A history of ad hominem gender shaming »« Male victims, screening and victim-blaming

Men, memes and misogyny

Last week the Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland made one of his periodic forays into gender politics, sparked by the Liberal Democrats’ saga of sleaze, the latest Twitterstorms and a tacky plastic surgery game app.

I fully endorse the main message of the piece, that men should actively involve themselves in challenging and combatting misogyny and gender oppression. Beneath that I had several disagreements. I despise the ‘man-up’ cliche on which he concludes, especially when applied to the type of chivalrous protector role suggested here. This type of benevolent sexism seems to me very much part of the problem, not the solution. His suggestion that the forthcoming Southbank conference Being A Man should focus on what men can do to help women merely amplifies that.

At the heart of the piece is a section on the part played by women in propagating misogyny.

Some would seize on this evidence gleefully, to say women are to blame for sexism along with everything else routinely laid at their door. That’s adamantly not my point here. Rather, just as ethnic minorities can internalise the very worst things said about them over many centuries, so some women have imbibed so much misogyny, it’s eventually got under their skin and found a home there.

Viewed like this, the battle for equality no longer resembles the war between men and women of old. But there is a war going on. It’s a war against femaleness itself – one that is, to stress again, prosecuted chiefly by men, but all too often with the collaboration of women.

The notion of a ‘war against femaleness’ seems confused to me. Is he talking about the social construction of traditional female gender? If so, I’d say the opposite is happening – if there is a war here it is actually being waged on deviations from subordinate, compliant, superficial femininity. Or does he mean there is a war against women? That’s a familiar claim and one which I believe (just like the same claim about men) founders on its own hyperbole, to the extent that it becomes neither instructive nor functional.

What I really find intriguing in this section though is the way in which Jonathan seems to imply that misogyny is “imbibed” and expressed in ways that are fundamentally different for men and women. He’s not alone in this, a lot of feminist and pro-feminist writing makes the same assumption, that misogyny is something that is fundamentally owned by men, created by men, somehow essential to men, and when women join in it is as tourists, cheerleaders or bandwagon jumpers, rather than central co-instigators and participants.

I’m not convinced this is true. it makes more sense to me to think of men’s misogyny in the same way that Jonathan here describes women’s misogyny – that men have imbibed so much misogyny it’s eventually got under their skin and found a home there.

While people of different genders are, of course, differently socialised, they are not raised on Mars and Venus. We all swim in the same ideological waters, breathe the same culture, absorb the same messages. Boys (in western liberal societies) are not raised with specific instructions to hate or fear women, rather both boys and girls are raised with almost identical messages about socially acceptable gender roles, about socially acceptable (and gender-specific) sexual behaviour, how nice girls behave, what it is to be a real man. Consequently boys too often grow into men that despise women who fail to meet exacting beauty standards, but so too do women. Women who depart from the script of demure, modest and restrained sexuality will be reviled as sluts or slags by women and men alike.

In that sense, misogyny is not something men do to women with an occasional female collaborators. It is an ambient dynamic in society, a collection of attitudes, beliefs and values that are passed down through generations and shared, gradually evolving to survive and thrive in new environments, whether changing workplaces and cultural loci or the new reality online. In other words, misogyny can be understood as a rather classic example of meme theory.

I appreciate that at this point some readers will be spluttering that I’m trying to get men off the hook for the oppression of women. With respect, I don’t think I am. What I’m saying is that challenging misogyny and all forms of gender or other oppression will need to be a shared project.

I also consider this a rather more optimistic way of considering the issue. Analyses which describe misogyny as being somehow inherent or even essential to men or masculinity strike me as being ultimately disempowering. I refuse to accept that gendered hatred and oppression (of any flavour) is inevitable or invariable. If we consider misogynistic attitudes and values to be broadly memetic, then we accept that we can change our society in such a way that they will either wither and die or evolve beyond all recognition. I consider that a rather comforting thought.

Comments

  1. summerblues says

    ” He’s not alone in this, a lot of feminist and pro-feminist writing makes the same assumption, that misogyny is something that is fundamentally owned by men, created by men, somehow essential to men, and when women join in it is as tourists, cheerleaders or bandwagon jumpers, rather than central co-instigators and participants.”

    Wow, really? This sounds…naive. Some folks truly believe that we don’t know what we are doing? There’s still a lot of innocence (not realizing) and ignorance out there. In my experience, though, once this has been pointed out and learned about, we each now have a choice as to how we want to be.

    No, it’s not just men. We women are intelligent human beings fully capable of deciding that we are going to play this game. Silly writers.

    Good morning, Ally.

  2. brucegee1962 says

    I love discussing meme theory.

    I think you’re right. I also think that looking at misogyny as a meme-plex brings with it some important corollaries.

    Memes don’t just develop on their own. Like genetic adaptations, they tend to spread in populations if they give the culture that supports them a competitive advantage over other cultures that lack them. For me, this insight was one of the key puzzle pieces that completed my transition to atheism, since it solves the “altruism problem.” Why do so many cultures across the planet share the same basic concepts of good and evil? Not because of some god, but rather because cultures that promote the “good” (cooperative, pro-social) memes have a competitive advantage over cultures that lack them. In this specific case, no doubt cultures that promoted the meme that “women as fragile treasures who need to be protected by men” had a competitive advantage over cultures with various competing memes, such as “women as property,” or “women as punching bags.”

    In a larger sense, I think that many of the ideas that we progressives are fighting against these days are best seen, not as inherently evil (by which I mean detrimental to equitable society), but as rather as memes that once gave their culture a competitive advantage in earlier times, but which have now outlived their usefulness as society has progressed. I would put religion into this category, as well as racism, homophobia, sexual prohibitions, etc. All of these meme-plexes came originally with positives and negatives for the cultures that promoted them; it’s just that, as society has developed, the positives have disappeared while the negatives have been thrown into higher relief. Bad memes are a bit like vestigial organs — appendixes that no longer serve a useful function, yet still occasionally get inflamed.

    Seen this way, it becomes obvious why so much of traditional culture revolves around controlling sexuality. With ancient cultures in constant competition over resources, any meme-plex that upped its host culture’s birth rate would have given that culture an enormous advantage. Now, though, that advantage has completely disappeared, but we’re still stuck with the negative repercussions of the memes.

  3. jamessweet says

    The notion of a ‘war against femaleness’ seems confused to me. Is he talking about the social construction of traditional female gender? If so, I’d say the opposite is happening – if there is a war here it is actually being waged on deviations from subordinate, compliant, superficial femininity.

    I think there is some of both. My wife often points out to me the ways in which stuff that women “traditionally” enjoy is denigrated in the mainstream. We speak derisively of “chick flicks”, for example, but (as a society) are largely silent about action blockbusters starring white men. The problem is twofold: Not only is it problematic to pigeonhole women into liking quieter movies about relationships, it is also problematic that we ghettoize that type of movie as something untouchable.

    In other words, not only are women stereotyped as to their preferences and interests, but those preferences and interests are denigrated as being fundamentally inferior. I would argue that this is problematic whether or not gender is purely socially constructed.

  4. carnation says

    Excellent post, Ally.

    An example of this is the popularity of socially conservative religions with both sexes, I’m thinking the radical Christian fundamentalists who rail against abortion and divorce in the US, for example.

  5. Adiabat says

    I agree with summerblues. I always find these “false consciousness” claims regarding women to be much worse misogyny than most other things. It denies women their agency and their ability to choose for themselves what to think and turns them into victims.

    This line got me thinking as well:

    Consequently boys too often grow into men that despise women who fail to meet exacting beauty standards, but so too do women.

    Do men really despise women who fail to meet certain beauty standards? I don’t think so, as I often see men as capable of finding beauty in a woman that she can’t even see herself. The magazine industry seems to make women feel so bad about themselves in ways that most men really couldn’t give a fig about to the point that men are often disbelieved by women when they say that they find them attractive.

    There is a disparity between how some men treat attractive women vs unattractive women* but I’ve always thought that the more unattractive a men finds a women the more he treats that woman like he does other men. That is, it’s not that he treats unattractive women ‘worse’, but rather that he stops treating them ‘better’.

    * And of course the reverse is also true.

  6. Adiabat says

    Jamessweet:

    but (as a society) are largely silent about action blockbusters starring white men.

    I disagree, the concept of the ‘dumb action movie’ isn’t exactly unheard of, it’s just that men aren’t touchy about liking dumb action movies because they are fun to watch. And I think many men aren’t too ashamed of admitting to liking the occasional ‘chick flick’.

    And of course men are generally allowed football and beer as interests, otherwise they are mocked. Consider the derision the predominantly “white male” interest of trainspotting receives from society.

  7. Gjenganger says

    Excellent analysis, Ally. Of course where we disagre is that I see gender roles in general and the current set specifically as acceptable, natural and partly founded in biology. Whereas you think we can and should get rid of them.

  8. Adiabat says

    it’s just that men aren’t touchy about liking dumb action movies because they are fun to watch

    I should add that most women aren’t ashamed of liking chick flicks either, nor do women mind the occasional dumb action movie. For most people movie-preference is a bit of a non-issue.

  9. Gjenganger says

    @3 Jamessweet.
    I’d challenge that. How about “Lad’s mags”? “Lager louts”? Pornography and shoot-em-up games are seen as both essentially male and essentially sleazy, even if they go not have a nice alliterative named like ‘chick flick’.

  10. Gjenganger says

    Consequently boys too often grow into men that despise women who fail to meet exacting beauty standards, ….

    Do they really? Even for those who judge women pretty much as potential sex partners the reaction would depend on whether the women were friendly, approachable, attainable, or promised excessively more than they would consider delivering. One dynamic is surely that extremely attractive women erve to remind you of the fact that that you are too much of a loser to have a chance with them, whereas one definition of a slag is a woman whose standards are so low that even someome as disgusting as you might have a chance.

  11. Superficially Anonymous says

    10 Gjenganger

    Can’t say as I’ve noticed it either, most of my female friends aren’t great lookers but what do I care how someone looks unless I intend to get romantic with them? if we’re talking about ‘despising’ as not being attracted to ugly people then that’s unisex and the reverse is part of the whole ‘friendzone’ thing.

    What I have noticed, however, is pretty women getting an easier ride than ugly women. That’s not people being bad to the ugly women though, it’s people being good to the pretty women. Ugly women in my social group and everywhere I’ve worked get treated as just another person.

  12. karmacat says

    This is an interesting discussion about how sexism and misogyny develops in a human society. I would caution some people about extrapolations of this idea in reference to biology. It is diffiucult to study how biology affects gender roles since you can’t isolate people from the environmental factors. Throughout history, people have said women can’t do some things, such as being a doctor, being good at math, being firefighters and even being able to read.

    @2BruceGee1962
    Societies may have been successful despite the memes in that particular culture. Success may have been more related to people being able to work together to fight and take over another group of people. The Iroqois nation had different memes about gender roles. They were successful because they were able to unite several different tribes. (but then they got wiped out by small pox and then colonists)

  13. Ally Fogg says

    I’d ask you all to note that I didn’t say all men, or even most men despise women who are deemed insufficiently attractive – I said “too many men.”

    I’ll confess that’s a bit of a rhetorical wriggle, as it is one of those situations where any number is too many.

    But since people are picking up on it, I’d say most of us can be prone to this or have fallen into it occasionally, some men do it a bit, and a minority of men do it a lot.

    Where it tends to come out is when a woman annoys us for other reasons and the immediate go-to insult is the “fat ugly bitch” type thing. In the same way as for men, the go-to insult tends to be an assault on masculinity / heterosexuality.

    I think you can look at the stuff thrown at Beth Tweddle this week, it was pretty nasty and very much focussed on her appearance.

    You could of course point out that if Luis Suarez or someone was doing a Q&A. he might get some similar stuff. The difference is that people have strong feelings about Suarez already, they already hate him and are motivated to insult him.

    I refuse to believe that if a male gymnast was doing a Q&A, he would get that volume of insult and abuse based purely on his perceived attractiveness.

    Similarly, when a female writer says something controversial online, her byline photo will often be torn to pieces by commenters in a way that very rarely happens to men.

    Likewise women having abuse about their appearance shouted to them on the streets. Etc etc etc.

  14. Superficially Anonymous says

    @13:

    Isn’t that just using the insult you know will work though? On the few times I’ve wanted to really hurt a woman I’ve gone for weight because I know it’ll work. I don’t despise fat women, in fact I happen to be attracted to larger women, but I do know that it’s not an insult most women will be able to laugh off.

    The insults I would go for with men wouldn’t concern their appearances because men don’t seem to judge their self worth like that, in my experience men derive self worth from their utility to their loved ones or to society. If I had to really wound a man I’d attack their competence at their job, suggest that they were a burden on their family and loved ones and that all they did was hold others back.

    (note: I don’t make a habit of insulting people, most of this is from listening to my friends’ concerns and insecurities)

  15. lelapaletute says

    @14 I find it pretty remarkable you think a woman would be more offended by being told that she was fat than by being told they were a burden on their family and lvoed ones. Whilst I agree there’s not many women who could shrug off a fatty jibe with equanimity, I also don’t know any woman who wouldn’t be more hurt by the latter insult. I think the fact that you believe it would says a lot, not about where women derive their self-worth, but about where society situates their value.

  16. leftwingfox says

    On the few times I’ve wanted to really hurt a woman I’ve gone for weight because I know it’ll work. I don’t despise fat women, in fact I happen to be attracted to larger women, but I do know that it’s not an insult most women will be able to laugh off.

    How do you not see that as hurting the “larger women” you claim to care about? Why use phrases that reinforce the idea that “fat” is a terrible thing, if you don’t believe it actually is? How is that any different than using bigoted slurs as insults.

    It’s like all the so-called progressives who imply Ann Coulter is trans* as a means of insulting her. It makes it seem like being trans* is the worst thing about her; worse than the sophistry, bigotry, violent rhetoric or radical tribal conservatism. You can’t turn around and say that you have no problem with trans* people, when you were just mocking someone for being trans*.

  17. JT says

    I think the fact that you believe it would says a lot, not about where women derive their self-worth, but about where society situates their value.(lela)

    Who makes up society? Im pretty sure most people in society pick up their cues from the people around them. So, if we end up using certain slurs to hurt people its pretty obvious someone showed us how well it could work.

  18. lelapaletute says

    Who makes up society? Im pretty sure most people in society pick up their cues from the people around them. So, if we end up using certain slurs to hurt people its pretty obvious someone showed us how well it could work.

    Yes, and I never said that calling a woman fat wouldn’t ‘work’, i.e. hurt. But I argue that being denigrated as a friend or family member would hurt a lot more; it certainly would me, and I have (regrettably) as strong a hang-up as any western woman about my body image. But the fact is, people (especially men, as exemplified above at 14) would not find this out because they would not base their insult based purely on what they think would matter to me, an individual human being, but on what they think OUGHT to matter to a generic woman. i.e., they think I will care more about my weight that about my capacities as a supportive friend or family member because THEY think my weight is more important than those capacities, ir should be to me.

    i.e., the fact that women will be hurt by being called fat does not mean the’ lesson’ is not “women care MORE about their weight than other aspects of themselves e.g. their character, their honesty etc”, UNLESS this fact can be backed up with further evidence that women will brush off insults directed at these other aspects more easily than the weight-based insults. Whereas if someone already believes, for whatever reason, that a woman’s weight is one of the most important things about her, then that is the insult they will reach for, her distressed reaction will conform to their pre-concieved ideas, and they will not trouble themselves to test the relative effectiveness of other insults related to other aspects they themselves do not value in women.

  19. JT says

    lela

    I think many slurs that are used are dependant on how well the user knows you. If you dont know someone that well its so much easier to base your insult on how they look. Ultimately this is one reason why the people closest to you have the bigger potential to hurt you. I can relate very well to women who are concerned about their body image. The slur used against me was the reverse but equally affecting. “Oh, he is just a skinny kid” which obviously is supposed to point out how weak of a male I was.

  20. 123454321 says

    “The insults I would go for with men wouldn’t concern their appearances because men don’t seem to judge their self worth like that…”

    Hmm, not sure I completely agree with that. You’re probably ignoring the fact that men are programmed not to admit it.

    “(note: I don’t make a habit of insulting people, most of this is from listening to my friends’ concerns and insecurities)”

    And if your friends (male) won’t admit to certain taboo insecurities then how do you know what the full scope of their insecurities really are?

    I think more men are bothered about their appearance than you might think.

  21. Schala says

    Throughout history, people have said women can’t do some things, such as being a doctor, being good at math, being firefighters and even being able to read.

    At least the firefighter bit speaks about physical capability (have to be able to carry a 200 lbs person, possibly alone).

    I’m not sure who was allowed to learn to read, learn to do math and such, historically. I’m sure it was far from universal for much of history. The rich had access to what would be high school now, but not sure others did. I’m talking from way way back too, Egyptian antiquity. Greek antiquity. Roman antiquity.

    Regardless of the reason for gender roles historically, they’re useless in this era. We have contraception, we have automation. The whole “living to work, working to live” and “living to breed, breeding to live” thing has no reason to exist today. Nor does the empathy deficit towards men who fail to live up to a “real man” ideal.

  22. JT says

    I think more men are bothered about their appearance than you might think.(123454321)

    Of course they are. Image and appearance is one of the first protectors for us as it works as a intimidation.

  23. Superficially Anonymous says

    22 123454321:

    Always possible.

    Anyway my point was that there are other reasons for insulting someone’s appearance other than that you despise them because of it. It’s tempting to think everything people say is the result of a sociopolitical conviction but I’d contend that a lot of what people say is actually centred around getting the result they want, whether in voicing a liberal opinion at a student union bar or picking the insult they think will hurt the most. Taking what someone says as a guarantee of their actual opinion is problematic.

  24. Schala says

    but I’d contend that a lot of what people say is actually centred around getting the result they want,

    This

    When we really want to insult someone, we bring the little troll in us out, and ask ourselves “what would hurt this person the most, word-wise?”, not “what do I personally hate in this world?”.

    Some are probably using insults that would work the most on themselves. Not everyone custom-tailors insults towards the demographics of someone, or even personally towards a person they know.

    Men are conditioned to see being weak as the worst thing ever, for themselves (it makes them perceived as useless, a burden). So attacking other men for perceived weaknesses is the go-to modus operandi.

  25. Ally Fogg says

    SuperficiallyAnonymous

    I thought that explanation was bollocks first time round. Hasn’t got any better.

    When I’m bored I have a wank or watch an old episode of Spooks on Netflix. I don’t suddenly take to abusing strangers for being (supposedly) ugly or sending rape threats over Twitter.

  26. Superficially Anonymous says

    27 Ally Fogg

    To be honest I think it’s bollocks too, but I don’t think that it’s related to gender politics either.

    My personal opinion is that these are the same people that kick pigeons and cats and for similar reasons.

  27. bugmaster says

    @Ally:

    I refuse to accept that gendered hatred and oppression (of any flavour) is inevitable or invariable. If we consider misogynistic attitudes and values to be broadly memetic… …I refuse to believe that if a male gymnast was doing a Q&A, he would get that volume of insult and abuse…

    You say these things as though you’re taking a moral high ground of some sort, but these are empirical claims. As such they can be tested, and have probably been tested already. Once you have enough evidence, it doesn’t matter how you feel about it; the evidence speaks for itself.

    I don’t think that committing oneself to becoming a “gender denialist” or a “human behavior skeptic” — by analogy with climate skeptics — is a good thing.

  28. Paul says

    Good balanced article Ally. And i feel i owe you an apology.On a previous thread i accused you of running with the hares and hunting with the hounds.Maybe i need to read a bit more of what you write to get a clearer understanding of where you’re coming from on certain gender-related issues.

  29. maudell says

    @28
    I’m curious about how you would test the claim. Since we can’t have a lab experiment with controls, I guess we could have an observational study. But since the claim is that gender oppression is not inevitable, our sample would have to be compared to something that is outside this memetic. Then you get into some problems of categorization since the memetic variable would probably not be discrete. Then you get into problems about population, since the ‘non-memetic’ sample would probably be tiny (but we could still gather evidence from it). Then you get into problems of anchoring that world surveys like the WVS struggle with (there are also tricks to minimize the problem). If you only study the population in this memetic blob, there’s a problem of selection bias. And of course, it’s seems impossible to obtain unconfoundedness in both cases, or ignorable confoundedness in the latter case.

    I guess we could test the other claim by having a male gymnast do a Q&A, but 2 cases is pretty anecdotal, not much can be inferred from that. Though I think a male gymnast would probably get homophobic insults.

    There might be ways to test the claims though, I’d be interested to read your idea and methodology.

  30. freja says

    @2, brucegee1962

    I love discussing meme theory.

    I think you’re right. I also think that looking at misogyny as a meme-plex brings with it some important corollaries.

    Memes don’t just develop on their own. Like genetic adaptations, they tend to spread in populations if they give the culture that supports them a competitive advantage over other cultures that lack them.

    Not necessarily. Memes which are harmful to society as a whole can still easily defeat memes which are beneficial. Religious fundamentalism usually causes societies to become stunted at best and completely deteriorate at worst, but it nonetheless persist in many societies, mostly by punishing defectors. The current attitude towards poverty in the US does likewise not seem to have any positive effect on the greater society (greater wealth inequality has not made the US richer or more competitive as a whole), but the shame associated with poverty makes it much harder for the poor to speak out and change it. Memes don’t have to be beneficial to anything as large as a culture, all they have to do is to be appealing to the right group.

  31. says

    Funny, it’s not news to me that women do misogyny often and with great gusto. All one has to do is observe Sarah Palin or Michele Bachman or any number of women who support and enforce patriarchal norms to see it. The odd thing is that it’s usually anti-feminists who are convinced that feminists think that women cannot be sexist or misogynist.

  32. freja says

    @6, Adiabat

    I disagree, the concept of the ‘dumb action movie’ isn’t exactly unheard of, it’s just that men aren’t touchy about liking dumb action movies because they are fun to watch.

    It’s not that it’s unheard of, it’s that it’s not gendered. We all figure that those movies are more likely to appeal to men, but they’re not defined by being liked by men or being about men, since that’s the standard for movies in general. In contrast, I’ve seen everything from comedy films to sappy romantic dramas to Thelma and Louise being described as chick flicks. That would be like putting The Godfather, the Expendables, and Weekend at Bernie’s in the same category.

    When The Nostalgia Chick did a series on chick flicks, I recall some of the commenters arguing that movies which were good and critically acclaimed couldn’t even be chick flicks because that defied the genre. So instead of accusing a movie of silly and vapid due to being chick flicks, those people instead accused movies on being chick flicks due to being silly and vapid. Either way, it’s hard not to read even a little femmphobia into it.

  33. Schala says

    The odd thing is that it’s usually anti-feminists who are convinced that feminists think that women cannot be sexist or misogynist.

    Must be because many feminists claim “sexism = institutional power + prejudice”, so women cannot be sexist against men, nor women. In fact, sexism against men is supposedly impossible, although nothing prevents men from being sexist against men according to this definition, its apparently based on a men-are-borg premise (ie all men think that), so men can’t hold two different opinions (I say that since it’s also said that sexism against men is impossible, by those people).

  34. Schala says

    Either way, it’s hard not to read even a little femmphobia into it.

    Hero stories and action movies (which often are hero stories) use men as heroes because its more often the case and more plausible (men more rewarded for risk-taking). And those appeal to a massive unisex audience who likes to admire heroes.

    Romance stories centered on the heroine having her love interest(s) fight over earning her love, are pretty yawn-worthy for men, who are definitely not going to feel they fit in the narrative. They’d have to identify as the heroine. But who even wants to identify as emotionless Bella? And watch wedding-porn for 2 hours? It was torture.

  35. Schala says

    Also, if you use men as heroes, they can be beaten up, maimed, and probably killed off, without your audience getting the tissues out. With female heroines, they have to always win against men, and remain mostly physically unscathed. Because the “cannot hit girls” is that powerful.

    In the TV series Chuck, if there was a female villain-of-the-week, you can be sure it was Sarah fighting her. Not Chuck. This can be a limiting factor if you have to carefully plan your female heroines’ fights to be only female-female (while they effortlessly win vs males, every single time). Male heroes don’t suffer from this, no one will empathize with their pain enough.

  36. JT says

    The odd thing is that it’s usually anti-feminists who are convinced that feminists think that women cannot be sexist or misogynist.(Sally)

    I dont have that problem, I think feminists can be just as whacked as the next person. Ideological people usually have that in spades.

  37. Mr Supertypo says

    To be fair, I see far more gender policing done by women than men. Females insult each other and guys far much more than men insult women. Actually I rarely see men trowing random insult toward women, unless she in some way harass them (cat calling excluded). The dating reality between the genders is still crystallized in men being the pursuer and women the chooser. Being the choosers women have the last word. Therefore I like to postulate that women are one of the major enforcer of patriarchy. Because if the man doesn’t fit into her picture of what the ideal man are its game over for him. Although its slowly changing this is still the reality of the dating world (with some notable exceptions).

  38. Mr Supertypo says

    About action movies, and gendered media. Well a large number of women enjoy action movies and sci-fi horror genre. So I dont think its fair to say that kind of movies are only enjoyed by guys. And lot of men also enjoy chick flicks. IMO we should remove the gendered label in the entertainment panorama. People are to variate to be put into a category.

  39. Mr Supertypo says

    @35 ” Must be because many feminists claim “sexism = institutional power + prejudice”, so women cannot be sexist against men, nor women. In fact, sexism against men is supposedly impossible, although nothing prevents men from being sexist against men according to this definition, its apparently based on a men-are-borg premise (ie all men think that), so men can’t hold two different opinions (I say that since it’s also said that sexism against men is impossible, by those people). ”

    I agree, ideology is a curse for humans (just like religion) although there are a element of truth about the ‘institutional power’ but thats not the whole story. Gendered form of oppression are bi-directional but the present day narrative only favor one direction, thus giving a wrong picture of the complex reality of the real world. As a wise man once said ‘ Ideology is the cosmetics for stupid people to looking smart ‘

  40. freja says

    @5, Adiabat

    Do men really despise women who fail to meet certain beauty standards?

    I believe the Spearhead once claimed that fat women constituted “a full-scale loathing of male sexuality”. But other than ideologically motived diatribes, I don’t know if men despise women who don’t meet certain beauty standards, or if they just generally despise women more and use the insults they think will cause the most harm.

    There is a disparity between how some men treat attractive women vs unattractive women* but I’ve always thought that the more unattractive a men finds a women the more he treats that woman like he does other men.

    People don’t treat men and women alike. This has been proven again and again scientifically. The last I read about was yet another study where identical applications with different names got sent to random science departments, and the male applicants with male names were judged to be smarter and more competent, were more likely to be hired, and got offered higher starting salaries and more tutoring. Countless other studies have shown that a different name on an application, or any text for that matter (as well as voice and appearance in videos), often dramatically changes how a person is perceived.

    Here’s a reddit conversation about the difference between a male and female username (please refrain from the obligatory stories of women (frequently MRAs) who don’t experience it. No experience will ever be universal, and female misogynists are far less likely to receive gendered abuse because the prime purveyors of gendered abuse tend to like them. This is about trends, and these are people who posted in the same style on non-gendered topics). I actually didn’t think there was anybody left in places like here who still laboured under the delusion that men and women are treated alike by any sex.

    Also, all relevant studies I’ve looked at point to weight discrimination hitting women harder. Of course, since most of these studies dealt with correlation (e.g. thin women were paid more than fat women but less than fat men) it can be hard to pin down the causality. Perhaps women are more likely to gain weight under economic stress. Perhaps the common anti-feminist thesis that men on average are for more competent, driven, and hardworking than women is true, and the status of fat women is closer to the status all women would have if men weren’t treating them so much better than other men. But that wouldn’t explain why fat girls are less likely to even receive financial aid from their own parents.

    Not to mention Rush Limbaugh and other obese male celebrities mocking and hating on fat women. Unlike ugliness, obesity is fairly objective, and Limbaugh is definitely obese, as are many of the male politicians he support (like John McCain), so him bringing it up as a criticism against women is a pretty clear illustration of how obesity, like sexual promiscuity, is more acceptable in men. It’s probably why this doesn’t seem to happen as often to male celebrities (in advance: No Schala, the man I question is not acting on his male instinct/indoctrination to protect and care for women, he’s just a being a jerk).

    And finally, I don’t feel hurt over negative remarks on my appearance because I’m not strong or able to ignore people like a man. I hate them for the same reason I hate words like cunt or slut, and I imagine gay people feel about words like dyke/faggot and black people about nigger. It’s a reminder of a marginalised status which comes with real-life consequences that can’t just be ignored away like the ones directed at men supposedly can.

  41. bugmaster says

    @maudell #28:

    Well, you can test whether gender oppression is inevitable the usual way these things are tested — by looking at a wide variety of human cultures on Earth, including both live and extinct cultures. This won’t necessarily tell you whether gender oppression is due to genetics or upbringing, but that wasn’t the claim; we merely want to test if it is “inevitable”. As you said, there are a lot of challenges involved in such studies, but still, they can be done.

    As for the second claim, we could probably test it by running a textual analysis on, say, the public Twitter feeds of all known gymnasts, then breaking down the results by gender. Of course, I don’t really know how many gymnasts have Twitter feeds, perhaps there still wouldn’t be enough data there…

  42. freja says

    @39, Mr Supertypo

    To be fair, I see far more gender policing done by women than men. Females insult each other and guys far much more than men insult women. Actually I rarely see men trowing random insult toward women, unless she in some way harass them (cat calling excluded).

    Is there a specific reason you refer to women as “females”?

    Excluding cat calling doesn’t make any sense, because that’s one of the most common ways men insult women for the lulz. Besides, men making demands on women and going straight to insults when their target doesn’t respond the way they want her to is far more common and every bit as damaging. It turns every interaction with them into battle zone where you constantly have to be on your guard in case they suddenly decide they hate you after all.

    The dating reality between the genders is still crystallized in men being the pursuer and women the chooser. Being the choosers women have the last word.

    Women don’t choose, they make a decision between the men who have already chosen them. If a man don’t like the way a woman doesn’t conform to his idea of femininity, he is free to not pursue her (and many men make that choice), and should she show an interest in him, he’s less likely to be accused of shit-testing or playing hard to get when he rejects her (which many men choose too). I’m not saying that it’s always easy to be expected to pursue, but being expected to be the one to be pursued (and sometimes being considered a mannish slut if you take the initiative) leaves you with considerably fewer options. Not to mention that guys can be excellent at putting pressure on you and make sure you’ll suffer negative consequences if you reject them, meaning that your so-called ‘choice’ if often the lesser of 2 evils.

  43. carnation says

    @ Schala

    Re your comments on 35, do you actually read any feminist theory? Or do you just assume it’s the same as patriarchy and ignore it?

    Your comments are woefully ignorant.

    @ Freja

    I don’t see anything wrong with the term “female” – I use male and female if I am talking about men & boys and women & girls. I just don’t see what the problem is. Genuinely curious and open-minded on the subject, if you care to share your thought?

    @ Adiabat

    “Do men really despise women who fail to meet certain beauty standards? I don’t think so, as I often see men as capable of finding beauty in a woman that she can’t even see herself.”

    Good God… I actually agree with something you’ve written!! I’d better throw in that, of course, it is patriarchal norms that reinforce almost universally unattainable heteronormative ideal physical types for both sexes that lead to massive insecurities. Feminists have led the discussion, debate and challenge to these ideal types.

    Will you join me, Adiabat, in congratulating feminism for starting this much needed societal change?

  44. bugmaster says

    @carnation #45:

    I usually take “male” and “female” to mean, “has XY / XX chromosomal makeup” (assuming we’re talking about humans); and “man/woman” to mean, “identifies as a man / identifies as a woman” — given that there do exist people with XY chromosomes who identify as women, and vice versa.

    The words “male” and “female” can also be applied to other organisms, such as plants; this is not the case with “man” and “woman”.

  45. sirtooting . says

    @ karmacat No.12
    “Societies may have been successful despite the memes in that particular culture”

    These societies you talk of as being successes .. Who were they a success for exactly?. Men?

    “Success may have been more related to people being able to work together to fight and take over another group of people.”

    Again this is a reference to Males ..
    Because these societies have never been a success for Females

    Most of the history that you read, is written from the male perspective ..

    For instance you will find males claim one of the first democracies that existed began in Athens, they call it the Athenian Democracy.
    There is much written about it and men admire it and promote this idea it was a democracy and they feel very proud of that part of their history.
    This democracy was not a democracy though for some and to call it that is sheer hypocrisy. Describing it in this way it is to omit how women were treated in this so called democracy and denies the fact that this democracy was nothing more than a male run totalitarian state and for females who inhabited it, this democracy was no more than male tyranny

    The viewpoint it was a democracy is a male viewpoint and a male viewpoint that ignores the fact that females exist.

    When you say societies have been successful, what you actually mean is .. They have been a success for the male, who’s potential was encouraged, assisted and allowed to flourish and the male achieved this by stifling and suffocating the Females.

    Oppressive regimes are not a success for those who are oppressed in them .. To enslave someone and limit their existence.. And then state .. Well, they are fed and clothed & have a roof over their heads .. What else do they need?. Well, If it not good enough for the slave owner, why would it be good enough for the slave .. What else do they need?. They need, exactly what you need, why should they be expected to accept less..?

    What you espouse as a success, is from an androcentric point of view and just as long as we omit the existence of the female, they are all a success but only for the male.

  46. Lucy says

    Ally Fogg

    “Consequently boys too often grow into men that despise women who fail to meet exacting beauty standards, but so too do women.”

    They don’t wait until they are men to do this. “Unattractive” girls are bullied, ostracised and sexually degraded remorselessly by school boys. Despise is the right word, female unattractive sees seems to mortally offend them and their response to it is quite violent.

    I once heard a 5 year old boy call a 4 year old girl ugly and refuse to let her play with his group of friends.

  47. AndrewV69, Visiting MRA, Purveyor of Piffle & Woo says

    @freja, #42

    It sounds to me as though you have no gay relatives/friends/neighbours. I also suspect you never hobnob with people who work in the trades/services nor are you acquainted socially with any blacks.

    As for myself, I have noticed I never say cunt or nigger despite being in company where such words are acceptable. I will say twat (I prefer that to cunt) but never cooze on account that cooze strikes me as intended to be an insult, rather than cunt which in my experience is almost always a term of affection (except when it is not). I also can not recall ever being offended by being referred to as a breeder, and the people who use that term also seem to be unaffected when I say faggot (usually younger people).

    My breeder friends all react in horror when I say faggot though. Perhaps it all depends on the company you keep?

  48. Lucy says

    Jonathan Freedland: “just as ethnic minorities can internalise the very worst things said about them over many centuries, so some women have imbibed so much misogyny, it’s eventually got under their skin and found a home there.”

    I can’t speak for how ethnic minorities feel, but it’s always struck me that they have internalised negative messages much less than women have. There is a certain sort of woman, quite commonly found, who takes pride in agreeing with sexist sentiments and derides efforts to improve things for women and for whom sexist insults directed at them are a bit of a lark. You don’t tend to find the same dynamic in ethnic minorities who are almost universally, rightly very openly hostile to racism and inequality and wounded by it.

    It’s always struck me that the anti-racist meme has been considerably more successful so far than the anti-sexist one. I assume it’s because ethnic minorities have a recent memory of not being treated as inferior and prideful cultures to fall back on. Women don’t, they’ve been colonised people not for 200 years, or 400 years or 1000 years but 10s of 1000s of years. Hopefully the Internet will spread the new meme and within a few more generations women’s self-respect, self-belief and culture will start to emerge. Then we can begin to start talking about the green shoots of equality emerging.

  49. Lucy says

    John Morales

    “Bah. It’s so simple: gender is an attribute of a person, not an identity.”

    I completely disagree. I think any attribute that affects how you are socialised, how others treat you, how things feel, becomes an identity by the time you reach adulthood. Be that disability, disfigurement, gender, sexuality, race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, education, wealth, personality traits. They become like knots in wood, completely impossible to separate from the whole. Besides women get constant physical reminders of their gender with bodies that are different to the ones they spent childhood with, and a monthly cycle of depression , physical pain and inconvenience. Besides there is no such thing as a neutral “person” which attributes can be bolted on to.

    I think like money and whiteness and westernness and education, maleness doesn’t feel relevant unless you haven’t got it. It probably feels fairly neutral to you to be male because the male gender has always been taken to be the true north compass point, the neutral position, “Everyman”, “man”, “mankind”, “man and wife”. Women are a deviation from that norm with their “women’s problems”, “women’s rights”, “women’s hour”, “women’s section”. And consequently the world has been broadly designed to fit you: you see your interests and personality traits reflected in our culture, belief systems and institutions: the way those things work seems like the most natural thing in the world. So much so that a Mike Buchanan speaks of women changing business to suit themselves with apparently no sense of irony. The world feels jarring and uncomfortable to everyone else and you are constantly reminded of your identity.

    But take you out of this comfort zone to a totally alien culture where nothing is as it is here, where it has not been designed for you, and you would soon start recognising what your identity is.

  50. carnation says

    Re: male & female

    Of course, the sex/gender binary/dichotomy.

    I still don’t see it as hugely offensive.

  51. Lucy says

    “I disagree, the concept of the ‘dumb action movie’ isn’t exactly unheard of, it’s just that men aren’t touchy about liking dumb action movies because they are fun to watch. ”

    But it doesn’t have a derogatory alliterative name that ropes in the gender aspect as “chick flick” does.

    In “dumb action movie” is the action movie that is being called dumb, not the man who watches it, the man who watches it isn’t even mentioned. With “chick flick”, it’s the woman who watches it who is dumb while the film is the cynical ruse to fool them out of their money.

  52. Lucy says

    Asiabat

    “I agree with summerblues. I always find these “false consciousness” claims regarding women to be much worse misogyny than most other things. It denies women their agency and their ability to choose for themselves what to think and turns them into victims.”

    Talking about individual agency in the face of cultural norms is a bit of a nonsense. Human beings don’t behave as individuals, not one bit, they find their niche and then they conform. It is a rare person indeed who goes against the grain and rambles naked or wears a clown nose to the office most days. A rare man who dispenses with trousers and dons a skirt just for the heck of it. And a rare woman who really questions gender expectations and ignores her peers and culture and acts differently. Sure you’ll get women who’ll deviate a bit, but only within accepted parameters and retreading paths trodden before her.

    I always find this “women are choosing to have plastic surgery/be prostitutes/lap dancers/sexualise themselves/be porn actresses/glamour models/wear makeup/wear uncomfortable, impractical clothes/stay at home/not go into politics/be modest/wear the veil/have babies/not have babies” a considerable amount of self-serving hand-washing.

  53. Gjenganger says

    @Lucy

    I think any attribute that affects how you are socialised, how others treat you, how things feel, becomes an identity by the time you reach adulthood. Be that disability, disfigurement, gender, sexuality, race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, education, wealth, personality traits. They become like knots in wood, completely impossible to separate from the whole.

    I completely agree

    And consequently the world has been broadly designed to fit you: you see your interests and personality traits reflected in our culture, belief systems and institutions: the way those things work seems like the most natural thing in the world. So much so that a Mike Buchanan speaks of women changing business to suit themselves with apparently no sense of irony. The world feels jarring and uncomfortable to everyone else and you are constantly reminded of your identity.

    Yes, that is how it feeels to be part of a dominant majority. It is nice, it is what most people would aspire to, and most of the time the majority of people can enjoy this feeling, with just minorities being excluded. This is normal. Gender is a special case, because women are not a minority, and were (partially?) excluded from cultural dominance for a long time. I cannot see why Mike Buchanan should feel a sense of irony – women are changing busines to suit themselves, at the expense of men. Which norms should dominate is a legitimate discussion, be it between men and women, radfems and trans, … Which set of norms might be better in the abstract, for business efficiency, social peace, greatest good for the greatest number, etc. is another matter.

    Talking about individual agency in the face of cultural norms is a bit of a nonsense. Human beings don’t behave as individuals, not one bit, they find their niche and then they conform. It is a rare person indeed who goes against the grain and rambles naked or wears a clown nose to the office most days. A rare man who dispenses with trousers and dons a skirt just for the heck of it. And a rare woman who really questions gender expectations and ignores her peers and culture and acts differently.

    No, it is not nonsense – it is the nature of agency and decision making. Agency is the ability to choose between different possible actions. Your actual choice then depends on then likely consequences, but that is just the way it is. If, say, a woman training to be a pilot is prevented by law or shot by her male relatives, that takes away her power to choose. If she is seen as a bit weird, and always met with a slight questioning incredulity that is just another aspect of the job (for women) like the need for travelling. Women might decide that this makes the job not worth the candle, but in doing so they are exercising their agency. Similarly, my agency gives me the power to rob a bank or shoot my noisy neighbor, if I so choose. The existence of police and CCTV cameras might make the price higher than I want to pay, but that does not mean that I am not free to do it.

  54. Prairie Bob says

    http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/10/19/sexism-definition/

    Short definition: Sexism is both discrimination based on gender and the attitudes, stereotypes, and the cultural elements that promote this discrimination. Given the historical and continued imbalance of power, where men as a class are privileged over women as a class (see male privilege), an important, but often overlooked, part of the term is that sexism is prejudice plus power. Thus feminists reject the notion that women can be sexist towards men because women lack the institutional power that men have.

    I’m NOT AT ALL attempting to say I don’t have a lot more privilege in society than women in general. However, if it’s sexism that punishes a woman for pursuing a career in science or auto mechanics, then it’s sexism that punishes men for staying at home to taking care of the kids or going into nursing.

    But according to Feminsm101, a woman deriding a man for staying at home cannot be doing sexism against that man. It makes no comment as to whether a woman deriding another woman for daring to cross gender roles is being sexist.

    I have to call bullshit on that. The women I work and socialize with don’t buy that and a lot of them either identify as feminist or reject feminism because they see it as a stifling ideological trap where you can’t acknowledge a tree without being accused of being blind to the forest.

    Pretty much, it seems that a lot of feminism, and a lot of social justice theory, has made permanent fixtures of what we’re trying real hard, with some limited success, to overcome.

  55. Gjenganger says

    @Lucy 55
    On the ‘women chosing to be prostitutes’ front I would say that (some) women are choosing prostitution becasuse it is better than the available alternatives. The way to help them would be to make better choices available, not to pretend they are not able to make their own decisions,or to take away prostitution and force them to move on to something they like even less. As a case in point, Ally once summed up the choices available to people depending on hard drugs. You have to have your dose, ‘just quitting’ is not a practical option, and you cannot hold down a proper paying job. What is left is drug dealing, theft, begging, scrap metal collection – and prostitution. It is a shitty situation but it is not obvious that prostitution is that much worse than the alternatives.

  56. brucegee1962 says

    Responding to the people who addressed my post #2:

    #12 karmacat:

    @2BruceGee1962
    Societies may have been successful despite the memes in that particular culture. Success may have been more related to people being able to work together to fight and take over another group of people. The Iroqois nation had different memes about gender roles. They were successful because they were able to unite several different tribes. (but then they got wiped out by small pox and then colonists)

    I agree with the general proposition that a society that is extremely strong in one area can afford to carry a few memes that do not necessarily give them an immediate cultural benefit, or even act detrimentally. Another example would be the Aztecs, who practiced child sacrifice and possessed any number of other anti-social memes, yet were still far enough ahead in areas like military, administration, and transportation to dominate their neighbors.

    More broadly, I think that cultural evolution happens much more quickly and brutally in areas where there are a large number of competing cultures that are very close to one another technologically. In the Middle East from around1000 BCE-1000 CE, or in Europe between 1000 CE-1920, if you started to fall behind in some area just a little bit, you could get snapped up and absorbed by your neighbors in a heartbeat. (Poland went from being a mighty power to ceasing to exist in just a generation or so, mainly just due to a flaw in its political system with the liberum veto). On the other hand, cultures with weak neighbors, like the Aztecs or the Chinese, were never under much pressure to evolve rapidly.

    However, I would argue that if a meme shows up again and again, in widely separated regions and cultures, then that can be taken as an argument that the meme is almost certainly beneficial to its host culture.

    #32 freja:

    Not necessarily. Memes which are harmful to society as a whole can still easily defeat memes which are beneficial. Religious fundamentalism usually causes societies to become stunted at best and completely deteriorate at worst, but it nonetheless persist in many societies, mostly by punishing defectors. The current attitude towards poverty in the US does likewise not seem to have any positive effect on the greater society (greater wealth inequality has not made the US richer or more competitive as a whole), but the shame associated with poverty makes it much harder for the poor to speak out and change it. Memes don’t have to be beneficial to anything as large as a culture, all they have to do is to be appealing to the right group.

    Related to what I say above, since religious fundamentalism has showed up so often throughout history, I suspect it is largely beneficial to its host culture in many circumstances. It greatly enhances the power of a centralized authority by allowing them to justify almost anything — people are likely to balk at paying taxes or sending their sons to invade a neighbor for their resources, but are more likely to be content with paying tribute to the divine Huitzilopochtli or invading the godless heathens. If you’re interested in putting together an empire, religious fundamentalism is also a terrific way of quickly imposing cultural unity on ethnically diverse subjects. Where I would agree with you, freja, is with the argument that fundamentalism can long outlast the benefit it gives to its culture, due, as you say, to the way it punishes defectors and its built-in self-perpetuation mechanisms.

    As for the second part of your argument, about ideas about wealth — I’m not sure that the idea of “memes that benefit a culture are more likely to thrive” even applies any more in the modern era. Cultures are so much more fluid now, and commerce has largely replaced militarism as the arena of competition.

  57. Schala says

    No experience will ever be universal, and female misogynists are far less likely to receive gendered abuse because the prime purveyors of gendered abuse tend to like them.

    Yes, yes, gendered abuse means “abuse that happens to women”, right? That sure seems to be how many feminists and how the UN and UNICEF define it.

    Also, all relevant studies I’ve looked at point to weight discrimination hitting women harder.

    Do you count the wage gap as discrimination against women?

    Also ideological motivation all points to trying to find places where women have it bad. Heck, conclusions of studies where the data says men have it bad will be turned around to say it’s bad for women.

    Men are graduating less from universities!
    Reaction: Women cannot find eligible (read: middle class or rich) men anymore! Men draught!

    Bad only in as much as it affects women.

    Perhaps the common anti-feminist thesis that men on average are for more competent, driven, and hardworking than women is true

    It’s not that men are competent, it’s that they have to be. Or they lose masculinity points. Lose too many and you die. Because being at the low end of masculinity is not just “not getting laid”, it’s being homeless, sleeping in the rough (in the street, not shelters), and dying probably of frostbite, or inanition. To the complete non-reaction of society, who sees it as his fault for being homeless anyways. Because penis gives Super Agency (everything that happens to you is your fault). Being presumed responsible for your fate = less sympathy.

    Also men earn more because its rewarded, on the positive side. It makes them be seen as more attractive. Women earn more money and its its own reward. Men earn more money and they also earn more attraction points for doing it.

    Women don’t choose, they make a decision between the men who have already chosen them. If a man don’t like the way a woman doesn’t conform to his idea of femininity, he is free to not pursue her (and many men make that choice), and should she show an interest in him, he’s less likely to be accused of shit-testing or playing hard to get when he rejects her (which many men choose too). I’m not saying that it’s always easy to be expected to pursue, but being expected to be the one to be pursued (and sometimes being considered a mannish slut if you take the initiative) leaves you with considerably fewer options. Not to mention that guys can be excellent at putting pressure on you and make sure you’ll suffer negative consequences if you reject them, meaning that your so-called ‘choice’ if often the lesser of 2 evils.

    Cry me a fucking river. You have the option of being active, of being passive, or combining the two strategies. But its not puurrrfeect. So fucking what?

    The vast vast majority of men don’t have the option of being passive, unless they want no romantic or sex life. It’s not actually better to be constrained, it’s worse.

    It’s like more clothing options for women, and how some actually construe that as oppression of women? What the fuck did they eat to reach that conclusion that more options = worse off?

    Re your comments on 35, do you actually read any feminist theory? Or do you just assume it’s the same as patriarchy and ignore it?

    See comment 57. It answers your question. You could have gone on that site, too.

    “Everyman”, “man”, “mankind”, “man and wife”. Women are a deviation from that norm with their “women’s problems”, “women’s rights”, “women’s hour”, “women’s section”.

