the VHS days.

          • Kendall says

            OK, second try, without embedded links:

            Complaints about “hypersexaulisation”, “raunch culture”, and the “pornification of society” leading to increased rape and violence, are among the most common arguments I see European feminists using to support censorship and criminalisation.

            The claim that tolerance of prostitution increases rape and domestic violence is a common feminist claim, used to support their “abolitionist” campaign:

            www. huffingtonpost.co.uk/mary-honeyball/prostitution-law-labour_b_4043414.html

            There is also evidence of a negative cultural impact, with places where it’s legal to buy sex often reporting higher levels of rape and domestic abuse.

            In reality, it requires heavy cherry picking of crime statistics to draw that correlation.

            For another recent example, how about the feminist campaign against pole fitness classes, such as this at Swansea University?

            www. poledancecommunity.com/magazine/546-pole-fitness-society-banned

            As a Student’s Union, we should not be deaf to the very real issue of ‘pole fitness’ playing a part in upholding this Raunch Culture and objectification of women and girls and the impact of this on our female students. We have achieved some outstanding work on gender equality, notably by banning the sales of Lad’s Mags in the Union, the banning of sexist advertisements and the Zero Tolerance Campaign. We believe that allowing the Pole Fitness Society would not be in line with our gender equality work.

            Female students have gender equality legislation behind them in allowing them a student experience free from inequality, sexual oppression and objectification.

            Swansea City Council has recently passed a ‘Nil Policy’ for the establishment of Sex Entertainment Venues in the City, and Welsh Government has a ‘Right to Be Safe’ Policy which outlines its strategy for ending Violence against Women and Girls. Pole dancing and the sex industry is a part of that and are seen as a form of violence against women.

            Evidence also shows that young women aged 16-24 are the group of women who experience the most domestic and sexual violence. This is the age of a large group of our female students. We believe that activities such as ‘pole fitness’ contributes to an atmosphere where women are viewed as sexual objects and where violence against them is acceptable.

            You’ll note that feminist activists have already achieved a “nil policy” for Sex Entertainment Venues in Swansea (and many other British cities); closing down actual strip clubs and sex shops on the basis that they increase rape/violence (a feminist statistic still used despite being thoroughly debunked: www. youtube.com/watch?v=dEbPYpjZcL8).

            Or the similar scaremongering campaigns against pop songs Blurred Lines:

            www. theguardian.com/education/2013/sep/20/robin-thicke-blurred-lines-ban

            Holly O’Connor, president of the University of Derby students’ union, says: “All the students I’ve spoken to are really offended by the song because it promotes rape and lad culture.”

            I remember exactly the same kind of thing from conservatives protesting against horror “video nasties” back in the VHS days.

        • hjhornbeck says

          The claim that tolerance of prostitution increases rape and domestic violence is a common feminist claim, used to support their “abolitionist” campaign

          But then why does the person you link to argue in favor of half-legalized prostitution?

          There are two alternatives for the UK. The first is the well-publicised Dutch model, which legalises both being a sex worker and using one. The second is the Nordic model, which legalises soliciting but criminalises prostitute use. [...] I myself am unequivocally on the side of Equality Now and the Nordic model.

          I think you’re confusing “encourages sexual violence in society” with “encourages sexual violence within the sex work industry;” the latter seems to be what that author is going for, and I can find no shortage of feminists making that claim. The former is at best a minority position, and easily refuted in my opinion. For one, there are exactly four countries which have legalized prostitution (Senegal, some of Australia, the Netherlands, Germany), and the majority of them did so after 1994. That’s not enough data to pull long-term trends from.

          For another recent example, how about the feminist campaign against pole fitness classes, such as this at Swansea University?

          You’ll note that feminist activists have already achieved a “nil policy” for Sex Entertainment Venues in Swansea (and many other British cities); closing down actual strip clubs and sex shops on the basis that they increase rape/violence (a feminist statistic still used despite being thoroughly debunked).

          There’s a key section in what you quoted (emphasis mine):

          Even if individual women can separate pole fitness and pole dancing in their own minds, we believe that once context and politics are taken into account they are inextricably linked. Women as a class are detrimentally affected by activities such as ‘pole fitness’ which upholds and bolsters sexist attitudes and behaviours. What is useful about pole fitness – to the sex industry at least – is its association to pole dancing and lap dancing. Whereas we are not saying that anyone who attends pole fitness classes are training to move into pole dancing or lap dancing, what we are saying is that it is normalising the practice to the wider group of young women and girls who see work in the sex industry as a viable option.

          I disagree with the bit about seeking work in the sex industry, but the greater point is that by encouraging pole dancing, we are normalizing a practice that almost always objectifies women. It would be wonderful if we could shift our culture around such that it wasn’t the case, but it would take a massive education campaign that would be far less effective than a simple ban.

          If such a ban were actually being implemented, that is. The case you linked to is of a university blocking a pole dance class from using their facilities. How does this stop people from pole dancing? Can’t they just use a facility off the university campus, or do it without organization? I don’t see any attempt at silencing speech or controlling behavior, merely a university not wanting to endorse something it isn’t comfortable with.

          You’re also assuming feminists are united in thinking porn must be banned in all cases. This is trivially false, there is no consensus in feminist circles. This mirrors the scientific literature on the subject.

          Or the similar scaremongering campaigns against pop songs like Blurred Lines

          When Thicke uses the same phrases rapists use to justify rape, I think it’s safe to call the result a rape apologist song. I can’t feel much outrage at having the song banned.

          • says

            I think I get some of the arguments related to objectification but I constantly find myself questioning the intent of those who rail so hard against it.
            Perhaps if they demonstrated some level of consistency in their objections I would understand better. As it stands, they seem either as blind or unconcerned by objectification as anyone, unless sex or sexuality is involved.

            What could be more objectifying than boxing? Sport in general seems weighted towards objectifying the participants; as a sports fan I accept my culpability in reducing the participants largely to physical machines, almost disposable once their physical shelf life ends. Yet few sports seem as extreme in this aspect as boxing: humans reduced to fighting machines in a business that inevitably ends in a heavy physical beating to signal a careers end.

            My sole reason for mentioning it is to wonder what Swansea uni have had to say on boxercise classes? Surely boxercise promotes objectification AND violence, yet I have never heard such classes decried, seemingly because there is no sexual element to it.

