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Jan 31 2014

A history of ad hominem gender shaming

I blogged recently about my disdain for those who respond to any man writing favourably about women with the swipe “you’re only saying this in the hope of getting laid.”

Several respondents pointed out, quite correctly, that this is just one strand to a wide family of ad hominem attacks, all of which focus on the putative conscious or unconscious psychological motivations behind an expressed opinion.

It pops up in all political arenas (the phrase ‘the politics of envy’ is a classic example) but it seems especially prevalent in gender debates. Examples include dismissing feminists as being fat, ugly, sex-starved, bitter and jealous of more attractive women, or the precise mirror image – dismissing men’s activists as being sad, socially inadequate, resentful virgins who live in their mother’s basements.

It’s the kind of lazy thinking we all slip into occasionally – and yes, I’m sure there are plenty of blots on my own copybook, before you rush to point it out. Nonetheless it is an intellectually bankrupt, politically corrosive and degrading, and very often entirely untruthful approach to debating issues, whoever is responsible.

One might expect such cheap and nasty rhetorical tricks in the mucky trenches of the online gender wars. It is rather more surprising to find a prime example in an acclaimed, scholarly, academic history book.

My current light reading is a recent book by Ben Griffin entitled: The Politics of Gender in Victorian Britain: Masculinity, Political Culture and the Struggle for Women’s Rights. Yeah, I know, I’m a barrel of laughs at parties. Anyway, in many respects it is a fascinating work, exploring a really interesting idea that since each gender is largely defined in opposition and contrast to the other, the gradual emancipation of women and reinvention of femininity through the 19th Century was both a cause and consequence of a parallel and contemporaneous reconstruction of male gender roles. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on Victorian conceptions of fatherhood and paternity. It is useful to be reminded just how fluid and transient such seemingly immutable attitudes prove to be.

But here’s the ‘but.’ One particular point of interest for Griffin, which appears sporadically through the book but also gets a whole chapter to itself, is an urge to psychologically profile the most vehement anti-suffrage members of the Victorian parliaments. These guys were, I am quite happy to concede, unbearably reactionary, misogynistic dinosaurs with an unedifying attachment to brute, traditional masculinity, the type of politician who, were they around today, I would doubtless be writing articles and blogs about – mocking and condemning their appalling opinions. I hope I would not fall into the trap which, with 150 years’ of distance, catches Griffin.

It is not enough to the author that these men were wrong, misguided by anachronistic ideology or religious beliefs. He feels the need to pathologise them like the history department’s answer to Fitz from Cracker. These men, Griffin alleges, doth (or didth) protest too much. Hence Sir Henry James was “a lifelong bachelor” with “an unusually close attachment to his mother.” He “exhibited a visible interest in cases of unusually close attachment between men.” He was, according to one rumour, the secret lover of Lord Randolph Churchill, but according to another, responsible for a full household of illegitimate children.

Meanwhile Charles Newdegate MP represented “a similar case of exaggerated filial piety…. indeed the relationship seems to have been exceptional in its intensity.” What’s more, “there is no surviving evidence of him having ever expressed any interest in women at all.”

On a slightly different tack, another ardent advocate of patriarchal supremacy was very much married. Alexander Beresford Hope MP opposed every reform of women’s civil and legal rights, but he had secrets of his own. At home, we are told, his most striking characteristic was his “absolute devotion to [his wife] and complete surrender of his will to hers, never opposing or thwarting any of her wishes but always thinking of and anticipating her views and desires.” You might think this makes him sound rather lovely (the original source was the MP’s daughter, after his death), but that is not how the author sees it. Instead it stands as evidence that Beresford Hope’s anti-feminism was a reaction to being a henpecked husband.

Summing up, the author argues:

“any interpretation of their speeches has to take into account the fact that the speeches were not simply statements of anti-suffragist belief; they were also efforts to create masculine identities. By entering the battle to oppose women’s suffrage these bachelor mummies’ boys presented themselves as hard-headed men of business or as chivalrous knights set on protecting the fairer sex. These were identities that served to compensate for the fact that these men fell far short of the masculine ideal, and as such we should not underestimate the attraction that entering the debate on women’s suffrage held for these tarnished defenders of the patriarchal order.”

My objections to all this are twofold. The first is based in social science and psychology. As the likes of Adorno and Eysenck pointed out more than 50 years ago, all political views are, to an extent, underpinned by personal cognitive processes and/or personality. All of our politics are to an extent shaped and influenced by our personal histories and our private lives. It is striking that this type of forensic diagnosis of political positions is only ever applied to people we disagree with, never to ourselves or those on our own side. Were there not MPs who supported suffrage who were submissive to their wives or quietly homosexual? Almost certainly, but Griffin doesn’t explain away their progressive views on that basis, although either would be an easy case to make. Once we start to go down that route, all debate and discussion quickly becomes reductive and ad hom.

The second problem I have with all this is, I think, a more serious matter. Griffin clearly considers himself to be a progressive type, his allegiances are overtly pro-feminist and his references are peppered with post-structural gender theory from R.W. Connell et al. For all that, I can’t help but find his analysis subtly but profoundly reactionary. The glee he seems to take in nudge-nudge innuendo that anti-suffrage MPs were secretly gay strikes me as more than a tad homophobic, and so too is the repeated conflation of ‘confirmed bachelor’ with ‘mummy’s boy.’ The passage about the henpecked MP seems to be shaming the man for being insufficiently dominant in his own home.

I realise I’m probably being harsh, but I can’t help reading Griffin as saying that if you don’t agree with his enlightened modern views on gender, there must be something wrong with you, and in the case of these MPs, what was wrong with them was that they were secretly gay, lacking in masculine, heterosexual independence, or excessively subordinate to women. Um, hello? Isn’t this just old heteronormative, patriarchal gender policing wrapped up with a new progressive ribbon?

Whether or not Griffin is guilty as charged, there is an unfortunate tendency, particularly among male feminists, to create new, feminist-friendly hierarchies of masculinity which (conveniently) place them at the top. However well intentioned, slogans like “real men don’t hit women” still reinforce the false notion that there is such a thing as a real man, an ideal man, against whom all others should be compared. I don’t think it is helpful.

The sad truth is that some real men do hit women (or other men), some don’t. Some real men are gay, some real men are homophobic. Some real men lean left politically and some to the right, some real men oppose women’s rights and others support them. That was true in the 1870s, it remains true today, and if we want to challenge the views of those we oppose, we need to take on their arguments, not their personal lives.  

88 comments

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  1. 1
    Superficially Anonymous

    That’s people though isn’t it?

    The important thing to know about people is that an argument is almost never about a calm discussion of the facts, almost invariably it’s a cite-fight with people using convenient ‘facts’ to push their own agenda. There was a rather good TED talk on this, I know TED gets some flak but this really was a good one. Quite droll too as it goes.

  2. 2
    Superficially Anonymous

    Sorry, didn’t tag that video up and didn’t realise it’d auto-embed.

  3. 3
    Ally Fogg

    That is a good TED talk, but I think she misses the point that I’m making here. (Or if you prefer, she is wrong, bwahaha)

    At about the 10-11 minute mark she shows a slide giving three reactions we have when people don’t agree.

    1. They are ignorant of the facts.
    2. They are an idiot
    3. They are evil.

    I’m suggesting there’s a fourth and fifth (at least, maybe more) which are:

    4. They can’t really believe what they are saying and secretly know I’m right, they just won’t say it because reasons.

    and

    5. They have unconscious psychological motivations to believe or say these things, even though they are objectively wrong.

    In broad terms, the previous blog was about Number 4 and this blog is about Number 5.

    I do think Number 5 is particularly pernicious, because it is fundamentally unprovable. I can make that assertion of you, and there is nothing you can say that would get you off the hook.

    I also think that, while it is human nature to an extent, it is one of those things that we can be aware of, look out for in ourselves and try to minimise.

  4. 4
    RM

    “As the likes of Adorno and Eysenck pointed out more than 50 years ago, all political views are, to an extent, underpinned by personal cognitive processes and/or personality. All of our politics are to an extent shaped and influenced by our personal histories and our private lives.”

    There are not credible social scientists . . . in fact, they are ideologues. Do you have any real, contemporary science that supports your contentions? More importantly, research with methods that I can analyze to determine if there is any good reason to believe it.

  5. 5
    Superficially Anonymous

    To be honest I think 4 of yours is actually an element of her number 3; that someone’s lying for personal gain or other reasons. I’d tend to include your 5 in her 1 as well, someone may be allowing their ‘internalised misogyny’ or such to blind them to the fact that you’re right.

    Mainly I just liked her final stage being called ‘evil’, it does seem like by the time someone gets to 3 and is still disagreeing they pretty much become fair game.

  6. 6
    Mr Supertypo

    I agree Ally, this is also one of the reason I usually avoid debating in gender topics. Yes I do, but not in the extent I could be doing. Because lets be frank, most the gender doctrines outhere are usually based on mere opinions and interpretations of facts and event, and they are usually devoid of criticism. Its all or nothing. IMO reading lots of feminist, masculists and genders topic in general is at least for me, intellectually humiliating. And beside that also pointless since you get treated as a troll and insulted. In my humble opinion the best thing is to have a popular blog like yours and carry on from there. But since we are talking about a complex topic is almost inevitable the we fall into the same or similar fallacy.