    Yes, women’s problems, women’s sections, are, barring pregnancy, about addressing problems that may face both sexes, but only for women. Because fuck men, they can man up.

    But hey, its oppression to be the special and not the generic.

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MenAreGenericWomenAreSpecial

    Norah Vincent went undercover as a male for several months as research for her book. She considered herself very butch, and her body type was fairly stocky, so she assumed she would have no problems passing herself off. All the men (and some women) she interacted with assumed she was an extremely effeminate male.

    If it was so “default” to be male, she wouldn’t have had to effect her behavior at all, no? Default means nothing special.

    Being the generic means no one caters to you. People assume that formless t-shirts with holes in the right place will be flattering enough to your figure. Or even, who cares about your figure! There’s unisex t-shirts, and women’s t-shirts. Women can wear both, and they won’t face huge ostracism for it either. So if you happen to think all female-only stuff sucks, good for you, you have the option of ignoring it, too. I do for many things, like make-up.

  58. carnation says

    @ PrairieBob

    “But according to Feminsm101, a woman deriding a man for staying at home cannot be doing sexism against that man.”

    There are many different feminisms. That particular one is inane, childish and reactionary and I have no problem with condemning it. It is simply denying women agency to say that they cannot be sexist. Many are.

  59. abear says

    carnation

    January 25, 2014 at 8:43 am (UTC 0)

    Re: male & female

    Of course, the sex/gender binary/dichotomy.

    I still don’t see it as hugely offensive.

    Of course you don’t find it offensive, penis havers using terms like female to dehumanize women don’t think anything they say is offensive. Their toxic masculinity makes males think it is okay to hate on wymyn.

  60. johngreg says

    carnation said:

    There are many different feminisms. That particular one is inane, childish and reactionary and I have no problem with condemning it. It is simply denying women agency to say that they cannot be sexist. Many are.

    Yes, very true. And, I think, well said.

    … it is patriarchal norms that reinforce almost universally unattainable heteronormative ideal physical types for both sexes….

    I really don’t think that is accurate. The women’s fashion industry and its related co-abuser, the Womens Magazine industry, almost wholly dictate so-called desirable physical types/norms for women. And both of those industries are predominantly driven and controlled by women and gay men, with a small handful of straight men on the periphery.

    Yes, it is only anecdotal, but I have never, ever, in my 50-some years of life met a man who finds the physical norm for women, as portrayed in Womens Magazines, attractive or physically desireable.

    As for men, I think it is a tad more complicated, but I think most of the so-called universal physical types are designed, so to speak, by men, gay and straight, and to some degree by the representation of men as portrayed in Womens Magazines.

  61. Schala says

    @62

    Do you think the term “cis”, when applied to women, dehumanizes women? As in, cis women.

  62. Schala says

    Yes, it is only anecdotal, but I have never, ever, in my 50-some years of life met a man who finds the physical norm for women, as portrayed in Womens Magazines, attractive or physically desireable.

    I think most men would find them attractive, but probably not more attractive than other women they know, who don’t look all glossed in the face.

    That is, people tend to overplay the attraction level of men relating to the physical. Passed a certain attraction threshold, most men are attracted. This threshold is not 95th percentile (which is what women’s magazines portray), but 70th percentile. And the 95th percentile women from magazine are probably not universally seen as such by men, either. They’re seen as the 95th percentile by women (at least those who buy magazines and like fashion), though.

    Note that women below 70th percentile can still be attractive, but maybe not to “most men”. Just like most men are not attractive to most women.

    Personally I’d be fine with being 65th percentile in looks, and do nothing to pass the magical 70th percentile threshold, to eliminate people who rely more on looks. I’d rather work on other qualities, and be liked for other qualities, than purely how I look. At least my brains will last longer than my beauty. And has more merit (I can work on it) than genetics, or illusory make-up.

    Some men love make-up on women. Some men hate make-up on women. Regardless of it looking garish or natural. It can be tastefully applied sometimes, but the threshold the majority of women have attained is that most men have not seen them with a normal face, thus the bar is high when they don’t use make-up. Men would be fine in a society where most women didn’t wear make-up. They wouldn’t suddenly find them repulsive. Even though Cosmo and the likes might beg you to buy their (co-sponsored) 50-200$ make-up to barely look presentable.

    I’m pansexual, and I find that every make-up but the muted natural “cannot really tell its there without being an inch close” is the most I can muster. I prefer none at all. If your eyelids are blue, I will think less of you, at least as a potential partner.

  63. johngreg says

    Sorry, Schala. I don’t buy it. I think you are wrong, particularly with your numbers. Where did you dig up those stats? Or are you just freewheeling?

  64. johngreg says

    abear said:

    Cis straight woman is dehumanizing….

    I am curious: why do you think that?

    Personally, I think the term “cis”, as most commonly used in feminist blogs etc., is, intentionally, degrading and dismissive. Whether or not it is, in neutral circumstances, degrading, I am not sure.

  65. Superficially Anonymous says

    68 johngreg

    Full disclosure: I spend a fair amount of my time on 4chan and other sites that take great pleasure in mocking feminist ‘academia’. This kind of post is very familiar.

    I’m fairly sure they’re taking the piss.

  66. Schala says

    Cis straight woman is dehumanizing, cis queer womyn not so much.

    I don’t see the difference.

    I’m a pansexual trans woman. No y in my gender. I don’t feel one bit dehumanized.

  67. abear says

    John Greg @68: Some people think that PIV sex isn’t rape! It’s not important what you or I think,it’s what the experts think that count.
    Superficially Anonymous@ 69: Are you calling Lucy a troll?

  68. AndrewV69, Visiting MRA, Purveyor of Piffle & Woo says

    I have become accustomed to the trolling by the usal suspects but seeing others join in begs the question.

    Is thIs international troll day or something?

  69. David S says

    @Lucy (55)

    Talking about individual agency in the face of cultural norms is a bit of a nonsense.

    And are you talking about your own agency, or that of other people? Did you decide to write that comment yourself or were you simply coerced into it by some cultural norm?

  70. Prairie Bob says

    Carnation:

    Do you think these crap feminist theory variants be traced back to the time when postmodernist philosophy rejected intellectual rigor and thus dropped all defenses against pernicious ideological tribalism and cults of personality in all of the humanities?

    BTW, I’m not dismissing all of postmodernism, but it seems to be as easily abusable as quantum physics.

  71. sirtooting . says

    Evils of patriarchy’s pathological misogyny.

    http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/16406372-indias-gang-rape-cases-highlight-evils-of-patriarchys-pathological-misogyny

    Misogynists hate females because they aren’t born male and they are in love with themselves and it is not enough to say it is masculinity they are in love with because they hate femaleness being seen in themselves and they hate other males who express their female side but they also hate lesbians who express their masculine side.
    So one can only conclude they actually hate Females because they aren’t born male and there is of course the other or added reason for it all .. They achieve a sadistic sexual thrill by abusing women. It’s a sugar hit, they enjoy being sadistic, it gets them their hard on.
    There are no possible alternatives, it is one or the other or both.
    Unfortunately this is not a blip, but is a universal trademark of the misogynistic male.

  72. Danny Gibbs says

    33.SallyStrange:
    Funny, it’s not news to me that women do misogyny often and with great gusto. All one has to do is observe Sarah Palin or Michele Bachman or any number of women who support and enforce patriarchal norms to see it. The odd thing is that it’s usually anti-feminists who are convinced that feminists think that women cannot be sexist or misogynist.
    In my experience when it comes to women doing misogyny its not always called that. Or at the least when talking about the anti-woman leanings of say Palin or Bachman the term misogyny is not thrown around as often or as quickly as say Rush Limbaugh or Mitt Romney. (For a while I thought this difference could be accounted for as a result of Limbaugh and Romney performing more acts of it or saying more things a long that line but after a while I noticed that this was not the case. In my experience, the word misogyny is actually pulled out more often when talking about men than women.)

    61. carnation:
    There are many different feminisms. That particular one is inane, childish and reactionary and I have no problem with condemning it. It is simply denying women agency to say that they cannot be sexist. Many are.
    That one? Hahaha. No with as often as feminism101 is linked and referenced by feminists, this is certainly not some single isolated case of just one or a precious few feminists who think this. If you disagree with that’s great (seriously that is great because I disagree with it on the grounds that you say in your comment) but it is a fairly common line of thought. I know I’ve been in plenty of discussions with feminists in which that threw that link at me like it was the end all be all.

  73. carnation says

    @ DannyGibbs

    Well, I just read it and there’s a lot more to it than the quotation cited. That said, I still think my points stand.

    When I think of feminists, I think of the women I know that volunteer at crisis centres, that work at Women’s Aid and as social workers. I think of women who wouldn’t dream of “allowing” a man to pay for her on a date. I think of the self-identifying radical feminist who first introduced me to the notion that patriarchal attitudes are damaging to men as well as women. I think of the many “sex-positive” feminists that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing, and their ideological opponents who objected to their use of the word “positive”.

    There is sexism against men. It rarely emanates from feminists or feminisms, and it isn’t within a power structure that can adversely affect them.

    Patriarchal attitudes constrict, confine and repress men. Feminists started the debate to reject these sexist assumptions. It is wilful and ignorantly denial of one’s own agency to blame “feminism” for the internalised patriarchal sexism that resides in virtually all men.

    Don’t “grow a pair”, but please do examine and develop your own relation to these norms, attitudes and ideas.

  74. Prairie Bob says

    I pointed to the first paragraph in Feminism101 because it twists a perfectly serviceable word: “sexism” and tweaks it around to erase the harm done to men. Now, again, I still don’t think the harm done to men by sexist attitudes and beliefs is on par with what women have to deal with. According to Feminism101, I’m supposed to call that “prejudice” but not “sexism”.

    Now, before I say anything else, the obligatory disclaimer: When feminists say that women can’t be sexist towards men, they aren’t saying that women being prejudiced against men is a good thing, or something that should be accepted. Prejudice is bad and should not be accepted.

    Now that that’s out of the way, let’s look at why feminists make a distinction between sexism and gender-based prejudice when the dictionary does not. A running theme in a lot of feminist theory is that of institutional power: men as a class have it, women as a class don’t. Obviously the power dynamics do shift around depending on the culture and the time period (not to mention the individual, the other privileges that the person does/does not have, etc etc), but ultimately the scales remain tipped in favor of men in general (if you disagree with that statement, please go read the Why do we still need feminism? FAQ entry first before proceeding).

    http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/10/19/sexism-definition/

    I’d say that “generally the scales remain tipped in favor of men in general” is a fair statement. However, at my end of the economic scale, there are an awful lot of women who have advantages over me in a lot of situations.

    And it strikes me that prejudice is not the only way to using power in a sexist way.

  75. freja says

    @45, carnation

    I don’t see anything wrong with the term “female” – I use male and female if I am talking about men & boys and women & girls. I just don’t see what the problem is. Genuinely curious and open-minded on the subject, if you care to share your thought?

    It’s pretty common among MRAs and internet misogynists to systematically refer to women as females but men as men, describing women in terms mostly used about animals and objects and men in terms uniquely used abot humans. Sometimes it’s really glaring, like using female vs. man in the same sentences (“men tend to x while females tend to y”, “this is because females, unlike men, think that…..”, etc.), other times they use female/male in every sentence where female humans are mentioned most prominently and man/woman in sentences where male humans are mentioned most prominently, so it looks equal on the surface but results in far more “female” than “male” but far more “man” than “women”.

    So when someone who doesn’t seem glaringly sexist starts throwing “female” out there without a corresponding “male”, I get curious as to what kind of thinking went into that choice, because I hardly ever see the opposite.

  76. freja says

    @50, AndrewV69, Visiting MRA, Purveyor of Piffle & Woo

    It sounds to me as though you have no gay relatives/friends/neighbours. I also suspect you never hobnob with people who work in the trades/services nor are you acquainted socially with any blacks.

    Actually I do (know people on the LGBTQ spectrum that is). I also have had other slurs directed against me because of a demographic I belong to besides those that refer to my femaleness, but I prefer not to talk about my membership of said demographic for the sake of anonymity so I wont go into more details than that.

    And in my experience, the same thing holds true there. If you’re at a disadvantage, those slurs become more hateful. I’ve been referred to negatively because of my race, but that doesn’t hit nearly as hard, partly because it’s rare but mostly because I know that at the end of the day, that race is going to serve me far better in the community I live and work in than any other race would. Certain other slurs hit harder because they refer to an area where I’m marginalised, basically people using their own privileged status and the double standards which benefit them to get at me. And this feeling is definitely not something unique to me.

    I also can not recall ever being offended by being referred to as a breeder, and the people who use that term also seem to be unaffected when I say faggot (usually younger people).

    “Breeder” refers to a majority of people who’re currently doing what society wants and expects of them (doubly true for women). Most people are not going to seriously offended by it and the ones that do are usually the kind of people who think the worst racist slur in existence is “racist”. It doesn’t pack a lot of punch because there’s not a lot of institutional power behind it, all it really tells is that one individual doesn’t think highly of the choice made by another individual. The impact of faggot seems to rely a lot on the individual’s situation and their relationship with the speaker. In areas where it’s often a precursor for violence, it’s usually not perceived as lightly by the perceiver.

  77. freja says

    @56, Gjenganger

    If, say, a woman training to be a pilot is prevented by law or shot by her male relatives, that takes away her power to choose. If she is seen as a bit weird, and always met with a slight questioning incredulity that is just another aspect of the job (for women) like the need for travelling.

    And yet it is bound to result in fewer female pilots. It’s pretty simple, when the price is too high for certain group fewer people in that group will pay it, and it never helps matters when people who’re currently getting huge discounts (or people who’re filthy rich) starts saying it means those who can’t afford the price just doesn’t want it enough. Almost every account I’ve heard from men who loved their jobs have included descriptions of their good relationship with their colleagues, and no account have included descriptions of bullying and harassment. It’s pretty clear that being unwelcome and having people actively try to drive you out will make certain jobs unaffordable.

    Your idea that people can just choose to ignore the cost reeks of someone who’s never had a real deficit. When you’re having panic attacks, or major clinical depressions, or PTSD, or social phobias, or simply stress, it decreases the resources available to you. Like that study which showed that poverty made people less intelligent (basically, the strain of poverty took away cognitive resources that could otherwise be used acing an IQ test), your surroundings influence your mental and physical capabilities just as your genes do.

    If you don’t have the intelligence, physical strength, finesse, social skills, courage, optimism, drive, self-control, etc., required for a certain job, you don’t have the option to get that job. And if you’re exposed to an environment which decreases those capabilities, or if you’re discriminated against to a degree where you need greater abilities than your competitors, your actual capability of getting into that job is decreased, regardless of the law and your own agency. And yes, you can choose to try to work to improve yourself in the needed areas, but there’s no miracle cure which will give you the same options as people who don’t have those disadvantages.

  78. freja says

    @60, Schala

    Yes, yes, gendered abuse means “abuse that happens to women”, right? That sure seems to be how many feminists and how the UN and UNICEF define it.

    ?

    I was talking about women. If I said “men who’re tall and muscular are less likely to receive gendered abuse” would you take that to mean that gendered abuse was “abuse that happens to men”? I was talking about abuse aimed at either denigrating someone for their gender or denigrating them for not living up to standards they’re only held to because of their gender. And female misogynists are less likely to receive that kind of abuse because the prime purveyors of said abuse usually either sees them “not like those other women” or as “real women” who know their place (and especially that of other women), and people who’re against misogyny usually prefer to avoid gendered abuse against women as a whole.

    Do you count the wage gap as discrimination against women?

    Not relevant. As to your other claims, I don’t recognise them and you provide no specifics.

    It’s not that men are competent, it’s that they have to be.

    So men are not more competent but they have to be more competent and therefore they end up being more competent? So what you’re really saying is not “It’s not that men are more competent” but “Men are more competent for a reason”? Which still ends up with the conclusion that men are more competent, right?

    Cry me a fucking river. You have the option of being active, of being passive, or combining the two strategies. But its not puurrrfeect. So fucking what?

    I have a better option of being passive but a worse option of being active. And a much worse option of wanting to be left alone.

    It’s like more clothing options for women, and how some actually construe that as oppression of women? What the fuck did they eat to reach that conclusion that more options = worse off?

    When your employer tells you you’re dressing unprofessionally when you wear flat shoes or fires you for refusing to wear makeup. When people call you frumpy and laughable when you wear bulky clothing but slutty when you don’t. When you have to pay more for the same quality and comfort in your clothing.

    If it was so “default” to be male, she wouldn’t have had to effect her behavior at all, no? Default means nothing special.

    Default in these context means the norm. The norm doesn’t have to be “nothing”, it means how the people who’re considered the default behave. It’s usually hard for an American to adapt to the Japanese norm and vice versa. If you’re raised to follow a different norm than that of the larger society (such as the specific norms for women), it’s not always easy to change your behaviour to fit the norm.

    Being the generic means no one caters to you.

    Being generic means medicine is tested on people like you as the standard. Being generic means crash test dummies are the average size of your group, increasing your safety. Being generic means the medical support you’re most likely to need is more more likely to be covered by our insurance as the default. Being generic means people are less likely to be offended when you express an opinion or simply behave like yourself. Being generic means people are more likely to speak your language and more likely to blame themselves when they don’t. Being generic means crimes against you are considered the problem of society as a whole.

  79. Gjenganger says

    And yet it is bound to result in fewer female pilots. It’s pretty simple, when the price is too high for certain group fewer people in that group will pay i

    Of course. I would never dream of denying it. In fact I agree with every point you are making.

    If you don’t have the intelligence, physical strength, finesse, social skills, courage, optimism, drive, self-control, etc., required for a certain job, you don’t have the option to get that job. And if you’re exposed to an environment which decreases those capabilities, or if you’re discriminated against to a degree where you need greater abilities than your competitors, your actual capability of getting into that job is decreased, regardless of the law and your own agency.

    Again, I agree. But the point I am responding to is this

    Talking about individual agency in the face of cultural norms is a bit of a nonsense.

    And my answer is that
    1) Cutural norms do not limit our agency (though they might limit your choices).
    2) Cultural norms (like which jobs are seen as ‘male’ or ‘female’) is just one of many different things that limit your choices. I am not saying that these things do not (or should not) make any difference, just that they are just one more thing you unfortuunately need to deal with. Most men, like most women, do not become bond traders or CEOs or board members, because they are repelled by the hyper-comperitive culture, or do not naturally do the necessary networking, or do not want the monomaniac, all-encompassing effort required, Or because they do not have the necessary skills. Of course there comes a point where the harassment becomes so intense that no one could stand it – and where management or the law needs to intervene. We can argue where that point should be. But as for mere attitudes, the only reasonable response is Stonewalls: “Some people find female pilots and male nannies a bit weird. Get over it.”

  80. Superficially Anonymous says

    80 freja

    Funnily enough, spending a fair amount of time reading the Guardian and other such forums, I almost exclusively see this happening the other way round.

  81. Schala says

    So men are not more competent but they have to be more competent and therefore they end up being more competent? So what you’re really saying is not “It’s not that men are more competent” but “Men are more competent for a reason”? Which still ends up with the conclusion that men are more competent, right?

    Want the same effect on women? Raise the expectation bar, remove options to opt out, and punish people who fail with abject poverty (homeless no shelter) or death. You have to remove lots of empathy. And don’t forget to blame the women who fail because they should have seen it coming (ie their fault, like the men).

    I have a better option of being passive but a worse option of being active. And a much worse option of wanting to be left alone.

    True for being left alone, not true for the rest. You have the same option of being active. Being the active party you still have a better chance of being positively received by a man than a man of the same degree of attractiveness to most women. Because men are more starved for romantic opportunities. They’re at the buffet table and don’t necessarily have any options on the side, unlike most women of his equivalent, who might have 5+ suitors. He could approach 5 women, but he would risk far more, than a woman being approached by 5 guys. And contrary to what you think, he likely doesn’t know if the woman is a good party for him before meeting her, so he still has to get to know her, after risking rejection. All he knows is her looks.

    When your employer tells you you’re dressing unprofessionally when you wear flat shoes or fires you for refusing to wear makeup. When people call you frumpy and laughable when you wear bulky clothing but slutty when you don’t. When you have to pay more for the same quality and comfort in your clothing.

    Big fucking boo if you get told you’re not as sexy as he would like for not wearing heels. I won’t wear heels for that. I would never. I’ll wear flats, or sneakers. If I decide to wear heels to work, it’s because I felt like it.

    Wearing make-up, barring a disfiguration, or working in the arts of the scene, or as a model, it also not something that can be imposed. They can have restrictions on it. I guess bars and waiting jobs are iffy, depending on the boss/company. It’s easy to get a job that doesn’t rely on appearance.

    People call you frumpy? So what? People call you slutty? So what? Are you that thin skinned that you can’t just assume your own style, and damn the naysayers? If you want to please everyone all the time, you’ll just go insane.

    And I don’t have to pay more for the same quality and comfort. I never paid a skirt more than 50$ (and this was that one skirt, most were 15-25$). I never paid a top more than 15$. I never paid a more than 20$ for a normal dress (I did pay 300$ for a pretty special and fancy one though). Most of my clothing is second hand. I paid zero for it. Pretty comfy too. And for the price I paid, pretty good quality. If I spend 100$ on clothing in a year, I’m either super rich, or just came out of some disaster that destroyed my entire wardrobe. I’ll spend more on food, videogames. Simply because my clothing lasts 10+ years.

    Being generic means people are less likely to be offended when you express an opinion or simply behave like yourself.

    Yes, I remember freedom of expression being much larger pre-transition! NOT.

    Being generic means the medical support you’re most likely to need is more more likely to be covered by our insurance as the default.

    The male pill is paid by insurances, right?

    Being generic means people are more likely to speak your language and more likely to blame themselves when they don’t.

    No, this just means your language cannot have anything special to it. Most people who speak Klingons are male. But try to ask your convenience store clerk to speak it.

    Being generic means crimes against you are considered the problem of society as a whole.

    No, it means crimes against you are likely to be dismissed as “not as bad” as when against women. Or as something you “made her do”. This is why there is much less arrest of people who victimize you when they’re women. Especially for DV or rape, but also for simple assault.

    If people took crimes against you more seriously, they wouldn’t dismiss those out of hand that “you’re strong you can take it”.

  82. freja says

    @85, Superficially Anonymous

    Funnily enough, spending a fair amount of time reading the Guardian and other such forums, I almost exclusively see this happening the other way round.

    I’ve observed the opposite pattern, and I’m more inclined to believe my observations. But I’ll try to pay more attention if I read the Guardian in the future to see if the opposite pattern happens there.

  83. JT says

    I’ve observed the opposite pattern, and I’m more inclined to believe my observations.(freja)

    Yes, they have a word for that, “confirmation bias”. Something scientists struggle not to do. ;)

  84. sirtooting . says

    @ Superfluously Anonymous No. 85

    You often see this line written by males with over bloated ego’s of their own self worth when referring to females and their quest to be recognised as equal human beings .,

    “If women want to be seen equal to men, they then must act like men”
    Hmm..
    This is quite a revealing claim by misogynist and tells us how and what they think.
    They allow no space or credit for the justification of the feminine to exist and therefore in the males eyes, only in being a default male can you achieve being considered a human being and regarded as equally valuable.
    This is an attempt by the misogynistic male to suppress the female and wholly erase and deny the existence of the female and deny the value of the feminine side of human nature.
    It is an attempt to erase all recognition of the benefits of expressing that feminine side and it’s consequential beneficial contributions to a culture, because in the confines of this stifled limited opinion, set in stone by the misogyinstic male, only in being male and expressing masculinity can you be recognised as having any value.
    If a female was to believe “if women want to be seen equal to men, they then must act like men” this then would only be reinforcing and confirming the misogynists own viewpoint of himself and his gender and all his beliefs.
    Females have no need to to act like males to be considered wholly equal, because it would only be that .. an act ..
    Females only obligation is to be themselves and to be free to express both their feminine and masculine sides of their human nature, just as males should be completely free to express theirs and not be stifled or confined or pillaried for daring to express it in the light of misogynistc androcentric opinions, that are nothing but oppressive, limiting and suffocates the potential of the what should be fully freely recognised in what it is that actually makes every single person, human.

  85. freja says

    @86, Schala

    Want the same effect on women?

    I’m not really interested in your advice on how to change the facts of the fictional world in your head. I asked you a question: Do you agree with the MRA view that men are more driven, competent, and hard-working than women? And that case, why do feel the need to object as if you didn’t agree?

    True for being left alone, not true for the rest. You have the same option of being active. Being the active party you still have a better chance of being positively received by a man than a man of the same degree of attractiveness to most women. Because men are more starved for romantic opportunities.

    Big words coming from someone who’s not a man. I don’t believe you judging from your MRA buddies with their seemingly endless list of turn-offs, including fatness (50+% of the US population) and ages older than 30 (again 50+%). And approaching as a woman can often have higher costs, as you’re more likely to be perceived as slutty and desperate, and due to the (false) stereotype that men will go for anything, a rejection carries a greater social cost.

    They’re at the buffet table and don’t necessarily have any options on the side, unlike most women of his equivalent, who might have 5+ suitors. He could approach 5 women, but he would risk far more, than a woman being approached by 5 guys. And contrary to what you think, he likely doesn’t know if the woman is a good party for him before meeting her, so he still has to get to know her, after risking rejection. All he knows is her looks.

    The woman “might” have 5+ suitors? Well, a man “might” be a millionaire (he’s more likely to be anyway), so we shouldn’t feel sympathy for him if he suffers a financial loss, right? Except of course that wealth is an actual advantage whereas 5 suitors is frequently a net negative since the chance of any of those 5 being someone she’s attracted to among the 100s of men she’s met that day can be fairly slim. If I hadn’t found ways to approach guys myself or gotten to know in them in different ways, I would have had only a fraction of the partners I’ve had. Relying on being approached is great in fantasy, but it tends to suck in reality.

    Also, it’s pretty telling how you immediately presume the MRA/PUA scenario of a man being at a bar or some other hook-up place looking for something to stick his dick in, rather than the scenarios many women like to find their partners in, such as school, work, hobbies, mutual friends, etc.. If you can go to a bar, pick something to stick your dick in, and count on a it being a safe and pleasurable experience, you’ve got so much privilege many women can’t even relate to it.

    Big fucking boo if you get told you’re not as sexy as he would like for not wearing heels. I won’t wear heels for that. I would never. I’ll wear flats, or sneakers. If I decide to wear heels to work, it’s because I felt like it.

    Again, very telling how accepting you are of the idea that a woman’s professional evaluation is based on how much of an erection she gives her male boss. And also how you assume the boss is male. Think about it, I write “employer” and “unprofessionally”, and you immediately translate that into “he” and “unsexy”. Coming from an anti-feminist, it really throws things into perspective. You don’t deny the reality of male dominion, you just don’t think it’s a big deal. I’m going to make the assumption that you either don’t have a job, or have a very high job security (or is just out of touch with reality), but let me tell you, this is a pretty serious thing for most working women. It’s not something to be thrown lightly aside with a confident “who cares what my employer thinks of my professional conduct”.

    Wearing make-up, barring a disfiguration, or working in the arts of the scene, or as a model, it also not something that can be imposed. They can have restrictions on it. I guess bars and waiting jobs are iffy, depending on the boss/company. It’s easy to get a job that doesn’t rely on appearance.

    So when lots of jobs in construction disappeared, we were all supposed to feel sorry for the men who used to work there, as if they couldn’t just find something else, but jobs requiring you to deal with people (much more numerous, and one of the few areas readily available to women) are apparently easy to do without for women. Good to know.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2010922/Harrods-shop-girl-Melanie-Stark-hounded-job-wearing-make-up.html

    http://www.lemondrop.com/2009/05/22/waitress-gets-canned-for-not-wearing-makeup/

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/10385501/Bosses-admit-they-would-discriminate-against-women-not-wearing-makeup.html

    People call you frumpy? So what? People call you slutty? So what? Are you that thin skinned that you can’t just assume your own style, and damn the naysayers? If you want to please everyone all the time, you’ll just go insane.

    How does that jive with your previous complaints about how damaging it is when men are mocked? And why can’t men wear women’s clothing then? If there’s no law against it, aren’t they just thin-skinned?

    And I don’t have to pay more for the same quality and comfort. I never paid a skirt…top…normal dress

    OK, so first you complain that men aren’t allowed to wear skirts and dresses (even though they are), and now you apparently want to talk about how your clothes is not any more expensive or comfortable than men’s skirts and men’s tops and normal men’s dresses. Good for you, I don’t know enough men who regularly wear this kind of clothes to make a comparrison, so I’m sticking to comparing things like pants.

    Yes, I remember freedom of expression being much larger pre-transition! NOT.

    You were never a man.

    The male pill is paid by insurances, right?

    Which male pill? The one that’s still at the experimental stage or the other one that’s still at the experimental stage? How about the female viagra?

    No, this just means your language cannot have anything special to it. Most people who speak Klingons are male. But try to ask your convenience store clerk to speak it.

    So English has nothing special to it like less frequently spoken languages do? That’s news to the linguists of the world. They probably want to hear how you came to this revolutionary conclusion, better go tell them now!

    No, it means crimes against you are likely to be dismissed as “not as bad” as when against women. Or as something you “made her do”.

    Schala fact: Women being told that their own behaviour caused them to be raped is not a thing!

    If people took crimes against you more seriously, they wouldn’t dismiss those out of hand that “you’re strong you can take it”.

    Where on earth does that happen? I see plenty of examples of people telling (primarily) female victims of sexual violence that they’re exagerating and hurting the ‘real’ rape victims, but I’ve never seen, say, a male victim of robbery being told to just take it. I think an older article of Ally’s illustrates it quite well:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/hetpat/2013/10/28/policy-on-ending-sexual-violence-a-thought-experiment/

    The UK policy on knife, gun, and gang crime (mostly male victims but coded as a general issue) includes lots of resources focussed on stopping potential perpetrators, while the UK policy on sexual violent (coded as a female issue) consists mainly of a bunch of advice on how women ought to behave in order to not become victims.

    And you never responded to the crash test dummies or the medical testing. Am I to assume you condede the point that being considered the default is an advatage here, pr do you just not consider things which kill women to be a big deal?

  86. freja says

    @88, JT

    Yes, they have a word for that, “confirmation bias”. Something scientists struggle not to do. ;)

    There’s another word very common in the social sciences, “probability”. I have enough experiences disagreeing with friends and acquaintances about what a text said and being proved correct that I’d trust my observational ability in this more than the average person. I’ve taken to automatically look for the word “male” when when I see the word “female” in a text, and vice versa, for a long time in order to check whether I was just biased in noticing the pattern. And considering how often I’ve heard “This text only uses female pronouns” or “This story only has female characters”, only to check up and find the work in question to be male-dominated (a trend that has been scientifically proved before), I know which way most people’s bias tends to go.

    Also, I did say that I would pay more attention. But I have no reason to immediately reverse or ignore my own and others’ observations simply because a single person says something different. In the same way Schala linking to GWW’s incoherent ramblings about the privilege of women in Afghanistan, based on the evidence that GWW read about someone who talked to some Afghan man who talked about how horrible it would be if his women got jobs they were paid for, didn’t do a thing to convince me about anything except the depths AVfM is willing to sink to. Sometimes “someone said something else” just isn’t enough. Especially not when I have yet to see a single of my personal observations being acknowledged by anyone disagreeing with here, ever.

  87. AndrewV69, Visiting MRA, Purveyor of Piffle & Woo says

    @freja, #81

    Thanks for responding. I think I have a better idea about what you were trying to convey now.

  88. Schala says

    I’m not really interested in your advice on how to change the facts of the fictional world in your head. I asked you a question: Do you agree with the MRA view that men are more driven, competent, and hard-working than women? And that case, why do feel the need to object as if you didn’t agree?

    You ignored my answer. Too bad for you.

    Men are pushed by their gender role to be more driven. It’s a fly or die mama bird thing. Sure, they won’t necessarily die if they’re not as ambitious, but they’ll get way less rewarded, even punished compared to the average. In comparison, I can go without make-up and wear pants, with no heels, and never get penalized by most sensible people. I’ll find that a very sizeable proportion of both men and women find those things to be trivial. Especially compared to the proportion of women who find the size of the wallet (or potential wallet re students) of men to be completely trivial.

    Maybe I owe my extra freedom to feminism. Maybe not. Things have not changed for men though.

    Big words coming from someone who’s not a man. I don’t believe you judging from your MRA buddies with their seemingly endless list of turn-offs, including fatness (50+% of the US population) and ages older than 30 (again 50+%).

    Name my buddies. I dare you. I’m extremely asocial.

    And approaching as a woman can often have higher costs, as you’re more likely to be perceived as slutty and desperate, and due to the (false) stereotype that men will go for anything, a rejection carries a greater social cost.

    Move away from Hicksville then. Not everyone has a IQ of 75. You’ll find that you can definitely find reasonable people who don’t find you desperate, slutty, and without men who ‘go for anything’.

    The woman “might” have 5+ suitors? Well, a man “might” be a millionaire (he’s more likely to be anyway),

    His chance of being millionaire is higher than her having 5 suitors? Seriously?

    Except of course that wealth is an actual advantage whereas 5 suitors is frequently a net negative since the chance of any of those 5 being someone she’s attracted to among the 100s of men she’s met that day can be fairly slim.

    Choosers’s dilemma. Too many tasties for sale! I can’t decide. And those freebies are yucky. Men wouldn’t spit on freebies if they’re not beyond their tastes though. It’s not like they’ll jump on everything, but they won’t spit on opportunities they would actually like out of it not being perfect. “Well, she’s not a 10/10, meh, I can do better” is rarely heard.

    Also, it’s pretty telling how you immediately presume the MRA/PUA scenario of a man being at a bar or some other hook-up place looking for something to stick his dick in, rather than the scenarios many women like to find their partners in, such as school, work, hobbies, mutual friends, etc.. If you can go to a bar, pick something to stick your dick in, and count on a it being a safe and pleasurable experience, you’ve got so much privilege many women can’t even relate to it.

    Doesn’t have to be a bar. Stop making assumptions about me.

    I met my boyfriend at work. And it took a long time for me to decide either way. I didn’t know his intentions clearly either. He still did the clear unambiguous first move. And I’m glad my gender role didn’t force me to do so, or we wouldn’t be together.

    Again, very telling how accepting you are of the idea that a woman’s professional evaluation is based on how much of an erection she gives her male boss. And also how you assume the boss is male. Think about it, I write “employer” and “unprofessionally”, and you immediately translate that into “he” and “unsexy”.

    You would think a female boss would force their office employees to wear heels? For what, out of spite? Office workers are often not seen directly by clients or the public. Requiring make-up or heels, or pantyhose, or anything not germane to the job is not on. It’s also probably illegal.

    That trial where they said different-but-equal burdens was right and gave the win to the employer about make-up? It was a barmaid job, not an office clerk job.

    The limits of ‘professional’ include non-heels. It includes non-pantyhose. It includes pants. In fact, it includes way more options for women than it does for men. Men need long pants year round. Women don’t need floor-length skirts year round. Men need to wear a tie, and only certain colors (pale ones) for shirts. And they can’t wear heels even if they wanted to. They have to wear flats, or very small height (0.5-1 inch) shoes in most jobs with an arbitrary dress code. With short hair, no jewelry, and short, non-decorated nails.

    So when lots of jobs in construction disappeared, we were all supposed to feel sorry for the men who used to work there, as if they couldn’t just find something else, but jobs requiring you to deal with people (much more numerous, and one of the few areas readily available to women) are apparently easy to do without for women. Good to know.

    Jobs where the employer can make demands, like heels and make-up. Waittressing, barmaid, model, TV stuff, theatre stuff. If they demand it in other jobs, sue them. You should win.

    It’s not something to be thrown lightly aside with a confident “who cares what my employer thinks of my professional conduct”.

    I’ll care what they think of my conduct, not my sense of fashion.

    How does that jive with your previous complaints about how damaging it is when men are mocked? And why can’t men wear women’s clothing then? If there’s no law against it, aren’t they just thin-skinned?

    Dress codes in most schools prevent them. The repercussions for wearing it could go from being ridiculed to being murdered. The repercussions for not wearing make-up in a job that should not require it? None.

    You were never a man

    So my freedom of expression was MORE restricted than men? And men have huge freedom of expression? Get real.

    Schala fact: Women being told that their own behaviour caused them to be raped is not a thing!

    Beat that: Men being told that their genitalia caused them to be raped (but told they couldn’t possibly be raped, because you liked it, duh, free sex). Something inherent to their very existence is the cause and dismissal of their rape.

  89. Danny Gibbs says

    78. carnation:
    When I think of feminists, I think of the women I know that volunteer at crisis centres, that work at Women’s Aid and as social workers. I think of women who wouldn’t dream of “allowing” a man to pay for her on a date. I think of the self-identifying radical feminist who first introduced me to the notion that patriarchal attitudes are damaging to men as well as women. I think of the many “sex-positive” feminists that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing, and their ideological opponents who objected to their use of the word “positive”.
    Its varying mileage and experience. I’m not saying that those feminists you mention don’t exist, in fact I’ve met some like them. I’ve also met those that outright deny the exist of sexism against men and those who offer support for men condition that the support is centered around framing the issues and solutions around women. I’ve met feminists who in one breath had no problem saying that while victims female against male rape should get help the crime itself should not be called rape. Its a mixed bag.

    Patriarchal attitudes constrict, confine and repress men. Feminists started the debate to reject these sexist assumptions. It is wilful and ignorantly denial of one’s own agency to blame “feminism” for the internalised patriarchal sexism that resides in virtually all men.
    Starting the debate is not a free pass on behaviors and attitudes that limit the inclusion of men. Feminism is not solely to blame but I think its dishonest to pay credit to the good that its done while denying the bad that may have come from it.

    freja:
    It’s pretty common among MRAs and internet misogynists to systematically refer to women as females but men as men, describing women in terms mostly used about animals and objects and men in terms uniquely used abot humans.
    I’m one MRA of many but the reason I use females is as a short way to avoid constantly typing out girls/women. And yes I use males to avoid boys/men.

  90. carnation says

    @ DannyGibbs

    Thanks for your reply. The reason I pointed out the feminist activists that I did is precisely because they are activists. Intellectually strung out fruitcakes on Tumblr are good for convincing MRAs of the need to exist but effect no change in the world and are nothing to be worried about.

    Unusually, you self-identify as an MRA. It seems to me that MRAs are like the Bush Administration post 9/11 – their anger, vitriol and resources are completely, and ineffectually, directed as an entirely uninvolved third party. Feminism has nothing to do with the vast majority of issues wearily repeated by MRAs.

    I would sincerely like to put some questions to you.

    MRAs frequently claim that many (some say most – up to 80%) of people reporting sexual crimes committed against them are in fact making it up.

    How does this sort of cynicism help male victims of sex crimes, already suffering from trauma?

    Likewise for DV.

  91. AndrewV69, Visiting MRA, Purveyor of Piffle & Woo says

    @carnation, #95

    MRAs frequently claim that many (some say most – up to 80%) of people reporting sexual crimes committed against them are in fact making it up.

    Assuming that you are not trolling I can answer that. There are two sets. Those who are raped and those who make false rape accusations. My understanding is that within the first set a significant number never report because of social reasons (for example, they know the attacker). A significant number in the second set do report to the police.

    How does this sort of cynicism help male victims of sex crimes, already suffering from trauma?

    Likewise for DV.

    In my opinion a better question is how is the 1 in 6 males assaulted any more credible than the 1 in 4 females assertion?

  92. Irrational Rationality says

    I see a lot of dogma here, and a lot of baroque intellectual window dressing, but very little empirical data. What little empirical data is offered is taken by both sides of the argument simultaneously and spun to suit their MRA or feminist agendas. Is this really what passes for scholarship in the field of “gender studies”?

  93. says

    Oxymoron, (98)

    Are you here to state the obvious? That discussions in comment sections are not the peer reviewed literature when it comes to message noise ratios should surprise noone.

  94. Irrational Rationality says

    It’s all I ever see though. The whole feminism vs. MRA debate is silly. Feminists believe the entirety of history boils down to overly simplistic discussions of oppressors vs. the oppressed, as if human behavior were really that black and white. MRA’s just want to take the oppressor and oppressed classes and find some way to invert the hierarchy using whatever tactics are necessary.

  95. says

    Irrational Rationality (101)

    I thin most MRAs cannot identify with the concept of gender oppression. From my reading of their material, the most prevalent philosophy when it comes to these issues s that they are (with exceptions) egalitarian individualists.

  96. sirtooting . says

    @ Sheaf
    LMAO

    Denial is not only a river in Egypt .. if you ever decide to tax your brain, remember, don’t charge more than a penny

  97. sirtooting . says

    @ sheaf
    You can bet your bippy it was a good one .. what a pity we can’t say the same about yours :)-p

  98. Prairie Bob says

    Odd though: the debate over the 4 year old girl happens right after a 4 your old boy actually dies saving a 3 year old girl.

  99. Ally Fogg says

    Note to sirtooting

    You have been warned several times about derailment, abuse and hostility. As you are well aware, on the previous thread several women / feminists asked you firmly but politely to tone it down as you were creating a toxic atmosphere that made it difficult for them to argue rationally for their beliefs and feminist positions.

    I will stress once more that I do not provide this blog as a space for people to vent their hatred and contempt for men’s rights activists or feminists, I do host it as a venue where the issues can be explored by people from across the gender-politics spectrum in a constructive and respectful way. You are actively preventing that from happening.

    If you want to rant and rave about the evils of Men’s Rights Activists, I strongly suggest you start your own blog and do so to your heart’s content.

    I really don’t like banning people from this site if I can possibly avoid it, but you are very much on your final warning.

    Thanks.

  100. Adiabat says

    Freya (34):

    It’s not that it’s unheard of, it’s that it’s not gendered.

    And you fail in the first line of your reply to me. I think the fact that dumb action movies are overwhelmingly made and marketed with a male market in mind is so established that the burden of proof is on you to prove otherwise. Until then I think a valid response would be to just dismiss your argument.

    When The Nostalgia Chick did a series on chick flicks, I recall some of the commenters arguing that movies which were good and critically acclaimed couldn’t even be chick flicks because that defied the genre. So instead of accusing a movie of silly and vapid due to being chick flicks, those people instead accused movies on being chick flicks due to being silly and vapid. Either way, it’s hard not to read even a little femmphobia into it.

    Not for you, but you see femmephobia everywhere due to your tendency to view everything with a massive confirmation bias and insistence on applying even the most unlikely unfair readings on everything if it means you can reach the conclusion that you want to reach. “Analyses” such as yours are why “disciplines” such as Women’s Studies have such a poor reputation.

    The term ‘chick flick’ simply means films made and marketed with a predominantly female market in mind. Like films made for predominantly male audiences* they usually use lowest common denominators and serve to appease the ego’s of their intended audiences; and so are usually of low quality and have little artistic value or depth. That doesn’t mean the occasional film doesn’t become acclaimed. In such cases people feel uncomfortable associating them with the majority of drek that fits the definition and either try to come up with a different category or refer to them as “a good dumb action movie/chick flick”.

    As for getting hung up on the term ‘click flick’, it’s only acquired some usage for the simple reason that it rhymes and so has aesthetic value. If the same was true for “Bro’s Mo’s” (short for movies) then we’d hear that term used for movies made for Male audiences. But there isn’t a decent aesthetically pleasing all-encompassing term for movies made for Male audiences. As usual you are reading too much into things to suit your biases.

    * Hell, it’s not even a gender thing but a Hollywood/money-making thing.

  101. Adiabat says

    Freya (42):

    I don’t know if men despise women who don’t meet certain beauty standards, or if they just generally despise women more and use the insults they think will cause the most harm.

    The name of this particular fallacy evades me for now, but here you have artificially constrained the possible answers to just two possible answers, when neither may be the case. I find such rhetoric as used by you to be quite manipulative.

    There is a disparity between how some men treat attractive women vs unattractive women* but I’ve always thought that the more unattractive a men finds a women the more he treats that woman like he does other men.

    People don’t treat men and women alike.

    I’ve bolded the words of mine you are replying to that you seem to have missed. Saying “the more he treats that woman like he does other men” does not equal that they are treated identically. Due to your misreading your reply to me becomes invalid.

    Also, all relevant studies I’ve looked at point to weight discrimination hitting women harder. Of course, since most of these studies dealt with correlation (e.g. thin women were paid more than fat women but less than fat men) it can be hard to pin down the causality.

    Of course that never stops anyone from doing so anyway :). If I had to come up with some quasi-theory I might guess that men are generally considered unattractive anyway so any additional factors that makes someone more unattractive has less of an emotional effect on them. On the other hand, women benefit greatly from being attractive: not only are the considered more attractive on average but the more attractive they are the better they are treated by society (to use your vernacular we would say they have “privilege”). This means that unattractiveness hits them harder, as it is an example of privileged person being upset/angry at the loss of their privilege. The patriarchy, which normally benefits women with “attraction privilege”, is hurting them too.

    (I believe that’s similar to a common claim made against men who complain about the sexism they experience. I can see why you like to make arguments and claims like I just did above (and why feminist theory is so popular); it’s just so easy to twist any way we want to support any claim we want to make :))

  102. Adiabat says

    Carnation (45):

    Good God… I actually agree with something you’ve written!!

    No doubt we would agree on a lot of things; It just so happens that we only talk about issues where we disagree. I suspect the same is true of MRA’s and Feminists.

    it is patriarchal norms that reinforce almost universally unattainable heteronormative ideal physical types for both sexes that lead to massive insecurities. Feminists have led the discussion, debate and challenge to these ideal types.

    Which “patriarchal norms”? What effects do they have and to what degree? Who do they affect? What ancillary effects do they have? How are they being enforced? How do we distinguish them from non-patriarchal norms? Why do they effect individuals within groups differently? Do they interact with other “patriarchal norms” greatly varying the effect they have? Do these norms have any other purpose? Is the negative effect ancillary to the primary effect? Is the primary effect desirable? Are the ancillary effects desirable? What is the origin of these norms? Are any of our answers to the above found through reliable methodology developed to reduce confirmation, and other, biases?

    Oh wait, feminist theory rarely gets any more in-depth than blaming a vague “Patriarchy!” doesn’t it? And when it does get more in depth it is nothing more than someone spouting unsupported ideas using a dubious theoretical framework based on nothing more than blather from an academic field which, due to poor methodology, can be accurately summed up as “Wot we fink about stuff”.

    Will you join me, Adiabat, in congratulating feminism for starting this much needed societal change?

    What change? As far as I can tell the “universally unattainable heteronormative ideal physical types” have only become more reinforced since feminism dominated debates on gender. I don’t know if feminism is a cause of this but it certainly hasn’t stopped it.

    If you mean for coming up with the “Patriarchy” then I’m afraid the idea behind it isn’t exactly new (notwithstanding the semantic issue of the name; which embodies a rare example of ‘important semantics’). For previous theories utilizing similar concepts I recommend Oswald Spengler’s early 20th Century 2 volume work “The Decline of the West”. In it he analyses the cultural development of several different societies throughout history, determining common strands and analyzing the development of what you would call “patriarchal norms” with regard to the development of the cultures. The scholarship is amazing and it makes the work of feminist academics on the “Patriarchy” seem closer to 60’s hippies sitting around a campfire talking about “fighting ‘the Man’” (usually by having a music festival for some reason).

    P.S Interestingly a part of Spenglers work predicts the decline of standards of scholarship, as exemplified by Feminist theory.

  103. summerblues says

    Adiabat @ 5,

    Thanks. It’s taking me way too long to put together why …claims like that (women don’t know they’re misogynist, sexist, etc) raises my hackles the way that it does. It seems the only way that I know at the moment how to respond is to show myself as the asshole that I am or at least can be. I have manners and know how to use them. I also know how to insult and now do it deliberately. I still don’t know all the sexist terms that are out there. I’m learning. This doesn’t mean, however, that once I’ve learned them that I absolutely MUST decide to never be that way or use those terms ever again. I question the motives of those who believe that I must fit *their standards of how I am and who I’m supposed to be. Perhaps that is what baffles some: I’ve decided to be this way and *they cannot fathom why.

    “The magazine industry seems to make women feel so bad about themselves in ways that most men really couldn’t give a fig about to the point that men are often disbelieved by women when they say that they find them attractive.”

