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May 09 2013

Empathy and the New Gender Wars

SERIES: FROM THE HETPAT ARCHIVES

(Note: Over my first few weeks at Freethought Blogs, I shall be reposting some pieces from the archives at my previous home, alternated with new posts. Once we all start to get bored with me recycling old material, I’ll transfer the entire archive for you to peruse at your leisure. I’ll begin  with the first blog I ever wrote for Heteronormative Patriarchy For Men.)

First published June 2012

 

In the spring of 1979, the long battle for social justice and equality in the UK entered a dramatic new era. In electing Margaret Hilda Thatcher as Prime Minister, the British people served notice that gender was no longer an insurmountable barrier to attaining even the highest office. The ultimate glass ceiling had been breached and shattered, and for twelve long years the shards would rain painfully down on the poor, the working class and the vulnerable, leaving deep wounds which bleed to this day in our inner cities and the former industrial heartlands of Britain.

At the precise same time, five hundred miles from Downing Street, I was watching at close quarters as a very different battle for gender justice raged. I was a first year pupil at a large state school in the East of Scotland, a mixed-sex comprehensive which merely aspired to the standard of bog. As was typical of the time, each week our class was divided for a couple of hours. The girls would learn home economics (a euphemism for cookery and sewing) while the boys would take technical studies – metalwork, woodwork and technical drawing. I was ham-fisted and uninterested in the subject, then as now, and my lacklustre efforts to shape some dowelling rods into a wobbly mug rack must have been as frustrating and pointless for my unfortunate teachers as they were for me.  More than once I’d pondered whether it might be more useful for me to learn how to boil an egg

In my form class were a couple of pupils, aged 12 or 13, who took exception to the school rules. Aileen and Helen were very clever and quietly assertive. One day they decided that their education might be better served by the rudiments of engineering than the need to whip up a sponge cake or let down a petticoat hem. They lined up for a battle for equality, flanked by supportive parents and, crucially, the head of the technical department. Across those trenches were the head of home economics – an elderly, fearsome traditionalist called Miss Dyer, the headmaster and school council.

Aileen and Helen’s claim for gender rights went all the way to the local authority, and they won. That September they joined the boys in the workshops, the first two girls ever to study technical subjects at Perth High. They were not only bright and gifted with their hands, but of course they were highly motivated and, almost inevitably, they finished the year at the top of the class by some distance. Their mug racks probably still stand to this day, while I never did master a soft boiled egg. A year later, the rules changed and both boys and girls were finally provided with a genuinely comprehensive education.

I don’t think anyone in my class objected to or resented the girls’ victory. To me, and I think the vast majority of my peers, their demands were palpably, unarguably just and fair. As a female industrial chemist was taking charge of the country, how could it possibly be right that girls were excluded from any subject?

My generation was born and raised with women’s liberation in the air. Those crusty old men who resisted the tide were mocked and branded male chauvinist pigs. From an early age our teachers and, in many cases, our parents impressed upon us a certainty that girls could do anything boys can do – if not always vice versa. The battle fought by two young girls in my own class was being replicated in other schools, workplaces and households throughout the country and the developed world. Legislation for equal pay and equal opportunities was in place and beginning to take chunk after chunk out of historic inequalities. If anything seemed strange to me, it was not that women were demanding and achieving equal rights, it was that those rights had ever been denied in the first place.

Jumping forward about 30 years, I find myself writing about the trenches of a new gender war. It is for the most part a war of words not bullets. Others have used a similar metaphor to allege or describe the War Against Women or the War Against Boys, detailing the physical, political and social impacts of our gender disordered society, I do not subscribe to either case. Instead, the war I describe is the frontline of the debate, the angry, vitriolic volleys of argument, abuse and insults that provide the mood music to all discussion of men’s and women’s issues online.

Of course like all media, the internet thrives on conflict. Arguments about religion, politics, ethnicity or the environment can also spark impassioned dispute and some nasty name-calling, but gender debates stand out for the sheer animosity. The threads and blogs are not just politically charged; they are wildly emotional and deeply personal.

Some see this as the sparks from the dying embers of a patriarchal era, the last gasps of male chauvinism. I believe the phenomenon is new, and different. Most of the people involved seemed to be younger than me, born and raised in the era of equal rights. Susan Faludi’s epic feminist tome Backlash detailed the reactionary forces of the capitalist establishment which strive to keep women in their place, from the media to academia to big business. Those forces still exist, as a quick glance at the Daily Mail’s Sidebar of Shame will reveal, but these new voices are different. They are not, for the most part, the custodians of power and privilege stomping on uppity egalitarian rebels.

The cry from that side of these trenches is more a chorus of despair from (mostly) young men who feel disempowered, maligned and yes, perhaps, emasculated by the prevailing analysis of gender issues. On the other side are feminists who mostly find it laughable that any man could complain about his place in the gender pecking order when it is still overwhelmingly men who run our institutions, our corporations and our governments. At the salient peak of feminism, we have women using their expensive private schooling, Oxbridge degrees, national newspaper columns and Westminster lobby passes to decry the privilege of men, be they billionaire bankers or homeless street-drinkers.

It seems to me that something is often absent from these debates on both sides, and that is a willingness to view the battlefield from the other side. The hostile, accusatory tone of gender debates has led to many positions becoming defensive. The online wars become ever more entrenched. If we are to find a path out of the trenches, it will be on a map drawn with compassion and empathy.

I’m not the first to make this point, and if I am not standing on the shoulders of giants here, I’m at least treading on the toes of a few fellow travellers. Nonetheless I expect and indeed welcome plenty of disagreement with my positions from men and women, feminists and men’s rights activists alike. I’m not hoping or even attempting to fix the men’s movement, far less fix feminism. If readers take anything from this blog, I hope it is that amid the blogosphere’s myriad commands to check our privilege and check our facts, we make occasional effort to check our empathy too.

124 comments

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  1. 1
    Ariel

    Excellent post. It brought back old memories, as I was also one of those inept boys stuck with technical studies, while girls were learning their cooking and needlework. Different country, different world … but it’s funny to see that in such small details it was not so different after all.

    If readers take anything from this blog, I hope it is that amid the blogosphere’s myriad commands to check our privilege and check our facts, we make occasional effort to check our empathy too.

    Good luck then. My (rather unpleasant) belief is that empathy is currently a dying species. Nevertheless, it would feel nice if you and your readers proved me wrong.

  2. 2
    grahamjones

    My mother was a homemaker, was father was a schoolteacher (metal work and technical drawing as it happens) and I attended a bog standard comprehensive in the UK. You’re young though! I was at the very non-mediocre Cambridge university by 1979, and my college was admitting women for the first time.

    Why do you think we are at ‘the salient peak of feminism’ now? I thought that was about 1985, not that I have any real way of telling.

  3. 3
    Ginkgo

    “On the other side are feminists who mostly find it laughable that any man could complain about his place in the gender pecking order when it is still overwhelmingly men who run our institutions, our corporations and our governments. ”

    This is the form of objectification Martha Nussbaum called fungibility.

    “It seems to me that something is often absent from these debates on both sides, and that is a willingness to view the battlefield from the other side.”

    You see some of this dialog on Reddit MensRights, where feminists drop in. Some come just to comment, some come to say they ahd been told what a pit of misogyny it was and had to see for themselves and decided they had ben lied to, soem come to defend thier positions, end up accusing people of hating women and hurting thier feelings and being told that men walking on eggshells around womens feelings is patriachal and chivalarous. The conversation continues.

    This is the way forward: the broad mass of peole have a general sense of fairness, have both sons and daughters and love them equally and want them to have an equal chance in life, and they can sort these arguments out for themselves pretty well, even if they don’t follow all the ins and outs and keep track of the factions.

    Second Wave feminism succeeded in most of its goals because it appealed to the broad mass of people and it’s claim of fact and objectives were already in line with how most people felt. If you look at those feminists’ successes, they were mostly pushing against an open door and to me that syas a lot about their legitimacy across society.

    The same thing is going to happen to the men’s rights movement. Most of its aims are going to be realized, and soon. Women on all sides are in broad agreement, and the younger they are they more they feel this way. Older women have sons and brothers whose lives ahve been chewed up and they are fed up. Younger ones see the hidden misogyny in favoritism for women and they see how ultimately traditionalist it is. It is all coming to ripeness.

    And the bitter woman-haters are going to be sidelined and left to mutter among themselves.

  4. 4
    oolon

    The same thing is going to happen to the men’s rights movement. Most of its aims are going to be realized, and soon

    What aims? Most of what I’ve seen is an aim to destroy a straw-feminist caricature or its something feminists are already doing a lot more effectively that the men’s rights “movement” … I put that in quotes as also what successes do they have, where are they active in activism?

    I’m sort of expecting there are no coherent aims and no activist successes because I’ve mainly read one side of the story – manboobz.com roundup of the MRM “successes” of the year was laughably poor. Did Futrelle just miss a lot out or is there another MRM? Interested to be wrong as you seem to be against the bitter woman-haters who seem to be endemic from where I’m sitting. Although statements like “favoritism for women” make me wonder how much straw you’ve stuffed into your mental model of feminism.

  5. 5
    John Austin

    Hi Ally, nice article.
    Empathy, or do as you would be done by. It’s OK in theory, but surprising how hard that is for some people in practice. Me included.
    Many people get a sense of identity from belonging to and identifying with their groups, be it feminism or MRA and take up their positions as a result. The real problem is, many other people take up their positions from bitter experience.
    Rape or DV victims for instance might mock bitterly if you suggest they should show some empathy. A divorced dad who has lost contact with his children may do the same. So what you get is a dialogue of the deaf.

  6. 6
    Ginkgo

    The aims seem to fall into categories of fathers and children’s rights, due process concerns in rape cases, DV and fmaily law – divorce, child custody; visibility on male victims in general and specifically of rape and DV, and anti-male enculturation and bias in the educations system, unequal medicla care and the gross disparity in the incidence of workplace injury and deaths. Behind this is a theoretical framework that analyzes male disposability and chivlarous cultural norms that sacrifice men and infantilze women as the root of the problem – patriarchy, essentially. This happens to be where some MRAs and feminists meet – at the core.

    The question is often raised then , why is feminism not the answer? And the answer is, feminism has had 45 years to be the answer, and instead it seems to have worsened the problems, not corrected them. This kind of thing:
    http://stavvers.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/kill-all-men/
    just confirms MRAs’ doubts about feminists’ real intentions and their probable efficacy in addressing men’s issues.

    Part of that critique includes feminism, which this strand of the MRM considers to be just another manifestation of patriarchal gneder norms and espectations, at least in its overt advocacy and often in the writing of feminists.

    So far most of the activism has been around fathers’ rights and DV. So for instance A Voice for mne has been leading a fight to get a prosecutor in Maine discipline for the with hunt she conducted agaisnt man over allegations that arose in a divorce case and a whole trail of other violations of ethics and law. There was a big case in California leading to a change in state klaw when it came ot admitting men to DV shelters, an area of social services where serivees for men are not equal in quality or scope, by orders of magnitude, to those available to women, even though it was the entire citizenry and usually men in particular who built and funded the ose services.

    But the movement is young, at about the same level of maturity as feminism was in the late 60s/early 70s, and the activism with presumbaly come in time as it did with feminism.

    There is a saying running around that the original men’s rights movement was the labor movement, and it was scuttled in the US – come to think of it the 80s weren’t so wonderful for the labor movent in the UK either.

  7. 7
    Norman Hadley

    My own preferred metaphor, Ally, is two tribes on the stony opposing bank of a fast-flowing river. They eye each other across the tumult with equal parts mistrust and incomprehension. But the important division is not between the tribes – it’s between the individuals who see the rocks at their feet as projectiles and those who see the potential materials for a bridge.

  8. 8
    Norman Hadley

    Oh, and huge kudos for the line about the glass ceiling shards raining down on the poor – a far more apposite summary than any of the recent mawkish encomia for MHT.

  9. 9
    Ginkgo

    “Although statements like “favoritism for women” make me wonder how much straw you’ve stuffed into your mental model of feminism.”

    Sorry about missing this part, because it’s important too.

    Favortism for women in feminism is hard tot separate form plain old chivlary because they two ultimateley come form the same source.

    But this was in refenrece to feminism so I’ll narrow down on that. What I mean for example is feminist dicsourse around rape. It was not long ago that it was mainstream feminism to deny that women could rape man at all – not the legal definition in this or that jurisdiction, but feminism’s principled definition of rape as non-consensual sex – and rape was a crime of power, so woman as the victim class could not by definition rape men, the oppressor class. (Of course this was thoroughly objectifying, but we’ll leave that for now.) And male rape victims wh went to rape centers for services were met with open hostility, identifed as potential if not actual rapists themsleves, and if any services were available, it was to keep them from raping, because rape victioms go on to rape supposedly (but only male rape victims apparently.)

    Then the discourse accomodated to pushback on that. So now rape of males was always anomalous and not any kind of reflection of systemic structures in the culture or law. Or in any case it damaged females more than males. Or that it was misogynist and “slut-shaming” for a man not to consent to sex with a woman – think of her feelings, won’t you?.

    The message about male rape victims was:“B-b-b-but it’s not real rape because patriarchy and rape is a crime of gendered oppression, and besides it’s not systemic, just him individually and it’s always really, really rare and anyway it’s not as bad when it happens to a boy as it is when it happens to a girl and he’s the real rapist here anyway, he forced her to do all this – the fact that he was an infant doesn’t mean he doesn’t have male privilege. Oh, and he got lucky so he should be grateful.”

    In one post in repsonse to a woman who had had sex with an 11 year old boy, Hugo Schwyzer went to so far as to say that she should think of herslef as a rpaist because that minors’ male privielge still put him in the dominant position. That’s how a prominent feminist (prominent at the time, no longer!) explained away child rape because of the victim’s maleness.

    The double standards around rape were really glaring. That’s the kind of favoritism of women I mean. Feminsm should focus on women’s issues, after all, but the Oppression Olympics aspect of it, “women have it worse!” in any and all circumstances, is what I am calling problematic. It all sounds very Victorian and retrograde and traditionalist.

  10. 10
    thetalkingstove

    At the salient peak of feminism, we have women using their expensive private schooling, Oxbridge degrees, national newspaper columns and Westminster lobby passes to decry the privilege of men, be they billionaire bankers or homeless street-drinkers.

    I don’t see this as fair, really. Being Oxbridge educated or a newspaper columnist does not magically shield a woman from sexism.

    And really – ‘homeless street-drinkers’? This is the kind of thing men bring up when they rail against the concept of ‘male privilege’ because they have misunderstood it to mean ‘all men have it better than all women at all times everywhere’.
    From reading your work I know you, Ally, understand that is not what the concept means, so is it really the responsibility of feminist writers to tread on eggshells because some men have this straw-caricature of male privilege?

  11. 11
    Ginkgo

    “I don’t see this as fair, really. Being Oxbridge educated or a newspaper columnist does not magically shield a woman from sexism. ”

    Indeed. It seems to entrench it, perhaps as a way to explain away their privilege. You don’t see this kind of thing in tabloid comment sections.

  12. 12
    Jenora Feuer

    Heh. 1979… that would be the same year I entered Mount Newton Middle School, a small school grade 6-8 school sitting right next to a gravel pit near a light industrial park a little ways north of Victoria, B.C., Canada. (In fact, the full-sized playing field was across the pit a ways, so we had to walk along a path past the fence to get there.)

    When I arrived, they had just finished removing their own gender biases from the class layout on those sorts of courses. Everybody, male or female, would rotate through wood shop, metal shop, cooking, and sewing classes. (And typing, for that matter, where we had a room full of mechanical typewriters with blank keycaps so you couldn’t hunt and peck.) I think the previous year, they were still split though would allow people to swap over with parental permission. I know there were still references to boys doing shop and girls doing Home Ec in the school calendar, even though none of the classes I went through with did that anymore.

    I liked it. Then again, I had a father who enjoyed cooking and a mother who would make her own picture frames, so I may not have had exactly a typical family.

  13. 13
    Ally Fogg

    Being Oxbridge educated or a newspaper columnist does not magically shield a woman from sexism.

    Nope, but it shields her from a hell of a lot else.

    the point is that privilege does not happen on a single axis

  14. 14
    John Morales

    Hm.

    I get the two tribes; but what does the river represent, and what would a bridge look like?

  15. 15
    Norman Hadley

    Morning,John

    In simplest terms, the bridge is empathy and the river? Lack thereof.

    What might empathy look like? I might start at the West parapet by commiserating with women that they can’t watch commercial TV without a constant barrage of peremptory reminders to “fight the frizz”, “wage war on wrinkles” or “share your smile.” I am sure it would drive me berserk to be on the receiving end of that shit-torrent. I’d really like to organise a No Shampoo Ads Day just to give women a break from it.

    On the East parapet, that might involve a woman (*waves cheerily towards thetalkingstove*) acknowledging that the concept of male privilege has serious limitations. Is ‘privileged’ really an apposite word for a man returning, exhausted, from a 12-hour shift on the dealing-floor or factory-floor while his wife had a friend round for lunch in between the vacuuming and the washing up? (which is not to insinuate that her life is easy – she may be desperately unfulfilled….again, I am trying to empathise….)

  16. 16
    Norman Hadley

    (For clarity, I don’t want my argument to rest on the assumption that thetalkingstove is female. S/he may not be but it doesn’t affect my core argument, that what is needed is a whole lot of listening.)

  17. 17
    Freja

    The problem with the MRM is not (mainly) the men’s issues they bring up, several of which are completely legitimate imo, but that they’ve decided it’s easier to resort to mindless anti-feminism than actually addressing the issues they proclaim to care about. They’re willing to overlook almost any amount of misogyny, and a good deal of misandry, as long as the speakers attack feminism in the process.

    They often promote the view that rape is no big deal to men, that men are uncontrolable monsters with a sort of rape-switch which women are responsible for turning on, that men are naturally unsuited for many allegedly feminine tasks, that it’s a natural male reaction to kill people (including children) when they don’t get what they want, etc., etc., all of which is ultimately harmful to men anywhere except in a patriarchal society. Which isn’t surprising given that many of them seem to believe that the solution to men’s issues is simply to reinstate an imaginary old patriarchy.

    I don’t think there would be that many conflicts between the MRM and feminism as a whole, if the former didn’t see it as their mission to oppose the latter on principle.