    Ok IMHO the best way to have a blog/forum is to encourage debates and different views, even or especially if they are unpopular. Because without challenge we cant progress or get smarter. We end up being like ancient clericals debating over the Ptolemaic model or what kind of harps do the angel plays in heaven. And dont forget the hostility toward the various Kepler, Copernicus and Galileo. And the, in this case, gender spaces who doesent follow this politics is best to leave them alone.

    This is my two cents….

  7. 7
    Ally Fogg

    RM (5)

    Do you have any real, contemporary science that supports your contentions? More importantly, research with methods that I can analyze to determine if there is any good reason to believe it.

    Which contentions? That people’s politics are influenced by their life experiences and personality / cognitions?

    You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who disagrees with that. Just at the most basic level, would you accept that a man who is angry that he has been denied access to his children after family separation is more likely to have strong views about how family courts should work?

    If so, you’ve accepted my premise.

    But in more precise terms, there are rel=”nofollow”>thousands of studies into this kind of thing. Some are very good, some are bad, many are interesting but flawed. Take your pick.

  8. 8
    Ginkgo

    “The glee he seems to take in nudge-nudge innuendo that anti-suffrage MPs were secretly gay strikes me as more than a tad homophobic, ”

    Yeah, it’s flat out, blatant gay-baiting. There is a certian kind of feminist man, Noah Brand is one example, who is at bottom a “ladies’ man” – he bases a lot of his self-image on his sexual success with women. Though he may make all the right anti-homophobia noises, every now and then he lets slip something that shows he considers his sexual success with women to make him superior to other men. It’s really just plain old dick-swinging. And it’s not any kind of evil thing necessarily, all it takes is a bit of self-awareness to keep him from saying something destructive.

    Where it crosses the line is when it becomes gynophilia, valuing women over men.

    “5. They have unconscious psychological motivations to believe or say these things, even though they are objectively wrong. ”

    That can be true and accurate. The problem comes from going on to pathologize those motivations. Even bigotry is sually just a form of tribalism, and tribalism is a big part of being human. Don’t pathologize it, just bring it under control so we can live like civilzed people with each other. If you just have to, have to get your tribalism itch scratched, become a rabid fan of some football team or other.

    “Griffin clearly considers himself to be a progressive type, his allegiances are overtly pro-feminist”

    One – it’s curious how these are so often assumed to just naturally go together. Two – it’s curious that someone writing on the Victorian era would fail to see the parallels between Victorian cultural norms and those specific places where modern feminism has “fallen into error” in reverting to those norms and cultural assumptions, or even basing itself on them perhaps.

  9. 9
    freja

    @8, Ginkgo

    There is a certian kind of feminist man, Noah Brand is one example, who is at bottom a “ladies’ man” – he bases a lot of his self-image on his sexual success with women. Though he may make all the right anti-homophobia noises, every now and then he lets slip something that shows he considers his sexual success with women to make him superior to other men. It’s really just plain old dick-swinging. And it’s not any kind of evil thing necessarily, all it takes is a bit of self-awareness to keep him from saying something destructive.

    Where it crosses the line is when it becomes gynophilia, valuing women over men.

    How does this assertion about Noah Brand differ from the kinds Ben Griffin make about Victorian anti-suffragette’s? It’s more specific, honest, and kinder, but it’s still making assertions about another person’s motivations.

  10. 10
    Ginkgo

    “How does this assertion about Noah Brand differ from the kinds Ben Griffin make about Victorian anti-suffragette’s?”

    It’s similar in that it is making an assertion about someone else’s motivations, but guessing at someone else’s motivations is a commonplace. It’s a basic part of living as a social species. So how is it different? Good question.

    The difference is in something Ally identifies – I am not pathologizing Brand in the way Griffin pathologized those ant-suffragette men, and he did in fact pathologize them. But that’s probably the only difference.

  11. 11
    Adam S

    With regards to the reactions to disagreement:

    I usually enter political arguments with the believe that a) People genuinely believe what they profess to believe. b) They’re not stupid. c) They believe that what they are doing is what is right.

    c) is the tricky one and kind of belies the point 3) “They are evil”. I’m quite fond of the idea that the “Worst evil comes from the best intentions”. We know what they say about intentions and the road to hell. As much as I yell and rage about Republicans or Tories, I find it hard to believe that many of them genuinely hate poor people and want then to stay poor. There are obviously some exceptions (e.g. Dick Cheney). However, I think people genuinely believe that if we helped too much people would become lazy and dependent. They’re wrong but I don’t think I could call them evil.

    It’s like creationism. Many creationists have been informed of the facts, are not stupid and could not be described as evil (though evil is a loaded term). However, they truly believe evolution is the root of societies ills and must be opposed for the good of humanity/the county/ the future etc.

    So I would like to propose an addition to the list.

    6. This person has never really tried to engage or empathise with the other side or the people involved.

    Maybe I’ve been listening to too much ‘Dark Side of the Moon”, but I keep on seeing so many political divisions as a failure of empathy. Take those Republican’s who have switched their views on gay marriage because they’re son/daughter came out as gay. Amazing how they’re principles became flexible when forced to empathise with the people affected by this issue.

    That said I’m not sure how many other people think this way. Maybe it’s just too instinctual/easy to assume someone’s stupid.

    I also wanted to say something about the difficulty of assuming that people don’t have the facts (as in point 1) in the Post-Fox News era where all facts can be judged/dismissed by their “bias”, but I think this comment has gone on long enough.

  12. 12
    fourth of july, asbury park

    I will resist the urge to psychoanalyze you based on this statement:

    It is striking that this type of forensic diagnosis of political positions is only ever applied to people we disagree with, never to ourselves or those on our own side.

    I find this funny because the reason I started a blog and started writing down my memories was to explore why I hold some of the positions I do. I’ve always been bothered by the fact that perfectly intelligent, lucid people hold points of view at odds with my own, sometimes vastly so, and this fact makes me doubt my own ideas. I originally thought I’d write about politics far more, but the result is that I wind up questioning almost every belief I hold and I’ve almost entirely retreated into autobiography. Even there, I realize that I often make assumptions about other people’s motivations, often with only the weakest of reasons.

    By the way, you can come to my parties. We need a bit of levity.

  13. 13
    JT

    Whatever happened to “Sticks and Stones”?

  14. 14
    drken

    @Ginko:

    For a great example of the “he-man feminist” watch US comedian Bill Mahar. He makes all sorts of pro marriage equality statements, but will never hesitate use “gay” as an insult to label a group of men who do something he doesn’t like. Unless of course he can get more milage from virgin shaming them. He’s all sorts of progressive, It’s just that he doesn’t want to give up the privileges his gender and orientation gives him. Primarily (but not limited to) the higher social status he gets from not committing the inherently degrading act of having sex with men and the free pass he gets for any behavior committed in the service of obtaining sex from women.

    The basic philosophy of the “macho feminists” (we have to come up with a good name for them) can be summed up by another US comedian with a talk show, Jimmy Kimmel, who once stated “I always tell my son, it’s doesn’t matter whether you’re gay of straight, just so long as you’re straight”.

  15. 15
    fourth of july, asbury park

    @drken

    I don’t know if Bill Maher would consider himself a feminist. He’s not even especially progressive. He once had a show called Politcally Incorrect which tended to skewer progressives’ sacred cows and, while watched by people across the political spectrum, was quite popular with people on the right. Then he said that the 9/11 hijackers were not “cowards.” Suddenly, the right hated him. He had to turn to the left since they were his only remaining audience.

    I’m recounting this from memory, so I’m warning of potential inaccuracies.

  16. 16
    drken

    @7/4, AP:

    Bill Maher would most certainly not call himself feminist, except to say “I’m a feminist, but…”. I remember him once calling date rape “a myth created by feminists to attack men”. He’s also stated that the “dumb dad” trope is proof of misandry, conveniently forgetting about how the guy playing the “dumb dad” usually makes more than everybody else on the show combined, has both created by: and producer credits, and got to choose what former fashion model would play his wife. But yeah, he’s oppressed. However, while he’s been known to attack both the left and right, he’s always been pretty solidly on the left on the topic of tax rates and animal rights, and is solidly in the corner of gays when it comes to marriage equality, job discrimination. He also takes great pleasure mocking various homophobic/misogynistic comments when made by politicians on the right. But, my point is that while he says all the right “politically correct” things about the LGBT community, he still uses accusations of homosexuality or non-voluntary chastity to demean men who don’t conform to his narrow view of masculinity. It’s the “I have nothing against homosexuals, but if you like something I don’t, I’ll show my disapproval by calling you gay or a virgin.

    The whole cowards thing wasn’t about the terrorists, but for claiming that lobbing cruise missiles from thousands of miles away is more cowardly than flying an airplane into a building. This was (willfully) misinterpreted as meaning he thought the troops were cowards. He was sacrificed on the altar of “not supporting the troops” because it’s easier to get rid of somebody who you can point to as being anti-troop than actually supporting them. It’s the same way we deal with racism.