          • Kendall says

            But then why does the person you link to argue in favor of half-legalized prostitution?

            It’s nonsense to suggest that rendering prostitution “half-legalised” by only criminalising the buyer constitutes “tolerance of prostitution”. It certainly doesn’t fit the fact that the Nordic “end demand” model proponents typically label themselves “prostitution abolitionists”.

            To me, calling it “half-legalised” itself seems misleading. It’s like saying that abortion would be “half-legalised” if it remained legal to have an abortion, but was made illegal to provide one. It should be obvious that criminalising one side of the transaction pushes it all underground.

            What makes it particularly disingenuous is that the Nordic model (and inspired legislation) targets many sex workers too. See this interview with Swedish sex worker Pye Jakobsson for examples from the birthplace of the Nordic model:

            youtube.com/watch?v=7D7nOh57-I8

            Or this piece about the proposed implementation of it in Ireland; which includes criminalising the advertising of sexual services, and giving the police the power to disconnect phones used by sex workers:

            everydaywhorephobia.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/bad-laws-are-the-worst-sort-of-tyranny-edmund-burke/

            Mainstream feminist groups present this model as something that only targets customers and doesn’t negatively affect sex workers, but that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

            I think you’re confusing “encourages sexual violence in society” with “encourages sexual violence within the sex work industry;”

            No, I’m not. The author of that piece makes it clear when she mentions “evidence of a negative cultural impact” that she’s talking about legal prostitution leading to “higher levels of rape and domestic abuse” in society as a whole.

            Of course many feminists claim that sex work is inherently a form of violence against women, and therefore anything that reduces it saves women from violence. However, you’ll often also find the same feminists claiming that the existence of stripping/porn/prostitution increases rape and violence against all women in society. The feminist argument is that they give men an “entitlement to own women’s bodies” that they’ll act out against non-sex workers. I’ve seen feminists use this against women in the sex industry who’ve made a “my body my choice” argument, with it thrown at them that their choices are endangering other women.

            the latter seems to be what that author is going for The former is at best a minority position, and easily refuted in my opinion.

            A variant of this claim was one of the key feminist arguments used to convince local authorities in the UK to ban strip clubs and sex shops. Closing down those establishments was consistently presented as a way of reducing violence against all women in the area, not just the women who worked in them. Statistics linking strip clubs to an increase in rape (comprehensively debunked in the video I linked to, and Dr Magnanti’s book The Sex Myth) were routinely cited as evidence for this claim.

            For one, there are exactly four countries which have legalized prostitution (Senegal, some of Australia, the Netherlands, Germany), and the majority of them did so after 1994. That’s not enough data to pull long-term trends from.

            You really need to check your facts. New Zealand and parts of Australia have completely decriminalised prostitution, which is a different system from legalization (and is usually the system preferred by sex worker groups). Other countries with a form of legal prostitution include Canada, the UK, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, and a number of African, Asian, and Central/South American countries. I think you’ll find that some of those countries have had their current system in place for a century or more.

            Most of them criminalise various activities associated with prostitution (e.g. street solicitation and pimping), and have differing rules/policies/levels of tolerance when it comes to brothel keeping, but advertising and buying/selling sexual services are legal in many countries. The various feminist campaigns to criminalise advertising and paying for sex wouldn’t make much sense if that was already a crime.

            I disagree with the bit about seeking work in the sex industry, but the greater point is that by encouraging pole dancing, we are normalizing a practice that almost always objectifies women.

            Back in my first post I made it clear that I don’t find feminist theory like “objectification” a convincing argument. I find the feminist labelling of things as “objectifying” about as nebulous and subjective as when Christians start describing things as “sinful”. To me it just looks like a way for authoritarian busybodies to dress up their personal distaste into something universal, making it easier for them to justify forcing their ideology on other people.

            The fact that the vast majority of European feminists would expect me to buy into this theory, and support the authoritarian campaigns that go with it, is my whole problem with feminism as a movement.

            If such a ban were actually being implemented, that is. The case you linked to is of a university blocking a pole dance class from using their facilities. How does this stop people from pole dancing?

            It doesn’t, but it is an example of feminists claiming that there’s a link between (in my opinion innocuous) pole fitness classes and violence against women. As is usually the case when feminists make a claim that that, the link with violence against women is presented as if it’s a fact, yet feminists consistently fail to provide any solid evidence to back up those claims.

            That link also mentioned the feminist campaign against strip clubs, and the fact that Swansea’s local authorities had implemented a “nil policy” as part of their anti-violence campaign. This is something that feminists have been pushing nationwide for years, here’s another example:

            theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/dec/10/strippers-vicar-sex-shop-ban

            That feminist success story has certainly put hundreds (maybe even thousands) of women out of work, based on nothing but feminist theory, scaremongering, and false statistics. As far as I can see, there was no significant opposition to that campaign within the feminist movement. As a skeptic and a social libertarian, that’s the kind of thing I have a problem with.

            You’re also assuming feminists are united in thinking porn must be banned in all cases.

            I’m not assuming anything of the kind. In fact, I’ve made it clear that I’m just talking about the mainstream feminist movement that I’m familiar with in the UK/Europe.

            Of course there are various fringe feminists who don’t agree, but most major European feminist groups are united in the fight against anything deemed “sexualised”, let alone actual pornography. From what I can see, “sex-positive” feminism in the UK is pretty much restricted to a handful of bloggers, who have almost no influence within the mainstream movement. For example, you won’t see sex-positive feminism represented at the major feminist conferences, or in political lobbying from large feminist coalitions like the European Women’s Lobby.

            As I’ve already made clear, I’ll judge feminism based on the policies and ideology of the mainstream organisations that represent it as a movement, not the individuals on its fringes, or its definition in a dictionary.

            When Thicke uses the same phrases rapists use to justify rape, I think it’s safe to call the result a rape apologist song. I can’t feel much outrage at having the song banned.

            Back during the scaremongering over “video nasties”, I remember a conservative Christian group producing a pamphlet that compared scenes in horror movies with real crimes, arguing that there was a clear link between the two. For example, they linked the pencil stabbing scene in The Evil Dead with a real incident of a teenager being stabbed in the eye with a ball point pen. Those campaigners, led by Mary Whitehouse, managed to stir up enough moral panic to get quite a few movies banned at the time. I consider that a low point when it comes to free speech in Britain.