  18. 18
    Freja

    I’m curious, what exactly does it shield her from? Not trying to be obtuse, but I hear a lot about classism, and I rarely hear anything about exactly what it does, apart from the obvious advantages of a decently paying job and an education (which is about the same as noticing that cis men tend to have more upper-body strength and most cis women can get pregnant. It’s a feature, whether we like it or not, not a bug in the system).

  19. 19
    Edward Gemmer

    It is amusing to watch the men’s right movement people and the feminist movement people go at each other for no apparent reason, because when it comes down to main issues they seem to be more or less on the same page. However, it’s a lot easier to hate another group based on whatever imagined flaws they have, so they pick up on the minor differences and attack, attack, attack.

  20. 20
    Freja

    I don’t disagree with MRAs when they say men might suffer from being cut off from seeing their children, I disagree when they deny the huge effect men’s own choices have on the matter (choices aren’t made in a vacuum, I know, but they’re still choices), and when they use it to justify murder.

    I don’t disagree with MRAs when they say female-on-male rape is an issue, I disagree when they propose that feminists are responsible for male victims not being taken seriously, as part of a ploy to make women look good, and that the solution is to attack existing rape prevention and call female rape victims sluts.

    I don’t disagree with MRAs when they say that male victims of domestic violence should be given help, I disagree with them when they simultaneously refuse to make any effort to make it happen, and also spend what little activism they do on trying to get rid of women’s shelters either directly (such as trying to cut funding) or indirectly (by demanding that men should have access to them, thus ruining the whole point of having a women’s shelter in the first place), misrepresenting the actual support for male victims (it exists), and claiming that women who end up dead or in the hospital because of a violent male spouse deserve it because he was probably just fighting back.

    I don’t disagree with MRAs when they say men shouldn’t be shamed for their sexuality, I disagree when they equate a lack of sexual interest on women’s part, or an opposition to sexual harassment and certain poorly thought up pick-up attempts, with ‘shaming’, and when they simultaneously engage in the shaming and misrepresentation of women’s sexuality (hypergamy, nice guys, slut, cheap, whore, etc.).

    I don’t disagree with MRAs when they say that men with disabilities that make it hard for them to engage with others socially I have it tough, I disagree when they use it to make life hell for women with similar disabilities (which is about the only time I’ve ever seen them bring it up).

    I don’t disagree with MRAs when they say that Valerie Solanas (assuming the interpretation of the SCUM manifesto as a post-modernist ironic work is wrong) was probably very misandrist, I disagree when they use her as representative of feminism even though she didn’t appear to have any affiliation with feminist organisations at the time, and feminists don’t quote her in agreement, while at the same time dismissing the anti-feminist and MRA-like attitudes and motivations of Lépine, Sodini, Ball, Gubernat, Dekraai, Breivik, etc. as irrelevant, even though they’re all more contemporary, have often received support from MRAs, and (with only one exception) all committed greater crimes than Solanas.

    I don’t disagree with MRAs when they say medically unnecessary circumcision of children is a violation of bodily integrity, I disagree when they deny that cutting off the majority of a child’s external genitalia is a bigger procedure with far more negative consequences than regular circumcision, simply because the children who have most of their outer genitalia cut away today are girls.

    Etc., etc., etc., I’d love to agree with with MRAs about what they profess to care about, I’ve just not seen them actually caring about those issues except as a method to blame feminism, and in some cases, excuse murders.

  21. 21
    Norman Hadley

    Hi Freja

    That’s a really well-constructed, thoughtful post at 12:04. So it’s perhaps a bit churlish to skip over the 95% I nodded along to and to query a couple of things that left me wondering. But it’s a debate thread, so what the hell, eh?

    You mention hypergamy. Is it not fair to say that your comment “the huge effect [wo]men’s own choices have on the matter (choices aren’t made in a vacuum, I know, but they’re still choices)” applies equally here? If a woman literally or figuratively includes “solvent” in her list of attributes desired in a mate, isn’t it then rather foreseeable how the power-dynamics of a subsequent relationship will play out when kids arise?

    You mention the FGM versus circumcision debate. It worries me when people try to make comparisons in the singular, as you did with “cutting off the majority of a child’s external genitalia is a bigger procedure with far more negative consequences than regular circumcision.”

    The difficulty I have with this is not that it isn’t true – if it only happened to one boy and one girl, of course she would suffer more. I could even quantify that and say that she suffers a thousand times more than him. But if there are a thousand boys for every girl, the moral maths is a bit more balanced. And, in countries where circumcision is legal and FGM not, the comparison becomes even more vexed.

  22. 22
    John Morales

    And nocturnal greetings to you, Norman.

    In simplest terms, the bridge is empathy and the river? Lack thereof.

    Thanks for the response, it clarifies your metaphor.

    I can’t help but think that bridges having been built, still they tend to let the river flow mostly unimpeded, which means the lack of empathy would remain, um, flowing.

    So, seems to me more like you want to make the river dry — something usually achieved by damming it.

    (Perhaps those who would dam the river of lack of empathy might need to step away from the stone-throwing mob, if they wanted to get the job done)

    What might empathy look like? I might start at the West parapet by commiserating with women that they can’t watch commercial TV without a constant barrage of peremptory reminders to “fight the frizz”, “wage war on wrinkles” or “share your smile.” I am sure it would drive me berserk to be on the receiving end of that shit-torrent. I’d really like to organise a No Shampoo Ads Day just to give women a break from it.

    Um, you do evince quite clearly what your empathy might look like.

    [1] On the East parapet, that might involve a woman (*waves cheerily towards thetalkingstove*) acknowledging that the concept of male privilege has serious limitations. [2] Is ‘privileged’ really an apposite word for a man returning, exhausted, from a 12-hour shift on the dealing-floor or factory-floor [3] while his wife had a friend round for lunch in between the vacuuming and the washing up? (which is not to insinuate that her life is easy – she may be desperately unfulfilled….again, I am trying to empathise….)

    1. Sounds awfully like you imagine empathy unto you involves yielding unto you.

    2. Sounds like the poor bloke is doing hard yakka!

    But to your oddly-specific question, it’s not that I’m particularly erudite in these matters, but I do know it’s a word denoting the socio-cultural advantages he has over a woman by virtue of his sex in sociological or feminist jargon.

    I can’t dispute you in regard to ordinary language, where privilege is a relative thing.

    I mean, sure: if another poor married sap returned, exhausted, from a 12-hour shift on the abbatoir rendering-yard while his wife had a lover round for lunch in between the sauna and the online pr0n part-time job?

    I’d call the first guy privileged in comparison to the second — wouldn’t you?

    3. Let me help you out: the term for the concept which you inchoately perceive is the complement of privilege; it’s social ‘oppression’.

  23. 23
    Maureen Brian

    Norman Hadley,

    The personal attributes of a man, or of a woman for that matter, might well include “resourceful” or “determined” or even “multi-talented.”

    Solvent, though, is a whole other kettle of fish. It is not a personal quality but a function of all manner of external things, most of them beyond the individual’s control – from the state of the global economy through the competence of his/her most recent employer to whether the early morning bus into town was cancelled by some fool as a cost cutting exercise. A person could well be solvent provided that he can take the bus to work but not solvent on the same wage if forced to buy and run a car.

    Are all the women you know out hunting for “solvent” men? It sounds terribly 1920s to me but then I’ve not been financially supported by a man since 1949, when my Dad became too ill to do more than allow his business to tick over on existing contracts.

  24. 24
    Freja

    Hi Norman

    No problem with you skipping to the parts you disagree with.

    Hypergamy: I’m talking about the very concept. Even though there are several studies indicating that most men tend to go after a particular kind of woman, the kind of woman who just happens to also have the highest status in current society, and even though plenty of MRAs (especially the PUA brand) are only too happy to inform women who aren’t part of the top 10% prettiest/skinniest/youngest of their inferior worth as mates, this is never labeled hypergamy. In contrast, every single preference a woman could possibly have is given this label, as if merely preferring one male sexual partner over another is oppression. So far, I’ve seen hypergamy used to describe women who’re attracted to: Status, confidence, wealth, popularity, physical attractiveness, strength, intelligence, humour, creativity, and probably a few dozen others I can’t recall.

    Every time a woman prefers one guy over another, it’s the same “Men have it so hard and women are so unreasonable because of female hypergamy, which causes most men to be sexually starved because women are only interested in the top 10% alpha-males”. This is hugely problematic, and at its worst, we see examples of MRAs defending George Sodini who murdered 3 strange women because he couldn’t get laid, or the recent article on the Spearhead about the Cleveland abductions, where one commenter claims that “Unchecked hypergamy ensures that men like these have no real chance for healthy relationships and often take through criminal efforts what alphas and the elites have access to; that being multiple women.” and received upvotes for it.

    Whether anything resembling this proclaimed hypergamy actually exists, and what the possible social consequences could be, is not my main concern. If someone else wants to talk about that, they’re welcome to it. My main beef with the term is that most of the time, women’s preferences are labeled hypergamy in the same way women’s promiscuity is labeled sluttiness, and men are simply not held to the same standards, despite exhibiting similar behaviour. And it bothers the crap out of me when MRAs decry some vague idea of demonisation of male sexuality, while simultaneously attributing almost every bad thing in existence (especially male criminals) to women’s failure to be good little sex-dispensers who distribute their ‘goods’ in just the right way to just the right kind of men in just the right amount.

    FGM vs. circumcision: I’m not trying to argue for which is the bigger problem, I simply resent the notion that the only reason someone could possibly be more outraged about the former than the latter is because it’s performed on girls. Some people care more about issues that are prevalent, others care more about issues that are extreme. I’m not telling members of organsations against circumcision that they need to shut up and talk about FGM instead, I’m trying to say that I don’t think the way opponents of FGM are often told they’re sexist for not talking about circumcision instead is fair, and that I don’t think the two procedures (at least not the more extreme versions of FGM) should be considered comparable merely because one happens to girls and the other to boys.

    Hope that answered your questions :)

  25. 25
    SallyStrange

    Being upset about hypergamy as a concept, while attacking feminists, is just self-contradictory. If women do practice hypergamy, it’s not because they’re incapable of earning money for themselves, it’s because they have been subject to the cultural training that says that men work, while women stay home with the children. If you want to raise a family and stay home with your kids, then naturally solvency is going to be an important measure by which to select a partner.

    Feminists have been saying, hey, what if women work too? What if men stay home? What if there are all kinds of different arrangements for raising healthy children, none of which require economic dependency on the part of women?

    If MRAs dislike hypergamy then the logical thing would be to join the feminist project of increasing economic opportunities for women.

    Empathy can help me understand why they don’t pursue the logical course of action, but understanding why doesn’t really help change the fact that they’re acting in ways that don’t lead to the outcomes they claim to want.

  26. 26
    Norman Hadley

    Hi John

    Regarding bridges versus dams, I guess metaphors work best when you glance them briefly in your peripheral vision – they don’t always stand up to direct scrutiny. But as some guy once said, blessed are the peacemakers.

    (Behold, a metaphor about metaphors – a metametaphor)

  27. 27
    Norman Hadley

    Hi Freya

    Just to clarify, I find the whole concept of Men’s Rights bewildering, faintly risible and, in the examples you cite, malodorous. Not my bag at all. Human rights? – yes, count me in.

    Here’s why the question of hypergamy interests me. I don’t condemn anyone for the choices they make in mate selection. Marry up, down or sideways – it makes no odds to me. My only problem is with anyone, male or female, who can’t or won’t join the dots between their choices and the likely consequences. If a man marries a woman principally for her looks, he can hardly complain if he only notices down the road that she is shallow or spends tons of money on clothes and cosmetics. Live with your choice, matey.

    Conversely, if her interest in him was motivated by his status or wealth, it’s a highly likely consequence that she will spend a lifetime in a supportive role. This seems to me almost too obvious to say out loud. It was probably obvious to Dennis Thatcher, too. But I mention it because the topic tends to elicit a defensive response to the point of disingenuousness. And I’d really like to understand that better.

    Evening, Maureen & Sally

    I hope this reads as a satisfactory response to you both, too.

  28. 28
    Jacob Schmidt

    At the salient peak of feminism, we have women using their expensive private schooling, Oxbridge degrees, national newspaper columns and Westminster lobby passes to decry the privilege of men, be they billionaire bankers or homeless street-drinkers.

    You seem to be equating privilege with economic privilege. Generally speaking, the concept of “male privilege” says that, all else being equal, men are in a better position. From an equal employment position, men will excel more; teachers will encourage and interact with boys more; with the same resume, men will be hired more; etc.

  29. 29
    Freja

    Norman, I’m continuing the conversation here so it doesn’t get too confusing.

    I agree about the consequences, but I don’t think there should be an automatic assumption that whoever makes the least money should be the supportive one. Hopefully both partners would support each other as the default. Many women have careers too. I think a better comparison would be women who marry men with demanding jobs, and then complain when the man is obsessed with his career and doesn’t have a lot of time to spend with his family. But is this really a trend? Because I don’t see a lot of those complaints.

    You also have to remember that men tend to have a higher socio-economic status than women, so more women ‘marrying up’ is almost a given. I remember reading somewhere that less than 1/5th of married women in the US made more money than their husbands, but in Denmark, that number is over 1/3rd. It could be that Denmark, being more overall feminist than the US, simply contain more women who aren’t hypergamous, but I suspect the real reason is that the sex differences in socio-economic status are just plain smaller.

    But I still think ‘hypergamy’ as a label has limited worth, and is used to police or blame women more often than not. You could replace almost all instances of ‘hypergamy’ among the MRM with the word “preferences”, and it would make just as much sense. It just doesn’t sound as progressive when you complain that the problem with modern dating is that women have preferences, and it becomes downright pathetic when the complaint is mainly that those preferences don’t include you.

    Btw, I’m actually for the concept of men’s rights ;) I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with focusing on the subset of human rights that you’re most familiar with and most passionate about, as long as you don’t trample on other people’s activism and rights the process. I just happen to be against the way the majority of MRAs go about it. In fact, Ginkgo’s post here about what’s wrong with feminism is exactly what I think is wrong with the MRM. But it’s a disagreement of practice, not principle.

  30. 30
    Norman Hadley

    Hello again, Freja

    I think we’re probably getting a bit chicken-and-egg about the pay gap and the distribution of childcare and housework (surely you’ve seen some complaints about those issues?). If historical forces help men outearn women then it’s perfectly natural for a given women to respond to that extant injustice by seeking a wealthy mate.

    But at the same time, if her dating strategy is *essentially the first line of Pride and Prejudice, it would be shockingly disingenuous of her to deny that she is helping to perpetuate that same mechanism, no? Because she’s gifting the men in her social orbit a huge incentive to be another Bingley or a D’Arcy.

    Choices aren’t made in a vacuum, said the wise woman upthread, but they’re still choices.

    (*Here’s what Susan Patton advises the modern maiden, if you think I’m straw-womanning you)

  31. 31
    oolon

    Ok so one example of activism… Getting a bad prosecutor sacked. Assuming that is the case, I’ve not looked into it. How many years of the MRM have their been for this one example of seemingly genuine activism? According to Wikipedia it branched from the mens lib movement in the early 1970s… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Men's_rights_movement

    So 30 years MRM vs 45 years feminism… And you complain the feminists have been taking too long to get things done? O_o

    Also I hope the domestic violence and rape shelter activism is not related to this fuck up ->
    http://manboobz.com/2013/04/02/reno-calls-a-domestic-violence-hotline-the-mra-reality-distortion-field-in-action/

    Yeah so it sounds like you are fighting for the same things as feminists are fighting for, shame you don’t see that having credibility is useful in activism. I don’t see Paul Elam as a credible anything given his stated beliefs about women and rape – even if he was an effective activist for causes such as you give in your examples I could not give him any support.

    Finally the #killallmen stuff…. Really? I would ask what intentions of feminists that you do not trust that this post represents? Personally I enjoy the satire of things like #killallmen, SCUM manifesto and Twitterers that engage in “misandry” etc. Sometimes it doesn’t work but the cognitive dissonance of having women ridicule men for being ditzy, not being capable of rational thought etc is funny to me. Probably not everyones cup of tea… Humour is rarely universal. Given I’ve had MRAs and their assorted fans seriously suggest there are feminists that want to kill all men, or keep 10% for breeding when I pointed out the flaw there, I’m hoping I misunderstand you here.

  32. 32
    Freja

    Well, I simply don’t think women being attracted to wealthy men in itself make men wealthier, or causes women to be discriminated against at school and work. So unless you’re going to argue that the wage gap is caused by women not prioritising their education and career the way men do, which has nothing to do with mating preferences, I don’t see how it’s caused by women’s choices. Also, it’s not really about women responding to an injustice, it’s sheer statistics. If men on average earn significantly more than women, most men the average woman date will be wealthier than her, even if she chooses them at random (and a Danish woman choosing at random will have a greater chance of being the highest earner than a woman from the USA, which the statistics reflect). It doesn’t mean she implicitly agreed to have her own career derailed because of it.

    More women than men might have the opportunity to get a mate who can provide for them so they don’t have to work, and some of them might decide to avail themselves of that opportunity. But I have not heard any of those women complain about the situation, the way I have heard men who’re attracted to women based primarily on appearance complain about the behaviour and personality of the women they date. Perhaps it happens, but even if it does, I don’t see the connection to the wage gap.

  33. 33
    Schala

    @Freja

    Men tend to have more incentive to earn more, as the earning, and its status, give them more advantages socially and romantically (for marriage and dating equally).

    Advantages which tend to be lesser for women, because few men want to date/marry a rich women or seek wealthy women. So it’s not prioritized, and thus less incentive for women to focus on earning and careers.

    So we end up with one half being told work work work, base your identity on that. The more you earn, the better. And another half being told take it easy “you’re worth it” and that quality of life should be the number one priority. Quality of life doesn’t rhyme well with 70+ hours of work per week.

  34. 34
    Schala

    Or in other words.

    Men prioritize careers because the carrot says so, and the stick says being unemployed means you have no worth (and no safety net for you, you bum/loser).

    Women don’t prioritize careers because there is no carrot for it (men don’t select for wealth, you could be a minimum wage cashier, or even unemployed). And the stick? Well, there are more safety nets for women, and who wants to work themselves to death if not greatly enticed to?

  35. 35
    Steersman

    Ginkgo said (3.2):

    The question is often raised then , why is feminism not the answer? And the answer is, feminism has had 45 years to be the answer, and instead it seems to have worsened the problems, not corrected them. This kind of thing ….