    It’s not just the magazine industry. Personal experience only: I came of age, teens, in the 1980’s where thin flapper-build was not considered appealing. Curves were in, especially large bosoms. Movies and the fashion industry fueled my insecurities. I matched the models, except in height and slightly larger breasts (models are supposed to be walkiing coat-hangers, think Kate Moss in the ’90’s, cocaine – fuelled I believe). Anyway, mags still don’t help for the curvier women (girls, really, since these models are in their teens) but fashion and Hollyweird set the tone. (Jessica Simpson and her weight gain..she was skewered and now does adverts/commercials for a weight loss program..sheesh)

  104. WhineyM says

    Ah here we go, interesting cross-reference on the qualitative nature of misogyny (will quote directly this time with a link to avoid any unhappiness about ‘poor paraphrasing!’) :-)

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/hetpat/2013/05/13/on-the-misandry-isnt-a-thing-thing/

    “What feminists mean when they say ‘misandry isn’t a thing’ is that because our society systematically privileges men and disempowers women, misogyny serves a different cultural purpose, has different and more damaging impacts and grows from different roots to misandry. To a certain extent I agree with that, but saying misandry is not the mirror image of misogyny does not mean that misandry does not exist at all.”

    I guess what interests me here above all is the concept of ‘systematic’, which might suggest deliberate and formalised discrimination on the part of public institutions. Yet in the above blog piece, you might say it’s the opposite, with the attacks mentioned being far more in the realm of personal invective and abuse. But then do memes not by definition form systems? Well all right, but again,I would suggest (just my opinion) that ‘systematic’ surely implies something a bit more purposeful and thorough than that.

  105. Schala says

    I’m amazed women’s magazines actually have a wide audience.

    While men’s gender role is constraining, I haven’t seen “how to” magazines about being a “real man”. There’s hunting magazines, video games magazines, computer enthusiast magazines, car magazines, RV/other off-road stuff magazines, and gym magazines. I guess what comes closest is GQ and Esquire? But not sure it addresses the typical boy or man. Sounds very gentlemanly (meaning a man of certain financial means, as being too soft while poor is perceived as weakness – Ted Danson in Bored to Death has sex with a ton of women, but if he wasn’t rich, he would be perceived as “very gay” for how he worries about coded-feminine stuff – GQ is his direct competitor in the series).

  106. summerblues says

    Schala @ 115,

    I’ve read a suggestion that Men’s Health is one of those mags. My husband gets that one so I get to read it. The male models on the cover, sometimes actors, are very, very buff – deliciously so. Men are being objectified IMO the way women are. I hated it at first (I thought this was somethng we women didn’t like so why would we do this to men? still have no answer to that) but now I cynically enjoy it. I know full well what I’m doing.

  107. JT says

    I hated it at first (I thought this was somethng we women didn’t like so why would we do this to men? still have no answer to that) but now I cynically enjoy it. I know full well what I’m doing.(summer)

    Surprise, surprise. Though its not like men cant tell when they are also being objectified. For most its probably the highlight of their day. ;)

  108. Gjenganger says

    @Schala 115, summerblues 116.
    Indeed, “Men’s Health’ and the various bodubuliding-y mags would count as the male equivalent of “women’s magazines” – at least judging by their covers, I do not read them. Let me point out that this is a fairly recent development. Those mags were not around 30 years ago. The onward march of gender equality??

  109. 123454321 says

    I’ll make a bold, outspoken statement that man are most definitely objectified more than women – they always have been but it’s getting more and more evident in recent years. There is far, far more male flesh exposed in movies and on TV, in magazines, adverts, and in newspapers. It’s everywhere and it is probably designed to fulfil the desires of women (and probably gay men, too, if we’re being realistic). I’ve noticed a distinct increase in the volume of nude men on TV over the last two or three decades – full frontals, tanned, bulging torsos etc. in soaps, dramas adverts etc.. It’s ubiquitous. There is also the issue of objectification of men when it comes to money, riches and the expectation that men are there as cash suppliers and providers to women. The reason few people talk about this subject is basically down to acceptability. While feminists have campaigned for decades that objectifying women is demeaning and damaging to them, there has been a huge (but silent) increase in the objectification of men. Men have been so used to being told that it’s only women who can be objectified that they don’t quite know how to react when they’re faced with male objectification, no matter how obvious it is! From what I can gather, the complaints are soaring and men are getting racked off with being objectified. If they’re not being made out to be a dead-beat moron by every public media channel, they’re objectified for good measure! I don’t expect anyone to agree with me because most people have been brought up to recognise only female objectification and, besides, there’s so much male objectification around that one can hardly do anything about it in any case. But, yes, like summerblues said just above, women know very well what’s going on right now and many women are smugly enjoying the ride. I doubt it will last forever, though, as it’s most likely just as damaging to society as female objectification. Actually, it could potentially be a lot more damaging for today’s generation of boys. The subject of male objectification probably needs a blog post all of its very own.

  110. freja says

    @110, Adiabat

    And you fail in the first line of your reply to me. I think the fact that dumb action movies are overwhelmingly made and marketed with a male market in mind is so established that the burden of proof is on you to prove otherwise. Until then I think a valid response would be to just dismiss your argument.

    I know that big dumb action movies are mostly made for and marketed to men, but they’re not defined by it. “Chick flick” is frequently used about movies solely because those movies appeal to women, while “Big dumb action movie” is it’s own separate category. To be precise:

    Chick flick: Movie for and frequently about women. Can include everything from fantasy to social realism, silliness and seriousness, drama and lightheartedness, etc. Ever After (a cutesy, comedic retelling of Cinderella), Twillight (a goth inspired tale of forbidden lust and epic love between a bland vampire and a blander teenager), 27 Dresses (a contemporary romantic comedy about a wedding obsessed woman trying to find love), and even Thelma and Louise (a buddy movie about two killers on a road-trip who drive over a cliff) are all frequently described as chick flicks despite having very little in common except a focus on female characters and their relationships.

    Big dumb action movie: A movie heavy on action and explosions but with a weak plot. Typically set in the present day (possibly with sci-fi elements) and featuring buff male stars. Happens to appeal to and be made mostly for men.

    Western movie: A movie set in North America (mainly the US) typically in the 19th and early 20th century, and featuring primarily male characters such as cowboys, Indians, gunslingers, sheriffs, etc. Happens to appeal to and be made mostly for men.

    War movie: A movie set in war zones focussing on mainly male soldiers. Happens to appeal to and be made mostly for men.

    Lowbrow comedy movie: A movie containing large amounts of comedy focused on physical injury/pain, bodily functions, and Adam Sandler and/or Vince Vaughn. Happens to appeal to and be made mostly for men.

    And this is not mentioning the subgenres of thriller/horror/crime movies which appeal mostly to men, or adventure, spy, and buddy movies which are also made mostly for men. The point being that when movies contain certain traits that appeal more to men than women, they’re named and categorised according to those traits, not their appeal. But movies which appeal to women are almost all lumped together based on the appeal, regardless of how many traits they have in common, as if things women like are just more interchangeable.

  111. JT says

    Let me point out that this is a fairly recent development. Those mags were not around 30 years ago. (Gjenganer)

    Of course they were. The precursor to todays Men’s health was Muscle and Fitness. Joe and Ben Weider helped put Arnold on the map.

  112. Adiabat says

    Freja (120): I’m assuming you are unaware of The Man Channel, an internet TV channel which groups all those categories of movie you described as ‘man movies’? Just because there isn’t a funny little rhyming term to refer to them as doesn’t mean anything; they can still be categorised together as men’s movies (and often are) and dismissed as mindless testosterone fuelled rubbish (which they often are). Everyone still knows that they are movies aimed at men.

    Like I said in my previous post you seem to be getting hung up on the term ‘chick flick’ and attaching special meaning to it. All those types of movie you’ve described are covered by their own categories such as Rom-Com, Teenage Vampire movies, and Empowering/Self Discovery movies (which is often a subcategory of Drama but not always).

    The same dynamic is at work in both cases. The only difference is that Bro’s Mo’s sounds a bit lame, while Chick Flicks is sufficient un-lame to catch on in the popular mind, plus K sounds are funny*. Can YOU come up with a better term to refer to movies for men that is likely to catch on?

    * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inherently_funny_word

  113. David S says

    @summerblues 116

    The models on the cover, sometimes actors, are very, very buff – deliciously so. Men are being objectified IMO the way women are. I hated it at first (I thought this was somethng we women didn’t like so why would we do this to men? still have no answer to that) but now I cynically enjoy it. I know full well what I’m doing.

    I don’t think you need to beat yourself up about that. If you find yourself thinking of men as just a set of toned abdominal muscles, then maybe you are starting to objectify them. However the “just” is important. It sounds as if all you have done is noticed that the models are a bit buff and that you enjoy looking at them. I’ve noticed that too, and I’m a straight bloke.

    Incidentally the trick to looking like those models is to put in several hundred ab crunches every day, and then drink a glass of red wine just before the photo shoot so as to dilate the blood vessels and make the muscle definition show through. I’ve been working on this in stages, and my red wine drinking is coming along quite nicely.

  114. freja says

    @123, Adiabat

    I’m assuming you are unaware of The Man Channel, an internet TV channel which groups all those categories of movie you described as ‘man movies’?

    So 1 internet TV channel for men calls movies which appeal mainly to men “man movies” and that proves it’s a general concept?

    Listen, I’m well aware that some types of movies are presumed to appeal more to men and are often grouped together by TV channels and the like, just like movies appealing to women are. But the term is not used by most people in everyday life. You previously equated chick flicks with big dumb action movies, and talked about people liking/disliking them like they like/dislike big dumb actions movies. But this makes no sense. Chick flick are so different that the only reason anyone would categorically like/dislike them would be if the sex of the protagonist was the one and only deciding factor.

    I have never heard anyone say that they don’t like “man movies” as if it was it’s own genre, the way some people will disparage chick flicks or refer to them as a guilty pleasure. I’ve heard some say they wont watch a certain movie because it’s a splatter movie, or a lowbrow comedy, or a western, or a martial arts movie, or even just a movie with lots of violence in it, but I’ve never heard them say that they hate “man movies”, they’re always specific as to which elements of the movie they don’t like, and that element has never been “it’s about men”. I’m not saying that it can’t happen, just that the idea that there is a single genre of movies which can be grouped together as “movies for men” and talked about as if it was it’s own separate genre doesn’t seem to be a very mainstream.

  115. redpesto says

    Gjenganer #118:

    Let me point out that this is a fairly recent development. Those mags were not around 30 years ago. The onward march of gender equality??

    The men’s ‘style mag’ market in the UK (re)emerged as a result of the success of magazines like The Face in the 1980s, which led to the launch of Arena (now defunct), followed by many of the other magazines such as GQ. Loaded hit on a more popular formula, but was ultimately outsold by FHM.

    That said, Hefner launched Playboy in the 1950s to appeal to men with a sense of style and culture rather than ‘John Wayne’ types. It’s just that everyone was too busy looking at/complaining about the pin-ups to notice or care.

  116. redpesto says

    123454321 #119:

    I’ve noticed a distinct increase in the volume of nude men on TV over the last two or three decades – full frontals, tanned, bulging torsos etc. in soaps, dramas adverts etc.. It’s ubiquitous.

    Ah, that’ll be metrosexuality you;re talking about:

    Metrosexual is a neologism, derived from metropolitan and heterosexual, coined in 1994 describing a man (especially one living in an urban, post-industrial, capitalist culture) who is especially meticulous about his grooming and appearance, typically spending a significant amount of time and money on shopping as part of this.[1] The term is popularly thought to contrast heterosexuals who adopt fashions and lifestyles stereotypically associated with homosexuals, although, by the definition given by the originator (see below), a metrosexual “might be officially gay, straight or bisexual.”

    Or as Mark Simpson (who coined the term) put it:

    Metrosexual man, the single young man with a high disposable income, living or working in the city (because that’s where all the best shops are), is perhaps the most promising consumer market of the decade. In the Eighties he was only to be found inside fashion magazines such as GQ. In the Nineties, he’s everywhere and he’s going shopping.

    And those giant billboards of David Beckham in his well-filled underpants? Hardcore ‘sporno’ (“the place where sport and porn meet and produce a gigantic money shot”).

  117. Adiabat says

    Freja (125):

    So 1 internet TV channel for men calls movies which appeal mainly to men “man movies” and that proves it’s a general concept?

    Well no, but rather the fact that everyone knows that there are movies predominantly aimed at men and movies predominantly aimed at women. This is such common knowledge that we can have a channel called “The Man Channel” and practically everyone already knows what type of movies they show without knowing anything else about it. That’s how mainstream the category is. And no doubt there are people who won’t be interested in the channel because they generally don’t like movies that are aimed at men.

    Nor do people dislike movies predominantly aimed at women, or “chick flicks”, just because “they’re about women”. It’s usually common themes that they have in mind that they dislike, just like common themes in movies for men, which may apply in many cases but not all. Categories can exist even without an amusing term for them being in common usage and in this case the underlying dynamic is exactly the same in both cases.

  118. Gjenganger says

    @ JT, Redpesto
    No guarantee for exact dates. All I can say is that, growing up in the early seventies, Playboy (etc.) were already there when I was old enough to notice, and high style stuff like Esquire and whatever was outside my horizon anyway. But bodybuilding went from unheard-of to mainstream in my memory (Arnold), and magazines like Men’s Health with grooming-centred front pages that look like a male version of Cosmo only became noticeable in my adulthood.

  119. freja says

    @93, Schala

    You ignored my answer. Too bad for you.

    I never gave me an answer, you gave a mostly unrelated lecture without any references or concrete examples. I already get that you believe men are better than women on average (unless there’s some other ability you think women develop more than men to make up for it), but that you’re willing to helpfully (and repeatedly) suggest what women can do to amend that. It’s really all I wanted to know.

    In comparison, I can go without make-up and wear pants, with no heels, and never get penalized by most sensible people.

    How do you know? Half of British bosses surveyed in the link I posted say they would be unlikely to hire a woman without makeup for sales or a public facing role. 61% of company executives said it would have a detrimental effect on her promotion prospects. Over two thirds of bosses want their female employees to wear makeup at key business meetings. And those are just the ones who’d admit it.

    Maybe most people are sensible, but if those who aren’t are your boss, you’re pretty screwed. Not to mention that if going without makeup and heels do enough to give customers a bad impression of a female employee that it’s either mandatory or highly recommended, there’s no reason why it won’t have the effect on bosses who’re human too. The downside of being allowed to decorate yourself in more ways is that it often becomes required and the competition becomes much steeper. Often, all a man have to do to elicit comments about how great he looks is to don a suit (business) or tux (formal), but women have to go the extra mile because the standard is already much higher.

    Name my buddies. I dare you. I’m extremely asocial.

    Figure of speech. The MRAs you support and whose rhetoric you use. Like GWW, even though she writes for a site which considers trans women to be sick men who need to be cured and rescued from wanting to be women.

    Move away from Hicksville then. Not everyone has a IQ of 75. You’ll find that you can definitely find reasonable people who don’t find you desperate, slutty, and without men who ‘go for anything’.

    Conservative gender roles are hardly unique to Hicksville. The Game and The Rules are both obscenely popular considering the trash they promote.

    His chance of being millionaire is higher than her having 5 suitors? Seriously?

    I can’t say, since I haven’t done survey. I will say that having 5 suitors at any time is not the norm for most women.

    Choosers’s dilemma. Too many tasties for sale! I can’t decide. And those freebies are yucky. Men wouldn’t spit on freebies if they’re not beyond their tastes though.

    Really? Let’s ask them: To all men reading this, how big do you think your chances are of wanting to sleep with at least 1 of 5 randomly chosen men (e.g. the first 5 non-related men you meet in a given day)? I’d say not highly. I’ve gone without sex for the better part of a decade, I think I know more than most men about being starved in that aspect.

    Doesn’t have to be a bar. Stop making assumptions about me.

    I met my boyfriend at work.

    You specifically said that the man didn’t have any way of knowing whether he’d like the woman because he only had her appearance to go by and therefore they were equal. Unless it’s customary where you come from for men to hit on women on their first day at work, that claim really only holds true for places like bars.

    You would think a female boss would force their office employees to wear heels? For what, out of spite?

    Women in heels are considered by many to look more sharp and professional. Greta Christina has written about the trouble of finding women’s shoes that are both professional looking and wearable.

    Jobs where the employer can make demands, like heels and make-up. Waittressing, barmaid, model, TV stuff, theatre stuff. If they demand it in other jobs, sue them. You should win.

    Waitressing jobs are very numerous. I don’t know if they rival jobs in the construction industry, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did. You also forgot women working in sales, most customer service jobs, and probably quite a few others. And even if your employer can’t legally fire you for refusing to wear makeup and heels, they’re free to not hire you if you don’t show up to your job interview in them and fire you if you stop wearing them without giving it as a reason. Plenty of women lack the job security, and gender discrimination lawsuits are far from a sure thing.

    And among other professionals, like lawyers and business women, and public speakers and others who live of promoting themselves, being perceived as sloppy and unprofessional looking because you’re not dressed correctly can seriously hamper your career.

    I’ll care what they think of my conduct, not my sense of fashion.

    Your sense of fashion is part of your conduct.

    Dress codes in most schools prevent them.

    The law prevents women from going bare-chested in plenty of areas where it’s perfectly legal for men. Your point being?

    The repercussions for not wearing make-up in a job that should not require it? None.

    How on earth do you know that? How many people have you worked for exactly?

    So my freedom of expression was MORE restricted than men? And men have huge freedom of expression? Get real.

    If you adopted a feminine persona, you’d be seen as diverging from the norm. Since you’re trans, chances are you identified with your female gender identity to a greater degree than many cis women, and thus felt restricted. Can’t say for sure of course, but I doubt your behaviour and preferences where identical to those of your male peers.

    Beat that: Men

    The vast majority of people here know and agree that men who’re sexually assaulted face unique difficulties. It’s the downside of the “Men are strong and invulnerable, women are weak and helpless” which gives a lot of men a sense of strength and security. Just as plenty of women internalise the idea that rape against women happens because of short skirts, because it makes them feel more secure in their covering outfits, many men internalise the idea that they can’t be raped by women and that men who’re raped by other men (unlike them) are gay and weak for letting it happen.

    However, this isn’t the Oppression Olympics, this is a specific discussion of the norm vs the deviation, and the specific example I gave was crimes where victims are typically coded male (knife, gun, and gang crime) vs. crimes where victims are typically coded female (sexual assault). The type of crimes which provide the most obvious male victims is treated as a general problem for society as a whole, and resources are aimed at changing the behaviour of current and potential perpetrators with the goal of “making our communities safer places for everyone”. The type of crime which provides the most obvious female victims is treated as a uniquely female problem which women bring upon themselves by virtue of their femaleness, and the focus is on getting women to restrict their behaviour in order to not bring sexual violence upon themselves.

    Yes, it sucks for (some) men that crimes which have historically been committed primarily against women are considered exclusive to women, while crimes which have historically been committed primarily against men are still seen as able to include women. Both men and women suffer because of it. On the other hand, it’s also a great benefit to the many male victims of knife, gun, and gang crime that they are considered to represent “everyone” and that real steps (i.e. focus on perpetrators) are being taken to keep them safe.

    And that’s the point basically. When you divide something into “affecting men” vs. “affecting women”, the former becomes a general problem and the latter a gender specific problem. Hence the focus on making the whole community safer for the victims vs the focus on getting (only) the victims to behave themselves. And birth control vs viagra. Adult (male) sized crash test dummies vs. dummies the size of 12-year-olds. Medicine tested on people physically similar to you vs medicine untried for your demographic.

  120. Ginkgo says

    redpesto @ 126
    “The men’s ‘style mag’ market in the UK (re)emerged as a result of the success of magazines like The Face in the 1980s, which led to the launch of Arena (now defunct), followed by many of the other magazines such as GQ. ”

    Point of order – GQ has been around since the 1930s – maybe not that long in Britain, but that is another question. The same is true fo Esquire. Both were essentially lifestyle magazines, with GD aimed mostly at a a gay audience, long before that audience could be openly identified. (It has degenerated sadly since then. The latest issue has I don’t know how many articles on how to this or how to do that to get the girl or keep oyur lady satisfied. Oh well…). I don’t it makes much sense to claim these magazines have much of a formative or normative effect on the general culture.

    Note on the “chick flick” discussion – I think a lot of the robelm is the pretty common offense a lot of women take to the term “chick” specifically. It’s unusual for women to take offense the same way to “girl”, in fact it’s pretty common for women to refer to other women, unlike “bioy”, which is nowadays almost universally taken (and probably intended) as an insult when it’s directed at men. (It wasn’t always this way, as recently as the 1950s.)

    Another issue is the ghettoizing effect of having a separate term “chick flick.” It’s part of a pattern of slapping pink labels on things to market them to women. But the difference is probably more a matter of explicititude. For instance back when tobacco advertizing was legal, some manufacturor came out with a brand “Virginia Slims” and marketed them as a ladylike cigarette that a woman could smoke to proclaim her independence for old-fashioned gender restrictions. This was in the late 60s/early 70s – it was total pandering. That was explicit. What was less explicit but no less targeted or effective was the whole Marlboro Man campaign that marketed that bransd as a gender identity marker. This si a slight thing but there is a real difference.

  121. Schala says

    I already get that you believe men are better than women on average (unless there’s some other ability you think women develop more than men to make up for it)

    I reject the premise.

    I think individuals are worthy as is. Regardless of what they do, or could do.

    I don’t think men are better. Because I don’t measure worth that way. It’s immaterial to their worth. People in wheelchair are not worse value to me. Maybe they have less quality of life, but when you mean better you mean “more useful” right? Being a tool is not exactly a compliment.

  122. Schala says

    as for the rest of your post, I’ll have to agree to disagree, going nowhere fast

    I think freedom of expression is dependent on attitudes. I’m idealist, and I say fuck capitalism, fuck abusers, fuck people who require short hair, make up, heels, whatever for “image” reasons. Even if it’s money-related. Fuck them all. Yes.

    I’ll rather be on welfare than work for those.

    What’s telling is how you consider it acceptable to force gender norms on people in the name of the mighty dollar, or in the name of conformism (what their image concerns mean). I entirely reject this. Employer tells me to cut my hair, I tell him to fuck his job. And I should not starve for this, either.

  123. Danny Gibbs says

    95. carnation:
    Thanks for your reply. The reason I pointed out the feminist activists that I did is precisely because they are activists. Intellectually strung out fruitcakes on Tumblr are good for convincing MRAs of the need to exist but effect no change in the world and are nothing to be worried about.
    One of the main contributors to feminism101 is a feminist by the name of Melissa McEwan. As much as I may disagree with her I would hardly call her a strung out tumblr fruitcake.

    It seems to me that MRAs are like the Bush Administration post 9/11 – their anger, vitriol and resources are completely, and ineffectually, directed as an entirely uninvolved third party. Feminism has nothing to do with the vast majority of issues wearily repeated by MRAs.
    Yeah there some like that. But at the same time if feminism had nothing to do with the issues then feminists wouldn’t butt heads with us so much. And I’m not talking about the random tumblr MRAs that spit venom or the Paul Elams of the world (because for some odd reason even when other MRAs disagree with that man in public spaces no one can hear it but when we don’t go out of our way to disavow him that gets heard loud and clear).

    I would like to think that something as simple as pointing out that dads shouldn’t be treated like criminals for being around children in public would be something feminists can get with but apparently its not.

    MRAs frequently claim that many (some say most – up to 80%) of people reporting sexual crimes committed against them are in fact making it up.
    I myself don’t try to put a number or percentage on something like that for the precise reason that the argument will almost invariably shift from whatever the number is about to the numbers themselves. Take the wage gap (and for reference I’m talking about the US because that’s where I am). There have been studies that have at the very least contested the “women only make 77 cents to a man’s dollar” stat.

    So I would guess that the thought behind inflating one’s cause like that is to being attention to their cause.

    How does this sort of cynicism help male victims of sex crimes, already suffering from trauma?
    Obviously it doesn’t. But when trying to inflate one’s cause other causes can easily fall victim. Its about scope. Saying that women only make 77 cents to a man’s dollar will boil a lot more blood than saying a woman makes 93 cents to a man’s dollar.

    With the that false claim number claiming as high as 80% is almost as damaging as claiming as low as 2% (something I see from a lot of feminists).

  124. carnation says

    @ Danny Gibbs

    Thanks for your response.

    Don’t you find the term MRA to be far, far too toxic to associate yourself with? It certainly is for me.

    Re butting heads with feminists, as I have said repeatedly and will say again, you are a radfem/online feminist’s dream (by you I mean MRAs). You give them reason to exist and both of you feed off of each other. If every gender related blog disappeared tonight, it wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference to the overwhelming majority of people, but a lot of people would suddenly have a lot more time on their hands. The MRM as it currently stands achieves nothing of any substance. Actual feminist activists will be unaffected by MRA “activism”, except perhaps for a trickle down of additional volunteers from a swelling of the ranks.

    “I would like to think that something as simple as pointing out that dads shouldn’t be treated like criminals for being around children in public would be something feminists can get with but apparently its not.”

    Danny, come on, that’s just hysterical hyperbole, to borrow a phrase. Alongside the lurid fantasy that feminists are drugging boys in schools – it’s complete and utter gibberish, fevered. Half witted trash. If you believe that, I don’t think there’s much point in continuing a discussion with you.

    Forget about feminist, and let’s talk about MRAs. MRAs claim to advocate for men. Please explain to me how stating that a majority of people reporting sexual abuse are liars and criminals helps male victims of sexual abuse?

    How is it possible to claim to advocate for men, whilst at the same time silencing and shaming a substantial number of the most vulnerable men in society. I challenge you to answer this without mentioning feminists – this is about MRAs and their most absurdly counterproductive theorising.

    Thank you for responding to me in a measured and respectful tone. I will endeavour to do the same with you.

  125. Danny Gibbs says

    Don’t you find the term MRA to be far, far too toxic to associate yourself with? It certainly is for me.
    No because like any group there is good and bad. And honestly I find that the toxicity around the MRA is not limited to MRAs themselves.

    Danny, come on, that’s just hysterical hyperbole, to borrow a phrase. Alongside the lurid fantasy that feminists are drugging boys in schools – it’s complete and utter gibberish, fevered. Half witted trash. If you believe that, I don’t think there’s much point in continuing a discussion with you.
    No actually its not hyperbole but let me explain the comment. You may be thinking that I’m saying feminists support coming down on dads like that. What I was trying to say is that when talking about way in which dads are treated I would expect feminists to at least recognize that such things are unfair and should not happen and then we can get to talking along those lines. But unfortunately what usually happens is that instead of seeing that and getting to talking any hopes of conversation get bogged down in how what dads face isn’t a phenomenon of its own but rather its just a side effect of how mothers are treated.

    And who the hell said anything about feminists drugging boys in schools?

    Forget about feminist, and let’s talk about MRAs. MRAs claim to advocate for men. Please explain to me how stating that a majority of people reporting sexual abuse are liars and criminals helps male victims of sexual abuse?
    I’ve already said that I don’t think it does. So let me ask in return. Now that you have an MRA before that doesn’t go along that line are you going to actually talk to me or try to hold me accountable for all the negativity that’s every come from the MRM and then use that an excuse to not talk to me? You wouldn’t be the first to put more weight on a label than the content of what I’m saying/doing.

    How is it possible to claim to advocate for men, whilst at the same time silencing and shaming a substantial number of the most vulnerable men in society. I challenge you to answer this without mentioning feminists – this is about MRAs and their most absurdly counterproductive theorising.
    Again its not nor have I claimed that it does.

    When I talk on these subjects I (mostly) do so with the interests of men in mind. Looking back on how male victims have been treated will show that its largely been done with silencing and shaming. So why would I employ that tactic against any other group, much less men themselves?

    So in the spirit of challenge, take a look at this post in which I try to take a look at the whole, “A woman raped a man? He should feel lucky!!!” idea and what’s wrong with it (hint: its because guys that say that are usually comparing their idea of a consensual encounter with an event that was nonconsensual or at least a case of one taking advantage of the other). (http://goodmenproject.com/on-rape-and-sexual-violence/do-you-really-wish-it-had-been-you/)

    Can you at least acknowledge that there are MRAs out there that are contributing to the betterment of everyone or will you selectively not see stuff like this and only speak up the when you find something objectionable?

  126. sirtooting . says

    @ Danny
    I read your article, which was interesting and which appeared to be a plea to males to alter their outlook on sexual assaults on males by females.
    Rape is not only an assault on the body but also the mind, it is psychologically damaging, and if you are appealing to males who view any sexual encounter with a female as a positive, then you are wasting your time appealing to them, because you can’t rape the willing and by their own comments, they are not only admitting they are willing but they are also admitting they would willingly consent to virtually anything, because any sex with a woman would be regarded as a win.
    It is all psychological, either it is unacceptable or acceptable, one is unwilling or one is willing, one is rape and one is not.
    Your dilemma is, you can’t persuade those who are very willing to change their minds and see it from your point of view.
    You are trying to coerce them, in how to think and what to think by telling them what they think is wrong .. But maybe that is only your opinion?
    Trying to persuade people they should see themselves as victims, when psychologically they do not feel they are victims is quite ridiculous, just as it would be in reverse, trying to persuade a victim, they were not victims, when psychologically they felt they were.
    It is a mindset of the individual, it is how they feel about themselves, you will find it very difficult to persuade either party to change their minds, and why should they, just to please you?

    If you had used male on male rape as an example, then I’m pretty sure because that attention would have been unwanted as far as these males are concerned, they would have agreed with you and confirmed it would be psychologically damaging for them and called it rape…

  127. Lucy says

    Gjenganger

    “If, say, a woman training to be a pilot is prevented by law or shot by her male relatives, that takes away her power to choose. If she is seen as a bit weird, and always met with a slight questioning incredulity that is just another aspect of the job (for women) like the need for travelling. ”

    I don’t know whether men genuinely do think in terms of guns to the head when they consider the forces arraigned against free decision making, but they do love this kind of metaphor. Social pressure to conform is enormously powerful. Possibly even more powerful than the gun to the head scenario. Because it is utterly insidious, it wraps itself around you and the options to do otherwise shrink and disappear.

    Do you think when millions of people all share a religious or cultural trait based on their geography it’s because they have chosen it? That for many, the fact that it is a choice even enters their consciousness?

    For those who do consciously choose it, do you really think they do so freely and rationally? That there are no subconscious, instinctive, possibly even biological imperatives driving them to make the choices they make? And it’s all just a cost/benefit analysis? No, that isn’t remotely how people make decisions.

    It’s a comforting idea that we have free will and that human beings operate as individuals rather than as packs and swarms, but they don’t. Behavioural science shows us that. And women are no more capable of transcending this than men are. Yet you always find men saying women should just reject it. Reject their upbringing, their subconscious and instinctive processes, their learned responses, their muscle memories, their habitual behaviours, group psychology, their personality disorders. If only it were that simple.

    If, for example, men were subject to a perpetual, relentless, ubiquitous machine to make them feel insecure about their appearance and buy the products that cure it, they could be insecure about their appearance and buy the products that cure it, just as women do. Just as men buy into the lifestyle relentlessly pushed at them. Just as men’s behaviour conforms to one another’s at work or online without them even realising it.

  128. Lucy says

    Gjenganger

    “On the ‘women chosing to be prostitutes’ front I would say that (some) women are choosing prostitution becasuse it is better than the available alternatives. ”

    I’m not suggesting that conscious choice isn’t part of the equation. Obviously women aren’t dumb beasts. But it’s not the whole picture for women or for men. The conscious aspect of the choice is like the tip of the iceberg, the unconscious aspects of our behaviour are the bigger proportion.

    The reason women renting out your orifices to any taker seems like a valid option on a conscious level to men and women is because of a particular social machinery that is in place. The reason it could ever be the *most* valid option for any woman is because of a particular social machinery that is in place. But the reason a woman takes that path is because of conscious, practical considerations as well as an iceberg worth of unconscious, cultural considerations that she’s been brought up with and which are there because a particular social machinery is in place. A machinery that sadly in recent years has come to include some journalists who really ought to know better.

  129. 123454321 says

    Carnation – you appear to be employing some rather clever silencing tactics which don’t work anymore. Men should speak out about how they feel, take action, and get heard – otherwise nothing happens and they get trodden all over,

    Sirtooting, if you are saying that men can’t get raped then that is absurd. Plenty of men get raped but the unfortunate thing is that many of them simply don’t report rape or sexual violation due to social conditioning. Your statement that you can’t appeal to men who view sex with a woman as a positive is totally ludicrous. Women, on the whole, view sex with men as positive, too, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say that they would willingly consent to virtually anything. You’re way off the mark, as usual.

    Every time a woman deceives a man into believing she is on the pill, and consequently gets pregnant, has a baby, dumps the Dad, claims child support, denies him access etc. – that’s as close to raping a man (for his sperm and money) under false pretences as you can get, isn’t it? How many times do you think that happens?

    Also, a man doesn’t have to have got an erection to have been raped. I’ve heard of men being abused (especially when drunk) by women who have sexually violated them by touching without consent and even forcing themselves onto the man such that bodily fluids have exchanged. How far off of rape is that in your book !?! An example of this NEARLY happened to me when I was a teenager. Three of my ‘so-called friends’ (girls), after we’d all had a couple of drinks, decided that they thought it would be great fun to pull my pants down and kiss my privates. I kid you not! It’s difficult for me to explain just how I felt and how I reacted but the weird thing was that i was laughing for the 5 or 10 minutes that these pathetic girls were trying to debag me. i still don’t know why I was laughing because in reality i was feeling very angry and very worried that they would see me in all my glory, which would have been extremely embarrassing, and also I absolutely did NOT want their mouth anywhere near my privates thank you very much, particularly as I wasn’t convinced where one or two of those sluts had been. I think I was laughing because of social conditioning i.e. society presented me with messages as I was growing up which said that men love sex and women can’t sexually violate men – and that I should be LUCKY if things like this happened! Luckily for me I hadn’t had as much to drink as MY ‘FRIENDS’ and so I managed to hold on to my trousers.

    Reverse the sexes and I’ll place a bet that many women would report that as attempted rape.

    Don’t tell me women aren’t capable of sexually violating men or even attempting acts which are damned close to rape. Just don’t tell me.

  130. Lucy says

    David

    “And are you talking about your own agency, or that of other people? Did you decide to write that comment yourself or were you simply coerced into it by some cultural norm?”

    If you want to be ignorant of behavioural psychology that’s your look out, but don’t be smug about it.

    Were you aware you just embodied what you deride?

  131. Lucy says

    123456

    “I’ll make a bold, outspoken statement that man are most definitely objectified more than women – they always have been but it’s getting more and more evident in recent years. There is far, far more male flesh exposed in movies and on TV, in magazines, adverts, and in newspapers. It’s everywhere and it is probably designed to fulfil the desires of women (and probably gay men, too, if we’re being realistic). I’ve noticed a distinct increase in the volume of nude men on TV over the last two or three decades – full frontals, tanned, bulging torsos etc. in soaps, dramas adverts etc.. It’s ubiquitous. There is also the issue of objectification of men when it comes to money, riches and the expectation that men are there as cash suppliers and providers to women. The reason few people talk about this subject is basically down to acceptability. While feminists have campaigned for decades that objectifying women is demeaning and damaging to them, there has been a huge (but silent) increase in the objectification of men. Men have been so used to being told that it’s only women who can be objectified that they don’t quite know how to react when they’re faced with male objectification, no matter how obvious it is! From what I can gather, the complaints are soaring and men are getting racked off with being objectified. If they’re not being made out to be a dead-beat moron by every public media channel, they’re objectified for good measure! I don’t expect anyone to agree with me because most people have been brought up to recognise only female objectification and, besides, there’s so much male objectification around that one can hardly do anything about it in any case. But, yes, like summerblues said just above, women know very well what’s going on right now and many women are smugly enjoying the ride. I doubt it will last forever, though, as it’s most likely just as damaging to society as female objectification. Actually, it could potentially be a lot more damaging for today’s generation of boys. The subject of male objectification probably needs a blog post all of its very own.”

    As I doubt there are any reliable figures on the respective number of images of naked or semi-naked men and women in the media, I can’t speak definitively. But I think when you factor in music videos and film and sexual media then it’s likely the balance is firmly tipped in the female direction.

    But if you put the quantitive analysis aside and look at the qualitative analysis instead, then images of men and women are different. Images of men, even sexualised ones, tend to individualise the man, they include his personality and his genuine emotions, in many cases they are of named individuals known for doing other things. The images of women by constraint are interchangeable, they are overwhelmingly nameless and identikit, They are practically without exception devoid of personality and only feature contrived emotions the women don’t genuinely experience.

  132. David S says

    @Lucy 141

    If you want to be ignorant of behavioural psychology that’s your look out, but don’t be smug about it

    .

    I’m not trying to be smug, I am asking you a perfectly sensible question that you seem unwilling to answer. Are you denying your own agency, or are you saying that you, Lucy, make conscious decisions whereas others don’t

    I am quite willing to accept that you might be more knowledgeable about behavioural psychology than I am and that there might be some piece of research that would justify a belief that you have agency and others don’t. However if that is the case you would need to say precisely what that research was. Some people on this forum seem to be a little cynical, and if you just say “Well it’s behavioural psychology isn’t it” then they might think you were blustering.

  133. Lucy says

    Superficially anonymous

    “I don’t think that it [insulting people for their appearance]’s related to gender politics

    My personal opinion is that these are the same people that kick pigeons and cats and for similar reasons.”

    I agree that people who torment others for their appearance/disfigurement/disability are very possibly sociopaths and might also abuse animals, but I strongly disagree that it’s dished out equally to men and women.

    In schools, “ugly” boys are treated benevolently in mixed and single sex situations, “odd” boys (ie. those with an identifiable disability or personality disorder) aren’t. “Ugly” and “odd” girls are treated okay in an all-girls situation on the whole, but malevolently in a mixed or boys’ situation where they will be ostracised by the girls and where there is an undercurrent of violence to the boys’ behaviour (pushing down stairs, tripping up, throwing things, spitting, following home, sexual harassment and molestation, open threats).

  134. Lucy says

    David

    “I’m not trying to be smug”

    Of course you were.

    “I am asking you a perfectly sensible question ”

    Now you are.

    “Are you denying your own agency, or are you saying that you, Lucy, make conscious decisions whereas others don’t”

    No I’m not denying my own agency. I’m denying that my agency is more than a small fraction of the reason I do the things I do, the way I do them.

  135. Adiabat says

    Lucy (138): Do you really think women don’t already know everything you are arguing here?

    Take makeup for example: women know that they are being targeted by marketing. They know all about the social advantages of wearing it and about the opinion others will have of them if they don’t. They are not stupid. They know all this and many of them choose to wear it anyway for a number of reasons, some because they like to despite all that. They are not operating under “false consciousness”.

    Do you really think that it’s only feminists like yourself who have realised this stuff you talk about instead of it being common knowledge, or that the concept of the “Patriarchy” is some amazing insight when really it’s just some inane lexical ‘fluff’ added to something people already know*?

    *Some definitions in use anyway. Other definitions just have no relation to reality at all.

    (141): I think what David was getting at was that people who believe that they alone realise that marketing exists, or that we live in a ‘society’ with various norms etc, often hold the view they hold as a way of feeling superior to those they believe don’t realise these things. No doubt such people fool themselves into thinking all the “theory” they are talking about is valid so they don’t have to admit that to themselves. (I won’t comment on whether that applies to anyone in particular here.)

    (143):

    A dick flick.

    Lol, I love it. If we can get that term into popular usage it would solve the problem of people being unable to easily articulate that they don’t like films aimed at men.

  136. David S says

    No I’m not denying my own agency. I’m denying that my agency is more than a small fraction of the reason I do the things I do, the way I do them.

    This is the point at which arguments about false consciousness disappear up their own fundament. If you object to the idea that women “choose” to have plastic surgery, or be prostitutes, or whatever, then why can those women not equally well object to the idea that you have “chosen” to object to the idea? At which point of course you could object to the idea that they have “chosen” to object to the idea that you have “chosen” to object to the idea. And so on.

  137. Lucy says

    Sirtooting

    “Trying to persuade people they should see themselves as victims, when psychologically they do not feel they are victims is quite ridiculous, just as it would be in reverse, trying to persuade a victim, they were not victims, when psychologically they felt they were.”

    That approach comes unstuck when you encounter people who have become habituated to abuse, in cases of psychological traumatic victimisation such as Stockholm Syndrome and Battered Wives Syndrome and I would suggest in cultural situations where abuse is not regarded as such (such as hazing and religious racial or gender caste systems). It wasn’t unusual for slaves in previous times to support their own enslavement as a natural state for instance. We know that people in large numbers of women support FGM, or the rights of husbands to rape or beat them, that a lot of children blame themselves for their abuse, that a lot of victims of assault blame themselves, a lot of wounded men in the armed services wouldn’t regard themselves as victims. The question is, are they right?

    It is the job of friends and counsellors, social commentators and influencers to realign people’s perceptions and beliefs to reality.

  138. Adiabat says

    Lucy (146):

    I’m denying that my agency is more than a small fraction of the reason I do the things I do, the way I do them.

    Out of curiosity, do you think that your socialisation, marketing, patriarchal norms, whatever is why you’re a feminist or is that agency?

  139. Lucy says

    David

    “This is the point at which arguments about false consciousness disappear up their own fundament. If you object to the idea that women “choose” to have plastic surgery, or be prostitutes, or whatever, then why can those women not equally well object to the idea that you have “chosen” to object to the idea? At which point of course you could object to the idea that they have “chosen” to object to the idea that you have “chosen” to object to the idea. And so on.”

    Don’t be silly. You can analyse the conscious parts of the decision, and indeed the unconscious parts once you know they are there. Making a choice is not at all the same thing as studying the choice mechanism. You might as well say, we can’t look at anything objectively because we have a perspective, therefore the scientific method is a paradox and science will never work.

  140. Lucy says

    Adiabat

    “Out of curiosity, do you think that your socialisation, marketing, patriarchal norms, whatever is why you’re a feminist or is that agency?”

    Both. Obviously.

  141. David S says

    Don’t be silly. You can analyse the conscious parts of the decision, and indeed the unconscious parts once you know they are there.

    In which case, presumably, women who choose to have plastic surgery, or be prostitutes, can do exactly the same, and tell you to bog off if the idea that they have chosen to do so makes you “uncomfortable”. Or are you saying that you “know” that the unconscious parts are there and they don’t?

  142. Adiabat says

    Lucy (153): In similar proportions to the women who do things you are criticising, such as women who become prostitutes?

    If so, then what right do you have to dismiss what they do as “false consciousness”?

  143. Lucy says

    Gjenganger

    “I cannot see why Mike Buchanan should feel a sense of irony – women are changing busines to suit themselves, at the expense of men. ”

    Well I’d question whether the introduction of things like HR and fair and open recruitment and promotions processes, crèches, maternity and paternity leave, anti sexual-harassment policies, redefinition of merit, collaboration and so on are at the expense of men. Maybe you mean quotas?

    But that wasn’t the point I was making about irony. What I meant is that he doesn’t appear to recognise that the way business currently is didn’t fall from the sky and isn’t the result of natural selection where only the fittest system survives; is is the result of a systematic approach to designing business to suit men’s personalities, work styles, lifestyles, needs and desires, over many centuries. Women haven’t just arrived and started tinkering with a neutral, functioning system out of caprice, but started demanding changes to a biased, poorly functioning system out of need, want, desire and experience.

  144. redpesto says

    Re. David S and Lucy:

    Lucy: Don’t be silly. You can analyse the conscious parts of the decision, and indeed the unconscious parts once you know they are there.

    David S: In which case, presumably, women who choose to have plastic surgery, or be prostitutes, can do exactly the same, and tell you to bog off if the idea that they have chosen to do so makes you “uncomfortable”. Or are you saying that you “know” that the unconscious parts are there and they don’t?

    in left-wing politics there’s a term for that: ‘Decent Telepathy’

    Mind-reading technique for divining the subconcious motivations of pro-fascists.

    Allows users to see past the suspicious obsessions of debaters, revealing a pro-fascist’s hidden agenda.

    How does one know the unconscious motivations of someone whose choices you disagree with?

  145. carnation says

    @ 123454321

    Re your “paternity fraud” fantasy: cool story, bro’.

    Re my “silencing tactics” – no idea what you are babbling about.

    @ DannyGibbs

    Your thoughtful comments deserve a full response. TBC

    @ SirTooting – you are the intellectual equilivant to 123454321. Make of that what you will. You both occupy the extremes, oblivious to nuance.

  146. Lucy says

    Adiabat

    “In similar proportions to the women who do things you are criticising, such as women who become prostitutes?”

    Not necessarily, no. People who know about and understand their unconscious influences can bring those things up to the conscious level and include them in their rational choice making.

    “If so, then what right do you have to dismiss what they do as “false consciousness”

    Because not all choices are equal? Some are bad and damaging to themselves and others, some aren’t.

    But actually in this case, I wasn’t criticising the women in this particular case, I was criticising the system that makes those kinds of decisions not only feasible, but reasonable.

  147. Lucy says

    David

    “In which case, presumably, women who choose to have plastic surgery, or be prostitutes, can do exactly the same, and tell you to bog off if the idea that they have chosen to do so makes you “uncomfortable”. Or are you saying that you “know” that the unconscious parts are there and they don’t?”

    Yes they can do that of course. And I can point out that their socially-negative, harmful decisions are in part driven by social forces, in part formed and supported by men who wash their hands of any responsibility for them. Which is what I’m doing.

  148. 123454321 says

    “As I doubt there are any reliable figures on the respective number of images of naked or semi-naked men and women in the media, I can’t speak definitively. But I think when you factor in music videos and film and sexual media then it’s likely the balance is firmly tipped in the female direction.”

    nah, you go count for yourself, anywhere you like – the shopping mall, TV adverts, bill boards, films, whatever…

    …and being as you brought up the music videos, please list more than a few (mainstream) pop videos which show violence against women, you know, where a man slaps, kicks, punches, knees a woman because she’s done something he doesn’t like….go on, find them and list them.

    “But if you put the quantitive analysis aside and look at the qualitative analysis instead, then images of men and women are different.”

    Yes, I can see what you’re saying here because it’s all about acceptance – what’s perceived as right and wrong in society etc. But let’s not forget that times are changing and while feminist groups over the last few decades have battled to reduce the amount of flesh women show, and how they are objectified, feminists have left the door wide open for male objectification, which has now become massively widespread and embedded into our culture as being acceptable. I’m questioning whether male objectification should be acceptable in today’s world where young boys are likely to be just as affected as girls? if you haven’t noticed the trend of male objectification then you’ve either been socially conditioned to accept it or you’re blind.

    “Images of men, even sexualised ones, tend to individualise the man, they include his personality and his genuine emotions, in many cases they are of named individuals known for doing other things. The images of women by constraint are interchangeable, they are overwhelmingly nameless and identikit, They are practically without exception devoid of personality and only feature contrived emotions the women don’t genuinely experience.”

    That sounds like bullshit to me – the usual get out clause excuse nonsense to try and justify something that suits you. Go watch this advert and tell me where his personality is:

  149. Lucy says

    12345432

    “I’ll make a bold, outspoken statement that man are most definitely objectified more than women”

    If you’re just talking in terms of the media, then I think you have the wrong definition of objectification. It isn’t “nudity”.

    In social philosophy, objectification means treating a person as a thing, without regard to their dignity.
    According to the philosopher Martha Nussbaum, a person is objectified if they are treated:
    as a tool for another’s purposes (instrumentality);
    as if lacking in agency or self-determination (denial of autonomy, inertness);
    as if owned by another (ownership);
    as if interchangeable (fungibility);
    as if permissible to damage or destroy (violability);
    as if there is no need for concern for their feelings and experiences (denial of subjectivity).

    I think you should take another look at the full range of media, not just ITV shampoo and chocolate adverts. Look at music videos, gaming, tabloid and broadsheet treatment, TV and film roles, pornography, advertising and promotions, books, animation and so on.

  150. David S says

    Yes they can do that of course. And I can point out that their socially-negative, harmful decisions are in part driven by social forces, in part formed and supported by men who wash their hands of any responsibility for them. Which is what I’m doing.

    In which case you are claiming to know things about these women’s motives that they don’t know themselves. Unless you think they have as good an understanding of the social forces that drive their decisions as you do, in which case their decisions are just as conscious as yours.