            To me the feminists you’ve linked to are every bit as absurd as those conservative Christians. Equating lyrics like “The way you grab me. Must wanna get nasty” with “It wasn’t rape. You were being such a tease.” just seems like a bit of a stretch…

            Personally, as a social libertarian, I do care about things being banned based on dubious ideology (be it religious or feminist). So don’t expect me to support any movement that overwhelmingly responds to the things it finds offensive with knee-jerk demands for censorship.

          • hjhornbeck says

            noelplum99:

            What could be more objectifying than boxing? Sport in general seems weighted towards objectifying the participants; as a sports fan I accept my culpability in reducing the participants largely to physical machines, almost disposable once their physical shelf life ends.

            You have no idea what objectification means, do you?

            I’ll spare you the full discussion and definition and settle for the Cliff’s Notes version: objectification is the denial of consciousness, and/or the rejection of liberty (aka. free will). When a woman is presented as a table or chair, she is being analogized to an inanimate object that lacks consciousness and does not possess any control of the self. She is treated as an object, lacking any consent (as that requires both consciousness and liberty).

            Boxers, in contrast, can quit their sport at any time. They had the option of another career path, but instead chose to risk life and limb in the pursuit of fame and a title. Those who follow boxing know there’s quite a bit of strategy involved; boxers don’t win on brute strength alone, they study their opponents in some depth, formulate plans both prior to and within the match, all while facing blows to the head.

            Boxers are not objects. Nor are most athletes, for the same reason. Admiration does not turn you into an object, being treated as an object turns you into an object.

          • says

            @hjhornbeck

            Always willing to learn. I walk back my last comment after reading that definition, clearly boxing and pole dancing are not objectifying of those involved or of people in general. Swansea University are idiots after all.

          • says

            @hjhornbeck

            I took the liberty of reading the Stanford entry. What a wonderful resource that site is, I have spent a good few bathtimes soaking away with a printed out entry on something or other (never, i admit, from the social science entries).

            I must admit, this entry on objectification (which it defines generally but admits the entry focuses on sexual objectification only) leaves me, at once, both feeling better informed and more confused than ever. It seems clear that a number of factors can constitute objectification but no one factor is necessary, allowing for a great deal of leeway in what constitutes objectification and what does not.
            What did become apparent from what I was reading was that neither MacKinnon, Nussbaum nor Dworkin, the three most oft-cited in the entry would have deemed your objections to pole dancing and boxing classing as objectifying (that obvious and appreciated (by the proposed objectifier) skill is involved and that the participants had willingly chosen the career path) as sufficient or justifiable grounds to deny that objectification was taking place. I couldn’t see anyone else limiting their definition to “presenting a woman as a table or chair (inanimate object)” in the way you did. Furthe
            r, when applying the ten criteria listed towards the start of the piece an almost identical positive case could be made for each discipline.

            Boxers are not objects. Nor are most athletes, for the same reason. Admiration does not turn you into an object, being treated as an object turns you into an object.

            This somewhat bizarre statement (not least because ‘being treated more like an object’ was the definition that led me to assume that boxing must be as objectifying as pole dancing for the same reasons) on your part certainly went against the point raised by Alan Soble as cited in the entry. I certainly wouldn’t go as far, in this context, as Soble and declare that people are only objects but they are at least objects and the question surely becomes whether it is reasonable to contextually reduce people in some spheres or whether we must always view people in a more holistic way.

            After that could I thank you for the link? I did enjoy reading the piece this morning and you have my gratitude.

          • Kendall says

            hjhornbeck:

            I’ll spare you the full discussion and definition and settle for the Cliff’s Notes version: objectification is the denial of consciousness, and/or the rejection of liberty (aka. free will). When a woman is presented as a table or chair, she is being analogized to an inanimate object that lacks consciousness and does not possess any control of the self. She is treated as an object, lacking any consent (as that requires both consciousness and liberty).

            I don’t see how that “Cliff’s Notes” version fits the common feminist usage of objectification. In your definition, it barely seems possible for someone to be “objectifying themselves” through their own choices, yet that’s the phrase I often see thrown at women who do things feminists disapprove of.

            A woman who chooses to pole dance, either for fitness/fun or to earn a living, isn’t losing her free will or ability to consent. Just like a boxer there’s skill involved, and she has the same liberty to quit and do something else. Doesn’t the simple fact that she can argue her case, and claim that she doesn’t feel objectified, separate her from an inanimate object like a table or chair?

            In contrast, based on your own definition, it’s actually any feminists who’d deny her agency through accusations of “societal Stockholm syndrome”, “patriarchal brainwashing”, or “false consciousness” (rendering her incapable of consent), who’d be doing the objectifying.

          • says

            @Kendall

            :) You are far more direct than I am.

            When i went back and read Hornbeck’s response to you (when i got the time, an hour after after posting my response to him) i was somewhat bemused to see him making a totally different set of arguments, to a totally different set of standards for pole dancing as boxing. Having previousl;y glossed over your exchange with him I had assumed he was placing boxing and pole dancing in the same camp, especially after the reasons he gave to me as to why boxing was not objectifying (which, as you state, as plain as day apply to pole dancing in exactly the same way and to at least the same extent as they do to boxing).

            I also had a bit of smile to myself when i reread HJ’s comment to me (a comment I really did appreciate btw, the link was a good one). It actually consisted of three parts:

            1) You are wrong noelplum, objectification is not about what you think it is (ie, treating somebody as an object)
            2) Here is what it actually means in full scope (he evidences this and points taken on board by myself)
            3) Noelplum – objectification is about treating someone as an object!! (his exact words “Admiration does not turn you into an object, being treated as an object turns you into an object.”)

            So there you go, objectification is not about simply treating someone more akin to an object, or focussing almost entirely on their physicality and physical characteristics, but at the same time ……. it is!

            i have kind of gone full cirlce here, the last few hours and i go back to my original sentiment: it seems that objectification only seems to be brought up as an issue when sex and sexuality is involved.

          • hjhornbeck says

            Kendall:

            Mainstream feminist groups present this model as something that only targets customers and doesn’t negatively affect sex workers, but that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

            You claimed there was consensus view about prostitution within feminism. I pointed you to a link which demonstrated this is no consensus on prostitution and sex work, and hasn’t been for thirty years. Your response… is to claim there’s a consensus view about prostitution within feminism.