  17. 17
    fourth of july, asbury park

    @ drken

    I think you and I are in agreement about Maher. Perhaps we have slightly different notions about what constitutes being on the left. Mind you, I’m not looking for an argument about what “left” means, I’m just pointing out our different perspectives so we don’t wind up talking past each other.

    I’ve never really found Maher especially entertaining and I rarely watch him these days. My ex-husband used to watch him all the time back in the nineties.

  18. 18
    Schala

    He’s also stated that the “dumb dad” trope is proof of misandry, conveniently forgetting about how the guy playing the “dumb dad” usually makes more than everybody else on the show combined, has both created by: and producer credits, and got to choose what former fashion model would play his wife. But yeah, he’s oppressed.

    It’s not the actor that’s oppressed, it’s men as fathers who are, by this. Also men as sentient, and with an IQ above 50.

    Charlie Sheen isn’t oppressed, but he sure gives a bad rep to men as being only there for sex, manipulative to the end, and how being an asshole is the best way to win at life, in the show he had. Also how being actually honest, hard-working and comprehensive/sentimental/human is actually detrimental to having both a romantic an a sexual life: just see how his brother is treated.

  19. 19
    fourth of july, asbury park

    @Schala

    I realize that you’re not addressing me, but I nearly commented on the part about the “dumb dad” trope, so I might as well state that I usually don’t like it and I do find it to be insulting to men. For better or worse, I didn’t feel up to an argument, so I decided to skip it. I might as well add that I’m not sure if it constitutes oppression or not. Although I would welcome your take on it, since I don’t have a hard and fast concept myself don’t be surprised if I read what you have to say without responding.

    For what it’s worth, I do find it offensive, although I should also add that I don’t know if you or drken are talking about a particular show or not. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Charlie Sheen in anything, but that particular trope has been around for a while, so I’m speaking about the trope in general rather than a particular instance.

  20. 20
    Schala

    It’s from the show Two and a Half Men, from when Charlie was in it as the main role.

  21. 21
    JT

    @Schala

    Im thinking Charlie’s brother has agency and makes his own decisions. If that is your idea of a male victim, god help us all.

  22. 22
    drken

    Personally, I find the dumb dad trope more tired and dumb than offensive. It exists because humor comes from status and since males have higher status, it’s a cheap laugh to see him put in his place. It’s the same reason TV housekeepers are insanely rude and verbally abusive to their bosses. I admit there may be misandrist shows out there, but not all of them have dumb dads. As celebrations of male expendability, American Football and war movies are far more misandrist than any sit-com. But, that’s all a digression and getting away from the topic at hand.

    My point was to agree with Ally that many men who claim to have progressive viewpoints, still use attacks on the masculinity of others. He made the example of the anti-suffrage crusaders who were accused by their opposition as being closet hen-pecked husbands. My example was those (I used Maher as an example) who professes great love for the LGBT community, but still use gay as an insult. Mahar does this by (for example) having discussions about somebody who said something against the gay community (or tried to pass some anti-gay law), where he takes the viewpoint that this person is terrible, then go to his “new rules” segment (a second monologue) where he points out some people he doesn’t like and insinuates that they’re gay. Because that’s supposed to be an insult in and of itself. Masculinity is very narrowly defined in western culture and proper adherence to it is enforced by accusations of femininity, or baring that, of doing the most degrading thing associated with femininity, having sex with men. If you think that gay is an insult, then you’re not as progressive on gender and sexual orientation issues as you think.

  23. 23
    JT

    @drken

    I think it’s important to look at what the actual meaning is behind most of these terms. Do you honestly think when one boy calls another “gay” he is referring to his sexual orientation.?

  24. 24
    Schala

    Im thinking Charlie’s brother has agency and makes his own decisions. If that is your idea of a male victim, god help us all.

    Being a victim doesn’t mean not having agency.

    It means being deemed a loser in a “game” of life, despite doing what is seen as the most virtuous positive stuff around.

    Being a shallow womanizer who manipulates women shouldn’t get you MORE romantic opportunities than being a caring, sympathetic individual.

  25. 25
    fourth of july, asbury park

    @drken

    Being offended is essentially an emotional reaction and my mother always told me that you can’t tell people what emotions they should or should not feel, nor is it healthy to deny other people’s emotions. So if you don’t feel offended, that’s fine. I’m not going to argue that you or anyone else should.

    I agree that the trope is a subset of a larger theme in which power roles are reversed. The secretary who really runs the office is the one that springs first to my mind. Much of the humor, arises from the authority of the powerful being undermined. The objects of mockery are often middle-aged, white men because middle-aged white men are typically the ones in the positions of power. Now, comedy, can be used to reveal and consequently undermine social norms, or it can be used to reinforce them. If you accept that traditional gender rolls can be oppressive to men as well as women, and I don’t know that you do, then it would be easy to see where a comedy of this nature, particularly if it’s not especially intelligent, could therefore be seen as oppressive.

    Now, we could certainly argue whether or not the burden of gender roles as it is experienced by men rises to the level of something we would care to call oppression. (I don’t have a firm opinion on this, myself.) At the same time, I can see where a given individual might, depending on his own circumstances, see it as highly oppressive on a personal level. The oppression an individual might feel may or may not have any connection to broader political oppression.

    As I said, I think you and I have an overall broad agreement about Maher and I entirely agree about his use suspected homosexuality as a put down.

  26. 26
    JT

    Being a shallow womanizer who manipulates women shouldn’t get you MORE romantic opportunities than being a caring, sympathetic individual.(Schala)

    Why shouldnt it? The problem with many people is not that they dont get romantic opportunities, its that they dont get the ones they think they deserve. I wish I could have played football in the NFL, unfortunately the odds of that happening when I was 19yrs and only 130lbs and 5’7 were pretty slim. Oh the unfairness of it all.

  27. 27
    carnation

    The “dumb dad” l point is such an inane and evidence free hypothesis. Like virtually all mra theory it inverts peer reviewed feminist studies and relies on acceptance by the easily and already outraged.

    So, Schala, women’s agency should be more geared towards sexually accomodating “nice guys”?

  28. 28
    Prairie Bob

    To what extent, if any, is the “dumb dad” trope actually a response to the “dumb woman” stereotype?

  29. 29
    Schala

    So, Schala, women’s agency should be more geared towards sexually accomodating “nice guys”?

    Because, that’s what I said, right?

    I said that the sumtotal of effects of the dating market on men’s behavior is to promote more Charlie Sheens (from Two and a Half Men) and discourage more of his brother (from the same show). Thus perpetuating patriarchy or whatever you want to call it, by rewarding “being an asshole”. Charlie might have other qualities, like superficial charm or decisiveness, but it’s not at all clear he’s a “better romantic party” to women. It’s clear he’s presented that way though.

    So, since women are not chasing after men most of the time, this is how you can change societal attitudes towards desirable behavior in men. This is, after all, how “being the leader of the pack”, stepping on other’s toes and general dark triad traits (including lacking empathy), came to be valued.

    You would have no qualms telling men to avoid plastic mother barbies who push their 4 years old into beauty contest to ‘relive their youth how it should have been’, to remove some of the incentive for being extremely superficial, and some of the pressure to look like The Best You Can Be At All Times (unlike men, who can look like shit sometimes, because they’re unable to hide their lack of sleep – and since most men can look like this, it’s seen as ‘part of life’, not ‘letting themselves go’).

    So why be angry about some social engineering aimed at changing behavior incentive for men? It would work a lot better than “teaching men to stop rape”, or telling men to stop being violent, while they’ve been conditioned to value violence since youth. Through violence, funny enough.

  30. 30
    sheaf

    carnation (27)

    which studies does it invert?

  31. 31
    123454321

    Carnation 27. Looks like a double standard statement to me. The usual.

  32. 32
    Superficially Anonymous

    Carnation (27):

    “peer reviewed feminist studies”

    Now now, let’s not throw around phrases we don’t really mean.

  33. 33
    drken

    4thJOA (25):

    I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be offended by the dumb dad trope, But simply saying something is offensive to you isn’t worth a whole lot. You’d have to show me how this trope contributes to the marginalization of men’s stories in popular culture. Considering that the vast majority of stories being told are men’s, the presence of a few jokes at our expense hardly rises to the level of oppression in need of reparations. Not all TV dads need to be smart, it’s just that the dumb dad trope is way played out and an easy target for MRAs looking for something to complain about. You want an example of a misandrist portrayal of a dad? How about the Cosby show. By the end of the show, Cliff Huxtable had no agency over his own life and no right to hold any grievance against anybody, especially not women. He was essentially a child. Plus, his son was portrayed as an idiot (later downgraded to learning disabled), while none of his daughters or his wife were permitted to have any such glaring flaws. So, dumb dads can be misandrist stereotypes resulting from bad, lazy storytelling; but aren’t inherently so.