    While I think you made a credible case for some aspects of the men’s rights movement, I think that your question there – “why is feminism not the answer” – is somewhat problematic, even it that was not your intent, in painting if not tarring all of feminism with a very narrow brush. The point is, I think, that some parts of feminism bring some quite credible and worthwhile perspectives and values to the table.

    However I think the problem is, in part , that it, as with the MRM, also brings other perspectives and values that are decidedly problematic. And the other part seems to be that a very large number of people on each side insist on, by design or inadvertently, on condemning all of the other side with the “sins” of the problematic segments of the other side while conveniently discounting or ignoring the “sins” of those segments on their own side:

    And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

    And while I and many others, yourself included, seem quite prepared to condemn the worst excesses of the MRM, my impression is that that is not much of a two way street, and one infrequently traversed by very few feminists. Which suggests a problematic bias on the part of many of them. For instance, one female feminist said that “connecting ‘virulent’ with ‘feminism’ is misogyny” – one would be hard pressed, I think, to find a more dogmatic statement fraught with a great many questionable implications and consequences, a “my country, right or wrong” perspective for example. In addition, there are these real howlers from the AtheismPlus “glossary” (1):

    In social justice terms, marginalized groups cannot be guilty of -isms in regards to the axes of privilege that they fall low on, because they don’t have the power to institutionalize their prejudices.

    Gender essentialism – the idea that gender differences between women and men are a result of biology, and not socialization. (Finally Feminism 101 – But Men & Women Are Born Different , No More Gender Essentialist Comments , Gender Essentialism is Essentially Sexist)

    Racism – discrimination or social prejudice against People of Color.

    Sexism – discrimination or social prejudice against women.

    That so few “feminists” are prepared to even debate much less challenge and condemn such statements – which I think stink to high-heaven – is a large part of the reason why many are tending to the view, as you suggested, that “feminism” – at least a significant part of it – is not the answer, that it is or is becoming less and less a part of the solution and more and more a part of the problem.

    —-
    1) “_http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=2632”;

  36. 36
    John Morales

    Steersman:

    That so few “feminists” are prepared to even debate much less challenge and condemn such statements – which I think stink to high-heaven – is a large part of the reason why many are tending to the view, as you suggested, that “feminism” – at least a significant part of it – is not the answer, that it is or is becoming less and less a part of the solution and more and more a part of the problem.

    Scare quotes are quotation marks placed around a word or phrase to imply that it may not signify its apparent meaning or that it is not necessarily the way the quoting person would express its concept.

    So, now we know your opinion of “feminists”, but because you took care to distinguish by using scare quotes, you clearly implied it’s not your opinion of actual feminists.

    (What about them, then?)

  37. 37
    pitchguest

    Again, I will reiterate: shit-stirrer. There is no other explanation.

    However, the so-called satirical SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men) Manifesto, was written by Valerie Solanas who called it a “state of mind” – and then later tried to murder three men.

    Then there is the now-defunct RadFemHub who had several posts where they genuinely mused about the extermination of men, forced eugenics, days for when men should be “battered and raped” so they “know how [they] feel” and so on and so on.

    Even RationalWiki wasn’t afraid to call a duck a duck.

    Insane? Yes. Radical? Definitely. Feminists? Believe it. Now I can clearly tell you’re trying to wind us up with your “it’s funny to me” shtick, obviously because the reverse would cause you to have an aneurysm, but there is a point where it simply gets dull. Try harder.

  38. 38
    John Morales

    pitchguest, perhaps you can clarify this particular distinction Steersman implies exists between “feminists” and “feminism” and feminists and feminism.

    Again, I will reiterate: shit-stirrer. There is no other explanation.

    SIWOTI is unfamiliar to you?

    Then there is the now-defunct RadFemHub who had several posts where they genuinely mused about the extermination of men, forced eugenics, days for when men should be “battered and raped” so they “know how [they] feel” and so on and so on.

    There was, not there is.

    (Defunct, remember?)

    [meta]

    Now I can clearly tell you’re trying to wind us up with your “it’s funny to me” shtick, obviously because the reverse would cause you to have an aneurysm, but there is a point where it simply gets dull. Try harder.

    No need, my least effort surpasses your greatest exertion in matters of rhetorical puissance.

    (I note that an existential claim is not an universal claim, and that it’s amusing you to watch you equivocate between the two)

  39. 39
    pitchguest

    Erm. Sorry. That was meant for… Sorry, if it’s not clear, that was meant for oolon.

    Apologies for any confusion/disappointment.

  40. 40
    John Morales

    [OT + meta]

    pitchguest:

    Erm. Sorry. That was meant for… Sorry, if it’s not clear, that was meant for oolon.

    I believe you, by virtue of the time-stamping the system provides.

    Apologies for any confusion/disappointment.

    No worries; you’ve cleared up the confusion and there is very little disappointment.

  41. 41
    Norman Hadley

    Morning Freja

    One of the things we’ve learned in the last few decades (had our consciousnesses raised, if you prefer) is how insidious is the enculturation of girls. Girls grow up surrounded by images of slim, long-haired, busty, moon-eyed, complaisant Disney heroines and Barbie dolls and you can see the damage done if you wander into any eating disorder or cosmetic surgery clinic.

    The signals we give girls about what’s expected of them are everywhere – in adverts, cartoons, novels, films, song lyrics. ‘Be sexy and gorgeous’ is written in invisible ink on every wall in the land.

    When I was at school, ten or eleven, I think, there was a Grease craze. The girls, freshly brassiered, went round singing “tell me more, tell me more, did ya get very far?” That’s enculturation, right there, is it not? Put out, girls, but not too much. Your sexuality is a commodity to be metered out.

    Now complete the couplet. “Tell me more, tell me more like does he have a car?” Cars, especially for the young, are ruinously expensive things, yes? It’s would be ludicrous to think that young males either don’t receive, or are immune to, enculturation. This is the world’s biggest incentive scheme and it’s been going on for millennia. And it’s not one song, either. It’s not random that Tony Curtis impersonated an oil magnate in Some Like it Hot, any more that it was random that someone as ultra-femme as Monroe got the part of the female lead. It’s not random that Christian Grey or Max de Winter are fabulously wealthy. None of it is random.

  42. 42
    Freja

    Schala:

    You don’t seem to have noticed, but that was exactly my point. Not one I agree strongly with, but I was specifically saying to Norman (actual quote from my post) “unless you’re going to argue that the wage gap is caused by women not prioritising their education and career the way men do”, which didn’t seem to be the argument he was making. And in case you haven’t noticed, I wasn’t trying to explain to anyone why the wage gap is a thing, I was trying to explain to Norman specifically why I don’t think alleged collective hypergamy is comparable to individual choices in regards to marriage.

    Or in other words, if a man enters a marriage and supports an arrangement where he’ll provide most of the financial support, while the children’s mother will be the primary caretaker, it becomes very hard for him to convincingly argue that, because he is now divorced, it is suddenly in the children’s best interest if he stopped providing financial aid, or the mother stopped being the primary caretaker. In fact, many men support that kind of arrangement themselves, even after the divorce. But if a woman marries a man wealthier than her (which is often hard to avoid), that specific marriage arrangement will not automatically increase the wage gap between the partners involved, it will be what came before it, a societal trend of men already being paid more than women, which will be in place regardless of this couple’s individual choice.

    There are good reasons for telling a man “If you want to always have a close relationship with your children, marry a woman who’s financially independent and wont try to insist on traditional gender roles”, because that will result in an immediate personal benefit. On the other hand, telling a woman “Don’t marry a rich man” wont help her get any more money for herself. It’s asking women to arbitrarily limit themselves here and now, because if every other woman does it too, it might cause a small change in women’s average financial situation after a couple of generations (and again, just to be clear, I am not arguing that this argument is inherently worthless, just that it’s not comparable). The real equivalent would be telling women “If you want to have financial independence and time to care for your career, marry a man who will do a bigger share of the housework and child-rearing, and will be willing to make sacrifices for your career, not the other way around”.

    And I fully support both advices (not the middle one). I also fully support activism to make those choices easier for both men and women. I would love for men who want to be involved fathers to have an easy time finding women who want them to be involved too, and are willing to let them compromise their careers to achieve it. And in the same vein, I would love for women who want to be more ambitious about their careers to have an easier time finding men who support that ambition too, and are willing to step into a more supportive role to let them achieve it. And I would love for both cases to be a socially acceptable choice for couples to make.

    But that will hardly happen if we let the scene be dominated by unmarried guys who’re angry at women because they can’t get laid, and who have no actual interest in marriage dynamics. It wont be happening by telling women to base their choice of partner on said partner’s wallet (and its lack of contents), rather than on his willingness to be supportive. It wont be happening by telling men to base their choice of partner on said partner’s adherence to traditional gender roles (which is sadly common among MRAs), rather than on her willingness to have him involved in child rearing. It wont be happening by trying to find some false equivalence between the results of personal decisions (e.g.. marriage arrangements) and institutional injustices.

    And it certainly wont be happening by trying to argue that women having choices, and on average preferring one type of man over another (especially not when the preference is as loosely defined as “alpha/elite”, which can mean everything from tall, strong, confident, handsome, rich, powerful, popular, and pretty much everything else the scorned man wants it to mean), is in a completely different category from men preferring one type of women over another, and categorise it as some sort of institutional evil. Especially not when they believe women both can and should prevent crimes against them by having the right amount of sex with the right men, and when they use real crimes against women as an opportunity to express contempt for women in general, rather than sympathy for the victims, and make excuses for the perpetrators.

  43. 43
    Freja

    Also, for the record, I never intended to get into a discussion of the wage gap. I have a specific problem with a specific accusation made by the MRM against women, which I see as sexual shaming. Because this discussion is supposed to be about why there is a gap between feminism and the MRM, I’ve tried to avoid attacking the MRM on the issues brought up, and instead focused on explaining the issues with the way they go about it and their obsession with blaming pre-feminist gender roles on feminism. That’s all. I think I went out of my way to not deny that women’s individual choices could affect their career negatively, and that prejudice against men could affect custody arrangements.

    The main issue as I see it, is not that feminists are inherently more right about the wage gap than MRAs are about custody (or rather, I don’t consider it very important who’s the most right), it’s that most feminists I’ve talked to have been all too willing to discuss women’s choices, why women make the choices they make, and what stands in the way of making different choices. In addition, there are several studies about how resumes with female names on it are judged less favourably (at least in regards to hiring and wages) than those with male names on it, and many, many personal accounts from women who’ve experienced harassment, discrimination, and discouragement from entering prestigious and highly paid ‘male’ professions.

    In contrast, the MRM seem to exclusively focus on one narrative, that of the evil judge discriminating against men on behest of the feminist hivemind. Men’s personal choices don’t enter into it at all, not even when men themselves choose a post-divorce arrangement giving them less time with the children, with no intervention from a judge, and MRAs themselves promote traditional gender roles with women as the primary caretaker. It’s assumed that men per default are just as able and willing to be primary caretaker as women (but only post-divorce of course), that all men choosing differently are forced to it because of judges, and that judges are all biased. Furthermore, fathers’ rights activism seem to only start at the divorce. While I have heard some (feminist) fathers talk about the problems about having a wife who earns more, or being the primary caretaker, even this narrative is lacking among the MRM, in favour of even more talk about evil judges and ex-wives.

    The MRM is supposedly gaining immense support. The stereotype of the innocent man oppressed by the evil misandrist legal system dominates mainstream American perceptions about custody. The MRM includes Ph.ds who alledgedly write best-selling books about the subject. So it is really too farfetched to consider that maybe someone could, and should, do some experiments where judges and lawyers were given custody cases and asked how they would rule, with the sexes of the parents being switched in 50% of the cases, to see if a female plaintiff really had a better chance of success, and if so, how much? And then quote those studies instead?

    Again, I don’t really care, for this purpose, whether custody and wage discrepancies come from the same place (Norman), are both caused by women (Schala), or are both caused by misogyny (no one in this thread). I care about how it’s handled. My main issue with the MRM is not, and never has been, that they care more about custody disputes than the wage gap. It’s that they sorely lack any narrative about men’s own choices, and rarely seem to acknowledge any reason for men’s issues except feminism.

    And in the same vein, I don’t really care if women could hypothetically close the wage gap if they all collectively stopped being attracted to wealthy men (not going to happen, for the same reason many wealthy women are attractive to men, but that’s beside the point), I care that the MRM’s use of “hypergamy” is usually interchangeable with “women who have preferences”, and that it’s treated as an evil to be controlled and used as a slur to justify crimes against women. I’m pretty sure that if feminists exchanged the common complaint of “Women are judged by their sexiness even in contexts where sexiness is irrelevant, while men are not (to the same degree)” with “Men are more attracted to sexy women”, the MRM would see it as a case of misandry. So why is the MRM still basically making that very complaint?

    So again, could we please, please, try to stick to talking about specific issues with feminism and MRM, and why the two are fighting, instead of which sex has it worse and whose fault it is? I know it will inevitably bleed over, but let’s at least try to contain it. Norman, do you understand where I’m coming from with my distinction between individual choices and collective trends (that not being attracted to rich men wont in itself give a woman a bigger salary, but being attracted to progressive women and insisting on more parental involvement can increase a man’s chances of gaining custody)? Schala, would you be willing to cease talking solely about how men are oppressed by women’s choices, and perhaps make some arguments about what exactly feminism does wrong in your eyes, in the vein of “I agree with feminists pointing out that [insert injustice], but I don’t think the solution is [insert proposed solution], I don’t think it’s caused by [insert alleged reason], and I think [insert behavior towards and claims about men] is unfair and that a better solution could be [insert proposed solution]” instead?

  44. 44
    Schala

    Or in other words, if a man enters a marriage and supports an arrangement where he’ll provide most of the financial support, while the children’s mother will be the primary caretaker, it becomes very hard for him to convincingly argue that, because he is now divorced, it is suddenly in the children’s best interest if he stopped providing financial aid, or the mother stopped being the primary caretaker.

    So entrenched is the role that it be the way you presented that when the man is the primary carer during marriage, he gets less consideration as to him being primary caregiver (being the custodial parent) than a woman in the same position, and also less consideration towards getting alimony for the children or himself, as well.

    The exception isn’t only rare, we treat it differently too.

    But if a woman marries a man wealthier than her (which is often hard to avoid), that specific marriage arrangement will not automatically increase the wage gap between the partners involved, it will be what came before it, a societal trend of men already being paid more than women, which will be in place regardless of this couple’s individual choice.

    If a woman considers as “marriageable” only men who have the same or better education levels and the same or better earnings, and when this changes (ratio in university) they say it’s “The End of Men”.

    Most men would date an unemployed woman. It wouldn’t be a red flag or deal breaker, while it is likely to be for a woman. Most men would date or marry a woman who is not as educated or as rich as them, they probably don’t consider it in the criteria to start with. Maybe they put more stock on looks, personality, or sexual compatibility (amongst possibilities), but ability-to-financially-support-herself-to-my-lifestyle-standard isn’t usually one. One reasonably common criteria is “ability to get children”, which could negatively affect the chances of a knowingly infertile woman or man, if they’re honest about it.

    There are good reasons for telling a man “If you want to always have a close relationship with your children, marry a woman who’s financially independent and wont try to insist on traditional gender roles”, because that will result in an immediate personal benefit. On the other hand, telling a woman “Don’t marry a rich man” wont help her get any more money for herself.

    Except she likely has more options, everything else being equal.

    Women tend to have way more power in dating, and for long term relationships, it depends (circumstances of it for one). But yes “don’t marry a rich man” is likely to not be useful. Even a poor man could insist on supporting the entire family. It would be “marry a man who wants to share childcare duties”, or even “have all childcare duties” for a high-powered career woman. If it’s in the marrying criteria, replacing such trivial things as height and hair color, it’s likely to have an impact.

    Do you think “marry a rich woman” is even on the table for most men? Will the rich women even consider those men, unless they look like they came out of some Calvin Klein advert? Even rich women tend to want to marry even richer men.

    It wont be happening by telling men to base their choice of partner on said partner’s adherence to traditional gender roles (which is sadly common among MRAs)

    You might be mixing PUA and MRA, not the same people. MGTOW are also not the same people.

    And right-wing “let’s go back to beaver” men typically aren’t for men’s right one bit, they’re for men’s sacrifice for society. Not very pro-man. So they’re also not very present in the movement.

    You’ll find trans men and trans women supporting men’s rights (not necessarily identifying as MRA). Gay men as well. And straight men and women. People who are for fairness.

    Especially not when they believe women both can and should prevent crimes against them by having the right amount of sex with the right men, and when they use real crimes against women as an opportunity to express contempt for women in general, rather than sympathy for the victims, and make excuses for the perpetrators.

    I have no idea what you’re talking about here.

  45. 45
    Schala

    Because this discussion is supposed to be about why there is a gap between feminism and the MRM, I’ve tried to avoid attacking the MRM on the issues brought up, and instead focused on explaining the issues with the way they go about it and their obsession with blaming pre-feminist gender roles on feminism.

    VAWA, female-only rape crisis centres (with lip service paid to male victims of *childhood* sexual abuse) is perpetuating gender roles, while claiming those problems (DV and rape) are “taken care of”.

    Then any attempt from people who support male victims to get funding for their shelters is met with “do it yourself”. Then when they try to do it themselves, they’re pegged as horrible abusers trying to get back at women because of loss of patriarchal privilege.

    The movement for equality, right? Fixes half the problem, which just so happens to follow gender roles (males never victims) and then declares anyone thinking differently as The Enemy. Fun. Can I join this conspiracy theory? Let’s pretend we rail against the establishment…by using the establishment, with it’s full assent and power.

    I’m sure patriarchy is against DV shelters for women, right? Which is why it patronizingly wanted to protect women, over and beyond their own opinion, for centuries. DV shelters don’t do just that, right? Patriarchy is against shelters for men, and feminism is against shelters for men. Ergo, feminism supports patriarchy.

  46. 46
    Freja

    Schala, you seem hell bent on trying to make this into some sort of Oppression Olympics. You make sweeping and unsupported generalisations about the nature of men and women (such as there being tons of wealthy men out there with average wives, while wealthy and educated women stay single because no men are good enough) which has absolutely nothing to do with the issues I brought up in regards to the MRM. You have managed to systematically misunderstand every single aspect of my posts (marrying a rich man is a realistic option for most women? Really?) except the ones you you have dismissed by claiming that men have it worse.