            Other countries with a form of legal prostitution include Canada, the UK, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, and a number of African, Asian, and Central/South American countries.

            Emphasis mine. In March 2012, the Ontario Supreme Court ruled that Canadian laws relating to prostitution were contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and granted the government one year to either revise the law or challenge the ruling. The Feds opted to challenge, and in the most recent news I can find a hearing was held in June of this year. There’s been no final ruling, it appears, which means the current laws are in effect. And

            We have an extremely hypocritical set of laws surrounding the selling of sex in Canada. Prostitution is legal but making the deal for it is not. When arrested, the hookers generally get time and a record; the johns (who drive the demand) have the option of paying their way out of it by going to a weekend course and having their records expunged.

            I have no time to argue with someone who ignores reality and will lie to my face. I barely have time to argue with Noelplum, but he at least has demonstrated a willingness to read what I link to and consider it. For that, he’s earned a little bit of my time.

          • Kendall says

            hjhornbeck:

            You claimed there was consensus view about prostitution within feminism. I pointed you to a link which demonstrated this is no consensus on prostitution and sex work, and hasn’t been for thirty years. Your response… is to claim there’s a consensus view about prostitution within feminism.

            I’ve stated a number of times that I’m talking about the mainstream feminist movement within the UK/EU. I don’t know how I could have made that much clearer without cumbersome repetition of that fact every single time I referred to feminism. I think my posts here are long enough as it is…

            I certainly never claimed that there’s a complete consensus on any topic within feminism. In fact, I clearly acknowledged that there are feminists with different views, including a “sex positive” fringe that’s supportive of sex work.

            What I do claim is that there’s an anti-prostitution and pro-Nordic model consensus within the mainstream European feminist movement. To me, an examination of the ideology, policy, and real world activism of those major feminist groups, trumps whatever a Wikipedia page might say about feminism’s “sex wars”.

            For evidence of this, I’d point you towards the European Women’s Lobby, and their campaign for a “Europe free from prostitution” (i.e. a call for EU wide implementation of the Nordic model). They’re by far the largest feminist coalition in the EU, comprising over 2500 organisations, and generally representing the feminist point of view in European politics. They’re certainly supported by the UK’s major feminist organisations, such as UK Feminista, the London Feminist Network, and the Fawcett Society.

            Their campaign for the implementation of the Nordic model is quite prominent, with them lobbying members of the European Parliament, and routinely appearing in the press to push for this legislation in the name of feminism. It’s currently looking likely that it’ll be implemented in both Ireland and France in the near future, and this is receiving a fair bit of media attention. My question, if there’s really no consensus on prostitution within mainstream European feminism, is simply to ask where’s the organised feminist opposition to their campaign?

            Where are the pro-sex worker voices of dissent within the European Women’s Lobby, or the major feminist groups that comprise it? Where are the groups of sex positive feminists challenging support for the Nordic model when it’s presented as the one-and-only feminist solution to prostitution at large feminist conferences?

            Sex positive bloggers and feminist sex workers certainly exist as a fringe within feminism, but it’s clear that they don’t have the influence to shape the policies of those large feminist organisations, especially the ones representing the movement in politics and the media.

            Emphasis mine. In March 2012, the Ontario Supreme Court ruled that Canadian laws relating to prostitution were contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and granted the government one year to either revise the law or challenge the ruling. The Feds opted to challenge, and in the most recent news I can find a hearing was held in June of this year. There’s been no final ruling, it appears, which means the current laws are in effect.

            How on Earth does this contradict one word of what I wrote?

            In the very next paragraph from the one you quoted I stated:

            “Most of them criminalise various activities associated with prostitution (e.g. street solicitation and pimping), and have differing rules/policies/levels of tolerance when it comes to brothel keeping, but advertising and buying/selling sexual services are legal in many countries.”

            In Canada, under its current laws, it is legal to advertise, buy, and sell sexual services. Therefore, regardless of other restrictions that are in place, it currently has a form of legal prostitution.

            Bedford vs. Canada specifically sought to overturn the prohibitions on street solicitation (which is actually illegal under most systems of regulated prostitution), pimping, and brothel keeping. Independent indoor sex workers (who make up a significant proportion of the women in the sex industry) would be pretty much entirely unaffected by this, as they aren’t breaking any current Canadian laws when they exchange sex for money.

            I have no time to argue with someone who ignores reality and will lie to my face.

            Oh dear. If you don’t have the time to addressing the points I’ve made then that’s fine, you could have bowed out gracefully. There was certainly no need for you to embarrass yourself like this for the sake of killing the conversation and getting the last word in…

          • iamcuriousblue says

            HJHornbeck writes:

            “But then why does the person you link to argue in favor of half-legalized prostitution?”

            Kendall has already discussed this, but are you *seriously* going to advance the position that the Nordic model is “half legalized” prostitution? Please! The Nordic model is absolutely a form of criminalization, albeit, simply one that, in theory at least, puts the onus of criminalzation on buyers and treats sex workers as inherent victims. And even if you buy that in theory (and I don’t – if somebody is in a position to voluntarily sell sexual services, then it should be perfectly legal to buy that service), I think there’s a very good argument coming from the sex worker rights movement that this in fact has a very negative impact on sex workers themselves, both in forcing their trade underground into more dangerous conditions and a very real increase in stigmatization of sex workers. (Plenty of news stories coming out of Sweden of sex workers who deny the “victim” label being kicked out of schools, losing custody of children, etc. Google “Justice for Jasmine” sometime.)

            “I disagree with the bit about seeking work in the sex industry, but the greater point is that by encouraging pole dancing, we are normalizing a practice that almost always objectifies women. It would be wonderful if we could shift our culture around such that it wasn’t the case, but it would take a massive education campaign that would be far less effective than a simple ban.

            If such a ban were actually being implemented, that is. The case you linked to is of a university blocking a pole dance class from using their facilities. How does this stop people from pole dancing? Can’t they just use a facility off the university campus, or do it without organization? I don’t see any attempt at silencing speech or controlling behavior, merely a university not wanting to endorse something it isn’t comfortable with.”

