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Douche defends douching

There is a small group of obsessives who really hate Atheism+ — they hate it so much that they pick over every thread on the Atheism+ forum, looking for nits. And then, unfortunately, they write to me in email and twitter and tell me how stupid they are. The latest example: an atheism+ mod writes a short comment rejecting the utility of vaginal douching, complete with a link to a scientific review of the practice.

Douche is emblematic of the patriarchy. It’s a completely unnecessary product marketed to women as vaginas are icky. In many cases, it actually makes things worse. It’s basically completely awful.

So yeah, douching is in no way a natural or automatic part of life as a woman (or even as a cis woman), nor does it appear to be even remotely a good idea, so how do you figure the word is sexist?

That’s pretty much the world consensus. There are only a few benighted places on the planet, the United States among them, where people believe that flushing out the urogenital tract with scented water is beneficial.

So then I see this tweet flash by from some manic goon going by the name @NYBoxTurtle, who claims that Atheism+ mangles scientific data.

#AtheismPlus takes a stand on vaginal douching. How do they interpret scientific data? FIND OUT! http://www.reddit.com/r/AntiAtheismPlus/comments/13tszo/how_atheism_plus_mods_interpret_scientific_data … #FTBullies

11:12 PM – 26 Nov 12

Here’s what Mr @NYBoxTurtle claims is evidence of science abuse by Atheism+:

Science:

Studies around vaginal douching “conflict…and the strength of association varies enormously between studies” resulting in “less agreement…for hygiene and relief of vaginitis symptoms” with “many potentially confounding factors blur[ring] the epidemiologic assessment.” Additionally, “conflicting results are reported regarding sexually transmitted infections and douching…cross-sectional studies cannot determine reliably whether the douching preceded the disease or if the symptoms led to the douching.” And while “there are several ways by which douching may contribute to disease,”…it’s also noted that “different types of douching liquids have various antimicrobial effects” which “may be less harmful or may be beneficial.”

Atheism Plus mod:

Cites that very source and summarizes:

“It’s a completely unnecessary product…It’s basically completely awful.”

Wait. I read the article. It’s a very thorough review of the scientific literature on douching, which reports on a few studies and meta-analyses that showed a possibility of slight benefits, but also found studies that conflict, and other studies that showed marked deleterious effects, including increased incidence of cancers and ectopic pregnancies. It’s all couched in the neutral and objective language of a scientific paper, but the review is very, very clear: douching is not a good thing. Women shouldn’t do it at all, although it reserves the possibility that there are some specific, serious medical conditions that might be addressed by some douching. Mr @NYBoxTurtle was doing some serious cherry-picking to find a few phrases that could be pulled out of context and made to sound as if the paper were endorsing douching.

I read the paper. I was appalled. It was the most dishonest distortion of scientific results I’ve read since the last time I read a creationist’s claims. Mr @NYBoxTurtle was basically lying about the paper to make a petty and false case against Atheism+.

So I fired back, briefly, by quoting the conclusion of the paper:

Conclusion of the cited article: “since there are no demonstrated benefits to douching and considerable evidence of harm, women should be encouraged to not douche”. The linked summary is actually an accurate interpretation of the work. It’s unnecessary. There is no evidence of an advantage. There is evidence of harm.

Did you even bother to read it?

Seriously. Read the paper. The conclusions are completely unambiguous and strong. Here’s the introduction if you don’t believe me:

Vaginal douching is the process of intravaginal cleansing with a liquid solution. Douching is used for personal hygiene or aesthetic reasons, for preventing or treating an infection(1), to cleanse after menstruation or sex, and to prevent pregnancy (2). For at least 100 years, there have been conflicting views on the benefits or harm in douching. Although there is a broad consensus that douching should be avoided during pregnancy, there is less agreement regarding douching for hygiene and relief of vaginitis symptoms. Two earlier reviews of douching data in women (3) and adolescents (4) have concluded that douching is harmful and should be discouraged because of its association with pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, and perhaps other conditions. Nonetheless, douching continues to be a common practice. We seek to review the evidence of the impact of douching on women’s health.

And here are the full conclusions.

The present review suggests that future studies must assess more directly the extent to which douching is a causal factor in diseases such as pelvic inflammatory disease and bacterial vaginosis, or if douching is merely a behavior that is more common among women who are at risk of sexually transmitted diseases and/or that douching is done in response to symptoms (15). The effects of different solutions and devices must be considered in more detail. Perhaps there are adverse effects associated with douching if only certain solutions are used but less or no harm with other solutions.

The weight of the evidence today suggests that stronger regulations for vaginal douche products may be indicated, including ingredient control, clearer labeling, and a required statement on product advertisements and on the products themselves that douche products have no proven medical value and may be harmful. A prospective cohort study or, if serious ethical concerns can be resolved, a randomized clinical trial may address these questions. A randomized “community” trial could be considered, where the communities studied are a large group of people from the same area, such as a college or a city. They could be assigned at random to treatment and no treatment, where the treatment group would receive an educational program regarding the potential dangers associated with douching and the women would be encouraged to not douche. Douching prevalence and sexually transmitted disease rates could be assessed before the educational program and at regular intervals during the program. The no treatment group, receiving no such educational intervention, would be assessed in a similar way. The study endpoint could compare rates of douching and sexually transmitted diseases. However, because motivational factors for douching are individualized and often women strongly feel the need to douche, the educational program may not influence enough women to stop douching, affecting the statistical power of such a study. Feasibility and cost may be prohibitive, in which case we may continue in our present state of knowledge/ignorance.

It is accepted that pregnant women should avoid douching. Intrapartum vaginal antiseptic lavage can be highly beneficial, but this is a completely different irrigation event than repetitive vaginal douching. There are limited data that suggest that douching in symptomatic women may have some utility. The preponderance of evidence shows an association between douching and numerous adverse outcomes. Most women douche for hygienic reasons; it can be stated with present knowledge that routine douching is not necessary to maintain vaginal hygiene; again, the preponderance of evidence suggests that douching may be harmful. The authors of the present review believe that there is no reason to recommend that any woman douche and, furthermore, that women should be discouraged from douching.

Many women douche, especially African Americans. Because the population-level health risks attributable to this common practice could be very large if douching predisposes to even a fraction of the disease burden discussed in this review, the potential salutary impact of reducing douching activity is substantial. Intervention studies may be the very best way to gain both health benefit and insight into the temporal associations of douching and adverse outcomes. We also believe that responsible government, health, and professional organizations should reexamine available data and determine if there is enough information to issue clear policy statements on douching. We believe that, when they conduct such reviews, they will conclude, with us, that since there are no demonstrated benefits to douching and considerable evidence of harm, women should be encouraged to not douche.

So this morning I discover that Mr @NYBoxTurtle has replied…by accusing me of cherry-picking.

What a lovely little cherry-pick! (And if anybody knows cherry-picking…)

Let’s look at those full conclusions, yes?

Seems to me, across the board, as I’ve indicated, the final conclusions are out and more studies need to be done in terms of ingredients, labeling, instructions, and quality, but that douching in and of itself has not proven helpful or harmful, depending on a case-by-case study. Some results are positive and some are not. Not, as the AtheismIdiot mod indicated and advised:

“It’s a completely unnecessary product…It’s basically completely awful.”

Funnily enough, the article didn’t mention “douching” in terms of “partiarchy” or “ableism” as the Atheism Plus mod was abstracting it.

So. My analysis (that results are inconclusive) is much more accurate than those of the Atheism Plus mod (that results are in and douching is bad bad bad – unless it’s a substitute for an ableist word, in which case it’s complely sanctified).

PS- Remember that time on your “Dungeon list” when you referred to the vulva as “the most odious of anatomical features”? Maybe ask whoever you’re doing to…uh…douche. I know, I know, the vulva’s external. Still. “Odious”? Time for a deep clean.

By the way, I’d like to remind you of something from our sidebar:

If you’re PRO-AtheismPlus, your comments won’t be too welcome. Go to their little circle-jerk.

Keep it in mind, drunky. And belated happy Thanksgiving. Sorry that, the next day, we all saw you tweet your way through it. It was pretty fucking sad.

The paper says “no demonstrated benefits to douching and considerable evidence of harm”. Mr @NYBoxTurtle says “results are inconclusive” is a more accurate assessment. I’ll let you read the conclusion quoted above or the whole paper if you’re more ambitious, and then you can be the judge. Looking at @NYBoxTurtle’s interpretation, it’s a lovely exercise in how not to read a scientific paper.

I am totally unsurprised and find it not ironic at all that an anti-atheism+ kook is defending douches against all the evidence. It seems somehow…appropriate.

The bottom line is this: women should not douche, unless they are treating a specific and serious ailment and have the recommendation of a doctor. It’s a peculiar practice promoted by pseudo-science and the cosmetics industry — it really is part of a culture that shames women for the reality of their private parts.

(By the way, the claim that I called the vulva “odious” is typical of this guy. I did not. I was sarcastically referring to the anti-woman attitude of raving misogynist troll who was banned for his bigotry.)

(Also, you can look up my struggle to tweet through Thanksgiving. It consists of all of five tweets, four of them automatically generated links to posts on Pharyngula. I spent most of Thanksgiving reading lab reports. @NYBoxTurtle just makes shit up.)


Amanda Marcotte weighs in. Maybe that link will attract even more douches!

Comments

  1. says

    I will wager that if the atheism plus mod hadn’t included the absurd, though all too predictable, reference to patriarchy, the negative comments would never have arisen.

    To assert that douching would never occur under a matriarchy is almost as shatteringly stupid as suggesting that penile circumcision would never occur under a patriarchy.
    What it DOES do is highlight the crux of the disagreement many have with the atheism+ approach, and the particular brand of feminism it represents, is this lurch from highlighting inequalities or societal issues to declaring it another ‘symptom of patriarchy’.

    Jim

  2. says

    I’m mostly just surprised you got a reply. When I respond with links is when I get ignored at they go on to argue with other people…

  3. says

    Are you denying that we live in a patriarchal system, where women are second class citizens and men reap the benefits? If you are, you have a set of blinders on that you need to remove. Wake up.

    Also, being offended at a reference to the patriarchy does not justify then lying about the content of a scientific paper.

  4. marcus says

    When I was working for a feminist health clinic 30 years ago the commonsense consensus was that: “There is no need to douche a healthy vagina.” (And apparently there is not much call for douching an ailing vagina except in very specific circumstances.) Sometimes “commonsense” is inaccurate and that fact is demonstrated by science, obviously that is not the case here.

  5. says

    So the claim by noelplum99 @2 is that @NYBoxTurtle’s real claim and disagreement is that a bad product like douche is a result of people taking advantage of pseudo-science and marketing skills to invent and sell a product to take advantage of half the population that has nothing to do with sexism or any patriarchal culture? That atheism+ is overdoing the patriarchy angle of it?

    If so, I gotta say, that’s some really shitting communication skills on @NYBoxTurtle’s part. Looks like a whole lot of other nonsense and asshattery to me. I don’t see any evidence of some reasoned discussion over just how valid the discussion of a patriarchal culture is.

  6. chadwickjones says

    Wait, so that plastic piece isn’t a straw? I just thought it was a fancy water bottle.

    Wut?

  7. chrislawson says

    You’ve been rather kind to Mr @NYBoxTurtle. Where I come from, we call what he did lying.

    The review did not call for “more studies…in terms of ingredients, labeling, instructions, and quality.” The only research called for by the authors was that “future studies must assess more directly the extent to which douching is a causal factor in diseases such as pelvic inflammatory disease and bacterial vaginosis.” In other words, there was some doubt about whether the association seen with douching and PID/vaginosis was causal or due to confounding and more research could find this out.

    The problem is, though, that no such research should ever be given ethical approval. The only way to ascertain causality is to perform an intervention trial, and no sane ethics committee is going to approve an RCT on an intervention already known to have no clinical benefits and plenty of clinical harms for the sole purpose of working out if some other associated harms are causal.

    You’re right to compare his argument to that of creationists. He’s taken the authors expression of a few areas of uncertainty as a cover-all rejection of the weight of evidence.

  8. rq says

    I recently picked up a manual of sorts for girls here, marketed towards teenagers, just to see what kind of information they put in the sexual education section. One of the (several) methods of contraception listed was vaginal douching (with vinegar!) after sex (‘must occur 30 – 40 seconds after ejaculation to get ALL the sperm out!’). No mention of side effects, effectiveness, etc. (They also listed pulling out, with the caveat that it was a poor method of contraception. No word about diseases.) :( I’d just assumed that douching had long ago been de-bunked.
    Which is why I was extremely surprised that they had it listed; I also wasn’t surprised, because this is the country that slashed all health education in schools (now wants to reinstate) because it was too focussed on sex, thus teaching children that it’s ok to have sex… (And it’s a parental responsibility to teach that to their kids; because parents are always able/capable/willing to talk about these things.)
    Also, no similar ‘educational’ book for boys – leaving contraception and knowledge about all of this (sex, reproduction, health and wellness, etc.) up to the girls. Patriarchy? Yes. Because boys don’t need to know, it’s icky, and anyway, it’s a girl’s responsibility.

    And this is the new generation growing up. At least there’s some fierce opposition kicking up major fuss against the proposed ban on abortions.

    Sorry I went off-topic.

  9. chrislawson says

    @noelplumb99

    Even better than pointing out a matriarchal society, please point out one single person in this or the original reddit thread who claimed that there would be no douching in a matriarchal society.

  10. kassad says

    Noelplum:

    To assert that douching would never occur under a matriarchy is almost as shatteringly stupid as suggesting that penile circumcision would never occur under a patriarchy.

    What? Mmmh… We are not talking about a ritual like in the case of circumcision (and by the way, the female equivalent of circumcision is way worse by a simple coincidence I suppose, and not a product of Patriarchy. Those damn women just draw Tails again in the great game of “Totally Coincidental Horrible Consequences of a Totally Non-Existent Systemic Oppression”! Now, that’s just some crazy bad luck!)

    We are talking about something that is (was?) recommended for every women, regardless of their conditions, because vaginas are dirty. If you have a masculine equivalent of that (penis seen as by default literally dirty), do tell, I’m interested.

  11. says

    The review did not call for “more studies…in terms of ingredients, labeling, instructions, and quality.” The only research called for by the authors was that “future studies must assess more directly the extent to which douching is a causal factor in diseases such as pelvic inflammatory disease and bacterial vaginosis.”

    Indeed: “The weight of the evidence today suggests that stronger regulations for vaginal douche products may be indicated, including ingredient control, clearer labeling, and a required statement on product advertisements and on the products themselves that douche products have no proven medical value and may be harmful.” [my emphasis] Presenting a call for stronger regulations as a call for more studies is deeply dishonest.

  12. cyberax says

    Mouth wash also increases cancer risk. Yet my GF prefers that I wash my mouth prior to kissing. Is that a sign of matriarchy?

    Sometimes analogies are just TOO strained.

  13. says

    I will wager that if the atheism plus mod hadn’t included the absurd, though all too predictable, reference to patriarchy, the negative comments would never have arisen.

    I’m sure that such ideas as women are unclean, have “hatchet wounds”, smell like horribly old fish and other stuff about female anatomy and sexuality have either nothing to do with patriarchy or nothing to do with the idea that we need to douche. You just have to pick which side you choose.
    I’m also pretty sure that if tomorrow somebody on A+ said something like “water is wet” they’d disagree, too

  14. Pteryxx says

    Mouth wash also increases cancer risk. Yet my GF prefers that I wash my mouth prior to kissing. Is that a sign of matriarchy?

    Does only the unclean half of the population have mouths?

    Talk about strained analogies, sheesh.

  15. says

    PZ Myers @4

    Are you denying that we live in a patriarchal system, where women are second class citizens and men reap the benefits? If you are, you have a set of blinders on that you need to remove. Wake up.

    For someone of your purported intellect that is a really low level unthinking response.

    Do we live in a patriarchy you ask?
    Yes.

    Does that mean all inequalities are as a result of that?
    Absolutely no.

    I put it to you that many ways in which we view and treat men and women differently may be a result of our biological programming and would hold true irrespective of whether we lived in a patriarchy, matriarchy or somewhere inbetween. Do you really think we predominently would send women to war or see motherhood as inferior to fatherhood under a matriarchy? In fact it is illuminating that BOTH our current preference for granting the mother custody AND the preference decades back for granting the father custody are labelled as ‘symptoms of patriarchy’, just with different justifications given: it is all just too easy and intellectually lazy.

    Unless you are a proponent of the tabula rasa PZ I really don’t see on what grounds you would expect us to be without prejudices and preconceptions that lie apart from which gender has the societal and economic whip hand. Just the sheer bald fact that women invest far more resources in making a baby – not to mention the value in doing so – should be ample for us to suspect some instinctive differences in how we percieve men and women, girls and boys, motherhood and fatherhood.

    None of this is to say that we should not rail against this: I am not making a naturalistic argument here. An inequality is an inequality irrespective of its origin and we should should treat people according to their own skills and abilities and not by some average characteristics of some group they belong to.
    By all means let’s level out inequalities but just get away from this cum hoc ergo propter hoc rationale that ‘we live in a patriarchy + here is an inequality therefore the inequality must result from the patriarchy’ because it is simplistic and unevidenced.

    Jim.

    PS: I agree douching is a bad practice and ought to be discouraged.

  16. says

    noelplum99:

    For someone of your purported intellect that is a really low level unthinking response.

    As was your first response.

    You didn’t address the core of the post, which was NYBoxTurtle’s claim that Atheism+ misrepresents science, and doing so by misrepresenting science.

    I think we can all agree NYBoxTurtle got all het up because of the patriarchy claim, but that’s not what xe argued. So, your first post was a non sequitur, which seemed defensive and misdirected.

    There is definite room for discussion on the role of patriarchy in various customs, practices, and inequalities. Even here, with douching, there is room for legitimate debate. But your initial post was not posed as legitimate debate; in context, it was a defense of NYBoxTurtle’s rabid misrepresentation of science in the name of belittling Atheism+.