  151. Lucy says

    Adiabat

    ” Do you really think women don’t already know everything you are arguing here?”

    Not really. But I wasn’t talking to women.

    “Take makeup for example: women know that they are being targeted by marketing. They know all about the social advantages of wearing it and about the opinion others will have of them if they don’t. They are not stupid. They know all this and many of them choose to wear it anyway for a number of reasons, some because they like to despite all that. They are not operating under “false consciousness”.”

    I didn’t say they were. What I actually said was they were operating under social pressure to conform and that this was more powerful than a gun to the head and that a lot of it happened at an unconscious level and that people do not behave as individuals but as swarms.

    “Do you really think that it’s only feminists like yourself who have realised this stuff you talk about instead of it being common knowledge, or that the concept of the “Patriarchy” is some amazing insight when really it’s just some inane lexical ‘fluff’ added to something people already know*?”

    No, I don’t think that at all. I think some men and some women are aware of some things, others aren’t. But I wasn’t trying to explain it to women. I was trying to explain it to 2 or 3 men who seemed unfamiliar with the idea that they didn’t make decisions on a rational basis and were immune to anything but a weaponised incentive.

    ” I think what David was getting at was that people who believe that they alone realise that marketing exists, or that we live in a ‘society’ with various norms etc, often hold the view they hold as a way of feeling superior to those they believe don’t realise these things. No doubt such people fool themselves into thinking all the “theory” they are talking about is valid so they don’t have to admit that to themselves. (I won’t comment on whether that applies to anyone in particular here.)”

    How many times do you hear the defence of pornography on the grounds that men can “tell the difference between fantasy and reality”? When people in fact can’t.
    Or the suggestion to women who feel besieged by the media and social expectations of beauty and sexual behaviour to “just ignore it”? When people in fact can’t.

    There are a great many people, and particularly men who spend their time online defending pornography, prostitution, etc who don’t give social or unconscious forces much thought.

  152. Adiabat says

    Lucy (159):

    Not necessarily, no. People who know about and understand their unconscious influences can bring those things up to the conscious level and include them in their rational choice making.

    Yes. But you’ve yet to show that you are more aware of your unconscious influences than the prostitute is. How do you know that your criticism of her decision isn’t more influenced by unconscious influences than her decision to be a prostitute?

    If her free decision is rendered invalid, or “suspect”, for no more reason than “social or unconscious forces” then so is your decision to criticise it.

    Your further point that her decision is “more harmful to herself and others” is as valid as sex workers’ arguments that the decision you make in criticising them is harmful.

    Lucy (165):

    There are a great many people, and particularly men who spend their time online defending pornography, prostitution, etc who don’t give social or unconscious forces much thought.

    And there are many people who spend their time online criticising pornography, prostitution, etc who don’t give social or unconscious forces much thought, or at least the ones that affect them.

    What you don’t seem to be getting in the exchange we are having is that your argument regarding “unconscious forces” is no more valid when wielded by you than it is by the people you are criticising.

  153. summerblues says

    DavidS @ 124

    Thanks. I had to look up the definition of objectification. It occured to me that I may be wrong by having the wrong definition. I see beauty in the photos, not all if any in a sexual manner. I’m not sure if I’m dehumanizing them as these are mag ads that are there to sell products. Pretty men, perfume, your man will turn into this if you buy it for him…meh, the pics are pretty but I’d have to smell the perfume first.

    I recalled, also, that body image has been a problem for both sexes since at least the early sixties (probably before). I inherited some pop culture mags from the early sixties and, in the back, were these little black and white cartoon ads for weight gain and weight loss showing overweight women and skinny men. The men were looking on as the pretty girl hit on the beach body builder. Body image problems were known about back then and the magazines were about actors and singers. Go Hollyweird.

    More thinking: even the movies back during the time of silents had their body image standards: overweight men and women were comedians, unatrractive were comedians, physically fit and dignified (Douglas Fairbanks and John Barrymore Jr), famous actresses were always lovely or striking and certainly not under or overweight. Hollywood may be doing better now since there are at least overweight actors who get serious roles. They are not always the funny one who doesn’t get the girl. Or killed in the first half hour. (Marie Antoinette, the actor who portrayed Louis was hardly in shape …or maybe I’m just thinking too much this morning. ) :)

  154. Adiabat says

    Lucy: Consider this, there has always been a puritan, or social conservative, streak in society, a streak that was preserved and propagated through “unconscious influences” and manifested itself in various ways, such as religious arguments, arguments about women’s “virtue” or “innocence”, or this nonsensical “objectification” that is currently popular etc.

    Why should we consider your Puritanism to be any different? Why should we consider it to be outside the influence of the same forces you claim your opponents are operating under?

  155. Lucy says

    12345321

    I looked at the adverts at the link you posted.

    The female version features identical-looking women in lingerie. It was banned because “advertising watchdog bosses in the UK were concerned that the car advert featured “a number of shots of the women’s breasts and bottoms in which their heads were obscured”, in other words they were interchangeable, inert and denied subjectivity.

    The male version, by contrast, featured men with very different features, wearing trousers, their heads were never out of shot, the context around them was of men carrying out lots of other activities like being a driving instructor and a market stall holder (there were only two women in the ad, one of them getting frequently kissed and flashing her legs), and it was shot in a humours style with a wink to the audience saying “we’re being ironic see”.

    So I think the women’s version was more objectifying.

  156. summerblues says

    I’m just going to jump in here on the advertising bit but not read all through the comments.

    No, not all women or men for that matter realize how they are being manipulated through marketing. It is not a sign of lack of intelligence. Marketing is…would the word be insidious? It’s sublte and it does play on insecurities. Even when reading or hearing those discuss how advertising affects us, the public, does not always mean that it clicks in the heads of others. It can take a long time (for me it did and I cannot be the only one) to realize what the media is doing. And I personally still fall prey. Heck, look at the folks who think they can’t tell their kids “no” to a cereal that’s been advertised on tv! This type of…skepticism (?) is not taught. Most people are not stupid, so again this is not intelligence that is the problem here. We the people are being manipulated in many ways constantly, day to day basis. We can either ignore it, which leaves us out of the loop of culture, or we can spend a good portion of our precious time figuring out who is doing what. Not intellect, it’s manipulation.

  157. Lucy says

    Adiabat

    “Yes. But you’ve yet to show that you are more aware of your unconscious influences than the prostitute is. How do you know that your criticism of her decision isn’t more influenced by unconscious influences than her decision to be a prostitute?”

    I’m not saying I am necessarily. Obviously I won’t be in every case. But if a woman chooses to be a prostitute at the predominantly conscious level, without direct or indirect coercion, AND has inured herself against the social forces that want her to be a commodity and sexualised, then all that leaves is that she is making a bad choice. One that affects other men and women negatively. In which case I would criticise her choice and question her rationale.

    “If her free decision is rendered invalid, or “suspect”, for no more reason than “social or unconscious forces” then so is your decision to criticise it.”

    No, that isn’t the only reason. It’s invalid because it is a morally dubious choice with implications for human dignity.

    “Your further point that her decision is “more harmful to herself and others” is as valid as sex workers’ arguments that the decision you make in criticising them is harmful.”

    No it’s not. Criticism and the trade in human bodies are not equally harmful activities.
    No more than criticising live organ donation is as harmful as doing it.

  158. Lucy says

    Adiabat

    “Lucy: Consider this, there has always been a puritan, or social conservative, streak in society, a streak that was preserved and propagated through “unconscious influences” and manifested itself in various ways, such as religious arguments, arguments about women’s “virtue” or “innocence”, or this nonsensical “objectification” that is currently popular etc.

    Why should we consider your Puritanism to be any different? Why should we consider it to be outside the influence of the same forces you claim your opponents are operating under?”

    You shouldn’t. Of course I’m subject to those forces.

    However, I have also given that matter a great deal of thought, have informed myself about the origins of those forces and done my best to segregate my opposition to the sex trade from them. I have also my lifetime’s experience of being a non-prude to fall back on and reassure myself with.

  159. summerblues says

    One more and then I’ll quit for a while: movie genres (correct word?)

    Whoever claimed that horror is a man thing, no no. I love horror. I love grindhouse. I love those gritty, dirty late 60’s – early 70’s films that are basicly soft core porn. Lots of female parts shown (have you seen the make up and costumes though? Nice) Cult fimls, too.

  160. Lucy says

    As well as prostitution and commercial pornography, I’m against paid egg donation, paid organ donation, paid adoption, paid freak shows.

    As well as sexist entertainment, I’m against the racist, disablist, homophobic and Anti-Semitic kind. Even (maybe especially?) if it gives the audience an orgasm and is addictive. Because I think freedom of expression considerations are outweighed by the hate propaganda considerations. I wish it wasn’t so, and we could have a complete open market place of ideas, but the media we consume affects our behaviour and negative, hateful memes find fertile ground and soon become impossible to counter effectively through backchat.

  161. Adiabat says

    Lucy (171):

    Criticism and the trade in human bodies are not equally harmful activities.

    The people you are arguing against don’t agree with you sex work is inherently harmful. They also disagree that it is a “bad choice” or an affront to human dignity.

    You seem to be using a claim that is being contested by your opponents to justify why your arguments should be given more weight. Hopefully you can see the problem with your argument.

    (172): Unfortunately there is no way to verify what you are saying, so it is essentially a request to take it on faith that you are more free of unconscious influence than your opponants. No doubt your opponents would make a similar request. Again I hope you see the dilemma.

    I’d also argue that prudery isn’t the same thing as Puritanism. Someone can be very liberal about things that they approve of. It’s the attitude to others doing what you don’t approve of which is what makes Puritanism different from prudery.

  162. Lucy says

    Summerblues

    “One more and then I’ll quit for a while: movie genres (correct word?)

    Whoever claimed that horror is a man thing, no no. I love horror. I love grindhouse. I love those gritty, dirty late 60′s – early 70′s films that are basicly soft core porn. Lots of female parts shown (have you seen the make up and costumes though? Nice) Cult fimls, too.”

    Depends on your definition of soft core really doesn’t it. Tormenting, sexually torturing and murdering women for kicks isn’t my idea of soft core, even if they do wear natty clothes.

    70s horror? Sexist, femicide, fake-snuff, spiteful backlash against feminism films you mean?

    I do wonder if people would be so open about their tastes if the genre centred on the torture and murder of a particular race rather than of a particular sex. Would those kind of films be in the main venues, opposition-less?

  163. Adiabat says

    Summerblues (170):

    No, not all women or men for that matter realize how they are being manipulated through marketing.

    Pressure that a parent receives from children is a different matter altogether. And I won’t argue that the occasional bit of marketing can’t get through our defences. But I find it hard to believe that the majority of adults aren’t aware of marketing and haven’t developed significant resistance against it by the time they reach adulthood.

    The power of marketing is massively overemphasised to the point of being categorised as a ‘moral panic’. No amount of marketing can make you buy something that you didn’t want on some level anyway.

  164. Lucy says

    “The people you are arguing against don’t agree with you sex work is inherently harmful. They also disagree that it is a “bad choice” or an affront to human dignity.”

    Of course. But that’s because they are usually unfamiliar with the philosophical ethical considerations of what they’re arguing for. The arguments used in its favour are weak and inconsistent to say the least.

    “You seem to be using a claim that is being contested by your opponents to justify why your arguments should be given more weight. Hopefully you can see the problem with your argument.”

    No. Most people who are prostitutes aren’t part of any contest of opinions. My argument with them would be a different one to the one I’d have with the clients who defend it on self-serving grounds, and different again to the one I’d have with the vocal figureheads who defend it on weak philosophical grounds. I believe my argument against paid sex is justified by the quality of that argument, nothing else.

    “I’d also argue that prudery isn’t the same thing as Puritanism. Someone can be very liberal about things that they approve of. It’s the attitude to others doing what you don’t approve of which is what makes Puritanism different from prudery.”

    True. Okay, of course I don’t approve of people doing things I don’t approve of.
    But
    A) I don’t stop people from doing them, or even try to. Perhaps that’s laziness, but it may be because
    B) I’m open minded enough to hear counter arguments and change my opinion.
    C) I’m choosy about what I don’t approve of. I tend to not approve of inconsistently applied ethics. This tends to be something that afflicts women because they’ve been overlooked in our moral society codes until recently.

  165. JT says

    No, that isn’t the only reason. It’s invalid because it is a morally dubious choice with implications for human dignity.(Lucy)

    And here we have it. The morality police. :(

  166. 123454321 says

    Lucy 169 You’re so full of shit and I think you know it. Excuses, excuses, excuses…

    DOUBLE STANDARD !

  167. says

    Lucy (178)

    No. Most people who are prostitutes aren’t part of any contest of opinions. My argument with them would be a different one to the one I’d have with the clients who defend it on self-serving grounds, and different again to the one I’d have with the vocal figureheads who defend it on weak philosophical grounds. I believe my argument against paid sex is justified by the quality of that argument, nothing else.

    How is the position of prostitutes not selfserving? Hell, they make a living out of it. You continue to say things that just boggle the mind.

    As for your general: “We are mostly subconscious choices. Therefore we don’t have agency in a morally significant way.” (I am paraphrasing, but this seemstot be the gist of it) I think this is extremely simplistic treatment of agency. The philosophical literature on the topic of compatilism is vast and most moral philosophers would disagree with you. I won’t argue the point because I am unsure about my own views regarding the topic. My view of moral considerations is whether they improve the human condition or not. I think the concept of agency or “free will” does much harm, but also seems to have positive effects: For example see this: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20130924-how-belief-in-free-will-shapes-us

  168. Gjenganger says

    @Lucy 156
    The easy one first.
    The system did not fall from the sky (you are right there), but it was not ‘systematicallly designed’ to exclude women either. There was no designer. Like any other social system it developed both to be fit for purpose, and to fit with the preferences, needs and desires of the (dominant) people taking part. As long as the busines world (and much else) was dominated by men, the result was a system where men felt more at home. Once you get rid of the explicit, systematic discrimination (which is mostly gone by now) we are left with a system where men may still feel more comfortable than women – if not necesssarliy across the board. Some things have been an improvement for everybody (going from nepotism to merit, for instance). For the rest, it is a question of who gets to be the dominant group and feel at home, and who has to be the outsiders and strive to fit in. And that is a zero-sum game. You cannot claim that either the male or the female version is more efficient or better functioning, at least not without conclusive evidence, which neither side seems to have much of. As a first assumption you might get about equally efficient working whichever group was dominant. So, Mike Buchanan and friends may be missing the point that they started out in a better position (you are right so far), but it seems like a correct observation on their part that the effort is to make the system more female-friendly (and less male-freindly) without particular emphasis on whether the overall resultis more efficient or not.

  169. Adiabat says

    Lucy (178): Sorry, you appear to have lost track of the argument. Which is understandable since you appear to be having several at once.

    As I understand it the argument was that even though unconscious influences could be used to dismiss both sides of an argument over whether something is harmful, or against human dignity, you claim that your side should be given greater weight because you are claiming that it is more harmful.

    I point out that that is a fallacy and you responded by criticising the “other side” and saying that “I believe my argument against paid sex is justified by the quality of that argument, nothing else.” It may be me but I’m having trouble understanding how your reply addresses the argument we were having as it still leaves open the question that your argument can be dismissed on the same grounds that you previously dismissed your opponents’ argument. Unless of course you are retracting your “false consciousness” and “unconscious influence” claims against your opponents arguments, which in my opinion the only way for such an argument to progress.

    On prudery and Puritanism:

    True. Okay, of course I don’t approve of people doing things I don’t approve of.

    You seem to be rephrasing my argument as a tautology when it isn’t. I specified that the difference was between the attitude adopted towards people doing things you don’t approve of. A ‘live and let live’ attitude towards things you don’t aprove of doesn’t signify Puritanism, yet arguing with others about how it’s an ‘affront to human dignity’ does signify Puritanism. Also, considering that many don’t give much credence to the theory of “objectification” use of such theories may no different to the theories of earlier puritans to condemn something that they just don’t approve of: an attempt to create a “theory” to justify their own beliefs formed from “unconscious influences”. I.E the opinion was formed first and the theory created to justify it.

  170. Lucy says

    12345432

    “You’re so full of shit and I think you know it. Excuses, excuses, excuses…
    DOUBLE STANDARD !”

    No. The adverts aren’t the same. Maybe you just lack that je ne sais quoi… subtlety?

    But if they were the same (which they’re not) what’s wrong with different standards for the objectification of men and women anyway? Men and women don’t occupy equal positions in the world and there is an inherent power differential. Men objectifying women is more dangerous than vice versa, now and for the foreseeable future.

  171. Schala says

    But if you put the quantitive analysis aside and look at the qualitative analysis instead, then images of men and women are different. Images of men, even sexualised ones, tend to individualise the man, they include his personality and his genuine emotions, in many cases they are of named individuals known for doing other things. The images of women by constraint are interchangeable, they are overwhelmingly nameless and identikit, They are practically without exception devoid of personality and only feature contrived emotions the women don’t genuinely experience.

    Bullshit double standard. No justification.

    Different For Girls, won’t pass.

    Men are more objectified as tools for doing, and men as tools for being (ie Disney princesses vs the Knight in shining armor). Because it’s consistent with gender roles.

    One is NOT more objectifying than the other, it dehumanizes the person completely regardless.

    I also dehumanize the cashiers, clerks, chefs, bank tellers, pizza delivery persons etc I interact with when I do. Because I only consider them by their usefulness to me. I might make light conversation with them, but I’m still objectifying them.

  172. Lucy says

    Gjenganger

    “The system did not fall from the sky (you are right there), but it was not ‘systematicallly designed’ to exclude women either. There was no designer. ”

    No single one no. Many designers. Business methodologies are consciously designed and taught.

    But you’re wrong about it systematically excluding women. They were overtly, expressly excluded from it by law. At various points, woman could not, by law, join professional institutions, higher education, many professions, work after marriage, for example.

  173. Lucy says

    Schala/12345678910

    “I also dehumanize the cashiers, clerks, chefs, bank tellers, pizza delivery persons etc I interact with when I do. Because I only consider them by their usefulness to me. I might make light conversation with them, but I’m still objectifying them.”

    Such a very very weak argument, countered many many times.

    Selling your time and knowledge is categorically not the same as selling parts of your body or selling human intimacy. And property crime is not the same as physical assault which is not the same as sexual crime. Which you would know if you gave it more than a moment’s abstract thought.

  174. sirtooting . says

    @ 12345 .. Once I caught a fish alive..

    “Sirtooting, if you are saying that men can’t get raped then that is absurd.”
    Did I say that? .. Nope, I never said that at all, .. You need a new pair of spectacles mate, not only are you misreading what I am typing, you are also misinterpreting it as well.

    “Plenty of men get raped but the unfortunate thing is that many of them simply don’t report rape or sexual violation due to social conditioning.”

    Yeah, that happens a lot to women as well, doesn’t it? Doubt is cast on their words. More women fail to report these assaults, than actually do. The perpetual claims of some that their word is less trust worthy and reliable than others. However some women are brave enough to over come these cultural accusations by coming forward and hope to get some justice, and they know this would never happen if they didn’t over come that social pressure to fold in the light of how their words are automatically going to be regarded

    Warren Farrell suggests, females only feel victims, because of cultural expectations that they should feel they are victims and Danny is doing the reverse, appealing to men to think of themselves as victims, when in their own mind they feel they are not.
    Both these opinions on the matter are totally flawed, due to their inability to acknowledge unwanted attention and wanted.
    People should be free to decide their own feelings on the matter and not be culturally coerced to believe something else.
    If Warren Farrell’s opinions are to be believed, then in that case, no one can be raped and if we believe Danny’s opinions on the matter, then individually no one can believe in wanted attention.
    Likewise you don’t seem to be able to acknowledge the fact, that there is unwanted attention and wanted..
    It is an individual thing, not a gender thing.

    “Every time a woman deceives a man into believing she is on the pill”

    It is not women’s responsibility to prevent men from becoming fathers, women are only responsible for preventing themselves from becoming mothers. It is autonomy mate, you are responsible for your own actions, not others.
    Men shouldn’t deceive themselves into thinking they are not responsible for their own actions. That is not autonomy, that is offloading all responsibility onto someone else and expecting that someone else to accept that entire responsibility because the other is not willing to accept theirs.
    Women’s only responsibility is to themselves and to prevent themselves from becoming pregnant, this is autonomy and likewise the onus is on men in their autonomy to do exactly the same to prevent themselves from becoming pregnant.
    The failure of each individual in not accepting their own responsibility and taking precautions to ensure they themselves do not become parents, is their own fault and no one else’s and they then have only themselves to blame.
    In court .. The excuse .. I thought .. Someone else was taking precautions for me? Doesn’t quite cut it .. Does it? LMAO

  175. Schala says

    Such a very very weak argument, countered many many times.

    Selling your time and knowledge is categorically not the same as selling parts of your body or selling human intimacy. And property crime is not the same as physical assault which is not the same as sexual crime. Which you would know if you gave it more than a moment’s abstract thought.

    Puritanism thought, vade retro religion.

    Only difference there.

    You’re the one with the weak argument. An appeal to morals that isn’t about good or bad, but about dignity, might as well say virginity.

  176. 123454321 says

    “what’s wrong with different standards for the objectification of men and women anyway?”

    Ah yes and there we have it, one rule for one and another rule for another – PATHETIC excuses for male objectification.

    “Men and women don’t occupy equal positions in the world and there is an inherent power differential”

    I beg to differ. Tell me what opportunities and choices you don’t have that I do have in the UK today? You keep playing the same old bullshit card. I totally understand that there are lots of issues in developing countries relating to gender differentials but stop highlighting issues in one corner of the world and relating it to specific issues in, say, the UK where sexism against women doesn’t exist anymore. The scales have tipped way in favour of women at the expense of men and boys and most people can see it.

    “Men objectifying women is more dangerous than vice versa, now and for the foreseeable future”

    Here we go again, ridiculous, overarching, wide-load, broad-brush statements that you think helps justify your position. It’s plain and simple, Lucy, there is a huge amount of male objectification out there and it’s probably just as bad for boys as female objectification is for girls. But you love it (or at least condone it) so you try and convince everyone that there are plausible reasons for male objectification. You say things like “it’s more dangerous to objectify women” and if you keep saying it, which lots of feminists do, you hope that people will actually believe you, which quite frankly is how the feminist movement appears to have had so much impact – repeat, repeat, repeat, lies, lies, lies, brainwash, brainwash, brainwash, believe, believe, believe, preach, preach, preach, ding – must be true then!

    If you’re right, then firstly define what these dangers are that you are talking about, and you should be able to show factual evidence suggesting that those dangers have in actual fact decreased in line with feminist campaigns to successfully reduce female objectification over the last few decades…..?

    Anyway, regardless of who has more (or less) ‘power’ do you think that makes it right to objectify them? Your argument is ridiculously flawed and typically feminist.

  177. Lucy says

    Adiabat

    “As I understand it the argument was that even though unconscious influences could be used to dismiss both sides of an argument over whether something is harmful, or against human dignity, you claim that your side should be given greater weight because you are claiming that it is more harmful.”

    But I never said that the argument was being had only on unconscious grounds, so we here along the line you seem to have got the impression I did.

    1) There are conscious elements, some of which nay be rational and some of them irrational. The argument is had on this level.
    2) Then there are elements that only one party is conscious of. So these can be made explicit and conscious to both and transferred to item 1.
    3) Then there are unconscious elements known to neither party which are an unknown quantity.
    You can’t see them, but you can see their results. Bit like quantum physics. Refer to 1) .

    “It still leaves open the question that your argument can be dismissed on the same grounds that you previously dismissed your opponents’ argument. ”

    Only if you think there is no such thing as an objectively good argument. We argue on the basis of what we do know, we make allowances and put contingencies in place for what we don’t. There are certain consensus-based ethical arguments; my opposition to paid sex is consistent with those. I believe, in common with many respected thinkers, that the counter-arguments don’t stack up.

    You seem to want me to say that because we all have unknown motives, and therefore nothing is objective, nothing we say is valid. If that were the case then nothing subjective could be measured, which is not the case. Subjective-reported findings can be weighed and assessed using well-established research methods.

    “Unless of course you are retracting your “false consciousness” and “unconscious influence” claims against your opponents arguments, which in my opinion the only way for such an argument to progress.”

    No, I’m not retracting my claim that human beings have unconscious motives or false consciousness. It’s not really a contentious claim.

    —-
    ” I specified that the difference was between the attitude adopted towards people doing things you don’t approve of. ”

    What is the difference in my attitude? Nothing more than me saying I don’t approve and why?

    “A ‘live and let live’ attitude towards things you don’t aprove of doesn’t signify Puritanism, yet arguing with others about how it’s an ‘affront to human dignity’ does signify Puritanism. ”

    No it doesn’t. It signified a familiarity with philosophical terminology. You have read something into those words that probably isn’t there, possibly religious overtones.

    “Also, considering that many don’t give much credence to the theory of “objectification” use of such theories may no different to the theories of earlier puritans to condemn something that they just don’t approve of: an attempt to create a “theory” to justify their own beliefs formed from “unconscious influences”. I.E the opinion was formed first and the theory created to justify it.”

    You’ll have to expand on who you mean and what their argument is in order for me to judge the validity of that claim.

  178. 123454321 says

    sirtoot, couples often mutually settle upon her taking the pill as a ‘joint’ agreement. When SHE purposefully deceives him, that is ripping his choices and life away from him, especially if she goes ahead and dumps the Father.

    And if you’re not buying that one, then how about women who purposefully conceive via a different Father and deceive another man into believing the baby is his for 18 years while he pays for it?

    There are plenty of ways that women can, and do, ruin men’s lives so why don’t you ever talk about those? Oh, sorry, it’s because you’re a feminist and only care about humans who are born with a vagina.

  179. freja says

    @128, Adiabat

    Well no, but rather the fact that everyone knows that there are movies predominantly aimed at men and movies predominantly aimed at women.

    It would be a lot more convincing if your first instinct hadn’t been to equate chick flicks with big dumb action movies. Other than that, we agree, some movies are marketed more to one sex (usually men) than another. But I disagree that the lumping is the same. Except for the few instances where a channel or movie theatre decides to reserve a certain time slot to one sex (in which case it doesn’t always stick to chick flicks for women either), it doesn’t come up much for men. People don’t think of non-stupid war movies, big dumb action movies, lowbrow comedies, and westerns as all being in the same category/genre, they think of it as different genres and only group them together when gender is relevant. Chick flicks are just chick flicks.

    I agree with you that it would be nice if movies made primarily for men would all be categorised as dick flicks, but I fear MRA types would object to the misandry.

  180. Lucy says

    123etc

    “Ah yes and there we have it, one rule for one and another rule for another – PATHETIC excuses for male objectification.”

    Can you explain why there should be the same rule for two different situations?

    “I beg to differ. ”
    I thought you might.

    “Tell me what opportunities and choices you don’t have that I do have in the UK today?”

    I don’t have the choice of being as big and strong as the average man, or dealing with his unpredictable, frequently intrusive, violating and violent behaviour. I don’t have the choice of not being more susceptible to the transfer of STDs than he is. Or the choice of not being impregnatable. Or of being more susceptible to coercion. Or of going through the menopause and becoming infertile. Or of being subject to greater sexual scrutiny and judgement if he chooses to blackmail me with exposure. Or of being measured against youthful ideals of beauty and becoming disposable. Or of experiencing stronger and earlier sexual bonding than he does.

    Think of it like the different BBC policies on the depiction of the majority Christianity vs the minority Islam.

  181. Gjenganger says

    Well, we agree that social conditioning is a very strong force. But your arguments still do not work.

    We are social creatures, which first of all affects who we become and what we want. To a large extent who we are, our needs and desires, opinions and view of the world, is something we absorb from society around us. But exactly because this effect is so strong it is not meaningful to ask what we really want, sepearately from how we were conditioned. This is how we are, and we never were different. You can argue that e.g. prostitution is wrong and should be abolished, but you can not dismiss those who disagre because their opinions were formed by society. So were yours. You can enquire into people’s reasons, you can try to convince them that this is not themselves talking, that they are not acting in their own best interest. But ultimately people are the best authorities on their own desires. If they do not know what they want, you know even less. It may well be that they would think differently if they had had a different childhood or grew up in a different culture. But they did not. After all, if my uncle had tits he would be my aunt.

    Now this kind of conditioning is not unbeatable, witness the various suffragettes, revolutionaries and transsexuals through the ages. But another effect is that the reaction of people around us is a very important part of the consequences of any action we take. If jumping queues, shouting in people’s ears, or wearing a string bikini to work, would tend to make us disliked and disrespected, that is a good reason not to do these things. It does not make sense to say either that we are wrong in preferring choices that keeps on good terms with our social circle, or that other people’s opinions are unfairly preventing us from exercising our inalienable right to do whatever we damn well please. We live in groups. Groups have norms, and transgressing them has a cost, big or small as it may be.

    So, free will is a matter of deciding what we want, knowing our options and their consequences, and choosing which we prefer. That is why I reach for death threats or extreme emotional dependence when I look for an example of a non-free decision. Social norms may be powerful, but they are either part of personality formation, which comes before decision making can take place, or just another of the many consequences you need to take into account when deciding.

  182. Gjenganger says

    @Lucy 195
    Most of your examples are not choices (things you can do), but attributes (things you are). I could claim similar problems. I do not have the option of being as rich as Bill Gates, as good a tennis player as Roger Federer, as attractive as Paul Newman, as intelligent as Einstein. It is a regrettable fact of existence that intelligent people do better at university, strong and well-coordinated people at sports, beautiful people at acting. Is that an injustice? Can and should we try to change it?

  183. freja says

    @132, Schala

    I reject the premise.

    I think individuals are worthy as is. Regardless of what they do, or could do.

    OK, let me rephrase it again. Do you agree with MRA premise that if men and women were tested in a variety of subjects to gauge their overall competence, there would only be 2 categories emerging, areas where men and women performed equally well and areas where men outperformed women?

    @133, Schala

    as for the rest of your post, I’ll have to agree to disagree, going nowhere fast

    I think freedom of expression is dependent on attitudes. I’m idealist, and I say fuck capitalism, fuck abusers, fuck people who require short hair, make up, heels, whatever for “image” reasons. Even if it’s money-related. Fuck them all. Yes.

    I’ll rather be on welfare than work for those.

    It’s nice for you that you can live on welfare and not have to worry about the risk of debilitating illnesses or children. Not all women are so lucky. It’s furthermore very nice for you that your goals and wishes in life do not include professional success, social recognition, or anything which has to be obtained by material wealth. Again, not all women are as lucky. But dismissing women’s issues because you can personally choose to opt out without any significant loss displays a staggering lack of empathy, and a remarkable double standard for someone who thinks it’s a huge injustice when men don’t get as many sexy fun times as they would like.

    What’s telling is how you consider it acceptable to force gender norms on people in the name of the mighty dollar, or in the name of conformism (what their image concerns mean). I entirely reject this. Employer tells me to cut my hair, I tell him to fuck his job. And I should not starve for this, either.

    I do not consider it acceptable, that’s the whole point of my post. Unlike you, I actually think it’s a real issue, and not something to lightly brushed aside with a haughty “it’s not a real problem because everyone who thinks that is an idiot and I’d just choose not to be around idiots”.

  184. freja says

    It’s pretty striking that this whole site is for/about atheism. It’s about questioning the religious belief that people take for granted as the truth and consider the most natural thing in the world, and convincing them that it’s something they’ve been taught to think, something dependent on where and how they were brought up, and not something which is an inherent part of who they are.

    And yet on this blog, when it comes to another kind of blind belief, gender roles, which are considered just as natural and inborn as religion and differs just as much by culture, we suddenly can’t question anyone’s choice or talk about the environment in which those choices are made without being told we must respect people’s agency and assume they’re all making informed choices.

    I disagree with Lucy about a variety of things, including sex work, but I can’t help noticing the different, almost sacred standards that gender roles are held to.

  185. carnation says

    @ 123454321

    Hey bro’, how many stories have you got in your MRA fridge?

    Another cool ‘n’ classy one!!!

  186. Schala says

    There are certain consensus-based ethical arguments; my opposition to paid sex is consistent with those. I believe, in common with many respected thinkers, that the counter-arguments don’t stack up.

    The ethical arguments against paid sex for subsistance are the same as against forced work for subsistance. In short, they’re socialist arguments for a minimum income. Anything less is trying to bring religion, morality and subjective-is-objective thought as primary.

  187. Schala says

    I don’t have the choice of being as big and strong as the average man, or dealing with his unpredictable, frequently intrusive, violating and violent behaviour. I don’t have the choice of not being more susceptible to the transfer of STDs than he is. Or the choice of not being impregnatable. Or of being more susceptible to coercion. Or of going through the menopause and becoming infertile. Or of being subject to greater sexual scrutiny and judgement if he chooses to blackmail me with exposure. Or of being measured against youthful ideals of beauty and becoming disposable. Or of experiencing stronger and earlier sexual bonding than he does.

    What The Fuck?

    Not the choice to defy your biology? Welcome to reality.

  188. Schala says

    @198 Freya

    Not gonna deign this with a reply, you would find it a bit too scathing. For all 3 paragraphs.

  189. sirtooting . says

    @ Carnation.. No. 158
    The only thing worse than your logic is your manners.
    Your comment should not be tossed aside lightly, it should be thrown with great force.’
    The average person thinks he isn’t, so hey do us a favour and desist immediately from continuing to only confirm that small fact.
    A personal attack by you on me, is not counter arguing my argument it is a personal attack on me.
    The only thing worse than your manners is your logic. Get a grip or get a life.

  190. Ginkgo says

    “In social philosophy, objectification means treating a person as a thing, without regard to their dignity.
    According to the philosopher Martha Nussbaum, a person is objectified if they are treated:
    as a tool for another’s purposes (instrumentality);
    as if lacking in agency or self-determination (denial of autonomy, inertness);”

    And this is where the false consciousness argument can easily objectify and dehumanize the popel you presume to understasnd better than they do themselves.

  191. 123454321 says

    lucy said : “I don’t have the choice of being as big and strong as the average man, or dealing with his unpredictable, frequently intrusive, violating and violent behaviour. I don’t have the choice of not being more susceptible to the transfer of STDs than he is. Or the choice of not being impregnatable. Or of being more susceptible to coercion. Or of going through the menopause and becoming infertile. Or of being subject to greater sexual scrutiny and judgement if he chooses to blackmail me with exposure. Or of being measured against youthful ideals of beauty and becoming disposable. Or of experiencing stronger and earlier sexual bonding than he does.”

    Seriously, that has to be the funniest counter-argument I’ve ever heard in the entire 15 minutes since I read one of sirtooting’s. Thankfully, others have already torn it apart.

  192. 123454321 says

    Schala “What The Fuck? Not the choice to defy your biology? Welcome to reality.”

    It wasn’t that that made me spew my coffee, it was this one….hahahaha.

    “the choice of not being impregnable”

    hahahahahahaha heehhehe hohohohoh hahahaha I can hardly breath….

  193. 123454321 says

    Lucy, that really was a pathetic attempt at explaining what choices and opportunities I have in the UK today that you don’t. Care to try again?

  194. Gjenganger says

    @Freja 199
    I am a Chistian. I just came here because I followed Ally’s blog, and wanted to continue doing so. Is atheism some kind of entry requirement for the entire site? Or what is this ‘the whole site is for atheism’ in aid of?

  195. 123454321 says

    In the same paragraph, sir tooting said “The only thing worse than your logic is your manners”

    and then said

    “The only thing worse than your manners is your logic”

    Just ever so slightly confused there toot; I’m not quite following.

  196. Schala says

    I thought the site network was about skepticism, critical thinking, thinking for one’s self.

    It doesn’t preclude having certain beliefs. Though following organized religion doctrine unquestionably is probably irrational, I doubt most people on FtB do so.

    Following gender roles unquestionably is harder to avoid though. Just see Lucy damselling throughout, and calling maleness as violent and violating.

  197. Lucy says

    123454321

    “Lucy, that really was a pathetic attempt at explaining what choices and opportunities I have in the UK today that you don’t. Care to try again?”

    I was attempting to explain the choices and opportunities that were relevant to the merits of female vs male objectification. Not the ones that were relevant to other issues. I thought it was a fairly good list myself. Let’s stick a pin in “pathetic attempt” for now; care to address any of my points specifically?

  198. Lucy says

    Gjenganger

    “Most of your examples are not choices (things you can do), but attributes (things you are). ”

    Some of them are choices: predatory, intrusive, violent behaviour, having sex without a condom, when you have an STD, leaving your wife or girlfriend for a younger model when she’s peri-menopausal, revenge porn.
    Some of them are opportunities: being bigger, stronger, more immune to STD transfer from vaginal intercourse, lifelong fertility, ocytoxin production.

    “I could claim similar problems. I do not have the option of being as rich as Bill Gates,”

    So would it be a good policy for you to be treated the same way as Bill Gates?

    “as good a tennis player as Roger Federer”

    So would it be a good policy for you to play against him with the same rules?

    “as attractive as Paul Newman”

    So would it be a good policy for you to make your living advertising mayonnaise?

    “as intelligent as Einstein”

    So would it be a good idea if you were asked to present the Theory of Relativity to a group of his peers?

    “It is a regrettable fact of existence that intelligent people do better at university, strong and well-coordinated people at sports, beautiful people at acting. Is that an injustice? Can and should we try to change it?”

    And it is a widespread social policy to give people equality of opportunity, not equality of treatment.

  199. says

    Freja 198

    OK, let me rephrase it again. Do you agree with MRA premise that if men and women were tested in a variety of subjects to gauge their overall competence, there would only be 2 categories emerging, areas where men and women performed equally well and areas where men outperformed women?

    I thin this is likely to be the case. Apart from differences in upper body strength, brain anatomies are different. These different brain anatomies are probably of functional significance. Since our last conversation I read about differing results on e.g. IQ tests with males exhibiting greater variance. This would likely cause male overrepresentation in fields that require high ability to solve abstract problems.

  200. sirtooting . says

    @ 12345 .. Once I caught a fish alive

    “Every time a woman deceives a man into believing she is on the pill”

    Women’s only responsibility is to themselves and to prevent themselves from becoming pregnant, this is autonomy and likewise the onus is on men in their autonomy to do exactly the same to prevent themselves from becoming pregnant.
    The failure of each individual in not accepting their own responsibility and taking precautions to ensure they themselves do not become parents, then that is their own fault and no one else’s and they then have no one else to blame but themselves
    In court .. The excuse .. I thought .. Someone else was taking precautions for me and so as far as I am concerned judge, that thought gets me off the hook? Doesn’t quite cut it .. Does it?
    Especially when the judge asks.. And in your autonomy, what precautions did you take yourself, to prevent you from becoming a parent?.. Err well judge, nothing, because I thought someone else was taking precautions for me.. Well son, now we know .. You thought wrong .. and I wasn’t asking you what you thought, I asked you what you did.. which turns out, as you have readily admitted in your idiocy was nothing.
    Get your wallet out son, your kid now requires your financial support.. there there be a good daddy..
    Next case ..
    Next.

  201. Ally Fogg says

    Really interesting discussions here folks, thanks.

    Let’s not spoil it with personal abuse and insult, eh folks?

    (not looking at anyone in particular)

  202. Adiabat says

    Lucy (192):

    Adiabat

    “As I understand it the argument was that even though unconscious influences could be used to dismiss both sides of an argument over whether something is harmful, or against human dignity, you claim that your side should be given greater weight because you are claiming that it is more harmful.”

    But I never said that the argument was being had only on unconscious grounds

    But the arguments you are making and the elements you claim to be aware of (and your opponents aren’t) is precisely the thing that is being debated. You haven’t won that debate yet. But you are using the claim that you are right as a reason to dismiss your opponents and not you on the “unconscious influence” grounds.

    I completely agree that some arguments are more correct than the other, based on the scientifically derived evidence and reason, but until it is established which arguments are indeed ‘more correct’ (and this cannot be done by ‘fiat’ on your part), dismissing others based on unconscious influence and false consciousness has no place in the debate. That’s why you should retract your claim.

    I believe, in common with many respected thinkers, that the counter-arguments don’t stack up.

    Yet that belief is not enough for you to try and dismiss your opponents through claims of false consciousness. Just because you think you are right is not an argument that you are right.

    “A ‘live and let live’ attitude towards things you don’t aprove of doesn’t signify Puritanism, yet arguing with others about how it’s an ‘affront to human dignity’ does signify Puritanism. ”

    No it doesn’t. It signified a familiarity with philosophical terminology. You have read something into those words that probably isn’t there, possibly religious overtones.

    What familiarity are you talking about, there’s nothing philosophical about referring to something as though it’s an affront to ‘human dignity’? You made a moral claim, a subjective moral claim no less, and so I read moral overtones into your comment. Since you did make many moral claims pretty much identical to earlier puritans I think it’s reasonable to suggest that you are a modern day version of same puritans.

    You’ll have to expand on who you mean and what their argument is in order for me to judge the validity of that claim.

    This guy explains it better than I can: http://moronwatch.net/2012/10/the-evil-menace-of-page-3.html#comment-4298. One quote:

    It has never been considered a meaningful concept in psychology

  203. Adiabat says

    Freja (194):

    It would be a lot more convincing if your first instinct hadn’t been to equate chick flicks with big dumb action movies.

    Except that I didn’t. I responded to the claim that society is “largely silent about action blockbusters starring white men” by responding that the “concept of the ‘dumb action movie’ isn’t exactly unheard of”.

    (Do you have a problem reading things written by people you disagree with? Practically every discussion we’ve had on this blog boils down to you reading into something that isn’t there)

    People don’t think of non-stupid war movies, big dumb action movies, lowbrow comedies, and westerns as all being in the same category/genre, they think of it as different genres and only group them together when gender is relevant. Chick flicks are just chick flicks.

    We’ve covered this. People do think of those genres as ‘for men’ and chick flicks are broken down into other genres. You’re just getting hung up on the lack of a catchy term that makes it easy for people to criticize all the genres that fit into the men category. I agree a term would be useful but it’s hardly evidence of systematic discrimination.

    I agree with you that it would be nice if movies made primarily for men would all be categorised as dick flicks, but I fear MRA types would object to the misandry.

    Then they would be hypocrites if they also didn’t object to the term “chick flicks”. But we can hardly accuse them of anything based on your assumption that they would object.

  204. says

    Sry, I missread Freja (198)

    I believe there would be three areas not two, the third being an area where females outperform males. As far as I knw there are differenes in the speed of how facial cues are read, as well as differences in dexterity, both areas where females are better.

  205. says

    Adiabat (218)

    Then they would be hypocrites if they also didn’t object to the term “chick flicks”. But we can hardly accuse them of anything based on your assumption that they would object.

    Not sure that follows. Some MRAs count dick as derogatory slur like cunt. Chic does not seem to be in the same category.

  206. sirtooting . says

    @123454321 Once I caught a fish alive .. No.210

    “Just ever so slightly confused there toot; I’m not quite following”

    Yes, that is no surprise, regarding a person of your intelligence.

  207. sirtooting . says

    @ No.219
    Sheaf
    Females also think faster than males, you missed that one out.
    Just saying

  208. says

    Sirtooting (222)

    Do you have any evidence for this? The immediate proxies for thinking speed are either mental chronometry or IQ. In IQ tests the results are comparably to slightly favorable for males after puberty. I am not aware of studies with results indicating differences in reflex speed though I would not be that surprised since neuronal pathways are shorter in females due to them being shorter on average.

  209. Gjenganger says

    @Lucy 195
    This is a slight change of topic, but I would love to see your list of what you think are the significant and built-in/biological/essential/… differences between men and women. We both believe they exist. I have some ideas but you have likely thought it through better than I have.

    Some can be deduced from your post:
    Size and strength for men
    Pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause for women
    Stronger and earlier sexual bonding form women.

    But a full list would be really hepful, especially from the opposite side of the fence, as it were.

  210. AndrewV69, Visiting MRA, Purveyor of Piffle & Woo says

    @123454321, #207
    Actually humans appear to be unique in the animal kingdom in that they do routinely attempt to defy their biology with varying degrees of success and failure.

    @Gjenganger, #209
    More than a few atheists make a religion out of their lack of belief in God. Yes I am an aethist myself.

    @sheaf, #214
    The premise is flawed. It omits any mention that women have an advantage in certain areas over men. Also omitted, the higher male varience results in more imbeciles and geniuses.

    @sheaf, #219
    Never mind. I see you amended your comment.

  211. Gjenganger says

    @Lucy 213
    My conclusion to these unavoidable differences would be to aim for a society that gave space for both kinds. Fairly obviously you would get some jobs dominated by one sex or the other, some areas where one sex or the otherwas better off, some tasks where one sex or teh other was better suited (on the average, of course). And likely social roles would build on,and exaggerate, those differences. The final result could come from a compromise, a power struggle, or both. Either way, complete, point-to-point equality between groups with significantly different talents andd resources does seem achievable.

    Not sure from your comment what yourconclusion is. Could you elaborate?

  212. Gjenganger says

    @Gjenganger 226
    OOPS!!
    That should have read:
    “complete, point-to-point equality between groups with significantly different talents and resources does NOT seem achievable.”

  213. sirtooting . says

    Sheaf . No.223

    Females and males maintain unique brain characteristics throughout life. Male brains, for instance, are about 10% larger than female brains. But bigger doesn’t necessarily mean smarter.

    Disparities in how certain brain substances are distributed may be more revealing. Notably, male brains contain about 6.5 times more gray matter, than women. Female brains have more than 9.5 times as much white matter, the stuff that connects various parts of the brain, than male brains. The frontal area of the cortex and the temporal area of the cortex are more precisely organized in women, and are bigger in volume, This difference in form may explain a lasting functional advantage that females seem to have over males in dominant language skills.

  214. johngreg says

    Just a small aside: aside from the alliterative euphony, shouldn’t the converse to “chick flick” be “dude flick”, rather than “dick flick”?

    Isn’t “dick flick” the same sort of so-called gendered epithet as “cunt flick” would be? Milder, perhaps, but the same linguistic genus, so to speak.

  215. 123454321 says

    sistoot,

    “Next case ..
    Next.”

    Yes, next case was the one where the woman fucked some guy and then convinced some other unsuspecting guy that the kid was his. How did that one pan out in court, huh?

  216. 123454321 says

    Johngreg,

    If you list all the swear/unsavoury words out there: cock, dick-head, fanny, cunt, bollocks, wanker (actually this is starting to feel good so I’ll stop) then put them into a list of what’s perceived as acceptable in certain environments like: TV, radio, in front of children etc. you’ll notice a pattern, a pattern that aligns with gender. For example, you’ll regularly hear the words “bollocks, balls, dick and cock” on the TV and elsewhere while female related words are left taboo, especially “cunt”. I wonder why!

  217. 123454321 says

    Lucy @ 212.

    “I was attempting to explain the choices and opportunities that were relevant to the merits of female vs male objectification. Not the ones that were relevant to other issues. I thought it was a fairly good list myself. Let’s stick a pin in “pathetic attempt” for now; care to address any of my points specifically?”

    Errm, no you wasn’t, lying Lucy, you were answering this question below, which you actually quoted yourself just above your ridiculous answer in post 195:

    “Tell me what opportunities and choices you don’t have that I do have in the UK today?”

    Geez….

  218. sirtooting . says

    @No. 230
    How could she possibly trick him, with DNA tests being available these days and if he didn’t want a child, then he wouldn’t have any need to DNA test the kids would he, because they wouldn’t exist.

    The excuse .. I thought .. Someone else was taking precautions for me and so as far as I am concerned judge, that thought gets me off the hook? Doesn’t quite cut it .. Does it?
    Especially when the judge asks.. And in your autonomy, what precautions did you take yourself, to prevent you from becoming a parent?.. Err well judge, nothing, because I thought someone else was taking precautions for me.. Well son, now we know .. You thought wrong .. and I wasn’t asking you what you thought, I asked you what you did.. which turns out, as you have readily admitted in your idiocy was nothing.
    Get your wallet out son, your kid now requires your financial support.. there there be a good daddy..
    Next case ..
    Next.

  219. 123454321 says

    sirtoot, I’m talking specifically about women (and they do exist) who deceitfully cheat on their boyfriend/husband with another man, get pregnant by the other man and then proceed to deceive their boyfriend/husband into thinking the child is theirs. At the same time, the actual Father is none the wiser that he has actually Fathered a child!