    @Shala: Charlie Sheen’s character is supposed to be a womanizer and would just be pathetic if he didn’t actually get women (see Wolowitz, Howard from another Chuck Lorre show). But he doesn’t get them by being a jerk, he gets them by being attractive, witty, successful, and musically talented. His brother isn’t portrayed as a nice guy who can’t get the girl, he’s portrayed as an annoying, parasitic pain-in-the-ass who doesn’t get girls because he’s not nearly as charming, attractive, successful, or talented as his brother. He does strike me as the sort that would chalk this up to being a “nice guy” instead of a “jerk” like his brother in his more bitter moments. But, he’s not a nice guy. I don’t understand why you think that TV should show women choosing “nice guys” instead of “jerks” so as to not promote misandry. Given that the women they try to have sex with are exclusively attractive and almost always unintelligent, there’s more misogyny here than whatever misandry you think comes from “hot women won’t sleep with me because I’m a nice guy and TV won’t make tell them why they’re wrong”.

  34. 34
    fourth of july, asbury park

    @drken

    I can’t put my finger on it, but there is something in your tone that gives me the impression that you’re arguing with me and I don’t know why because we more or less agree.

    Perhaps you are misled by my tendency, when talking to people with whom I disagree, to try to not approach them with a display of hostility. Of course, since I only first commented here a few days ago, you couldn’t possibly know that in most other milieus, both on-line and off, I am considered a die-hard feminist. Some people might say annoyingly so.

    Also, I don’t see myself as entering an argument so much as trying to engage in a discussion. I’ve decided to start this discussion by acknowledging Schala’s feelings about the “dumb dad” trope. I thought I acknowledged that personal feelings may or may not be relevant to politics. However, to start a conversation by telling Schala that his feelings are not relevant would only establish an antagonistic dynamic which would ultimately be unfruitful.

    Although many of us may like to believe that we are arguing from logic, it has been my (admittedly not scientific) observation that emotions are never checked at the door and attending to the emotions of the one’s interlocutors can be beneficial. When you first mentioned the “dumb dad” trope, it was in reference to Bill Maher. (For some reason I thought you were unfamiliar with him, which is why I responded in the first place. I see now that I was mistaken and in fact you are far more familiar with him than I am.) At the time, I ignored it because it didn’t seem that my personal distaste for it was relevant, as you have since pointed out. (Again, you and I agree.)

    However, when Schala said he found it offensive, I saw an opportunity to establish some common ground, so I stated to him that I, too, found it offensive, although I did, yet again, say that I wasn’t sure if it had political import.

    I’m going to end it here for the moment because I feel like I’m beating a dead horse. However, if you need further clarification of my positions, please go ahead and ask.

  35. 35
    drken

    No, I think we are in agreement. I may have read something into what you wrote that you didn’t, so for that I apologize. But, the dumb dad trope, offensive or not, is not really relevant to the topic at hand. It was just an example of something Bill had complained about as evidence of sexism against men that I disagreed with. What is relevant is Bill Maher’s tendency to imply homosexuality as being something to be insulted by while otherwise promoting a pro gay rights agenda. He also does the macho “I can score with tons of babes, so I’m cool” thing while showing contempt for those who can’t, which I guess can be praised for being consistent.

  36. 36
    Schala

    Schala is a she, please

  37. 37
    Danny Gibbs

    Whether or not Griffin is guilty as charged, there is an unfortunate tendency, particularly among male feminists, to create new, feminist-friendly hierarchies of masculinity which (conveniently) place them at the top. However well intentioned, slogans like “real men don’t hit women” still reinforce the false notion that there is such a thing as a real man, an ideal man, against whom all others should be compared. I don’t think it is helpful.
    You call it unfortunate I call it hypocritical.

    Whether its someone saying, “Real men play sports” or “Real men don’t hit women” both are still attempts at dangling the coveted prize of “Authentic Masculinity” in front of someone’s eyes and trying to convince that in order to be considered a “real man” he must play by one set of rules or another.

    Whether or not he play sports has nothing to do with how much of a man he is and whether or not he hits women has nothing to do with it either.

    This reminds me of those meme pics that show a curvy woman and a skinny woman saying something to the effect of, “Real women have curves.” (Oddly I notice that some of the people that will point out just how dangerous those are will turn around and make declarations about “real men”.)

  38. 38
    JT

    @Schala

    You never did answer my question

    Being a shallow womanizer who manipulates women shouldn’t get you MORE romantic opportunities than being a caring, sympathetic individual.(Schala)

    Why not?

  39. 39
    fourth of july, asbury park

    @Schala

    My apologies. I, too, usually respond to “she.”

    For the record, elsewhere on the internet I go by the name fojap. In the past year I’ve tried to be consistent with it, but Freethought Blogs does not let me use it. Until a few days ago, I thought I couldn’t comment here at all. However, I’ll respond to anything I recognize as intended for me.

    @Danny Gibbs

    I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been told by other women, and the occasional man as well, that I cannot be sexually desirable because I had small breasts for most of my adult life. The only reason this didn’t hurt more, and it hurt a little bit, is because my actual experience proved that even if small breasts are undesirable, there’s a significant minority of men who don’t really care. I’ve had women flat-out tell me that I’d look better with implants, not that I was asking anyone’s opinion. People just say that to you out of the blue, which I find remarkable. Needless to say, I find the “real women have curves” meme to be just awful for several reasons.

    Worse yet, I don’t think these campaigns even have the effect they intend to have. In fact, both “real men don’t hit women” and “real women have curves” draw on conventional images of masculinity and femininity. “Real men don’t hit women” looks to me like it draws on notions of chivalry. It also puts me in mind of “manarchists,” a word I only first read a couple of years ago, but boy did I ever know what it meant and I wish I’d had that word when I was young.

    I probably have a highly cynical view of human social interactions. I see human beings as constantly in a struggle for an advantageous position in social hierarchies. When people have the opportunity to rewrite, or attempt to rewrite, the rules by which these hierarchies are established, they almost always seem to rewrite them in such a way as to put themselves at the top. For better or worse, I am no different.

  40. 40
    Danny Gibbs

    @39. “Real men don’t hit women” looks to me like it draws on notions of chivalry.
    I can agree with that.

    I have a problem with it because it depends pretty heavily on the gender binary in the form of using one gender as a bar of measurement that the other must meet. Can you imagine someone trying to saying “real women don’t….” where the rest of the line is something about men? Where men would be the bar of measurement and in order for those striving to be women they would have to meet that standard?

  41. 41
    Lucy

    Firstly, psychologically profiling somebody isn’t the same thing as an ad hominem attack. If the psychological profiles are accurate and relevant.

    And secondly, profiles are relevant, there isn’t a complete disconnect between what we believe and what we do. It’s surely no coincidence that the virulently misogynistic, western, aesthetic movement that we still contend with today originated in the celibate priesthood of the 4th century and drew on the theology and philosophy of earlier male-only traditions. Or that feminism originated in medieval female-only convents and 19th century, American, Protestant women’s study groups.

    In fact the study of sexual practises of the Zoroastrians, the ancient Greeks, the pre-Temple Jewish authorities and the Early Church Fathers is a fruitful area of feminist theological research. Cultural and personal attitudes towards sex are strongly connected to attitudes towards women.

  42. 42
    Lucy

    “Real men don’t hit women”

    There are many examples of this type of thing across all kinds of groups, “real Muslims” springs to mind from recent years where competing ideological agendas battle to draw up the demarcation lines.

    It’s just the “No true Scotsman” argument.

    But in the case of the “real men” one, it serves a couple of purposes: it can act as a shaming device for men who are deemed not manly enough, e.g. “Boys don’t cry”, but it can also act as a dissociation device when men want to separate themselves from genuinely undesirable male behaviour, e.g. “rapists are monsters”. And the latter assertion was essentially the basis of Ally Fogg’s recent piece in the Guardian about not demonising boys in sex education.

  43. 43
    randomperson

    From what I’ve seen, Jon Cryer’s character on that show isn’t particularly erm non-assholish either so I’m not sure I can agree with Schala about that particular portrayal. :-))

    It’s surely no coincidence that the virulently misogynistic, western, aesthetic movement that we still contend with today originated in the celibate priesthood of the 4th century

    The East never bought into that at all (I’m relatively sure of that) and the West wasn’t particularly consistent about it (afaik), though.

  44. 44
    Lucy

    “The East never bought into that at all (I’m relatively sure of that) and the West wasn’t particularly consistent about it (afaik), though.”

    Many of the ideas originated in the Middle and Near East and North Africa. Most of the Early Christian Church Fathers were Syrian, Egyptian, Turkish, etc drawing on their own traditions of sexism.

    If you mean the afar East, then Confucianism and Buddhism are no better, they also elevate the spirit which they associate with maleness above physicality which they associate with femaleness. Gautama refused to eat food served to him by women for example. Women may not enter Hindu temples when they are menstruating as they will defile the holy place.