  17. says

    theophontes @10

    Please give an example of a matriachy, anywhere on earth. (Let us keep the strawMenZ out of this.)

    Exactly.

    Apparently there are a couple of cultures that claim to be matriarchal (i know that because people have thrown them at me in discussions such as this one) but these are somewhat disputed.
    It is for this reason that it is somewhat absurd to label all these wrongs at the foot of patriarchy. If we DID have some well established matriarchies then the claim would be falsifiable and could have some merit.
    As it stands here we have a claim that douching is a symptom of patriarchy because women’s genitals are seen as ‘dirty’. Concurrently, in the same cultures, we have boys circumcised partly on the grounds of cleanliness. So the claim has to be that patriarchal societies have more of an issue with cleanliness, specifically genital cleanliness, than any other brand of society would have (let us say a matriarchy or balanced society).
    I can tell you, in my experience, men tend to be generally far less prissy about hygiene than women and so i find it an extraordinary claim to be made that if women had the whip hand that genital hygiene concerns would definitively be less of an issue than they are given the status quo. The very best you can say is that we have no knowledge either way, surely?

    Jim

  18. says

    @PZ Myers #4 – I have been a strong supporter of Atheism+ from the beginning. The intersection of social justice, skepticism, humanism and (although I didn’t know it then) atheism has shaped my worldview and philosophy for almost 30 years. Even so, I have a serious problem with the way the A+ forums are moderated.

    The problem is not specific to that particular forum, but with how the social justice environment has evolved. Back in the late 80s, I was involved with ACT-UP. When we wanted to hold an action, we got a few dozen people together; it took us less than an hour laying out a plan of action, and met again a few days later after notifying relevant people that something was going to happen to finalize our announcement. I was also involved in some of the early Occupy! meetings in Seattle just over a year ago. At one meeting, we spent three hours discussing which set of gender-neutral pronouns would be least offensive to gender-queer participants, none of whom were present at the meeting anyway. Another meeting was taken up entirely over how to phrase support for the Palestinians: the question of whether the Palestinians were even relevant to Occupy!’s primary objectives was never addressed.

    Nowadays, people involved in social justice want only to… what would be a gender-neutral term for “circle jerk”? No one is willing to actually DO anything except engage in The Process. Any effort to question The Process is shouted down, and anyone who tries to challenge The Process with reality is shunned for their ideological treason. I understand and approve of shutting down “mansplaining” and the like, but the efforts to create a safe space very quickly became efforts to create a space safe from facts, evidence and reality.

    I have to stand with noelplum99 on this one.

  19. says

    To assert that douching would never occur under a matriarchy is almost as shatteringly stupid as suggesting that penile circumcision would never occur under a patriarchy.

    That could be why I’ve never heard anyone actually making such a claim — here or anywhere else.

    In fact, I’ve never heard ANY opponent of patriarchy, male or female, ever saying they wanted to replace it with “matriarchy” of any sort. Bringing “matriaschy” into the argument is nothing but a false dichotomy.

  20. Beatrice says

    Gregory in Seattle,

    I have to stand with noelplum99 on this one.

    You agree with his opinions about patriarchy? I find that hard to believe.

    From your comment, it seems you have some problems with A+ forums in general rather than this particular instance.

  21. says

    noelplum99:

    As it stands here we have a claim that douching is a symptom of patriarchy because women’s genitals are seen as ‘dirty’. Concurrently, in the same cultures, we have boys circumcised partly on the grounds of cleanliness. So the claim has to be that patriarchal societies have more of an issue with cleanliness, specifically genital cleanliness, than any other brand of society would have (let us say a matriarchy or balanced society).

    Circumcision originated as a tribal mark. It became enshrined in Judaism, and many societies with heavily Christian populations inherited that custom. It is only recently that the idea of cleanliness has been a part of that, as the practice of circumcision has been questioned. In that regard, circumcision is primarily a religious practice.

    Douching, on the other hand, is not a religious practice, but a profitable practice. It’s not a tribal mark, but rather a practice that is pushed by the predominantly-male cosmetics industry. Women are pressured into cosmetics by a society that encourages women to feel ugly without makeup, unclean without douching. Whether or not the practice is a direct result of patriarchy, it is the patriarchal nature of society that continues the pressure to avoid that “not-so-fresh feeling.”

    At least, that’s how I see it.

  22. says

    If you’re PRO-AtheismPlus, your comments won’t be too welcome. Go to their little circle-jerk.

    There goes another irony meter.

  23. says

    After reading noelplum99 #2, I would like to withdraw my unqualified support of his comment.

    @Beatrice #24 – My rant was aimed at noelplum99′s observation of the A+ forum’s moderation policies and the culture — much larger than just that forum — which strongly discourages any kind of discussion other than total agreement.

  24. jjgdenisrobert says

    What strikes me is the blaming of the popularity of douching on “the patriarchy” in the original post. This is a little odd, considering that douching is something most men have never had anything to do with: it’s a ritual imposed on women mostly by other women (their mothers, quite often). It’s this kind of knee-jerk “femininininism” (on the model of “journamalism”: something that passes for the real thing, but is really only for show) which gets to me.

    I’m entirely for real action to really solve the problem of inequality. What I hate is this kind of post-modern verbiage to be used to shut down discourse. In some cases, the charge of patriarchy is entirely appropriate (such as women making 70 cents on the dollar for equal work). In the case of douching, women should really look at their mothers, as opposed to their boyfriends, to see the real culprits.

  25. Pierce R. Butler says

    cyberax @ # 15: Mouth wash also increases cancer risk.

    Another one of them there “cit. needed” situations.

  26. StevoR says

    @theophontes (坏蛋) asked :

    @ noelplum99 : Please give an example of a matriachy, anywhere on earth. (Let us keep the strawMenZ out of this.)

    Setting aside the other problems with what noelplum spewed there – like no one suggested that so strawperson – historically the ancient Minoans and the eponymous Amazonian tribes of classical Greek era mythology* (?) plus maybe modern Scandanavian nations like Sweden or Denmark if you really stretch it?

    I could be wrong mind you.

    Not that its all that relevant to douching anyhow too.

    &&&&&&&&&&&&&

    * Hercules fought and apparently feel in love with & /or kileld one such Amazon Queen (Hippolyte?) in one of his legends didn’t he?

  27. says

    …but just get away from this cum hoc ergo propter hoc rationale that ‘we live in a patriarchy + here is an inequality therefore the inequality must result from the patriarchy’ because it is simplistic and unevidenced.

    In the case of attitudes toward douching, the connection to patriarchal thinking and policies is not at all “unevidenced.” That’s not the whole picture, of course, but who actually said it was?

    The reference to “patriarchy” was a hasty off-the-cuff comment, yes — but as such comments go, it wasn’t really that far off the mark.

  28. says

    What strikes me is the blaming of the popularity of douching on “the patriarchy” in the original post. This is a little odd, considering that douching is something most men have never had anything to do with: it’s a ritual imposed on women mostly by other women (their mothers, quite often).

    you think women don’t perpetuate patriarchy? you think men aren’t involved in the spread of “vaginas are disgusting and smelly” tropes? you think men aren’t involved in the process of marketing douches?

    clueless.

  29. says

    jjgdenisrobert:

    In the case of douching, women should really look at their mothers, as opposed to their boyfriends, to see the real culprits.

    Just because a female encourages specific behavior does not mean it’s not the fault of patriarchy. Our society is so infused with patriarchy, even females help perpetuate it.

    That’s not to say douching is currently a problem due solely to patriarchy. It seems to me to be more of a profit thing than a strictly patriarchy-thing. But you can’t dismiss the accusation of patriarchy by pointing out it’s females doing the pushing.

    Take a look at fat-shaming, for instance. Notice the difference in sizes and weights between men and women, and the threshold at which we call each fat. Men have to be much larger before we label them as fat. This is true of both men and women.

    Again, I’m not saying douching is an instance of direct patriarchy. But it’s not so easy to dismiss the influence of patriarchy.

  30. kassad says

    jjgdenisrobert

    You don’t seem to understand what Patriarchy means. It is not “men forces women to do stuff”.
    If you’re confused, do a little bit of research on internalized sexism and systemic oppression.

    For example:

    In some cases, the charge of patriarchy is entirely appropriate (such as women making 70 cents on the dollar for equal work).

    In the last company I worked for, the entire HR departement was composed of women (exclusively), and they were the first to recommend to hire mostly women for certain posts, and pay them less than they would have offered men, as a cost-cutting measure. And this is not a rare phenomenon.

    According to you, since it is a case of “women on women” discrimination, it is not a product of Patriarchy but post-modern verbiage?

  31. says

    In the case of douching, women should really look at their mothers, as opposed to their boyfriends, to see the real culprits.

    the same is true for FGM and breast ironing, but one would have to be fucking blind and stupid to claim those are not consequences of patriarchal culture.

  32. doubtthat says

    “In fact it is illuminating that BOTH our current preference for granting the mother custody AND the preference decades back for granting the father custody are labelled as ‘symptoms of patriarchy’, just with different justifications given: it is all just too easy and intellectually lazy.”

    It isn’t intellectually lazy, it’s an accurate assessment of how things have come to be. It’s a historical process. Women moved from having absolutely no rights in marriage to being able to obtain divorces. Early in that history children were valued as economic assets. Their labor was useful, ergo the head of the household was given the benefit of that labor. The head was, coincidentally I’m sure, always the father.

    As we move through history we viewed children less as units of labor and the emphasis shifted to nurturing and educating the child. That’s when the concept of “best interests of the child” became the determining factor.

    Now, ask yourself why our society assumed that women were best suited to nurture the child. Why was it the case that women had available time for child care while fathers were generally working? If your answer is “feminist nazi bitchez,” I would venture that you’re probably wrong.

    Look, there are often unintended consequences, and the fact that the social roles women have historically been forced into resulted in a presumption in their favor in custody battles is not evidence that the patriarchy doesn’t exist or that it wasn’t responsible for both women initially being denied custody and later favored.

    It’s intellectually lazy to make an incoherent historical claim.

  33. A. R says

    StevoR: The closest, to my knowledge, any society has come to a true matriarchy was that of ancient Crete. At least until they were overrun and colonized. The Minoans are a bit more iffy.

  34. says

    How you find the time to read all these things, and post all these things completely baffles me. I read all the time, but apparently at a fraction of the speed you must read at.

  35. StevoR says

    The usual fount of all knowledge notes :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matriarchies

    Most anthropologists hold that there are no known societies that are unambiguously matriarchal,[3][4][5][6][7] but possible exceptions include the Iroquois, in whose society mothers exercise central moral and political roles.

    As for Hercules seems I guessed right~ish :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazons

    Notable queens of the Amazons are Penthesilea, who participated in the Trojan War, and her sister Hippolyta, whose magical girdle, given to her by her father Ares, was the object of one of the labours of Hercules. Amazonian raiders were often depicted in battle with Greek warriors in amazonomachies in classical art.

    Although turns out they were imagined as living in Scythia, modern central Asia, Ukraine.

    Oddly enough the constellation of Orion was apparently originally thought to be a female figure as Kaler relates :

    The name Betelgeuse is a corruption of the Arabic “yad al jauza,” which means the “hand of al-jauza,” al-jauza the ancient Arabs’ “Central One,” a mysterious woman.

    Source : http://stars.astro.illinois.edu/sow/betelgeuse.html

    Perhaps hence the star name Bellatrix meaning female warrior for Gamma Orionis sometimes also called the Amazon star.

  36. says

    I put it to you that many ways in which we view and treat men and women differently may be a result of our biological programming and would hold true irrespective of whether we lived in a patriarchy, matriarchy or somewhere inbetween. Do you really think we predominently would send women to war or see motherhood as inferior to fatherhood under a matriarchy?

    So do you think bans on women in combat aren’t a symptom of patriarchy, then?

    Do you also think that bans on LGBT people serving openly in the military aren’t a symptom of hetero- and cissexism?

    What biological programming do you think is in place that makes humans in general desire not to send women to war? Was this programming lacking in Russia during WWII? Does this programming only apply to serving in uniform, since women and girls are disproportionately represented among victims of war crimes? Perhaps this programming is related to actually going onto a battlefield? Only men are programmed for that, while women stay home/flee to refugee camps and trigger a rape-y biological program in men?

    Since female animals are often aggressive and territorial–especially toward other females–why did humans evolve to lose this ability in females? Or is the ability there and for some strange reasons humans evolved a biological program in which men are driven to deny women the chance to engage in territorial aggression, while simultaneously using the opportunity of war to rape women? What biological program led to humans trying to simultaneously exploit women in warfare and “protect” them from serving in it? Why does this biological program not exist in other animals? Why does the dominant rabbit buck not try to protect does from the horrors of combat when the females begin dominance displays and territorial aggression toward one another?

    I really want to know how these biological programs work.

  37. StevoR says

    @37. A. R

    StevoR: The closest, to my knowledge, any society has come to a true matriarchy was that of ancient Crete. At least until they were overrun and colonized. The Minoans are a bit more iffy.

    I though the Minoans *were* ancient Crete?

  38. says

    “In the case of douching, women should really look at their mothers, as opposed to their boyfriends, to see the real culprits.”

    The same is also true for a lot of men’s problems. Some of the double standards, circumcision, prison rape etc.

  39. Tony ∞The Trolling Queer Duck∞ says

    Sounds like NOELPLUM is a fan of evo psych if he posits-without evidence, mind you- that the sexist treatment of women is based on biological drives. Perhaps if he gave some evidence for this claim…maybe some peer reviewed literature…something substantial to back up that claim.
    Ok..go!

  40. says

    @43 To clarify as rereading it seems more ambiguous then I meant. One could also say that a lot of men’s problems are perpetuated in large part by other men.

  41. says

    dountthat @36

    Now, ask yourself why our society assumed that women were best suited to nurture the child.

    It is something I have long considered.

    Women invest far more in the production of a child than a man. Pregnancy is both a resource intensive and a very risky process (often resulting in death in earlier times) and the following period of breat feeding only adds to that. So there are sound evolutionary reasons why we would expect a mother to nurture a child from her loins to a greater extent than the father would (assuming he IS the father, only the mother can guarantee 100% the investment is going to her genetics) and I have every reason to expect natural selection to select for mothers who nurture to the gold standard whilst a father can achieve reproductive success BOTH by nurturing his (possible) offspring and by doing what only men can do which is to inseminate multiple females in the same time window.
    So my view is that the old favouring the father system probably WAS a symptom of patriarchal attitiudes but that the expectation that mothers will generally be better carers and nurturers than fathers is innate and would stand even if our society wasd not patriarchal.

    BTW, this is not to say I condone it. i believe we should try and rise above such thinking, even if it is intuitive, and judge every parent on their merits and demerits.

    Jim

  42. says

    This is a little odd, considering that douching is something most men have never had anything to do with: it’s a ritual imposed on women mostly by other women (their mothers, quite often).

    Somebody needs to learn what “patriarchy” actually means before they make themself look extremely stupid.

  43. Chaos Engineer says

    Mouth wash also increases cancer risk. Yet my GF prefers that I wash my mouth prior to kissing. Is that a sign of matriarchy?

    Have you tried brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste instead? That’s a lot more hygienic than mouthwash, and I can’t find any evidence of health risks.

    If your girlfriend knows that you’re concerned about the health risk, and she keeps trying to get you to use mouthwash anyway, then you should probably dump her. If you’re living in a matriarchal society and aren’t able to easily dump your girlfriend, then ask her if it’s OK for you to switch to a brand of mouthwash that doesn’t contain alcohol. (That seems to be the cancer link.)

    Remember that mouthwash is no substitute for regular brushing. Really the only thing that mouthwash is good for is if you’re a teenager and you don’t want your parents to find out that you’ve been smoking or drinking…and I don’t even know if that still works; parents nowadays are a lot smarter than they used to be.

  44. says

    Tony ∞The Trolling Queer Duck∞ @44

    I posit it as a *possibility*, it seems you rule it out as a possibility. My suggestion is that you are the one who needs to provide the evidence as to why natural selection could and has not worked differentially on men and women given the differences in experience their differential biology gives them.

    Jim.

  45. StevoR says

    @16. Giliell, Approved Straight Chorus :

    I’m also pretty sure that if tomorrow somebody on A+ said something like “water is wet” they’d disagree, too.

    Yeah. Hey, if “water is wet” and water is also ice then how do you explain away *dry* ice, eh? Eh?

    (/Joke.)

  46. says

    Giliell, Approved Straight Chorus @23

    Hey Jim, so what about western Europe where non Jewish or muslim boys are only circumcised if medically indicated but vaginas are still icky?
    Hint: the USA ain’t the world.

    My father was circumcised by two non-religious parents. The feeling was that foreskins were seen as a bit dirty and that circumcision was the cleaner option and this was aside from the religious justification that some people had. Thankfully attitudes have changed since the 1940′s to 1950′s but the point is still the same wrt the argument I made.

    Jim

    PS: You say that the USA ‘ain’t the world’. I live in England.

  47. says

    The thing is, Noelplum, people have been positing these “possibilities” for centuries, always to women’s detriment, and inevitably these possibilities have been proven false.

    Women are biologically unsuited to read and write. Women are biologically unsuited to vote. Women are biologically unsuited to run for office. Women are biologically unsuited to study science. Women are biologically unsuited to be doctors. Women are biologically unsuited to teach English. Women are biologically unsuited to do math. Women are biologically unsuited to do engineering. And so on and so forth.

    These “possibilities” of yours have a very bad track record. What makes your possibility special?

    The only thing we can be sure of is that female-bodied women are better than men at gestating fetuses and lactating. That’s about it. Oh yes, and that they are on average smaller with slightly less upper body strength. But with a slight edge in pain tolerance and endurance.

  48. says

    I’m also curious, Noelplum, since you’re in an explaining mood–what is it about mentioning the patriarchy as a possible culprit in the existence of the practice of douching that sends a person like BoxTurtle into such a tizzy that he feels compelled to lie about a scientific study? Why does he feel so invested in the idea that the patriarchy is NOT to blame that he descends into dishonesty?