            FFS, HJHornbeck, you’re actually going to downplay and actually *defend* this act of censorship? What part of “ban” don’t you understand? Denying a group of students use of University facilities because what they’re doing doesn’t square with somebody’s narrow “feminist” ideology, at a public state-supported University no less, is most certainly an act of censorship, and state censorship at that.

            (Before anybody jumps in with this point, yes, I *know* the UK has no First Amendment, or any constitutional guarantee of free speech or other individual rights. Public institutions there can legally ban what they want – but that sure as hell doesn’t make such acts of censorship in any sense right.)

            If you’re going to defend such “well meaning” abuses of power on the part of UK student unions, then how about the London School of Economics ban on “Jesus and Mo” cartoons? Are you also going to excuse that as just a mere suggestion that people not wear or display “Jesus and Mo” cartoons?

            Or are you seriously going to advance the argument that it’s wrong for student unions to curtail secularist speech and expression, but perfectly OK for them to enshrine a narrow version of feminism by similar heavy-handed bans on “objectifying” expression? If that’s your position, I think that then all your feminist secularism amounts to merely substituting an ideology for religion, with all the unthinking support and lack of respect for other people’s rights that this implies.

          • iamcuriousblue says

            “unthinking support and lack of respect for other people’s rights that this implies.

            D’oh – mean to write

            “unthinking acceptance of your beliefs and lack of respect for other people’s rights to dissent that this implies.”

      • iamcuriousblue says

        HJHornbeck @ 35.2

        Kendall @35: (feminist theory about “objectification” causing “rape culture” just doesn’t cut it)

        Does General Relativity also fail your test, because it too is just a theory?

        Wow – so you’re seriously going to say that a piece of *political* theory, one that might be advanced by a subset of ideologically motivated social scientists (who largely do not conduct experiments that could potentially falsify the foundational support for such theories), is equivalent a core, empirically-founded scientific theory, one that’s stood up through about a century of repeated testing and hard empirical data? Way to be more than slightly over-confident about your beliefs, HJ.

        No small irony that this overconfidence in the “objectivity” of one’s political beliefs is a common flaw of both the “social justice” crowd and Randian Objectivists. :-)

        BTW, I have to get a laugh out of who you care to cite in defense of your claims about “rape culture”:

        Foubert, John D.

        Basically, you’re quoting an evangelical who’s a *classic* Religious Right-to-Radical Feminist crossover – somebody who left William and Mary College a few years ago for the friendlier (to conservative Christians) environs of University of Oklahoma after William and Mary refused to cave to his demands to ban, among other things, the Sex Workers Art Show, and another show of nude photography on its campus. Nice sources some of you –cough– secular feminists like to trot out, HJ!

        Of course, I realize that what I’ve described above doesn’t automatically invalidate the findings of a given study he’s been involved in – that’s pure ad hom – but considering the cognitive bias, extremely poor track record that radfem-influenced social scientists have in carrying out solid research, and Foubert’s own lack of background as a sold, statistically sound and methodologically-disciplined social scientist, it would in fact surprise me if any study he’s lead author on is any good.

        There’s also the larger problem with whether you can really validate a framework as large as “rape culture” with just a few studies, especially ones that have not clearly laid out alternative hypotheses.

    • Joy inTorah says

      “They generally represent the feminist view in the media and politics, and so much of their activism is focussed on the fight against “sexualisation” (i.e. campaigning to criminalise the sex industry, censor the mainstream media, filter internet content, etc.), that there often seems to be little else on their agenda.”

      See, here’s a perfect example of someone who doesn’t understand WHY feminists campaign against things like Page 3. The reason is there is NO reason to have half naked women in the damn paper. It IS objectifying women. It’s like you can’t read a newspaper without having a naked woman shoved in your face to sell it.

      Pornography and prostitution. Well prostitution is a definite concern and it’s not extremist to follow the feminist reasoning for wanting, not illegality, but the SWEDISH MODEL. You’re very uneducated about this but don’t fret because you’re not alone by a long shot.

      Prostitution is driven by its demand. There is always a demand for women’s bodies. So economically women being the majority of the world’s poor are driven into the sex industry. NOT out of choice. Choice implies they had other options and we all know it’s not true. So these women are set aside as the slaves of men to use them in the most intimately damaging ways possible. The economic problem is that with demand always has to come a supply. The large demand means that sex trafficking is rampant. Do you know that each prostitute that is bought there are more trafficked slaves that need to be brought in?

      We haven’t even gotten to the objectification part yet. We’re still on the economic part! We haven’t gotten to the substance abuse part or the abuse of prostitutes.

      So you see, it’s not some simple little argument that feminists want to make this illegal. It’s about understanding what prostituted women NEED from society and what they don’t need is to be pimped out or trafficked. I don’t think you can ever separate the demand from the supply and in this regard I think that fixing society will naturally bring the end of women being subjugated in that way.

      • Kendall says

        See, here’s a perfect example of someone who doesn’t understand WHY feminists campaign against things like Page 3. The reason is there is NO reason to have half naked women in the damn paper. It IS objectifying women. It’s like you can’t read a newspaper without having a naked woman shoved in your face to sell it.

        I understand those feminist campaigns, I just think they’re authoritarian nonsense and aren’t backed up by solid evidence.

        Reading a newspaper “without having a naked woman shoved in your face” is incredibly easy: simply avoid buying trash tabloids like The Sun.

        Considering the bigotry and propaganda printed in The Sun, I consider the smiling topless woman on Page 3 to be among the least offensive things in the paper. Would you really be a Sun reader if they simply replaced the Page 3 Girl with another column of barely disguised racist scaremongering about illegal immigrants?

        I read a couple of different newspapers, and amazingly neither of them feature topless women on any of their pages.

        Pornography and prostitution. Well prostitution is a definite concern and it’s not extremist to follow the feminist reasoning for wanting, not illegality, but the SWEDISH MODEL. You’re very uneducated about this but don’t fret because you’re not alone by a long shot.

        An extremely smug and patronising assumption that’s utterly incorrect. I don’t buy into your mainstream feminist dogma, but that doesn’t make me uneducated about the subject.

        Prostitution is driven by its demand. There is always a demand for women’s bodies. So economically women being the majority of the world’s poor are driven into the sex industry. NOT out of choice. Choice implies they had other options and we all know it’s not true.