  45. 45
    Lucy

    Randomperson

    I don’t think it’s any coincidence that some semblance of gender equality existed in Northern Europe to a higher degree than in many other parts of the world, or that it was from this region that Feminism arose. Women enjoyed a fairly high cultural, religious and economic status under Saxon and Celtic law which they did not enjoy under Jewish or Christian law or throughout the Middle East or North Africa. And our part of the world and the area withstood its introduction for longer than Southern and Eastern Europe did. Scandinavia of course withstood it for almost a thousand years longer than Britain did; that’s one thousand fewer years of an all-male, priestly class and Platonic and Aristotelian tradition setting the cultural and moral tone towards women.

  46. 46
    Lucy

    “The glee he seems to take in nudge-nudge innuendo that anti-suffrage MPs were secretly gay strikes me as more than a tad homophobic”

    Unless you believe there may be a brand of misogyny that dare not speak its name.

  47. 47
    randomperson

    Turkish

    Well, that would be kinda hard considering the Turks started infiltrating the wider area a bit later. :)

    Also, sorry for the misunderstanding, I was referring to the clerical celibacy you mentioned. The Eastern (Greek) Chalcedonian areas never bought into it (and the non-Ephesian and non-Chalcedonian churches afaik) while the Western (Latin) Chalcedonian areas (out of which Catholicism arose) didn’t seem to have been too consistent about it even though it was forbidden on paper.

    I don’t think it’s any coincidence that some semblance of gender equality existed in Northern Europe to a higher degree than in many other parts of the world, or that it was from this region that Feminism arose. Women enjoyed a fairly high cultural, religious and economic status under Saxon and Celtic law which they did not enjoy under Jewish or Christian law or throughout the Middle East or North Africa. And our part of the world and the area withstood its introduction for longer than Southern and Eastern Europe did. Scandinavia of course withstood it for almost a thousand years longer than Britain did

    I think (as most grand theories) this is a bit simplistic, to say the least.

    Btw, as you probably already know, much of “Eastern” Europe became Christian later than or contemporaneously with much of “Northwest” and “Northern” Europe. Similarly, Anglo-Saxon Britain and Scandinavia didn’t exactly become Christianized with a difference of 1k years.

    Is Lithuania particularly feminist or did the pagan Balts not promote erm gender equality as much as other pagan Northern Europeans did? :P

  48. 48
    Lucy

    Randomperson

    “The Eastern (Greek) Chalcedonian areas never bought into it ”

    Celibate aestheticism?

    “16. Monks or nuns shall not contract marriage, and if they do so let them be excommunicated.
    27. If a clergyman elope with a woman, let him be expelled from the Church. If a layman, let him be anathema. The same shall be the lot of any that assist him.”
    (Council of Chalcedon, AD451)

    The major fathers of the Eastern Orthodox Church were Clement of Rome, Irenaeus of Lyons, Clement of Alexandria, Athanasius of Alexandria, Origen of Alexandria, John Chrysostom, Cyril of Alexandria, the Cappadocian Fathers (Basil of Caesarea, Gregory Nazianzus, Peter of Sebaste, Gregory of Nyssa), Maximus the Confessor, and John of Damascus.

    According to Origen, women are worse than animals because they are continuously full of lust. Origen didn’t approve of the sexual act even in marriage and encouraged men not to remarry once their wives died.

    St. Clement of Alexandria wrote, in his book Paedagogus that in women, “the consciousness of their own nature must evoke feelings of shame”.

    Admittedly, this is all positively enlightened compared to the fathers of the Western Catholic canon.

    Christianisation of Britain occurred from the 4th century onwards, Christianisation of Scandinavia took place between the 8th to 12th century. So a significant difference.

    Whatever the reason (and I strongly believe that the overarching structures of governance that were in place for over a millenium was an important one of those) the UK and other Anglo countries score much higher for masculine culture than do Norway or Sweden. According to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory at least: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hofstede's_cultural_dimensions_theory. Japan incidentally, scores higher still.

  49. 49
    sirtooting .

    What is the official religion of Lithuania?
    Christianity is the pre-dominant religion in Lithuania with Roman Catholicism being the largest denomination. Other denominations include Orthodoxy, Evangelical Lutheranism, Reformed Church, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Islam and Judaism are also practiced in Lithuania.

    Male run totalitarian states fight Democracy, only women can create Democracies, otherwise all you ever have, is male run totalitarian states.
    John Wesley (1703-91): “Wife: Be content to be insignificant. What loss would it be to God or man had you never been born.”

    The Catholic church were forced to introduce, confessional boxes because the priests were molesting females , it never occurred to them, to get rid of the priests who were sexual predators, and the reason behind that was because, they would have had no priests left to oversee, their corrupt empire being enforced .. The morally corrupt overseeing the morals of others ..

    “If women become tired or even die, that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth,that is why they are there.” Martin Luther

    In ancient Assyria, the punishment for rape was the handing over of the rapist’s wife to the husband of his victim, to use as he desired. Most gruesomely of all, some cultures practised what anthropologists have called ritual widow murder (or ritual widow suicide), when women would be killed on the funeral pyre of their dead husband. This was common throughout India and China until the twentieth century, and this practise is still occuring in India.

    An underlying psychological disorder, called‘humania.’ The oppression of women is a symptom of this disorder. It’s one thing to take over the positions of power in a society, but another to seemingly despise women, and inflict so much brutality and degradation on them. What sane species would treat half of its members & the very half which gives birth to the whole species, with such contempt and injustice?

    In many parts of the world male domination and oppression continues. In many Middle Eastern countries, for example, women effectively live as prisoners, unable to leave the house except under the guardianship of a male guardian. (There are many Saudi Arabian women who have only left their houses a handful of times in their whole lives.) And when or if they do go outside, they are obliged to cover themselves from head to toe in black, leaving them in danger of vitamin deficiency and dehydration.

    They have no role at all in determining their own lives; they are seen as nothing more than a commodity, property of the males of the family, and as owners, the men have the right to make decisions for them. Their male owners have the right to have sex with them on demand too. In Egypt, surveys have shown that the vast majority of men and women believe it is acceptable for a man to beat his wife if she refuses sex

    Ultimately, men are trying to increase men’s sense of significance, the full terrible saga of man’s inhumanity to woman. Many cultures have had a strong antagonism towards women, viewing them as impure & innately sinful who have been sent by the devil to lead men astray. This view was at the heart of the European witch-killing mania of the 15th to 18th centuries, & has featured strongly in all three Abrahamic religions. Used as a mask to hide man’s, what can we call it, if it is not sadism?, what a very useful tool that has been for them.

  50. 50
    Schala

    It’s not aesthetism or aestheticism, both deformation of “aesthetic”, which means, essentially, ‘the looks’ (ie fashion).

    Probably more asceticism. Which means something about religious organization people.

    Being a shallow womanizer who manipulates women shouldn’t get you MORE romantic opportunities than being a caring, sympathetic individual.(Schala)

    Why not?

    Because it rewards being a sociopath more than not being one.

    Unless you believe there may be a brand of misogyny that dare not speak its name.

    And anti-lesbian sentiment is misandry, right, right? Otherwise you’re using a double standard that says anti-gay men is femmephobia but anti-lesbian women is misogyny. Which does NOT work.

  51. 51
    randomperson

    Lucy, how are those passages relevant to celibacy, though? I’m not sure how Origen’s (I don’t know if he’s considered a “Father,” btw, since he was anathematized; I guess only a knowledgeable Christian would answer that for sure) quote is relevant, either, since I doubt anyone would reasonably dispute the existence of misogynist sentiments in either pre-Christian or Christian (or even post-Christian as we might be heading towards) societies. :)

    Britain also underwent somewhat of a re-christianization with the establishment of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms (a bit similar to the northern and central Balkans after the Slavic migrations); that’s what I was referring to.

    I’ve seen Hofstede’s theories before and I’m not exactly sure how I feel about them but at any rate, a large number of factors would be at play in every case. I’m also not sure if you’d accept what he calls “masculine” as some sort of nexus of necessarily “masculine” qualities but I don’t know what kind of feminist you are.

    sirtooting, I think you missed my point about Lithuania.

  52. 52
    Lucy

    “Lucy, how are those passages relevant to celibacy, though? ”

    Which ones?

  53. 53
    sirtooting .

    @ randomperson .. No. 51

    “sirtooting, I think you missed my point about Lithuania.”
    Have I? .. What was your point then?

  54. 54
    sirtooting .

    “If women become tired or even die, that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth, that is why they are there.” Martin Luther. 1500 CE

    BBC News .. 1st February 2014
    Spain: Thousands march over tougher abortion law.

    Nothing changes ..
    Thousands of Spaniards have protested in Madrid against a draft law backed by the government that would restrict the right to abortion.
    Activists carried banners saying “Allow mothers to decide” and “Deciding makes us free”.

    The law would limit abortion to cases of rape, and instances where the health of the mother was at serious risk..

    Often on the internet, you will see misogynists quoting several feminist who they claim are anti men. The same list of quotes are repeated all over the internet on various anti female sites. I often wonder why is it the same list repeated over and over again? And then it dawned on me, it’s because this is virtually all they can find.
    However go to any of these anti female sites and you can find anti female quotes by the million and not just on those sites, they are virtually everywhere, all over the internet .. you can’t miss them, utube, facebook, twitter , etc .. millions of them being written every second, every minute, of every day.
    Here are a few, from a few years ago ..
    “The woman who refuses to do her conyugal duty must be thrown to the river.” Sumerian Constitution, Mesopotamia, circa 2000 BCE.