    It doesn’t get us anywhere, so I’m going to bow out of this debate now. I hoped this could be a chance to discuss how people who are fundamentally in agreement about a lot of things can get their message across to each other in a better way, but the thing is, we disagree fundamentally about everything, so there’s no specific reason to have this conversation that we couldn’t have everywhere else were feminists and MRAs are fighting. And I have no interest in that.

  47. 47
    Schala

    In short, much of feminism’s activism that followed gender roles (protecting women, blaming men) was pushing an open door. It was easy, because the very system was agreeing with it outright.

    Blaming men (and not women) is part of the system, because only men have enough agency (capacity do to evil included) to actually do evil, according to both the system, and feminism.

  48. 48
    Freja

    Finally, an actual argument about where feminism allegedly opposes men’s rights. I’m going to stay a little longer than.

    VAWA is, from what I’ve heard, gender neutral now. It’s named after women the same way a lot things are named after men, because it originally only applied to them. The thing is, while I don’t like words like “chairman”, because I think they show and promote an implicit bias, I do not think it belongs in the same category as literally making the position “chairman” available to men only. In the same way, a gender neutral name for the act would be fine, but as long as the actual legislation is gender neutral, I consider it a lesser issue. If you have information about the act not being gender neutral because of feminists, by all means post it. It would be something we could both agree to oppose.

    I have never heard about any project aimed at getting funding for men’s shelters being opposed by feminists. Again, if you have any information, please provide it, as it would be immensely helpful the next time I talk with feminists. I also haven’t heard about examples of men being labelled abusers because they build men’s shelters, volunteer or donate to organisations helping male victims of domestic violence. Again, please provide examples.

    In regards to your rant about how feminism only fixes half the problem and then declaring anyone thinking differently the enemy, it’s not concrete enough to answer. In my experience, I’ve seen plenty of feminists saying that the disadvantages facing men and women aren’t equal, but in return, I’ve seen MRAs claiming that men and women aren’t equal, and shouldn’t be equal, period.

    In short, it seems to me that the worst feminists do is to not care. They don’t oppose initiatives to benefit men, they oppose attempts to use men’s rights as an excuse to oppose women’s rights. Men’s shelters, fine. Demolishing women’s shelters, not OK. Anti-circumcision, fine. Attempts to paint anti-FGM as misandrist, not OK. And in return: Women’s shelters, fine. Demolishing men’s shelters, not OK. Anti-FGM, fine. Attempts to paint anti-circumcision as misogynist, not OK. If you have examples of feminists doing the opposite, again, examples are your friend.

  49. 49
    punchdrunk

    I searched ‘crisis centers for men’. Most of the ones I found explicitly mention that they help men as well as women, children, teens, LGBTI, etc (relevant hits from the first page of the search):
    http://www.rapecrisis.com/
    https://www.teenchallenge.ws/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=57&Itemid=65
    http://nccasa.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=45&Itemid=70

    This was one of the first links, though, so:
    http://doodoowah.com/mccpage.html

    As for custody, I found this from the New England Law Journal:
    http://www.amptoons.com/blog/files/Massachusetts_Gender_Bias_Study.htm
    We began our investigation of child custody aware of a common perception that there is a bias in favor of women in these decisions. Our research contradicted this perception. Although mothers more frequently get primary physical custody of children following divorce, this practice does not reflect bias but rather the agreement of the parties and the fact that, in most families, mothers have been the primary [*748] caretakers of children. Fathers who actively seek custody obtain either primary or joint physical custody over 70% of the time. Reports indicate, however, that in some cases perceptions of gender bias may discourage fathers from seeking custody and stereotypes about fathers may sometimes affect case outcomes. In general, our evidence suggests that the courts hold higher standards for mothers than fathers in custody determinations.

    Family service officers, probate judges, and appellate judges all say that giving primary consideration to the parent who has been the primary caretaker and psychological parent is in the best interests of children. In practice, however, it appears that as soon as physical custody is contested, any weight given to a history of primary caretaking disappears. Mothers who have been primary caretakers throughout the child’s life are subjected to differential and stricter scrutiny, and they may lose custody if the role of primary caretaker has been assumed, however briefly and for whatever reason, by someone else.

    Two other aspects of child custody determination raised concern for us. The presumption in favor of shared legal custody that is currently held by many family service officers can result in the awarding of shared legal custody in inappropriate circumstances. We also found that abuse targeted at the mother is not always seen as relevant to custody and visitation decisions. Our research indicates that witnessing, as well as personally experiencing, abuse within the family causes serious harm to children.

    Women seeking child support enforcement have frequently found themselves facing an unresponsive and sometimes hostile system. We are, however, currently in a transition period. The court and the Department of Revenue (DOR) are establishing a new system that promises to be well-coordinated and responsive. Our study identified some key issues to be resolved during the transition period. Nonpayment must be met with predictable, steadily escalating enforcement sanctions. The child support guidelines, which have led to increased child support orders, should be used consistently in all courts. The standard for modification of an order must be redefined. Currently, the standard is so strict that it denies women modifications to which they are entitled. The court and the Department of Revenue need adequate resources to complete this transition. The community has a role to play in holding the court and DOR to the promise of a more responsive and respectful system that is focused on serving parents seeking support.

    I’m American, so the landscape may be very different in the Uk, and the study quoted was only looking at Massachussets, but it was the best research I could find on the topic.
    If someone has better or more universal information, that would be great.

  50. 50
    Schala

    The thing is, while I don’t like words like “chairman”,

    Man = Human

    Werman = male human
    Wifman = female human

    We lost the male signifier sometime in history. I don’t think chairman should remain because of the ambiguity (and chairperson is fine), but I don’t think it implied maleness the way VAWA specifies femaleness.

  51. 51
    Schala

    In the same way, a gender neutral name for the act would be fine, but as long as the actual legislation is gender neutral, I consider it a lesser issue.

    Then how come there is an extreme amount of bias by government, supported by feminist organizations NOT to fund men’s DV shelters and rape crisis centers in Canada and the US.

    It’s not neutral in name, only in law language (lawyer stuff), and it’s *definitely* not applied neutrally.

    A man who started a men’s DV shelter in Canada killed himself, after he was unable to keep privately funding his shelter. He was repeatedly refused government funds “because there is no need”. Stat Can says 600k men are victims of DV a year (compared with 600k women), but still considers men don’t need shelters. Who counsels the government on matters of women and gendered stuff? Certainly not MRAs.

    In short, it seems to me that the worst feminists do is to not care. They don’t oppose initiatives to benefit men,

    Seriously? Ryerson university’s center for men. University of Toronto’s lecture protest, just to name two initiatives, opposed by feminists.

    Not caring would be fine. That’s not what happens.

  52. 52
    Norman Hadley

    Afternoon, Freja

    The discussion’s moved on since I last checked in, with far too much material to respond to every point. On the DV issue, I would put it like this…

    Picture the PM addressing the Commons about Afghanistan. Now I haven’t checked Hansard exhaustively but I think he always refers to “our men and women in uniform” or “our service-men and -women”. This seems to me to be right and proper, and it would be pettifogging to quibble about the actual M/F proportions. The point is – as a society, we’ve learned to adapt our language so we don’t airbrush anyone out of the picture and women have benefited from this new linguistic sensitivity.

    So it’s….disappointing…when you open your favourite liberal newspaper and read article after article that use the terms DV and VAW interchangeably and exclusively cite VAW stories to keep the narrative consistent. That’s airbrushing people out, right there. It’s going on all around us..right down to your frankly implausible claim that “VAWA is, from what I’ve heard, gender neutral now”

    Somewhere, a Liberal Humanist is weeping.

  53. 53
    Freja

    I agree that gender neutral language is better. But I would like to see the MRM start some actual campaigns about it instead. I would think a lot of average men (at least the ones I’ve talked to) don’t like to see themselves as potential victims instead of potential saviours, so while some of them might resent when men are portrayed too exclusively as perpetrators, they also don’t believe they would ever be at risk of being physically or sexually abused by women. This is an attitude which pre-dates feminism, and which plenty of non-feminist and anti-feminist men hold on to.

    I’ve had to convince my boyfriend that female-on-male rape is a thing. I’m not the only one. I’ve heard men say they actually didn’t know that men could be raped by women, or didn’t see what happened to them as rape, before they got into contact with feminism. And women saying they didn’t realise it either. When Dan Savage claimed that a guy whose girlfriend had sex with him while he was asleep (he seemed awake and was initiating sex) wasn’t raped, I saw feminists object. Even though this is a serious grey zone (because he was acting exactly as he had previously acted when he was awake and wanted sex), I have not seen any feminist say that the guy was wrong for feeling traumatised and violated.

    However, the only MRAs I’ve seen weigh in on the issue focussed exclusively on how the feminist response wasn’t unanimously supportive enough. This could have been a great opportunity for the MRM to address an actual issue. But so far, I have yet to hear about any of them writing to Dan Savage, or, say, creating a well written and thoughtful petition and get signatures for it. If I gave signatures online, I’d sign it.

    Contrast this with when a female amateur blogger wrote about how she didn’t want strange men to change her daughter’s diapers. The blogger didn’t write about feminism, and she even added “I pick and choose when to be a feminist” and described her concern as being anti-feminist. A Voice for Men and other MRAs started a campaign of harassment against her, putting her on “Register Her” (which is meant to look like an actual official register of sexual offenders, and meant to hopefully deprive the women on there of job opportunities), and eventually making her apologise, out of sheer fear. Oh, and they also claimed her attitude was representing feminism, because that’s the logical conclusion about someone who calls her decision anti-feminist /sarcasm.

    I don’t disagree that the blogger’s opinion about the risks associated with men vs. women were uninformed, but it’s a remarkably vicious response considering her ‘crime’, especially when there’s no indication that merely writing to inform her “Actually, plenty of women molest children, here’s the statistics for it. Your opinion is uninformed and sexist” wouldn’t have done the trick. In contrast, a male professional author and journalist, with a very popular advice column, basically denies that a guy could feel violated by waking up by his girlfriend having nonconsensual sex with him, and MRAs give him a free pass, and focus on nitpicking with feminists instead.

    And there are multiple examples of this behaviour. MRAs have a history of systematically ignoring sexism against men when coming from non-feminist men, anti-feminists, and the MRM itself, but striking down on the tinniest infraction if committed by feminists (especially female ones) and not explicitly anti-feminist women. This is what makes me doubt their sincerity. If there really is some initiative by the MRM to get VAWA changed to something gender-neutral, and there really is an explicitly feminist fraction with actual power somewhere opposing it, I would like to know. But there’s a big difference between “This is not good for men” and “This happens because of feminism”.

  54. 54
    Freja

    And yet all studies confirm that, regardless of the origin of the word, this is not how it’s being perceived, which makes the point moot.

  55. 55
    Freja

    Please provide some examples.

  56. 56
    Freja

    To elaborate: As to the first, I googled it and nothing came up, please provide link.

    As to the second, Warren Farrell has expressed support for incest and child molestation, and wants several types of rapes legalised. He has literally said that men should be allowed to ignore it if a woman says “No”, as long as the man thinks that she’s expressing something different with her body. He’s not about protecting men from rape, he’s about removing protection from women. Protests against him are not protests against the idea that men suffer, they’re protests against the idea that men suffer because they can’t force women to have sex with them. Big difference.

  57. 57
    Schala

    I’d need quotes with context for Warren Farrell, because that’s not what I heard.

  58. 58
    Schala

    This is an attitude which pre-dates feminism, and which plenty of non-feminist and anti-feminist men hold on to.

    Come on, since when has “but they do it too” ever been acceptable for a movement claiming the high ground of being THE movement for equality.

    You either are for equality, which means ALL equality, not “but men haven’t shown they deserve services like women!” bullshit.

    And you don’t perpetuate stereotypes you pretend to fight against “just because” they happen to serve your cause of “protect the women!”. It won’t end the violence, and it WILL reinforce gendered attitudes. Which team is feminism playing on if it scores in its own goal?

  59. 59
    Schala

    So we end up with female humans having an identity, a signifier, something to rally around and say “That’s me!”, and men have nothing except “That’s not me!” pointing at women. Men have no identity, but they’re the default, so it makes it all better, right?

    Whatever men can do, it’s unisex, whatever women can do, it’s women-only, which means women have 100% of all options open, and men about 50-60% (some unisex stuff was unisex to start with), and this is oppressing women, right? Having pink AND everything else open is oppressive, while having to distance yourself from pink. from pastels, from glitters, from curvy stuff, under the threat of violence, is proof of male privilege.

  60. 60
    Jemima101 (@itsjustahobby)

    This reminds me of my wander into the past recently, while people are so destermined to blame an entire gender for everything there will be no progress. Sadly it seems to me Feminism is refusing to learn from te mistajes of the past.

  61. 61
    Schala

    Men are “performing” better in terms of earning and in terms of certain male domains…because we make it hard for them.

    Bring harsh conditions, and those who survive them unscathed (or not too badly damaged) will “do better”. Heck, you could do an invincible army if only you ignored their humanity and treated them less than dirt. But we have human principles not to do that.

    So wen end up treating men somewhat worse than women, in terms of comforting them, listening to them, helping them physically, psychologically, emotionally, mentally, and those who don’t break and become homeless, suicide or die doing dangerous stuff, end up earning more money and being more motivated towards obtaining power because it brings them other stuff (being attractive).

    We don’t treat women as harshly, have safety nets for them, want to help them if hurt, want to prevent violence against them. And as such, while their quality of life is potentially higher, their average earning and motivation to get power is lower. They’re less desperate, less on the edge.

    So if we want equality, we treat women as harshly as we treat men, or we shelter men as softly as we treat women, but you can’t give the motivation of men to women without that tradeoff.

  62. 62
    Schala

    An example:

    Trans people who don’t suicide and actually make it through transition, are found to be more intelligent (in IQ) than average, by at least one standard deviation (average 115 instead of 100). Because being trans is a very harsh condition. Many die.

  63. 63
    Norman Hadley

    But your first two sentences are fundamentally incompatible – the debate can’t be “gender neutral” if you “would like to see the MRM start some actual campaigns about it instead.” That’s just a recipe for yet more unseemly zerosumgamery, isn’t it?

    No, I’m talking about neutral language as a precursor and facilitator of neutral action. My philosophy can be summarised in 3 words – “Selective compassion isn’t”. So when I see people campaigning for a subset (typically their subset) of humanity, what I hear is “Please give generously to White Orphans Rescue” and “Help Aryan Amputees Now!” Well, Mr Tin-shaker, of course I care about orphans and amputees, but did you really have to narrow your field like that?

    If we call it DV, and treat it like DV, we’ll respond, proportionate to need, regardless whether the victim is male, female, trans, elderly, young. That’s what I want to see.

  64. 64
    Norman Hadley

    Sorry, the above in response to Freya 18.2 (which sounds alarmingly like a biblical quote)

  65. 65
    Freja

    That’s your theory. I’ll leave you to it.

  66. 66
    SallyStrange

    Ahhh, Warren Farrell. His Myth of Male Power book is highly influential among MRAs.

    While the label “date rape” has helped women articulate the most dramatic aspect of dating from women’s perspective, men have no labels to help them articulate the most traumatic aspects of dating from their perspective. Now, of course, the most traumatic aspect is the possibility of being accused of date rape by a woman to whom he thought he was making love. If men did label the worst aspects of the traditional male role, though, they might label them “date robbery,” “date rejection,” “date responsibility,” “date fraud,” and “date lying.” (p.313, The Myth of Male Power, 1993 hardcover edition)

    The worst aspect of dating from the perspective of many men is how dating can feel to a man like robbery by social custom – the social custom of him taking money out of his pocket, giving it to her, and calling it a date. To a young man, the worst dates feel like being robbed and rejected. Boys risk death to avoid rejection (e.g., by joining the Army).(p. 314)

    Evenings of paying to be rejected can feel like a male version of date rape. (p. 314)

    —————–

    In the past, both sexes were anxious about sex and pregnancy. Now the pill minimizes her anxiety and condoms increase his. Now the pimple faced boy must still risk rejection while also overcoming his own fear of herpes and AIDS and reassuring her there is nothing to fear. He must still do the sexual risk-taking, but now he can be put in jail if he takes risks too quickly or be called a wimp if he doesn’t take them quickly enough . (p. 168)

    It is also possible for a woman to go back to a man’s room, tell him she doesn’t want to have intercourse, mean it, start kissing, have intercourse, and then wish she hadn’t in the morning. How? Kissing is like eating potato chips. Before we know it, we’ve gone further than we said we would. (p. 311)

    The problem with every judgment of sexual behavior is that it is made by people who aren’t being stimulated as they are making the judgment. A jury that sees a woman in a sterile courtroom, asks her what she wanted, and then assumes that anything else she did was the responsibility of the man is insulting not only the woman but the power of sex. (p. 312)

    A man being sued after a woman has more sex than intended is like Lay’s being sued after someone has more potato chips than intended. In brief, date rape can be a crime, a misunderstanding, or buyer’s remorse. (p. 312)

    Sexually, of course, the sexes aren’t equal. It is exactly a woman’s greater sexual power that often makes a man so fearful of being rejected by her that he buys himself drinks to reduce his fear. In essence, her sexual power often leads to him drinking; his sexual power rarely leads to her drinking. If anything is evidence of her power over him, it is his being expected to spend his money to buy her drinks without her reciprocating. …

    It is men – far more than women – whose mental capacities are diminished when they are “under the influence” of a beautiful woman. (p. 320)

    As long as society tells men to be the salespersons of sex, it is sexist for society to put only men in jail if they sell well. We don’t put other salespersons in jail for buying clients drinks and successfully transforming a “no” into a “maybe” into a “yes.” If the client makes a choice to drink too much and the “yes” turns out to be a bad decision, it is the client who gets fired, not the salesperson. (p. 321)

    And let’s not forget the infamous pro-incest interview with Playboy, back in the day:

    Mother-son incest represents 10 percent of the incidence and is 70 percent positive, 20 percent mixed, and 10 percent negative for the son. For the mother it is mostly positive. Farrell points out that boys don’t seem to suffer, not even from the negative experience. “Girls are much more influenced by the dictates of society and are more willing to take on sexual guilt.”