    Worse still, the woman deceitfully tricks the husband and then proceeds to boot him out and deny him access to his child (or at least he thinks it’s his child whilst still claiming child support.

    All in a good day’s work for some women who make a living out of this whilst seemingly being propped up by the family court system and society in general. Far more widespread than rape, and nowhere near recognised as the serious crime it is.

  220. sirtooting . says

    @ 12345 .. Once I caught a fish alive

    “Tell me what opportunities and choices you don’t have that I do have in the UK today.”

    I recall recently a guy who got on an airplane on a business trip and when he found out the pilot was a woman, he leapt up and demanded the pilot be removed and replaced by a competent male pilot. He did not get his wish, and was eventually removed from the plane after causing much distress and panic in other passengers. Sad but true ..
    What women don’t have that men have, is being treated with impartiality and due to that little thing, it has a domino effect and affects everything else..
    Causing doubt in women’s competence, causing doubt in their testimonies, causing doubt in their abilities.. is a constance theme.. being patronised .. not encouraged .. but discouraged .. not being treated with impartially has quite a breath taking devastating affect.

  221. johngreg says

    Little Toot, do you just make this stuff up as you go along? Do you dream it all up in some chthonic opium dream?

    You seem to me to live in a truly disturbing, cold, dark and dank, misandric dungeon of your own crafting.

    Creepy; very creepy.

  222. 123454321 says

    #236 sirtoot

    yawn, yawn, you’re getting seriously fucking boring now. That little violin story you just wrote has nothing to do with the question, which was:

    “Tell me what opportunities and choices you don’t have that I do have in the UK today.”

    A guy getting on an plane and complaining about a female pilot is every bit as substantiative as me telling a story about some woman who goes into a public toilet and complains about a male janitor on duty. IT’S MEANINGLESS NONSENSE.

  223. sirtooting . says

    @ No. 237
    Who the fuck could make this stuff up? .. There is so much it .. it’s like going on master mind and pointing out the bloody obvious,..
    To not know all of this, one must be either living in a vacuum, or had a lobotomy, or is just an outright liar .. by the way, which one of those applies to you? .. Send Answers on a post card..

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2486905/Air-travellers-dont-trust-female-pilots-Survey-finds-prefer-man-controls.html

  224. sirtooting . says

    @ 12345 .. Once I caught a fish alive .. No. 238
    You are so dismissive of facts that you are unable to disprove and of course that is exactly why you dismiss and mock them .. that is all you have left ..

    ah cry me a river .. you have been blubbering on here for far too long.
    Yeah the classic victim card held up by you .. Men go to war .. Yeah, Yeah .. Well try fucking stopping them,.. because no one has succeeded in doing that yet ..Yeah, Try fucking stopping them ..As if anyone could .. LMAO

  225. says

    What I’m saying is that challenging misogyny and all forms of gender or other oppression will need to be a shared project.

    I also consider this a rather more optimistic way of considering the issue. Analyses which describe misogyny as being somehow inherent or even essential to men or masculinity strike me as being ultimately disempowering. I refuse to accept that gendered hatred and oppression (of any flavour) is inevitable or invariable. If we consider misogynistic attitudes and values to be broadly memetic, then we accept that we can change our society in such a way that they will either wither and die or evolve beyond all recognition. I consider that a rather comforting thought.

    A lovely sentiment beautifully expressed, and I fine example of why I’ve been reading your work for the past few months.

    You might be amused to know that I once considered myself a radical feminist, and my positions were quite moderate compared to those of most of the women I knew at the time many of whom considered themselves radical lesbian separatists. There were many reasons I moved away from that position most of which I won’t mention right now. One reason was that many of the most supportive people in my life were men. Another factor was a professor, teaching a women’s studies course, who introduced us to men’s issues.

    fojap

  226. sirtooting . says

    Radical Feminists
    Radical
    1. Arising from or going to a root or source; basic: proposed a radical solution to the problem.
    2. Departing markedly from the usual or customary; extreme: radical opinions on education.
    3. Favoring or effecting fundamental or revolutionary changes in current practices, conditions, or institutions: radical political views.
    Radical
    (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) favouring or tending to produce extreme or fundamental changes in political, economic, or social conditions, institutions, habits of mind, etc:

    You missed the boat .. Men are supposed to apologise for their weaknesses .. women are supposed to apologize for their strengths .. those days are over

    I recall recently a guy who got on an airplane on a business trip and when he found out the pilot was a woman, he leapt up and demanded the pilot be removed and replaced by a competent male pilot. He did not get his wish, and was eventually removed from the plane after causing much distress and panic in other passengers. Sad but true ..
    and that is just the tip of the iceberg … Are you embarrassed in regard to that, Because you bloody well should be and if you do not feel embarrassed, then I

  227. Adiabat says

    Freja (199): The discussion above was never about the existence of false consciousness, but about using it to dismiss people’s arguments.

    In the religious debates arguments about whether the Earth is 6000 years old, to take one example, are never dismissed in this way by atheists (or at least shouldn’t be) but are instead shown to be wrong using evidence and argument. Only once the factual argument is resolved is the debate over why the religious still believe what they do started. They are in fact two separate debates and it would be a fallacy to use false consciousness to discount arguments in the initial “factual” debate.

    E.G if someone said “the Earth is 6000 years old because the bible says so” it is a fallacy to reply “you only believe that because you were raised to”. It is not a logically valid response and in this case the atheist is wrong to make it. The correct response would be to detail the nature of reliable vs unreliable evidence, explain why the bible is not good evidence to use, put forward stronger evidence to contest the position and so on. Only after the claim is shown to in all likelihood be wrong and the theist persists in believing it can the issue over why the theist does this be discussed, and the false consciousness argument made; if the factual argument is not resolved then any claim of “false consciousness” could apply to both sides. In practice of course the atheist has had the factual debate so many times and is so sick of it that they often just skip it and go straight to the “why the theist believes” debate. The atheist is wrong to do this, even if we can sympathise.

    To contrast, in the gender debates false consciousness is used to dismiss opponents’ arguments in the initial “factual” debate. If a woman puts forward a criticism of feminism for example, it is a fallacy to discount her arguments based on “false consciousness” as happens so often. Only after the factual side of the debate is resolved (you have shown her arguments to be wrong) can you suggest that she may only believe them due to false consciousness. The issue here is usually the arrogance of people assuming they are right and unwillingness to debate the factual argument. Another factor is that, unlike the religious debates, the factual debates often cannot be resolved, the nature of the debate is often unscientific and largely involving opinion, guesswork and “personal interpretation”.

  228. Adiabat says

    if the factual argument is not resolved then any claim of “false consciousness” could apply to both sides.

    I just realised I never really explained why this is the case, and why it’s so important to resolve the ‘factual’ debate first.

    The scientific method is specifically designed to reduce the effects of biases, such as false consciousness. Therefore a factual argument resolved through applying scientific arguments and evidence is evidence that that viewpoint is less affected by things like false consciousness than the opposing argument. The removes the applicability of claims of false consciousness, and other biases, from one side of the argument more than the other*. Hence it becomes valid to suggest that your opponents may be unduly influenced by it when they are forming their conclusions. Therefore until the factual argument is resolved the suggestion of false consciousness on one side is erroneous and shouldn’t be used.

    * I must stress the “more than” in that sentence – every assumption or interpretation of evidence that is not fully supported by the research leave room for bias, including false consciousness; This is why occasionally scientific consensus is shown to be wrong. However the amount will be less than the argument which isn’t scientifically backed; This is why Science Works.

  229. Gjenganger says

    @Adiabat 246
    Very nicely put.

    I would add that where clear, convincing evidence is scarce, people easily resort to less valid arguments to force a win. Like “Given that I am obviously right, you must be suffering from false consciousness”. Or “Given that I am obviously right, we will do it my way until you can prove me wrong”.

  230. Irrational Rationality says

    Adiabat, as I said, this debate over feminism vs. MRA’s is largely dogma and rationalizations, rather than facts and data. Each side has their own self-contained narratives, both of which are backed up by cherry-picked readings of data and history.

  231. sirtooting . says

    12345 .. Once I caught a fish alive ..No.193

    “sirtoot, couples often mutually settle upon her taking the pill as a ‘joint’ agreement. When SHE purposefully deceives him, that is ripping his choices and life away from him, especially if she goes ahead and dumps the Father.”

    One would suggest in that case then, it was no longer a mutual agreement, as if it was ever really mutual.

    “And if you’re not buying that one, then how about women who purposefully conceive via a different Father and deceive another man into believing the baby is his for 18 years while he pays for it?”

    Your pitiful accusations are not a good advert for men by any stretch of the imagination

    “There are plenty of ways that women can, and do, ruin men’s lives so why don’t you ever talk about those? Oh, sorry, it’s because you’re a feminist and only care about humans who are born with a vagina.”

    Yeah that is why those women bear sons and develop them inside them and their sons, live and breathe .. inhale, exhale.. and their mothers spend hours & hours of their lives, caring for them, helping them to develop their speech, mobility and independence, they keep them clean and safe, well fed and all that effort and recognition it deserves is snatched away within a second by you, in your baseless outrageous smears discharged from your festering filth pit you call your mind

    The scenario you are exaggerating is that men are entirely without responsibility, are emotionally stunted and void of all compassion or empathy for anyone but themselves, inward looking, self absorbed and self obsessed with how the world affects them, not with how they affect the world.

    In your scenario, one can imagine a conversation between a father and his child.

    Father to his child.. You know I didn’t want you and the only reason you exist is because your mother defied my wishes ..Remember the only person who loves you here, is your mother, because I fucking hate you .. You are nothing but a fucking inconvenience to me and a financial drain, that I could well have done without .. I did my level best to coerce her to abort you, but again she defied my wishes, and I told her, if you don’t get rid of that thing .. Our relationship is over .. I’m not fucking paying for it

    Child .. Yeah I can see Father, everything from your point of view, and how all of this has affected you .. I guess your feelings have been hurt.
    Father, let me first apologise for my very existence, as I can see, it is nothing but a drag & terrible inconvenience for you and second let me apologise for my mother & what a bitch she must have been for daring to disagree with you .. Whatever was she thinking? When she decided to give me the chance to be & carried me inside her and showered me with her love in her tireless care, and who was as attentive as any loving mother could be in her care and attention and embraced me, without asking anything in return.
    And thirdly, let me apologise for you, father .. and I hope no one ever has the misfortune as me, to suffer at the hands of such a mean minded, malicious, emotionally stunted man as you, you who is void of all empathy, except for yourself, where you only look inward in your self obsession ..crying and blubbering .. look everyone ..this is how this world has affected me..
    I am very sorry father., that my mere existence, upsets you so very much and you loathe and hate me with such passion, and I can say it has not gone unnoticed.. As you always made me aware and reminded me daily, with every look and stare, ., how upsetting it must be for you, knowing I am in your way..
    But my mother informed me a long time ago, relationships come and go, but children are for ever..
    So with all my heart, I live in hope my mother did cheat on you and I am the product of another, because that allows me to tell you how I feel and what I feel about you.. You are not my father, you never showed me any love, all you ever showed me, was your disappointment, that I wasn’t dead, ..
    Well, in return then, let me make it plain to you, you have never been anything to me but a disappointment, you have always been detached & emotionally dead and no doubt by now you can tell I am not impressed with you, and for far to long, we, who’s only crime is to be related to you, a man who is self important, self obsessed, small minded and self concerned, has done nothing but held us captive to your sheer hate

    Relationships come and go, but children are forever, nature doesn’t care for men’s opinions, when mothers follow their natural inclination to bring about and embrace the next generation.

    A woman might decide whatever her partner wants she will agree with for an easy life, but at 45, 50, 55., she could be dumped for another and left alone, she might ponder then , why didn’t I insist on having children, when relationships can come and go but my children would have been forever

    “Every time a woman deceives a man into believing she is on the pill”

    It is not women’s responsibility to prevent men from becoming fathers, women’s only responsible is to for prevent themselves from becoming mothers, if that is what they want and if they don’t then they might believe if they have a child the partner will be overwhelmed with compassion, love & embrace their child once the child is born and love will conquer all, unfortunately as you have proven, those who are self obsessed who look only inwards, who are void of all compassion, look to only punish their partners and children for disobeying their orders.

  232. Paul says

    @sirtooting.

    Hitherto i haven’t responded to your posts because i think you’re a glorified troll.And whilst i’ll always respect the right of people to have their say i feel you’re hellbent on derailing every thread that comes up on this blog. And it’s getting really boring.

    Do you honestly beleive that most women who read this blog see you as an ally? A man who understands them better than they understand themselves ?

    Life is seldom black and white.There are always going to be various shades of grey in between.Which is why any female victim/male oppressor dichotomy is always going to be problematic for all sorts of reasons .Can’t you see that ?

    Do you accept the role women as well as men play in underpinning those very patriachial structures which feminists say are oppressive and not only to women ?And that white class women in particular can and do wield a lot of covert power and influence within these patriachial structures ? Or maybe you think the power behind the throne as a concept is ridiculous. For surely alpha males couldn’t possibly be influenced by their ”weak” ”powerless” womenfolk ??????

    There are those who seem to view men as being nothing more than lumpen masses of testosterene who should adapt to what women want and whenever they want it.Which i would argue isn’t true equality between the sexes but rather has the potential for giving women the best of both worlds.Which actually isn’t equality at all.

    As a black man i believe that the feminist movement in britain is dominated by elitist white middle class women whose primary aim is to share power with the elitist white middle class men who control most of what i call the overt levers of power. In other words what we’ll have is more elitist white middle class women controlling more of the overt levers of power as well as white middle class women exerting their covert power and influence over their white middle class menfolk who also control the levers of power. And because i’m a fair man i’ll accept that a few token black and asian faces of both sexes will be thrown into the mix as well just to prove that even elitist white middle class people embrace diversity..

    But all this will count for diddly squat as far as most people are concerned.For what i’ve been talking about is nothing more than a game of musical chairs amongst the elite which will do fuck all to challenge the status quo in this country.A status quo where both sexes from all different backgrounds are being shafted albeit in varying degrees.

    So given that having more white middle class women as well as a few black and asian faces in positions of real power isn’t going to make a jot of difference to the lives of most people of both sexes in this country whaat exactly do we mean when we talk about equality between the sexes ? I absolutely support those women who aren’t being treated equally with men. But you know what i also absolutely support those men who aren’t being treated equally with women. And that sirtooting is where you and i part company. Because from all your posts it’s quite clear that you don’t take seriously the fact than some men can and do face discrimination on account of their sex.

  233. sirtooting . says

    @Paul.. No. 252
    “Do you accept the role women as well as men play in underpinning those very patriarchal structures which feminists say are oppressive and not only to women ?”

    As long as females concur with males then there is no problem, it is only when they don’t .. That there is.

    Hence the hatred of the Feminist movement.
    Now I have answered one of your questions, maybe you can answer one of mine?

    Maybe you can tell us, why women couldn’t have the vote?

  234. freja says

    @203, Schala

    Not gonna deign this with a reply, you would find it a bit too scathing. For all 3 paragraphs.

    Very classy for someone whose previous arguments have all boiled down to “It’s not an issue for me, therefore women can just ignore it”. But if you’re willing to stop condescendingly replying to me, I’ll welcome the peace and quiet to focus on more productive conversations.

    @209, Gjenganger

    I am a Chistian. I just came here because I followed Ally’s blog, and wanted to continue doing so. Is atheism some kind of entry requirement for the entire site? Or what is this ‘the whole site is for atheism’ in aid of?

    The point is more that the idea that people largely act in accordance with prevailing cultural norms is one of the key foundations of this site, and it’s hardly ever contested when it comes to religion. But as soon as gender enter into it, questioning and opposing those cultural norms is suddenly claimed to be denying people agency.

  235. freja says

    @214, sheaf

    I thin this is likely to be the case. Apart from differences in upper body strength, brain anatomies are different. These different brain anatomies are probably of functional significance. Since our last conversation I read about differing results on e.g. IQ tests with males exhibiting greater variance. This would likely cause male overrepresentation in fields that require high ability to solve abstract problems.

    Well, that varies considerably, as do people’s reasoning for it. The idea that males exhibit a higher variance is also contested. From what I recall (but I’m recalling books here, not studies I can easily find online), the level of variance varies according to nationality. Among Asians, there are often more females in the top performing group in math, which runs contrary to the idea that male exhibit greater variance in the mathematical abilities. One hypothesis is that there will generally be more males in the extreme low end (whether for social or biological reasons), and in environments where males generally outperform females, this will lead to more males in both ends. But when the performance of females increases, the result is a roughly equal distribution with the exception of a group of underperfoming males. But it’s all very speculative.

    @219, sheaf

    Sry, I missread Freja (198)

    I believe there would be three areas not two, the third being an area where females outperform males. As far as I knw there are differenes in the speed of how facial cues are read, as well as differences in dexterity, both areas where females are better.

    Memory skills, language skills, certain types of pattern recognition, and learning speed. It’s funny how those are always overlooked in favour of more gender stereotypical traits like social skills and grace when discussing female strengths.

    Anyway, my point was simply that if you deny that discrimination and discouragement are factors in keeping women out or down in many fields, the only remaining conclusion is that men (and white people, and non-disabled people, and people not visibly on the LGBTQ spectrum) are simply more driven, more competent, and more disciplined when it comes to professional and financial success, and I wanted to clear that out before proceeding because my argument wouldn’t have any value to a person with this kind of mindset, like Schala. Unfortunately, she was more interested in explaining the merits of that view extensively while I just wanted to get it cleared, so the whole conversation kind of got derailed there.

  236. Gjenganger says

    @Freja 255
    Sorry if I missed something, butting in. But, considering your post, what do you think are the permanent differences in male and female strengths and desires? Or do you think that it is all completely social and changeable (except for visible anatomy)?

    FWIW (if you want evaluate my opinions) I think that people who do not fit with dominant group norms do tend to get discouraged (‘that is not for people like me’) and also have a harder and more stressful time once they get in. And that social roles would tend to latch on to and exaggerate any existing differences (if more men make good pilots, the job becomes a ‘male thing’, and even fewer women try). And that this effect is the unavoidable flip side of having the majority enjoy a shared group identity – i.e. you cannot make everybody feel equally ‘in’ and in harmony, but you can make everybody feel equally ‘out’ and among strangers.

  237. summerblues says

    123454321 @ 235

    The whole comment, back it up or stop bringing it up. I’m tired of reading about it. Are these men ones who don’t mind having more children and are therefore not using condoms or just too lazy to use one.

    Tell me, what must it feel like for a woman when her trusted husband cheats on her and has a child with another woman? Obviously no condom use there and she’s stuck with the consequences. Can’t take it out on the child, not the child’s fault it’s parents are assholes with a faulty moral compass. Disease threat, too.

  238. freja says

    @246, Adiabat

    The discussion above was never about the existence of false consciousness, but about using it to dismiss people’s arguments.

    In the religious debates arguments about whether the Earth is 6000 years old, to take one example, are never dismissed in this way by atheists (or at least shouldn’t be) but are instead shown to be wrong using evidence and argument. Only once the factual argument is resolved is the debate over why the religious still believe what they do started. They are in fact two separate debates and it would be a fallacy to use false consciousness to discount arguments in the initial “factual” debate.

    No one dismissed people’s argument when you started this debate in comment 5 on this thread, where you accused unidentified people (mainly feminist women) of denying women their agency. There was no argument, no one was dismissing anyone, except you. And you’re no stranger to going straight for insults before the factual argument has been resolved. Here you are earlier:

    @110, Adiabat:

    the burden of proof is on you to prove otherwise. Until then I think a valid response would be to just dismiss your argument.

    And speaking of not believing people make informed decisions and making “they’re only thinking that because…” arguments:

    you see femmephobia everywhere due to your tendency to view everything with a massive confirmation bias and insistence on applying even the most unlikely unfair readings on everything if it means you can reach the conclusion that you want to reach.

    You refuse to even consider that my opinions could possibly be based on anything but confirmation bias, that my views can easily be dismissed because I’m biased, unlike you. But we can’t theorise that women who attack other women on misogynist grounds or blindly adhere gendered standards could possibly be biased due to institutionalised misogyny. After all, that would be offensive.

    @248, Gjenganger

    @Adiabat 246
    Very nicely put.

    I would add that where clear, convincing evidence is scarce, people easily resort to less valid arguments to force a win. Like “Given that I am obviously right, you must be suffering from false consciousness”. Or “Given that I am obviously right, we will do it my way until you can prove me wrong”.

    You’ve responded enough to Adiabat for me to know that you read his posts. You’ve responded enough to disagree with me and agree with Adiabat for me to know that if you really have an issue with anything any of us say, you’d express it. On these grounds, I have to conclude it to be very likely that you agree with and support Adiabat’s previous attack on my opinions and observations as being invalid because of an alleged bias which people like you supposedly don’t have, or at least don’t find it objectionable. In light of that, I think your support for a preemptive defence of hypothetical women who may or may not be accused of false consciousness has more to do with the way those hypothetical women will tend to agree with you than it has to do with any real concern for people getting their opinions unduly dismissed on grounds that their perception of reality is distorted.

  239. says

    Freja (255)

    Well, that varies considerably, as do people’s reasoning for it. The idea that males exhibit a higher variance is also contested. From what I recall (but I’m recalling books here, not studies I can easily find online), the level of variance varies according to nationality.

    This is rather irrelevant if there is higher male variance in every society. If the level differs this more likely means that there are environmental influences in addition to biological ones.

    Among Asians, there are often more females in the top performing group in math, which runs contrary to the idea that male exhibit greater variance in the mathematical abilities.

    I need more details here. Cite the study you have in mind.

    One hypothesis is that there will generally be more males in the extreme low end (whether for social or biological reasons), and in environments where males generally outperform females, this will lead to more males in both ends.

    This is not a explanation at all.

    But when the performance of females increases, the result is a roughly equal distribution with the exception of a group of underperfoming males.

    Afaik the performance differences in the top percentages are not reversible by any intervention, so this seems not to have any empirical support.

    In any case when I started my studies in mathematics, approximately half of students were female. After a year and the knockout exams the percentage of women was about 20%. This patter repeats itself every year at the university I took my degree. I think sexism is not an explanation that is very powerful in general (reason being that most studies contesting it often run into strong contrary evidence, e.g. wage gap often disapears when you control for other factors) and certainly seems not to be strong enough to explain this.

  240. says

    freja (258)

    You’ve responded enough to Adiabat for me to know that you read his posts. You’ve responded enough to disagree with me and agree with Adiabat for me to know that if you really have an issue with anything any of us say, you’d express it. On these grounds, I have to conclude it to be very likely that you agree with and support Adiabat’s previous attack on my opinions and observations as being invalid because of an alleged bias which people like you supposedly don’t have, or at least don’t find it objectionable.

    Oh this is just golden. The mistake in reasoning here is: “You’ve responded enough to disagree with me and agree with Adiabat for me to know that if you really have an issue with anything any of us say, you’d express it.” It is unlikely that Gjenganger or anyone else here responds every time he or she disagrees. I know I would go insane if I would respond to every post you or Lucy made.

  241. freja says

    @256, Gjenganger

    Sorry if I missed something, butting in. But, considering your post, what do you think are the permanent differences in male and female strengths and desires? Or do you think that it is all completely social and changeable (except for visible anatomy)?

    I don’t know. Nobody does. I don’t think it’s important.

    For instance, there are several studies indicating that black people are less intelligent than white people. There are also studies which show that black people underperform on IQ tests due to being in a stereotype threat condition. Those latter studies are a 1000 times more relevant than the first ones. Perhaps we’ll discover real proof that some of the IQ difference is permanent, perhaps we’ll discover that the it’s the other way around and that black people are the more intelligent ones, perhaps we’ll find out that those IQ tests were a terrible way of measuring intelligence, and perhaps we’ll find out that with the huge genetic diversity of people of African descent, it makes no sense to talk about ‘black people’ as a unified group.

    But if we know that black people are considered stupider than equally (un)intelligent white people, or that black people don’t perform as well as they could on tasks related to intelligence, our priority should be to ensure that black people are not underestimated intellectually and/or to get their performance to increase to what we know they have the potential to. It doesn’t make sense to focus on some vague biological theory to explain why black Americans do worse professionally on average than white Americans, when there are real, observable social disadvantages to combat.

    this effect is the unavoidable flip side of having the majority enjoy a shared group identity – i.e. you cannot make everybody feel equally ‘in’ and in harmony, but you can make everybody feel equally ‘out’ and among strangers.

    Maybe the effect is unavoidable, but the extent is not fixed. Some hierarchies are less rigid than others, some communities more egalitarian, and some places have a higher social mobility than others. And just as importantly, some group identities are less damaging for society as a whole, even if they provide much the same comfort. There’s little reason not to try to improve.

  242. freja says

    @260, sheaf

    Oh this is just golden. The mistake in reasoning here is: “You’ve responded enough to disagree with me and agree with Adiabat for me to know that if you really have an issue with anything any of us say, you’d express it.” It is unlikely that Gjenganger or anyone else here responds every time he or she disagrees. I know I would go insane if I would respond to every post you or Lucy made.

    Then like me rephrase: Gjenganger has expressed concern that hypothetical women are being told “Your opinions/perceptions/experiences don’t count because you’re not really capable of perceiving/thinking/feeling the right way” or “we’ll do it my way until you can prove me wrong” when that concern was phrased as a preemptive attack on people he disagree with by a person he agrees with. But when an actual person on this thread whom he frequently disagrees with (me) is told the same thing by a person he frequently agrees with, he stays completely silent about it and continues to support the person he agrees with.

    And it’s not that he doesn’t read what Adiabat writes, it’s not that he tries to stay out of anything which has to do with me, and it’s not that he has a problem expressing disagreement (the reason I mentioned his previous interactions). And neither is it because other people are already refuting it (one of my reasons for not engaging much with people like sirtooting). I’m basing the assessment on his priorities as much as his agreement.

  243. says

    Lucy, Oxytocin doesn’t just happen to women though. That feeling of elation when your team does good? Blame the bonding chemical, not gender.
    Could even swing back on topic and ask why it is that a chemical that bonds you to a person, regardless of how you may technically feel about that, is most commonly associated with women?

    Men; how old is the story of David and Goliath? Anansi? Bugs Bunny?
    The idea of brain beating brawn and winning the day is a very old one for men, a key component of evolving the Homo Sapiens way, and something that’s’ happened frequently throughout history. Politicians, scientists, artists and money men have all managed get one over on macho warriors who used to rule the roost.

    Anyone telling you otherwise is either stupid or lying to you because they think you are.

    No matter how you feel about short shortsightedly competitive hierarchies, historically, men have had many, many ways to negotiate them.

    Women…not so much.
    Their best shot at making it through was by being marriageable. All the many attributes a woman could have, could only really work on the basis of some man picking her as a wife over all the other available women.

    Although, you don’t get many attributes if your short shortsightedly competitive, hierarchical society has decided you’re too likely to weakened or killed by selection a gynecological complications that are laughably curable in modern times and misogyny aside, reckons it’s probably best not to educate you and instead focus on being more fertile and disposable than the next woman. It’s no coincidence that the pushes for equality happened when maternal mortality decreased and contraception became more widespread.

    Anyway, for women, and for far too long, to be a success was to be publicly certified fuckable, whether she wants it or not and ideally by a rich and powerful man.

    That’s the meme, the standard for successful women that modern society, both men and women, isn’t dropping nearly anywhere near quick enough. It’s still happier with a face that launches a thousand ships than launching the boats ‘cos she’s the bloody Foreign Secretary and she told them to.

    Got a problem Paul.

    You’re telling white women that they’re really not being nice enough, when women generally get enough of that already.
    Like when we eventually reckon it’s time for someone else to make to make the office coffee and we’re forever written off as “not a team player”, denied the promotion etc. in ways that men don’t often have to put up with. This is a tricky one to negotiate but telling women to be more nurturing is about as wanted here as telling men they should be more violent.

    And the problem with your enthroned “alpha males”, apart from it being a term derived from the behavior of stressed and captive Wolves, which is a fantastic metaphor for western society but….tangent…

    The problem with alpha males is that the whole point of being “alpha” is that you make the orders and don’t have to listen to anyone else. There’s a long tradition of various lackeys convincing the big man that what they said was really his idea all along. But for a woman to even get a shot at doing that, she’s got to be allowed behind the throne and because of that old, old meme, she’s still better off getting there through looking like a Caucasian teenage bride than all other available forms of woman. Or perhaps like his scary white Grandma which is how Thatcher managed to do so well…

    Because yes, Feminism is often frustratingly “some animals are more equal than others” but this is unlikely to be solved by the kind of people who can’t see the problem with “guys and females”. Or put Human Olympic Gymnasts in the same category as Cats and Pigeons while trying to make a point about Sociopaths, which they’re totally not, apparently. Or reckon “false consciousness” is a greater problem with distant feminists than it is with a commentor who’s right there, trying to prove women are all evil because some woman gave a man who wasn’t the biological father the opportunity to raise a child in his image.

    Keep going Freja, I’m done.

  244. says

    freja 262

    The reason Gjenganger agrees with Adiabat is because in your particular case he is right. Often times someone engges you, you have a flurry of bad faith arguing (e.g. claiming Straughan to be a misogynist in absence of any good evidence for this position) and cherry picking. This has nothing to do with the genetic fallacy.

  245. freja says

    @259, sheaf

    This is rather irrelevant if there is higher male variance in every society. If the level differs this more likely means that there are environmental influences in addition to biological ones.

    It isn’t. But I like how you take biological differences as a given. Only if there is higher female variance will to conceed that there may be environmental differences, even though a difference in the variance would also be a strong indication of environmental influences. But even if the variance is reversed in some countries, you still imply that there must be biological differences between the sexes, and that those differences must favour more male geniusses.

    I need more details here. Cite the study you have in mind.

    I already said I mostly quote from books and classes, but if you want an online link, here’s one.

    From the abstract:
    studies find more males than females scoring above the 95th or 99th percentile, but this gender gap has significantly narrowed over time in the U.S. and is not found among some ethnic groups and in some nations. Furthermore, data from several studies indicate that greater male variability with respect to mathematics is not ubiquitous. Rather, its presence correlates with several measures of gender inequality.

    Further down:

    Results were analyzed separately by ethnicity to ensure that the findings were not limited to the predominantly White samples that have been the mainstay of U.S. research. For students scoring above the 95th percentile, the M:F ratio was 1.45 for Whites, close to theoretical prediction. At the 99th percentile, the M:F ratio was 2.06, again close to theoretical prediction. However, the M:F ratio was only 0.91 for Asian-Americans, that is, more girls than boys scored above the 99th percentile. Analysis of data from 15-year-old students participating in the 2003 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) likewise indicated that as many, if not more girls than boys scored above the 99th percentile in Iceland, Thailand, and the United Kingdom (18). The M:F ratios above the 95th percentile on this examination also fell between 0.9 and 1.1 for these above-named countries plus Indonesia, that is, were not significantly different from equal variances (19). These findings challenge the Greater Male Variability Hypothesis, which, if valid, should hold for all representative populations, regardless of ethnicity or nationality.

    Notable is the fact that numerous countries had a normalized SD difference that was insignificantly different from zero, with 3 even having a negative value, that is, greater female variability. Neither the 10th-grade 2003 PISA nor 12th-grade 1995 TIMSS data gave any indication of greater male variability in mathematics for either Denmark or the Netherlands. As Penner concluded, “The common assumption that males have greater variance in mathematics achievement is not universally true.”

    This is not a explanation at all.

    It is. Men and women tend to be equally good at distiguishing colour on average (though some studies point to small advantaghes for certain colours), but more men are colour blind. If, hypothetically, men got more training in colour differentiation, the amount of colour blind men mean we’d be unlikely to find average male superiority, but we would find increased male variability. But since men and women tend to get roughly equal training in colour differentiation and there doesn’t seem to be other gender differences, we’re instead left with an even distribution by sex among the vast majority of people, but a small segment of colourblind people who’re primarily men. Replace colour differentiation with mathmatical ability and you have the same pattern.

    In any case when I started my studies in mathematics, approximately half of students were female. After a year and the knockout exams the percentage of women was about 20%. This patter repeats itself every year at the university I took my degree. I think sexism is not an explanation that is very powerful in general (reason being that most studies contesting it often run into strong contrary evidence, e.g. wage gap often disapears when you control for other factors) and certainly seems not to be strong enough to explain this.

    The wagegap lessens because it doesn’t take other factors into consideration. Controlled studies (e.g. potential employers being asked to estimate how mcuh they would be a potential employee, with half of them, randomly selected, being given a CW with a female name, and the other half an identical one with a male name) quield quite different results. And since you don’t say why those girls left, I can’t say either way.

  246. Adiabat says

    Freja (258): Thanks for providing another opportunity to demonstrate my point above:

    No one dismissed people’s argument when you started this debate in comment 5 on this thread, where you accused unidentified people (mainly feminist women) of denying women their agency. There was no argument, no one was dismissing anyone, except you.

    Let’s look at the “factual” discussion first: You claim that I started the discussion on people denying agency and dismissing people, specifically women, based on “false consciousness” claims. Actually it can easily be seen that not only was I responding to summerblues comment at #1, but the discussion is prompted by a quote in the OP itself:

    some women have imbibed so much misogyny, it’s eventually got under their skin and found a home there.

    Which is easily seen as a claim of “false consciousness” dismissing the views of women who apparently ‘propagate misogyny’, a factual claim that isn’t supported. Therefore not only did someone “dismiss people’s argument” but that person is identified in the OP. Your claim is wrong on several levels.

    So we have resolved the factual argument and now we look at the other debate corollary to your claim: Why do you keep misreading the posts of your opponents as support for your arguments? Considering the previous example of this in this thread, where you claimed I was equated something when I obviously didn’t, and past examples, such as the time where you read something as someone’s actual position even though they explicit said that they were making a satirical point, I stand by my argument that you are operating under significant bias. (Doubly so considering your post upthread where you dismiss someone else’s views based on about how great you are at “reading what a text says”. Post 91. This is another factual argument shown not to be in your favour. This suggests some kind of Dunning-Kruger effect)

    But we can’t theorise that women who attack other women on misogynist grounds or blindly adhere gendered standards could possibly be biased due to institutionalised misogyny. After all, that would be offensive.

    Because you haven’t even shown that their arguments are wrong yet. You even describe what they are doing as “attack[ing] other women on misogynist grounds” rather than “offering criticism of feminism”. The very way you phrase such things adds to the argument of ‘bias’ on your part.

    And you’re no stranger to going straight for insults before the factual argument has been resolved. Here you are earlier:

    @110, Adiabat:

    the burden of proof is on you to prove otherwise. Until then I think a valid response would be to just dismiss your argument.

    Notwithstanding the fact that “but you do it too!” isn’t a valid argument against a claim that someone does something they shouldn’t, you were making an extraordinary claim against common knowledge (that dumb action movies aren’t commonly recognized as gendered ‘for men’), therefore the burden of proof was on you. In the lack of said proof it is valid to dismiss your argument. I believe this is known as ‘Hitchen’s Law’.

    I’ve said many things that could’ve been more easily categorized as an insult so I don’t know why you chose a perfectly valid point of mine as your example here.

  247. Schala says

    Anyway, for women, and for far too long, to be a success was to be publicly certified fuckable, whether she wants it or not and ideally by a rich and powerful man.

    Anyway, for men, and for far too long, to be a success was to be publicly certified a bag of money, whether he wants it or not, and ideally then get a shot at mating with a young and beautiful woman.

    It’s almost as if the “marriage and children” that everyone takes for granted “will just happen, because lulz, everyone marries” when they’re children themselves…takes actual work for men to be even seen as eligible. While a woman only needs to be fertile and average in looks (no merit there, that’s most people). And if she’s only after the ‘children’ part, because marriage isn’t in the cards, well, she can do that too, from a random donor even (or a one night stand). Men having surrogate mothers working for them (to have a child without needing to be in a couple, or a heterosexual couple), is a lot harder, and a lot more illegal in places. A lot costlier, too.

    Umm so yeah. The whole “society treated women as disposable” because it wanted function more than existence, is false. It treated everyone that way. And nowadays it still treats men that way (women have access to contraception, permanent infertility and various methods to prevent pregnancies before and after they happen – freeing them from their role if they want to). Men are only tolerated in as much as they benefit society (ie the bottom line, money). Women are tolerated regardless of that, and regardless of them ever having children (historically, a barren woman would be shunned, as well as a woman getting a child outside marriage – thus unsupported by a man*).

    *It’s the historical version of the modern right-wing economical branch saying “My taxes, my moneys, stop stealing from me to give to those leeches”, where barren women and women getting a child outside marriage (and disabled-everyone) were seen as burdens, and how it was unfair to tax payers. The solution is socialist safety nets, where yes, it costs more taxes, but fuck if people are left to rot because rich people refuse to part with some of their money.

    Note that this is why child support laws are extremely unfair to men (get to pay even if you can prove the child is not yours, because “you assumed a fatherly role”, without knowing the child wasn’t yours). Because the right-wing refuses to have people pool their money to help the needy. And instead would rather give the bill to one man, any man (disposability anyone), who happened to participate in the child’s creation (like sperm donors who bypass the clinic).

  248. says

    Freja, (265)

    I am currently reaing the study along with several oters. ot sure what will come of it.

    But I like how you take biological differences as a given. Only if there is higher female variance will to conceed that there may be environmental differences, even though a difference in the variance would also be a strong indication of environmental influences. But even if the variance is reversed in some countries, you still imply that there must be biological differences between the sexes, and that those differences must favour more male geniusses.

    If there was consistent crosscultural evidence that males variance is greater or equal to female variance in performance then this is evidence for a biological explanation in conjunction with cultural. The reason for this: If variance was only culturally determined then we would expect a rough 50/50 split of cultures where female variance is higher and cultures where male variance. This is not the same as taken biological differences as a given or some such nonsense. This is exactly what I meant with you arguing in bad faith.

    t is. Men and women tend to be equally good at distiguishing colour on average (though some studies point to small advantaghes for certain colours), but more men are colour blind. If, hypothetically, men got more training in colour differentiation, the amount of colour blind men mean we’d be unlikely to find average male superiority, but we would find increased male variability. But since men and women tend to get roughly equal training in colour differentiation and there doesn’t seem to be other gender differences, we’re instead left with an even distribution by sex among the vast majority of people, but a small segment of colourblind people who’re primarily men. Replace colour differentiation with mathmatical ability and you have the same pattern.

    Your original explanation had nothing to do with males getting more education. It was simply a statement f fact about a percentage of males underachievers.

  249. Paul says

    @263 Amy Cocks

    Got a problem Paul.

    Nope

    You’re telling white women that they’re really not being nice enough, when women generally get enough of that already.
    Like when we eventually reckon it’s time for someone else to make to make the office coffee and we’re forever written off as “not a team player”, denied the promotion etc. in ways that men don’t often have to put up with. This is a tricky one to negotiate but telling women to be more nurturing is about as wanted here as telling men they should be more violent

    ……but you clearly have.Like attributing the above to me when even a cursory reading of my post would have told you that wasn’t what i was saying at all.

  250. says

    Ok after reading the study freja posted and some meta analyses, I think if there are little differences in innate variance, certainly not enough to explain the gaps in Stem fields.

  251. sirtooting . says

    All roads lead to Rome
    A Mr Fogg quote
    “Consequently boys too often grow into men that despise women who fail to meet exacting beauty standards, but so too do women. Women who depart from the script of demure, modest and restrained sexuality will be reviled as sluts or slags by women and men alike.”

    A Paul quote
    “Do you accept the role women as well as men play in underpinning those very patriarchal structures which feminists say are oppressive and not only to women “.

    As long as women agree with men then there is no problem, it is only when they don’t that there is..

    As long as females agree, that the male view of the female is correct, then there is no problem.. But once that thought process is interrupted and then questioned .. And you question the why and the what.. Why exactly do I believe this?. WHY?. How have I have come to this conclusion?. Then you have to question everything else that you have ever believed in before .. Why do I believe this? Why do I believe that? How exactly have I have come to that conclusion?

    For Instance ..The Athenian Democracy, I recall when I first read about that, I never questioned the idea, I just accepted it.. Oh one of the very first democracies, how great is that.. But I was in awe of something I had never questioned and read it with eyes wide shut .. And then of course after becoming aware, all was not as had been projected, the obvious flaw in this claim it being a Democracy became apparent.
    It could only be called a democracy in regard to the male, because for the female in that culture there was absolutely nothing democratic about it for her. It can only be called a democracy as long as males continue to omit the existence of female., because for females in that culture it was nothing but another male run totalitarian state

    An androcentric point of view of the world, where females are whitewashed and erased from it. Their existence is omitted, their relevance is omitted, their importance is entirely omitted in one fell swoop.

    The way these events are described and how they believe they affected females are downplayed by historians and others. They are trite, dismissive, and shallow, they are virtually all vague. The pain and suffering of females in these male run totalitarian societies, remain almost invisible to the reader.
    Females in such cultures were not allowed to air their opinions by males and so all we have are the continued opinions of males, who downplay the effect’s of male oppression on females, and they rarely if ever can bring themselves to admit in any detail the real suffering of those females that occurred whilst they were living in those oppressive male run totalitarianism regimes
    .

    What can we look to then, to get a real sense of what a regime like that would have really have meant to a female living in it? Well the first port of call has to be in those kind of regimes that still exist today.. and we know exactly how they treat and regard females there and we are aware their suffering is not vague, or shallow and we can’t as easily trash it or downplay it as before.
    So we know what it is, what it looks like and we know who is the cause of it all..
    As long as females agree, that the male view point of the female is correct, then they don’t have any problem, it’s only when females disagree that they do..

    Open your eyes, then open your mind and then ask yourself.. Why do I think what I do and how exactly have I come to that conclusion? If I have no understanding of that, then I have never questioned anything in my life.
    There is no point in only looking to confirm what you already know, if all you know, is that which you accepted without question

    Indoctrination in cultures is extremely strong, and very few of the inhabitants of a culture are immune to it. It is only when those beliefs are challenge and examined that the truth for some become apparent.

  252. sirtooting . says

    @ schala No.267

    “Anyway, for men, and for far too long, to be a success was to be publicly certified a bag of money, whether he wants it or not, and ideally then get a shot at mating with a young and beautiful woman.

    It’s almost as if the “marriage and children” that everyone takes for granted “will just happen, because lulz, everyone marries” when they’re children themselves…takes actual work for men to be even seen as eligible. While a woman only needs to be fertile and average in looks (no merit there, that’s most people).”

    All the above you state is entrenched in the history of the culture ” Anyway, for men…to be a success was to be publicly certified a bag of money” .. Where exactly does this idea emanate from?

    Males valuing their labour more valuable than the females ..
    Males decided their labour was more valuable and so they always paid themselves the most and usually the male was paid twice as much as any female. So the male always had a financial advantage over the female and that was a deliberate policy, to keep the female at the financial mercy of the male. These things were no accident, they were a deliberate policy and done for a reason.
    Virtually everything you can mention is entrenched in the history of the culture and claiming ” While a woman only needs to be fertile and average in looks” is an androcentric viewpoint of the female .. Only in how she look to the male is she important and he doesn’t recognise that her potential and ambitions are just as important to her as any males

    If he thinks her potential is less valuable than his, then in that sentence “While a woman only needs to be fertile and average in looks” he then is only continuing to confirm a cultural stereotype and his own bias, in how he views the female compared to himself.

  253. Adiabat says

    Sheaf (270):

    Ok after reading the study freja posted and some meta analyses, I think if there are little differences in innate variance, certainly not enough to explain the gaps in Stem fields.

    Really?! My position on this topic is that I simply “I do not know”. I can see enough flaws (or at least conclusions jumped to despite possible alternative explanations*) in the paper not to allow it alone to make my mind up either way. Can you explain which parts convinced you?

    * One example is the use of the Guiso study which found a correlation between countries with greater “gender equality” and smaller difference between male and female scores. The assessment of “gender equality” uses the flawed Gender Gap Index**.

    ** http://paa2013.princeton.edu/papers/130872. Information about gender imbalances to the advantage of women is explicitly prevented from affecting the score.

    This means, among other things, the Index claims that countries with more Affirmative Action programs, such as the Scandinavian countries, are described as having greater “gender equality”. If girls are indeed receiving more help, in the form of additional programs and incentives, than boys in the STEM subjects than greater parity could be due to the additional help. Not sure if that’s the case, and I’d like more research to be done on the possibility, but the fact that that the review just jumps to the conclusion it did without suggesting such alternatives rings alarm bells for me. It’s like saying children of rich parents are naturally smarter than poor kids because they get higher grades, while ignoring that they go to better fee-paying schools and their parents can afford additional tuition.

  254. Schala says

    If he thinks her potential is less valuable than his, then in that sentence “While a woman only needs to be fertile and average in looks” he then is only continuing to confirm a cultural stereotype and his own bias, in how he views the female compared to himself.

    By that reasoning, aristocrats, who have chores be done by domestics, butlers and maids, have their potential for doing stuff less valued by their staff.

    Keep thinking having to do less and get the same benefits is actually a disadvantage in resources. Regardless of how much you get paid, you can contribute your labor. Regardless of how your potential help is valued, you can contribute your labor. It not being required is a benefit. It being required “or else” (starve if you don’t work), is slavery.

    Men have been valued ONLY for what they can provide for society.
    Women have been historically valued ONLY for what they can provide for society.

    Those things provided were not the same.
    Those things provided have been decided collectively by all, not by men. It was probably arrived at without being deliberate about it, it was an imperative to divide tasks according to ability and urgency, to survive.

    Human population today is a problem. But pre-1900, we were less than 2 billion people. We have historically been in danger of being wiped out a lot.

    Advances in technology which gave contraception (mainly for women, except for vasectomy), plus the non-danger of extinction from lack of reproduction, means the roles are now obsolete. No reasons to exist. No survival imperative. Only a fraction can reproduce and we maintain population. Only a fraction can produce food and we get fed.

    Women’s role has been expanded, but probably not in a positive direction if it involves also being a wage slave. Men’s role is, like always, being the wage slave. He’s seen as worthless if he can’t support himself, more than a woman who can’t. The good expansion of roles, for both, would be one towards fulfilling your own desires and potential. Not necessarily towards someone else’s benefit, or towards society’s benefit, but just to realize yourself. Do what you’re passionate about.

  255. Adiabat says

    I should probably point out that I lean towards the claim that upbringing, gender norms, etc likely do affect girls participation in STEM, with the possibility of some influence from biology, but that is no reason to accept flawed papers supporting that position.

    I’m not fully behind my above ‘affirmative action’ point either, as it is purely guesswork and I don’t know enough about the topic. However my point is that objective expert researchers writing reviews on the topic should at least look at it and other possibilities, and not write lines like “therefore [the gap] must be largely due to changeable sociocultural factors” when there are alternatives.

  256. Gjenganger says

    @Freja 262.
    It is not really fair to knock me on the basis of what “it [would] be very likely that [I would] agree with and support Adiabat’s previous attack” – you could choose to challenge me on the point instead. But then, maybe it serves me right for barging into the middle of someone else’s conversation.

    FWIW my main concern is not with the women whose opinion is being invalidated (even though it does not feel nice), but with the general thrust of the arguments. And, again FWIW, I did not see Adiabat as trying to invalidate your feelings, specifically, but simply as saying that this kind of argument is invalid in general because it could be used with equal justification against anyone, yourself included. Effectively it is a circular argument:
    1) “I know I am right because all unbiased people agree with me”
    2) “It does not count that X disagrees, (s)he suffers from false consciousness”
    3) “I know that because (s)he insists on holding an opinion that is obviously wrong”.
    4) “I know it is wrong because all unbiased people agree with me”.

    There are other things that would be more interesting to discuss with you, but I do think Adiabat put the general argument against ‘false consciousness’ rather well.

  257. Gjenganger says

    @ Freja 261
    Here we disagree. If the genders have the same underlying motivations, talents and interests, any difference can only be due to social factors. That makes it obvious that we can and should change society till there are no differences between the genders, be it in the number of CEOs, pilots, nannies, people in prison, etc. I do not deny that part of the gender difference is social (I think that social factors will tend to amplify any pre-existing differences). But if there might be important biological differences as well, we need to consider in each case how similar the gender results can and should be.