  49. says

    My father was circumcised by two non-religious parents. The feeling was that foreskins were seen as a bit dirty and that circumcision was the cleaner option and this was aside from the religious justification that some people had. Thankfully attitudes have changed since the 1940′s to 1950′s but the point is still the same wrt the argument I made.

    Shorter Jim:
    My argument doesn’t have a leg to stand on, but I don’t care.
    I also ignore the very informative posts about the origins of circumcision because they don’t fit my argument.
    Also, I don’t know what the null hypothesis means.

  50. says

    The Mellow Monkey: Caerie @41

    So do you think bans on women in combat aren’t a symptom of patriarchy, then?

    No, I think they are common sense. I still support a ban on women for foot soldier infantry positions though the advent of more technological forms of warfare i think opens up roles for front line combat positions in more technical roles (tanks, artillery, etc).
    The british Army did a study a decade ago that showed, in basic training alone, the female recruits suffered many times more stress fractures than the male recruits – a result of yomping with unfeasably heavy bergens over many miles of rough grounds. My suspicion is that the female skeleton would remain the same under a matriarchy and that this alons would still be a very sensible reason to preclude from these roles.

    I think historically other factors have come into play as well. yes, occasionally women go in to battle, as do old men, but no sensible society would expect both parents of a child to fight and, in many ways, men are just a little bit more disposable than women are: the rate of repopulation is dependent on the female population after all, not the total population.

    Jim (better get some housework done now or I’ll be in trouble)

  51. doubtthat says

    “So my view is that the old favouring the father system probably WAS a symptom of patriarchal attitiudes but that the expectation that mothers will generally be better carers and nurturers than fathers is innate and would stand even if our society wasd not patriarchal.”

    This is pure, untethered bullshittery. It’s contemporary Aesop. How did the elephant get such a long trunk?

    As a family law attorney that has worked 500+ custody battles in varying capacities (attorney for father, mother, guardian ad litem…etc.), I have a fairly decent sample size to work from (though obviously not a definitive pool). The notion that “nurturing” is a female characteristic or that the best interests of the child are can be determined based on some absurd fact-free story about “nature” and “biology,” is insulting to humanity.

    If I was told nothing about a custody situation other than the genders of the people arguing, I would know exactly nothing about the custody situation. I would have less than a presumption. It would be roughly as informative as knowing their height, and significantly less informative than knowing their ages.

    The presumption in favor of the mother is disappearing over time. Biology isn’t. What’s your explanation based on your silly causal story?

  52. says

    “There is a small group of obsessives who really hate Atheism+ — they hate it so much that they pick over every thread on the Atheism+ forum, looking for nits.”

    JREF, Rationalia, Rational Skepticism and Talk Rational all have one, or several, dedicated threads bashing A+.

    I give this person credit, for coming up with his own convoluted way of bashing us – as it is, most of them aren’t even nitpicking any more, they are just and they don’t need comments about the patriarchy to set them off.

    Sowas set off by the use of the word “patriarchy”.

    Why not just jump in and

  53. says

    My suggestion is that you are the one who needs to provide the evidence as to why natural selection could and has not worked differentially on men and women given the differences in experience their differential biology gives them.

    Male rats do not engage in the rearing of their offspring. They don’t even possess nipples, unlike many other male mammals. However, despite the clear physical advantage females have in rearing young, the instincts to care for infants is still there.

    When a hormonally normal male rat is placed alone in a cage with a baby rat, he will begin caring for it after several days of exposure. He’ll build a nest–a female behavior–and keep the infant close to him as if he’s nursing it, as well as grooming it and everything else he’s physically capable of (Rosenblatt, 1967). He is, after all, the offspring of a female rat and reared by one. There is no pressing biological reason for him to not retain these instincts.

  54. says

    SallyStrange @53

    Agreed, if you adopt a policy of judging and treating people according to the average characteristics of some group to which they belong then ANY mistake you make in evaluating that group will impact unfairly. however, there are three comments I have to make to this:

    1) That works both ways. If you mandate that men and women must be mentally the same at birth and seek to manufacture outcomes on the back of that then you will also cause heartache and inequity if you happen to be wrong.
    2) Even IF women were, on average, worse at reading and writing innately (i suspect the opposite is probably true, on a statistical level) it would still be as manifestly wrong to label a good female reader as a poor reader on the grounds she is a she than it would to label a 7 foot tall chinese guy as too short to play basketball on the grounds that east asians are generally of shorter stature.
    3) The thing I am proposing above all else is that we treat people according to their own skills and weaknesses. The dangers and misuses you highlight do not apply. I can barely think of ANY situations where I would rule people out on the grounds of their sex (though I mentioned one in a post above with infantry soldiers – though even then if you want to pay for bone density and diameter tests I would be happy to remove even that exclusion).

    Jim

  55. says

    If you mandate that men and women must be mentally the same at birth and seek to manufacture outcomes on the back of that then you will also cause heartache and inequity if you happen to be wrong.

    Thank goodness we have you around to fight against these bastards! The ones who mandate that men and women must be the same at birth! Wow. You sure are on the ball, fighting all those… tens of people.

  56. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    The thing I am proposing above all else is that we treat people according to their own skills and weaknesses.

    Great! It has been shown that NYBoxTurtle will lie because he does not like arguments against patriarchy. It shows a weakness, he is not trustworthy. He should be treated as such.

    Or do you want to make more excuses for his actions?

  57. Tony ∞The Trolling Queer Duck∞ says

    The Mellow Monkey:
    I am quite curious if the possible biological scenario that NOELPLUM posits can answer all your questions sufficiently.

  58. Tony ∞The Trolling Queer Duck∞ says

    Noelplum:
    You are not seriously expecting me to do YOUR work for you. You put forth a possible theory. I did not. I do not believe you. The burden of proof is on you.

  59. says

    Caerie:

    Male rats do not engage in the rearing of their offspring. They don’t even possess nipples, unlike many other male mammals. However, despite the clear physical advantage females have in rearing young, the instincts to care for infants is still there.

    Male rats will engage in the rearing of their offspring given the opportunity*, so that’s a definite yes on the instincts still being there. In our recent litters, both Sam and Havelock were desperate to be with their offspring and remain protective of them to this day, even though they are now adults.

    *Of course, this doesn’t apply to every individual, whether male or female. Some animals aren’t enamored of the whole parenting thing. I’m a prime example, which is why I’m childfree. (And for douchecake Jim, I be female.)

  60. says

    If you mandate that men and women must be mentally the same at birth and seek to manufacture outcomes on the back of that then you will also cause heartache and inequity if you happen to be wrong.

    Every time I see something about men and women being “born”, I flashback to this comic.

    Should I ever manage to have a son, I demand a “Congratulations! It’s a man!” cake.

  61. Marcus Hill (mysterious and nefarious) says

    @Giliell #16: Stop claiming that water would not be wet under a matriarchy, you liar.

  62. says

    @ noelplum99

    matriarchy

    The closest I have come across are the Musuo and some indigenous societies (Dai, Hani, etc) of Yunnan, in South Western China. Whether they feel obliged to “douche” . Hell, I sincerely doubt it.

    But it is not a good idea to pursue them in this regard anyway. Our immediate concern here is with supposedly advanced western cultures who have the full benefit of advanced science and medicine. And yet, through a patriarchal temperament, still choose to see vaginas as “unclean”. Supposedly “advanced” cultures, such as our own, simply should know better.

    As it stands here we have a claim that douching is a symptom of patriarchy because women’s genitals are seen as ‘dirty’.

    Read the fucking bible, turn on the television. There were recently candidates in the US of A (penis-havers) seeking the right for government to control women’s vaginas. How fucked up is that?

    boys circumcised partly on the grounds of cleanliness.

    This is a lie that was created specifically to legitimise the cruel (patriarchal) religious cults that feel the need to inflict suffering on young boys. If you have any non-religious, peer-reviewed scientific studies that can show otherwise I would love to know about them.

    the claim has to be

    Your claim?

    The very best you can say is that we have no knowledge either way, surely?

    We know that the current patriarchal systems that we see around us are broken and ugly and harm everyone. An egalitarian society which holds science and medicine in esteem would, IMHO, soundly condemn the idea that women’s genitals are “dirty”.

  63. Gregory Greenwood says

    noelplum99 @ 55;

    No, I think they are common sense. I still support a ban on women for foot soldier infantry positions though the advent of more technological forms of warfare i think opens up roles for front line combat positions in more technical roles (tanks, artillery, etc).

    Why shouldn’t women be allowed to make up their own minds as to whether they wish to serve in the military, including in arms of the military that include frontline infantry service? Women have every bit as much mental capacity to make such decisions as men do, afterall.

    The british Army did a study a decade ago that showed, in basic training alone, the female recruits suffered many times more stress fractures than the male recruits – a result of yomping with unfeasably heavy bergens over many miles of rough grounds. My suspicion is that the female skeleton would remain the same under a matriarchy and that this alons would still be a very sensible reason to preclude from these roles.

    One decade old study does not make much of a scientific case. Ultimately, the claims about the physical incapacity of women really do boil down to little more than gender based stereotyping since there is a broad spectrum of physical capacity among both men and women – while on average men may possess slightly greater upper body strength than women, variation between individuals is a greater factor than that between genders.

    Oh, and a citation would be nice.

    I think historically other factors have come into play as well. yes, occasionally women go in to battle, as do old men, but no sensible society would expect both parents of a child to fight and, in many ways, men are just a little bit more disposable than women are: the rate of repopulation is dependent on the female population after all, not the total population.

    Women are not a national resource – the biological property of society that must be denied opportunities to make their own decisions in order to ensure their uterii are available to production line the next generation. That such attitudes were commonplace in the past is no justification for supporting a ban in the present.

  64. Matt Penfold says

    That men can very often be happy and fulfilled by being a stay-at-home dad is clear from experience in Sweden. Once the patriarchal expectations that men are the ones who are the ones who go out to work to provide for their families are done away with, and it becomes normal for men and women to share their childcare responsibilities, then everyone benefits.

  65. says

    Caine:

    Male rats will engage in the rearing of their offspring given the opportunity*, so that’s a definite yes on the instincts still being there. In our recent litters, both Sam and Havelock were desperate to be with their offspring and remain protective of them to this day, even though they are now adults.

    Aw. Such sweet ratty dads. That makes the point stronger, then: clear physical differences between males and females and yet the males are still showing the same nurturing toward their offspring without any special intervention on the part of researchers.

  66. says

    JREF, Rationalia, Rational Skepticism and Talk Rational all have one, or several, dedicated threads bashing A+ – some of them hundreds of pages long.

    And yes, it’s the same people who keep those discussions alive – many of them don’t, or barely, participate in any other threads on their forums other than the A+ bashing threads – they even make the rounds on each other’s forums to bash us.

    So, I give this Mr @NYBoxTurtle a shred of credit, at least, for coming up with his own convoluted way of bashing us – as it is, many of them aren’t even nitpicking any more, they are just skipping to things like mocking the physical appearance of a transwoman, or discussing how they are going to troll us.

    Noelplum99 – so we shouldn’t use the word “patriarchy” in any context, for fear it will set someone off to lie, like this person did, or to mock the appearance of a woman?

    Right. It doesn’t matter. They’ll find a way to bash us, regardless.

  67. says

    SallyStrange: Elite Femi-Fascist Genius @64

    I like the sarcasm, believe me I do, but you are the one who made the comment warning that erroneous reasoning in the past has led to bad things, as if the problem was the erroneous reasoning when the real problem was that group characteristics were used to justify the treatment of individual people. Had that not happened then your list of ‘women are no good ats’ would simply be something we could all laugh at.
    As it stands, people suffered because of these reasons and *would have suffered unfairly even if they had turned out to be true*. I think that is something worth point out, even if you see it just as fodder for your (albeit amusing) sarcasm.

    Jim

  68. says

    Gregory Greenwood @75

    Firstly let me post you a link to the item so we know what we are discussing here (one of the great things about the BBC is that they never delete news items):
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1738487.stm

    Why shouldn’t women be allowed to make up their own minds as to whether they wish to serve in the military, including in arms of the military that include frontline infantry service? Women have every bit as much mental capacity to make such decisions as men do, afterall.

    As do people with brittle bones. If the army employ you in a role and then you get injured they are responsible for that. Perhaps it is possible to run cheap accessible tests for bone density and diameter and set minimums that way – if that is so then my objection goes – but short of that you seem to be implying that we should simply ignore any amount of skeletal injury to serving personnel and the resultant suffering to the individuals, the unit and to the military budget. I hate to say ‘political correctness gone mad’, because it sounds like right-wing bigotry to do so, but in this instance this is how I feel about your position.

    while on average men may possess slightly greater upper body strength than women, variation between individuals is a greater factor than that between genders.

    Let me make this quite clear: this is nothing whatsoever to do with strength, this is about the skeleton. But whilst you are talking about ‘upper body strength’ the average differences between genders is actually large which is precisely why many armed forces (including the USA and UK) set lower standards for female recruits than for male recruits for roles where both sexes are employed (which is unexplainable as anything other than unnecessary discrimination, as if a woman can be a field engineer without needing to perform x chinups why would a man need to be able to perform them to do the same job?)

    Women are not a national resource – the biological property of society….. etc etc etc yada yada yada

    So the part where i said that men were more disposable than women at the start of the sentence you didn’t find offensive but the bit where I gave my reasons why I suspect societies regard women as less disposable in times of conflict you did! Fucking incredible, at least if I had been condoning it (as opposed to just describing it as i did) I would have only found one reason to sit slack jawed at your response.

    Jim

  69. says

    I like the sarcasm, believe me I do, but you are the one who made the comment warning that erroneous reasoning in the past has led to bad things, as if the problem was the erroneous reasoning when the real problem was that group characteristics were used to justify the treatment of individual people. Had that not happened then your list of ‘women are no good ats’ would simply be something we could all laugh at.
    As it stands, people suffered because of these reasons and *would have suffered unfairly even if they had turned out to be true*. I think that is something worth point out, even if you see it just as fodder for your (albeit amusing) sarcasm.

    The point of the sarcasm is that the number of people making the error you are so worried about is completely negligible.

  70. says

    Caine @69

    And for douchecake Jim, I be female

    Well at least you have found a new use for those unneeded douches, though it doesn’t sound especially appetising.

    Jim.

  71. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Don’t you have some video to make with overly dramatic outrage and hipstered-up hair, Jim?

  72. says

    Tony ∞The Trolling Queer Duck∞ @69

    Noelplum:
    You are not seriously expecting me to do YOUR work for you. You put forth a possible theory. I did not. I do not believe you. The burden of proof is on you.

    Nature and nurture are the two logical possibilities (including in that confounding factors like epigenetic factors and the possibility of innate aspects to parenting differences). My claim is that both are on the table for humans as they are for all mammals. Your claim is that one of them is firmly off the table for humans (not sure whether you think the same for any other great apes or beyond) and I think it is therefore reasonable to wonder on what grounds you hold that position?
    All humans have genes and no humans are brought up in a vacuum – teasing that apart ethically seems almost impossible. However, in the absence of that to assert ‘well unless we know better we must assume the answer is ‘B’ is unreasonable.

    Jim.

  73. says

    noelplum99:

    All humans have genes and no humans are brought up in a vacuum – teasing that apart ethically seems almost impossible. However, in the absence of that to assert ‘well unless we know better we must assume the answer is ‘B’ is unreasonable.

    As is the assumption the answer is ‘A’, which is the fallacy you commit.

    However, as PZ pointed out a couple of days ago, males and females share the large majority of their genes. It’d be difficult to isolate behavioral differences to the genetic differences. Odds are, those genes are shared for both men and women. So statistically, behavioral differences based on sex will nurture, rather than nature.

  74. buffybot says

    ‘Douchesplaining’

    It’s the more inclusive form of mansplaining, and comes with bonus connotations of causing long-term irritation while purporting to be for your own good.

  75. says

    buffybot:

    ‘Douchesplaining’

    It’s the more inclusive form of mansplaining, and comes with bonus connotations of causing long-term irritation while purporting to be for your own good.

    +8

    Jim is doing an excellent job of illustrating your definition.

  76. Tony ∞The Trolling Queer Duck∞ says

    NOELPLUM99:
    Why are putting words in my mouth? I have not stated a position. I said I DO NOT BELIEVE YOUR POSITION. You made an assertion. You have the burden of proof.

    This is the same as theistic assertions of a god. They say god exists. I say I DO NOT BELIEVE YOU. The burden of proof is on the one making the assertion.

  77. Gregory Greenwood says

    noelplum99 @ 80;

    Firstly, thanks for providing the link to the news article.

    As do people with brittle bones. If the army employ you in a role and then you get injured they are responsible for that. Perhaps it is possible to run cheap accessible tests for bone density and diameter and set minimums that way – if that is so then my objection goes – but short of that you seem to be implying that we should simply ignore any amount of skeletal injury to serving personnel and the resultant suffering to the individuals, the unit and to the military budget. I hate to say ‘political correctness gone mad’, because it sounds like right-wing bigotry to do so, but in this instance this is how I feel about your position.

    If (once the research has actually been done) a preponderance of genuinely rigorous, peer reviewed studies indicate that there is a significant risk, then the best response would be to notify potential recruits that may fall into at risk groups (including women) of the dangers and then allow them to make their own decision while fully aware of the findings of the best research available. Simply denying women the choice – on the basis of likening womanhood to a physical disability such as brittle bone syndrome, no less – is unreasonably discriminatory, especially when the research currently available is woefully inadequate.

    You have been frank in telling me that you consider my position “political correctness gone mad”, so let me be equally frank – I find your preparedness to effectively tell women that they should be denied the right to make their own decisions in this regard ‘for their own good’ to be offensively patronising and grossly sexist, your pseudo-scientific justifications notwithstanding.

    Let me make this quite clear: this is nothing whatsoever to do with strength, this is about the skeleton.