    “When a woman misbehaves and fails to do her duties at home, the husband is entitled to submit her to slavery. This service may be done at the home of anyone designated by the husband and, while it lasts, it is licit for the husband to marry another woman.” Hamurabi Code, Babylon, circa 1700 BCE.

    “Even if the behavior of the husband is reprehensible, and even if he has affairs wuith other women, the virtuous woman must revere her husband like a God. During infancy, a woman must obey her father. In marriage, she must obey her husband. After her husband dies, she must obey her sons. A woman should never govern herself. Laws of Manu, India, 1500 BCE.

    “Men are superior to women because Allah gave men supremacy over women. Therefore, men receive from Allah twice as much as women. Husbands who are disobeyed by their wives can punish them, confine them to bed and even beat them. Women are the greatest calamity men received fro Allah.” Quran, written by disciples of Mohammed, Arabia, circa 700 BCE.

    “A woman should venerate her husband like a God. Every day in the morning, nine consecutive times, she must postrate at the feet of her husband and ask, ‘My lord, what do you want me to do?’” Zaratustra, Persian philosopher, circa 600 BCE.

    “Women, slaves, and foreigners are not citizens.” Pericles, Greece, circa 500 BCE.

    “Women are the most corrupted and corruptible beings alive in the world.” Confucius, circa 500 BCE.

    “Nature makes women when it cannot make men. Women are, therefore, inferior men.” Aristotle, Greece, circa 400 BCE.

    “Women are enemies of peace, sources of anxiety, the cause of fights that destroy all tranquility. Women are like the devil.” Petrarca, Italy, circa 1400 CE.

    “The worst thing a woman can do is to pretend to be wise.” Martin Luther, Germany, circa 1500 CE.

    “Children, idiots, the mentally disturbed, and women, do not have the capacity to transact business.” Henry VIII, England, circa 1500 CE.

    “As long as there are intelligent men on Earth, well read women will die single.” Jean-Jacques Rousseau, France, 1700s CE.

    “Women can be sent to school, but her minds are not adequate for the higher sciences such as philosophy.” Friederich Hegel, Germany, 1800s BCE.

    “Anatomy is destiny.” Sigmung Freud, Austria, early 1900s CE.

    “Men are social, women are sexual.” Attributed to a distinguished psychiatrist, Cuba, 1950s CE.

    Saint Augustine of Hippo, Church Father, Bishop of Hippo Regius, 354 – 430
    “woman is defective and misbegotten, the production of woman comes from a defect.”

    Tertullian, one of the early church fathers, wrote:
    “In pain shall you bring forth children, woman, and you shall turn to your husband and he shall rule over you.”

    Clement of Alexandria (150?-215?): “Every woman should be filled with shame by the thought that she is a woman.”
    Pope Gregory I (540-604): “Woman is slow in understanding”

    Reformer, founder of Scottish Presbyterianism John Knox (1513-72): “Woman was made for only one reason, to serve and obey man.”
    St. Thomas Aquinas: “Summa Theologica” (92)
    “Women are an embryonic defect”

    Shall we ponder on what these men’s motives were?

    The Inquisitors who wrote The Malleus Maleficarum, explained that women are more likely to become witches than men because the female sex is more concerned with things of the flesh than men; being formed from a man’s rib, they are only “imperfect animals” and “crooked” whereas man belongs to a privileged sex from whose midst Christ emerged.

    King James I estimated that the ratio of women to men who succumbed to witchcraft was twenty to one. Of those formally persecuted for witchcraft, between 80 to 90 percent were women.

    “What is the difference whether it is in a wife or a mother,
    it is still Eve the temptress that we must beware of in any woman…
    I fail to see what use woman can be to man, if one excludes the function
    of bearing children.”
    - Saint Augustine (the prominent pioneer of Western theology)

    Endless Ad Feminam attacks .. This hatred, this punishment is exacted for not being born male.
    All roads lead to Rome .. whatever reason they can use to excuse this hatred, examine it carefully and the core reason will always be the same .. because Females aren’t born Male.

  55. 55
    Schala

    Endless Ad Feminam attacks .. This hatred, this punishment is exacted for not being born male.

    Conscription, historically, and for thousands of years: exacted upon boys and men who can wield weapons, sent to their probable deaths. For the crime of being born male.

    Nowadays, military service is mandatory often only for men, if it’s mandatory at all. In most countries with very few exceptions (Norway is the only one I heard of, and its very very recent).

    Retirement age 5 years later in a few dozen countries for men, the reverse never happens. Keep in mind you CAN work past retirement age, but you can’t get retirement benefits before that (at best you get a penalty, at worst nothing).

  56. 56
    Thil

    @Superficially Anonymous @32

    What the hell kind of study program has a stated ideology

  57. 57
    Thil

    @sirtooting

    Everything you say is either demonstrably untrue or a gross generalisation. Please stop saying things

  58. 58
    Thil

    @sirtooting

    people only ever respond to you because you make so many comments that you become difficult to ignore. It’s like if you keep seeing a guy in pub who says the moon is really a space station made by the CIA, eventually you’re going to snap and tell him why he’s full of shit if he doesn’t ever let up

  59. 59
    Superficially Anonymous

    @Thil 56:

    It is rather an oxymoron isn’t it? Data shouldn’t have beliefs.

  60. 60
    A Masked Avenger

    drken,

    I don’t understand why you think that TV should show women choosing “nice guys” instead of “jerks” so as to not promote misandry.

    I think he’s suggesting the opposite: that shows in which women prefer jerks promote misogyny in men, not misandry. They reinforce the belief that women are irrationally drawn to men who abuse and hurt them, and that the way to attract women is to be abusive.

    I’ve never watched 2.5 men, so no opinion about that particular instance.

  61. 61
    sirtooting .

    @ Thil

    Just because you say something is true or isn’t true doesn’t mean it is, that is only your opinion and opinions are like arseholes, everyone has one

    Whilst It is not arrogant to believe your opinions & arguments are correct, it is arrogant and also pathetic to attack the person verbally but not their arguments because you are unable to counter them.
    These are called ad feminam and ad hominem attacks

    These kind of tactics are usually employed to undermine and attack the person, this because whoever is employing them lacks the ability and intelligence to attack their arguments, so in a final desperate resort attacks the person instead.
    These attacks are trite and vacuous and ultimately only reflect the character of the person who uses them

    If you ask me what I think of people such as these? Well,.. I never think of them

    So Counter argue my argument with evidence or shut up.

  62. 62
    sirtooting .

    @ Schala .. No.55

    Why couldn’t women have the right to vote. ?

    Karen Straughan, said women didn’t deserve the vote because they didn’t go to war.
    And this is why her reasoning is a monument to her stupidity

    Circular reasoning, ,..
    Women weren’t allowed to be involved in the military for exactly the same reason they weren’t allowed the vote.

    And yet women and children and men do go to war .. And men don’t want women armed, they have been wholly against it for centuries .. And how strange is that?. When at exactly the same time, men have never been against shooting or bombing women who remained unarmed and all due to mens insistence.

    Females in war, to the victors are regarded as trophies of war .. because the victors are male .. males fighting in their wars .. and their reward for this self created war, the dramas of their own making is to further enslave females.

    Men have been wholly against arming women whilst they themselves are armed to the teeth .. but sadly they have never been against shooting and bombing women, who are unarmed.

  63. 63
    Adiabat

    Thil (56):

    What the hell kind of study program has a stated ideology

    I think carnation meant Gender Studies. The fact that he referred to it as feminist studies is rather telling imo. And it’s not as though no-one knew which field of study he was referring to.

    Carnation: What value does peer review add to a theory in ‘Feminist Studies’?

    Drken (33):

    Charlie Sheen’s character is supposed to be a womanizer and would just be pathetic if he didn’t actually get women (see Wolowitz, Howard from another Chuck Lorre show). But he doesn’t get them by being a jerk, he gets them by being attractive, witty, successful, and musically talented.

    He also has numerous negative qualities: He’s selfish, he’s unfaithful, he’s a liar, he treats women as little more than a conquest. The point is that he still attracts women despite these “qualities”.

    Alan oto hand is the opposite: He giving, he’s faithful, he’s honest, he treats women as people. But his negative qualities are the opposite of Charlie’s positive ones.

    Yet only Charlie attracts women, indicating that his negative qualities aren’t enough to nullify his positive ones, while Alan’s are. What does this tell us about the qualities that a man should adopt and nurture to be successful at attracting women?

    I suppose the only thing that really matters, and what turns this conversation from just being about a TV show, is how representative such things are of real life. There is an argument that a comedy show just wouldn’t be successful if its tropes weren’t recognisable by its audience.

  64. 64
    Thil

    @sirtooting @61

    I’ve tried responding to your “arguments” with logic and reason, you don’t respond to it. You either misunderstand what we’re saying or comeback with another argument based on logical fallacies and blatant untruth.