    The comparison with race is not very good. The available data are what they are, in both cases, but for race there is no theoretical reason to think that there should be biological differences. Selection pressure for intelligence, attitude, specific aptitudes, hormone levels, is not obviously different on different continents. Nor is there any inherent reason that social roles should be segregated by race, any more than by eye or hair color. For gender there are major differences in biology, anatomy, hormones, there are biological differences in gender activities (pregnancy, breastfeeding, child care), and there are biological reasons for segregation in two different groups (sexuality, mate selection). Some of the stereotypical differences between men and women are exactly what you would predict from general biology – like men being more eager for any kind of sex, and women being more choosy. That does not prove that this is a real, biological difference, of course, but it does mean that we should consider the possibility a little more closely.

    Maybe the effect is unavoidable, but the extent is not fixed. Some hierarchies are less rigid than others, some communities more egalitarian, and some places have a higher social mobility than others. And just as importantly, some group identities are less damaging for society as a whole, even if they provide much the same comfort.

    All true enough. But once you establish that the effect is unavoidable, and that there is a trade-off between inclusiveness (good for the outsiders) and group cohesion (good for the majority of members), you need to start weighing choices, rather than mindlessly saying that more inclusive is always better;.

  258. says

    Lucy,

    Earlier you said, regarding prostitution,

    It’s invalid because it is a morally dubious choice with implications for human dignity.

    I was wondering if you could elaborate on why it is a morally dubious choice. I don’t mean this as a challenge. It’s an honest question because I don’t know you and I don’t want to project onto you opinions that might not be yours.

  259. freja says

    @264, sheaf

    The reason Gjenganger agrees with Adiabat is because in your particular case he is right.

    And if you’re right about his motivations, they are exactly what I said I suspected they were. He doesn’t mind people being told that their thoughts/feelings/observations/opinions/etc. shouldn’t be taken at face value because the person having them have some nefarious defect in the way they perceive and interact with the world, he’s just against it when applied to people he disagrees with. In which case it’s dishonest to claim to be against it on principle, rather than just thinking it doesn’t apply to a particular group.

    Often times someone engges you, you have a flurry of bad faith arguing (e.g. claiming Straughan to be a misogynist in absence of any good evidence for this position)

    Since you’re so keen on asking for evidence, how about giving an example of when I did that, because I honestly can’t recall. I primarily believe she’s an idiot, but I wont deny I could have called her opinions misogynist. Though in truth, she’s more keen on glorifying men than hating women – instead of saying women aren’t capable of thinking for themselves and deserve to be slaves, she claims that men are so benevolent that in places where women are the property of men and have few to no legal rights, men don’t take advantage of it and instead treat them like queens.

    and cherry picking.

    I have just had a several post long argument with Schala in which she consistently left out large parts of my arguments, usually the ones she had no answer for. But instead of making vague accusations of cherry-picking months later, I remarked on when she left out something I considered important and asked her about what her answer was for the things she left out. I wont say I was friendly, since she’s openly expressed her support for double standards and thinks that Afghanistan makes for a compelling example of female privilege, but at least I aim to be concrete in what I criticise. People leave things out, it’s the nature of these kinds of discussions, and if you have a problem with anything I don’t include, bring it up instead of making vague, passive-aggressive accusations.

  260. freja says

    @276, Gjenganger

    It is not really fair to knock me on the basis of what “it [would] be very likely that [I would] agree with and support Adiabat’s previous attack” – you could choose to challenge me on the point instead.

    I could, but I’ve given up in that regard. I don’t really expect functional anti-feminists on these threads to ever call each other out. Schala got to post her “Women in taliban controlled Afghanistan were privileged and they shouldn’t get help now” piece without anyone other than me objecting, but sheaf just defended Adiabat’s personal attack on me because I allegedly had the gall to call the author of said piece misogynist. (Quote from a recent article an that totally not misogynist site which people here think is unproblematic to link to: “Tell her that she isn’t interesting, that her soul is dog-shit and that she has nothing to offer other than boobs and booty, that she is a piece of shit and a total failure as a human being, that you don’t find her attractive and that she isn’t even good enough to be a cum-bucket.” But yeah, linking supportively to that site without caveat is fine, implying that a writer on that site who just argued against help for Afghani women might be misogynist is “bad faith arguing”).

    And it’s not the first time things like this happens. ‘Your side’, in lack of a better term, is more numerous and make most of the posts (especially when discounting sirtooting whom everyone else has already agreed is just generally wrong), and yet you hardly ever call each other out even when you’re dogpiling on the same person and contradicting each other in the process. And since it’s never been any use bringing it up before, why on earth should it change now?

    FWIW my main concern is not with the women whose opinion is being invalidated (even though it does not feel nice), but with the general thrust of the arguments. And, again FWIW, I did not see Adiabat as trying to invalidate your feelings, specifically, but simply as saying that this kind of argument is invalid in general because it could be used with equal justification against anyone, yourself included.

    You don’t think Adiabat was invalidating my feelings by claiming that I view everything with a massive confirmation bias and insist on apply the most unfair unlikely readings to everything? And you have no problem with him saying that since his opinion was so established that the burden of proof should be on me and that he should be free to outright dismiss it? What kind of argument did Adiabat claim was invalid in post 110? I didn’t see any, just a huge pile of “It’s obvious I’m right, you’re just trying to reach the conclusion you want to reach, you’re biased, the burden of proof should be on you therefore I’ll dismiss you”, which seems to be everyting you argued that people shouldn’t do.

    So I’ll ask again, do you agree with sheat’s assesment of you in post 246? Do you think Adiabat’s argument in post 110 (“You just think that because you’re biased”, “You insist on applying even the most unlikely unfair readings on everything if it means you can reach the conclusion that you want to reach”, “My opinion is so established that the burden of proof should be on you”, “Until you prove it, a valid response would be to dismiss your argument”) are OK to make against me specifically because he’s right? Or do you just think they’re OK to make in general? And if yes to the latter, how does that jive with your previous insistence that dismissing other people outright because of alleged confirmation bias is wrong?

  261. says

    ferja

    And if you’re right about his motivations, they are exactly what I said I suspected they were. He doesn’t mind people being told that their thoughts/feelings/observations/opinions/etc. shouldn’t be taken at face value because the person having them have some nefarious defect in the way they perceive and interact with the world, he’s just against it when applied to people he disagrees with. In which case it’s dishonest to claim to be against it on principle, rather than just thinking it doesn’t apply to a particular group.

    this is about you in particular. When you say something that is correct I acknowledge it. But you have a strong tendency towards irrational behavior. It is just an observation adiabat made and Gjenganger agreed with. Your argument will nevertheless be treated with at face value, so no worries it will not be dismissed because of alleged bias. I thin neither AAdiabat nor Gjenganger would as well.

    Since you’re so keen on asking for evidence, how about giving an example of when I did that, because I honestly can’t recall. I primarily believe she’s an idiot, but I wont deny I could have called her opinions misogynist. Though in truth, she’s more keen on glorifying men than hating women – instead of saying women aren’t capable of thinking for themselves and deserve to be slaves, she claims that men are so benevolent that in places where women are the property of men and have few to no legal rights, men don’t take advantage of it and instead treat them like queens.

    Is this groundhog day? We had several posts of argument whether Straughan can be called a misogynist. You were unable to provide evidence back then and presumably are now. Your claim that she is an idiot is also quite amusing: She strikes me as intelligent and articulate. She is often wrong though so maybe you mean you have factual disagreements with her.

  262. says

    Adiabat (273)
    The differences discussed in these studies are about 2:1 ratios for individuals 3 sigmas above the mean. It may be the case that such differences get higher when you go even higher above the mean, but I think that this documented variance is not enough to explain differences. STEM Fields probably do not require talents that rare (3 sigmas is 1 in 1000) and therefore we have something to explain when it comes to a 5:1 r even 10:1 gender gap in these fields.

    What I think is possible is that any of these tests use young individuals and the relevant differences in variance/ability only manifest later. As far as I know IQ fixes earlier in females (15-16) but continues to increase in males right into the twenties. Math ability seems to be a closely related thing so it is possible that we are measuring at the wrong age.

  263. freja says

    @268, sheaf

    If variance was only culturally determined then we would expect a rough 50/50 split of cultures where female variance is higher and cultures where male variance.

    No we wouldn’t. Just because something is culturally determined does not mean it’s random. Cultures are not split 50/50, there are are some types of cultures which are common, and some type of cultures which are less common. And it varies with time. For instance, more and more previously collective cultures are becoming individualised. If you studied human cultures a couple of centuries ago, you could easily conclude that humans were biologically more disposed towards collectivism than individualism. Now it’s getting closer to 50/50. And if the current trend holds, you might be prone to concluding that individualism was in our DNA and the collectivist cultures still left were fighting against nature. The same with other fundamental parts of various cultures.

    Sometimes it comes down to pure coincidences. English is spoken all over the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s a more functional language to use or a more intuitive language to learn. It’s just a relic from the British Empire whose prime inhabitants happened to speak English. At least I’ve yet to hear a theory suggesting the success of the British were because of their language. The morality of the British Empire (which it spread, often forcefully, to all it’s provinces) is in large parts modeled after queen Victoria who only got that influence via an accident of birth. You see homophobia in African countries who didn’t have it before but where people now insist it’s a fundamental part of their cultural identity. There is ample proof that being exposed to media from a different culture can change a culture, and right now, that mostly goes in one direction, western media to the rest of the world. We would expect (and can see) other cultures become more westernised as a result of this, which is why anthropologists are so keen on finding and studying isolated cultures before they go extinct, but it says nothing about the inherent biological rightness of western culture.

    Not to mention that counting cultures (to get that hypothetical 50/50) is highly subjective. Is it the number of countries? When Yugoslavia got divided into multiple smaller countries, did it suddenly become multiple cultures? Is it size? Does that mean that Australia counts as more of a culture than New Zealand, and that the Aboriginals and the Maori people in both countries count as less cultures than those of white former colonists? And since most studies are likely to come from industrialised countries focused on WEIRD subjects, we can’t make a qualified assessment even if we found a way of dividing cultures in order to count.

    You can’t prove the extent of biological vs cultural forces this way. It’s true that if there are certain patterns arising in almost all cultures independently of each other, it raises the probability that those patterns have a biological component. If those cultures are otherwise diverse, it raises the probability that there’s a biological component further. If they largely share a certain link (like former British colonies, countries with a long history of war, tribes in similar environment, etc.) it decreases it. But it’s a lot more complex than simply counting, and we certainly couldn’t expect the presence of a pattern which was 100% decided by environment to be anymore likely to show up neatly in 50% of all cultures than 5% or 86% of them.

    This is not the same as taken biological differences as a given or some such nonsense. This is exactly what I meant with you arguing in bad faith.

    I didn’t realise why you were wrong because you didn’t explain to me your theory that any completely culturally decided variance would be evenly distributed, so the only explanation I had was that you took biological variations for granted. I still think you do in some ways, because you’d be hard pressed to find anything which is divided 50/50 among cultures, which means a culturally decided variance is an impossibility. No matter what your presumption still doesn’t hold water, now I’m just better informed as to why you made it.

    Your original explanation had nothing to do with males getting more education. It was simply a statement f fact about a percentage of males underachievers.

    If there is a change in performance (e.g. from men performing better to an equal performance) the change is almost always due to education. But it could it be a number of factors, education just happens to be the primary and most simple reason I could think of. The hypothesis (which is not mine) is that there is a larger number of males with impaired mathematical (or possibly intellectual) ability, but not necessarily more in the high end. In an environment which supports the development of mathematical ability in males over females, this will lead to greater variance in males than females on both ends. When the overall performance of females increase (such as through better education), the number of males at the low end will be largely unchanged, but the number of males and females at the high end will be more equal.

  264. freja says

    @281, sheaf

    this is about you in particular. When you say something that is correct I acknowledge it. But you have a strong tendency towards irrational behavior. It is just an observation adiabat made and Gjenganger agreed with.

    It is an opinion. This board is dominated by people with certain opinions (sometimes including the opinion that they’re unbiased) that tend to not agree with me. By asserting that your opinion is the most rational and objective, and that mine is an irrational outlier which is so obviously wrong that you don’t even have to argue (but which you’ll nevertheless answer with insults because you’re rational), seems pretty close to the attitude Gjenganger complained about.

    Your argument will nevertheless be treated with at face value, so no worries it will not be dismissed because of alleged bias.

    Actually it was. Adiabat took it for a fact that everyone (who matters) agrees with him in his estimation of how a very large amount of movies where coded just as male as the smaller genre of chick flicks was. Which is heavily contested almost everywhere people discuss movies and gender. He specifically said he shouldn’t need to prove anything, and that the reason I thought differently was that I was biased. Again, very similar to the kind of argument Gjenganger (and Adibat for that matter) claims to have an issue with.

    Furthermore, you have a tendency to read everything I write with very strong preconceived notions of my motivations and mental state. You frequently misunderstand me, but you make no room for the possibility that you might not get where I’m coming from and instead quickly resort to strawmen and attacks. And yet, when I don’t immediately get where you’re coming from, your first explanation is that I’m arguing in bad faith. The post of yours which I just answered is an example of that. I’m commenting in a foreign language and from a different background than you likely are, and misunderstandings and insurmountable differences in perspective are to be expected. But by reading bias and bad faith on my part into it every time this occurs, you’re being far from the objective judge of another’s irrationality as you proclaim to be.

    Is this groundhog day? We had several posts of argument whether Straughan can be called a misogynist. You were unable to provide evidence back then and presumably are now. Your claim that she is an idiot is also quite amusing: She strikes me as intelligent and articulate. She is often wrong though so maybe you mean you have factual disagreements with her.

    I have other things on my mind that what kind of argument I had with strangers a month ago. I seem to recall it largely depended on one’s definition of misogyny, and think GWW fits the bill, though it might be more accurate to call her a male supremacist. In regards to her being an idiot, it’s not about her being factually wrong, it’s about her arguments being logically inconsistent. I believe I elaborated extensively on it back then, explaining why her theory that withholding access to education and jobs for women in Afghanistan wouldn’t make them safer and better provided for even if her unsupported statements of fact where actually factual (and I still can’t believe that even merits a discussion).

  265. freja says

    @277, Gjenganger

    Here we disagree. If the genders have the same underlying motivations, talents and interests, any difference can only be due to social factors. That makes it obvious that we can and should change society till there are no differences between the genders, be it in the number of CEOs, pilots, nannies, people in prison, etc.

    I don’t particularly care where we should change society to in this case, I care what can be improved now. It’s not even about making sure people who’re naturally gifted and ambitious rise to the top, and it certainly isn’t about sure natural differences are expressed.

    First off, we can never be sure about biology. For all we know, girls are more naturally inclined towards mathematics and would surpass boys if given equal opportunities like they currently surpass boys in reading. What we do know right now (among other things) is that girls underperform significantly in math when confronted with reminders and claims about their alleged inferiority. This means that people, especially teachers, who’re expressing this view will tend to have a negative influence on female students. If we need to know which exact number of female math professors to aim for before we do something about it, it might never change. If we instruct teachers right now that they need to focus on supporting the students in class and leave their gender theories at home where they belong, and enforce that policy, we might end up with better female students.

    There are plenty of methods to decrease gender bias which have nothing to do with differential treatment. Symphony orchestras around the world increased their number of female musicians by obscuring the name of applicants on their resume and holding blind auditions. Should they have waited until we knew for sure which gender had the most overall musical talent before they implemented that policy?

    And secondly, sometimes differences just aren’t beneficial. A study (I’ll look it up later if you need it) showed that boys tended to become more achieving and better functioning if they grew up in a household prioritising clear boundaries and discipline, while girls did better if they grew up in more flexible households where they were encouraged to take risks. The theory goes that boys are more inclined towards aggression and have inhibited fear responses, while girls are more risk averse and cooperative (true to stereotype), but if boys grow up without restrictions, they often become anti-social and exhibit less self-control, while girls who have more boundaries placed upon them become overly careful and inhibited.

    But people go the other way, they think “boys should be allowed to be boys” and “girls need to be protected” and they tend to teach their children exactly the opposite of what they need to be taught. The way I see it, if it turns out that boys have a harder time acquiring language and reading skills, and girls have a harder time acquiring spatial skills, I would argue for more support in that area. Because the last thing we need is more men who’re functional analphabets and more women who can’t drive. And on the other end of the spectrum, sometimes people who’re greatly talented in one area are held back by their lack of competence in another.

    I do not deny that part of the gender difference is social (I think that social factors will tend to amplify any pre-existing differences).

    And other times it’s just a matter of different methods often working better on different genders.

    But if there might be important biological differences as well, we need to consider in each case how similar the gender results can and should be.

    We don’t need to decide on the exact end results before we can do anything, and I think this particular conversation is biased by virtue of being mainly about improving things for women. Plenty of people, particularly in the US, uncritically repeat the meme that there is a “boys’ crisis” in school, as if boys ought to perform better. But the truth is, there is no evidence that boys are as naturally inclined towards academic pursuits as girls. They used to do better (in comparison to girls, but not necessarily overall), but girls also do better in math in a variety of countries. It doesn’t mean they’re meant to, just that it’s possible. And yet I rarely hear the same debate that we need to decide exactly how close to girl boys’ performance in school must be before we can categorise the current situation as a crisis.

    The comparison with race is not very good. The available data are what they are, in both cases, but for race there is no theoretical reason to think that there should be biological differences.

    Of course there is. Different environment, different lifestyles, different current physiques. Agriculture has been around for over 10,000 years, and evolution has worked a lot faster than that on many occasions. It doesn’t have to be intelligence, it could just as well be in temperament. There are isolated tribes which have been significantly more peaceful/warlike than average for what could easily be millennia. If we used the same reasoning as sheaf used previously, we would certainly find racial differences like that. And there are still scientists out there claiming inborn racial differences in intelligence, they’re just more controversial than those alleging gender differences. My point is that whatever you find likely, we don’t actually know for sure. But as long as we can find observable bias among people judging intelligence, an observable stereotype threat condition, and/or observable discrimination, it shouldn’t really matter on our decision to work to reduce it.

    Some of the stereotypical differences between men and women are exactly what you would predict from general biology – like men being more eager for any kind of sex, and women being more choosy. That does not prove that this is a real, biological difference, of course, but it does mean that we should consider the possibility a little more closely.

    And yet in the middle ages, the stereotypes were reversed. In our own society, we have plenty of professions dominated by people who, according to predicted gender differences, shouldn’t be the right people for the job.

    All true enough. But once you establish that the effect is unavoidable, and that there is a trade-off between inclusiveness (good for the outsiders) and group cohesion (good for the majority of members), you need to start weighing choices, rather than mindlessly saying that more inclusive is always better.

    That wont always be the dilemma. It can just as well be a trade-off between using exclusiveness to enhance group cohesion for a minority, and using inclusiveness in order to enhance overall societal cohesion (e.g. a military where soldiers feel more connected and at ease with each other vs a military which reflects the general population and is a more integrated part of society as a whole). Or between enhancing differences in order to capitalise on extremes, and reducing differences in order to create better social cohesion and less problematic outliers. Or between missing out on potential outside talents in order to groom people for certain positions early, and missing out on early grooming in order to expand the talent pool.

    But no matter what, waiting until we have the optimal answer to what our final distribution needs to be before we take any action will have us waiting for many generations. And it really shouldn’t prevent us from stepping in right now when we can see that an obvious injustice is committed or an easy improvement can be made.

  266. Schala says

    And secondly, sometimes differences just aren’t beneficial. A study (I’ll look it up later if you need it) showed that boys tended to become more achieving and better functioning if they grew up in a household prioritising clear boundaries and discipline, while girls did better if they grew up in more flexible households where they were encouraged to take risks. The theory goes that boys are more inclined towards aggression and have inhibited fear responses, while girls are more risk averse and cooperative (true to stereotype), but if boys grow up without restrictions, they often become anti-social and exhibit less self-control, while girls who have more boundaries placed upon them become overly careful and inhibited.

    In short, this relies on balancing the stereotypical expectations of both boys and girls.

    Boys are already expected to take risks and make choices.
    Girls are already expected to have discipline and boundaries.

    Now, it will only work on people who did confirm to the stereotype. But it’s still a slight majority imo.

    Like single-sex education, it won’t work better on everyone. Whether education had pegged me as a boy or as a girl, it wouldn’t have worked. I can’t sit still doing nothing. But I can overfocus on something though. So gimme something to do, or I’ll cause mischief or disruption (in elementary). But if I do have something to do, you can be sure I’ll do it all, very easily, without even having to think about it. Extreme learning ability. School was too easy pre-college. The only problem was it was a social environment. It’s like being fed to the dogs.

  267. says

    Freja (283)

    No we wouldn’t. Just because something is culturally determined does not mean it’s random. Cultures are not split 50/50, there are are some types of cultures which are common, and some type of cultures which are less common. And it varies with time.

    This got to be one of the most deliberate missreadings of what I said I ever read.
    I did not say it was random. I said that this is what our expectations should be: That when one compares very different cultures we see should in absence of an explanatory mechanism dependent on allcultures that occurance a rough 50/50 split occurs.

    Why? Because to have otherwise would posit as strange cultural mechanism that is consistent across cultures.

    You misunderstood this and go on a long rant pointing out historical banalities. In particular you seem to think that the fact that western culture adopted individualism and the english language this shows that the prior expectations should be different. This is not the case since we have an obvious explanation: Brittish imperialism. In this case we have a specific explanation.

    As for gww and tedious he said she said I am not in the mood.

  268. Gjenganger says

    @Freja 280
    You deserve several answers, probably more than I have time for.

    I try to stay away from ‘who is an idiot’ debates. I will not argue either why I am not an idiot, or why someone else is, let alone do it on someone else’s behalf. It is boring, and it never helps. Policing people’s debating manners, be they friends or enemies, is regrettably not going to help. For myself I try to blank that out and address the more interesting parts of people’s arguments, or I stay away from them altogether. But in this special case:

    Adiabat in post 110: You are right, his argument is almost exactly the kind of thing I am complaining about. There is a difference in nuance – he is not dismissing your lived experience but your arguments, and so he is not swatting off an entire line of thought but a single individual. But it is rude, unproductive, and a way of getting out of a proper debate (Sorry, Adiabat, but it is). He still preaches fairly well, sometimes, even when he does not practice what he preaches.

    On Sheaf I think I agree with him on the substance (not on his analysis of my motives, supportive though it is intended). As for his posts 260, 264 they are basically name-calling, they do not add to the debate, and I would not have written anything like that myself (Sorry, Sheaf, but she deserves an honest answer).

    As for this (from your post 284)

    Furthermore, you have a tendency to read everything I write with very strong preconceived notions of my motivations and mental state. You frequently misunderstand me, but you make no room for the possibility that you might not get where I’m coming from and instead quickly resort to strawmen and attacks. And yet, when I don’t immediately get where you’re coming from, your first explanation is that I’m arguing in bad faith. The post of yours which I just answered is an example of that. I’m commenting in a foreign language and from a different background than you likely are, and misunderstandings and insurmountable differences in perspective are to be expected. But by reading bias and bad faith on my part into it every time this occurs, you’re being far from the objective judge of another’s irrationality as you proclaim to be.

    I refuse to voice an opinion on the style or good faith of any individual – but it is a good description of a mechanism that is seen a lot of times on this forum.

  269. Gjenganger says

    @Freja 285
    The relative imortance of culture and biology in human behaviour is probably impossible to prove conclusively. Both are there, both are transmitted through the same people, and we cannot do large scale experiments. So far I guess we agree. It also sounds like we agree that the genders (quite likely?) do have different built-in tendencies, talent levels, attitudes, reponsiveness to different environments.

    But it does not hold to say that it does not matter what the situation is and we should just concentrate on improving things. What you choose to notice, and what improvements you see as necessary and possible, depends a lot on your asssumptions. For girls and mathematics, your post chooses to notice that there are known mechanisms that penalises girls, and that we need to combat those mechanisms and improve girls’s results. For boys and reading you choose to notice that there is no evidence that boys are naturally as good as girls anyway. Sounds a lot like an underlying attitude of ‘girls are equal – except where they are better’. I think that if the genders have built-in differences (as listed above) we should expect that gender roles would be different, that the genders dominate different areas and respond well to different kinds of environment. Once we admit it, we can discuss in a much more relaxed and informed manner how far to one side or the other to tilt the board. If we worry whether girls are underperforming in mathematics, why, and what should be done about it, we should worry in parallel with whether boys are underperforming in languages, why, and what should be done about it.

  270. Adiabat says

    Sheaf (282): Ah, I’m assuming you’re talking about section containing the Hyde study and the comparison between boys and girls. I agree the maths is fine but the underlying assumptions are not.

    The question that came to me when I read that part of the review was: how accurately do high school examination results reflect ability at higher levels?

    The mathematics taught in high school is very different to that taught at higher levels. I still remember the ‘culture shock’ many experienced when challenged by higher level mathematics for the first time; many who were grade A students at high school were flunking and just couldn’t grasp it. I also remember students who scored more poorly taking to the higher level much better (many ego’s were bruised during this time).

    Hyde’s study, used favourably in the review, found that girls performed slightly better at computation (i.e., memorized math facts), while boys did better at complex problem solving. Remember that this is high school level, as students reach higher levels the ratio of problem solving increase massively compared to computation. In my experience the difference is so great that I don’t believe that high school attainment can be used to challenge the Male Variance hypothesis*. I would’ve liked to see the review acknowledge this issue and perhaps suggest further research in this area to check if I am right.

    Also, nowhere in the review is it indicated that they have taken into account the changes in maths at high school over the past few decades. There is evidence that suggests that maths has become easier, and specifically this is because there is greater focus on computation and concepts over complex problem solving. If this is so this fact could potentially invalidate the papers claim that the ‘gender gap has significantly narrowed over time’. Again, it appears as though it never occurred to the researchers to consider this when writing their “review”. Who’s paying these people? I was always taught that you had to consider arguments that go against the claims made when writing a review but this just seems to be a gish-gallop with little recognition of arguments and evidence that goes against the position they are pushing.

    * This also accounts for your observation of the drop-out rate on your mathematics degree.

  271. freja says

    @287, sheaf

    This got to be one of the most deliberate missreadings of what I said I ever read.

    There you go again dismissing every possibility that your perspective/language is simply foreign to me or that you’re just bad at getting your point across.

    I did not say it was random. I said that this is what our expectations should be: That when one compares very different cultures we see should in absence of an explanatory mechanism dependent on allcultures that occurance a rough 50/50 split occurs.

    Why? It has never happened. Plenty of memes show up seemingly randomly in different numbers among different cultures. Others show up somewhat consistently under specific circumstances, we just don’t always know which.

    You misunderstood this and go on a long rant pointing out historical banalities. In particular you seem to think that the fact that western culture adopted individualism and the english language this shows that the prior expectations should be different. This is not the case since we have an obvious explanation: Brittish imperialism. In this case we have a specific explanation.

    The British Empire (and western culture as a whole) was/is also more entrenched in the idea that science and rationality are male pursuits. Most of the countries with large gender differences in science performance are also western in origin. It could be a coincidence, but it is also what would be predicted if gender differences in this area were caused partly or fully by culture. The collectivism/individualism gab isn’t purely about cultures being westernised either btw, but also about certain types of societies (e.g. industrialised ones) lending themselves more to one kind of culture than another.

    The fact of the matter is that some cultures spread out and dominate more than others, and all their random baggage of memes and assumptions tend to spread with them regardless of their biological foundation or lack thereof. We will probably never see an equal distribution of anything which is culturally decided, because it’s not in the nature of human cultures to stay isolated or only adopt the memes which make sense.

    As for gww and tedious he said she said I am not in the mood.

    You brought it up, but if you’re willing to let it go again I wont stop you :-)

  272. Adiabat says

    Gjenganger (288):

    But it is rude, unproductive, and a way of getting out of a proper debate (Sorry, Adiabat, but it is).

    Maybe. But maybe I’m also sick of Freya just making shit up whenever it suits her argument to support whatever victimhood claim she wants to make.

    Making extraordinary claims that go against all common knowledge and market research, and stating those things as fact without any evidence or argument to support it deserves to be dismissed.

    P.S For anyone genuinely interested in the gender that a particular movie is made for I recommend The Pearl and Dean website; you can search by film and it gives you a breakdown of demographics. It’s a good timewaster.

  273. sirtooting . says

    @ schala No.274

    “Keep thinking having to do less and get the same benefits is actually a disadvantage in resources. Regardless of how much you get paid, you can contribute your labor. Regardless of how your potential help is valued, you can contribute your labor. It not being required is a benefit. It being required “or else” (starve if you don’t work), is slavery.”

    If one is always paid more than another due entirely due to their gender, then that one will always be at a financial advantage

    “Anyway, for men, and for far too long, to be a success was to be publicly certified a bag of money,”

    One is kept poorer and one is kept richer .. If two people work side by side and they are told, all we ask is that you put all your effort in to working to your full capacity and they do .. Then which of the two should be paid the most, when they both worked to their full capacity.?

    “While a woman only needs to be fertile and average in looks”

    When men decided their labour was more valuable than the females, they immediately put themselves on a pedestal and created a financial apartheid for women .. They deliberately chose to keep women in poverty and never let them escape it

    Men also excluded women from promotions, that was a male privilege, wasn’t it.?
    Men could increase their earnings by having the opportunities to become foremen, supervisors, instructor, business leaders, managers, bosses .. All those opportunities were denied women outright .. there was no chance then, women could ever escape their poverty level wages and escape being paid a pittance .. and for the men they congratulate themselves for creating a world divided, limiting women’s options and then claiming
    “Anyway, for men, and for far too long, to be a success was to be publicly certified a bag of money”
    Success was something that women weren’t allowed a chance at.

    This is where men create a situation, by blocking off all avenues to be financially independent , financially viable and then have the nerve to tell those they purposely kept in poverty .. You should be grateful to men .. But for what? .. For creating a situation where they kept them poor, at the financial mercy of men, for ever being paid a pittance for their labour because they are not men .. For being excluded from any promotions because they are not men, for being excluded from universities because they are not men ..
    Men’s labour is no more valuable than women’s, men are no more valuable than women .. Men’s efforts are no more valuable than women’s, men’s potential is no more valuable than women’s.. Any man who claims otherwise is a male supremacyst .. He is up his own arse.
    Women do the majority of the house work, do the majority of child care, and by the majority they do all of this, whilst at the same time trying to keep their careers intact, because they like to be independent just like any man, but for them, there are always obstacles in their way

    The advantage of being a man, is no one expects him to sacrifice his career when he becomes a parent, or expects him to do the majority of the housework, or the majority of the child care, or juggle his career
    He believes he is exempt from all these chores, because well .. look at him .. he can earn the most, and he made absolutely certain he would .. no shit .. so he becomes more valuable in the work place, by his own design, & this helps in his claim, look I am more valuable in the work place than the home, because I can always earn more than you & so i am making myself exempt .. Voila!. Look goal achieved .. Oh to not be lumbered with house work .. & Exempt from doing the majority of all the work that is involved in maintaining a family.

    Women’s careers are just as important to them as any man’s .. The idea you espouse ..
    “While a woman only needs to be fertile and average in looks”

    Women have careers, or haven’t you noticed, haven’t you seen them juggle them with their child care and house work .. If you ever see a man doing the same .. Let us know about it, will ya?

    It’s all hard labour and takes a lot of time and effort, especially being at the beck and call of babies .. Which is relentless, in the early years .. And never ending for the carer who has to be alert virtually 24/7 without respite ..
    Men go to work, clock in and clock out .. End of story .. Women get no such luxury .. There work is 24/7 .. It is endless .. Wheres my dinner , wheres my clean clothes .. Why haven’t you made the bed, why haven’t you hoovered, why haven’t you fed the baby .. Hey I been to work all day .. No shit .

  274. summerblues says

    Adiabat @ 177

    ” And I won’t argue that the occasional bit of marketing can’t get through our defences. But I find it hard to believe that the majority of adults aren’t aware of marketing and haven’t developed significant resistance against it by the time they reach adulthood.

    The power of marketing is massively overemphasised to the point of being categorised as a ‘moral panic’. No amount of marketing can make you buy something that you didn’t want on some level anyway.”

    I agree about the “moral panic” part but only now that I’ve gotten past my “buy everything” phase.

    As for the rest, I disagree. The power to conform, to have the latest-and-greatest, the newest, the one that “guarantees” to remove wrinkles (the truth is usually in that tiny print, on the box only sometimes), the popular tv show on the cable channels…etc: this is tough to argue against. The feeling of being left out can be and is in some cases much stronger than the “common sense”. No one wants to be the freak who can’t be with the crowd around the water cooler talking about the latest episode on HBO. High school all over again. Are we too good for these “brainless” tv shows? Are we arrogant or just stupid? How can we not like these shows? And from us: do we think these folks want our honest opinion? Ha, probably not. Tell ‘em to watch “Hemlock Grove” on Netflix and get an idea. Then get back to us. (I’m being sarcastic and funny here, and showing my arrogance)

  275. freja says

    @289, Gjenganger

    First off, let me just say I generally like debating with you. It can be frustrating to see you ignore people who are otherwise unopposed on this blog and concentrate on criticising only one side (usually the minority), or to see you ignore attacks on me in favour of criticising me, only to praise the attacked when he preaches against those same kinds of attacks. But when it’s just the two of us, I frequently enjoy myself, even though we disagree. That being said…

    The relative imortance of culture and biology in human behaviour is probably impossible to prove conclusively. Both are there, both are transmitted through the same people, and we cannot do large scale experiments. So far I guess we agree. It also sounds like we agree that the genders (quite likely?) do have different built-in tendencies, talent levels, attitudes, reponsiveness to different environments.

    So far we agree, as long as you put an “on average” in there somewhere.

    But it does not hold to say that it does not matter what the situation is and we should just concentrate on improving things. What you choose to notice, and what improvements you see as necessary and possible, depends a lot on your asssumptions.

    Yes, but I am obviously of the opinion that my assumptions are correct, and if they aren’t, it’s something which can be debated on its own merits. For instance, it’s my assumption that if two people have the same formal qualifications they should be judged equally for it. If you disagree, you can explain why. I believe blind auditions and anonymity are generally good ideas to ensure no one is unfairly discriminated against. Again, it can be debated. I believe that if a group of students perform significantly worse than others in a fundamental and useful skill, but techniques exist to rapidly improve their performance, those techniques should be used whenever feasible. In fact, I believe that improving performance is just generally a good thing, regardless of whom it benefits, as long as others don’t suffer for it. And this can and should be debated along with my other assumptions. But those assumptions are not based on a presumption of specific gender differences, so those gender differences are largely irrelevant when it comes to debating the merits of my assumptions.

    For girls and mathematics, your post chooses to notice that there are known mechanisms that penalises girls, and that we need to combat those mechanisms and improve girls’s results. For boys and reading you choose to notice that there is no evidence that boys are naturally as good as girls anyway. Sounds a lot like an underlying attitude of ‘girls are equal – except where they are better’.

    In those cases, I weren’t making arguments about gender differences, I was illustrating what I believe to be a double standard, namely that most people assume equal or better performance of boys as the standard. No one seem to have even bothered making a hypothesis that boys are naturally less academically skilled or why, if only to try to disprove it. It’s taken as a given that there is a “boys’ crisis” in schools and that this is a problem. But whenever the subject is girls, suddenly we have to get extensive documentation for why girls aren’t simply less competent than boys by nature before we’re allowed to state that a professor telling a female student who solves a complex math problem that her boyfriend must have done it just isn’t OK.

    The documentation proving that boys are not less academically inclined than girls by nature is so slim it’s nonexistent, and the documentation indicating otherwise is much more extensive. I don’t believe it has to be the case, but I think it’s only fair that you apply the same reasoning to boys as to girls. For my part, I’d be much more interested in whether boys’ overall worse performance has affected our assumptions of male competency (or lack thereof), if a notable stereotype threat exists, and if early intervention can bridge the gab. And I wouldn’t compare the reading with math. Reading is probably related to language skills, which are more comparable to spatial than mathematical skills, in that the gender gabs in them are more consistent, show up earlier, and don’t have nearly as many neat stereotypes to affect them.

    I think that if the genders have built-in differences (as listed above) we should expect that gender roles would be different, that the genders dominate different areas and respond well to different kinds of environment. Once we admit it, we can discuss in a much more relaxed and informed manner how far to one side or the other to tilt the board.

    The issue becomes what to admit. The base assumption seems to always be to believe the stereotype unless proof can be found otherwise. I’d like people to treat stereotypes with the same amount of scepticism.

    If we worry whether girls are underperforming in mathematics, why, and what should be done about it, we should worry in parallel with whether boys are underperforming in languages, why, and what should be done about it.

    Of course. Which is why I think more studies should be done documenting exactly where, when, and how boys do worse than girls, and which factors are involved. Instead, what we get is a bunch of vague complaints about how boys aren’t allowed to be boys, masculinity is undervalued, teachers are biased, etc., etc., all without a hint of documentation and plenty of it with documentation indicating the opposite.

  276. summerblues says

    Lucy @ 176

    “Depends on your definition of soft core really doesn’t it. Tormenting, sexually torturing and murdering women for kicks isn’t my idea of soft core, even if they do wear natty clothes.

    70s horror? Sexist, femicide, fake-snuff, spiteful backlash against feminism films you mean?

    I do wonder if people would be so open about their tastes if the genre centred on the torture and murder of a particular race rather than of a particular sex. Would those kind of films be in the main venues, opposition-less?”

    Exploitation films is actually what they are; I used possibly the wrong words. No, I don’t have a problem with them . I’m not that thin-skinned. I don’t take offense at every little thing that even slightly smacks of “oh noes, against feminism!”. It’s against women. They are the ones being exploited usually. But there are Blackspoitation (sp?) films from that time period as well. Film studies I believe is where folks need to look to learn the psychology behind these films: the time period, the “whys”. I’m only in the beginning of looking into it but it’s interesting. It’s like looking to see if there’s any backstory or meaning behind some songs/lyrics.

    If my thinking is correct, my opinions on this will be seen perhaps as..not racism, maybe “white women’s tears” or sexism…but I’m not going to run away crying saying that I didn’t mean it. This is part of our history, meant for study now, and have no place in our society today. Paraphrased: Those who do not study the past and learn from it are doomed to repeat it. Do you want to go backward or forward.

    As for many of your other comments…your arrogance and stubborness are showing. You also appear to be hem-hawing around about what you are saying. It isn’t your job to be educating anyone on ethics or philosophy about their choices and decisions unless the person specifically asks for it. I can be nothing but insulted.

  277. freja says

    @292, Adiabat

    Maybe. But maybe I’m also sick of Freya just making shit up whenever it suits her argument to support whatever victimhood claim she wants to make.

    Funny, I don’t see the people you agree posting very much evidence for their assertions.

    Making extraordinary claims that go against all common knowledge and market research, and stating those things as fact without any evidence or argument to support it deserves to be dismissed.

    We’re talking about a blog where people in the comments section seriously think we need to discuss whether boys expressing disgust over girly things is a sign of girly things being devalued or overvalued and whether Taliban Afghanistan was patriarchal or not.

    Demographics and market research has nothing to do with the subject which was discussed. I think most of us already know that movie goers are pretty evenly split between male and female viewers while movies themselves tend to overwhelmingly focus on male characters. That doesn’t tell us that men’s movies are considered their own ghetto, quite the contrary, it indicates that men’s movies are considered less of a niche and more for everyone. We also know that some things are marketed more to one sex than another, but that the way they’re marketed tends to be different for the different sexes. In my own observation for instance, I’ve seen more commercials for men actively rejecting femininity than the reverse, and I know that plenty of other people have made that observation. Perhaps you disagree and have made different observations, in which case we debate it. But assuming that because you’re part of the majority on this blog, it means your opinion on the subject is common knowledge shouldn’t need to be explained is just unproductive.

  278. Adiabat says

    Summerblues (294):

    The power to conform, to have the latest-and-greatest, the newest, the one that “guarantees” to remove wrinkles (the truth is usually in that tiny print, on the box only sometimes), the popular tv show on the cable channels…etc: this is tough to argue against.

    I guess the bit I’m arguing against is that marketing is the cause of any of those needs (in adults), rather than simply using pre-existing needs to sell products.

    When you compare adults’ vs children’s response to marketing they are very different. Children just need a cartoon character on a box to want something while for adults the marketing needs to appeal to a need; be it to fit in, or acquire status. Hence why I think that “No amount of marketing can make you buy something that you didn’t want on some level anyway”.

    What do you think?

  279. freja says

    @296, summerblues

    Exploitation films is actually what they are; I used possibly the wrong words. No, I don’t have a problem with them . I’m not that thin-skinned. I don’t take offense at every little thing that even slightly smacks of “oh noes, against feminism!”. It’s against women. They are the ones being exploited usually. But there are Blackspoitation (sp?) films from that time period as well.

    Just a note, blackploitation films are not the racial equivalent of sexploitation films. The two genres have almost nothing to do with each other, except being generally lowbrow and stereotypical. Blacksploitation tends to focus on black empowerment, while the type of sexploitation films I suspect Lucy is referring to tends to focus on men’s (usually sexualised) violence against women.

  280. Adiabat says

    Freja (297):

    Funny, I don’t see the people you agree posting very much evidence for their assertions.

    Like who?

    This is what I’m talking about. How hard would it be for you to just give a comment number? Right now all it is is an assertion, and I can’t counter it or offer an explanation because you’ve given no detail or evidence. This kind of thing is what Hitchen’s Law was invented for.

    Demographics and market research has nothing to do with the subject which was discussed.

    And again, a self-serving assertion with no evidential or argumental backing.

    You are seriously claiming (again without evidence or argument) that the fact that movie makers intentionally target certain films at men (consider Pearl and Deans Male Guaranteed Audience Package http://business.pearlanddean.com/planning_routes_gap), and that everyone knows that they are targeted at men (just google “action movies target audience” and read the first 20 links), means ”nothing” as to whether they are considered ‘men’s films’ (again just google “men’s films”). And then you whine when someone doesn’t consider your point to be worth their time arguing and consider it a “personal attack”! Quite frankly the burden of proof is on you, yet you refuse to accept it, instead insisting that others need to treat your outrageous claims “with respect”.

    Well I’m not.

  281. Adiabat says

    Freja (299): No, sexploitation usually refers to gratuitous nudity and sex in movies. You’re thinking of the rape or revenge genres of Grindhouse ‘exploitation’ movies.

    All these movies were made at a time when cinema’s were closing nationwide due to the rise of video. Therefore cinema’s resorted to various ‘exploitation’ genre’s to attract extremely niche audiences. Therefore the various genre’s can hardly be used as evidence of anything “culture-wide”. Also the term “exploitation” doesn’t refer to people being exploited, but rather that it focused on exploitation of niche interests or current events, with focus on violence and sex that wasn’t available in mainstream films. For example Spaghetti Westerns are an ‘exploitation’ genre, as they focused on appealing to a conservative American audience, and were more violent and amoral than mainstream movies of the time.

    Check out the wiki for more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exploitation_film

  282. freja says

    @301, Adiabat

    No, sexploitation usually refers to gratuitous nudity and sex in movies. You’re thinking of the rape or revenge genres of Grindhouse ‘exploitation’ movies.

    Hence why I said “the type of sexploitation films I suspect Lucy is referring to”. My guess is that Lucy is referring mainly to roughies, sexploitation films containing the themes I mentioned, without knowing the word. I could be wrong, but that would be for Lucy to correct.

  283. Adiabat says

    Freja (302): You may be right about the type of films Lucy is referring to but, as I suspect you already know, those movies don’t really come under ‘sexploitation’.

    I would argue though that “roughies” are separate from sexploitation, and in fact can cover several ‘exploitation’ genres within grindhouse. Rape and Revenge movies obviously, which typically show a victim going on a rampage to kill the men who raped her, maybe Women’s Prison movies (as hard as it is to believe that that’s its own genre), which showed the mistreatment of female prisoners (usually just an excuse for movie-makers to show lesbians and get around censorship). Some of the B-movie Horrors are probably covered by it as well.

    P.S Sometimes I’m not just criticising you y’know :)

  284. Schala says

    As for the rest, I disagree. The power to conform, to have the latest-and-greatest, the newest, the one that “guarantees” to remove wrinkles (the truth is usually in that tiny print, on the box only sometimes), the popular tv show on the cable channels…etc: this is tough to argue against. The feeling of being left out can be and is in some cases much stronger than the “common sense”. No one wants to be the freak who can’t be with the crowd around the water cooler talking about the latest episode on HBO. High school all over again. Are we too good for these “brainless” tv shows? Are we arrogant or just stupid? How can we not like these shows? And from us: do we think these folks want our honest opinion? Ha, probably not. Tell ‘em to watch “Hemlock Grove” on Netflix and get an idea. Then get back to us. (I’m being sarcastic and funny here, and showing my arrogance)

    Normal is overrated. Normal is boring. Normal is cutting everything special about you, putting it in a box labeled “you’re a freak” and never thinking about it again. Then trying to live more than through the motions.

    The power to conform, to have the latest-and-greatest, the newest, the one that “guarantees” to remove wrinkles (the truth is usually in that tiny print, on the box only sometimes), the popular tv show on the cable channels…etc: this is tough to argue against.

    If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Is it something you really need, or just an additional burden? Do women who apply make-up every single day for 30+ minutes think the cost/benefit is a net positive, or not? I personally think it’s not (but that’s me). But have they even done a cost/benefit analysis, or did they just “go with the flow” for fear of not fitting in?

    Applying this analysis, and not just letting the “do like everyone else” fear win, is called critical thinking. Something sorely lacking from this world.

    No one wants to be the freak who can’t be with the crowd around the water cooler talking about the latest episode on HBO.

    I would rather find someone who has my niche interests to talk to, than conform to the mainstream interests to be able to talk at all. I’d rather not talk at all than do the mainstream dance. Of course, if one of my interests is actually mainstream, I don’t mind mentioning it amongst people who don’t care for my niche interests. But it’s more that I use what I got, than seek that to talk about it. I watched Dexter because it was good (to me), not to talk about it around the water cooler.

    High school all over again. Are we too good for these “brainless” tv shows? Are we arrogant or just stupid? How can we not like these shows?

    Reality TV truly is brainless in many cases. The couple-forming ones especially. And Jersey Shore for example. The non-brainless TV shows are those who show stuff that is at least plausibly about reality, like Storage Wars, and Pawn Stars. It might be staged, or not, but it’s at least plausible. The couple-forming stuff is ALL drama.

    “How can we not like these shows?”

    Having your own personal tastes is part of being an adult.

    And I can reply to sarcasm as if it was first degree, it’s fun sometimes, even if it can make you look clueless.

    The “cheerleader syndrome*” of “I just want to be normal” might be something naturally occurring in people. It’s called insecurity. Reinforcing self-esteem, self-confidence, and a sense that what you are, what you like, what you do is all good (as long as it’s ethical, don’t go harming people) is positive, even if it’s not exactly like the others. Is what should be done. We should also teach critical thinking skills, and that doing “what everyone else does, just because” is stupid reasoning. Do what works maybe, if you have a certain objective. Or try your own way. But conforming for conformism’s sake? Fail at being an individual forever.

    *In Heroes TV series, Claire, the story’s cheerleader, has the power of instant regeneration and immortality. She thinks she’s a freak for it, and passes half the show trying to ‘pass for normal’. Until her family does pass for normal, and then she wants to stand out…

  285. freja says

    @300, Adiabat

    Like who?

    This is what I’m talking about. How hard would it be for you to just give a comment number?

    Post 37, Schala making claims about how female heroes always have to win against men, no studies showing if this is a real trend or if people really do become too upset when a woman is beaten by a man in a show or movie.

    Mr Supertypo in post 38, claiming that women insult everyone more than men insult women, and various other claims about the behaviour of men and women. No scientific documentation,survey, etc.

    Schala in post 60, claiming that men have to be more competent than women. No documentation or concrete examples. Also claiming that women have an equal choice of being both active and passive, with no documentation. Claim that no change in behaviour would be necessary if one is to go from the exception to the norm, followed up by various claims in later posts that anything considered “the norm/the default” cannot have anything special to it.

    Schala in post 65, claim that women above some 70th percentage will be attractive to most men, no explanation of where she gets her percentages from.

    Schala again in post 86 and the following conversation, denying workplace discrimination against women based on gender performance, e.g. lack of makeup.

    Your post 110, about my personality and bias.

    123454321 in post 119, men are more objectified than women. No documentation.

    Schala in post 211 describing Lucy as “damselling throughout, and calling maleness as violent and violating” without giving a comment number.