    The father-daughter scene, ineluctably complicated by feelings of dominance and control, is not nearly so sanguine. Despite some advertisements, calling explicitly for positive female experiences, Farrell discovered that 85 percent of the daughters admitted to having negative attitudes toward their incest. Only 15 percent felt positive about the experience. On the other hand, statistics from the vantage of the fathers involved were almost the reverse — 60 percent positive 10 percent mixed, and 20 percent negative. “Either men see these relationships differently,” comments Farrell, “or I am getting selective reporting from women.”

    When I get my most glowing positive cases, 6 out of 200,” says Farrell, “the incest is part of the family’s open, sensual style of life, wherein sex is an outgrowth of warmth and affection. It is more likely that the father has good sex with his wife, and his wife is likely to know and approve — and in one or two cases to join in.”

    ….

    [Farrell was hesitant to publish about this, but felt it was important because] First, because millions of people who are now refraining from touching, holding, and genitally caressing their children, when that is really a part of a caring, loving expression, are repressing the sexuality of a lot of children and themselves. Maybe this needs repressing, and maybe it doesn’t. My book should at least begin the exploration.

    Second, I’m finding that thousands of people in therapy for incest are being told, in essence , that their lives have been ruined by incest. In fact, their lives have not generally been affected as much by the incest as by the overall atmosphere. …

    The average incest participant can’t evaluate his or her experience for what it was. As soon as society gets into the picture, they have to tell themselves it was bad. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    So, to sum up:

    Getting rejected by your date is nearly as traumatic as getting raped by your date.

    Kissing is like eating potato chips: it’s involuntary, like digesting your food.

    Juries should be sexually stimulated in order to make fairer judgments about rape cases.

    Date rape is just buyer’s remorse, and the victims are more at fault than the aggressors. Coercing a woman into sex she doesn’t want is just good salesmanship.

    Incest is only regarded as traumatic because of the societal taboo against it. If it weren’t for that societal taboo, children would enjoy sex with their parents just as much as parents who molest their children report enjoying it.

    Note: with regards to the “genitally caressing” phrase, Farrell claimed after the fact that the interviewer misheard him, and he really said “generally caressing.” Doesn’t really change the overall message much, though.

    Really great guy.

  67. 67
    Freja

    I’m not giving him more hits, so I’ll link to manboobz instead. If you think the quotes are taken out of context here, you’re welcome to google them yourself.

    Incest: http://manboobz.com/2012/11/21/what-mens-rights-guru-warren-farrell-actually-said-about-the-allegedly-positive-aspects-of-incest-note-its-even-more-repugnant-than-that-sounds/

    How men should not be punished for ignoring a woman’s “no”, from “The Myth of Male Power”: http://manboobz.com/2013/05/03/putting-warren-farrells-notorious-comments-on-exciting-date-rape-in-context/

    Specifically “It is important that a woman’s “noes” be respected and her “yeses” be respected. And it is also important when her nonverbal “yeses” (tongues still touching) conflict with those verbal “noes” that the man not be put in jail for choosing the “yes” over the “no.” ,He might just be trying to become her fantasy.”

    There are a ton of reasons for why a woman (and everyone else) saying “No” could appear to consent to sex with their body language without actually wanting sex. The rapist could read it wrong. The woman could have a divergent body-language. The woman could actually be sexually aroused but still choose to refrain from sex, which gives a man no more right to deny her that choice than a man’s erection gives women the right to to ignore his. The woman in question could be wanting something sexual which is not intercourse (for instance, before I read Farrell, I had no idea that tongues touching meant you said yes to sex).

    In fact, why am I even arguing this? If a feminist claimed that woman should get away with ignoring men’s “No” because the man’s body language might say differently, or (to get more sex specific) because of an erection, MRAs would tear him/her to pieces for it. And with good reason.

  68. 68
    SallyStrange
    I agree that gender neutral language is better. But I would like to see the MRM start some actual campaigns about it instead. I would think a lot of average men (at least the ones I’ve talked to) don’t like to see themselves as potential victims instead of potential saviours, so while some of them might resent when men are portrayed too exclusively as perpetrators, they also don’t believe they would ever be at risk of being physically or sexually abused by women. This is an attitude which pre-dates feminism, and which plenty of non-feminist and anti-feminist men hold on to.

    Come on, since when has “but they do it too” ever been acceptable for a movement claiming the high ground of being THE movement for equality.

    How is this a tu quoque thing? Freyja was pointing out that since the attitude predated feminism, it is clearly incorrect to blame feminism for it.

    You either are for equality, which means ALL equality, not “but men haven’t shown they deserve services like women!” bullshit.

    Where did she say that men haven’t shown they deserve services?

    And you don’t perpetuate stereotypes you pretend to fight against “just because” they happen to serve your cause of “protect the women!”. It won’t end the violence, and it WILL reinforce gendered attitudes. Which team is feminism playing on if it scores in its own goal?

    Please demonstrate how anything Freyja said here perpetuates the stereotypes she “pretends” to fight.

    With regards to gender neutrality: Gender neutral language is preferable, but that doesn’t mean that gender neutral public education campaigns are. Men and women experience sexual assault and domestic violence differently, so, yes, a campaign aimed specifically at male victims would probably be useful, and if MRAs are being honest about their motivations, then they would be the ones best-suited to run such a campaign.

  69. 69
    oolon

    No idea what’s got PG’s goat but seeing the SCUM manifesto as satire is not an uncommon view. Valerie Solanas’s issues and attempt to kill Warhol (Not sure what other ppl PG refers to, I’m no expert on her) are not necessarily related to her cause, consider correlation and causation PG… She clearly thought Warhol was trying to steal some work of hers and, to put it mildly, over-reacted. So Solanas and Elam are not people I’d follow as leading lights of any movement because of their past actions and words (And death in Valeries case). But that does not mean I cannot praise Elam as seemingly finally doing some positive activism for the MRM, if Ginkho is correct. Same as I can say I appreciate the SCUM manifesto as a work of satire and also extremely funny and even in some ways true when I read it as a sex obsessed teenager. How can you not appreciate her way with words ->
    “…the male is, nonetheless, obsessed with screwing; he’ll swim through a river of snot, wade nostril-deep through a mile of vomit, if he thinks there’ll be a friendly pussy awaiting him”
    –> I dunno maybe its just me and my sense of humour :-)

    So no joke there, I also follow https://twitter.com/FakeRobotGamer on twitter and enjoy her wielding her metaphorical pickaxe into emotional male balls. Make misandry real!

    That probably wouldn’t be funny at all if any of the delusions of MRAs and PG had ever come true. Where are the examples of feminists killing men for their cause? Solanas is trotted out but its pretty clear she had a personal beef with Warhol and never went on a killing spree. So keep on dreaming about those forced breeding camps PG, I’m guessing they will stay fantasy. Until then the satire works.

    [meta + blah] Morales defending me *snicker*… Did a pretty good job though as PG has terminal SIWOTI for feminists.

  70. 70
    SallyStrange

    I hate nested comments.

    So we end up with female humans having an identity, a signifier, something to rally around and say “That’s me!”, and men have nothing except “That’s not me!” pointing at women. Men have no identity, but they’re the default, so it makes it all better, right?

    Whatever men can do, it’s unisex, whatever women can do, it’s women-only, which means women have 100% of all options open, and men about 50-60% (some unisex stuff was unisex to start with), and this is oppressing women, right? Having pink AND everything else open is oppressive, while having to distance yourself from pink. from pastels, from glitters, from curvy stuff, under the threat of violence, is proof of male privilege.

    What is this I can’t even….

    All I can say is that this is an argument that relies on everyone reading it being space aliens who know absolutely nothing about the history of women’s struggle for equality. We’re at a point now where things that were formerly considered men-only, like being a CEO, or running for Congress, are now considered unisex. There was initially a stronger push to open male domains to women because that’s what women wanted and women were the ones fighting for it. There was no similar concerted effort on the part of men to open up child-rearing, wearing pink ruffled dresses, and nursing to men because those were all regarded as low-status things to do, partially because they were traditionally associated with women. Now that equality has advanced, it is becoming apparent that this devaluing of traditionally “feminine” activities is unfounded and that child-rearing and wearing pretty pink dresses should not be a women-only thing either.

    Your complaint is incoherent, and to the degree that it is coherent, only highlights the petty and trivial nature of the complaints offered by many “activists” who allege to have men’s best interests at heart.

  71. 71
    SallyStrange

    So women are being coddled, which is why 1 in 4 are raped and why the vast majority of people in poverty are women and their children, whereas trans* men and women are treated harshly, to the point that many commit suicide, but this means that the survivors are smarter than everyone else and…

    Sorry, I give up. This doesn’t even make any sense.

  72. 72
    oolon

    Oops forgot to respond to Steersman, your point about feminists attacking MRAs but not so much other “bad” feminists… Even though TERFs (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists) never seem to pop up in any space I’m in I’ve criticised them. Specifically Julie Birchalls awfulness and the ridiculous radfem conference being horribly bigoted towards trans ppl. I’d also be tempted to be more actively critical of anti-porn/sex work feminists such as Smurthwaite who is at the Irish conference… I see Pharyngulites were thinking of organising a letter to Nugent to make sure opposing sex-positive and pro-sex worker voices were also represented to dissent against her. So more example of dissent against “fellow” feminists.

    I guess the horror show that the worst excesses of the MRM provide makes for an easy target and possibly means less criticism is inwardly directed or it appears that way at least. But I’m not really sure about that as I’ve not seen any sex-negative/anti-sex worker/TERF/etc feminists get away with no criticism from the small bunch of sex-positive/pro-sex worker/trans friendly feminists I know of on FTB/Shakesville/Twitter. Skepchick’s Heina has some good articles about fauxminists etc recently on Skepchick.org… So criticism there too.

    I guess it doesn’t matter as criticism of feminists that they are not cleaning up their own house will likely have a positive effect in getting them to address issues like TERFS. Same for the MRM as I very rarely see anyone identify as an MRA who is willing to admit to misogyny in their movement and decry it, Ginkho excepted.

  73. 73
    Freja

    The thing is, other people not doing activism for you is not the same as oppostion. How many MRAs participated in SlutWalks? Probably not a lot, considering how much they made fun of it. But I have yet to see a single feminist say that the problem with the MRM is a lack of participation in SlutWalks. Slut-shaming is a problem predominantly faced by women, so most people campaigning actively against it are women, and feminists are at the forefront.

    Recall that my original complaint about the MRM’s stance on sexual shaming was not that they only complained about sexual shaming of men, it was that they engaged in sexual shaming against women themselves. Big difference. The MRM are completely free to not campaign for issues that predominantly affect women, as long as they don’t actively oppose those trying to address said issues.

    Like it or not, a lot of domestic violence is gendered. And different people have different experiences with different dynamics. It makes sense that different organisations would choose to focus mainly on one type, though ideally, they would cooperate with other organisations with a different focus. I don’t see it as evil in itself. If there is a lack of certain types of activism, that’s an issue. But it’s not an issue that should be addressed by one group attacking another, it should be addressed by that group doing activism.

    Again, if feminists oppose someone campaigning for more gender neutral terms to express gender neutral concepts, I’m all for condemning them. But the lack of feminists actively working to change the name of VAWA is no more condemning for them than a lack of MRA presence at SlutWalks is to the MRM. Or actually, screw that, it’s less condemning, because the SlutWalks were already there. They had been organised and advertised, so that all people had to do was show up. MRAs could have joined in solidarity and wouldn’t have had to think anything up themselves. In contrast, the MRM, which is supposed to be more knowledgeable about men’s issues than anyone else, doesn’t seem to actually do any activism for people to support.

    It doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game. A lot of activism for men wouldn’t hurt feminism the slightest, just as a lot of feminist activism doesn’t hurt most men. But attacking feminism for what’s in the newspapers, rather than, say, the people who actually write the newspapers, is making it a zero sum game. One where every moment spent by feminism campaigning for issues mainly concerning women, is seen as a moment being detracted from issues mainly concerning men, and where the goal becomes to stop all other activism, rather than actually achieving the goal you’re supposed to campaign for.

  74. 74
    Steersman

    John Morales said (#3.6):

    So, now we know your opinion of “feminists”, but because you took care to distinguish by using scare quotes, you clearly implied it’s not your opinion of actual feminists.

    (What about them, then?)

    Good question, although it is, of course, somewhat bedeviled by the question as to what is the definition of a True Feminist ™. But, assuming the frequent claim that they’re really only all about “equality”, then I would say more power to them, may their tribe increase. The Canadian suffragette Nellie McClung asserted that “No nation rises higher that its women” which I think contains a substantial measure of truth – the defending of which led to my banning on A Voice for Men. And the book Veiled Threat: The Hidden Power of the Women of Afghanistan by another Canadian woman, Sally Armstrong, is also strongly suggestive of the power of women in promoting and advancing social justice which tends to benefit everyone.

    However, as I argued above, considering the apparent reluctance of many to discuss much less challenge the egregious hypocrisy of those articles of faith I quoted from the AtheismPlus “glossary”, I would say that many self-styled feminists really only pay lip service to that principle, and hardly deserve to be called such. In addition to that case, while there were some who questioned PZ’s rather “intemperate” outburst (1) egregiously stereotyping, in effect, all MRAs and anti-feminists as having the name Marc Lepine, it seems that there were many others there who used it as an occasion for a “hate-fest” of their own in effect agreeing with that characterization. Nor did I notice that the “feminist” who asserted that “the few isolated good points that MRAs have are indeed good points” actually honoured that and the principle of equality by questioning that stereotyping. And finally, I don’t recollect seeing any feminists in this rather benighted neck of the woods, although less so these days, actually questioning the assertion made by another female “feminist” that “connecting ‘virulent’ with ‘feminism’ is misogyny”, a statement that I figure qualifies as flagrant dogma if not outright bigotry and sexism.

    So, much to commend feminism itself, although it seems that there is somewhat of a dearth of people here who can actually and honestly lay claim to the term and that definition.

    —–
    1) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/12/06/never-forget/comment-page-3/#comments”;

  75. 75
    Steersman

    Sally Strange said (#23.0):

    I hate nested comments.

    That you hate them shouldn’t override the fact that the host has them enabled and would, apparently, prefer commenting to use them. But maybe you’re an anarchrist as well as a “feminist” or just a contrarian for the hell of it ….

    In addition and more substantively, I would ask you why you would think that everyone else should be obliged to search through the whole thread looking for the context to your comments? I expect that more than a few are likely to think that piecing together a conversation from a bunch of disjointed and unlinked comments – I would suggest a minimum is to provide a comment number – is more trouble than it is worth – maybe a shame as you periodically make some cogent arguments which tend to be vitiated by a lack of context that nesting inherently provides ….

  76. 76
    Schala

    So women are being coddled, which is why 1 in 4 are raped

    Guess how many men are raped? 1 in 6 would probably underestimate it. Mostly by women.

    and why the vast majority of people in poverty are women and their children

    I bet you it’s also valid to say the vast majority of people in poverty are men and children.

    Let’s say men are 33%, women 33%, children 33%. Add any 2 and you get? The vast majority.

    whereas trans* men and women are treated harshly, to the point that many commit suicide, but this means that the survivors are smarter than everyone else and…

    It means that harsh conditions self-select a type of elite as survivors. Those who can’t make it die. This isn’t necessarily good, if we value human life itself. We should want LESS of that suffering.

    Men are conditioned, from childhood, not to show emotions, beaten up until they can swallow their pride or fight back trying to win (and no, appeals to authority and fairness fall into deaf ears). Shown firsthand that being soft, or shy, passive, non-aggressive, or pacifist are not to be tolerated. Signs he can’t “cut it” on his own, and reasons to have him die off by circumstances (ie not helping him because if he was a “real man” he wouldn’t need that help) – see how male DV victims are treated by society for an example.

    Such a cutthroat attitude produces more violent men, more violently-victimized men (since they’re also the one fair-game target for violence), more criminal men, and more risk-taking men than biology would produce. And it will inevitably produce more sociopaths, who will “win” the male domination game effortlessly. We reward them. They become Wall Street sharks, CEOs, lawyers-who-want-to-win-at-all-costs (and who only care about the bottom line, not rendering justice).

    And we also produce cynical people (not necessarily the sociopaths), who’ve had no empathy shown towards them, and rightly (from their point of view) think they shouldn’t show any to others either. Humans are to be used or to be avoided from their point of view.

    When we tell victims of violence that “they had it coming”, we perpetuate this empathy void. When we tell victims of violence that “they should build their own shelter”, we perpetuate this empathy void. When we tell victims of violence that “violence against women (by men) is the worst kind of violence (and only one that matters)”, we perpetuate this empathy void.

    I am cynical. I’ve had no empathy shown towards my childhood suffering. But I’m also a pacifist and I know better than to willingly hurt someone, even if that someone treated me like shit before. I want fairness, period. I prefer to opt out from a shitty society that thinks only violence against women matters (ergo: men aren’t people), I prefer to opt out from a shitty society that thinks anti-intellectualism and being cool/popular are the only things that matter (see: elections/politics).

  77. 77
    Schala

    Fathers who actively seek custody obtain either primary or joint physical custody over 70% of the time.

    That’s not it though.

    Fathers, who are rich enough to get into a court battle possibly lasting many months, and who actually think they could possibly win (their lawyer can counsel them on that), will win custody 70% of the time.

    How much % of divorced fathers is that though? 10%?

  78. 78
    Schala

    Oh and you include joint custody. How many % of fathers win full custody with the mother having 2 weekend/month or no visitation arrangements?

    I’ve heard of cases where the father has 50% custody time, a similar wage to the mother, and yet he still pays alimony for the child to the mother. Because penis. This includes trans women.

  79. 79
    Schala

    Gender neutral language is preferable, but that doesn’t mean that gender neutral public education campaigns are. Men and women experience sexual assault and domestic violence differently

    Which is why it’s apparently fine to not have ANY services (besides anger management and perpetrator prevention stuff) aimed at male victims.

    They won’t react the same, let’s ignore them, and don’t forget Amanda Marcotte’s motto – what men need is “more feminism”, because it ever did something DIRECTLY for men.

  80. 80
    punchdrunk

    @Schala
    Where are you getting your numbers?
    Further down, you’re making claims about poverty and sexual assault.
    Women in poverty:
    http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/report/2008/10/08/5103/the-straight-facts-on-women-in-poverty/
    Poverty rates are higher for women than men. In 2007,13.8 percent of females were poor compared to 11.1 percent of men.