        No, we don’t “all know it’s not true”. There’s a huge diversity of women (and men) in the sex industry, and they have a wide variety of reasons for entering it. Yes, in some cases they’re pushed into it by extreme poverty, or problems such as drug addiction, but many others have chosen it as a job because it simply fits their needs better than the alternatives.

        Feminist prostitution statistics almost invariably focus on street prostitution, and are often exclusively based on surveys of women in shelters/prisons. In reality, most prostitution in the developed world is indoor, and the statistics feminists use to support their campaigns suffer from blatant selection bias. One extreme example is the claim (found in many feminist pamphlets/sites) that the average age of entry into prostitution is just 13 years old. This is actually based on studies of underaged prostitution, yet the figure is often falsely applied to the industry as a whole: eminism.org/blog/entry/62

        The problem is that most feminist prostitution policies are based around these misleading statistics. For example, I’ve seen feminists assume that treatment for drug addiction, and basic job training, would provide pretty much every woman in the sex industry with a clear route out of it. I’ve often seen this used to argue that “abolishing” prostitution wouldn’t harm any of the women in the sex industry, as they’d be provided with new and better choices. That might be the case if the feminist statistics were accurate, and most sex workers really were uneducated heroine addicts forced into it by pimps, but that doesn’t hold up to the complexity of the real world.

        The large demand means that sex trafficking is rampant. Do you know that each prostitute that is bought there are more trafficked slaves that need to be brought in?

        The idea that there’s an epidemic of sex trafficking is a moral panic on a par with the satanic ritual abuse scaremongering back in the 1980s. Yes, there are examples of people being forced into the sex industry, just like there are people forced to work in agriculture, textiles, and other industries. But the idea that that sex trafficking is “rampant” just isn’t supported by evidence:

        theguardian.com/uk/2009/oct/20/trafficking-numbers-women-exaggerated

        I’d highly recommend that you examine those feminist claims with a little more skepticism, and look at the evidence from the other side of the debate. For a start, I’d recommend Dr Brooke Magnanti’s book The Sex Myth. She’s a former sex worker herself, as well as being a scientist who’s examined many of the common claims made about the sex industry (and sex in general). Part of her book debunks the statistics claiming that many women are trafficked and forced into the sex industry.

        You’ll also find some of her lectures online, where she addresses quite a few common sex myths:

        youtube.com/watch?v=4hQKFX1ndjg

        It’s about understanding what prostituted women NEED from society

        I’ve seen quite a few sex workers attack the phrase “prostituted women” as objectifying in itself, as that kind of terminology treats them as if they’re passive things being used, without any agency of their own. In fact, it’s something that Ally Fogg criticised here at FTB:

        hetpat.wordpress.com/2012/10/16/a-stand-against-objectification/

        In my experience, the vast majority of sex worker groups are opposed to the Nordic model, and instead call for decriminalisation like in New Zealand. Don’t you think it’s just a little bit arrogant to assume that feminists like yourself know what women in the sex industry need from society better than they know themselves?

      • iamcuriousblue says

        Joy in Torah @ 35.3 writes:

        “Prostitution is driven by its demand. There is always a demand for women’s bodies. So economically women being the majority of the world’s poor are driven into the sex industry. NOT out of choice. Choice implies they had other options and we all know it’s not true. So these women are set aside as the slaves of men to use them in the most intimately damaging ways possible. The economic problem is that with demand always has to come a supply. The large demand means that sex trafficking is rampant. Do you know that each prostitute that is bought there are more trafficked slaves that need to be brought in?”

        Your framework is driven by your own objectification* of sex workers as “slaves” with “no choice”. That’s a broad stereotype advanced a framework demanding criminalization of the sex industry. In fact, sex work exists across a broad range of social situation, from those who truly resort to it out of poverty, desperation, or even threats of violence to those that go into sex work even when other financially viable forms of employment are available, but find sex work preferable, or at least less obnoxious, than other ways of making a living. And many shades of grey in between.

        And, sorry, but I just can’t see the justification in criminalization of either party in what is not inherently a non-consensual transaction. Of course, nobody is defending forced sex work – violent pimping should be criminalized and such laws should be enforced where they’re not already. (I’d also say that purchasing sex from someone one knows (or can reasonably surmise) is coerced should similarly be a crime.) As to prostitution driven by poverty (not by “demand”, like you claim), I’d say that’s not a good thing either, but if you think you’re helping anybody by removing that means of making a living (rather than putting your effort into creating *real* alternatives), you’re kidding yourself. The fact that this exists as an economic alternative is the reason why some of the most dedicated sex worker activists are in many cases poor women from the developing world. Also in no small part because rhetoric about “ending demand” and “rescuing” sex workers in practice translates into putting sex workers into abusive quasi-imprisonment situations, something “anti-trafficking” NGOs are complicit in.

        Law-enforcement-driven solutions to the problem of poverty-driven prostitution are as utterly ass-backwards as law-enforcement-driven solutions to drug use in poor communities. And I have to question just how “radical” (how “radical” in a genuinely progressive sense, anyway) a “radical feminism” that favors such solutions really is.

        * And yes, I’m using the term “objectification” in it’s *actual* sense, that of reducing other people’s experiences to your own personal or ideological constructs, rather than the way the term is typically abused, with “sexual objectification” being little more than a secularized version of the old religious “sin of lust”.

  34. says

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  36. Dani Wells says

    The only issue I had with it was you called an entire group of feminists, many of them former prostitutes ‘sex negative’. The correct term is anti-sex industry. You’re making us sound like we’re a bunch of prudes and have no rational reasons for our positions when we absolutely do. And our positions are not moral ones. They are grounded in research about sex trafficking and its relation to the market demands of prostitution and the exploitation of women and girls, and men in the sex industry to which many of us were exposed to and know all too well.

    That was a big slap in the face to former prostitutes etc. who are feminists.

  37. says

    “Someone said that the standards for women in the military were lower than for men.  My daughter says that is not the case.  She says women can be Marines now, but they still can’t be SEALs because the Navy tested promising female recruits and none of them could meet that standard.  So I don’t think that criticism is true either. “

    luckily for use the standards are public record ( and on wikipedia ):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Marine_Corps_Physical_Fitness_Test
    sorry they are different deal with it.