    I was discussing the more general attitude prevalent in the military that women lack the physical capacity to undertake certain roles, and illustrating my point by highlighting the fact that the most often referenced physical difference between the genders – that of strength – is actually less of a factor with regard to variation between genders than it is with regard to variation between individuals. That said, the skeletal angle has not yet been definitively established either, and again there is also substantial variation between individuals to account for if one wishes to use the on average slightly lighter bone structure of women as a bar for them entering certain roles within the military.

    But whilst you are talking about ‘upper body strength’ the average differences between genders is actually large…

    Is this difference large enough and common enough to warrent a ban on women joining the infantry in frontline roles? If you want to make such an assertion, you are going to need to back it up with more than a BBC news article about a single decade old study from within the military itself.

    …which is precisely why many armed forces (including the USA and UK) set lower standards for female recruits than for male recruits for roles where both sexes are employed (which is unexplainable as anything other than unnecessary discrimination, as if a woman can be a field engineer without needing to perform x chinups why would a man need to be able to perform them to do the same job?)

    I am not arguing in favour of lesser physical testing requirements for female recruits – I am arguing against the idea of a ban against female recruitment based upon at best questionable stereotypes about the phsyical capacity of women that are predicated less on scientific evidence and more on culturally mandated tropes about what kind of jobs and roles in society women are ‘fit for’.

    So the part where i said that men were more disposable than women at the start of the sentence you didn’t find offensive but the bit where I gave my reasons why I suspect societies regard women as less disposable in times of conflict you did!

    I was specifically responding to your support for a ban on women in frontline infantry roles – your statement that;

    I think historically other factors have come into play as well. yes, occasionally women go in to battle, as do old men, but no sensible society would expect both parents of a child to fight and, in many ways, men are just a little bit more disposable than women are: the rate of repopulation is dependent on the female population after all, not the total population.

    (Emphasis added)

    Is relevant to that discussion because it replicates the idea that women are a social resource to be used for repopulation after conflict, and that as such they should not be allowed to make their own decisions with regard to military service since society has need of them for other uses. The reference to the relative reproductive disposeability of men was here used in support of the idea that women (and their uterii) are too valuable a resource to society to be allowed to make their own decisions. Ironically, the very fact that men are argued to be less ‘valuable’ in this regards offers them freedom of decision making denied to the notionally ‘more valuable’ women – it is an expression of that form of sexism that denies women freedom in the name of ‘protecting’ them. In almost all cases, the proponents of this attitude concern themsleves first and foremost with ‘protecting’ women from making any decisions of their own, with the supposed threat to women in question amounting to little more than an excuse to deny them their own agency ‘for their own good’ because, apparently, men always somehow know better what is best for adult women then the women themselves do.

    But that is totally not sexist, right…?

  78. bradleybetts says

    But the paper quite clearly says it’s harmful and of no proven medical benefit… it is amazing how far some people will go to deny the facts just to have a pop at something they don’t like! I genuinely don’t get people’s issue with A+. And that wasn’t a rhetorical device, I really don’t understand their objection. Why do they hate it?

    One thing from the paper, “Independently of race, associations between douching and poverty, less than a high school education, a history of pelvic inflammatory disease, and having between two and nine lifetime sexual partners are reported (1). A lower educational level, many sexual partners, and poverty are also risk factors for sexually transmitted diseases and bacterial vaginosis…”. Since when was 2 – 9 sexual partners over a lifetime “many sexual partners”?

  79. bradleybetts says

    @noelplumm #84

    “Nature and nurture are the two logical possibilities”

    No they’re not, they’re the two extremes, the black and the white. It seems far more likely that a combination of the to would prevail.

  80. Tony ∞The Trolling Queer Duck∞ says

    2-9 sexual partners is a lot in the heterosexual world. Everyone knows us queers are prmiscuous and incapable of long term pair bonding and commitment. Why, I exceeded nine partners that one time at bandcamp. {Sarcasm}

  81. Brownian says

    Since when was 2 – 9 sexual partners over a lifetime “many sexual partners”?

    If so, I’m a total slut.

  82. says

    Since when was 2 – 9 sexual partners over a lifetime “many sexual partners”?

    Anything over virginal until marriage, only one partner per life is many. *eyeroll*

    Sexual prudery is alive and well, make no mistake about that. (Primarily when it comes to women, natch.)

  83. Brownian says

    Sexual prudery is alive and well, make no mistake about that. (Primarily when it comes to women, natch.)

    And what word do we use to describe this cultural and systemic desire to control women’s sexuality?

    Patriarchy.

    Suck my musky taint, A+ haters and their defenders.

  84. says

    Mr. Fire:

    The most memorable recent example: Rep. Lisa Brown barred from Michigan House Floor for saying ‘vagina’.

    Well, you see, it’s not just that vaginas are icky and smelly, they’re scary.

  85. magistramarla says

    I’m 55, just finishing menopause, and I’ve never used a douche in my life. Why? I read “Our Bodies, Ourselves” when I was in college. I worked in the library (Catholic University), and the book was pulled from the stacks because someone had complained about it. It was placed on the employees “giveaway table” and it was one of the most useful books that I ever picked up.
    The book cited studies showing the problems with douching, so I never did it. I also made sure that my daughters read “Our Bodies, Ourselves” when they were teens. By the time that my two youngest were teens, there was even a version written just for teens!

  86. says

    Brownian:

    And what word do we use to describe this cultural and systemic desire to control women’s sexuality?

    Patriarchy.

    This has been today’s lesson in The Obvious for The Oblivious 101.

  87. Esteleth مقدس پنیر اور بسکٹ کے ساتھ says

    Lysol was used as a douche. The ads also carried big warnings saying DO NOT USE IF PREGNANT, WILL CAUSE MISCARRIAGE.

    (So, for the record, did a variety of other products)

    Oddly, these clauses started disappearing around the time contraception and abortion became more available.

  88. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    Oh, goodness 2-9 sexual partners? So an order of magnitude and a half over 9 is, like, really bad?

    Hmm …can’t be nearly as bad as vaginal douching.

  89. says

    magistramarla:

    I’ve never used a douche in my life. Why? I read “Our Bodies, Ourselves” when I was in college.

    I’m 55 too, but I read Our Bodies, Ourselves when I was fourteen. I’ve never douched, either. Always did think it was a silly thing to do.

  90. says

    Esteleth:

    Lysol was used as a douche. The ads also carried big warnings saying DO NOT USE IF PREGNANT, WILL CAUSE MISCARRIAGE.

    (So, for the record, did a variety of other products)

    Oddly, these clauses started disappearing around the time contraception and abortion became more available.

    Unfortunately, thanks to abortion being unobtainable in most states now, lysol douches are back, along with bleach douches in attempts to abort.

  91. says

    Josh @83

    Don’t you have some video to make with overly dramatic outrage and hipstered-up hair, Jim?

    If I made one would you leave you Freethought Bunker?

    Actually this discussion here has gotten me thinking along the lines of what ethically feasible experiment could one conduct amongst primates to ascertain in our closest relatives whether the differences in social structures (between common chimp and bonobo, i mean) are nativistic or otherwise. I think I may commit those thoughts to video, if that is ok with you?

    Jim.

  92. says

    Tony @88

    NOELPLUM99:
    Why are putting words in my mouth? I have not stated a position. I said I DO NOT BELIEVE YOUR POSITION. You made an assertion. You have the burden of proof.

    All my position is is to not rules things out unless you have some evidential grounds to do so. Unless you plan on ruling all explanations out here i don’t see on what grounds you select one above the other.

  93. Mr. Fire says

    noelplum99:

    I’ve looked at the study you alluded to, and I have one immediate question:

    Lt Col Gemmell looked at medical discharges among recruits trained under the old policy (1997-98), and compared them with the data for ‘gender free’ recruits (1998-99).

    For the men, the proportion of medical discharges due to overuse injury – for example, stress fractures, tendonitis and back pain – remained below 1.5%.

    But for women, it rose from 4.6% to 11.1% under the new training regime.

    By themselves, these appear to be signifcant findings. But I dug further into the paper (behind a paywall):

    Overuse injuries were recorded directly from discharge documentation.

    Wouldn’t it be valid to demand a correction factor between reported injuries and actual injuries? It’s not necessarily a disqualifier, but unless I haven’t read the paper thoroughly, it doesn’t seem to be addressed.

    Perhaps it would have been too cumbersome to track each subject’s musculoskeletal profile as a function of time, but that would seem like a more thorough methodology than simply taking numbers out the other end of the black box.

  94. Esteleth مقدس پنیر اور بسکٹ کے ساتھ says

    Unfortunately, thanks to abortion being unobtainable in most states now, lysol douches are back, along with bleach douches in attempts to abort.

    I have been told that in Costa Rica and Guatemala there is a booming black market trade in a specific ulcer medication. Because it has a big, prominent black-box label saying DO NOT USE WHILE PREGNANT.

  95. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Brownian:
    I thought only people in the queue were allowed to ‘suck your musky taint’. Isn’t there a no haters sign prominently displayed?

  96. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    NOELPLUM99:
    Fucking fuck. You are an idiot.
    I have not-FOR THE THIRD GODDAMNED TIME-stated a position on anything. I have not said I believe choice A *or* choice B is the explanation.
    Once more: you are positing a possible explanation to account for differences between the sexes. You are the one putting forth this assertion. I am not. I *have* not. I also have not discounted anything. I am asking you to back up your assertion. Put up or shut up. Until I make a claim, the burden of proof is not on me. It is on you.
    Do you fucking understand yet, or are too high on musky taint to comprehend what I am saying?

  97. says

    Mr. Fire:

    Wouldn’t it be valid to demand a correction factor between reported injuries and actual injuries?

    Or for that matter, ascertaining other factors (such as the need to out-perform male soldiers to be estimated equal). I know when I went through basic training, drill sergeants put the greatest burden on those that stood out. Sometimes that was a name (a Korean surname of “In,” for instance, or the poor guy who looked like Rodney Dangerfield and bore the name, “Marco Masterpolo”), and sometimes it was a behavior (like the guy who kept reporting to sick bay after PT every morning complaining of pains in his legs; the drill sergeants abused the fuck out of him, until he collapsed and it was discovered he had a spiral fracture in his shin — then he was a shining example of a soldier who did everything he had to in the face of adversity).

    It’s not easy to isolate contributing factors. It is, however, quite telling when someone jumps to the conclusion that the problem is biological.

  98. doubtthat says

    “All my position is is to not rules things out unless you have some evidential grounds to do so.”

    This from the guy whining about people being “intellectually lazy.”

    You make the assertion, it’s your job to support it. The fact that you won’t or can’t is pretty solid evidence that you’re just babbling and making shit up as you go.

    My position is that you’re concocting after-the-fact rationalizations to justify your vapid preconceptions–making up Just-So stories using the argumentative Deus Ex Machina of “Cuz Evolution.” I can’t rule this out unless you offer me some evidential grounds to do so.

  99. says

    Gregory Greenwood @89

    Thanks for your response. Let me address a few salient points:

    the best response would be to notify potential recruits that may fall into at risk groups (including women) of the dangers and then allow them to make their own decision while fully aware of the findings of the best research available.

    The problem is that isn’t quite enough. If they were to be signing a contract that said ‘get a stress factor then hard shit’ some of the issue would melt away but there are real oiperational and financial issues to employing individuals with a high likelihood of such injury.

    I find your preparedness to effectively tell women that they should be denied the right to make their own decisions in this regard ‘for their own good’ to be offensively patronising and grossly sexist

    If that was my overriding concern then you would have a point. Only a bit of a point, mind. We do many things here in the UK that are similarly ‘grossly offensive and patronising’ such as insisting that mortorcyclists wear helmets and drivers wear seat belts and there is a large slice of societal self-interest in these decisions. Looking at a situation and seeing the potential for either unacceptable compromises or unsustainable levels of injury, absence and compensation you could view as patronising but i just see as pragmatic.

    I was discussing the more general attitude prevalent in the military that women lack the physical capacity to undertake certain roles

    This is something I can comment on, to some exten, because as a firefighter it has been a subject of much scrutiny in my field also the last few decades. On almost every count I agree with you – the individuals personal abilities, physical and otherwise are all that should determine their fitness for a role. Clearly the western armed forces feel differently (setting lower standards for female soldiers and denying female soldiers access to some roles) and my general feeling is that in most instances they are wrong – but not in this specific instance, even if the rationale is nothing whatsoever to do with the historical justifications.

    Is relevant to that discussion because it replicates the idea that women are a social resource to be used for repopulation after conflict, and that as such they should not be allowed to make their own decisions with regard to military service since society has need of them for other uses.

    look at the question i was responding to. The claim i was responding to was that men on the front line is a feature of patriarchy and, therefore, as such something we would not expect to see in societies that are not patriarchal. My view is that there are justifications that make as much sense in a matriarchal or balanced society as they do in a patriarchal society. Whether you like them or not is irrelevant, I am not making any claims that they are the pinnacle of egalitarian thinking just that the basis for the reasoning lies apart from the fact that society is patriarchal.

    But let me just say one thing which you can take as sexist if you like. Give me a big wooden mallet, sword, axe, whatever you like and put me in the kind of hand to hand combat that has taken place for most of history and I fancy my chances of disembowelling two average female opponents, one after the other, rather than tackle a single man (not that disembowelling anyone is really my thing, you understand!).

    Jim.

  100. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    NOELPLUM99:
    And you’re a liar. You claim @107 that you’re not ruling things out. Yet your comment @18 belies that. Though you employ the weasel word ‘may’, it is clear you have chosen to believe it is highly likely that many of the differences in behavior of the sexes can be explained by biological drives. Where is your proof? If you have none, on what do you base this opinion? Faith?

  101. says

    bradleybetts @91

    @noelplumm #84

    “Nature and nurture are the two logical possibilities”

    No they’re not, they’re the two extremes, the black and the white. It seems far more likely that a combination of the to would prevail.

    Totally and utterly agree. At best nature provides but predispositions and nurture/culture then lays its veneer over the top. When i say that A and B are the two options I do not imply to the exclusion of the other, the only extremists i see are those who deny practically any nativistic element to our behaviours and societies

  102. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Oh gee big strong JIM thinks he can disembowel 2 women easier than one man, simply because I AM MAN-HEAR ME ROAR.
    Yes fuckwit, that IS sexist.

  103. says

    Jim, motorcycle helmet laws do not hinder a rider’s freedom to choose whether xe can ride their motorcycle or not. Seat belt laws do not hinder a driver’s freedom to choose whether xe can drive hir car or not.

    Laws outright banning women from serving in certain military positions DO hinder their freedom to choose their career path.

  104. karley jojohnston says

    What a coincidence. I was watching the video of Rebecca Watson’s Skepticon speech (which you absolutley MUST watch if you haven’t already)and the comments was your typical Youtube cesspool. The most popular words besides misogynistic slurs were “cherry” and “picking”. Very few examples were provided. Unless “FEMINAZI CUNTS!!!” is an example, which I guess counts in some circles.

    I just left a “LOL at the butthurt” and went on my merry way.

  105. says

    Nigel:

    It is, however, quite telling when someone jumps to the conclusion that the problem is biological.

    There are so many problems with the douchecakes who wish to yell “biology! evolution!” to cover their sexism.

    To get back to the actual topic momentarily, one of the things about douche history is that it went from “oh, that area doesn’t smell spring fresh, so you must strip the lining before I can place my penis in there” to “single women are douching! Sluts!”, showing that it manages to go back to women having unauthorized sex.

    Of course, the reason so many people are outraged and scandalized by women being “sluts” is that slutty behaviour is acceptable male behaviour. Can’t have those wimmin acting like men, no sir.

  106. says

    Caine:

    Of course, the reason so many people are outraged and scandalized by women being “sluts” is that slutty behaviour is acceptable male behaviour. Can’t have those wimmin acting like men, no sir.

    I think the major male behavior that women aren’t allowed to adopt is taking control of your life.

    That’s a guy thing.

  107. says

    Tony @122

    Ok, so we have no disagreement. We both accept that the possibilities are open that the behaviours we see could be attributed to patriarchal society or could be the result of innate prejudices that transcend the overrarching structure of society.
    What I don’t then understand is why you expect me to evidence one side of this but not the other. It seems you don’t expect me to manufacture an entire society of human beings that is not patriarchal but you DO expect me to link to some equally unethical experiment that would never be carried out to prove the alternative.

    Though you employ the weasel word ‘may’, it is clear you have chosen to believe it is highly likely that many of the differences in behavior of the sexes can be explained by biological drives.

    Then you would be wrong. I believe it is likely that many of our behaviours have a biological component or predisposing aspect which forms part of the picture but that nativistic drives only veer individuals one way or the other and do not in any way mandate the person we are or how we behave. Now, I believe this to be the case with all mammals (based mainly on my readings of frans De Waals and his studies of primates) and as i do not see us as God’s special creation, nor do I see any specific set of circumstances whereby evolutionary pressures would not be able to act via natural selection on hominin species. In other words, i don’t see how we can’t directly (never mind ethically) tease apart these two factors in our own species so i can only look and read about our closest relatives, try to discern if their behaviours have an innate component and then decide for myself to what extent I think this is applicable to ourselves (my best guess is that it IS applicable but to a lesser extent, in other words our learned environment is a much stronger force in our development than for other apes).

    I am not really sure what the references to your asshole were about

    Jim

  108. says

    Okay, I said #124 in jest, but thinking further about the way independence is portrayed in American culture, it seems obvious the ideas of self-determination and independence and even liberty are tied quite tightly with a John Wayne kind of machismo. From articles deriding the “feminization” of men (usually claiming a lack of machismo is synonymous with a lack of male identity, and therefore not worthy of liberty) to all the Legislators With Penises telling all the wominfolk how they should feel about everything from rape to abortion to voting, it seems obvious the ideals of liberty are restricted only to the frontiersman type.

    I don’t know if that’s just the way these folks like to view themselves, like the characters John Wayne used to play; or if it’s something else. But there definitely seems to be some kind of entanglement here.