    Sexual assault:
    http://www.mincava.umn.edu/documents/sexoff/sexoff.html#idp7411632
    About 10% of the rapes in the three States did not conform to the UCR definition of forcible rape–the victims were male (8.7% of rapes), the victim and offender were both female (0.8%), or the victim was male and the offender was female (0.2%).

    http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims
    9 of every 10 rape victims were female in 2003.2

  81. 81
    Ginkgo

    “How is this a tu quoque thing? Freyja was pointing out that since the attitude predated feminism, it is clearly incorrect to blame feminism for it”

    Sally, Schala is pointing out that if feminism claims to oppose traditional norms but then builds on them and reinforces them, it is indeed open to blame.

    In the 70s there was a lot of rhetoric about strong independent women and all that, but somewhere that all changed into female victimhood,. It would be an interesting historical study to determine when and how that happened, but I recall the change becoming evident in the late 80s.

    It shows through in a lot of modern feminist rhetoric and in specific advocacy objectives. For instance there is a lot of heat right now in the discussion over birth control funding in the US. The side arguing for public funding present it as a personal health issue. Now there is a very strong social case to be made for as much birth control as is chemically possible, and a very strong ecological case as well, but that’s not the case that’s being made. the case is being presented as a matter of individual rights (which is to be expected in a consumerist society that revolves around the individual and her consumer choices) . Fine. make whichever case you like.

    But the point is that response to the resistance to this – it is decried as a “war on women.” The passive-aggressiveness of this should be obvious. “You’re not doing for me what I demand of you, so you are making war on me. This all builds on traditional gender norms and expectations – male hyperagency and female hypoagency.

    It is sexist and retrograde. That’s the issue.

  82. 82
    Schala

    Getting rejected by your date is nearly as traumatic as getting raped by your date.

    Getting rejected multiple times over time, by many dates, can be as traumatic an experience as date rape. That’s more apt.

    Kissing is like eating potato chips: it’s involuntary, like digesting your food.

    Would you prefer? Sex (all acts, including foreplay) can slip quicker than we originally gauged it would go – much like you can get drunk much quicker or much drunker than you initially thought (I’ve been “can’t walk drunk” before, and I didn’t aim for that).

    In other words, we are fallible and might transgress boundaries without malice, just taken by the moment. It’s not always the case, but it can happen.

    Juries should be sexually stimulated in order to make fairer judgments about rape cases.

    Juries are in a mental state that precludes ‘sexy stuff’ and can way more easily project their prudery onto female accusers as having unwanted activity – because women don’t like sex (prudery I said, but puritanism works). With a cool head, they are unable to judge the state of the woman’s consent towards sex at that moment: maybe she wasn’t eye closed, lying on her back, in a dark room, thinking of England, oh the horror. Think of the children!

    I’m exaggerating for effect, but it’s true that some people think sex is only something “they have to do because married people must have children”, and that think sex is something women concede to men to appease them, not something they themselves want or like.

    Date rape is just buyer’s remorse, and the victims are more at fault than the aggressors. Coercing a woman into sex she doesn’t want is just good salesmanship.

    Some date rape accusations are but excuses for adultery not being found out, an alibi for being late, and faulty memory (alcohol does that), some can be regrets or abuse of power (and in the case of rape accusations, women definitely have more power than men – men can’t threaten rape accusation convincingly).

    The sociopaths I named in my other comment, those who are the “most successful” at surviving this cutthroat world, tend to have a disregard for other people’s feelings, and a “take it, it’s yours” attitude, and they get rewarded for it. Even in dating (they’re aggressive, assertive, self-confident, all things a lot of women want). As such they’re considered some of the top male dates, and think that they can turn that no into a yes, but fail sometimes. And then it’s too late.

    The problem is how they’ve been educated to do all the initiating and the aggressive boundary-pushing. It won’t be solved by jailing men, because we create more of those everyday. Thankfully, sociopaths tend to be few in %.

    Incest is only regarded as traumatic because of the societal taboo against it. If it weren’t for that societal taboo, children would enjoy sex with their parents just as much as parents who molest their children report enjoying it.

    That’s probably true, that many victims regard their experience as more traumatic because we say “but it’s horrible”. He’s saying that as someone who’s worked with victims of incest. He’s not condoning more incest, just saying that making it this Horrible Crime TM does nothing to relieve the victims of suffering, it amplifies it in fact.

    And it’s true that parents back off from even hugging their own children, for fear of it being perceived as sexual, when it’s entirely not. It’s a loving gesture from a parent, not a sexual gesture. I’m sure male caregivers and teachers can tell you about that.

  83. 83
    Steersman

    oolon said (#3.12):

    Oops forgot to respond to Steersman, your point about feminists attacking MRAs but not so much other “bad” feminists …. So more examples of dissent against “fellow” feminists.

    Good points: those making such criticisms are to be commended. Although, as mentioned and discussed in the other thread, while that is certainly a good start, I think more feminists should be questioning facile stereotyping of all MRAs, as well as various “feminist” articles of faith as highlighted in the AtheismPlus “glossary”. As well as howlers such as “connecting ‘virulent’ with ‘feminism’ is misogyny” – or maybe you don’t think that TERFs and other “radfems” qualify as sufficiently “virulent”?

    Same for the MRM as I very rarely see anyone identify as an MRA who is willing to admit to misogyny in their movement and decry it, Ginkho excepted.

    And speaking of “facile stereotyping”, I don’t know the extent to which these people qualify as MRAs, but there were more than a few Pitters who agreed, more or less and from recollection, with PZ’s recent criticism (1) of one MRA or fellow traveler. And there have been several cases on A Voice for Men, the latest here (2), where there’s been some evidence of some “rifts” in the MRM, possibly over some of the more dogmatic and misogynistic aspects of it. Maybe not as much criticism of their own as in feminism, but, as they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day ….

    —-
    1) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/03/10/sadly-its-international-womens-day”;
    2) “_http://www.avoiceformen.com/a-voice-for-men/jake-pentland-alpha-dogstud-to-kick-elams-ass/”;

  84. 84
    SallyStrange

    @Schala -

    Which is why it’s apparently fine to not have ANY services (besides anger management and perpetrator prevention stuff) aimed at male victims.

    Wait, who said that it was fine not to have any services for men again? Point me to them, I’d like to have words. Obviously there should be services for male victims as well.

    They won’t react the same, let’s ignore them, and don’t forget Amanda Marcotte’s motto – what men need is “more feminism”, because it ever did something DIRECTLY for men.

    It’s not feminism that teaches that men are in a constant state of desire for sex, and therefore are impossible to rape, it’s patriarchy that says that. So yeah, services for male victims–including public education campaigns about the reality of sexual assault against men–would fall under the rubric of feminism, because it would be dismantling patriarchal myths about male sexuality that hurt both men and women. Regardless of who was responsible for such a campaign.

    @Gingko -

    “How is this a tu quoque thing? Freyja was pointing out that since the attitude predated feminism, it is clearly incorrect to blame feminism for it”

    Sally, Schala is pointing out that if feminism claims to oppose traditional norms but then builds on them and reinforces them, it is indeed open to blame.

    Ah, yes, then, I would agree that “it” is open to blame. I’m not sure about laying the blame at the feet of “feminism” the abstract noun here, but rather individual feminists who aren’t following the logical consequences of opposing traditional norms all the way through. We seem to be at something of a transition point here – about 50 years of activism by women on behalf of women has led to some significant advances in the quality of life for women, but along the way we’ve seen that it’s certainly possible to oppose patriarchal norms on the one hand by giving women an out if they find themselves in a situation with an abusive husband or boyfriend, but also inadvertently reinforce it by ignoring the relatively fewer men who have abusive wives or girlfriends. And that’s not even getting into how feminists have failed at taking into account the needs of LGBT people in abusive relationships.

    In the 70s there was a lot of rhetoric about strong independent women and all that, but somewhere that all changed into female victimhood,.

    Sorry, I missed that point in history. Can you provide an example that would elucidate the difference between “strong independent woman” rhetoric and “female victimhood” rhetoric?

    It would be an interesting historical study to determine when and how that happened, but I recall the change becoming evident in the late 80s.

    You are assuming that we are all going to agree that it happened; without more specifics, I can’t really get on board with that. What I have noticed is that merely pointing out the reality that women are more often victimized by men than men are by women is counted by many ignorant people as “playing the victim,” as if the truly strong and independent thing is to lock up your feelings of discontent about the way you’re treated and suck it up. Seems to follow the toxic masculinity model of false strength.

    It shows through in a lot of modern feminist rhetoric and in specific advocacy objectives. For instance there is a lot of heat right now in the discussion over birth control funding in the US. The side arguing for public funding present it as a personal health issue. Now there is a very strong social case to be made for as much birth control as is chemically possible, and a very strong ecological case as well, but that’s not the case that’s being made. the case is being presented as a matter of individual rights (which is to be expected in a consumerist society that revolves around the individual and her consumer choices) . Fine. make whichever case you like.

    I work right now doing public education about energy efficiency. There’s a strong case to be made for the environmental benefits of energy efficiency, but we don’t emphasize that much. Instead, we focus on the benefits to individual consumers because guess what? That’s what grabs people, a lot more than the concept of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The case is being made in a way that the women who are affected and the people who care about them will realize that they have an interest, which is how most public education campaigns work.

    But the point is that response to the resistance to this – it is decried as a “war on women.” The passive-aggressiveness of this should be obvious.

    It’s not obvious. Why should it be? Women are asking for bodily autonomy. The ability to control our fertility is THE key element in the advancement of women’s equality. Attempts to limit women’s ability to control their fertility can be traced directly back to the same conservative Christian faction that really does oppose equal rights for women, and would also like to see legal abortion rolled back too–a prospect that would result in the unnecessary deaths of many women. So, “war on women” is hyperbolic, but it’s not inaccurate and it’s hardly passive-aggressive. If anything, it’s just aggressive–an aggressive response to an aggressive attempt to push back our equal rights and our bodily autonomy.

    You’re not doing for me what I demand of you,

    I.e., giving me the same amount of bodily autonomy that men take for granted…

    so you are making war on me.

    Because the predictable outcome of your policy preferences is increased poverty, decreased quality of life, and, if and when abortion access is limited, needless deaths for women.

    This all builds on traditional gender norms and expectations – male hyperagency and female hypoagency.

    No, it doesn’t. Again, noticing that there is victimization going on and pointing it out is the direct opposite of accepting that you have no agency about being victimized. That said, we are starting to reach the point in this massive cultural shift where people are starting to realize that these gender inequalities affect everyone to a greater or lesser extent, therefore if we continue to act as if violence against women by men can be solved by women and only women taking action, we’re never actually going to solve the problem, because men are involved too, and it’s going to require behavior changes on everyone’s part if we want to reach our goals. But that’s really not the same as this hyper/hypoagency thing you propose.

    It is sexist and retrograde. That’s the issue.

    If it were sexist and retrograde in the way you describe, that would be bad, but I you are not portraying reality accurately here. Particularly since your case for this increase in “female victimhood” and “hypoagency” seems to rest entirely on the fact that a.) women are continuing to speak out against being victimized, not accept it and b.) pointing out the reality, which is that men often victimize women, more so than the other way around, and this is a widespread cultural phenomenon which is going to require action on everyone’s part to change, is NOT “hypoagency” or the acceptance of victimization.

  85. 85
    SallyStrange

    Guess how many men are raped? 1 in 6 would probably underestimate it. Mostly by women.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if it was 1 in 6. But I would be shocked if it were true that it was mostly women doing that. The research on sexual assault against men is shamefully spotty, but what there is does not support your contention, but rather indicates that both men and women are more likely to be raped by men than women.

    I bet you it’s also valid to say the vast majority of people in poverty are men and children.

    Let’s say men are 33%, women 33%, children 33%. Add any 2 and you get? The vast majority.

    According to the UN, women represent 70% of the world’s poor. In the USA, 60% of minimum wage jobs are held by women. According to the most recent census, 17 million women are living in poverty, as compared to 12.6 million men. The disparity increases when you look at single mothers and compare them to single fathers. Factor age and race in and you get even more pronounced differences. Yes, I have links, if you want, but you’ll have to ask first. Your punishment for using the “I bet it’s this” method of argumentation, also known as argumentum ad rectum.

    whereas trans* men and women are treated harshly, to the point that many commit suicide, but this means that the survivors are smarter than everyone else and…

    It means that harsh conditions self-select a type of elite as survivors. Those who can’t make it die.

    Yes, I got that.

    This isn’t necessarily good, if we value human life itself. We should want LESS of that suffering.

    Isn’t NECESSARILY good? I think you’re understating the severity of the cruelty of this situation.

    Men are conditioned, from childhood, not to show emotions, beaten up until they can swallow their pride or fight back trying to win (and no, appeals to authority and fairness fall into deaf ears). Shown firsthand that being soft, or shy, passive, non-aggressive, or pacifist are not to be tolerated. Signs he can’t “cut it” on his own, and reasons to have him die off by circumstances (ie not helping him because if he was a “real man” he wouldn’t need that help) – see how male DV victims are treated by society for an example.

    Yup, patriarchy really does a number on men’s mental health as well. It’s true, and it’s awful.

    Such a cutthroat attitude produces more violent men, more violently-victimized men (since they’re also the one fair-game target for violence), more criminal men, and more risk-taking men than biology would produce. And it will inevitably produce more sociopaths, who will “win” the male domination game effortlessly. We reward them. They become Wall Street sharks, CEOs, lawyers-who-want-to-win-at-all-costs (and who only care about the bottom line, not rendering justice).

    Very true. Which is why it’s my personal opinion that real equality won’t be possible until we invent and implement an entirely different type of economic system, but that’s a discussion for another day.

    And we also produce cynical people (not necessarily the sociopaths), who’ve had no empathy shown towards them, and rightly (from their point of view) think they shouldn’t show any to others either. Humans are to be used or to be avoided from their point of view.

    When we tell victims of violence that “they had it coming”, we perpetuate this empathy void.

    Agreed.

    When we tell victims of violence that “they should build their own shelter”, we perpetuate this empathy void.

    What about when we tell MRAs who are angry that women who are organizing and taking action on behalf of women that if they want to be “men’s rights ACTIVISTS”, then they better get off their butts and create the change they want to see in the world, like women have been doing for the past century or so? Does that perpetuate the empathy void? I don’t see how. The advice is not aimed at male victims of domestic violence, but at duplicitous anti-feminists who are using the lack of services for male victims as a weapon in their war against feminism.

    When we tell victims of violence that “violence against women (by men) is the worst kind of violence (and only one that matters)”, we perpetuate this empathy void.

    “Violence against women is the worst kind of violence, and it’s the only kind that matters”? That WOULD perpetuate the empathy void, IF anyone were actually saying this.

    I am cynical. I’ve had no empathy shown towards my childhood suffering.

    I’m truly sorry your childhood was full of suffering. Nobody should have to suffer like that.

    But I’m also a pacifist and I know better than to willingly hurt someone, even if that someone treated me like shit before.

    That’s good. I’m glad you’re not letting your pain propel you into hurting other people. That’s not always easy.

    I want fairness, period.

    Cool, me too.

    I prefer to opt out from a shitty society that thinks only violence against women matters (ergo: men aren’t people), I prefer to opt out from a shitty society that thinks anti-intellectualism and being cool/popular are the only things that matter (see: elections/politics).

    This is a shitty, anti-intellectual society that has trouble recognizing a LOT of different types of people as people who matter. I don’t think opting out is going to much to change that. And I don’t think spreading this destructive lie about activists working on behalf of DV victims thinking of men as subhumans who aren’t worth bothering with is going to help either.

  86. 86
    John Morales

    Steersman @3.13, I here essay an adumbration of your asseveration:

    Were its core claim genuine you would be all for actual feminism but since you consider what Atheism+ and FTB blogs do to be “feminism” rather than feminism you’re against it.

    (How was that?)

  87. 87
    SallyStrange

    Hey Steersman, I have two words for you:

    “CROCHET”

    “HYPATIA”

    Bite me.

  88. 88
    SallyStrange

    Are you defending Warren Farrell because you sincerely feel he’s worth defending? Or because he’s on your “side”?

    If the former, then we really have nothing to discuss. Farrell’s views on incest and rape are, to me, beyond the pale. If we’re going to solve the problem of rape and domestic violence for men AND woman, then the Overton window must move away from rhetoric like Farrell’s. No two ways about it.

  89. 89
    Steersman

    Sally Strange (#24.2):

    :-)

    Apropos of which and speaking of ”argumentum ad rectum”, you never did adequately or credibly explain or justify your assertion (1) that “dudely mathematicians didn’t realize [that the structure of coral reefs was hyperbolic] either on account of not having being able to model the equations”. Nor how your conclusion holds any water:

    That’s one example of how the exclusion of women slowed down mathematical discovery.

    And since it seems that you’ve deleted my comment on the topic that was waiting moderation on your blog, I have to assume that the deletion was possibly because you realized that you really didn’t have a leg to stand on – a frequent concomitant of argumentum ad rectum. But as others may wish to see what is, arguably, a consequence of the negative influence of dogma on science – think Lysenkoism, I posted that comment to the Pit as well (2).

    —-
    1) “_http://jadehawks.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/a-collection-of-reading-comprehension-fails/#comment-3276”;
    2) “_http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=87977#p87977”;

  90. 90
    John Morales

    [meta]

    Steersman addresses SallyStrange:

    Apropos of which and speaking of ”argumentum ad rectum”, you never did adequately or credibly explain or justify your assertion (1)

    Most inappropriate for this conversation, though, to introduce something she wrote on a third party’s blog.

    And since it seems that you’ve deleted my comment on the topic that was waiting moderation on your blog

    I find it boorish of you that you imagine this is not the place for your personal grievances about how other people’s run their blogs.

    I surely don’t need to tell you that you can find some dirt on her on yet other blogs or the twittersphere.

    (You are, after all, someone who would link to the pit)

  91. 91
    Steersman

    John Morales said (#3.15):

    (How was that?)

    Looks like a serious reading comprehension fail. Either that or you’re seriously into intellectual dishonesty and trolling for fun and profit.

    I’ve already said – several times as a matter of fact – that insofar as one of the “core claims” of feminism is a commitment to equality I’m ready to man the barricades with them in the defense of that “core claim”. However, my impression and argument is that much of what passes for “feminism” on Atheism+ and FreethoughtBlogs is antithetical – in theory and practice – to that claim.