    • Freethinkin Franklin says

      Females have been Marines since the 1940’s, yet enjoy a different standard for how they wear their hair, no buzz cuts for the B.A.M.’s , and lacks rules after basic too. My family have been fire fighters in the NYC area forever and the standards there too have been lowered, the “dead lift” is not required of female applicants, the logic behind the “dead lift” is to be able to lift 150 pounds (representative of an unconscious fellow fire fighter) up a 15 ft wall with a rope, so if your counting on a fellow fire fighter to save your unconscious ass out of the way of harm , know that the standards were lowered due to “political correctness” . As I’ve said before equal means EQUAL , not special!!

      • hjhornbeck says

        I’m wondering what you think of this, then.

        The Pentagon’s decision to lift the ban on women in ground combat earlier this year was met with skepticism about whether or not women could meet the physical demands. [...]

        To test these long-held ideas, Marines started allowing women to participate in the same physical training as their male classmates in September. Monday’s test dropped 246 men and seven women at 3 a.m. in the middle of the woods, where they hiked 12.5 miles with 80-pound packs before launching into regular field exercises. Three women and 20 men failed to finish the test, which is considered one of the military’s most strenuous training sequences.

        • Freethinkin_Franklin says

          @ hjhornbeck
          As I’ve stated , some people have a hard time understanding the meaning of the word equal. You’ve stated “the Marines started allowing women to participate in the same physical training as their male classmates” key words “same physical training “, if a person has met the requirements for the job, it should be theirs. I know I wouldn’t want my child going into combat with a person that hasn’t passed the physical requirements for the job, would you? Equal means EQUAL.

          • hjhornbeck says

            I know I wouldn’t want my child going into combat with a person that hasn’t passed the physical requirements for the job, would you? Equal means EQUAL.

            Agreed, but hold on there: who said soldiers needed to be able to dead-lift as much as possible? Modern warfare has moved on greatly from sticks and rocks, they now use guns and explosives. None of that requires massive amounts of lifting. The skills a soldier really needs today are alertness, endurance, and strategic thinking, and those don’t require brute strength either. kacyray can vouch for that, look up-thread.

            I have no problems with job requirements matching what the job actually requires, but is brute strength a true requirement to be a soldier?

          • Freethinkin_Franklin says

            @hjhornbeck

            now hold on there… lol, who said marines had a dead lift requirement? (although they should, seeing that EVERY marine is a trained in basic training to be an infantry rifleman/rifleperson ) i said it was fire fighters that did and have removed it for female fire fighter applicants. so now a new question, would you want your child becoming a firefighter knowing the person next to them couldn’t or hasn’t had to pass the same required physical test as he/she had. i might be good with it when we start fighting fires with drones, if its required for males then its should be required for the females too..equal still means EQUAL …
            BOOOOO ! Happy Halloween!!! :-)

          • hjhornbeck says

            i said it was fire fighters that did and have removed it for female fire fighter applicants.

            Oh, OK. Slight problem, though: I can’t find a single incident of fire departments dropping their standards for women. Oh, there’s plenty of allegations floating around, but when you dig down you find it’s much like this:

            In fact, some firefighters say Bamattre quietly rolled back strict physical requirements, just like Manning, implementing a secret “no fail” policy to pass women who plainly could not heft chain saws up ladders or run with heavy hoses, or who had other physical deficiencies. In the almost entirely male yet multiracial force, firefighters were furious that academy rejects were getting through, and many questioned whether Bamattre was jeopardizing firefighters and the public.

            Bamattre says that charge is just plain untrue, telling the Weekly: “The physical standards have never been lowered to bring in women.” He says the standards in fact were and are being raised, and that creating a double standard “is not something I ever would have stood for.”

            Someone says standards were lowered, someone in charge says they weren’t. The person making the allegations is sometimes a firefighter themselves, but given that sexism seems rampant in the firefighting rank-and-file, I find it tough to take those charges seriously. Alternatively, we have cases like this:

            Bamattre did, however, order that an extra pulley be added to the 35-foot ladders, to make it easier to extend a ladder against a building to gain access to roofs or upper floors. “It gives a huge mechanical advantage, so you are pulling less than half of what the ladder weighs,” says Captain Frank Lima. But the pulley, widely perceived as a special assist for women, left the men bugged about all the excess rope that “people can trip over.” Bamattre acknowledges the controversy but says he told critics inside the department, “Isn’t it easier for men to pull the pulley [too]?”

            Those in charge lower the standards for everyone, and get accused of lowering the standards to make it easier on women.

            And that’s the worst I can find. Do you have any specific links to back up your claims?

          • Freethinkin_Franklin says

            @hjhornbeck

            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1375381/Fire-service-strength-fitness-tests-relaxed-allow-women-firefighters.html

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/06/chicago-women-firefighter_n_3225153.html

            ask yourself why was the test changed? were there no fire fighters before the standards/tests were lowered?
            as i stated my family have been fire fighters forever and their dept’s also lowered the standards in jersey city nj and that wasn’t the only one to do so. if equal means equal why did standards need to be lowered?

          • hjhornbeck says

            Dude, I read that first link. Didn’t you?

            But fire service bosses say the old tests did not accurately reflect the work of firefighters and that standards remain the same.

            London fire brigade deputy assistant commissioner Dany Cotton, a firefighter for 23 years and Britain’s most senior female in the service, insist: ‘Ever since I’ve been in the job people have been saying that standards have been dropping to let people in and I’ve not seen evidence of that.

            They changed the tests for both sexes to better reflect the job requirements; the Daily Mail, being the tabloid it is, tried to spin this as lowering standards to let women in. It isn’t. As for your second link:

            The lawsuit stems from 2006 when some 140 women who applied to become firefighters were rejected after they were told they failed the PAT. Plaintiffs said the test lacked any kind of transparent scoring system.

            “We have class members who are firefighters with other jurisdictions. We have class members who are triathletes, marathon runners,” said attorney Susan Malone, according to ABC Chicago. “No candidates were told what the required passing score was or how to achieve it, which made their training for the test significantly harder.”

            According to NBC Chicago, the city has agreed to use the Candidate Physical Abilities Test, a more nationally standardized evaluation, for future physical aptitude tests.

            The old tests were opaque and let instructors fail whomever they wanted; the new tests are transparent and based on national standards, making them much fairer. No sign of dropping standards here, either.

            So far, you’re zero for two. Try reading past the headline next time.