  109. says

    Caine:

    Isn’t everything? ;)

    Hell no! Staying at home and taking care of the spawn, fixin’ my nightly vittles, cleaning up after me, bearing more spawn, and shopping for necessities are all wominfolk things.

    Y’know, stuff real men don’t do.

  110. says

    Tony @119

    Oh gee big strong JIM thinks he can disembowel 2 women easier than one man, simply because I AM MAN-HEAR ME ROAR.
    Yes fuckwit, that IS sexist.

    In The UK the average man is 5′ 9″ and about 85kg
    The average woman is 5′ 3.5″ and about 69kg
    the average woman has about 60% of the upper body strength to twirl her weapon than the average guy.

    Is it these statistics themselves you find sexist or is the sexism displayed when I pretend they do not exist?
    Am I equally speciesist if I acknowledge that mice are smaller than shire horses and that i would prefer a fight to the death with a mouse over the horse?

    So yes, i DO fancy my chances at disembowelling two women (note I said one after the other on my original post) over one man because we aren’t playing some silly make believe computer game where size makes no difference here.

    Jim

  111. Mr. Fire says

    But let me just say one thing which you can take as sexist if you like. Give me a big wooden mallet, sword, axe, whatever you like and put me in the kind of hand to hand combat that has taken place for most of history and I fancy my chances of disembowelling two average female opponents, one after the other, rather than tackle a single man

    Well, it can certainly and validly be taken as borderline misogyny.

    But at least as big a problem for you is that, as an unevidenced claim, it has zero argumentative value whatsoever.

  112. says

    But let me just say one thing which you can take as sexist if you like. Give me a big wooden mallet, sword, axe, whatever you like and put me in the kind of hand to hand combat that has taken place for most of history and I fancy my chances of disembowelling two average female opponents, one after the other, rather than tackle a single man (not that disembowelling anyone is really my thing, you understand!).

    One of the effects of testosterone is increased muscle mass, that is true. But exercise has a vastly greater effect on muscle mass.

    Put a sword in your hand, put another in the hand of a woman manual laborer, and I suspect you’d be the one trying to stuff your guts back in. Put a sword in your hand, and one in mine (old huff-and-puff desk jockey), and I suspect you’d be mincing me, a man, with relative ease.

    These statistical physical differences do not justify absolutely limiting the choices of individuals by sex.

    You want to know what the patriarchy is? It’s not the setting of a John Norman novel. It’s a systematic pattern of bias which everyone, man and woman, takes for granted and justifies by making bogus arguments like you are. You are the patriarchy personified, noelplum99.

  113. says

    So yes, i DO fancy my chances at disembowelling two women (note I said one after the other on my original post) over one man because we aren’t playing some silly make believe computer game where size makes no difference here.

    Do you have much call for disembowelling people in your life? Do many people live under such circumstances?

    No? Then you are playing some silly make believe game.

  114. says

    Nigel, to tie your posts at 127 & 128 together a bit, it’s interesting that culturally, women were indeed expected to be the primary cooks for family, however, when it came to earning a living via food preparation, cooking was (and still is) a male dominated field.

  115. tccc says

    I still feel the use of the work Douche as an insult is sexist.

    It is sexist because the insult is based on this idea that female parts are dirty and disgusting, so the worst possible thing you could call someone would be something intended to go into the female genital track and clean it out.

    You can say the term means X and we know X is dumb and unneeded, which I agree with, but that does not change how the word is used when it is used as an insult.

    If that reasoning were all it took to make a word acceptable to use, there are other offensive, racist and homophobic insults that should be perfectly acceptable as well.

  116. says

    TerranRich @120

    Which is why i would be loathe to do it and why it is pretty much the only role I can think of where I would deny outright (i can change my mind, I have already on male midwives).
    Sometimes pragmatics outweigh ideological considerations and given that the vast majority of women are ‘denied this career choice’ anyway through the considerable physical requirements i don’t see this as quite the terrible sexist act some people wish to portray it as.
    After all, I would be only too happy to see women as well as men get to perform what to me seems like about the shittiest job there is in the armed forces. I am as irked as anyone when a great play is made when a female soldier dies as if this is somehow more of a loss than any other soldier. There also seems to be some particular benefits to female soldiers, apparently they are less likely to be shot as in the middle east and can often calm situations down. hence i DO want to see more women in combat roles and women on the front line, it is only foot soldier positions with the yomping requirement under extreme loads that i have my doubts about.

    Jim

  117. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    NOELPLUM99:
    Sorry, we do have a disagreement. Until you stop putting forth these possibilities and acting on them as if they are true (cf. Your example of denying women the right to be on the front lines; you base your support for this sexism on biological differences between the sexes).
    Before I go further, I want to be clear.
    You disput the argument that PZ put forth that douching is part of a culture that shames women for their private parts (at the core of which is the patriatchy).
    You feel douching is not an issue of the patriarchy, but rather, is a behavior stemming from biological differences between men and women.
    Yes or no?

  118. says

    In The UK the average man is 5′ 9″ and about 85kg
    The average woman is 5′ 3.5″ and about 69kg
    the average woman has about 60% of the upper body strength to twirl her weapon than the average guy.

    I’m a bit taller than the average UK man and physically active, despite being born with ovaries. In fact, the average woman in the Netherlands is close to the global average size of men and exceeds the average height of men in a number of countries.

    Beyond that, though, is that these are simply averages. We can look at extremes and see how men are larger than women (and averaging their heights does show that the male extreme tends towards being taller while the female extreme tends towards being shorter), but the ingrained social idea that men are larger than woman is also at play. Shorter than average men are not barred from military service, even while people like you claim that it’s physical male superiority that makes men suited for military service.

    The difference between the average UK man and the average Dutch man is very similar to the difference between the average Dutch woman and the average Dutch man. Should only Dutch men serve in militaries, since the men in almost all other countries are smaller than them? If the average UK man is not much bigger than a Dutch woman, shouldn’t he be protected as a delicate little thing?

  119. says

    tccc:

    If that reasoning were all it took to make a word acceptable to use, there are other offensive, racist and homophobic insults that should be perfectly acceptable as well.

    Nope. Douching was a manufactured lie which did (and does) actual damage. Taking a good look at this thread and reading the manufactured lies of noelplum99, which also do actual damage, should provide a clue as to why many feel douche is an appropriate insult.

  120. doubtthat says

    @noelplum99

    Surely you can see how utterly meaningless that statement is without any sort of evidentiary backing.

    Unless you believe in a soul or some related nonsense, EVERYTHING we do is rooted in our biology. The brain is a biological entity.

    You, and folks making the evo-psych style arguments, move from this trivial truth about reality and attempt to draw very specific conclusions. Not too long ago it was a biological reality that women simply hadn’t evolved like men so they couldn’t be doctors and lawyers. It just made sense, cuz evolution.

    Now you’re making the same arguments regarding child rearing and a host of other professions and you are presenting the same level of evidence (none) as people were when they said women just were biologically pre-disposed to be shitty at math.

    I also note how quickly you moved from the pan-society discussion of the “patriarchy,” pointing out all of these wide-ranging areas where the biological differences between men and women manifested themselves, into what amounts to a heavy-lifting contest. There are physical differences between men and women, for certain, but it is society that defines what physical characteristics are necessary to be a soldier, for example. Modern warfare is an interesting thing, and I doubt they’ve built machine gun triggers or the joysticks that control predator drones to only work when they can sense the presence of a Y chromosome.

    But it’s not as though this is a recent thing. You don’t think a woman could have marched slowly into a hail of gunfire at Antietam? Sprinting speed is what won WWI?

  121. says

    I am still reading through these comments so I cannot really comment on them, but I am wondering about the popularity of douching. Does anyone know of any sources that discuss this. I would also be interested in how it differs between Canada and the US. I guess I will try to find some of that information after I finish with this comment. As far as I know none of the women I have been in relationships with douched. Then again, all of the women I have dated have been sex positive feminists that were well read about women’s health issues and probably knew full well how pointless and harmful the practice was. Smell never, ever came up as a problem and we certainly did not use this as a contraceptive measure. But I know the shaming of women is strong here, having heard many of my contemporaries making the standard jokes about fish and other such things. So I would not be surprised if douching was more popular than I think.
    In fact, thinking back to sex ed in school I do not remembering it ever coming up, but that was some time ago. I wish I still had some of the booklets that they gave us so that I could see if douching was mentioned in them.

  122. says

    The average woman is 5′ 3.5″

    You’re seriously out of touch with reality, dude. I’m 5′ 6″ and I’m considered fairly short by most these days. Women are now averaging out around 5′ 9″.

  123. says

    Travis: the cited paper has a section on the epidemiology of douching.

    Douching products, methods, frequency, motivation, and timing can vary considerably among women who douche. The prevalence of douching has decreased since 1988, but it is still a common practice among American women, especially adolescents, African-American women, and Hispanic women. In 1995, 55 percent of non-Hispanic Black women, 33 percent of Hispanic women, and 21 percent of non-Hispanic White women reported “regular” douching. In the United States, there have been reports of 52-69 percent of adolescents douching at least once and one study documenting 56 percent reporting douching one or more times a week. In addition, douching is prevalent in some African countries, such as Côte d’Ivoire, where the douching rate among women has been reported to exceed 97 percent. It is uncommon for women to douche daily; sporadic douching is more common. A dose-response relation between douching and its adverse effects has been found by some, highlighting the importance of assessing douching frequency in any related research. The intensity and method of douching, especially douching with pressure, have been associated with adverse outcomes.

  124. says

    PZ Myers

    Do you have much call for disembowelling people in your life? Do many people live under such circumstances?

    No? Then you are playing some silly make believe game.

    The discussion was on warfare and whether the traditional makeup of armies as male was because of patriarchal attitudes. if you think a comment on hand to hand combat is irrelevant to that then i don’t really know what to say.

    Put a sword in your hand, put another in the hand of a woman manual laborer, and I suspect you’d be the one trying to stuff your guts back in.

    Yes, and the fattest man in the world has bigger tits than the average woman. So what? this is a tried and tedious way of arguing to say that we can make no generalisations about populations on a statistical level because we may find the odd individual exception.

    You want to know what the patriarchy is? It’s not the setting of a John Norman novel. It’s a systematic pattern of bias which everyone, man and woman, takes for granted and justifies by making bogus arguments like you are. You are the patriarchy personified, noelplum99.

    And to think my mother said i would never amount to anything.

    Jim.

  125. Mr. Fire says

    Seems to me that knowledge and practice count, not gender.

    Yes, also this.

    Since we no longer use swords, mallets, and axes for modern warfare, using them to couch your argument about women in a late 20th century army sounds suboptimal.

    In fact, the reality is best summed up in the best movie scene of all time.

  126. says

    Thanks PZ. I will look at the paper then, perhaps check out the references as well if I can. Shockingly high numbers! I feel rather naive seeing this. I think I will ask my girlfriend about this when she gets home, I am curious about her experiences with it. She reads this blog, so she might have read this post anyway.

  127. says

    A Wikipedia chart on average height around the world, for reference. The statistics aren’t all from the same years or measuring the same age groups, however, so take it with a grain of salt.

    That chart has the UK average for females as 5′ 4 1/2″, putting them as tall or taller than the men in a number of countries. There are some dramatic height differences between ethnic groups within a country, as well. Should only the males of the tallest, healthiest ethnic group serve?

  128. says

    noelplum99:

    this is a tried and tedious way of arguing to say that we can make no generalisations about populations on a statistical level because we may find the odd individual exception.

    And yet it’s the argument you’ve chosen.

    Interesting.

  129. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Tccc @134:
    I disagree.
    Calling someone a douche is equating them to a procedure that is harmful to women AND MEN (Queer here, and I have douched-won’t do it again because it is harmful). Were douching a necessary procedure you would have a point.
    This isn’t the same argument as ‘cunt is a sexist word’. That is a slang term for a womans vagina that is used to demean people. At the core of that is attributing negativity to a womans vagina. There is nothing wrong, negative, bad etc with a womans vagina.
    To recap:
    Calling someone a douche draws a comparison between someone behaving badly and a product marketed to women which has a harmful effect. Bad/bad
    Calling someone a cunt draws a comparison between someone behaving badly and a womans vagina (which is not bad). Bad/not bad

  130. says

    this is a tried and tedious way of arguing to say that we can make no generalisations about populations on a statistical level because we may find the odd individual exception.

    That’s not what I’m saying. In this case, individual exceptions are rather common; maybe if we didn’t have a bias, work like soldering might naturally have a, for instance, 70:30 male:female sex distribution, because as you say and as I agree, males on average have greater physical strength than females on average, and if it’s a job that demands physical strength, the distribution will favor men.

    Since when do we think it’s valid to judge individuals and limit individuals because of a statistical property of a group? Shouldn’t we just base the aptitude for a person to do a particular job on the basis of their capacity, rather than that of some average of the capacity of others grouped by some arbitrary criterion?

  131. sharculese says

    Yes, and the fattest man in the world has bigger tits than the average woman. So what? this is a tried and tedious way of arguing to say that we can make no generalisations about populations on a statistical level because we may find the odd individual exception.

    It turns out that in reality ‘examples I don’t like are outliers because… um’ isn’t actually the most convincing argument, fyi.

  132. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Heh. I would like to see the troll go up against author Mary Gentle with a sword.

  133. mandrellian says

    PZ:

    It was the most dishonest distortion of scientific results I’ve read since the last time I read a creationist’s claims.

    Cherry-picking science for data that allegedly support a predetermined conclusion (usually one arrived at unscientifically) isn’t the only charming trait the haters share with creationists.

    But you knew that.

  134. woodsong says

    Janine:

    Heh. I would like to see the troll go up against author Mary Gentle with a sword.

    I’d like to see him try to disembowel ANYONE with a wooden mallet!

  135. says

    So…it turns out that if you separate military training of women and men again in order to optimize training for each sex, you get a significant decrease in those pesky stress fractures in women. Nothing in men. That’s without the ongoing study of what causes the fractures in women and additional decades of restructuring the training to be more safe, as has happened with men.

    But there’s totally no patriarchy involved in saying women aren’t competent to do a job because the job site and processes have been optimized to suit men.

  136. alararogers says

    Without reading the actual paper, I don’t know what they attempted to control for, but my inclination on hearing that women suffered more stress fractures than men in basic training would be to ask: lifelong, did the women engage in as much exercise as the men? Exercise doesn’t just improve muscle strength; it is recommended to prevent osteoporosis, because it increases bone density. Secondly, was there a pattern to which women suffered such fractures? If, for example, people under 5’3″, regardless of gender, are more likely to suffer fractures, but men under 5’3″ are almost never found in basic training and women under 5’3″ are much more common, the solution would be “people under 5’3″ should not join the regular infantry”, not “women should not join the regular infantry.”

    Many strength requirements for various duties, in the military and in the real world, have been established because they are easy for a fit man to achieve, not beceause they’re actually needed for the job. In other words, those requirements are serving as a proxy to determine fitness, not something you really need to be able to do to be successful at the job. Women may be fit and still weaker than a fit man; if testing burdens are unnecessary for the job, and are used mainly as a proxy for fitness, it’s easy to see why they would do more dmaage to women while not being actually needed.

    There’s also the question of specialization. There are many jobs where it would actually be of value to be very short, but because shortness is not commonly found among men, the value of shortness is rarely applied. Women are generally thought to have more physical endurance than men, though less strength; women also generally have lower calorie requirements than men. Is it an advantage to an army to move with soliders who need less food and can handle temperature extremes better (higher ratio of body fat), but who need to be carrying slightly less stuff to be efficient? In some cases, it may be; in other cases, high physical strength is more valuable than resistance to cold. The problem is that, because our model of a solider is based on the male body, we generally have put little thought into how the differences between men and women might be to a female solider’s advantage; the disadvantages are obvious, but we don’t think about traits like smaller (lower center of gravity, therefore better balance; can pack more into a vehicle; needs less food) or higher body fat ratio (resistance to cold, resistance to starvation) being *advantages*. So we expect the female solider to do everything the male solider can, and maybe she can’t; but we put no thought into what she can do more easily than the male solider can.

    In Vietnam, the US specifically recruited short men for certain cadres who would be operating in tunnels and the like. Any time shortness is an advantage, you really want women, because fit women range much shorter than fit men; but if you’ve already decided that women don’t make good soliders, you’re not going to think of it.

    (BTW, I do know how to spell soldier; my machine is being really slow and not allowing me to see what I type until I’m two sentences past it, and apparently solider is my fingers’ favorite typo.)

  137. Esteleth مقدس پنیر اور بسکٹ کے ساتھ says

    I am a woman, and I was born in the US, of Western European ancestry.

    Statistically speaking, therefore, I am therefore 5 feet 5 inches tall and weigh 164.7 pounds. I also have pale skin, blonde hair and blue eyes.

    I also have somewhere between a bachelor’s degree and a graduate degree, in business. My employer has fewer than 25 employees.

    Makes sense, right? Since those are the averages, that’s where I must be, right?

    HERE’S A HINT FOR YOU: of the 8 aforementioned statistically average traits, only 3 are true.

    Does that mean that I am a freak? No. It just means that the variance is very high. Judging a individual based on a high-variance average is shitty statistics and a woefully inefficient way of running anything.

    (For the record: I am 5 feet 4 inches tall, weigh around 158 pounds, I have a Ph.D. in biochemistry, and my employer has around 1200 employees. But I am pale-skinned, blonde, and blue-eyed.)

  138. says

    Some of the responses I am getting here now are taking on a surreal aspect. Are you guys trolling me or something?:

    Mr Fire @147

    Since we no longer use swords, mallets, and axes for modern warfare, using them to couch your argument about women in a late 20th century army sounds suboptimal.