  92. 92
    John Morales

    Steersman:

    [1] Looks like a serious reading comprehension fail. [2] Either that or you’re seriously into intellectual dishonesty and trolling for fun and profit.

    1. You’re claiming that it’s not actually the case that you meant that were its core claim genuine you would be all for actual feminism but since you consider what Atheism+ and FTB blogs do to be “feminism” rather than feminism you’re against it.

    I don’t see how so, so are you loath to guiding me towards comprehending your comment, or shall you accommodate me?

    (We shall see, shan’t we?)

    2. Is it truly such a dichotomy, or are there perhaps other possibilities which don’t deign to mention?

    So, let’s see:

    Good question, although it is, of course, somewhat bedeviled by the question as to what is the definition of a True Feminist ™.

    I left this out, since I don’t dispute that it’s a good question and indeed it depends on the criteria whereby you distinguish between a “feminist” and a True Feminist™, and it being an adumbration I figured that your acknowledgement that my question was a good one was not relevant to its answer.

    But, assuming the frequent claim that they’re really only all about “equality”, then I would say more power to them, may their tribe increase.

    Did my reading comprehension fail when I interpreted your third-person pronoun to refer to True Feminist™s?

    The Canadian suffragette Nellie McClung asserted that “No nation rises higher that its women” which I think contains a substantial measure of truth – the defending of which led to my banning on A Voice for Men. And the book Veiled Threat: The Hidden Power of the Women of Afghanistan by another Canadian woman, Sally Armstrong, is also strongly suggestive of the power of women in promoting and advancing social justice which tends to benefit everyone.

    Did my reading comprehension fail when I interpreted this to mean you are adducing examples of True Feminist™s?

    However, as I argued above, considering the apparent reluctance of many to discuss much less challenge the egregious hypocrisy of those articles of faith I quoted from the AtheismPlus “glossary”, I would say that many self-styled feminists really only pay lip service to that principle, and hardly deserve to be called such.

    Did my reading comprehension fail when I interpreted this to mean you are claiming that some people are not True Feminist™s – i.e. they are “feminists”?

    In addition to that case, while there were some who questioned PZ’s rather “intemperate” outburst (1) egregiously stereotyping, in effect, all MRAs and anti-feminists as having the name Marc Lepine, it seems that there were many others there who used it as an occasion for a “hate-fest” of their own in effect agreeing with that characterization. Nor did I notice that the “feminist” who asserted that “the few isolated good points that MRAs have are indeed good points” actually honoured that and the principle of equality by questioning that stereotyping. And finally, I don’t recollect seeing any feminists in this rather benighted neck of the woods, although less so these days, actually questioning the assertion made by another female “feminist” that “connecting ‘virulent’ with ‘feminism’ is misogyny”, a statement that I figure qualifies as flagrant dogma if not outright bigotry and sexism.

    Did my reading comprehension fail when I interpreted this to mean you are claiming that some people are not True Feminist™ – i.e. they are “feminists”?

    So, much to commend feminism itself, although it seems that there is somewhat of a dearth of people here who can actually and honestly lay claim to the term and that definition.

    Did my reading comprehension fail when I interpreted this to mean you are claiming that there is much to commend True Feminist™s but you find few here who are in fact True Feminist™s?

  93. 93
    Steersman

    John Morales said (#24.4):

    Most inappropriate for this conversation, though, to introduce something she wrote on a third party’s blog.

    Maybe, although I wonder why you would think that what she has written elsewhere should be off the table when we have been discussing at length what many others have written elsewhere too. But she broached the topic – on this thread at least – with her “Hypatia” comment. And that “something she wrote on a third party’s blog” is, I think, entirely relevant to “The New Gender Wars”, the title and topic of Ally’s post, a salient element of which is his closing sentence:

    If readers take anything from this blog, I hope it is that amid the blogosphere’s myriad commands to check our privilege and check our facts, we make occasional effort to check our empathy too.

    And while the question of empathy is maybe a little more intractable even if of substantial importance, the questions of privilege and of checking our facts were, I think, inherent in that comment of hers as well as several other related ones on one of Zvan’s threads. In the case of the facts, while I don’t think, as I argued, that the actual facts supported her contention, the greater problem is that that argumentum ad rectum was in support of some very questionable – to be charitable – feminist dogma that she was and is apparently completely unwilling to defend, discuss, or retract. Which has any number of problematic consequences of some relevance to those gender wars.

    And the question of privilege comes into play in the fact that she and Jadehawk and Stephanie Zvan have the “privilege” afforded them by virtue of them being able to make comments about me and my arguments on their blogs that I don’t have the luxury of responding to – which is basically pretty fucking chickenshit in my books. And while I will readily agree that blog owners have the right to make and enforce the rules of the road as they see fit for those blogs, to do so in a capricious and inequitable manner only provides evidence that they are less interested in free thought and skeptical inquiry than in yellow journalism. Not a particularly efficacious way of resolving any gender wars ….

    I surely don’t need to tell you that you can find some dirt on her on yet other blogs or the twittersphere.

    (You are, after all, someone who would link to the pit)

    And “dirt” is entirely of the same degree of relevance to this post of Ally’s as are questions about a person’s views on particular tenets of feminism that might well be construed to be of some relevance to the topic in play?

    And linking to the Pit, much more so actually posting there, is completely beyond the pale, the other side of the tracks? Egregious stereotypying, indeed.

  94. 94
    hoary puccoon

    Sally Strange–

    I believe the phrase should be “argumentum ab rectum.” if I remember my schoolgirl Latin from a long, long, LONG time ago, “ad” means toward, “ab” means out of.

  95. 95
    Schala

    The CDC says men are 80% more often raped by women then rape (80% of perps), so excuse me for presuming.

    80% of male victime by female perps

    and 0% of female victims of male perps, by something ELSE than penetration. apparently.

    And EVERY indicator of rape does not consider rape by envelopment of men to be rape, ever.

  96. 96
    Schala

    wow thst was a weird eidt

  97. 97
    Astrokid MHRA

    @EdwardGemmer:
    However, it’s a lot easier to hate another group based on whatever imagined flaws they have, so they pick up on the minor differences and attack, attack, attack
    Just like how FTB and “Slymepit” have been fighting for 2+ yrs over a simple “Guys dont do this” when they share the same goals of “Rationality & Freethought”, isnt it? Why cant you all hug each other and get along?

  98. 98
    John Morales

    [meta + OT]

    Steersman, your attempting to justify your boorishness itself is boorish, and I note you don’t deny that you link to the pit and that you don’t need to be told how to trawl the internet for stuff to bring into this discussion.

    And the question of privilege comes into play in the fact that she and Jadehawk and Stephanie Zvan have the “privilege” afforded them by virtue of them being able to make comments about me and my arguments on their blogs that I don’t have the luxury of responding to – which is basically pretty fucking chickenshit in my books.

    Granting your grievance arguendo, nonetheless I consider it a thousandfold more chickenshit to whine about it here rather than taking it like a man.

    (Tell me, O puling posturer, why you are not able to make comments about them and your “arguments” on your blogs that they don’t have the luxury of responding to and whose fault it is)

    Egregious stereotypying, indeed.

    Tautological tautology, actually.

  99. 99
    Steersman

    John Morales said (#24.6):

    I note you don’t deny that you link to the pit and that you don’t need to be told how to trawl the internet for stuff to bring into this discussion.

    Linking to the pit and posting there is only problematic if there’s actually some substantial validity to that rather negative stereotype that you’re peddling. You have some evidence, particularly some applicable to me, to justify your prejudice?

    As for “trawling the internet”, I’m at a loss to where that comes from. The only things I’ve referred to are conversations that I’ve been part of that hardly constitute anything remotely resembling “dirt”.

    Granting your grievance arguendo, nonetheless I consider it a thousandfold more chickenshit to whine about it here rather than taking it like a man.

    You mean that I’m not allowed to whine and bitch about it like a woman? Not allowed to demand a “safe space” where I can talk about my feelings of being hurt – deeply, deeply hurt; I shall require a decade or three of therapy to recover – by such events? ;-)

    But how is turning a blind-eye to the egregious hypocrisy which is, arguably, at the heart of these “gender wars” likely to rectify that situation? Looks like you’re using “stereotype shamming” there to evade confronting the nature of that situation. Which really doesn’t help at all ….

    Egregious stereotypying, indeed.

    Tautological tautology, actually.

    Not really. Stereotypes frequently can be entirely accurate if not of the entire population then of the subsegment from which the stereotype derives. Stereotyping is really only problematic in cases where it consists of judging an entire population, or significant fractions thereof, on the basis of the attributes of a subsegment, and typically “unflattering” ones at that (1):

    A stereotype is a thought that may be adopted about specific types of individuals or certain ways of doing things, but that belief may or may not accurately reflect reality.

    —-
    1) “_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereotyping”;

  100. 100
    John Morales

    Steersman, I note you still don’t deny that you link to the pit and that you don’t need to be told how to trawl the internet for stuff to bring into this discussion.

    (Whether or not so doing constitutes a stereotype is irrelevant to its truth)

  101. 101
    Steersman

    John Morales said (#24.8):

    Steersman, I note you still don’t deny that you link to the pit and that you don’t need to be told how to trawl the internet for stuff to bring into this discussion.

    Why would I want to deny something that I, in apparent contradistinction to you, see no attached or implied opprobrium? And what supposed “stuff” have I “trawled” the internet for that is supposedly so odious? Wikipedia articles? Public posts by PZ Myers and Jadehawk? Section from Stephen Pinker’s book? What?

    (Whether or not so doing constitutes a stereotype is irrelevant to its truth)

    And it’s true that I, probably like you, put my pants on in the morning one leg at a time. How is the truth of those statements relevant to the discussion unless there’s some negative connotations attached to them? Which you haven’t proven to be true in either case.

  102. 102
    John Morales

    Steersman:

    Why would I want to deny something that I, in apparent contradistinction to you, see no attached or implied opprobrium?

    I don’t know; why would you?

    And what supposed “stuff” have I “trawled” the internet for that is supposedly so odious?

    Where did I claim you did any trawling?

    [1] And it’s true that I, probably like you, put my pants on in the morning one leg at a time. [2] How is the truth of those statements relevant to the discussion unless there’s some negative connotations attached to them? [2] Which you haven’t proven to be true in either case.

    1. I generally sit on the edge of my bed and stick both feet into the trouser-legs to put my pants on; that’s two legs at a time.

    2. I don’t know; it was you who introduced dressing-modes into the discussion.

    3. I have proven you (so far) don’t deny my claims; that’s sufficient.

  103. 103
    Steersman

    John Morales said (#3.17):

    Steersman:

    [1] Looks like a serious reading comprehension fail. [2] Either that or you’re seriously into intellectual dishonesty and trolling for fun and profit.

    1. You’re claiming that it’s not actually the case that you meant that were its core claim genuine you would be all for actual feminism but since you consider what Atheism+ and FTB blogs do to be “feminism” rather than feminism you’re against it.

    I don’t see how so, so are you loath to guiding me towards comprehending your comment, or shall you accommodate me?

    I’ll concede at the outset that the answer to your questions which followed the above is, as far as I can see and generally speaking, “No, your reading comprehension did not fail” in those cases you described. So, giving you the benefit of the doubt and since I am not “loath to guiding you towards comprehending my comment”, let’s take a look at exactly what you said (in #3.15) that led to my subsequent “reading comprehension fail” commment, to wit:

    Were its core claim genuine you would be all for actual feminism but since you consider what Atheism+ and FTB blogs do to be “feminism” rather than feminism you’re against it.

    Now, the way I parsed that may have been wrong – and if that is the case then mea culpa – but it was predicated on the assumption – as your phrasing looked rather ambiguous – that your concluding “it” was referring not to the “feminism” [scare quotes] of Atheism+ and FTB but to the “actual feminism” [non-scare quotes] which was underwritten by a “genuine core claim”. So, of course, I wasn’t against the latter but against the former – which was something I emphasized in the second half of my comment (#3.16). And which was something you apparently didn’t read or see or you wouldn’t have responded the way you did in #3.17.

    However, it seems that part of the problem is that you apparently think that I think that all of the feminism on Atheism+ and FTB is of the “feminism” [scare-quotes] variety, that all of it is without merit – which is not at all the case. And which was something I tried to emphasize in that second half of my #3.16 with my assertion that “much (i.e., not all) of what passes for ‘feminism’ on Atheism+ and FTB is antithetical – in theory and practice – to that claim (to equality)”. But, to emphasize the point, I’m quite prepared to agree that, for examples and as FTB and company seem to argue, there are substantial and problematic levels of sexism and gender stereotypying in society, and that the concepts of “privilege” and “patriarchy” have some merit.

    But it was for that reason, that you apparently thought that I was against “feminism with that genuine core claim”, that I sort of assumed that you had misread me. However, that “genuine core claim” is rather problematic, a rather sticky wicket, as, for example, PZ also seems to think that his feminism actually consists of or is based on a “core claim” of equality as well while I and many others see that what happens under his flag looks, as I said, rather antithetical – in theory and practice – to that claim. And something that he seems rather reluctant – being charitable – to give much credence to (1).

    But to conclude, as it’s getting rather late for me, I think it is not at all easy to differentiate between those different facets and their ramifications and consequences – and about which honest people may disagree. But I think that that also necessitates being precise as possible in our language as using different and contradictory meanings and connotations can send the conversation off the rails and into the weeds rather quickly, and keeping the communication channels open – or at least as open as is possible.

    —-
    1) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/12/21/an-experiment-why-do-you-despise-feminism/comment-page-1”;

  104. 104
    Steersman

    John Morales said (#24.10):

    I don’t know; why would you?

    No reason at all – I actually posted a link here to a comment I posted there so I’m hardly denying that, am I? Although I’m trying to find out why you’re making such a big deal out of it.

    Where did I claim you did any trawling?

    Why did you bring it up then? Just to be a dickhead? You said that I “don’t need to be told how to trawl the internet”. Like, big whoop. What is that supposed to prove? That you’re able to use innuendo?

    3. I have proven you (so far) don’t deny my claims; that’s sufficient.

    Which you seem to imply has a supposed opprobrium attached to them. Building some sort of a case are you? For presentation to some Star Chamber? “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Standing here before you in the docket stands the accused, one Steersman, who did, with malice aforethought, actually post [hushed voice rising to a crescendo] on the SlymePit!” [cue fainting jurors ….] Not a particularly credible show there John ….

  105. 105
    John Morales

    Steersman:

    I’ll concede at the outset that the answer to your questions which followed the above is, as far as I can see and generally speaking, “No, your reading comprehension did not fail” in those cases you described.

    Good concession!

    So, giving you the benefit of the doubt and since I am not “loath to guiding you towards comprehending my comment”, let’s take a look at exactly what you said (in #3.15) that led to my subsequent “reading comprehension fail” commment, to wit:

    Let’s.

    Were its core claim genuine you would be all for actual feminism but since you consider what Atheism+ and FTB blogs do to be “feminism” rather than feminism you’re against it.

    Now, the way I parsed that may have been wrong – and if that is the case then mea culpa – but it was predicated on the assumption – as your phrasing looked rather ambiguous – that your concluding “it” was referring not to the “feminism” [scare quotes] of Atheism+ and FTB but to the “actual feminism” [non-scare quotes] which was underwritten by a “genuine core claim”.

    It was wrong.

    Were its core claim genuine you would be all for actual feminism but since you consider what Atheism+ and FTB blogs do to be “feminism” rather than feminism you’re against it.
    is equivalent to the conjunction of
    Were its core claim genuine you would be all for actual feminism
    and
    since you consider what Atheism+ and FTB blogs do to be “feminism” rather than feminism you’re against it.

    (Still think that final ‘it’ refers to feminism?)

    So, of course, I wasn’t against the latter but against the former – which was something I emphasized in the second half of my comment (#3.16). And which was something you apparently didn’t read or see or you wouldn’t have responded the way you did in #3.17.

    Clearly, my response was opaque to you, but sure, feel free to clarify: Which of these statements is false?

    1. Were its core claim genuine you would be all for actual feminism.

    2. since you consider what Atheism+ and FTB blogs do to be “feminism” rather than feminism you’re against it.

    However, it seems that part of the problem is that you apparently think that I think that all of the feminism on Atheism+ and FTB is of the “feminism” [scare-quotes] variety, that all of it is without merit – which is not at all the case.

    It may seem so to you, but I made no such claim. What I claimed is that you adduced Atheism+ and FTB as exemplars of “feminism” [scare-quotes] variety.

    Do you dispute this claim?

    And which was something I tried to emphasize in that second half of my #3.16 with my assertion that “much (i.e., not all) of what passes for ‘feminism’ on Atheism+ and FTB is antithetical – in theory and practice – to that claim (to equality)”.

    Your emphasis is duly noted and I do not miss the implication; you claim that some of what passes for ‘feminism’ on Atheism+ and FTB is antithetical – in theory and practice – to that claim.

    (But then, I didn’t claim otherwise)

    But, to emphasize the point, I’m quite prepared to agree that, for examples and as FTB and company seem to argue, there are substantial and problematic levels of sexism and gender stereotypying in society, and that the concepts of “privilege” and “patriarchy” have some merit.

    Duly noted.

    But it was for that reason, that you apparently thought that I was against “feminism with that genuine core claim”, that I sort of assumed that you had misread me.

    There was (nor is) any such appearance, since I was quite explicit: “Were its core claim genuine you would be all for actual feminism”.

    However, that “genuine core claim” is rather problematic, a rather sticky wicket, as, for example, PZ also seems to think that his feminism actually consists of or is based on a “core claim” of equality as well while I and many others see that what happens under his flag looks, as I said, rather antithetical – in theory and practice – to that claim. And something that he seems rather reluctant – being charitable – to give much credence to (1).

    What a laboured way to claim that, for example, PZ seems hypocritical to you.

    (But even were it so, then it should be the hypocrisy you call out, not the actual stance regarding which you consider he’s being hypocritical)

    But to conclude, as it’s getting rather late for me, I think it is not at all easy to differentiate between those different facets and their ramifications and consequences – and about which honest people may disagree. But I think that that also necessitates being precise as possible in our language as using different and contradictory meanings and connotations can send the conversation off the rails and into the weeds rather quickly, and keeping the communication channels open – or at least as open as is possible.