          • Freethinkin_Franklin says

            @hjhornbeck

            So dude you believe everything you read verbatim? You unable to see that someone had to justify these changes/lowering of standards due to pressure of “political correctness”? You can not read between the lines? I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that you take the buybull literally. Never the less Equal still does mean equal and always will , no matter how hard of a time you have understanding or admitting it. I’m still trying to understand when pulling a fellow fighter fighter out of harms way isn’t an “accurate reflect the work of firefighters”? You’ve swallowed that statement hook line and sinker and claim a win !! Lol… FAIL…

          • hjhornbeck says

            So dude you believe everything you read verbatim?

            Obviously not, if I’m questioning the links you provided.

            I’m still trying to understand when pulling a fellow fighter fighter out of harms way isn’t an “accurate reflect the work of firefighters”?

            That’s what the people in charge say, and who am I to dispute them? But I think you’ve made a bit of a slip: tests for firefighters normally had them carrying people or an equivalent weight, however it can be just as effective to drag someone instead. So you might have stumbled on why these standards are changing: firefighters don’t carry as much weight as their tests would suggest.

            Soooo… I take it you have no more evidence, then?

          • Freethinkin_Franklin says

            @hjhornbeck

            Exactly what evidence do you require to understand that EQUAL means EQUAL?? And your slip up is: “Obviously not, if I’m questioning the links you provided”, your not questioning it, your using its politically correct driven wording to try to prove your point, I wish you were questioning it then I might see an inkling that you understand not to rely on all you read verbatim. The fact still remains, test standards were lowered to help a special group.
            Now stay with me here…. Equal means equal… Get it !?!

          • hjhornbeck says

            The fact still remains, test standards were lowered to help a special group.

            You claim this as a fact, yet are unable to produce any evidence to back that up despite multiple requests. Are you sure you aren’t the one who’s blindly accepting things without question?

          • says

            There is some truth in both your points in this exchange. I don’t want to come across as arrogant on this issue but it is one i have taken an interest in for nearly twenty years, serving operationally in the uk fire service throughout that time and not only seeing the changes in recruitment policy but following the FireFit forum the last few years which have now set the national standard (it staggered me the forum was openly viewable – i still half think it wasnt meant to be).

            If either of you have any interest I can give a run down on what i know (the facts) and what i think. What i will say is that any position that the changes have either been all attributable to the needs of female applicants or unrelated to the specifics of female applicants is naive.

  38. says

    If you look at the phenotypical traits of women and the phenotypical traits of men; and use those to decide who should or should not be allowed in certain military positions – there would be no male fighter pilots.

    No male drone pilots either – or any other job that primarily involves visual memory.

    ….or language.

    …..or working in task-oriented groups.

    …..or interpreting social behavior.

    ……or (just to go to the bizarre extreme) HEARING.

    Just a thought.

    We all know there is a very wide range of abilities among men and women, but there are also typical strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, if you don’t have enough women (or men for that matter) who are WILLING and able to compete for certain exclusive positions – it’s going to be difficult to socially integrate them into the unit. (This is a studied thing – the going “integration” percent is about 10%.)

    There are practical concerns here. Very few people are going to say otherwise.

    Concerns about deployability due to pregnancy, nursing, etc.

    A slightly higher rate of ankle and hip injury for women.

    Etc so forth.

    But what does NOT make sense, is to have physical standards that do not fit the REAL job description. Outcome based assessments make a hell of a lot more sense. CAN someone do the job is more important than how many push-ups they can do.

    My sister was in communications. One of my students was a truck driver and was working toward being a psychologist within the military. Would it make any sense at all for them to not be placed in their positions because they couldn’t do a certain number of pull-ups or whatever?

    I mean, I applied for a military job once myself – a physicist (civilian). I can’t do a pull-up to save my damn life – or anyone else’s for that matter. It would not make sense to nix me out of the running for developing ordinance for that reason, right? (Didn’t get the job – probably a good thing in the long run – went to graduate school instead.)

    Now, if there are certain jobs that many women are unable to do, due to physical limitations of them individually, and those jobs (combat positions) are tied strongly to promotion – what you are doing is CUTTING OUT a LARGE talent pool from the higher ranks.

    This is a very bad idea – in a very practical sense.

    You don’t need to make these discussion ideological. Unfortunately, the stances that would increase the opportunities and mobility of women in the military are characterized (many times) as ideological or PC (or some other such crap) – even when they are practical.

    One of those concerns is that we have a volunteer military and cutting out women is cutting out a lot of the recruitment pool.

    Another one is that, by cutting out women from the recruitment pool, you’re cutting out their skills/talents as well.

    However, even when the stances AGAINST their opportunity and mobility are absolutely impractical or ideological (i.e. misogynistic) they are not SEEN as that. The reason? – because the idea that men are better than women is socialized into our damn heads since birth.

    The pretty recent willingness of many women to serve in the military is being seen (by some) as an imposition instead of an opportunity. Their talents and lives aren’t a net negative.

  39. GrzeTor says

    It’s interesting if Aron analyzes the new information he got from his critics, and changes his views to accomodate his new information, or perhaps he dogmatically sticks to his existing feminist ideology?

    • John Morales says

      Are you attempting to imply that it is necessarily dogmatic to not change one’s views given criticism?

      (Or: were I criticise your non-feminist ideology, will it perforce be dogmatic of you to stick with it?)

      • GrzeTor says

        @John Morales – read my comment as it’s written. What I expect from Aron, what he should do if he cares about the truth is that he gets all the feedback he got after his speach, analyzes it creates version 2.0 of his views of feminism that lacks the flaws of his current thinking and publishes it somehow. He may ask Thunderf00t or Justicar to help him if he gets stuco on some problems :-)

        Unfortunately I don’t see it happening, despite the fact that there has been enough time for it to happen. Instead Aron keeps mum, as if his feminism presentation was a one-time hit-and-run piece, that won’t result in any additional thinking afterwards. This might be because of some dogmatic beliefs about feminism, but of course it is not necessary.

  40. says

    I feel like restricting myself from things such as sweets will only make me wish to binge. The single thing I almost completely knocked is my diet soda habit, having said that I do let myself have 16 oz. a couple of times every week, but I used to drink it like water. I’m dropping pounds and I’m taking my multivitamin pill, but is this enough.

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