    There’s no intellectual nourishment to be gained from engaging with you. I’m only writing this because you are irritating and it makes me feel better to tell you off

  65. 65
    JT

    @Adiabat

    You do realize that the vast majority of women that Charlie dates have the same characteristics that he does. They are usually just as dysfunctional, albeit in different ways, and they are generally physically attractive. To many women so is Charlie. Alan on the other hand is not typically what most attractive women would consider appealing physically. Neither is he a “good” catch as he is generally broke and doesnt even have his own place. Its funny, most guys who complain about being a “nice” guy and not getting any dates are usually the same ones ignoring all the “nice” women who do have an interest in them. The truth is they dont want to be with those women for the same reason Charlies women dont want to be with Alan. They arent good looking or appealing enough to them. I think they have a word for people like that.

  66. 66
    Thil

    @Adiabat @63

    Charlie Sheen gets women easily because he’s on TV. His physical appearance and personality are largely irrelevant to his ability to get laid

  67. 67
    sirtooting .

    @ Thil .. No. 64

    If you can counter argue anything I have to say, then do that thing?.. o/w stfu

    “If women become tired or even die, that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth, that is why they are there.” Martin Luther. 1500 CE

    BBC News .. 1st February 2014
    Spain: Thousands march over tougher abortion law.

    Nothing changes ..
    Thousands of Spaniards have protested in Madrid against a draft law backed by the government that would restrict the right to abortion.
    Activists carried banners saying “Allow mothers to decide” and “Deciding makes us free”.

    The law would limit abortion to cases of rape, and instances where the health of the mother was at serious risk..

    ‘Risking women’s lives’
    Correspondents say Saturday’s demonstration was one of the largest since Spain’s centre-right government backed the new legislation in December.

    Supported by several Spanish opposition parties, protesters called on Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, who drafted the law, to resign.
    “I came because I think this takes our country back many years regarding women’s rights, criminalising something that shouldn’t be a crime,” said demonstrator Ana Alonso.

    “We overcame this a long time ago and we have a right to have abortion performed under proper conditions without risking women’s lives and their health.”
    The current law, brought in by Spain’s previous Socialist government in 2010, was opposed by the Catholic Church and conservative groups

    They say abortion law should not be based on a woman’s right to decide, but the right to life of the unborn child.
    The ruling Popular Party made changing the law one of its main promises in its 2011 election campaign.

    The opposition Socialist Party has warned that the measure would send women into dangerous backstreet clinics for abortions.
    The law still needs approval of parliament but is expected to pass because the Popular Party has a large majority

    Anatomy is destiny.” Sigmung Freud, Austria, early 1900s CE

    Tertullian, one of the early church fathers, wrote:
    “In pain shall you bring forth children, woman, and you shall turn to your husband and he shall rule over you.”

    Clement of Alexandria (150?-215?): “Every woman should be filled with shame by the thought that she is a woman.”

    “Even if the behavior of the husband is reprehensible, and even if he has affairs wuith other women, the virtuous woman must revere her husband like a God. During infancy, a woman must obey her father. In marriage, she must obey her husband. After her husband dies, she must obey her sons. A woman should never govern herself. Laws of Manu, India, 1500 BCE.

    “What is the difference whether it is in a wife or a mother,
    it is still Eve the temptress that we must beware of in any woman…
    I fail to see what use woman can be to man, if one excludes the function
    of bearing children.”

    - Saint Augustine (the prominent pioneer of Western theology)

  68. 68
    Adiabat

    Thil (66): Charlie is the name of Charlie Sheen’s character on the programme. I was talking about the character.

    JT (65): Can’t say I disagree with you wrt that fact physically attractive people can act however they want and still attract people. Hell, they can do nothing and attract people. But what if they acted like Alan? Do you think that their success with women will go up or down?

    Also, at no point has anyone suggested that Alan succeed with the same women Charlie dates. Alan rarely attracts anyone. And trying to paint nice guys as hypocrites based on nothing but your own guesswork about their lives seems a bit unfair.

  69. 69
    JT

    @Adiabat

    The thing is we only get to see Alan typically pining over Charlie’s dates. And truth be told, in the show at least, his ex wife is pretty attractive and his recent girlfriend was pretty attractive. Are we to assume because of the sheer number of women Charlie attracts that Alan is hardone by? As far as “nice guys” goes, which is subjective at best. Most of the ones I have seen dont get women because they are typically choosing ones who dont want them. I know plenty of non typical attractive people who have no issues getting dates because they are engaging, confident and not dependant on a partner to define their self worth. Alan acts unattractive more than he actually is.

  70. 70
    Schala

    I know plenty of non typical attractive people who have no issues getting dates because they are engaging, confident and not dependant on a partner to define their self worth. Alan acts unattractive more than he actually is.

    In other words: Act confident, be attractive!

    That’s gonna work with someone who has no reason to be confident, right?

  71. 71
    JT

    @Schala

    Then I guess they need to work on some issues, right? Im sure there are plenty of unattractive, unconfident women who would date or marry them. But thats not what they want, now is it.

  72. 72
    Schala

    Then I guess they need to work on some issues, right? Im sure there are plenty of unattractive, unconfident women who would date or marry them. But thats not what they want, now is it.

    I’m sure those unattractive unconfident women approach him. Right?

    Oh you mean he needs to approach, too?

    I’m shy, and I’m perceived as female. Ergo, I got the privilege of NOT having to approach, and having people approach me. Even though I’m not traditionally attractive (I’m far from ugly, but I’m no model either, I don’t use make-up, and have small breasts – and the being trans thing is a pretty big dealbreaker for most), I STILL have more chances than the Alans of this world.

    And I don’t need to be confident. Since I can be approached.

  73. 73
    Schala

    You seem to think he has a silver spoon and just refuses the offers he does get. When the situation is, he probably gets ZERO intentions of interest signified to him. Even from chubby women.

  74. 74
    JT

    @Schala

    You obviously ignored the point about his ex wife and girlfriend. Hyperbole as always. I remember at 16 and being only 90 pounds and having a chubby girl send me a love letter. Good on her, even though I didnt think she was hot enough for me.

  75. 75
    Schala

    Good for you. Pre-transition, I got very little attention.

    Now I get more, a magnitude higher.

    Just as confident, just as shy.

    I dated once at 16 pre-transition. That was it. I practiced kissing at 12, but it didn’t mean anything on either side. Nothing else until I was 25.

  76. 76
    fourth of july, asbury park

    @Schala

    Are you aware that some women don’t get approached by men. Perhaps you’re more attractive than you feel, or perhaps you have some other quality the men find appealing. I started getting used to approaching men at a very young age, simply because the types of boys I liked weren’t the type that ever approached me. Passivity has its disadvantages.

    Now, that I’m older and have put on a little weight* men almost never approach me anymore. Enjoy it while you can. I’m sure you didn’t intend it, but your “even chubby girls” hurt my feelings.

    *Usually when I write this on the internet I get diet and exercise advice. When I want advice I’ll ask. Also, I said heavier. I’m too heavy to be attractive to most men but I’m still a “healthy” weight. Thinness in regards to beauty has very little, if any, connection to health.

  77. 77
    Schala

    Are you aware that some women don’t get approached by men.

    I’m aware that the vast majority of men don’t get approached by women, period. Not because they’re ugly, not because they’re unattractive. Just because they’re not Super Attractive. To be approached regularly, they need to be rich, famous, of high social rank or status within their circle/milieu (like the famous quarterback example everyone likes to stereotype as the alpha male of school). They can also be extremely physically handsome. (like on a 10 scale, they’d need to be 9s or 10s to even get the time of day).

    I don’t get dozens of men after me. I’m not social, barely go out, and avoid social venues like bars. I also don’t currently work. Plus I have a boyfriend. But I still know, for a fact that I’m considered more attractive now, than I ever was pre-transition. I would get zero signals of interest a year (from anyone ever). Now I could easily get old men to flirt with me in stores. No idea what I do for old men.

    If I had to judge myself on a scale of 1 to 10. I was a 3 maybe. Androgyny is not exactly prized in men. Now I’d say I was a 7 when I was slimmer, and a 6 now (I’m 145 lbs for 5’6″, I used to be 110 lbs). I expect to go back to 120 this summer, and to stay there. My bone size doesn’t allow for much weight, even healthy weight for my height. I have no width to my hips, or my shoulders, so it almost all goes on my belly whenever I’m above 120-125. I don’t use make-up, don’t think fashion is something to follow (I make my own low fashion), and won’t go for cosmetic surgery.

    I don’t care about having kids, and don’t measure my life’s success on whether I reproduce. All I gain is companionship. And for that, compatibility is the only thing that matters to me. Every other factor out the window.

  78. 78
    fourth of july, asbury park

    @ Shala

    I said you hurt my feelings and you didn’t respond to that. When someone responds to another person’s emotional distress regarding his or her weight, with more talk about weight it feeds into that emotional distress. You have upset me greatly and I’m trying very hard to not lash out defensively. For a recovering anorexic, what you wrote would have been triggering.