    You seem to have been posting in this thread throughout my exchange and yet you strawman my position so fucking badly it just has to be deliberate.
    I was responding to someone questioning me and making the case that the traditional male dominance in armed forces is due to patriarchy.
    Is it a relevant argument to the late 20th century? No of course it isn’t, which is why i have said IN THIS THREAD that the increased use of technology and changing face of the battlefield means that there is clearly now many combat front line roles eminently suited to women alongside men. Hand to hand combat is far far less relevant nowadays but it IS very important in discussing why traditionaly men fought and women did not.

    caerie @149

    this is a joke right?

    That chart has the UK average for females as 5′ 4 1/2″, putting them as tall or taller than the men in a number of countries. There are some dramatic height differences between ethnic groups within a country, as well. Should only the males of the tallest, healthiest ethnic group serve?

    So there i am discussing why traditionally men would have dominated armies over the centuries and in doing so made the point that in hand to hand combat, such as is the norm for most of history, I would sooner face off against a woman on the grounds that they are generally smaller and weaker. Where, just please tell me, where in ANY of that is there any talk about what size soldiers are or need to be in a modern armed force?

    Tony @137

    Sorry, we do have a disagreement. Until you stop putting forth these possibilities and acting on them as if they are true (cf. Your example of denying women the right to be on the front lines; you base your support for this sexism on biological differences between the sexes).

    You need to set aside my infantry views to everything else. As i have repeated many many times the way i feel about this is the sole exception to my rule that we should all be treated as individuals. I can, if you feel the need for me to, google some figures on the differences in skeletal strength in men and women. Unlike the nature/nurture questions, which are of an entirely different ilk, these differences are far easier to study and far better documented.
    Can i ask you a question: Do you claim that there is no measurable difference here and that subjecting a typical male and female skeleton to the same load produces the same levels of stress on the frame in each instance?

    You disput the argument that PZ put forth that douching is part of a culture that shames women for their private parts (at the core of which is the patriatchy).
    You feel douching is not an issue of the patriarchy, but rather, is a behavior stemming from biological differences between men and women.
    Yes or no?

    I didn’t say it wasn’t part of culture. Communism, Goths, Christianity, tattoos of anchors on your forearm, they are all parts of culture but that doesn’t mean they are symptomatic of patriarchy.
    Douching is probably a cultural thing with no biological slant whatsoever (other than at the trivial levels) but proclaiming it as a symptom of patriarchy because we live in a patriarchy is as absurd as declaring it a symptom of first-past-the-post democracy UNLESS some reasonable rationale can be made. The rationale I am hearing all sounds very specious and ad hoc – in fact it falls down for all the same concerns i have no doubt you (equally justifiably) would throw at me if i offered you an evo psych explanation for an observed phenomenon.

    Jim.

  139. says

    Here’s a thought experiment in physical size as a metric for military service:

    Let’s imagine you have five men and five women who want to serve. The average height for the men is 5’10″. The average height for the women is 5’5″.

    The heights of the men are: 6’4″, 5’11″, 5’11″, 5’7″, 5’5″.
    The heights of the women are: 5’11″, 5’6″, 5’6″, 5’2″, 5′.

    If you only accept men, your average height of soldier is 5’10″, but one of your men is shorter than three of the women you turned away. Is the 5’5″ man significantly more physically powerful than the 5’11″ woman? Wouldn’t it make more sense to make this decision based on individual capability rather than a group average that no single individual reflects?

    Take in the optimized training for sex differences that Stephanie linked to and the number of capable, uninjured candidates goes up significantly. Because they’re not being removed from the pool based on group qualities.

  140. says

    Stephanie:

    But there’s totally no patriarchy involved in saying women aren’t competent to do a job because the job site and processes have been optimized to suit men.

    Now we’ll get to watch noelplum99 latch onto this with glee, given his reading and thinking deficiencies.

  141. Esteleth مقدس پنیر اور بسکٹ کے ساتھ says

    I was reading something once (no, I can’t find it. Dammit!) about how if the military were set up on rational levels, then most fighter pilots would be women. Because women (on average) are physically small and lightweight. Take a peek at the average fighter pilot and you’ll see a short, compact person because cockpits are hilariously cramped. This, BTW, is one of the things that made me all baffled when I saw Independence Day: Will Smith is WAY too tall to fly an F-14. I doubt he’d even fit in the cockpit.

    Ditto, for the record, for race car drivers.

  142. says

    Esteleth @160

    I am a woman, and I was born in the US, of Western European ancestry.

    Statistically speaking, therefore, I am therefore 5 feet 5 inches tall and weigh 164.7 pounds. I also have pale skin, blonde hair and blue eyes.

    Ok, so there is your strawman set up. Shall i erect one?

    I am a number between 1-100.
    Statistically speaking, therefore, i am the number 50.

    See what shit results?

    Statistically speaking, you give me a load of such numbers and I would expect them to average 50. I give you my number between 1-100 and my friends number between 80-180 and which would you expect to be highest? i suggest if you had any sense you would plump for my friends though there would be about a 10% chance you could be wrong.

    Jim

  143. Esteleth مقدس پنیر اور بسکٹ کے ساتھ says

    You do realize that my point was to mock you, right?

    Statistical averages are inferior to analyzing the individual, especially in cases of high variance.

    So why are you insisting on using averages?

  144. says

    i suggest if you had any sense you would plump for my friends though there would be about a 10% chance you could be wrong.

    I suggest that if you had the tiniest bit of sense, you’d find out what the numbers were instead of guessing. After all, we don’t ever have to pick soldiers or employees sight unseen.

    This, as PZ and others have been trying to tell you, is why you don’t make these decisions based on bell curves.

  145. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    Umm …Tony, anal douching isn’t necessarily harmful. I don’t want to make this into a discussion on that, but I can’t let your statement stand uncountered. Of course, it can be harmful, I won’t deny that, but it can be safely practised.

  146. says

    PZ Myers @152

    That’s not what I’m saying. In this case, individual exceptions are rather common; maybe if we didn’t have a bias, work like soldering might naturally have a, for instance, 70:30 male:female sex distribution, because as you say and as I agree, males on average have greater physical strength than females on average, and if it’s a job that demands physical strength, the distribution will favor men.

    Since when do we think it’s valid to judge individuals and limit individuals because of a statistical property of a group? Shouldn’t we just base the aptitude for a person to do a particular job on the basis of their capacity, rather than that of some average of the capacity of others grouped by some arbitrary criterion?

    If you read my comments through this thread (including my very first response to you @18) you will see me agree with you here several times over. You will also see i have written twice, that if it is possible to realistically test and assess peoples skeletal system for bone density/strength and assess this characteristic directly then of course that would be preferable and remove for me this one occupation i have an issue with. However, given that rudimentary way armies generally test and the fact the British Army is financially on its arse anyway, if this require large sums of money to assess every potential infantry applicant then i place pragmatics above ideology.

    Jim

  147. says

    Esteleth:

    I was reading something once (no, I can’t find it. Dammit!) about how if the military were set up on rational levels, then most fighter pilots would be women. Because women (on average) are physically small and lightweight. Take a peek at the average fighter pilot and you’ll see a short, compact person because cockpits are hilariously cramped.

    And if you applied this rationally throughout history, it would have been the case with light cavalry, too. Smaller, lighter people are less of a burden on the horse and would be able to maintain speed for longer. You don’t need a heavy person doing scouting and skirmishes: you need speed. Woman of average to small stature wouldn’t have a disadvantage over the boys and smaller men traditionally put in that role.

    The need for smaller people in certain positions has occurred over and over again throughout history.

  148. says

    …if it is possible to realistically test and assess peoples skeletal system for bone density/strength and assess this characteristic directly…

    Why are you still talking about this as though it were the factor in injuries? You’ve already got evidence that the training is at least a major factor in the difference in injuries and a very reasonable reason to think it’s most if not all of it. Why do you keep hauling this “biological differences” idea out?

  149. Esteleth مقدس پنیر اور بسکٹ کے ساتھ says

    …if it is possible to realistically test and assess peoples skeletal system for bone density/strength and assess this characteristic directly…

    Because bone density is a static thing that does not change in response to exercise, injury, age, etc?

  150. says

    However, given that rudimentary way armies generally test and the fact the British Army is financially on its arse anyway, if this require large sums of money to assess every potential infantry applicant then i place pragmatics above ideology.

    Men of Indian descent are roughly the same size as white women in the UK. Do you suggest barring British Indians from serving, so as not to overburden the British Army with assessing individuals?

  151. says

    Stephanie @158

    Hi Stephanie,
    I read the abstract you link to but it is all very vague.
    For instance it says this:

    Single-sex training apparently can provide physical demands that are more commensurate with the capability of female recruits.

    I mean what exactly does that mean? It doesn’t explicitly say ‘easier’ or ‘reduced load’ but it sounds suspiciously like it. As I said earlier in this blog, for some army roles that BOTH men and women perform entry requirements are already discriminatory in that female applicants have different standards to male applicants (slower run times and less press ups, pull ups etc) and i know the US Army is the same, so I have no reason to rule out the ides that ‘demands that are more commensurate with the capability of female recruits’ means lighter loads, shorter yomps etc.

    MY guess is (and that is all it is), if you equalised the tests for both sexes and opened up all infantry roles to women the net result would be less women, not more women (after all, if it made mo difference they wouldnt have easier tests for women in the first place). That seems to me to be a bit of an issue because nowadays the military really needs female applicants and if you removed the sole justification for such differential testing then this vital component in their recruitment will dry up.

    Don’t suppose you have a link to more than just this abstract, Stephanie?

    Jim.

  152. Mr. Fire says

    and yet you strawman my position so fucking badly it just has to be deliberate.

    Nah, I just didn’t follow the comments far enough back. My goof.

  153. says

    Esteleth @172

    Because bone density is a static thing that does not change in response to exercise, injury, age, etc?

    So how much spoon-feeding do you actually want? If there is a recruit who is fit enough already with a frame capable of yomping with a heavy bergen why reject them in favour of someone needing 12 months of heavy squats and deads just to massage a set of stats?

    Are we having some philosophical discussion here abstracted from the real world or are we talking about practical and pragmatic army recruitment options?

    Jim

  154. says

    Thomathy:

    Umm …Tony, anal douching isn’t necessarily harmful. I don’t want to make this into a discussion on that, but I can’t let your statement stand uncountered. Of course, it can be harmful, I won’t deny that, but it can be safely practised.

    Actually, this thread is supposed to be about douching, so no worries on that front. (Apparently, our resident idiot can’t cope with discussing that.)

    It’s important, I think, to make the point that anal douching is only harmless when done infrequently and using lukewarm water only. When done regularly or too much, there are many risks – disrupting electrolyte balance, destroying the cellular wall of the rectum and becoming more prone to getting a variety of STDs. Basic cleanliness and condoms are the healthiest route.

  155. says

    alararogers:

    Is it an advantage to an army to move with soliders who need less food and can handle temperature extremes better (higher ratio of body fat), but who need to be carrying slightly less stuff to be efficient?

    Yep. Forward observers for artillery. Pack light, move fast. That’s just one example. I suspect I could think of others if I had the inclination.

    But I don’t, because this is a ridiculous discussion anyway. noelplum99 made an assertion based on a study that did not provide any causality, only correlation, and certainly did not establish that women were categorically unfit for combat duty — which is the assertion noelplum99 was defending. And instead of admitting a mistake, he (I’m assuming noelplum99 is male because of the signature, “Jim”) doubled down, insisting that he’s all for the right person for the right job, and so on and so forth, but women just aren’t suited for combat duty, physically-speaking.

    I’m amused that someone who goes out of his way to assert his egalitarian nature in one post spends so many later posts refuting his own assertion.

    And at the same time, slightly nauseated.

  156. says

    Stephanie @167

    I suggest that if you had the tiniest bit of sense, you’d find out what the numbers were instead of guessing. After all, we don’t ever have to pick soldiers or employees sight unseen.

    very true, except I wasn’t talking about picking soldiers. I was involved in an exchange as to why traditionally men dominated armies and i was maing the point that hand to hand combat played a large role. So here I am imagining myself about to go into just such a battle and I can’t help feel substantially better about the prospect (despite, as someone picked up, my dubious battle skills discussing disembowelling someone with a wooden mallet) if i were to be going one-on-one with a female opponent in all likelihood substantially smaller than me (for the record I am 6′ 2″ and about 95kg) than a guy who is much more likely to be a similar physical match. Of course I accept that I could be inadvertantly plumping for some huge musclebound axe-maiden at the expense of some male midget and if, in a similar scenario, you would plump to fight a male opponent feeling your chances would be better then more power to you. You will likely need it.

    Ofc, none of this has much relevance to most modern roles, including front line, but as i have pointed out with increasing exasperation, i have never claimed it has and (for the third time now) this is why the evolving modern battlefield has many front line combat roles for which many women are more than able to perform.

    Jim

  157. vaiyt says

    Since when do we think it’s valid to judge individuals and limit individuals because of a statistical property of a group? Shouldn’t we just base the aptitude for a person to do a particular job on the basis of their capacity, rather than that of some average of the capacity of others grouped by some arbitrary criterion?

    It bears repeating.

    It’s exactly what has me facepalm about racist arguments for why people X are not suited to do intellectual tasks because they supposedly had lower intelligence. FFS do we purposely ban mentally handicapped people from achieving anything? It’s a spurious argument.

  158. says

    So, Jim, you want to compare the training programs of male and female soldiers in sex-segregated training in the British Army. At least, you want to do it now that someone has pointed out that you’re ignoring it in favor of your preferred explanations.

    Try this. Read the whole thing. Note that there’s a trap for the unwary sexist who is simply grasping at straws. You’ll need to understand it before you talk about it.

  159. Gregory Greenwood says

    noelplum99 @ 116;

    The problem is that isn’t quite enough. If they were to be signing a contract that said ‘get a stress factor then hard shit’ some of the issue would melt away but there are real oiperational and financial issues to employing individuals with a high likelihood of such injury.

    This doesn’t alter the fact that generalisations are an insufficient basis to deny entire groups of people access to certain career paths. Handwaving over cost or notional operational issues could just as easily be used to justify other forms of discrimination in military recruitment, and indeed has been in the past, as one can see with the status of African American GIs in the American military during the Second World War, and in the contemporary period with regard to the infamous ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy.

    If that was my overriding concern then you would have a point. Only a bit of a point, mind. We do many things here in the UK that are similarly ‘grossly offensive and patronising’ such as insisting that motorcyclists wear helmets and drivers wear seat belts and there is a large slice of societal self-interest in these decisions. Looking at a situation and seeing the potential for either unacceptable compromises or unsustainable levels of injury, absence and compensation you could view as patronising but i just see as pragmatic.

    As noted by other commenters, this is a poor analogy. Requirements for safety equipment such as motorcycle helmets or seatbelts do not prevent people from driving vehicles, and certaintly do not selectively do so with regard to gender. A better parralel would be if arguments were made that men are biologically better at judging distance, and thus women should be denied the right to drive altogether – a position that most people would find unacceptable.

    This is something I can comment on, to some exten, because as a firefighter it has been a subject of much scrutiny in my field also the last few decades. On almost every count I agree with you – the individuals personal abilities, physical and otherwise are all that should determine their fitness for a role. Clearly the western armed forces feel differently (setting lower standards for female soldiers and denying female soldiers access to some roles) and my general feeling is that in most instances they are wrong – but not in this specific instance, even if the rationale is nothing whatsoever to do with the historical justifications.

    That most Western armed forces ‘feel differently’ is the problem – they are cleaving to attitudes that are unsupported by evidence in order to deny women the choice of whether to serve on the frontlines or not. This attitude is rooted primarily in social mores of established gender norms, rather than any credible scientific basis.

    look at the question i was responding to. The claim i was responding to was that men on the front line is a feature of patriarchy and, therefore, as such something we would not expect to see in societies that are not patriarchal. My view is that there are justifications that make as much sense in a matriarchal or balanced society as they do in a patriarchal society. Whether you like them or not is irrelevant, I am not making any claims that they are the pinnacle of egalitarian thinking just that the basis for the reasoning lies apart from the fact that society is patriarchal.

    You have not substantiated this claim. The most parsimonious explanation for the attitude toward women in warfare is that it is an expression of a socially mandated value system, not an immutable aspect of biology.

    But let me just say one thing which you can take as sexist if you like. Give me a big wooden mallet, sword, axe, whatever you like and put me in the kind of hand to hand combat that has taken place for most of history and I fancy my chances of disembowelling two average female opponents, one after the other, rather than tackle a single man (not that disembowelling anyone is really my thing, you understand!).

    Leaving aside the point that arguments over the relative ability of the genders to swing a sharpened piece of metal has little relevance to the modern practice of warfare (and has no validity as a basis on which to justify the support for a contemporary ban on women undertaking frontline combat duties that you expressed @ 55), there is still the point – made by Caine, Fleur du mal @ 135 – that strength is not actually the single dominant factor in such combat that you seem to suggest it is.

    Imagine a scenario where a man who is a body builder is in combat with a woman who has been trained in the blade forms of a certain martial tradition, such as Kendo or the more traditional Kenjutsu for several years or even decades. Both are armed with finely balanced swords such as katanas.

    While the body builder would certainly possess far greater strength than the swordswoman, it is very doubtful that he would last more than a matter of seconds due to her vastly superior training.

    Such hypotheticals are not even necesary to demonstrate the point that the traditional attitudes troward women in combat roles is informed by factors other than biological necessity. As pointed out by The Mellow Monkey: Caerie @ 170, why were there not more women deployed as skirmishers or light cavalry? Why were there not more women archers, especially after the advent of recurved composit bows that did not require great strength to draw and could be fired from horseback in the style of the mongol warrior peoples? Skill and dexterity are the vital attributes in these cases, not strength, and yet very few cultures ever had women in such roles.

  160. says

    Ofc, none of this has much relevance to most modern roles, including front line, but as i have pointed out with increasing exasperation, i have never claimed it has and (for the third time now) this is why the evolving modern battlefield has many front line combat roles for which many women are more than able to perform.

    Of course. You’re supporting a ban, but only in anything where the average size of white British women would put them at a disadvantage in comparison to the average size of white British men, right?