    To conclude, I think you’re equivocating between ‘feminists’ and feminists (AKA True Feminist™ in your vernacular), and that you have yet to adduce any criterion with which to make that distinction, other than your perceived hypocrisy in the application of True Feminist™

  106. 106
    John Morales

    Steersman:

    No reason at all – I actually posted a link here to a comment I posted there so I’m hardly denying that, am I? Although I’m trying to find out why you’re making such a big deal out of it.

    I’m making a big deal about it?

    (I mentioned it once, and now you pick at that scab so that I respond)

    Why did you bring it up then? Just to be a dickhead? You said that I “don’t need to be told how to trawl the internet”. Like, big whoop. What is that supposed to prove? That you’re able to use innuendo?

    Clever boy!

    Which you seem to imply has a supposed opprobrium attached to them.

    Maybe so, maybe not — point is that you’re not speaking about what the implication is, but rather about how you imagine it must seem.

    (And your acumen has already been noted)

    For presentation to some Star Chamber?

    Such grandiosity!

    No, for presentation to the readership of this blog.

    “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Standing here before you in the docket stands the accused, one Steersman, who did, with malice aforethought, actually post [hushed voice rising to a crescendo] on the SlymePit!” [cue fainting jurors ….]

    Your Walter Mitty impersonation is hopeful.

    Not a particularly credible show there John ….

    Credible or not, there it is. It is undeniable. ;)

    (In passing, I see you have yet to educate yourself about the use of ellipsis)

  107. 107
    Schala

    Sexual assault:
    http://www.mincava.umn.edu/documents/sexoff/sexoff.html#idp7411632
    About 10% of the rapes in the three States did not conform to the UCR definition of forcible rape–the victims were male (8.7% of rapes), the victim and offender were both female (0.8%), or the victim was male and the offender was female (0.2%).

    That’s what you get if you define rape as “the victim being penetrated”, thus men a man has PIV sex with a woman, he can’t be raped, he’s not penetrated.

    If you define envelopment rape as rape in surveys and crime statistics, you end up with roughly 50% male victims, with 40% female perpetrators overall (80% female perps for male victims, and apparently 1% against female victims – but consider that neither penetration or envelopment is likely to occur in that case).

  108. 108
    Steersman

    John Morales said (#24.12):

    Maybe so, maybe not — point is that you’re not speaking about what the implication is, but rather about how you imagine it must seem.

    After you “opened hostilities” with your admitted innuendo and insinuations.

    (And your acumen has already been noted)

    As yours have been in the fields of computer technologies, and with various concepts and definitions such as “categorical thinking” and “stereotyping”.

    (In passing, I see you have yet to educate yourself about the use of ellipsis)

    I’ll take the suggestion “under advisement” as there is probably some justification for it. Although I think that one of its functions – “in poetry, … used to highlight sarcasm or make the reader think about the last points in the poem” (1) – is, more or less, what I tend to use it for. As if to suggest that “there’s very much more that I could say on the topic, but the margins here are far too narrow to contain it all” – so to speak.

    —-
    1) “_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellipsis”;

  109. 109
    Steersman

    John Morales said (#3.19):

    since you consider what Atheism+ and FTB blogs do to be “feminism” rather than feminism you’re against it.

    (Still think that final ‘it’ refers to feminism?)

    If you insist that it is your intent that that ‘it’ refers to “feminism” [scare quotes] then I’ll agree that that is definitely your intent. However, just considering that sentence on its own, I think it is rather ambiguous and likely to be a source of confusion, particularly if the surrounding context is similarly ambiguous – I would probably have replaced that ‘it’ with “that feminism of Atheism+/FTB”.

    …. What I claimed is that you adduced Atheism+ and FTB as exemplars of “feminism” [scare-quotes] variety.

    Do you dispute this claim?

    No.

    There was (nor is) any such appearance, since I was quite explicit: “Were its core claim genuine you would be all for actual feminism”.

    Yes, and I thought it was inconsistent with your following phrase, although it was and is consistent with your subsequently stated intent.

    To conclude, I think you’re equivocating between ‘feminists’ and feminists (AKA True Feminist™ in your vernacular), and that you have yet to adduce any criterion with which to make that distinction, other than your perceived hypocrisy in the application of True Feminist™

    Maybe, although I think less so that than trying to identify the salient difference between those two categories. But I like your suggestion there that hypocrisy is a credible criterion for determining whether the “core claim” of equality is really “genuine” or not. And, as a point of reference and to reiterate, I think that, at least to the extent that, as discussed, FTB and Atheism+ agree with and support those problematic if not antithetical definitions and principles delineated in the latter’s “glossary”, they are egregiously hypocritical in their application of that supposed “core claim” of equality. Hardly a “foolish inconsistency” ….

  110. 110
    johngreg

    Astrokid MHRA said:

    Just like how FTB and “Slymepit” have been fighting for 2+ yrs over a simple “Guys dont do this” when….

    Fuck, this does become tiresome. The arguments are not, never were, never have been, about Watson’s “Guys, don’t do this” statement. The claim that that is at the core of the dispute is part of the Big Lie carried out primarily by FfTB bloggers and commentariat. The impetus and start of the big dispute, the so called Deep Rifts, was Abbie’s post on ERV regarding Watson’s mistreatment of Steph McGraw. NOT, the “Guys, don’t do this” statement.

  111. 111
    Thil

    @Ally Fogg

    when you complain about the number of influential people in academia and politics who come from upper middle class oxbrige educated back grounds, are you just suggesting that lower class people should have more opportunities or are you also actually blaming upper class people for taking advantage of their privilege?

  112. 112
    Thil

    @Ally Fogg

    when you complain about the number of influential people in academia and politics who come from upper middle class oxbrige educated back grounds, are you just suggesting that lower class people should have more opportunities or are you also actually blaming upper class people for taking advantage of their privilege?

  113. 113
    iamcuriousblue

    oolon @3.1:

    “men’s rights ‘movement’ … I put that in quotes as also what successes do they have, where are they active in activism?”

    I tend to agree – the Men’s Rights movement is actually not strong in terms of numbers or effectiveness. Which also doesn’t exactly square with the rhetoric of many in the feminist movement, notably Manboobz, the UToronto kids, and the like to portray the Men’s Rights Activists as the most dangerous hate group since the Civil Rights-era Klan. Not to mention, more than a little bit of MRA-baiting, basically trying to paint all critics of certain feminist agendas as, basically, MRAs (and hence, members of a dangerous “hate group”), the effect of which is to greatly exaggerate the scope and influence of Men’s Rights movement.

  114. 114
    Thil

    I’ve always thought the closest male equivalent to “female circumcision” is probably castration.

  115. 115
    iamcuriousblue

    Oolon @ 3.12:

    “But I’m not really sure about that as I’ve not seen any sex-negative/anti-sex worker/TERF/etc feminists get away with no criticism from the small bunch of sex-positive/pro-sex worker/trans friendly feminists I know of on FTB/Shakesville/Twitter.”

    Really? So how about PZ’s recent shoutout to Twisty Faster and I Blame the Patriarchy?:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/04/23/maybe-the-right-phrase-is-revolutionary-feminist/

    Or the widespread course of approval (and no sign of dissent) from Rebecca Watson and other FTB bloggers to Caroline Heldman’s thoroughly unnuanced and old-school presentation on sexual objectification:

    http://skepchick.org/2013/02/objectified/

    Though it never specifically mentions porn and sex work, it is full of dogwhistles that clearly align the speakers position with second-wave antiporn feminism and against sex-positive feminism.

    My impression is that among the neofeminist crowd in places like the more aggressively feminist FTB blogs, Skepchick, Pandagon, and particularly, Shakesville, the main problem that they have with old-school “TERF” radical feminism is the transphobia, and that if that element is removed, they have little problem with things like censorship of sexual speech, prosecution of clients of sex workers (even while claiming to be “pro-sex worker”), having a generalized antipathy toward cis male sexuality, and so on. In other words, a basically pro-trans version of the same old authoritarian radical feminism. Which would explain PZ’s affinity for Twisty Faster, who’s one of the few old-school radfems to specifically reject transphobia.

  116. 116
    Astrokid MHRA

    @johngreg:
    Peace.. I know the depth of the disgreement that led to the deep rifts.. the best summary of which is James Onen’s Letter to the Slymepit. I responded to Gemmer’s absurdly simplistic notion ‘why cant feminists & MRM get along instead of fighting, esp as you are working towards the same goals’.. with the correspondingly absurdly simplistic narrative of the Deep Rifts.. to indicate that one needs to study this stuff and history before one is able to have a respectable opinion.

    I moved from the Atheist community to the MRM only after a reasonably thorough study of feminism and men’s issues.. To see people from the ‘evidence based’ Atheist community.. esp Slymepitters voice such simplistic notions blows my mind.

  117. 117
    johngreg

    Astrokid, thanks for the clarification. I did indeed miss your point.

  118. 118
    Jamie Green

    So women are being coddled, which is why 1 in 4 are raped and why the vast majority of people in poverty are women and their children, whereas trans* men and women are treated harshly, to the point that many commit suicide, but this means that the survivors are smarter than everyone else and…

    Sorry, I give up. This doesn’t even make any sense.

    Sally Strange, you are still struggling? Don’t worry, you’ll catch on. You see men are more likely to become victims of crime, that is why the smart ones remove themselves from those situations where they are likely to become victimized. This enables them to “survive”, and since it is the smart ones who are likely to survive, they tend to do better because being smart requires a certain level of intelligence. Generally speaking, it’s the dumb people who become victimized, not the smart ones. Unfortunately, even the “smart” men often have to resort to dangerous work, which is also why men are far more likely to be injured at work than women. Alas, they have to work harder, because most of the safe high paying jobs are not male friendly, such as nursing or healthcare.

    I don’t know what this has to do with women getting raped, so I’ll let you explain why uneducated “dumb” women are also more likely to be victimized than smart educated women.

  119. 119
    JE

    You’re making the Easy Evangelism mistake. Assuming that people agree with your fundamental world views and only disagree with your conclusions. Generally MRAs don’t believe that women have less economic opportunities than men in the western world in the 21st century. Generally the MRA view is that the pay gap is primarily created because many of those opportunities carry huge downsides so that few people would take them willingly and that a large part of societies gender roles are centered around coercing men into making those choices anyway. Based on this world view supporting feminism on this point is at best ineffectual, potentially a distraction from the actual problem and at worst has the potential to hurt a lot of men by taking away their ability to perform their gender role without removing the consequences for failure. In the world seen by most MRAs the logical course of action is to focus almost exclusively on the pressures put on men.

  120. 120
    JE

    “I’ve tried to avoid attacking the MRM on the issues brought up, and instead focused on explaining the issues with the way they go about it and their obsession with blaming pre-feminist gender roles on feminism.”

    No body today is responsible for gender roles a century ago, they are however responsible for whether or not they promote or defend harmful gender roles. “We didn’t start it” isn’t an excuse.

    “it’s that most feminists I’ve talked to have been all too willing to discuss women’s choices, why women make the choices they make, and what stands in the way of making different choices.”

    According to a sizable portion of internet feminism thinking women’s choices have any effect on the pay gap makes you an MRA. So welcome to the big tent I suppose.

    “The MRM is supposedly gaining immense support.”

    Compared to it’s position and history? Yes. In absolute terms? No.

    “I’m pretty sure that if feminists exchanged the common complaint of “Women are judged by their sexiness even in contexts where sexiness is irrelevant, while men are not (to the same degree)” with “Men are more attracted to sexy women”, the MRM would see it as a case of misandry.”

    Complaining about men’s sexual and romantic preferences is an expected part of the female gender role and it’s not one that a large portion of feminist women have rejected. Whether it’s age, or weight, or bust size or demeanor or presentation there isn’t a male preference that doesn’t get regularly attacked by feminists. Some MRAs think it’s misandry, some think it can be justified.

  121. 121
    google

    I just couldn’t leave your web site prior to suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the usual info an individual provide for your guests? Is going to be again often in order to check up on new posts

  122. 122
    Zandy Alexander

    Can I please have some feedback?

    ‘The gender-war and the internet, and how they effect each other’
    by Zandy Alexander

    As I write this article I will take sides, male or female, and then I will switch positions every so often. Whichever viewpoint I write from, I will attempt to state and overstate the case without holding back, in order that the facts are presented to maximum effect. For the emotions of the gender war have become very real within society today such that we are hearing of domestic massacres, school and mall shootings and so on. The perpetrators of these crimes clearly cannot deal with their own emotions. However this malaise is effecting every one of us to a differing extent. It is obvious that computers and the internet are dumbing us down, reducing our sensibilities to a new low, unlike anything previously experienced.
    I will not hold back when writing this essay. Some may find it shocking to read what I have written. I will attempt to document the rising hatred which is now clearly witnessed in society. But I feel that I must present each case scenario, male and female – to full effect, such that we totally understand the drama and the passion and the desperate tragic intensity of each side of the divide.
    My motivation for writing this is simply that I cannot believe the insanity that now exists in society, namely the war between the sexes, and the hysterical destruction that computers and the internet are bring down on us all – and how these two phenomenon may be related very strongly. For the record, I am a man, but will attempt to view the male-female divide with fairness, and with objectivity and also with my wife’s help!

    My grandmother was a suffragette. My family have been left-wing for the entirety of the last century. I have fought for the oppressed all my life. But today we encounter a new war between the sexes, unlike anything previously imagined. Society is in trouble – it is worse than sick, with many things gone wrong, over and beyond the sex war. Mankind appears to be viewing it’s own end, and few provide any answers. We cling to modernity and technology, yet
    computers and the cyberworld appear to have stabbed us in the back. This thing which we so loved has now morphed into something terrible, a hysterical monster which is destroying humanity with every passing second.
    Meanwhile, within the gender war, the women fight on, valiantly, to achieve their just and equal position in society. And yet there is a sense of everyone fighting for the last bag of cash within a world which is broken and cannot give any more. The banks and the entire financial system are overloaded and may crash soon. The globe is poisoned and toxic and cannot take any more.
    The internet has not helped. It is opaque and illusory and has destroyed clarity. The world has gone wrong in so many ways it is hard to know who or what to blame. It is important to be able to criticise the women without being taken for a gay or a psychotic. As a man, I do recognise the aggression, conflict, wars, suffering and death that paternal society has caused. If it is the case that women are taking over, then it is hard to imagine that they create as much desolation as the men have already caused. And yet things are now monstrously wrong. Men and women together must speak out, and denounce the vein of superficiality which now rules. The world has now become plastic, disposable, just plain stupid, and also utterly false in every possible way.
    As a man, it is easy to target the women with this critique. That we, the men, are proud to be rough, hard-working, dirty in appearance, and we feel we should be welcomed within society, on city pavements, in trains and buses, and yet today we feel rejected by an utterly base and valueless aesthetic – namely the cult of the narcissistic. What is this judgement on us – that women have instigated? Look at them and wonder.
    The hair, the eyelashes, the stillettoes, the perfume, all the money and the time spent. We the men intuitively recognise this as negativity, even the root of evil. Evil because it is at the expense of he who works hard with dirty hands and a clean soul. Evil because it is a cult, the cult of feminism divorced from the spirit of men and instead married to capitalism, married to modernity, married to the lust for wealth, married to laziness. All of these millions of women have conspired together to destroy the men, to rape the planet, to create and horde wealth yet create pollution, to create cancer, to promote the car-oriented society, to rape the third world. And in order to achieve these goals they have hijacked the banks, hijacked the media, hijacked the governments. The married women are divorcing their husbands and suing for vast sums, or not even bothering with marriage but simply having children anyway – all the better to brain-wash and manipulate their children, to spoil them, to feminize them, to prepare them for a castrated existence in the womb of the nanny-state, the global mother who is to come. The internet has aided all of this by being opaque and passive. It soaks up any possible dissent, thus quenching it. It gives the illusion of political power, of autonomy, of the idea of joining forces around the world to nurture revolution, but after 21 years of existence it is now clear that the world wide web is more of a world wide wimper. The spirit of revolution is by definition a male, macho exercise. Thus the web castrates the men, and in doing so buries democracy. It is ironic and paradoxical that a man, Berners Lee, invented it and more ironic that geeks and hackers who patrol, analyse and service the internet are mainly men. For even if the women’s revolution did not invent or fine-tune the internet, they are the benefactors.
    Superficiality now rules, in a measure never before imagined. Everything is plastic, from computers to cars, from clothing to bedsheets to food, to petrol. Ignorance is everywhere. Men do not wish to hate women, nor women to hate men. And yet that’s what’s happening. We are being driven to this extreme by forces we do not yet understand. Fear is rampant, in the media, on TV, in the parks and the parking lots and on the highway and in the malls and even in the houses. We have become a nation of neurotics. We are fed our thrice daily diet of crude fear by the fearmongerers of the media. Terrorists on the news. Insurance men selling us policies. The children are not allowed out of the house any more. Suddenly every man with a beard is a possible paedeophile, every school is a possible shoot out, every school kid a possible junkie, every priest or DJ a possible sex offender, every love-making a possible infection, every marriage a possible law-suit, every meal a possiblity of chemical hazard.
    It seems that women are expert at jacking up these fears to red-alert levels. They will bring in any possible authority, police, government, media, in order to shield themselves better from what they fear. And they fear even insects, dirt, dust and so on. This is not fear, it is mental illness. They confer in groups and form concencus opinions thus damning and condemning us the men, forcing us to sanitize, to be blindly lead by them through the sterile, futile lunatic cell that is their world. And thus the men give up. We become depressed, mentally unbalanced, impotent, terminally lost. Welcome to the gynocracy.

  123. 123
    carnation

    You will go far in the man-o-sphere, perfect blend of dubious claims, lurid (false) analysis and doomsday scenario, all with a vague sci-fi vibe.

  124. 124
    Zandy Alexander

    Please understand – I REALLY do not wish to take sides in the sex war. My motivation for requesting feedback is merely to attempt to find others who agree that computers and the internet are making things (meaning the sex war in particular) infinitely worse. Please define exactly how my analysis is false. Lets pool our knowledge rather than fight. To target and discuss the sex war is not to approve of it – it is an attempt to make things better. Those who deny it’s existence merely exasperate the problem. And I would NEVER EVER suggest either sex is superior, as I would NEVER suggest any race or religion is superior either. So – please clarify and hopefully constructively critique my writing. It is all too easy to throw mud and then hide.

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