    As it happens, I’ve always been extremely sensitive to the things men go through while dating. Many of my closest platonic friends are men. My best friend, who is incredibly sweet, has had a hell of a time with women. I’m not fond of gender roles that require men to do the asking. Never liked it, never will, and I think it’s harmful to both sides. I’ve always made a point of approaching men, however I’ve stopped since I’ve begun to find that I’m and too old and too… healthy (because I’m healthier than when I was skinny) for men to find attractive.

    I remember at 16 and being only 90 pounds and having a chubby girl send me a love letter. Good on her, even though I didnt think she was hot enough for me.

    Jesus fucking christ – and I’ve been struggling with whether or not to commit suicide because I don’t want to spend the rest of my life alone. I’ve been told recently that I shouldn’t discuss my suicidal thoughts online, but no one else minds pointing out how women’s only worth is their appearance. No one will listen to me except to put me in the hospital. Then I’m let out with nothing having been accomplished. I still feel worthless. And you know what, I think that’s the reality. I feel better for few days or a few weeks and then I have to face the fact that starting at about 45 yrs old or so a woman is worth nothing to anyone. I watch my platonic male friends continually try to pick up adorable 30 yr olds and get continually rejected. They have a horror of women their own age. They’d rather be alone, which especially hurts for me to see.

    Anyway, Schala, I don’t think this is entirely a male / female issue. Men definitely get screwed over in the dating scene, especially if you don’t factor age into it and you’re just talking about a homogenous group of 18 to 25 yr olds. Furthermore, each person brings to the table their own set of issues that reducing the problem to any one characteristic, whether that be age, gender, attractiveness, etc. becomes a fools errand. When I was good looking, the only men who approached tended to be very overbearing and arrogant. I tended to be attracted to the vulnerable, intellectual, and, yes, androgynous, ones who never approached. So I started approaching them. I was rejected often enough, because that’s what happens when you take the initiative. But there’s a particular type of rejection, when the other person responds, not simply with a rejection, but with the surprise that someone as unappealing as you could even talk to him or her. There’s something especially humiliating about this. A boyfriend once described it as feeling like a bug and having the woman be surprised that a bug can talk.

    Anyway, I feel self-conscious going on because it’s so very off-topic.

  79. 79
    randomperson

    I’ve, unfortunately, watched my fair share of 2 1/2 Men and Alan is shown as getting laid with more conventionally attractive women than most guys, even attractive guys, in reality ever (care to) do. I wouldn’t say he doesn’t exactly have his flaws either; he’s certainly shown as somewhat greedy, needy but not always caring to the same degree, self-deprecating to an unhealthy degree (IIRC a couple of women seemed to kinda enjoy the shtick), even misogynistic, at times I could argue etc. (mind, how I perceive him is very subjective so there’s plenty of room to argue, indeed). It is true that his sexual failures (lol says every guy ever) are made fun of, along with every other characteristic of his, he’s that kind of character and, as feminists would agree too, it’s easier to punch down than up.

    I’m not sure I buy that much into Schala’s argument about the “majority of guys.” I’m not particularly attractive or confident (the opposite when it comes to the latter, actually) and I’ve still had my decent share of conventionally attractive women approaching me. Same with any guys I’ve known over the years. It’s anecdotal but I have no reason to think my experience is particularly rare. Of course I don’t dispute that the more attractive guys get approached and hit on a lot more and that the average women is approached more than the average guy (nurture- or nature- leaning explanations according to your preference). Though I’m not entirely sure the women do, or rather (considering what a lot of the approaches are like) should, appreciate it.

    The majority of feminists I’ve talked to do seem to agree that traditional gender roles can hurt certain kinds of men (I suppose that category would actually include me!) in that area – though some of those feminists can certainly be a bit hypocritical about how they approach the whole issue in some cases.

    Sorry for the scattered thoughts (in particular to our host). :-)

    Thanks for the perspective, fojap, it was interesting to read. Hugs your way, if wanted.

  80. 80
    randomperson

    “that average women” -> “that the average woman” (sorry for the extra post but damn, not correcting something that glaring would bug me for a while)

  81. 81
    Schala

    I said you hurt my feelings and you didn’t respond to that. When someone responds to another person’s emotional distress regarding his or her weight, with more talk about weight it feeds into that emotional distress.

    I don’t respond well to feelings. I never did. I act, or I do nothing. But comforting? Never knew how. No one comforted me. Didn’t have the manual either.

  82. 82
    Adiabat

    JT (69):

    The thing is we only get to see Alan typically pining over Charlie’s dates. And truth be told, in the show at least, his ex wife is pretty attractive and his recent girlfriend was pretty attractive.

    In “TV standards” I would say his ex-wife is unattractive, or average. I don’t know about his girlfriend, I only saw the first few series then got bored. I will say though that character realism decreases as more series are made: just consider how much more caricatured the characters in Friends got towards the end. They became more 2 dimensional and the show became even less representative of reality and real people.

    For me the interest is in behaviours and attractiveness. There are behaviours that men exhibit that women find more attractive, and negative behaviours that they’ll (generally) overlook in lieu of other behaviours. In the past any discussion over what people find attractive has focused on men, and what men “should” find attractive. But we rarely see the same discussion with what women find attractive. Men seem to be criticised for going after “golddiggers” but the criticism that women receive for going after the type of guys who, as an example, abandon them while pregnant, seems to be much less. It’s a tough discussion to have though, and I’m fully expecting accusations of “victim-blaming” (but of course rich older men are fully to blame for getting fleeced after going for the “20-something blonde “bimbo” with huge knockers” /s). Regardless of whether it is victim-blaming, encouraging women to go for nicer traits, similar to how society encourages men to go for “personality” or intellect, could help prevent various social problems down the line.

    As for nice guys, I think that there is likely a wide range of possibilities, and your claim as to “what they are like” is only a subset of them, similar to women who complain that “there aren’t any good guys out there”. There’s another factor at play here related to gender roles; who’s expected to approach. I won’t be as absolute as Schala, sometimes women do approach (I got catcalled just the other day by several young women, apparently I’m “soooo hot”), but the ratio isn’t anywhere near equal. This means that even if the nice guys do have women who would be interested they don’t know, therefore they have no reason to be confident to ask women out, unlike the women who complain about ‘no good guys’. This means that the guys complaints about the ‘gender scripts’ are still valid.

    Though again, I think it’s unfair to characterise all nice guys in the way you are; you don’t know what their circumstances are. I don’t find it hard to believe that there are guys who don’t get any interest from any women, and claiming that they all fit the description you offer is dismissing those who don’t fit that description.

    (71):

    Then I guess they need to work on some issues, right?

    Well yes, I agree. But the disparity is that because men generally do the approaching, women in exactly the same position don’t “need to work on their issues”. It’s not the most pressing issue in society today, but their complaint is valid, men’s gender role is disadvantaging them relative to women in this case.

    It can be hard approaching for people who are introverted, shy, or have low confidence, especially after a number of inevitable rejections. A campaign to change women’s behaviour and get them to approach more would be of benefit, in my opinion. It would mean nice guys who don’t feel comfortable approaching will find partners, and women who feel frustrated by not being able to approach will be able to approach the men they want, rather than only the men who approach them, with less social sanction.

    I think there will be ancillary effects as well: maybe the amount of catcalling women receive will go down, and we may even see a reduction of sexual violence and obsessive behaviour in some men. This is speculation of course until research is done.

  83. 83
    Sig

    Funny because some troll made a post looking for masturbatio tips in a mens area, the implication probably being that mra’s can’t get laid and you seized it in order to shame someone else.

  84. 84
    Copyleft

    Real men don’t let outmoded notions of ‘chivalry’ get in the way of defending themselves from attack.

    Real men fight back.

  85. 85
    JT

    A campaign to change women’s behaviour and get them to approach more would be of benefit, in my opinion.(Aidabat)

    I think this quote is apt for the men who feel left out. My opinion.

    “Things do not change; we change”

    Henry David Thoreau

  86. 86
    Merlyn Strople

    What a simple and fabulous recipe! I love the photo, too!Reply

  87. 87
    voss

    Ally Fogg @ 3

    I believe your reason #5 is particularly insightful. It seems to me that #5 is why we come up with #1 through #4. The Kathryn Schulz TED talk touched on this, but could have gone further. It’s not so much that we want to be right, it’s that we just hate being wrong.

    I write today because I just finished reading a book about this very subject: “Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me)” by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson. It is a very easy to read book about the bad feelings we get whenever it is pointed out to us that we are mistaken (cognitive dissonance). We tend to contort logic into the most complicated arguments in order to justify our points of view such as those you listed in reasons 1 through 4.

    As Kathryn Schulz said, all of us are wrong about many things. This book is a good study for analyzing why other people stick so firmly to their opinions, and how we can spot it when we do it to ourselves.

  88. 88
    Ed

    Unless there is evidence to the contrary, I’d assume that a man who supports women’s rights is simply a liberal or progressive who supports human rights in general. The idea that a person having egalitarian values requires some sort of in depth psychological explanation or speculation about ulterior motives is reactionary.

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