    Back at #55 you said:

    I still support a ban on women for foot soldier infantry positions though the advent of more technological forms of warfare i think opens up roles for front line combat positions in more technical roles (tanks, artillery, etc).

    Do you support a ban on British Indian men for foot soldier infantry positions? British Indian men could still serve in tanks and artillery, but because they’re on average smaller than men of western European descent, they should be protected from the more dangerous position. I’m just applying your own logic here.

  161. says

    Nigel @178

    I tell you what pal, go fuck yourself. Right from the very start when asked about women in combat positions (post 55) I stated that women ARE fit for combat duty and that only infantry roles that give me cause for concern.
    Secondly, fuck you with your arrogant assertion of ‘doubling down’. I am disagreeing with people, they are disagreeing with me. I am fighting my corner because I happen to believe what i am saying and this isn’t something I thought about for the first time five fucking minutes ago.

    I don’t accuse you of ‘doubling down’ because i at least – at the very least – grant you the respect of accepting you believe in what you are saying. Clearly you either think i am just some kind of troll or get into such a headspin that someone might draw a different conclusion than you do that you struggle to accept it.

    Either way, your comment has riled me to the point I think I would be best to vacate this thread. maybe at least it will get back on track after my masterful, though unplanned, derailment.

    Jim

  162. says

    noelplum99:

    Ofc, none of this has much relevance to most modern roles, including front line, but as i have pointed out with increasing exasperation, i have never claimed it has and (for the third time now) this is why the evolving modern battlefield has many front line combat roles for which many women are more than able to perform.

    Interesting you should say that. Here’s the initial exchange:

    The Mellow Monkey: Caerie @41

    So do you think bans on women in combat aren’t a symptom of patriarchy, then?

    No, I think they are common sense. I still support a ban on women for foot soldier infantry positions though the advent of more technological forms of warfare i think opens up roles for front line combat positions in more technical roles (tanks, artillery, etc).

    And to support this, you referred to research about fractures, research that did not attempt to draw causality, and so has little to do with suitability for women in front-line combat roles — and not just those roles you deem suitable for the weaker sex, but all roles, including 11-bravo (or, “bullet-stopper,” as those of us in artillery used to call ‘em).

    Fact is, you will so rarely experience hand-to-hand combat, physical size doesn’t matter much. The ability to expel chunks of lead at high velocities with moderate accuracy counts for much more than the ability to gut someone with a bayonet, or punch them in the face until they cry uncle.

    Your reasoning for the exclusion of women from many front-line combat roles traditionally reserved for men is ludicrous. It has no basis in reality, as it’s not just the outliers that are taller and stronger than many men in those combat roles, but a substantial percentage. We already have standards by which to judge suitability for military service. It’s those standards, and not your concepts of suitability, that should be the rubrik by which we judge who should and who should not serve in combat.

    And that includes foot soldier infantry positions.

  163. says

    noelplum99:

    Secondly, fuck you with your arrogant assertion of ‘doubling down’.

    Truth hurts, doesn’t it?

    You said in post #63:

    3) The thing I am proposing above all else is that we treat people according to their own skills and weaknesses.

    And here you are arguing exactly against that.

    I don’t accuse you of ‘doubling down’ because i at least – at the very least – grant you the respect of accepting you believe in what you are saying. Clearly you either think i am just some kind of troll or get into such a headspin that someone might draw a different conclusion than you do that you struggle to accept it.

    I think you are a hypocrite is what I think. You claimed in one post a desire to treat people according to their own skills and weaknesses, and in another post you claim that women categorically aren’t fit for certain combat duties.

    You can’t have it both ways.

  164. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    NOELPLUM99 @161:
    So douching is a procedure with cultural roots that shames women for their vaginas, but somehow patriarchy is not to blame? Got it. I believe I am done with your stupidity for one day.
    ****
    Thomathy @168:
    Perhaps as per a doctors’ instruction there are uses for anal douching (just as with vaginal douching), but I doubt the average Jane or Jon Doe is informed enough to know how and when to employ the procedure. So I will grant there are possible uses, but if one is improperly informed, the consequences could be bad.

  165. says

    Gregory:

    Skill and dexterity are the vital attributes in these cases

    Oh yes. This can be applied to “strong man go bash with wooden mallet” also. While “strong man” attempted to go bash on my head, I could easily take out his kneecaps while avoiding the bash to the head. Strength, while good, is far from what it’s cracked up to be.

    I practiced kendo and classic fencing for years, along with a variety of knife fighting. There’s plenty of strength involved, however, much of that strength translates into skill, dexterity and endurance. You also have to be a very fast thinker and be able to develop strategy on the go, be able to change it in a second and anticipate the moves of your opponent. The simple ability to go “bash” just won’t take you very far.

  166. Esteleth مقدس پنیر اور بسکٹ کے ساتھ says

    So, you don’t like the idea of women in infantry because of physical limitations. Even though there are male infantry soldiers who are smaller/lighter/weaker/etc than some women.

    If the job requires someone to lift x pounds run x miles in x time, etc, then make those the requirements. Don’t take “also, must have a penis” onto it if that isn’t directly relevant.

  167. Zigbot says

    Wow, Noelplum99, your attempt to justify discrimination against women in the military are incredibly feeble. Answer me this: if this discrimination is as you claim just a natural result of women’s lower skeletal strength or what-the-fuck-ever, how do explain the fact that it’s been WOMEN, not men, who have been historically kept from serving on submarines and being astronauts? Those are perfect examples of military jobs that women would statistically be more suited to due to our smaller average statures (which make us need less oxygen, food, etc.), greater average endurance, and so forth. And yet no government has ever declined to allow men to do these things in favor of women; quite the opposite.

  168. says

    Tony:

    So douching is a procedure with cultural roots that shames women for their vaginas, but somehow patriarchy is not to blame?

    It’s the only position a sexist douchebag can take, doncha know?

    Perhaps our douchebag can explain why, if douching was not a product of patriarchal thinking and values, there was never a cultural period where there was an expectation and pressure for men to endure penis soaking, in order to strip those bad boys of bacteria and make them all sweet smelling for the ladies.

  169. says

    noelplum99:

    I tell you what pal, go fuck yourself. Right from the very start when asked about women in combat positions (post 55) I stated that women ARE fit for combat duty and that only infantry roles that give me cause for concern.

    You are right. I did say “combat duty,” and you were specifically referring to light infantry. In that, I misrepresented your argument.

    Please feel free to substitute “light infantry” for “combat duty” in my post at #178. I believe that should more accurately represent your argument.

    Thank you for the correction.

  170. Gregory Greenwood says

    Caine, Fleur du mal @ 191;

    Oh yes. This can be applied to “strong man go bash with wooden mallet” also. While “strong man” attempted to go bash on my head, I could easily take out his kneecaps while avoiding the bash to the head. Strength, while good, is far from what it’s cracked up to be.

    Precisely – being able to hit really hard doesn’t help you much if you cannot land a blow in the first place, or you are dead/incapacitated before you can even wind up to your glorious ‘HULK SMASH!’ moment.

    I practiced kendo and classic fencing for years, along with a variety of knife fighting. There’s plenty of strength involved, however, much of that strength translates into skill, dexterity and endurance. You also have to be a very fast thinker and be able to develop strategy on the go, be able to change it in a second and anticipate the moves of your opponent. The simple ability to go “bash” just won’t take you very far.

    The whole point of edged weapons is that they effectively magnify strength by focussing pressure onto a very small but hard surface area. It doesn’t take huge strength to inflict mortal/debilitating injuries with a well honed blade, so long as you know where to strike; arteries, the trachea, tendons, vital internal organs, the spinal column – all are delicate structures.

  171. Brownian says

    arteries, the trachea, tendons, vital internal organs, the spinal column – all are delicate structures.

    Well, they are on women.

    The army did a study.

  172. Brownian says

    From all the tough talk, I thought he was stronger than that.

    Entranced by his ownership of a penis, were you?

  173. No Light says

    NoPlums! Still a fucking douchesplaining shitLord I see!

    Go and rub one out to the thought of disembowelling some bitchez you manly macho man you, then gb2YouTube and whine about how you’re totes not sexist.

    Travis – I’m in the UK and it’s not a “thing” here either. Far more popular in the US.

    Esteleth:

    I have been told that in Costa Rica and Guatemala there is a booming black market trade in a specific ulcer medication. Because it has a big, prominent black-box label saying DO NOT USE WHILE PREGNANT.

    That drug is actually used in legal medical abortions along with an additional agent, but it works well on its own too.

    Women in the US order it from Mexico, it’s apparently quite common.

    Women on Web actually offer a safe guide to using it. It’s counterintuitive because you actually need lower doses as pregnancy progresses.

    As it’s indistinguishable from spontaneous abortion it’s easy for women to get follow-up care, and safer in abusive situations. Obviously though it makes figuring out usage rates tricky.

  174. D says

    There’s another thing that really really really helps in a fight aside from an individuals physical strength or other attributes.

    Numbers. Makes no sense to automatically cut your possible effective fighting force in half.

  175. says

    Brownian:

    The army did a study.

    *choke*

    Hmm. Just a datapoint, but: IPA isn’t as pleasant entering the lungs as you might think.

    Entranced by his ownership of a penis, were you?

    Well, maybe just a little.

    Hey! It gets lonely in the queue.

  176. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Nigel:
    You had a wee bit of help in wearing down the sexist opinions of JIM.

  177. Zigbot says

    Oh, and before you complain that you were just talking about infantry, Noel, I know. My examples were demonstrating that sexist discrimination undeniably occurs in the military even when logic and self-preservation would seem to demand that it not, so it’s extremely silly of you to act like this infantry exception you agree with is just as likely to be due to biology as it is to patriarchy, especially when literally every claim of “women shouldn’t do X thing that men regularly do because of biology” before yours has either been proven false, or not proven to be true. (Oy, that was a somewhat long and meandering sentence. Hopefully your statistically-likely-to-be-slightly-inferior verbal skills won’t give you any trouble understanding my point.)

  178. says

    Caine:

    Oh yes. This can be applied to “strong man go bash with wooden mallet” also. While “strong man” attempted to go bash on my head, I could easily take out his kneecaps while avoiding the bash to the head. Strength, while good, is far from what it’s cracked up to be.

    And this can be demonstrated quite often when there is a fight between a sumo wrestler and any skilled martial artist who is not a sumo wrestler.

    Ranged weapons, vehicles (including horses themselves and chariots), edged weapons, etc, have all been around for a long, long time. Considering that even chimps will throw rocks and sticks, when has combat ever consisted solely of unarmed wrestling matches between men so far above average size that they don’t overlap with women?

    There is a simple and obvious explanation for why women have been barred from combat. It’s not “they’re little and delicate.”

  179. says

    Tony:

    Nigel:
    You had a wee bit of help in wearing down the sexist opinions of JIM.

    Huh-uh. He told me to fuck off. Not you.

     

    Caine:

    Oh, he just needs to dip his penis in Lysol, then he’ll be all fresh and strong again.

    But, but y’all are on tonight.

    I am so glad I skived off today and spent it here.

  180. says

    Hmmm…I collect swords and knives. And I know how to use them. Seems to me that knowledge and practice count, not gender.

    I have a longbow and I’m moderately competent with it. I guess I win before Noelplum finds out which way to hold his manly man weapon

  181. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    She slices
    She dices
    And she is witty

    +5 for Caine @203

  182. Gregory Greenwood says

    Brownian @ 199;

    Well, they are on women.

    The army did a study.

    My keyboard does not thank you for that…

    I get the impression that the author of this study noelplum99 referenced subscribes to a Popeye/Olive Oil construct of gender difference.

    They will probably be issuing spinach as standard issue combat gear soon…

  183. says

    Giliell:

    I have a longbow and I’m moderately competent with it.

    Oooh, you bad. :D Longbows take considerable strength and a whole lot of skill. They have the added advantage of being able to kill off an opponent from a distance.

  184. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Giliell:
    I like penis as much as anyone else, but if the battle is between JIM’s penis and your longbow, I must forsake the cock this time.

  185. No Light says

    Nigel – I doubt he’ll stick the flounce, he never does, So don’t worry, nobody will nosebop you with a newspaper.

    He’ll be back with more of his manly man wisdom soon.

  186. Louis says

    Whoa whoa whoa WHOA!

    I go away from Teh Intarwebz fo a few measly weeks or so because I am moving house,* and the people STILL haven’t worked out women are proper for real people yet?

    I am unimpressed, humanity. Do better or I’m coming down there with my rolled up newspaper and stern tone of voice. And sarcasm. Always the sarcasm.

    Louis

    * I get internet and this quaint thing called a “land line” on Thursday hopefully. All being well, and appropriate propitiation of the Gods of the Tubes (and Typo, Gdo of Clerical Errors, for good measure too) being complete…I have sacrificed a goat on my printer, offered my first born son as a web designer and repeatedly jammed my man fruit into the Blu Ray drive…I should be back to disturb you fine folk some more. Don’t all groan at once.

    This post is being brought to you by the power of using an iPhone as a dongle. I am assured that sentence is not any kind of entendre, nor is it even moderately filthy. Frankly, if that’s the case, the world is going to hell in a hand basket. I mean, a dongle. Surely that is at least a cock reference. Apparently nooooo, it’s a serious technological term. I think someone somewhere is making with the fun.

    P.S. I will be acting on my promises in the Queueueueue forthwith. Brownian’s been taking far too long. He’s just a tease. All hat, no cattle that one. And importantly, my party *has* cattle.

    For the barbecue. Why? What were you thinking?

  187. Gregory Greenwood says

    nigelTheBold @ 219;

    How about if he commissions a study by the Army?

    But would this study compare Jim’s penis to the average among male recruits, and will declare it unfit for purpose if it doesn’t measure up?

  188. says

    Does anyone suspect that some sex differences in size, strength, bone mass etc might be in some faint way perhaps be a tad related to a culture that urges girls to starve themselves during their adolescent growth phase? Naaah. That’s totally off the wall, surely!

    And since it was asked, I don’t think that douching’s been a big thing in Australia since the 1950s. They do exist, but the shelf-space for them in the chemist is teeny tiny. And I did once use a douche, back in the early 1980s when I had thrush and a doc suggested a mild dilute vinegar rinse. I don’t think this is the medical standard 30 years on, though.

  189. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Ok, just what the feck is a DONGLE?
    And how the heck do you get man fruit in a blu ray player? Lysol doesn’t make for good lube I’m guessing…
    ****
    tccc:
    Do you see where we are coming from wrt calling someone a DOUCHE?

  190. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Caine:
    Oooooooohhhhhh no.
    Ladies first. I insist.

  191. Brownian says

    Ok, just what the feck is a DONGLE?

    What I’ve been explicitly told by HR not to play with at work.

  192. No Light says

    Tony – Dongles are little spiny animals that look like tiny donkeys. They’re pack-carriers for packet data. They’re so cute.

    Gilliel & Caine , Please accept my offerings of piles of cake as high as the Taj Mahal.

    Alethea – Fie on your logic! Anyway, even if girls do that it’s not because of sexism, teh menz or patriarchy so THERE!

  193. ReneeHendricks says

    Oh, wow! Stephanie Zvan @158!

    As a woman who was in the Army, doing a job that required more than a bit of upper body strength, and a job that tended to eliminate a greater portion of women, I’m hear to tell you you’re blowing sunshine up people’s asses.

    Yes, if you use “sexual optimization” to ensure each sex has an equal opportunity *and* ensured the jobs related to that optimization worked for both sexes, I can see how that would work out spiffy. However, I was trained in a job that required not only extreme hand-eye coordination but an extremely steady hand coupled with the ability to drag a cable that was heavier than your average fire truck hose. This ensured more than a few women couldn’t “cut the mustard” for this job.

    Yes, this is “anecdotal” evidence but the number of women in the job versus the number of men in the job (MOS 39B, if interested) was cavernous – look it up.

  194. says

    ReneeHendricks:

    Yes, this is “anecdotal” evidence but the number of women in the job versus the number of men in the job (MOS 39B, if interested) was cavernous – look it up.

    Uhm, the disparity between men and women is just as great as a 31V, which requires little upper body strength (pulling cables heavier than your average spider web).

    The disparity between the number of women in the job versues the number of men in the job is not a very good indicator of the proportion of the population that can handle the job with equal competence. Unfortunately.

    Hell, even after I got out of the army and started my undergraduate career as a physics major, I noticed a huge disparity between the number of male physics majors, and the number of female physics majors. Are you saying this indicates that women aren’t good at physics compared to men?

  195. says

    This ensured more than a few women couldn’t “cut the mustard” for this job.

    I have no doubt this also ensured more than a few men couldn’t “cut the mustard” for that job, either.

  196. Brownian says

    So, between noelplum99 and ReneeHendricks’ thoughtful comments, I’m left with only one question:

    Between the two of them, who’d win in a disembowelling mallet fight?

  197. Brownian says

    I don’t know, but I’m hoping it’s streamed live.

    Me too. I honestly don’t know which way to go on this. ReneeHendricks has the ability to drag a cable heavier than your average firehose, but NoelPlum99 has a…er…firehose.

    Battle of the Sexes, or just the Sexists?

  198. A. R says

    I can assure you that this male wouldn’t “cut the mustard” (by the way, anyone have a clue as to what the etymology of that phrase is? Because I’m rather curious.) Or at least I don’t think I would. Granted, my education and field of work would prevent me from being in such a position in the first place.

  199. says

    Brownian:

    Between the two of them, who’d win in a disembowelling mallet fight?

    Neither. The fight would never happen, due to guttural mumblings about HULK STRENGTH, and circling threat displays. This, in turn, would bore the audiences to tears, then sleep.

  200. ReneeHendricks says

    #238 @nigelTheBold – No. What I’m saying is there are definitely jobs that women are just not cut out for in the military. Just as there are some jobs that men aren’t cut out for. Despite the feminist bs dropped on the entire planet population, there are things that men can do that women can’t and vice versa (excluding the very minute population that prove otherwise).