    123454321 in 235, an assertion that women “who deceitfully cheat on their boyfriend/husband with another man, get pregnant by the other man and then proceed to deceive their boyfriend/husband into thinking the child is theirs.” ,and women who “deceitfully tricks the husband and then proceeds to boot him out and deny him access to his child (or at least he thinks it’s his child whilst still claiming child support.” and apparently make a living off it are far more widespread than rape. No example, no statistics.

    Sheaf in 214, an assertion of higher male variability which he didn’t bother to document.

    Sheaf again in 264, a repetition of your attack and accusations about bad faith arguing. Only one vague example given, which refers to a difference of opinion. I’ll stop now posting references to sheaf claiming his misunderstandings of my posts is proof my bad faith arguing while my misunderstandings of his is proof of deliberate misreadings on my part. But also add sheaf’s claims about Gjenganger’s opinions, which I’m sure you’ve seen by now.

    Schala in 267 “Men are only tolerated in as much as they benefit society (ie the bottom line, money). Women are tolerated regardless of that, and regardless of them ever having children”, no documentation given.

    Sheaf in the next post (that’ll be 268) “If variance was only culturally determined then we would expect a rough 50/50 split of cultures where female variance is higher and cultures where male variance”. This is a hypothesis I have never heard about anywhere in scientific circles where biology vs culture is discussed, but he provides no documentation that anyone except him considers this to be the case for any culturally determined trait.

    Your post 292. Nothing concrete, no comment numbers, just a general accusation.

    This is just this thread, and not all of it. Seriously, how many examples do I have to give of people generalising, making personal attacks, and not providing documentation? It’s the norm here, and you don’t seem to have a problem with it unless it touches on something you disagree with.

    Right now all it is is an assertion, and I can’t counter it or offer an explanation because you’ve given no detail or evidence.

    So your post containing assertions without details or evidence is met with a post containing assertions without details or evidence? Colour me surprised…

    And then you whine when someone doesn’t consider your point to be worth their time arguing and consider it a “personal attack”!

    I don’t consider it a personal attack when someone don’t consider me worth spending time on, I consider it a personal attack when someone considers it worth spending time on insulting me and making vague accusations about my alleged motivations.

    Quite frankly the burden of proof is on you, yet you refuse to accept it, instead insisting that others need to treat your outrageous claims “with respect”.

    Well I’m not.

    Which brings us back to how useless it is for people like Gjenganger to claim that arguments in the vein of “Given that I am obviously right, we will do it my way until you can prove me wrong” are bad and wrong, when he’s perfectly fine with ignoring them when they’re made.

    I’ll get back to the stuff about movies and perceptions later if you’re still interested. I have places to be.

  286. freja says

    @303, Adiabat

    Freja (302):

    You may be right about the type of films Lucy is referring to but, as I suspect you already know, those movies don’t really come under ‘sexploitation’.

    I would argue though that “roughies” are separate from sexploitation, and in fact can cover several ‘exploitation’ genres within grindhouse.

    Since you posted a link to the wikipedia page on exploitation films, let me post one to the entry of sexploitation films.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexploitation_film

    From there:

    “Nudie cuties were soon supplanted by “roughies,” which commonly featured male violence against women, including kidnapping, rape and murder.[9][10] Lorna (1964) by Russ Meyer is widely considered to be the first roughie.[10] Herschell Gordon Lewis and David F. Friedman’s Scum of the Earth! (1963) is another film that is cited as among the first in this genre.[11] Other notable roughie directors include Doris Wishman.[10]”

  287. Gjenganger says

    @Freja 295

    when it’s just the two of us, I frequently enjoy myself, even though we disagree.

    Thanks, that was what I was trying for.

    if two people have the same formal qualifications they should be judged equally for it. If you disagree, you can explain why. I believe blind auditions and anonymity are generally good ideas to ensure no one is unfairly discriminated against. Again, it can be debated. I believe that if a group of students perform significantly worse than others in a fundamental and useful skill, but techniques exist to rapidly improve their performance, those techniques should be used whenever feasible. In fact, I believe that improving performance is just generally a good thing, regardless of whom it benefits, as long as others don’t suffer for it.

    As general principles I agree, but I think the application has some limits. This is something that can not be reasonably discussed in the abstract, without looking at the specific measure and the context. For instance, anonymity only works for some skills. For all the jobs I have been involved with filling, attitude, working style, etc. have been important. I would never chance taking someone on pure CV and formal qualifications. Which means enough knowledge available to apply irrelevant discrimination, if that is what you want. As for techniques to improve skills, we want the entire system to give good results for everybody. General changes that benefit some may well disdvantage others. The best technique is generally known: Well-qualified, well-resourced, personally tailored extra education. Who gets it, though? Board members are a good example. There is no doubt a group of women who would be perfectly qualified as board members, but would never get there unaided. A programme of targeted training and mentoring, with de facto guarantees of board places for part of the intake would bring a lot of new, qualified women onto boards. The thing is, there is also a fair few men who would never get there on their own, but who might make excellent board members given the right kind of targeted training …

    As for the double standard, I think we have a case of selection bias – on my side as well as yours. I notice decades of debate where progressive people claimed that there are no significant differences between the genders and any outcome differences are in themselves proof of discrimination and need to be rectified. Publicly claiming that women may have less aptitude for maths, for instance, will get you removed as chancellor of a major university. I also seem to remember the attitude that if girls are doing worse in a certain environment, this proves that it is a male environment, which must be changed until girls do as well as boys. The attitude of the same (groups of) people is rather different when girls are doing better. Progressive debate is full of the problem that women are doing worse than men in STEM subjects. They are also doing clearly better in all other subjects, but the same people are not seeeing it as a problem. This is not to say that my bias is better than yours. But everybody is so selective in what they believe that we really cannot leave it at ‘just do the obviously good things’. It sounds from your post like you believe that all available evidence suggests that women are simply smarter than men. Which is possible, of course, but I am extremely sceptical of anybody who claims this as obvious. just like I have learned to be sceptical of people claiming that men are doing better because they are so obviouisly superior.

    As an aside, many from the men side seem to be suffering from ‘feminism envy’. Having noticed how much the ‘terms of trade’ have moved against men over the years, and how much success women have had posing themselves as a discriminated minority in need of positive help, there are men now trying to apply the same tactics, outvictiming women and asking for equal measures of positive help. As a reaction this may be understandable, but it is unlikely to work, and it pushes us towards being a group of whiney minorities, each competing to be more hardly done by. Which is hardly where we want to be.

    If we are to get a more useful debate – with less of this unclear and inconsistent cherry picking on both sides – I really think we need some clarification on what kind of significant gender differences there might and might not be. I think there are some that need to be taken into account. Some kind of minimal agreement on what they are and what kind of outcome differences they might be causing would bring things out in the open. And some kind of agreed criteria for what needs to be proved and to what standard would clarify the debate too. Of course there are people who think that all relevant gender differences are purely cultural. I disagree, but it is a tenable point of view. Only those people had better accept the logical consequences and please to stop telling us that “if we had Lehman Sisters inistead of Lehman Brothers there would have been no crisis”.

  288. Gjenganger says

    @Freja 305

    Which brings us back to how useless it is for people like Gjenganger to claim that arguments in the vein of “Given that I am obviously right, we will do it my way until you can prove me wrong” are bad and wrong, when he’s perfectly fine with ignoring them when they’re made

    So you think my argument is somehow illegitimate because I do not throw it into every discussion where it might possibly be applied? Does not sound logical to me, but you are welcome to your opinion. Meanwhile I retain the right to stay away from people and discussions that I do not think are worth while. Make of it what you will.

  289. Schala says

    Post 37, Schala making claims about how female heroes always have to win against men, no studies showing if this is a real trend or if people really do become too upset when a woman is beaten by a man in a show or movie.

    It’s shown to happen when women come home in body bags. Treated as dozens of times worse than a dead man. Even if she was a fighter. Even if he wasn’t.

    Schala in post 60, claiming that men have to be more competent than women. No documentation or concrete examples.

    I have more evidence than patriarchy theory for this. And I cite: Men’s gender roles for thousands of years. Men are competent or they die. Women are not forced between this “rock and hard place” dilemma nowadays. So many can choose to simply take leisure, the door #3, and take little penalty to their social life. They can balance family and work life, without being perceived as a slacker by their romantic partner (at least the vast majority). It’s not seen as diminishing in their utility or their feminity.

    Claim that no change in behaviour would be necessary if one is to go from the exception to the norm

    Feminists have claimed, for decades, that women just KNOW what it is to be a man. Because they absorb messages directed at men, and also messages directed at women. While men absorb only their own.

    Thus it should be relatively easy to shift to fit within expectations you internalized since birth. Unless that claim is bullshit.

    But I do think you can pass as a man without a huge change in behavior. The BIGGEST thing a trans person can do to be perceived as the sex they identify as is: Be confident. The “real man” isn’t the man who conforms to every small details of masculinity. It’s the one who does what he does, likes what he likes, and fuck what people think about his tastes. He’s the one who’ll have long hair, use a bike backwards or wear a skirt with a beard, because fuck what they could think, thick skin ftw. If you can pull the unfazed looks while doing that, you’ll have a way higher claim to your identified sex than “claiming to like sports, beers and girls”.

    Norah just didn’t know that. And I guess wasn’t motivated enough to go all out about it (most non-trans people aren’t).

    How am I seen as female? I try to not have a stubble and I air an aura of “do I look like I care?” If I looked scared, I would attract attention right away. The negative kind.

    Schala in post 65, claim that women above some 70th percentage will be attractive to most men, no explanation of where she gets her percentages from.

    Men claim to be attracted to most women, and have some red flags. Women claim to be attracted to much less men, they need some positive flags instead. Ok Cupid’s study of their own ratings show this. Men rated the women on a bellcurve, from low attraction to high attraction, with the average in the middle. Women rated the men on a spiky line, from low attraction to high attraction, with the average at 80%. The cutoff is way higher.

    Schala again in post 86 and the following conversation, denying workplace discrimination against women based on gender performance, e.g. lack of makeup.

    Sue them or shut up. You’re in a much better position to combat overt sexism than me. I could be discriminated for being trans, but I’m also unemployed, and unable to pay a lawyer.

    Schala in post 211 describing Lucy as “damselling throughout, and calling maleness as violent and violating” without giving a comment number.

    All comments by Lucy that refer to men as violent, evil, and relatively dangerous (compared to women, who are all safe).

    Schala in 267 “Men are only tolerated in as much as they benefit society (ie the bottom line, money). Women are tolerated regardless of that, and regardless of them ever having children”, no documentation given.

    Social services favoring women. DV shelters only for women. Rape crisis centers mostly / only for women. Welfare almost only for single mothers in the US. Is this bias innate, or a sign that we devalue men who don’t contribute to the bottom line (those in financial/social shits)?

  290. says

    Freja

    heaf in 214, an assertion of higher male variability which he didn’t bother to document.

    Sheaf again in 264, a repetition of your attack and accusations about bad faith arguing. Only one vague example given, which refers to a difference of opinion. I’ll stop now posting references to sheaf claiming his misunderstandings of my posts is proof my bad faith arguing while my misunderstandings of his is proof of deliberate misreadings on my part.

    I gave an explicit example in 214, rahter than a vague one, only being stifled by your memory. One of several that could be given: e.g. your dubious claim that A voice for men is the most moderate MR space inthe net. You paraphrases or claims about cultural influences being presumed random by me were either deliberate missreadings or almost impossible to arrive as, since I said noting about random influences. Hence my strong suspicion is deliberate misreading not an unintentional one.

    As for higher variance in male performance, I did not give a reference since it seems to be a commonly accepted fact. The explanation given for this fact differ – there is innate male variance or innate inferiority of a subgroup of men, solely cultural influence and probably others as well. But this is is irrelevant to the fact that it is a pheomnon that exists, and I presumed that it is clear that it exists.I wil also not give evidence that the sky is blue. The vital thing is nt to always give evidence for the most basic assertion but to give evidence for claims under contest or claims likely to be contested.

    e next post (that’ll be 268) “If variance was only culturally determined then we would expect a rough 50/50 split of cultures where female variance is higher and cultures where male variance”. This is a hypothesis I have never heard about anywhere in scientific circles where biology vs culture is discussed, but he provides no documentation that anyone except him considers this to be the case for any culturally determined trait.

    ??? It is pretty clear that in the case of different cultural structures we would expect variance to be favored for females in some and males in others, as long as no functional universal mechanism would lead to all or almost all cultures having higher variance in males.Hence the assumption of a solely cultural needs an explanatory assumption of the existence of such a mechanism. Under Occams razor such assumption should not be taken on faith and we should accept it as tentative evidence for the explanandum having a biologically cause- in fact both explanations given in this thread were biological. Note this is a pretty straight forward deduction- there is no source required and it certainly is NOT a hypothesis.

  291. sirtooting . says

    @ Gjenganger .. No.307

    “As an aside, many from the men side seem to be suffering from ‘feminism envy’. Having noticed how much the ‘terms of trade’ have moved against men over the years”
    No, I. Haven’t actually.

    “And how much success women have had posing themselves as a discriminated minority in need of positive help, there are men now trying to apply the same tactics.”
    POSING? Where have you got that from exactly? POSING?
    Is this posing?
    Scientists are not immune to misogynistic bias, a study has found. According to a recent study at Yale University,
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/26/science-professors-think-_n_1916609.html

    or this?
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2486905/Air-travellers-dont-trust-female-pilots-Survey-finds-prefer-man-controls.html

    This is a deep seated prejudice, that is firmly entrenched in the culture, a past prejudice is the present prejudice.
    Posing you say.. The culture undermines females, and this is the outcome of this constance belittling and disparagement of the female.
    These two examples are just a tip of the iceberg.
    This constant belittling and undermining of females has a devastating effect as we can see above

    POSING?
    You are trying to dismiss this entrenched cultural undermining of the female as insignificant .. you are trying to infer it isn’t real, it doesn’t exist .. and these females are only POSING .. so you are saying it is nothing but a pretence.
    So you yourself are intent on casting doubt on females experiences in being victims of a system that undermines their very words, you are dismissive, even in the light of a deep seated prejudice that is impossible to ignore and all because you are playing your own part in this cultural undermining .. by claiming it is all an act.

    What women don’t have that men have, is being treated with impartiality and due to that little thing, it has a domino effect and affects everything else..
    Causing doubt in women’s competence, causing doubt in their testimonies, causing doubt in their abilities.. Is a constance theme.. Being patronised .. Not encouraged .. But discouraged .. Not being treated with impartially has quite a breath taking devastating affect and is impossible to ignore.

    outvictiming women and asking for equal measures of positive help
    . As a reaction this may be understandable, but it is unlikely to work, and it pushes us towards being a group of whiney minorities, each competing to be more hardly done by. Which is hardly where we want to be.

  292. sirtooting . says

    @ Gjenganger .. No.307
    ignore the last paragraph of No 311
    .. those are your words not mine

  293. Gjenganger says

    @SirTooting 311
    My point was the women had positioned themselves in public debate as being victims of discrimination – to great political effect – and that some men now wanted to copy their tactics. I specifically wanted to avoid discussing where women were actually discriminated against and how much, since it is not relevant for my point. If ‘posing’ gave the wrong impression, I apologise.

  294. sirtooting . says

    @ Gjenganger No.313

    No matter which way you try to justify your words .. You only manage, to dig the hole deeper for yourself.

    “My point was the women had positioned themselves in public debate as being victims of discrimination”
    “as” being victims .. as .. if there is doubt? ”
    If you had said .. “women had positioned themselves in public debate because they are victims of discrimination and want to highlight how this discrimination affects them” then that would have been an fine

    but you then say .. ” and that some men now wanted to copy their tactics”

    Tactics .. eh .. I wasn’t aware, that one positioning themselves in a public debate, because they are a victim of discrimination and want to explain and highlight how this discrimination affects them, can really be classed a so called tactic.
    And if you think these are tactics and they are such an overwhelming success that someone else wants to emulate them, then one wonders why the events below occur in this culture with such regularity, and without pause.?

    Scientists are not immune to misogynistic bias, a study has found. According to a recent study at Yale University,
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/26/science-professors-think-_n_1916609.html

    Or this?
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2486905/Air-travellers-dont-trust-female-pilots-Survey-finds-prefer-man-controls.html

    No.1, they are not tactics, they are a plea for justice, for acknowledgment, a call for impartiality ..They are in an arena trying to be heard where before they were dismissed and ignored .
    No.2 It is not bogus,
    No.3 They are not posing but opposing a deep seated cultural prejudice that has existed for hundreds of years, and can’t be undone or solved over night.
    Unfortunately women will have to keep on, keeping on, calling for impartiality whilst the above events remain a constant in the culture because so far they haven’t even scratched the surface of it and in no way are they any where near to defeating this discrimination anytime soon

    This discrimination has devastating effects,Socially,Financially, Politically and Culturally for women, This discrimination is culturally downplayed, dismissed and women who highlight these issues are being shouted down, treated with contempt and are ridiculed in an attempt to diminish and dismiss their claims.

    Now that is something that you really can call a tactic.. and that tactic has been employed successfully for hundreds of years by misogynists who wish to stifle and suffocate any criticism of themselves and their beliefs.

    Answer me this.. Why couldn’t women have the vote?
    And once you have answered that, then answer me this one,.. In light of changes in the law.. Why is this discrimination still endemic in the culture?
    There is a real poser for you?

  295. sirtooting . says

    lol .. bugger .. Oops .. strike the above one..

    @ Gjenganger No.313

    No matter which way you try to justify your words .. You only manage, to dig the hole deeper for yourself.

    “My point was the women had positioned themselves in public debate as being victims of discrimination”
    “as” being victims .. as .. if there is doubt? ”
    If you had said .. “women had positioned themselves in public debate because they are victims of discrimination and want to highlight how this discrimination affects them” then that would have been an fine

    but you then say .. ” and that some men now wanted to copy their tactics”

    Tactics .. eh .. I wasn’t aware, that one positioning themselves in a public debate, because they are a victim of discrimination and want to explain and highlight how this discrimination affects them, can really be classed a so called tactic.
    And if you think these are tactics and they are such an overwhelming success that someone else wants to emulate them, then one wonders why the events below occur in this culture with such regularity, and without pause.?

    Scientists are not immune to misogynistic bias, a study has found. According to a recent study at Yale University,
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/26/science-professors-think-_n_1916609.html

    Or this?
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2486905/Air-travellers-dont-trust-female-pilots-Survey-finds-prefer-man-controls.html

    No.1, they are not tactics, they are a plea for justice, for acknowledgment, a call for impartiality ..They are in an arena trying to be heard where before they were dismissed and ignored .
    No.2 It is not bogus,
    No.3 They are not posing but opposing a deep seated cultural prejudice that has existed for hundreds of years, and can’t be undone or solved over night.
    Unfortunately women will have to keep on, keeping on, calling for impartiality whilst the above events remain a constant in the culture because so far they haven’t even scratched the surface of it and in no way are they any where near to defeating this discrimination anytime soon

    This discrimination has devastating effects,Socially,Financially, Politically and Culturally for women, This discrimination is culturally downplayed, dismissed and women who highlight these issues are being shouted down, treated with contempt and are ridiculed in an attempt to diminish and dismiss their claims.

    Now that is something that you really can call a tactic.. and that tactic has been employed successfully for hundreds of years by misogynists who wish to stifle and suffocate any criticism of themselves and their beliefs

    Answer me this.. Why couldn’t women have the vote?
    And once you have answered that, then answer me this one,.. In light of changes in the law.. Why is this discrimination still endemic in the culture?
    There is a real poser for you?

  296. Gjenganger says

    As I said:
    You want to discuss where, when, and how much women are victims. I do not. Not because I deny it, but because I do not think anything new or interesting would come out the discussion. You will have to find someone else to debate it with.

  297. Lucy says

    Schala

    “Following gender roles unquestionably is harder to avoid though. Just see Lucy damselling throughout, and calling maleness as violent and violating.”

    Where have I “damselled”? Because I listed some ways women are more affected by and vulnerable to the results of sexual objectification?
    Where have I called maleness violent and violating? Sure elements of it are, demonstrably so.

    My point is that even if we objectified women and men to exactly the same degree (which we don’t) then we would not have equal outcomes.

    Women and men do not occupy the same landscape; we have different bodies, different minds, different needs, desires, attitudes, behaviour, power, influence and vulnerabilities. How much of it is innate or not is obviously debatable, but the fact remains that we do. Women have certain innate vulnerabilities such as less physical strength and size, shorter fertile lives, pregnancy and periods of economic inactivity, having vaginas, vulnerability to sexually transmitted viruses, greater hormonal propensity to depression and attempted suicide and so on. They suffer from certain non-innate, systemic vulnerabilities such as lack of political, economic, religious, legal, enforcement, educational and cultural clout. That is not going to change for the foreseeable future.

    In normal situations societies put protections in place for their more vulnerable members. That is why we have anti hate legislation to protect minority groups, ban racist and homophobic and religiously prejudiced media, have protection laws such as CBT checks for people who work with or transport children, the disabled, the hospitalised, the elderly or otherwise vulnerable, police situations where violence is likely to be prevalent. In the case of women, we are coy about doing the same, e.g. we fail to design, police or light public areas effectively, we do not impose CBT checks on public or private transport workers, we prevent women from having effective means of self-defence, and then to seal the deal we objectify women more than anybody else and stoke violence and hatred against them via various popular entertainment genres. Then stand back and scratch our heads over the entirely inevitable results.

  298. sirtooting . says

    @ Gjenganger .. No.316

    As I said, I wasn’t discussing, where, when, and how much women are victims, I was questioning you.?

    POSING?
    You are trying to dismiss this entrenched cultural undermining of the female as insignificant .. you are trying to infer it isn’t real, it doesn’t exist .. and these females are only POSING .. so you are saying it is nothing but a pretence.
    So you yourself are intent on casting doubt on females experiences in being victims of a system that undermines their very words, you are dismissive, even in the light of a deep seated prejudice that is impossible to ignore and all because you are playing your own part in this cultural undermining .. by claiming it is all an act..
    I was questioning you..

  299. Schala says

    They suffer from certain non-innate, systemic vulnerabilities such as lack of political, economic, religious, legal, enforcement, educational and cultural clout. That is not going to change for the foreseeable future.

    I’ll give you religious. The rest is false. Women have shorter sentences than men for the same crimes. Get convicted less. Get arrested less. Get sentenced for prison less. So Legal is out of there.

    Educational: 60/40 post secondary rate. Enough said.

    Cultural: The culture is gynocentric through and through, favoring women-as-angels + men-as-beasts tropes and emphasizing them.

  300. Gjenganger says

    @Lucy 317

    Women and men do not occupy the same landscape; we have different bodies, different minds, different needs, desires, attitudes, behaviour, power, influence and vulnerabilities. How much of it is innate or not is obviously debatable, but the fact remains that we do

    Indeed we do

    Women have certain innate vulnerabilities such as less physical strength and size, shorter fertile lives, pregnancy and periods of economic inactivity, having vaginas, vulnerability to sexually transmitted viruses, greater hormonal propensity to depression and attempted suicide and so on.

    Some if that sounds more or less right. Still, it would be exceedingly useful as a basis for further debate if you could expand the list to cover all the main differences between the sexes, strengths and weaknesses. I am not convinced that women are as weak or disadvantaged or in need of special protection as you claim, but if we start by hammering out on a list of differences we might be able to argue that out better.

    Please?

  301. sirtooting . says

    @ Gjenganger .. No.320
    In all societies the obvious biological difference between men and women is used as a justification for forcing them into different social roles which limit and shape their attitudes and behavior. That is to say, no society is content with the natural difference of sex, but each insists on adding to it a cultural difference of gender.

    The simple physical facts therefore always become associated with complex psychological qualities. It is not enough for a man to be male; he also has to appear masculine. A woman, in addition to being female, must also be feminine.
    However, once the contrast between men and women has been increased and accentuated in this fashion, it is usually taken as a further manifestation of biological differences which confirm the need for different social roles

    Or, to put it another way, sex differences are used to create gender differences which are then explained as sex differences which, in turn, require gender differences, and so on.
    This is no more than circular reasoning, but it is socially very effective. For example, in this patriarchal society males enjoy a socially dominant position. Thus, from an early age, boys are helped to acquire a masculinity that allows them to assume and maintain that position.

    So girls are taught to cultivate a submissive femininity. The resulting difference in the male & female character is then described as inborn & used to defend the existing power arrangement. Only those who accept it are normal & only they can expect to succeed. The male social role is designed to reward masculine men while the female social role offers its relative advantages only to feminine women. The aggressive man will run the business; the pretty, agreeable woman will find the rich husband

    Obviously, this psychological mechanism can operate only as long as the behavior of men & women does not transgress the generally accepted limits. Every society tries therefore to prevent such transgressions by calling the socially defined gender roles “natural”, eternal & unchangeable. Any person who refuses to accept them is persecuted as a deviant & punished as an offender not only against society, but against “nature” itself.

    However, it is noteworthy that the advocates of the so-called natural inequality of the sexes resent nothing more than letting “nature” take its course. Yet, if their arguments were true, there would be no need to deny women equal opportunities, since they would be unable to compete with men. If women were “naturally” inferior, men would have nothing to fear. Therefore, the fact that many men do fear such competition raises sufficient doubt as to the validity of their claim.

  302. Adiabat says

    Freja (305): Conisidering that your claim is:

    Funny, I don’t see the people you agree posting very much evidence for their assertions

    Can you provide the comment numbers where I said I agree with the things said in that list you posted? No? Is it again the case that you’re reading into something that isn’t there? To think you, of all people, who is always right about your reading of ‘texts’ to the point that you can just dismiss others’ observations (post 91) would make that mistake /s.

    Regardless, if I do agree then I likely already know the argument/evidence and so why would I ask for them? And there’re a lot of things I don’t respond to when I disagree. The only reason I responded to you was because you addressed me directly.

    In general though I’m not a big fan of random ‘theorising’ and try to stay out of such discussions. There’s a reason why you’ll mostly find my comments in the DV threads where the evidence can be discussed. I already regret getting into the discussion of movies due to having to deal with your irrationality and whining for the past week.

    For sheaf’s posts the variance theory is widely known. Why would I challenge him for evidence of a theory that I already know exists?

    For my post 292, I was replying to a post of Gjengangers talking about my post 110. So yes, the comment numbers being discussed were clear. It’s not my fault you can’t follow the conversation.

    As for my posts on your bias, they are not “vague assertions”, it’s already been documented in this thread and I’m not going to repeat it in every post. Twice you’ve accused me of something which highlighted your self-serving misreading of my posts, where you were wrong; sheaf has highlighted past examples of you misreading things, and so have I. The fact that you ask us to post these things again is more evidence of your tendency to “misread” things when it serves the point you want to make.

    So your post containing assertions without details or evidence is met with a post containing assertions without details or evidence? Colour me surprised…

    Do you mean my post where I said that the concept of the ‘dumb action movies isn’t unheard of’? Sorry, but I didn’t consider it a claim that was going to be challenged. And it wasn’t. As sheaf says “I will not give evidence that the sky is blue.” On the contrary, your ridiculous assertion in reply to me flies in the face of what everyone knows about ‘dumb action movies’ and who they’re for. To paraphrase sheaf: if you say something contentious, and counter to all common sense and understanding, then it’s sensible to provide some argument or evidence for it at the time. Otherwise you can’t expect other’s to take it seriously, and whining that they’re not, instead of providing evidence, just makes you look a bit entitled.

    Are you aware of the feminist academic who published a paper claiming that Newton’s “Principia Mathematica” is a rape manual? Break my rule on discussing “theories”, I have one about this: Like you, she and those around her expects everyone to treat every claim “with respect”, no matter how ridiculous. Every claim, no matter how ridiculous, is ‘discussed’ and ‘debated’ with no reliance on evidence or logic, or a necessity to check personal biases. At no point in this academics career, when she has suggested something ridiculous, has her colleagues, friends or family ever just told her that she’s Talking Shit. So she goes through the arduous process of writing the paper and only when it is published does it face scrutiny from people who don’t argue over things which are obviously ridiculous, and she is therefore ridiculed. And rightly so.

  303. Adiabat says

    Freja (306): See, I like this post of yours. You took what I said and provided a counter-argument and evidence for it. This is how it should be.

    In the link I provided earlier it says “[Exploitation films] often blur the distinctions between genres by containing elements of two or more genres at a time. Their subgenres are identifiable by the characteristics they use.”

    Sexploitation merely refers to gratuitous nudity etc. The ‘roughies’ mentioned in your link likely come under sexploitation due to nudity but the other themes, such as the violence, would place them under other genres. This is similar to some B-Horror movies also coming under ‘sexploitation’ if they have the infamous “Girl randomly has a shower or takes her top off for some reason” scene. But I would argue that the violence isn’t what makes a film ‘Sexploitation’.

    For example, if the ‘roughies’ had the same violence but removed the nudity then the movie will cease to be a ‘sexploitation’ film and will instead be a ‘drama’ or ‘thriller’.

  304. freja says

    @307, Gjenganger

    As general principles I agree, but I think the application has some limits. This is something that can not be reasonably discussed in the abstract, without looking at the specific measure and the context.

    Not really. You’re talking specific jobs, not specific gender differences here. If it turned out that one sex really was more musical than the other, blind auditions would still be a good idea. And even if it turned out that no sex was more socially skilled in general than the other, blind auditions would still be a bad idea in jobs where it’s necessary to have social interactions with prospective employees before hiring. And no matter what, if it turned out that (regardless of what the actual differences turn out to be) that one sex was consistently rated better/worse than the other for the same performance, or rewarded/punished more for the same behaviour, making people aware of this prejudice so they had a better chance of addressing it would still be a good idea.

    General changes that benefit some may well disdvantage others. The best technique is generally known: Well-qualified, well-resourced, personally tailored extra education. Who gets it, though? Board members are a good example. There is no doubt a group of women who would be perfectly qualified as board members, but would never get there unaided. A programme of targeted training and mentoring, with de facto guarantees of board places for part of the intake would bring a lot of new, qualified women onto boards. The thing is, there is also a fair few men who would never get there on their own, but who might make excellent board members given the right kind of targeted training …

    I think it depends more on which factors hold them back. If the culture surrounding a specific board is unsuitable for a group of people who might otherwise be qualified, further research and implementations could focus on changing the culture or teaching those specific people to fit in. If there is a bias against a certain type of people, causing them to be judged more harshly and less fairly, the focus should be on that instead.

    Publicly claiming that women may have less aptitude for maths, for instance, will get you removed as chancellor of a major university.

    So will publicly claiming that the reason your university has so few black students is because of the choices and general incompetence of black people. Or publicly claiming that it’s the nature of homosexuality which leads to suicide, not the bullying and harassment several homosexual students have claimed to experience. Or publicly claiming that Christians usually aren’t smart enough/atheists usually aren’t moral enough to perform certain kinds of jobs, and that’s why they find it so hard to be hired. Or any other similar statement. At least when you’re a chancellor with no professional expertise on the subject, rather than a scientist making a hypothesis or a person speaking in private.

    And that’s what I don’t think you get about all of this. To you, it’s all just mental masturbation, fun to engage in but ultimately going nowhere, because you know just as well as I do that we’ll not get any definitive answer in this century (and probably not the next ones either). And until then, you’re perfectly OK with not doing anything but sitting around playing “what if” scenarios in your head. But when you’re responsible for the education and future of thousands of people, you can’t just jerk off in public without regards to who gets hit by the ejaculate. When you have an issue of a group of people who have been known to perform worse in a subject because of the belief that they aren’t as good at it, and several reports of harassment and discrimination of members of said group, it’s your job to deal with it. That means investigating the reports of harassment and discrimination and take steps to address it when found, regardless of whether you personally believe the end result will be equal representation or not, not to dismiss the issue because of your undocumented pet theory that people in this group just aren’t not good enough.

    Summers wasn’t fired for being politically incorrect, he was fired for being unprofessional. And the aforementioned incident wasn’t the sole reason for the firing, it was just the last in a line of controversies. What’s more interesting is that he’s hailed as some kind of lonely martyr despite how much the deck was (and still is) stacked in his favour. He screwed up royally, and than went on to other absurdly highly paid and prestigious jobs afterwards, with not a dent on his career, while none of the (extremely few) women in similarly influential positions would ever dare to make a similarly controversial statement about men (even a better documented one) for fear of having people calling for their head.

    Progressive debate is full of the problem that women are doing worse than men in STEM subjects. They are also doing clearly better in all other subjects, but the same people are not seeeing it as a problem.

    Almost all other subjects aren’t paid as well. In the few that are, women are underrepresented and paid less in the workforce. As Ally pointed out to Mike Buchanan in one of the J4BM debates, there actually initiatives out there to get more men into stereotypically female fields out there, they just aren’t contested enough to be debated, and the main problem seems to be that men just aren’t very interested.

    It sounds from your post like you believe that all available evidence suggests that women are simply smarter than men. Which is possible, of course, but I am extremely sceptical of anybody who claims this as obvious.

    I already mentioned spatial ability, which you seem to have overlooked. That being said, most of the available evidence does suggest that girls/women excel in more fields than boys/men, maybe because we don’t have female chancellors claiming that the reason there are fewer male students in fields heavily connected to language is because linguistic proficiency generally doesn’t come as easy to them, so those claims aren’t as heavily tested. Instead, we have people arguing that teachers need to make school more fun for boys.

    If we are to have the kind of conversation where gender differences are taken as a given and the only question is figuring out their extent, we need more groups than “gender differences are nonexistent/insignificant/irrelevant” and “the gender roles and stereotypes proposed by MRAs/PUAs/evo-psych (of the most populistic variety)/[insert patriarchal religion] are inherently natural and right”.

    Right now, discussions either go something like this:

    1: “Men should get at least 50% of child custody, they aren’t unsuited to parenting by nature”

    2: “I agree that men aren’t unsuited to parenting by nature, and they could be just as involved and competent parents as women. But right now, men and women are raised differently and with different expectations, and because of that, a lot of men aren’t involved in child rearing.”

    1: “That’s only because they’re forced away from it by women, and they’re already just as good or even better parents than women. They just don’t get custody because judges are biased against them.”

    2: “It’s not mainly women pushing men away from it, men are often policed by other men. Also, the majority of men who apply for custody get it.”

    Or this:

    1: “There should be more women in STEM fields, they aren’t unsuited to it by nature.”

    2: “Actually they are. It’s just biology, the female brain is wired differently. If anything, men are discriminated against in STEM fields because they have to make room for incompetent women due to affirmative action and they’re always in danger of being falsely accused of sexual assault or harassment.”

    1: “That’s not true, women in different countries do much better in STEM fields and several studies suggest even western women aren’t worse at math and science.”

    2: “Those studies are biased, they give girls special advantages and don’t measure the right skill, and the other countries probably just have more affirmative action.”

    In the first case, the initial premise that men are equally suited to parenting is immediately accepted, and the only question is why they don’t have as much child custody as women and what can be done about it. In the second, people have to defend that there even is an issue (apart from the alleged discrimination of men), and there is no debate about why the issue is there or what should be done about it. And this is the pattern I see consistently, with hardly anyone on feminist side denying that men have the skill and personality to do anything that women can do, while the anti-feminist side allege inborn gender differences which happen to mostly benefit men.

    As an aside, many from the men side seem to be suffering from ‘feminism envy’. Having noticed how much the ‘terms of trade’ have moved against men over the years, and how much success women have had posing themselves as a discriminated minority

    As much as I hate it, I have to agree with sirtooting here. ‘Allege’ implies that there were no real historical discrimination against women, even in times and places where they had fewer rights than male slaves had. You’re basically saying that women started moving things unfairly in their direction and men just followed them as a consequence.

    If we are to get a more useful debate – with less of this unclear and inconsistent cherry picking on both sides – I really think we need some clarification on what kind of significant gender differences there might and might not be. I think there are some that need to be taken into account. Some kind of minimal agreement on what they are and what kind of outcome differences they might be causing would bring things out in the open.

    Not going to happen when one side is behaviourist and another biological determinist. But if you really think it should be done, I’m curious as to what you think of the gender differences in cooking skills.

    @308, Gjenganger

    So you think my argument is somehow illegitimate because I do not throw it into every discussion where it might possibly be applied? Does not sound logical to me, but you are welcome to your opinion. Meanwhile I retain the right to stay away from people and discussions that I do not think are worth while. Make of it what you will.

    I think that if we are to get a more useful debate, people need to at the very least be willing to adhere to the same standards as they argue for themselves, and be called out when they don’t. Agreeing about the problematic nature of certain kinds of arguments, such as speculating about your opponent’s mental state and lack of objectivity instead of addressing the argument, and imposing the burden of proof on your opponent because your view is so obviously the default, is unconstructive if it all it does is cause you to congratulate someone who just made that kind of argument.

  305. freja says

    @322, Adiabat

    Can you provide the comment numbers where I said I agree with the things said in that list you posted?

    No, that was an unfortunate assumption on my part. I probably should have said “don’t disagree with” instead. But as you say yourself:

    if I do agree then I likely already know the argument/evidence and so why would I ask for them?

    Which is pretty much my point. The outrage that someone else doesn’t post evidence for something they already agree with seems to be motivated more by your disagreement than their lack of documentation.

    No? Is it again the case that you’re reading into something that isn’t there? To think you, of all people, who is always right about your reading of ‘texts’ to the point that you can just dismiss others’ observations (post 91) would make that mistake /s.

    I didn’t say I was always right, nor that I wouldn’t pay attention when reading the aforementioned site in the future to check if I was wrong. I merely gave my reason for disagreeing, because it’s my experience that a a lot of people take these things for granted, and disagreeing and pointing to people’s tendency to read these things wrong increases the likelihood that the person I disagree with will also pay attention in the future.

    I already regret getting into the discussion of movies due to having to deal with your irrationality and whining for the past week.

    But you’re not making personal attacks.

    For sheaf’s posts the variance theory is widely known. Why would I challenge him for evidence of a theory that I already know exists?

    I don’t know, I’d never thought I would have to document that girls doing better than boys in math and science was the norm in large parts of the world either. But I didn’t go berserk when sheaf wasn’t as acquainted with it as I was. Generally, I accept that posting documentation is a courtesy here, not the norm, and if people want documentation they can ask for it.

    For my post 292, I was replying to a post of Gjengangers talking about my post 110. So yes, the comment numbers being discussed were clear. It’s not my fault you can’t follow the conversation.

    Who said I can’t? I was talking about your reasoning for why it was OK for you to post the kind of argument you were recently railing against. Your reasoning was that you were “sick” of me, and that stating specific things (but only things which you don’t think of as common knowledge) without evidence meant those arguments deserved to be dismissed. That you gave it in a post to gjenganger doesn’t make it any less your opinion. And I don’t find that reasoning convincing, especially because you didn’t really dismiss anything, you just kept on complaining about my alleged irrationality.

    As for my posts on your bias, they are not “vague assertions”, it’s already been documented in this thread and I’m not going to repeat it in every post.

    By ‘documented’ you mean that someone said that my perception of their post was not as they intended it, and this proved that I was arguing in bad faith, right? Sort of how you somehow didn’t get what I was responding to in your post 292 (the “Freja does this”, “Freja does that”, “Freja thinks this”, “Freja is that”, which were all vague assertions with no references except to a post of yours which doesn’t give any references either) and therefore misread my answer to mean that I deliberately chose to not understand who you were responding to or which post you were referring to?

    Are you aware of the feminist academic who published a paper claiming that Newton’s “Principia Mathematica” is a rape manual?

    If there isn’t an argumentum ad feministum (pardon my lack of Latin skills) fallacy somewhere already, there ought to be now.

    @323, Adiabat

    Freja (306): See, I like this post of yours. You took what I said and provided a counter-argument and evidence for it. This is how it should be.

    I liked your post too. I haven’t seen many references to general concepts from you lately, mostly just assumptions.

    Sexploitation merely refers to gratuitous nudity etc. The ‘roughies’ mentioned in your link likely come under sexploitation due to nudity but the other themes, such as the violence, would place them under other genres. This is similar to some B-Horror movies also coming under ‘sexploitation’ if they have the infamous “Girl randomly has a shower or takes her top off for some reason” scene. But I would argue that the violence isn’t what makes a film ‘Sexploitation’.

    The violence probably isn’t what’s being criticised about roughies (though I can’t say for sure as I don’t speak for Lucy). Most likely it’s the eroticizing of the violence that’s the issue, a primarily male audience getting their kicks from seeing beautiful women violated, the camera lingering over them to give the audience plenty of time to revel in the women’s fear and helplessness, the ‘bad’ girls being punished, etc.. It’s usually criticised as something quite different than merely seeing a movie to get scared.

  306. Adiabat says

    Freja (325):

    No, that was an unfortunate assumption on my part. I probably should have said “don’t disagree with” instead.

    Regardless of how you phrase it do you seriously think you are making a valid argument here? You seem to expect me to reply to every claim made in the thread, and seem to think that the fact I don’t makes my criticism of your claim invalid. I’ll give you a clue why I responded to your claim and not others: It’s partly to do with who addressed me directly with their ridiculous claim and who didn’t. And then you moan that I call you irrational… (Hint: it’s not a personal attack if it’s true).

    Upthread you complained that people were saying a common atheist argument that suited you was invalid (turns out you just didn’t understand the argument but hey ho). But as soon as someone uses Hitchen’s Law and the placement of the Burden of Proof on extraordinary claims, common atheist arguments, on your beliefs then suddenly you spend several hundred comments complaining that those arguments aren’t valid, rather than just provide evidence. There’s a word for that, and it’s also a subcategory of irrationality.

    because it’s my experience that a a lot of people take these things for granted, and disagreeing and pointing to people’s tendency to read these things wrong increases the likelihood that the person I disagree with will also pay attention in the future.

    Yet at no point do you seem to consider that the same applies to you, despite several examples on this thread and on others. No, you’re above it all and it’s up to you to educate everyone else. Do you even realise how bad post 91 makes you look in light of all the misreading of others’ posts you have done in this thread?

    By ‘documented’ you mean that someone said that my perception of their post was not as they intended it, and this proved that I was arguing in bad faith, right?

    Notice how you just slipped ‘bad faith’ in there when it hasn’t even been mentioned before in this thread? Up to know it’s been about bias in your reading of texts, such as two occasions on this thread alone when you misread posts of mine to make accusations against me that suited your arguments. It’s possible that you’re suddenly bringing ‘bad faith’ into it on purpose, but I’m being generous and attributing it to a bias on your part to misread and misinterpret what others are saying, to bolster arguments that you want to make.

    [Re Post 292: the “Freja does this”, “Freja does that”, “Freja thinks this”, “Freja is that”, which were all vague assertions with no references except to a post of yours which doesn’t give any references either

    There have been numerous examples in this thread. One time it was pointed out was in post 218. Here I highlighted a claim of yours that was flat out wrong: In fact it was so wrong that a simple misreading on your part is unlikely. And since you repeat this behavior on other occasions (such as I point out in 266), and assuming you aren’t trolling, it either indicates serious reading comprehension problems on your part, or a bias towards misreading texts when you want to support a particular argument.

    I also shouldn’t have to point out parts of our current discussion that you seem to conveniently “forget” when it suits your argument (in this case that I’m making “vague accusations”). The fact that I do have to do this, and assuming you aren’t trolling, indicates either an inability to follow a conversation and remember what has already been said, or a bias where you misread texts (in this case our discussion up to now) when you want to support a particular argument.

    I’d rather be generous and not assume some mental deficiency on your part, so I’m going with bias.

  307. Gjenganger says

    @Freja 324
    A proper answer takes much more thought than I can possibly deliver today. So just a couple of quickies.

    – Cooking skills (like washing up skills) must be 50:50. Gender differences in who cooks the dinner are probably not determined by skills, but side effects of something else. Cooking, cleaning and clothes are of course traditionally female, which has to do with traditional sharing of tasks between genders and the general idea of nurturing as female. Which might in turn be influenced by the (biologically motivated) idea that babies and babycare are female, but that influence is way too indirect to mean much. As for the top celebrity chefs, you also need lots of ego, self-promotion, management skills to get those positions. If women do worse there it is unlikely to be because they are worse at the actual cooking.

    – “Posing themselves as a discriminated minority” was the wrong wording – indeed I already admitted as much. But what is the right one? ‘Putting themselves forward as’? Whatever we call it, women (and other disadvantaged groups) have been using it politically for a long time, with notable success. In part the success came because they were disadvantaged, of course, but the strategy has its own dynamic. If you can convince the public that you are a disadvantaged group, you get quotas, legal protection against insults, policies and task forces to improve your position in society. I understand that female daughters of the nobility is promoting the idea that they are a disdvantaged minority, because they do not get fair access to inherited wealth and titles. A number of men feel, rightly or wrongly, that women have got enough now and it is their turn. And my argument is that instead of claiming that they are even more victims than women – and reinforcing the mechanism of ‘to the victim the spoils’ – they would be better off challenging either the victimhood of competing groups, or the idea that all differences give you an automatic right of redress from society.

    – It is not a matter of whether women are ‘unsuited to science by nature’. Of course they are not. It is not even a matter of whether men are a bit better on the average, though they might be. One analysis of PISA results (the Economist, no link), came up with
    1) women do better across the board as their position in society is stronger.
    2) Exam results do not converge, rather men are everywhere about 30 percentage points better in maths (and related) than in languages (and related), relative to women. In practical terms the results ranged from Turkey, where the sexes were equal in languages and men were 30% better in maths, to Sweden, where the sexes were equal in maths, an women were 30% better in languages. The thing is that each sex is likely to be overrepresented in the field it is relatively best at, even if they are absolutely inferior overall. It is called the ‘law of comparative advantage’ in economics. In practical terms, a woman in Sweden who could do either maths or languages is more likely to go into law, where she is way ahead of most competitors, than into engineering. A man who could do both would be more likely to go into engineering where the competition is less intimidating and he has more chances of making it. End result, each gender dominates one field. And insisting on equality where you are behind while doing nothing where you are ahead is another way of favoring your group at the expense of the competition.

  308. Gjenganger says

    @Freja 324 contd.

    I think you are contradicting yourself a bit. as in

    you know just as well as I do that we’ll not get any definitive answer in this century (and probably not the next ones either).
    v.
    When you have an issue of a group of people who have been known to perform worse in a subject because of the belief that they aren’t as good at it, and several reports of harassment and discrimination of members of said group, it’s your job to deal with it. That means investigating the reports of harassment and discrimination and take steps to address it

    So, we cannot know why these differences arise, so we should not care too much about finding out. But we do know which factors are holding people back, so we should solve them immediately. Huh?
    Or in

    I already mentioned spatial ability, which you seem to have overlooked.
    and
    there actually initiatives out there to get more men into stereotypically female fields out there, […]the main problem seems to be that men just aren’t very interested.
    v.
    [comparing the discussing of gender-specific maths ability to] publicly claiming that the reason your university has so few black students is because of the choices and general incompetence of black people.

    So, men and women have different abilities and different choices that affect their life outcomes, but saying so in public is completely beyond the pale like raw racism?

    If you think that the reasons for women not doing better are clearly known and impartially determined, I have to say I am really not convinced. What is seen as in need of investigation, what is looked at, what is believed, is a matter of political starting point as much as anything else. I also see anothe distinction: Where women are doing worse it is a matter for immediate action by all of society. Where men are doing worse it is a matter of their own behavior, or of changing the culture, eventually, sometime. If men get custody as much as women when they apply, that is proof that everything is OK. Where female job applicants have higher success rates than male job applicants, as is the case in my (STEM) department, that makes no difference – we still need special programs to guide young girls towards STEM subjects, facilitate career progression for women, etc. etc. Part of this is likely selection biasa again – we both seem to look at our enemies and expect that they may well come to dominate. But then that is a good reason for trying to nail down some agreements.

    If we are to have the kind of conversation where gender differences are taken as a given and the only question is figuring out their extent, we need more groups than “gender differences are nonexistent/insignificant/irrelevant” and “the gender roles and stereotypes proposed by MRAs/PUAs/evo-psych (of the most populistic variety)/[insert patriarchal religion] are inherently natural and right”.

    I totally agree. In fact that is what I am looking for, when debating you and Lucy among other things. People who think it is all cultural can propose and claim anything, because it is all pie in the sky anyway. ‘Once all the lions have become vegetarians, the lion and the lamb can most certainly lie down together.

    It is a bit rude of you to be so free with your masturbation similes. I do not go around telling you that you are thinking with your genitals, do I now? But anyway, I do not see this as a game. I care how the society of the future will fit to me and people like me. I would like to see and think about some way forward where people like me could have a something to contribute, rather than just be a fortunately superated dead end of evolution. And the main political current in this area is feminism, that wants to promote women first and refuses to be pinned down to any version of the facts that might crimp their style. I could of course accept that it is just a matter of competing interest groups, and simply fight for my side. It is not completely hopeless – the people driving the tanks are still mostly male, no? But I do not see that we would get a good society that way, and fighting to reinstate patriarchy does not sound like a fun way to spend my time. Or I could resign myself to the idea that after X millenia of a world that suited mostly men we will now have X millenia of a world that suits mostly women. This does not sound attractive. What I would prefer is enough of a common platform that different groups, with different interests, can work together on something sensible. But it is pretty hard to find anything to work with

  309. freja says

    @326, Adiabat

    Regardless of how you phrase it do you seriously think you are making a valid argument here? You seem to expect me to reply to every claim made in the thread, and seem to think that the fact I don’t makes my criticism of your claim invalid. I’ll give you a clue why I responded to your claim and not others: It’s partly to do with who addressed me directly with their ridiculous claim and who didn’t. And then you moan that I call you irrational… (Hint: it’s not a personal attack if it’s true).

    You explained to gjenganger that you were sick of me and that I deserved it because of the posts I made, as an explanation for making posts which were “rude, unproductive, and a way of getting out a proper debate” (according to him). That implies a special animosity towards me which justifies going to extraordinary lengths to let me know how much I get your hackles up.

    If I did nothing more but what is the standard for this comment section, you have no reason to get so upset and hostile over it, and yet every time I’ve asked you why you don’t get sick of other people like you apparently do of me, you don’t make an argument about why my posts are different, you just continue saying that you’re focusing on me and not talking about/addressing anyone else (which I’ve already noticed, thank you). As for whether something is a personal attack or not, I think a lot of unflattering things are true about you, but that wouldn’t make it less of an attack if I posted them to do you here, whether as part of or in lieu of an actual argument.

    Upthread you complained that people were saying a common atheist argument that suited you was invalid (turns out you just didn’t understand the argument but hey ho). But as soon as someone uses Hitchen’s Law and the placement of the Burden of Proof on extraordinary claims, common atheist arguments, on your beliefs then suddenly you spend several hundred comments complaining that those arguments aren’t valid, rather than just provide evidence. There’s a word for that, and it’s also a subcategory of irrationality.

    Not sure where you’re going. I remarked that it seemed strange that you all appeared to reject the idea that one could/should speculate about people’s motivations or assume that they didn’t know what they were really talking about, and criticise feminists uniquely of doing this, when you were posting on an atheist site where those kinds of assumptions were the norm. It’s even more strange when you readily make those assumptions yourself, and your justification for it is “But we’re right about it!”. I didn’t say anything about the validity of said arguments, just that people’s approach to them didn’t seem consistent.

    And burden of proof wasn’t even any part of it to begin with, I only noticed it after gjenganger mentioned it as something he thought was bad, while simultaneously overlooking that you did it. I also don’t think my claim was extraordinary either, but that’s besides the point here. I never defended the “the burden of proof should be on you” approach, nor complained about it when it was applied to me, except for the hypocrisy in it.

    I consider what you do to be personal attacks partly because you’re addressing it to me personally, where most of these types of arguments I’ve seen has been talking in more general terms, and partly because I think you’re crossing the line in a way that’s unproductive, comparing your own opinions to the laws of physics, and substituting actual arguments and analysis for a seemingly endless repetition of “you’re irrational, you’re irrational”.

    Yet at no point do you seem to consider that the same applies to you

    Yes I did, hence why I said I’d pay more attention to it the next time. Also, what happened to you reacting because I responded to you directly? That particular exchange had nothing to do with you before you butted in and kept bringing it up.

    Do you even realise how bad post 91 makes you look in light of all the misreading of others’ posts you have done in this thread?

    Not really. I was pretty obviously talking about observation (specifically about which words a text uses to describe people of male, female, and unknown sex, which was what the conversation was about), not interpretation. The 2 are hardly even related. I have a knack for correctly remembering certain types of gendered words, partly because I apparently don’t assume male as the default (and hence notice male pronouns as gendered) and partly because I’ve just been in enough stupid debates about it to reflectively pay attention. That being said, I’m still wrong sometimes, I just trust my own observation in this more than I usually do. In contrast, I have repeatedly said that I find some of the perspectives and assumptions on this thread alien, and sometimes have trouble understanding exactly where people are coming from.

    Perhaps you should consider that “I have trouble understanding what this (already admitted foreign) speaker was trying to communicate, and I’m reading things from my own perspective” and “This speaker is irrational because her posts don’t make sense to me” will look completely identical from the outside. As will “This speaker has trouble understanding what I’m trying to communicate, and is reading things from her own perspective” and “This speaker is biased”. To me, the difference between “It has been my experience that I tend to notice these things and remember them fairly accurately” and “I’m excellent at understanding what people mean when they communicate only via text, in a foreign language, from a foreign perspective, while they’re simultaneously busy attacking me for various perceived slights” is so stark that I never thought I would need to clarify it. To me, you’re the one being biased here, and requiring extensive explanations for very simple concepts.

    Notice how you just slipped ‘bad faith’ in there when it hasn’t even been mentioned before in this thread?

    Except of course for sheaf in post 264, where he agrees with you and defends you:

    The reason Gjenganger agrees with Adiabat is because in your particular case he is right. Often times someone engges you, you have a flurry of bad faith arguing.

    And again in post 268. But of course, I’m the biased one who brings up things that weren’t in this thread before…

  310. freja says

    @327, Gjenganger

    - Cooking skills (like washing up skills) must be 50:50.

    Hardly. There has been observed gender differences in olfactory senses, fine motor skills, reaction time, multitasking, memory skills, stress reactions, and several other factors which could all be factors in cooking skills. If those differences are inherent, what are the odds that the differences in areas where women excel and the differences in areas where men excel would all even up to an exactly equal advantage for the sexes?

    - “Posing themselves as a discriminated minority” was the wrong wording – indeed I already admitted as much. But what is the right one? ‘Putting themselves forward as’? Whatever we call it, women (and other disadvantaged groups) have been using it politically for a long time, with notable success.

    Thanks for noticing the choice of words. But how exactly do you suggest a groups should achieve equal rights if they’re not allowed to point out that they’re discriminated against?

    @328, Gjenganger

    So, we cannot know why these differences arise, so we should not care too much about finding out. But we do know which factors are holding people back, so we should solve them immediately. Huh?

    Not exactly, but not entirely wrong either. We can’t isolate biological differences as easy as we can isolate differences in environment. If the same musical performance is rated better by the listeners who believe the musician is male than by the listeners who believe the musician is female, there is good reason to suspect prejudices at work, at least as long as it has been randomly determined which listeners are told the musician is male/female and the results can be replicated. Because the only different factor is the perception of gender. But if we took randomly selected male and female musicians and had them rated by impartial listeners, it wouldn’t prove anything if musicians of one sex were rated overall higher than the other. Because even if we tried getting musicians of the same background, we can’t know and have no reason to believe that male and female musicians have had all the same type of experiences and encouragement, and as such, we wouldn’t know whether we were rating nature or nurture.

    Of course there are gender differences that are so enormous and show up so consistently across cultures that it’s hard to deny a biological influence (though I’ve yet to hear an MRA agree that men are genetically more prone to aggressive and anti-social behaviour, even if they’re happy to imply it when they warn women not to provoke them), some cultural influences which we can never sort out, and a whole tangle of differences in gene expression which confound the issue even more. But it’s generally easier to work with and experiment on environmental effects, and just as importantly, it’s easier to do something about them.

    What you’re also ignoring is that these statements have an effect in itself. If you gender an area, suggest that members of a certain gender just wont be as likely to do well and fit in, you’re creating an expectation which can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. You talk about programs to encourage girls as if they were giving girls an unfair advantage, but being told straight up by your chancellor that he believes their kind are the outsiders in a field gives them an unfair handicap. If it was true, there’d be nothing to do about it (though not bending over backwards to find excuses to bring it up would help), but when it’s hotly contested within the scientific community and doesn’t stand up to cross cultural evaluations, it’s not his place to publicly take the side that women are just unsuited, any more than it would be my place to give public speeches about boys’ inherent inferior academic abilities in a similar situation, especially when it isn’t even my field of expertise

    So, men and women have different abilities and different choices that affect their life outcomes, but saying so in public is completely beyond the pale like raw racism?

    Black and white people also have different abilities and different choices which affect their life outcomes. It does not mean that those abilities are inherent or that the choices are made in a vacuum. When I said men are not interested, I mean they’re not interested in the field itself, find it boring, want to do something else, want better payment/hours/status/whatever, and they’ll tell you so. When Summers claimed women aren’t interested, he’s ignoring that many women have said they were interested, but were harassed and bullied by their male fellow students, and belittled and ignored by their male professors. If the story from men was more often “I wanted to teach, but I was constantly told that I wasn’t suited for it, my professor suggested my sister must have done my homework, my fellow students mocked me and told me to shut up and do [insert stereotypically degrading work for men] instead, my colleagues followed suit, and eventually, the toll was just to much to be worth it”, I hope the reactions would be different as well.

    I also see anothe distinction: Where women are doing worse it is a matter for immediate action by all of society. Where men are doing worse it is a matter of their own behavior, or of changing the culture, eventually, sometime.

    I see the opposite pattern, with the “boy’s crisis”, “attacks on masculinity”, “feminism gone too far”, “political correctness gone mad”, and similar complaints, the advice to women on how to behave, dress, walk, etc. in order to not get hurt by scary men, and the advice to black people on how to behave, dress, walk, etc. in order to not get shot by scared men.

    If men get custody as much as women when they apply, that is proof that everything is OK. Where female job applicants have higher success rates than male job applicants, as is the case in my (STEM) department, that makes no difference – we still need special programs to guide young girls towards STEM subjects, facilitate career progression for women, etc. etc.

    I have never seen a feminist oppose suggestions to get men into more nurturing roles. In fact, from what I’ve seen, most feminists definitely think we should do more to change the culture to make men more likely to become devoted fathers and make it more culturally acceptable for them to prioritise child rearing. That was kind of the point of my hypothetical example of a typical feminist argument “men and women are raised differently and with different expectations, and because of that, a lot of men aren’t involved in child rearing”.

    No one is saying that there’s no problem, they’re saying that there’s more to the custody issue than just the court’s decision, just as there is more to the STEM issue than being hired. MRAs/conservatives/anti-feminists/etc. tend to believe that equality of opportunity doesn’t equal equality of outcome, so when women don’t get as favourable an outcome, it’s proof that they just weren’t good/motivated/hard-working enough because they already got equality of opportunity, but when men don’t get as favourable an outcome, it’s proof that they lacked the opportunities and that the outcome must be changed. Feminists/progressives/ect. tend to believe that if the outcome for one group is less favourable than another, there’s usually one or more social factors involved, and we should find out what and so something about it.

    The latter groups also tends to presume that the demographic which owns most of the property and dominates most powerful positions tends to be the dominant one, which leads to explanations like “patriarchy hurts men too”. And as condescending as you may think it sounds, it’s miles above the alternative right now.

    I totally agree. In fact that is what I am looking for, when debating you and Lucy among other things. People who think it is all cultural can propose and claim anything, because it is all pie in the sky anyway.

    So can people who think it’s inherent. I can’t count how many times I’ve head BS explanations about how “it’s just how [insert group] naturally are”, or been told that an end result is in itself proof of a predisposition.

    It is a bit rude of you to be so free with your masturbation similes. I do not go around telling you that you are thinking with your genitals, do I now?

    I didn’t mean to imply anything about your thinking. My apologies. I used the expression as stand-in for something which can be a good exercise and pleasant when you reach the result you want, but is ultimately unproductive and done solely for your pleasure. And also because these threads can easily become something of a circle jerk, with people patting each other on the back and congratulating them on how right they are, without anything ever being done (like how your agreement about how certain claims and arguments are inherently bad did nothing from stopping them from being accepted here).

    But anyway, I do not see this as a game. I care how the society of the future will fit to me and people like me. I would like to see and think about some way forward where people like me could have a something to contribute, rather than just be a fortunately superated dead end of evolution. And the main political current in this area is feminism, that wants to promote women first and refuses to be pinned down to any version of the facts that might crimp their style.

    Actually, the main political current in this area is the same it’s been for centuries, conservatism. We think of the status quo as apolitical, but if we applied the same terms to men as to women, we’d all agree that the great men of history benefited from the most extensive program of affirmative action ever seen. Most of us just don’t think in those terms, and so we see feminists as the only one fighting for the benefit of a gender, but that’s far from true. We live in a world where a woman in the US explaining why birth control is a necessity (even giving examples of women who need birth control pills for health related reasons which have nothing to do with sex) is called a slut and whore, and told other people should have the right to get sex videos of her, all the while the male population is outraged that someone could possibly suggest that they (as members of the same society) should take the least bit responsibility for avoiding unwanted pregnancies (while the father’s rights movement and men in general loudly complain that they weren’t given enough child custody). You have plenty of people fighting for people like you, and just because you don’t like what they’re saying, it doesn’t give you the right to dismiss it as not being a factor.

  311. Gjenganger says

    @Freja 330

    – Cooking:
    OK. Cooking skills could be skewed by gender, just like anything else. And just the possibility does lend some legitimacy to gendered roles. I do not know enough about gender differences in sense of smell etc. to judge. It is just that you need to be extremely cautious. A lot of the actual differences are transmitted at least in part by culture, even if it may well be biology that determines why the cultures differ the way they do. The brain is plastic, biological and cultural inheritance are almost impossible to disentangle, and it is way too easy to decide that something you like is ‘really’ biological and immutable. To suggest that some difference is most likely biologically based you need some fairly robust evidence about the biological underpinnings, and also a clear and fairly general explanation about why and how this came to be. So you should not overinterpret these things, and it could well be that the advantages of one sex or the other often even out. But claiming that these differences always, invariably come out even is surely forcing your ideology onto your data.

    – Posing
    Nothing wrong with pointing out you are discriminated against. Indeed, what else can you do? All I am saying is that sometimes it is true and sometimes it may be false, and it can work as a tactic in either case. Men do not become the oppressed sex just because some MRAs say so, and the fact that women were oppressed in many places and times (including now) does not mean that every claim for redress is reasonable.

    – Whose concerns dominate
    It is really noticeable how we both see how the other side is dominating discourse and being hypocritical, unreasonable, etc. I am sure it is part selection bias, in part that we are not exercised by dodgy arguments as much when we agree with the point being made. There is a tendency on both sides to say “It is not good, but they do it worse, so of course we do it too”. The way out that I see would be to stop discussing why then other side is doing it wrong, stop pushing partisan arguments on principle, and start trying to see what we can agree on.

    – Self-fulfilling prophesies
    I think you get it wrong because you are underestimating the size of the problem. Once a field is mainly male, say pilots, that will be self-reinforcing. Unavoidably. Boys see it as a good and appropriate thing to do and try for it, girls see it as ‘not for people like us’ and choose something else, the behaviour norms in the field adapt to the kind of people who do it (men) so that women have a harder time fitting in (or are seen as disruptive outsiders if they insist on everything changing to fit them), female pilots are seen as a little strange and in need of explanation by colleagues and public alike, people might even ‘see’ that male pilots are better because that is what they expect. These are all environmental factors. The thing is that they are absolutely unavoidable as long as the gender composition is skewed. The only way out is enforced gender balance – once half the profession is female there is no problem any more. The option of removing extraneous factors and letting things settle to match the biological differences only is not available, because all the factors are part and parcel of the way social roles work. That does not mean that nothing should be done, of course. Blind auditions are a good idea and removes some unconscious bias. Harassment and overt discrimination should be fought anyway. You can apply some correctives to redress things a bit – all to the good. But unless you go for forced equality of outcome, you will still have a harder time as a women in a mainly male field, just like an Englishman in a mainly Japanese office.

    Another point is that since the problem is ubiquitous, you can be very biased simply by choosing when to take action and when not. It is the same mechanisms that drive women away from piloting, men away from kindergarten teaching, and women away from truck driving. Yet I know of no movement that cares equally about all three. How come?

    – Male aggression
    I would happily agree there: men are genetically more prone to aggression and antisocial behaviour. That is why the prisons are full of men, young men in particular. I think it is an effect of the same drives that drive young men to excel at sports or music or computing, or or other single-minded pursuits. Or, in another context, that gets them to keep getting up out the trenches instead of staying down where they can’t get shot at.

    – Conservatism
    No, the status quo is apolitical. It may well be unjust, skewed in the favour of some group, in need of change, but it is not a movement or program. It just is. People are adapted to the status quo, and know how to get the best out of it, whereas change requires lots of extra work. Change requires a reason, also to establish what kind of change you want, in a way that the status quo does not. And once something gets established enough, the NHS, the welfare state, factory work, women having the vote, conservatives defend it as then new status quo so you do not need to constantly re-prove it is worth it.

    – Men v. women
    Getting out of the feminists-v.-MRAs fight, where do you, personally, want to go? I do find it remarkable how you are all for practical efforts to remove practical obstacles to equality. And yet, when somebody suggests that boys are doing ever worse at school and we ought to try to do something about it, you are not only indifferent but scornful.

    For the rest, part of the problem is that there is really nothing positive for men in all these changes – which makes all this ‘patriarchy hurts men too’ ring a little hollow. Women get guaranteed equal access to all the glamorous professions, more power, and less housework, while men get reduced access to the glamorous stuff, less power, and more housework. Well, OK, if you were dominant and lose your position, you will lose out. But the flip side is that the areas where women do have an advantage they will keep it. Sex is one. As it is now, sex is a place where men search and women allow. It is not an unmixed blessing, but it is a resource that women can exchange for other favours. There is no chance of that ever being equalized, that I see. But the big one is child rearing. Yes, feminists do promote child rearing for men, but that area is and will always be female territory, as long as it is women who have the wombs and breasts. And yes, I too benefit from, and appreciate, the changes that puts men closer to their children. If you are a man whose life dream is to be a nanny it is of course good that you can follow it. But most men do not have that dream. And the chance of entering a field they are not particularly interested in and where they will always be second class, outsiders, is not really much of a carrot. It is certainly not something that you can build your identity around.

  312. Gjenganger says

    @Freja 330 bis

    – I do not agree that “Black and white people also have different abilities and different choices”. Skin colour or the origin of our ancestors does not determine abilities or preferences – culture and social group membership does in this case. There is no reliable evidence, nor any remotely compelling reasons why selection pressure would have been strong enough to cause such a result. Nor is there any particular reason why social roles need to be different by race. Sex is different, on all these counts.

    – You are quite hard to pin down:

    People who think it is all cultural can propose and claim anything, because it is all pie in the sky anyway.

    So can people who think it’s inherent. I can’t count how many times I’ve head BS explanations about how “it’s just how [insert group] naturally are”, or been told that an end result is in itself proof of a predisposition.

    So, which side are you on?
    – Do you think that inherent differences are big and important enough that we need to consider them as explanations for some gender differences (with the usual caveats that there a cultural mechanisms also at work, that we have to be careful not to jump to conclusions, etc.)?
    – Or do you think that inherent differences are so unimportant that they can always be dismissed?
    – Or do you think that the position of women in society must be improved, and any argument that contributes to that is good, whether it is inconsistent or not?

  313. Schala says

    The thing is that they are absolutely unavoidable as long as the gender composition is skewed. The only way out is enforced gender balance – once half the profession is female there is no problem any more.

    You also have to make the sex of the applicants a non-event, or it trivializes their real achievements, in favor of it being all about gender.

    Gaming and technology fields are going that way. From a blind meritocracy (or what is closest to it) into “woman first, tech worker second” which is way way worse. There is the shadow of Victorianism and how women need to be treated with kids gloves specially while men need a thick skin and that’s fine (ie in gaming, everyone insults everyone, men or women – and some women (those who make a big deal about being women-in-x*) perceive it as misogyny, even though they’re treated the same, because they’re not given deference as women).

    *They’re a minority, they just happen to be vocal, and to have people outside their group (women not in x) arguing “for them”, in a way that ultimately proves detrimental.

    This is what happens:

    http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/girls-and-software

  314. Schala says

    Unfortunately, our society has set girls up to be anything but technologists. My son is in elementary school. Last year, his school offered a robotics class for girls only. When my son asked why he couldn’t join, it was explained to him that girls need special help to become interested in technology, and that if there are boys around, the girls will be too scared to try.

    My son came home very confused. You see, he grew up with a mom who coded while she breastfed and brought him to his first LUG meeting at age seven weeks. The first time he saw a home-built robot, it was shown to him by a local hackerspace member, a woman who happens to administer one of the country’s biggest supercomputers. Why was his school acting like girls were dumb?

    From the article I linked above.

  315. freja says

    @331, Gjenganger

    OK. Cooking skills could be skewed by gender, just like anything else. And just the possibility does lend some legitimacy to gendered roles. I do not know enough about gender differences in sense of smell etc. to judge. It is just that you need to be extremely cautious.

    And now you’re basically making my argument. What happened to “we need to decide exactly what the inherent gender differences in each field will be before we can talk about possible environmental factors”?

    It is really noticeable how we both see how the other side is dominating discourse and being hypocritical, unreasonable, etc. I am sure it is part selection bias, in part that we are not exercised by dodgy arguments as much when we agree with the point being made. There is a tendency on both sides to say “It is not good, but they do it worse, so of course we do it too”. The way out that I see would be to stop discussing why then other side is doing it wrong, stop pushing partisan arguments on principle, and start trying to see what we can agree on.

    I agree that we’re probably noticing it more when the other side does it. That being said, you were the one presenting it as one-sided, as if there was no movement for men. I was just replying that a huge part of the mainstream discourse centres around how we can make men more dominant compared to women.

    - Self-fulfilling prophesies
    I think you get it wrong because you are underestimating the size of the problem.

    No, I understand that well enough. I just don’t think there’s any need to celebrate someone for making it worse. I read once that one of the things many girls who performed well in math and science had in common wasn’t that they were defiant of the stereotypes saying that they wouldn’t be any good, but that they were unaware of them. If actual studies suggest that boys might have an advantage in certain fields on average, of course the people who made those studies should be free to publish them and have them debated, but the Larry Summers defenders seem to it’s of vital importance to free speech that we bombard girls with those theories before the facts have been determined, without criticism, even though no known advantage can come of it.

    I would happily agree there: men are genetically more prone to aggression and antisocial behaviour. That is why the prisons are full of men, young men in particular. I think it is an effect of the same drives that drive young men to excel at sports or music or computing, or or other single-minded pursuits. Or, in another context, that gets them to keep getting up out the trenches instead of staying down where they can’t get shot at.

    I don’t care much about male aggression either way. If there was more debate on how we diminish anti-social behaviour and unneeded aggression, that would be a debate worth having. I just find it frustrating that so many people simultaneously expect women to expect male aggression and then blame them for being uncomfortable around men. One thing I do know is that if people truly believe men are more prone to violence, that should be a reason to be even more firm with them and take male violence more seriously, not to ever utter the phrase “boys will be boys” or any variation thereof. I don’t think the dedication you talk about comes from the same source though, since it’s a completely unrelated trait.

    No, the status quo is apolitical. It may well be unjust, skewed in the favour of some group, in need of change, but it is not a movement or program. It just is.

    Call it what you will, it doesn’t change the fact that men have plenty of defenders against the evil that is women/feminism.

    - Men v. women
    Getting out of the feminists-v.-MRAs fight, where do you, personally, want to go? I do find it remarkable how you are all for practical efforts to remove practical obstacles to equality. And yet, when somebody suggests that boys are doing ever worse at school and we ought to try to do something about it, you are not only indifferent but scornful.

    I’m not indifferent to the idea that we should do something in areas where boys do worse, I’m indifferent to the idea that it’s a “crisis” when those boys still manage to go out and get more prestigious and better paid jobs than the girls who surpassed them in school, and I find the common theories and suggestions about why it happens and what to do about it laughable. There’s a difference.

    If the people who complained about the alleged boys’ crisis had any suggestion that was rooted in reality, I’d be more inclined to listen. But so far, it seems the only suggestion is to toughen boys up by allowing more bullying, especially of feminine boys and kids on the LGBTQ spectrum, while simultaneously have teachers be more lenient towards boys and not make the same demands of them as they do of girls. Imo, it should be the other way around, toughen up boys by expecting the same level of discipline as in girls, but allow them whatever gender expression and (consensual) sexuality they want. I’m not saying to bring back corporal punishment, but if boys did better in school 50-60 years ago, I don’t think the solution should automatically be to move further away from that kind of school. I don’t think you’re benefiting boys by telling them that running around screaming and constantly interrupting the teacher is just part of their nature that they shouldn’t be expected to change, any more than I think it’s healthy for beauty obsessed girls to be told it’s part of their femininity.

    For the rest, part of the problem is that there is really nothing positive for men in all these changes – which makes all this ‘patriarchy hurts men too’ ring a little hollow.

    I think more parental leave would be a benefit, as would more freedom of gender expression. But you’re right, in order to give men more of what women have, they would have to make less money and do more unpaid work, and most don’t see it as a good bargain.

    the areas where women do have an advantage they will keep it. Sex is one. As it is now, sex is a place where men search and women allow.

    And yet men report more orgasms, less worrying, and more sexual freedom. Also, as someone who has been hit on by boys and men, the experience is often quite unpleasant. Most men aim as high as possible, which means the kind of men who hit on you are rarely the men you’d choose to hit on if you were the pursuer. They’ll often do their best to pressure you into going further than you want to, and the consequences for not obeying range from uncomfortable to dangerous (so far, I’ve been mocked, shouted at, physically assaulted, sexually assaulted, stalked, lost friends, received nightly phone calls from a guy threatening to kill himself, been lied to, and threatened repeatedly). They can turn you off sex and then blame you for being frigid. They will, without exception (at least in my experience) expect you to know the unspoken rules they’ve created for your interaction and blame you for getting it wrong (“Come on, I said it wouldn’t turn sexual. Don’t you even trust me enough to go up for coffee?”/“Of course we’re supposed to have sex! What were you expecting when you came up for coffee?”).

    The problem is that too many men act as if sex is something women have and they need to get. They don’t consider that women have sexual needs too, because they’ve always been told that women already have what they want (like you assume). They enter the interaction with the expectation that the woman is supposed to do something for them, and that they’re entitled to it. And worse, they also assume that they have an inherent value as people, while you, apart from your sexual capacities, is worthless. They’ll befriend you, and then after you’ve spent months building up a friendship, hanging out with them, listened to their troubles, even cleaned their rooms, they just fade away, and you learn later that they were only pretending to be interested in you because they thought they would be rewarded with sex. And then they have to rub it in by complaining that they’re the victims and you’re the one who doesn’t appreciate niceness, and they have society’s approval for it. And of course, if you do find a guy who’s just attractive, funny, and relaxed enough about it to be bearable to hang out with, they’ll find a way to make you feel guilty about it.

    And half the time, it doesn’t even feel like they’re interested, it’s just a demonstration of power. You’ve been so bombarded with propaganda about how much harder men have it than you, how much you owe it to them to go along with everything they do and never reject them (officially, there is a secret code for how to let a guy know you’re not interested in an acceptable way, but no woman I’ve ever talked to have found it and all the men have given contradictory instruction, so in reality, you can’t do anything to prevent a fallout except wait and hope for the best), that they can get away with practically anything. I’ve received more insults from men who were sexually interested in me than all other men and women combined, from my weight, my skin, my clothes, my way of talking, etc., to the point where I got more insecure about my appearance the more men took a sexual interest in me. Reading up on PUA techniques, it seems that this is completely deliberate.

    Being hit on by men is no more an advantage than being the target of bullying is. Lots of people having fun getting you down, knowing that you don’t have the social power to stop them, revelling in their power to use you as a prop in their own little fantasy. I’ve been celibate and I’ve been the target of men who hit on girls, and the celibacy was far more preferable. As long as men systematically make flirting a chore and one-night stands unenjoyable, women will shy away from sex to a much higher degree than men. So would you if you were ever presented with that amount of garbage.

    But the big one is child rearing. Yes, feminists do promote child rearing for men, but that area is and will always be female territory, as long as it is women who have the wombs and breasts.

    That’s not an advantage. You get less physical strength, lower pain threshold, frequently painful bleeding at least once a month, less options of getting children when you’re older, and a ton of social baggage, not to mention that you have to suffer through pregnancy. In turn, men dominate practically every area where lacking these things is an advantage. Didn’t people recently mock Lucy for presenting the common physical aspects of womanhood as an unfair disadvantage?

  316. Gjenganger says

    @Freja 336
    First, thanks for continuing this discussion, and for your openness in sharing your thoughts and feelings. It is very much appreciated.

    I understand the things you complain about, both for your personal experience and political debate. They make sense. And for you or anybody else, people’s experiences, grievances, and the resentment they cause must be respected and accepted. After that, though, you have to get beyond them if you want to get anywhere. At the personal level it is not my place to comment, but I can give an example from my own life. I sometimes feel that I never get any of the things that are most important to me. I have been known, in my bleaker moods, to lament how nobody wants me, how nobody gives a shit what I want and nobody ever will, how many/most men are just disposable losers while the lucky few bask in all the attention. These feelings are real and have their justification. I do not belittle them, but I do try to remind myself that there is more to the story than that. At the very least, having a wife, two lovely children, and an exciting and well-paid job, I should remember that I have actually done fairly well for one of life’s permanent losers :-). So when various MRAs have similar complaints I sympathize and I accept the basis of reality behind what they say – but I still think it would be better to get beyond the grievances.

    On the political level, it is easy to find areas where people like you are doing worse, and parts of the debate where the other side is being unreasonable. Your opponents then do the same thing, each justifies the errors of their side as reactions to the bigger errors of the other side, and so it continues in a never-ending ‘I am worse off than you’. It is especially pernicious because looking over 50+ years of social development and a wide variety of opinions, there is so much to choose from that it is really too easy to find something to hang your hat on. Countering one persons complaint about hangovers from the 1980’s with another’s fears for the likely development into the 2030’s is not the way to reach a sensible conclusion.

    So, can we get off the reciprocal complaints and on to something concrete, and forward-looking? What things can we change, what things do we have to live with, what can we realistically hope to achieve? And, within those limits, where should we try to go? And, with that in mind, what is your answer to the question in my post 332?

  317. Gjenganger says

    @Freja 332 bis
    Without getting too bogged down in details, there is two specific points I would like to answer.

    we need to decide exactly what the inherent gender differences in each field will be before we can talk about possible environmental factors

    I did not say that, and anyway it would not be reasonable. It is extremely hard to prove either way what the causes are, so the sensible assumption is that both factors play their part. Since environmental factors are easier to prove, it makes sense that you avoid jumping to conclusions and consider genetic explanations mainly in the cases where they seem most plausible. Mathematics would be one example; cooking is not.

    I can clarify my own position a bit:
    – Because of sexual attraction, childbirth etc. it is normal and unavoidable that people identify as men or women, and that social roles become gendered.
    – Once a particular job (say) is seen clearly as male, there are factors that tend to maintain and increase the gender difference. They are not invincible, of course, medicine (unlike STEM subjects or piloting) seems to be moving happily form being a male to being a female field. It still means that a difference rooted in biology can easily grow to be larger than biology in itself would warrant.
    – If some important life choices are gendered because of different skills or opportunities, other choices can become gendered as a consequence. As some choices become mainly for one gender, the other gender will go for other choices, and may come to dominate them even if they have no inherent advantage there.
    – As a consequence, I see unequal gender distributions in themselves as normal and acceptable, indeed unavoidable. There is no reason to insist on 50:50 in everything. That does not mean that anything goes. My minimum limits would be that any profession should be open to a talented and determined person of either sex – where the mediocre or indecisive go is another matter. And that both sexes should have an equally valuable range of options for interesting work, self-fulfilment, identity formation etc. That may not be a recipe for mathematical equality of outcome, but it is not a patriarchs charter either.

    Sex and childcare.
    It is, I believe, a fact that women are the sought-after sex, sexually, and that having and caring for little children is a female-dominated field. Whether the biological differences mean that women are better or worse off overall is probably undecidable. But both are indubitably positive resources, something that it is better to have than not to have. Sex or childcare may not be what you want to do, and it may not bring you what you most want. But it is still a reason for other people to feed you, pay you, and appreciate you, where they otherwise might not.

  318. freja says

    @337, Gjenganger

    First, thanks for continuing this discussion, and for your openness in sharing your thoughts and feelings. It is very much appreciated.

    Could you be any more condescending? Not so much this but the whole paragraph combined. This whole conversation so far has consisted of you making unproven claims about how many advantages women allegedly have, and reacting to every argument I’ve made to contrary by going “I understand, but we can’t keep comparing disadvantages and argue about who has it worst”. If you didn’t make so many claims which run contrary to my actual experiences, I wouldn’t have to share anything with you and we could move on.

    And, with that in mind, what is your answer to the question in my post 332?

    You’re asking me to choose between three options you’ve prepared. I think none of it. I think any discussion of nature vs. nurture is futile as long as the nature crowd consists of male supremacists.

    @338, Gjenganger

    I did not say that, and anyway it would not be reasonable. It is extremely hard to prove either way what the causes are, so the sensible assumption is that both factors play their part. Since environmental factors are easier to prove, it makes sense that you avoid jumping to conclusions and consider genetic explanations mainly in the cases where they seem most plausible. Mathematics would be one example; cooking is not.

    I’d say it was more likely the other way around.

    Because of sexual attraction, childbirth etc. it is normal and unavoidable that people identify as men or women, and that social roles become gendered.

    There’s a difference between social roles and professions though. Gender roles have little to do with which skills are required in a field and everything to do with the end result. Cooking is female when it’s an unpaid duty, male when it’s paid and admired. Social skills are female when it comes to expecting women to show more understanding towards others, take responsibility for communication, and work in low paid social professions, but male whenever a prestigious position requires them. Focus is female among students who’re expected to keep quiet and do as they’re told, male whenever it’s required for reaching excellence.

    That’s not an example of biological roles growing larger over time, it’s a result of a historical imbalance of power. If people actually thought all the studies and stereotypes about what each sex was good at had anything on them, we’d be asking ourselves why we allowed so many men to end up in positions that required them to understand and communicate with other people, since they’re statistically unsuited for it. But instead, people invent other explanations, like a differences in temperament or some alternative required set of skills which men just happen to allegedly have more than women. In which case all the studies of it are useless, since the base assumption is that the status quo is proof of its own naturalness. And if that’s the case, why even have a debate?

    As a consequence, I see unequal gender distributions in themselves as normal and acceptable, indeed unavoidable. There is no reason to insist on 50:50 in everything.

    This is largely a strawman. Most people I’ve seen bring up issues of inequality don’t make a big fuss about anything being 50/50, they point out real issues, and are brushed aside with comments about how all they want is a 50/50 distribution and that will never happen so their points are moot.

    My minimum limits would be that any profession should be open to a talented and determined person of either sex – where the mediocre or indecisive go is another matter.

    That’s where we disagree. I think the mediocre and indecisive are the crux of the matter. In the workplace, trans men report receiving better evaluations, and more and easier promotions, while trans women see their wages rapidly decrease. Those trans men were still allowed into their field when they presented as female, because they were skilled and determined enough, but it wasn’t until they were evaluated on equal footing with the men that they realised just how skilled and determined they really were. The price of setting the bar higher for one sex isn’t just that the mediocre and indecisive are weeded out in much bigger numbers, it also means the skilled and decisive are less likely to reach their full potential or gain the full recognition for what they do. The attitude “If you’re skilled and decisive enough, you can become anything, therefore there is no issue” is among the biggest obstacles to equal treatment in existence.

    And it doesn’t stop at the workplace. The majority of complaints and attacks on women I’ve seen have been justified on the basis that the woman did not live up to a standard that men aren’t held to. The recent DDOS attack on Skepchick, Feminist Frequency, and this site has been defended on the grounds that those sites sometimes don’t allow comments or ban people or put them in moderation (I’m banned on an MRA site, but you wont see me justify trying to shut it down). The death and rape threats against Anita Sarkeesian on Feminist Frequency have also been justified on the grounds that she’s done something wrong herself, even if that something shouldn’t merit anything but criticism and disagreement. Women who misspeak, have an emotional outburst, show weakness, etc., often experience being judged much harsher than men in similar situations. Feminists are routinely derided as ugly, old, and fat, but one look at anti-feminists like Larry Summers and Rush Limbaugh makes it clear that what what those feminists are really being derided for is being women. The excuse “You wouldn’t be treated this way if you were just better at [insert trait here], and that’s the only thing that matters” is thin. I care much more about whether the woman in question would have been treated this way if she was male.

    It is, I believe, a fact that women are the sought-after sex, sexually,

    Believe what you will. I think women are sought after as toys and verbal punching bags more, but I’d hardly call it an advantage. A cow is sought after for milk, but if people feel entitled to its milk, that’s not an advantageous position. Most of the time, the fact that men claim to have a special gendered need which can only be satisfied by having sex with the women they want is used to put more burdens on women and restrict their freedom. If women were protected sexually and given the same freedom of choice as all other people who have goods that are in high demand, things might look different. But that’s not the reality for most women.

    But both are indubitably positive resources, something that it is better to have than not to have.

    Being at risk for pregnancy is not a resource, it’s a risk. The lengths women go to to mitigate that risk should speak for itself. It doesn’t exactly help in the workforce either. Again, if women had the same legal authority over children they make as most people have over goods they make, maybe it would be different, but for obvious reasons they don’t. A woman can make a baby without the continuous need of a man, as long as she’s willing to pay the cost, but raising a child as a single mother is not a choice most women would willingly make. Otherwise, they are as dependent on a man as men are on women, except they’re forced to do more of the work.

    Sex or childcare may not be what you want to do, and it may not bring you what you most want. But it is still a reason for other people to feed you, pay you, and appreciate you, where they otherwise might not.

    Which people?

  319. Gjenganger says

    #Freja 339

    You’re asking me to choose between three options you’ve prepared. I think none of it. I think any discussion of nature vs. nurture is futile as long as the nature crowd consists of male supremacists

    I did not think I was one, but I am always happy to gain another merit badge. I already have ‘misogynist’, ‘bigot’, and ‘heteronormative’. Do you award me ‘male supremacist’ as well?

    Anyway, I have kept going on this one a bit longer than I really have time for, because I thought we could have a very interesting discussion if we ever got beyond ‘why my crowd has it worst’ or ‘why the other side is lying’ and into where we want to go and what the limits are on what we can achieve. But I see you are not interested

    And if that’s the case, why even have a debate?

    Indeed. See you another time.

  320. freja says

    @340, Gjenganger

    Asorry for the delay, personal stuff came up. But you deserve some kind of answer, even if you’ve backed out.

    I did not think I was one, but I am always happy to gain another merit badge. I already have ‘misogynist’, ‘bigot’, and ‘heteronormative’. Do you award me ‘male supremacist’ as well?

    Since I believe there are inborn differences between average men and average women, I’d technically be part of the nature crowd myself. I’d hoped you could see that I was speaking in more practical and general terms.

    Anyway, I have kept going on this one a bit longer than I really have time for, because I thought we could have a very interesting discussion if we ever got beyond ‘why my crowd has it worst’ or ‘why the other side is lying’ and into where we want to go and what the limits are on what we can achieve. But I see you are not interested

    As I’ve said to you repeatedly, I don’t think a discussion such as the one you want is going to lead to anything productive. You claim you want to move beyond the usual discussion, but you’re just not willing to go far enough beyond for me. You start from the assumption that differences of outcome are a result of differences of skill, and that (alleged) existing differences of skill are a result of inherent differences in aptitude. That’s not a balanced look at the nature/nurture debate, it’s just biological determinism.

    So when I raise the question of whether inborn differences would give one gender an average edge in something like cooking, your first assumption is that since most chefs (especially top chefs) are men, there must be something about the male psyche which gives men an edge. You don’t question why cooking then has been a primarily female task in most places throughout world history. Perhaps you make the stereotypical assumption that what men did was more important so they left menial tasks for which there was no evolutionary pressure to excel in (because everybody could already do them) to women. I don’t know, but so far, you seem to believe there must be en explanation for every gender role in existence, and that that explanation is inborn gender differences.

    I don’t necessarily think women are better equipped to excel in cooking, but I wish we could move beyond “Men/women mostly do this (in our culture at this point in history), therefore it must be inherently male/female, so now we just need to determine how big the difference is”, and you don’t seem to want that. You keep repeating that we can’t have a 50/50 split, but you always seem to assume the ultimate ‘natural’ split in a field must echo existing gender roles, and the only time you’ve acknowledged a reversal as probable has been after it’s happened (medicine). That’ll hardly move us forward, will it?

  321. Gjenganger says

    @Freja 340.
    Just came across your answer. And I take my comment back – we could still have a very interesting discussion (not this week, though, too busy). But Lord it is hard for us to understand each other.

    Since I believe there are inborn differences between average men and average women, I’d technically be part of the nature crowd myself. I’d hoped you could see that I was speaking in more practical and general terms.

    Well, I was not sure. Is she saying I am a male supremacist? Weird, but hey! Or is she saying that as long as too many male supremacist are saying similar things we cannot discuss this? I see it was the latter, but I really disagree. We could learn from each other (good), we could establish that there are things one can agree about from opposite sides of the spectrum (good), and maybe build a foundation for agreeing on more (also good). We could even start spreading some sense to to others (really good). No reason to forgo that just because there are idiots who agree with some of the points. The only logical reason for your attitude would be something like “the movement is a war, and we can do nothing that might give comfort to the enemy”, But then I am not part of your movement, and I am explicitly looking for a agreement and compromise instead of just fighting the ‘gender war’.

    You start from the assumption that differences of outcome are a result of differences of skill, and that (alleged) existing differences of skill are a result of inherent differences in aptitude. That’s not a balanced look at the nature/nurture debate, it’s just biological determinism.

    So when I raise the question of whether inborn differences would give one gender an average edge in something like cooking, your first assumption is that since most chefs (especially top chefs) are men, there must be something about the male psyche which gives men an edge. You don’t question why cooking then has been a primarily female task in most places throughout world history. Perhaps you make the stereotypical assumption that what men did was more important so they left menial tasks for which there was no evolutionary pressure to excel in (because everybody could already do them) to women. I don’t know, but so far, you seem to believe there must be en explanation for every gender role in existence, and that that explanation is inborn gender differences.

    Well, either I am bad at explaining myself, or you are very suspicious. Maybe both. What I was trying to say was that I did NOT think that gender differences in cooking come from gender differences in cooking aptitude. I noted that home cooking is mostly done by women, and tops chefs often tend to be men, and tried to say that whatever the reason (there is bound to be a reason) the most likely explanation is that it was a side effect of something else. Home cooking is female by tradition, of course. I think the tradition may well have had a practical justification in terms of division of labor in a traditional farming society a century or more ago, In the sense that women would gravitate to in-house jobs because they were often lumbered with pregnancy or small children, and because many outside jobs required physical strength. But as for today, the most likely explanations are either simple inertia, or that men are still powerful enough to be able to avoid boring household jobs. As for the chefs, well men tend to be overrepresented in the higher ranks of a lot of professions. That could be differences in psychological motivation, in skills, social expectations, or straight discrimination, but whatever it is, it is unlikely to be cooking skills, and it is a field where it is actually relatively surprising if men still dominate the higher ranks.

    I don’t necessarily think women are better equipped to excel in cooking, but I wish we could move beyond “Men/women mostly do this (in our culture at this point in history), therefore it must be inherently male/female, so now we just need to determine how big the difference is”, and you don’t seem to want that. You keep repeating that we can’t have a 50/50 split, but you always seem to assume the ultimate ‘natural’ split in a field must echo existing gender roles, and the only time you’ve acknowledged a reversal as probable has been after it’s happened (medicine). That’ll hardly move us forward, will it?

    Well, as it happens I actually saw medicine as a likely female profession over thirty years ago, when it had not happened yet – though of course I cannot prove it. But I would point out that I am arguing against the common position that the genders are identical so that any difference is by definition illegitimate,, and against the current trend where women dominate most university courses and are going from strength to strength in most desirable job categories. My first concern is to establish that there can actually be real differences in aptitude and attitude between the sexes, and that there may therefore be legitimate reasons to have gender-unequal professions. Once the general point is agreed we can talk about what the differences are and which way they go. They are not all going to be in favor of men. One discussion i would like to have is actually this: If women keep dominating all nigher education fields, get at least equal representation in leadership and policy positions, and still have the unique close connection to the next generation that comes from childbearing, what are men for? Should we consider leaving a couple of desirable fields where men are over-represented, whether or not they are necessarily better, just to avoid future boys growing up knowing that all they are good for is hunting woolly mammoth (now extinct) and serving as cheap labor where better qualified women are not available?

    On another point, plain discrimination obviously exists and has important influence. Your example of musicians and orchestras is a good example. Another influence might be that the sexes tend to have different interaction styles. It is a bit borderline when something like “I do not care if she is female as long as she behaves like a hacker” is a legitimate effort to preserve harmony and an efficient working style, and when it is just indirect gender discrimination. But I do believe that by the time people are applying for jobs they probably do present with different skills. Sure irrational discrimination will play a part, but there is so much self-interest in getting the best, cheapest employees that free competition ought to keep down to a reasonable level. But just because there are skill differences, that does not mean they are either legitimate or innate. Compare to class, for instance. Children of academics and the middle classes in general do much better in getting middle class jobs. We can surely agree that this is NOT a matter of inborn aptitude. On the other hand I suspect that skill counts for more than straight discrimination. Children of the middle classes are better motivated, better educated, better advised, and more used to the profession-specific culture – because their parents make sure they are. At age 23 they will be better qualified, on average. This is a problem that needs addressing, but the solution has to be to help working class children get better qualified by teh time they apply for jobs, not to make social quotas.

  322. Gjenganger says

    @Freja 341
    On this dying thread I can probably indulge in another post. You might even read it.

    Thinking about it, nature v. nurture is only one of two intertwined discussions – and not necessarily the most interesting. I tried to get my wife interested once, and she answered essentially ‘why does it matter’. We do have these quite different gender roles that cause different choices, outcomes etc. for men and women. Why should anyone but a psychologist care how they came about? And she does have a point.

    The more interesting questions are: “Are men and women different? Is it right and acceptable that your role and life outcomes should depend on your gender to some extent? What should we do about each of the innumerable differences we can observe?” If you think the sexes are essentially identical (like Ally and others), the situation is very simple. All differences are wrong, and all differences should eventually disappear: scientists, politicians, truck drivers, nannies, prison inmates, …. We could and should move to an end state where your sex is irrelevant except to people who might have sex together, much like your golf handicap is irrelevant except to people who might play golf together. If you think that sexes and genders are different and will remain different, as I think we both agree, then you need to consider where each of the differences come from, whether it is justified or not, and what should be done about it.

    The Guardian recently had an article about a group campaigning for more equal female representation in literary magazines across the world (like The New York Review of Books). My gut reaction was “Why should you have a right to be published just because you are a woman”. Yours will probably be “Why should you be treated worse just because you are a woman”. In reality it is extremely hard to determine exactly what is happening here. If men and women write exactly the same kind of stories, you could send in the contributions anonymously and evaluate on quality only (in theory at least), and the difference would disappear. If the stories are not the same, there are all kinds of alternatives to consider. Maybe men and women write in different ways or about different things – in which case is it legitimately that readers prefer one style to the other, or is it indirect discrimination by the editors, or should female stories get 50% of the space regardless on equality grounds? Or maybe one sex produces more high-quality stories – in which case is it a lack of experience (which could be provided elsewhere) or a lack of role models (in which case some temporary positive discrimination would solve the problem), or do the sexes legitimately have different interests or different abilities, in which case there is no problem to be solved?

    Most of the differences do not have a n obvious answer, would be my guess. But it would be helpful if we from the ‘nature crowd’ could settle on at least a few points where differences are justified. If your answer is always ‘there should be equality’ you are de facto saying that the sexes are identical, and if your answer is always that we should choose in favour of women (men) you are de facto arguing for female (male) dominance. Just a few points of agreement would help the debate a lot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>