  201. ReneeHendricks says

    Caine, Fleur du mal @239 Of course. But there were a much larger portion of men not having a problem passing than women. You can even inquire the military now on that subject. Look it up!

  202. Brownian says

    What I’m saying is there are definitely jobs that women are just not cut out for in the military.

    Like lifting heavy cable, as in your anecdote?

    Whatever you think you’re saying, you’re not actually saying it.

    Fuck, chicks are terrible at arguing on the internet.

  203. says

    Huh. This is odd.
    ReneeHendricks:

    (MOS 39B, if interested)

    From some random site:

    Army MOS 39B: Automatic Test Equipment Operator and Maintainer

    Wow. I see nothing in there about cables and firehoses. Now, I know the Army has some rather big cables (yeah, I know what you’re thinking), but it’s not like a tester has to pull a firehose-heavy cable through miles of jungle.

    Hey, it’s one level above what I did. I was organizational maintenance. I’m not disparaging the work of a 39-bravo. I’m just saying, this isn’t combat-level shit here.

  204. Brownian says

    Despite the feminist bs dropped on the entire planet population, there are things that men can do that women can’t and vice versa (excluding the very minute population that prove otherwise).

    As demonstrated by an anecdote about a woman doing a job that women can’t do.

  205. Rodney Nelson says

    As a piece of anecdotal trivia, women made up most of the heavy artillery units in the Soviet Army during the Great Patriotic War (WW2 to Westerners).

  206. Brownian says

    <blockquote.@Brownian So exactly what is your point?

    Can someone help this stupid fuck out?

  207. Brownian says

    As a piece of anecdotal trivia, women made up most of the heavy artillery units in the Soviet Army during the Great
    Patriotic War (WW2 to Westerners)

    You’re supposed to put quotes around ‘anecdote’. We have a female cable-lifting grunt among us.

  208. says

    ReneeHendricks:

    No. What I’m saying is there are definitely jobs that women are just not cut out for in the military.

    Oh, I get that’s what you’re saying. I don’t doubt your sincerity.

    What I doubt is the process by which you reached your conclusions. It certainly doesn’t seem to be backed up by any kind of actual, y’know, research, or even data.

    Just an anecdote. The crux of which hinged on the ratio of males to females in a field. Which is begging the question. (Look it up.)

  209. ReneeHendricks says

    Sigh. This is why I don’t engage you people on a regular basis. You simply take the word of the author, you never dig into things, you never actually ask people who’ve dealt with the issue at hand, and are simply happy patting each other’s back and not actually trying to find out the truth. Which is very sad considering you’re supposed to be (for the most part) skeptics.

    This a huge reason why PZ isn’t as revered as he used to be. I was one of those who was excited by and looked forward to what PZ was putting out. Not so much any more as he seems to be kowtowing to the general (and idiotic) masses.

    So, this is my last comment on his blog – for at least now. One day I might be surprised to see him come back to the actual skeptical and logical side along with his sycophantic followers. Until then, I’ll skip the idiocy.

  210. says

    ReneeHendricks:

    Sigh. This is why I don’t engage you people on a regular basis. You simply take the word of the author, you never dig into things, you never actually ask people who’ve dealt with the issue at hand, and are simply happy patting each other’s back and not actually trying to find out the truth.

    So, what’s the truth, Renee? That some men and some women can handle certain jobs, but not others? Or that men are categorically cut out for one job, and women another?

    Because you seem to be arguing the second point. Without any kind of substantial research, data, or hell, even common sense on your side. You seem to be upset that we don’t allow your anecdote to be used as conclusive proof that men and women are categorically destined for different jobs.

    And for that, as someone who used to be in the Army as a commo geek, all I can say is, your anecdote is interesting, but really exemplifies that which you’re arguing against: patriarchy.

  211. Gregory Greenwood says

    ReneeHendricks @ 250;

    @Brownian So exactly what is your point?

    I think Brownian is saying that you are a self identified woman doing the very job that you have just said that women are not ‘cut out’ for. It does serve to undermine your own point somewhat.

    @ 245;

    Despite the feminist bs dropped on the entire planet population, there are things that men can do that women can’t and vice versa (excluding the very minute population that prove otherwise).

    And @ 246;

    But there were a much larger portion of men not having a problem passing than women. You can even inquire the military now on that subject. Look it up!

    And you are sure that this disparity is the result of immutable biology, rather than socially enculturated memes of ‘proper’ gender roles? What is your basis for this judgement?

    Has it occurred to you that you became an Army MOS 39B not necessarily because you are some kind of exceptional physical outlier (I have no way of knowing whether you would fit such a decription or not), so much as a woman who, for one reason or another, found herself in this post despite the social pressures (unrelated to physical capacity) against women holding such a role?

  212. Brownian says

    Oh goodness. You need a veritable brick building dropped on your head, doncha?

    Well, she did write this:

    Sigh. This is why I don’t engage you people on a regular basis. You simply take the word of the author, you never dig into things, you never actually ask people who’ve dealt with the issue at hand, and are simply happy patting each other’s back and not actually trying to find out the truth. Which is very sad considering you’re supposed to be (for the most part) skeptics.

    and follow it up with

    This a huge reason why PZ isn’t as revered as he used to be.

    I can understand why they gave her a job toting cables. If I had to toss her a paycheck, I’d use the brainless twit for donkey labour too.

  213. cm's changeable moniker says

    [OT] PZ:

    work like soldering might naturally have a, for instance, 70:30 male:female sex distribution

    When I used to solder, I had an unfortunate habit of picking the soldering iron up by the wrong end. I’d therefore be delighted to excuse myself from the 70% for the greater good of womankind.

  214. doubtthat says

    I would still love to hear from someone why the argument, “Women are incapable of being a (certain type of) soldier,” is any different from, “Women are incapable of being doctors, lawyers, politicians, secretary of states…etc.”

    If you checked test results in 1880, my guess is that you’d find pretty solid evidence that women didn’t perform as well on whatever test you wanted to use. I bet they had a weaker command of science and mathematics, for example.

    We have learned that this had nothing to do with “innate” ability was simply a reflection of the sort of education that was available. Why should this bullshittery about being a soldier be any different?

  215. jackiepaper says

    Oh, Renee. I feel PZ with find the strength to muddle through despite your rejection.

    I feel for you though. You really do seem confused as to why people didn’t take you seriously when you told us women were not cut out to do work that you, a woman, did. I wonder if you believe the military should have kept you away from that job based solely on your gender?

    Oops…I forgot. You are one of the rare, special women who may actually be deserving of the agency to make your own career choices. Sparkle on you special snowflake!

  216. Brownian says

    What I’m saying is there are definitely jobs that women are just not cut out for in the military…As a woman who was in the Army, doing a job that required more than a bit of upper body strength…I was trained in a job that required not only extreme hand-eye coordination but an extremely steady hand coupled with the ability to drag a cable that was heavier than your average fire truck hose.

    This a huge reason why PZ isn’t as revered as he used to be…One day I might be surprised to see him come back to the actual skeptical and logical side along with his sycophantic followers.

    #ReneeHendricksSaysTheDarndestThings

  217. says

    Brownian:

    Well, she did write this:

    You simply take the word of the author, you never dig into things

    I have to say this ^ was my favourite part. Renee blithely wrote that while expecting everyone to simply take the word of the author (her) when it came to her initial post, and took offense when people dug into things she brought up. Not the finest mind.

  218. Gregory Greenwood says

    ReneeHendricks @ 257;

    This is why I don’t engage you people on a regular basis. You simply take the word of the author, you never dig into things, you never actually ask people who’ve dealt with the issue at hand, and are simply happy patting each other’s back and not actually trying to find out the truth. Which is very sad considering you’re supposed to be (for the most part) skeptics…

    …One day I might be surprised to see him come back to the actual skeptical and logical side along with his sycophantic followers. Until then, I’ll skip the idiocy.

    It appears we have another ‘TruSkeptic’(TM) on our hands – someone who’s skepticism is simply too pure to admit little things like actual evidence, and indeed can never be sullied with being applied to issues of mere social injustice.

    Tremble before ReneeHendricks’ superior skeptic-itude!

    This a huge reason why PZ isn’t as revered as he used to be.

    What makes you think any of us ‘revere’ PZ at all? Reverance really is more of a theist thing.

    I was one of those who was excited by and looked forward to what PZ was putting out. Not so much any more as he seems to be kowtowing to the general (and idiotic) masses.

    Tut, tut PZ – maintaining that women are fully human and deserving of equal consideration with men. How very plebeian of you…

  219. Brownian says

    Nice catch, Caine.

    Add the tag #ReneeHendricksSaysTheDarndestThings, and we have the makings of a meme.

  220. says

    ReneeHendricks:

    Sigh. This is why I don’t engage you people on a regular basis.

    Yeah. I know. We require actual research and statistics and shit. It’s so hard to be a skeptic with people asking you to back up your assertions with research, ain’t it?

  221. vaiyt says

    Yes, this is “anecdotal” evidence but the number of women in the job versus the number of men in the job

    But the question is whether women should have the job as an option at all.

    Which your anecdote doesn’t support. By your own argument, you should be fired from your own job and a man should take your place.

  222. Brownian says

    What makes you think any of us ‘revere’ PZ at all?

    You misread her. She’s saying he used to be revered, back when he only bashed the same people ReneeHendricks wanted to see bashed. Now that he’s no longer revered, he’s simply surrounded by sycophants.

    What a fucking dolt.

  223. opposablethumbs says

    ReneeHendricks, you’re missing the point. Nobody – anywhere on this thread – is interested in disputing the fact that the two bell-shaped curves for aspects of male and female human physiology (such as height, endurance, distribution of body fat etc.) are not identical.
    .
    This is completely irrelevant.
    .
    If a task requires people who are under 5’3″, let it be done by people under that height. Why bother with special regulations forbidding men to apply, even if they happen to be 5′ tall?
    .
    If a task requires people over 6′ tall, let it be done by people over that height. Why bother to have special regulations forbidding women to apply, even if they happen to be 6’1″ ?
    .
    Yes the numbers won’t be identical. So what? Since when was that the point, ffs?
    .
    Even Plato, a misogynist if ever there was one, got this right after a fashion (classicists please correct me if I misremember). He believed that women were naturally inferior, but recognised that having laws to prevent them from doing things (even those things he was quite convinced they were naturally incapable of) was illogical.
    .
    Why do people persist in completely misreading the argument and pretend that we are saying something completely different? The bell-shaped curves are not identical – and that doesn’t matter a toss as far as the question of legal restrictions is concerned.
    .
    Oh, and I’ve never even come across douching ever in my life, thank FSM. Making money out of body-shaming specific to women? Ah, yes, I think you’ll find there is a patriarchy connection there … sheesh, it’s not exactly a stretch.

  224. says

    Brownian:

    Add the tag #ReneeHendricksSaysTheDarndestThings, and we have the makings of a meme.

    Indeed.

    Renee:

    Which is very sad considering you’re supposed to be (for the most part) skeptics…

    Translation: You people are skeptical about stuff I’m saying! That’s not being skeptical, that’s being stupid!

    #ReneeHendricksSaysTheDarndestThings

  225. Brownian says

    By your own argument, you should be fired from your own job and a man should take your place.

    Like this strapping lad, who could cleave two of her in twain.

    And we’re back to the question I posed in 240.

    So, ReneeHendricks, how do you feel about fighting NoelPlum99?

  226. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    So RENEE,
    You dropped by to give an anecdote* in place of a well reasoned and supported argument-an anecdote which undermines your point I might add-then you run away like a petulant child when people don’t bow down at your feet? It’s probably a good idea for you not to post here. You would be eaten alive.
    *in case you haven’t heard, anecdotes do not make for great evidence, especially at a blog where science and reason matter.

    ****
    Why do people assume that just because there is a higher percentage of men who are seen performing a task than women that that means men are better at said task than women?

  227. carlie says

    What I’m saying is there are definitely jobs that women are just not cut out for in the military.

    But you did it. So were you incompetent, or are you not a woman? Those are the only two choices you’ve left yourself, as others have pointed out.

  228. Brownian says

    Why do people assume that just because there is a higher percentage of men who are seen performing a task than women that that means men are better at said task than women?

    Scientist: Correlation is not causation.
    ‘Skeptic’: Like hell it isn’t, Feminazi. You used to be cool! [Runs, crying.]

  229. says

    Tony:

    Why do people assume that just because there is a higher percentage of men who are seen performing a task than women that that means men are better at said task than women?

    Because they’re idiots who don’t deal well with headaches with pictures?

  230. says

    Brownian:

    Like this strapping lad, who could cleave two of her in twain.

    Wow. Now I have to go back and read his “Fuck you” post knowing what he looks and sounds like.

    It seems much classier than the first go-through.

  231. Wowbagger, Antipodean Dervish says

    Brownian wrote:

    You misread her. She’s saying he used to be revered, back when he only bashed the same people ReneeHendricks wanted to see bashed.

    Exactly. Remember, there are atheists out there who have nothing to be proud of except for the fact that they aren’t religious.

    So, in their minds, the job of atheist writers and bloggers and so forth is to post things (e.g. stories about how dumb/ignorant/evil religious folk are) that make these people feel better about themselves by comparison. Hence why they consider Thunderfoot to be the ideal.

    Pointing out that atheists aren’t perfect and that the atheist movement is neck-deep in clueless privileged dude-bro asshats and their hangers-on is the last thing they want to hear, because it deflates their delicate egos; ergo the hatred.

  232. Brownian says

    Remember, there are atheists out there who have nothing to be proud of except for the fact that they aren’t religious.

    Even those of us with penes that let us do jobs that ReneeHendricks can do, but better?

    That’s at least two things.

  233. Gregory Greenwood says

    Brownian @ 272;

    You misread her. She’s saying he used to be revered, back when he only bashed the same people ReneeHendricks wanted to see bashed. Now that he’s no longer revered, he’s simply surrounded by sycophants.

    Of course – I take it that the same special snowflake quality that allows ReneeHendricks to undertake jobs clearly unsuitable for women also allows her to magically convert sycophancy into genuine reverance?

    Sort of like the whole ‘water into wine’ deal, but with a worse afterparty…

    What a fucking dolt.

    This is a conclusion that becomes harder to resist with every post by Renee.

  234. says

    Gregory:

    I take it that the same special snowflake quality that allows ReneeHendricks to undertake jobs clearly unsuitable for women also allows her to magically convert sycophancy into genuine reverance?

    It’s the chill pills. Specially guaranteed to make one a Chill Girl and Special Snowflake.

  235. Wowbagger, Antipodean Dervish says

    Brownian wrote:

    Even those of us with penes that let us do jobs that ReneeHendricks can do, but better?

    I wonder: are they still atheists if they revere the almighty penis as much as the dude-bro army appears to?

  236. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Gregory @283
    ‘”With every post by…’”

    Are there more examples of #ReneeHendricksSaysTheDarndestThings aside from her dingleberries of wisdom she dumped here?

  237. Brownian says

    I wonder: are they still atheists if they revere the almighty penis as much as the dude-bro army appears to?

    It’s hard to say. It’s not quite a god—it’s more like a demi-god, needing a human male in order to fully reach its potential.

    Wait, with that revelation, were my years of puberty thus filled with demiurges?

    I’ll never understand the Gnostics.

    Are there more examples of #ReneeHendricksSaysTheDarndestThings aside from her dingleberries of wisdom she dumped here?

    She likes to track Stephanie Zvan and Ophelia Benson to point out what a real (read: non-feminist) woman knows.

    For instance, jobs in the army that real women can’t do, despite what the feminists say.

  238. Gregory Greenwood says

    Caine, Fleur du mal @ 284;

    It’s the chill pills. Specially guaranteed to make one a Chill Girl and Special Snowflake.

    Those are some gnarly side effects right there, and this is before they get wheeled out like a mouldering hunting trophy by every misogynist MRA in existence to ‘prove’ that women totes agree with them.

    ——————————————————————-

    Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ @ 286;

    Are there more examples of #ReneeHendricksSaysTheDarndestThings aside from her dingleberries of wisdom she dumped here?

    Not that I know of, but I think that her performance on this thread thus far is quite evidence enough of her eminent qualification for the title ‘dolt’, with each post digging that hole she has landed herself in ever deeper.

  239. says

    opposablethumbs:

    Why do people persist in completely misreading the argument and pretend that we are saying something completely different? The bell-shaped curves are not identical – and that doesn’t matter a toss as far as the question of legal restrictions is concerned.

    “People should hold positions based on interest and ability, rather than as a result of sexism and generalities based on presumed group characteristics” = “five foot nothing ladeez should take over all aspects of life, because they are better than everyone else on the planet. Now get back in the kitchen, pig men!”

    Isn’t it obvious?

  240. Louis says

    So women aren’t cut out for some jobs in the army because some woman who did one of those jobs in the army says so?

    Therefore PZ’s output is bad, feminists are bad and thus no one here is a proper sceptic and is, in fact, likely to be a poopooface.

    Well. I’m glad I have that all cleared up. I’m now going to go and scrub the bathroom paint off of my bollocks. No idea how I got it there, I was sanding the loft hatch. The joys of own homership.

    I used to think nogging was a sex offence until I moved house and had to do some.

    I was disappointed.

    Louis

    P.S. I don’t believe in any gods, and I have a penis. I’m on top of the world, Ma! Therefore Respect My Authoritah!

  241. John Morales says

    [OT + meta]

    ReneeHendricks:

    Sigh. This is why I don’t engage you people on a regular basis. You simply take the word of the author, you never dig into things, you never actually ask people who’ve dealt with the issue at hand, and are simply happy patting each other’s back and not actually trying to find out the truth. Which is very sad considering you’re supposed to be (for the most part) skeptics.

    Because discussing the OP is simply taking the word of the author and not dealing with the issue at hand.

    (You mean I should be skeptical about the veracity of your initial post, to try to find the truth?)

  242. Tethys says

    If anyone really wants to know more about reneehendricks, she has a twitter.

    It starts with this-

    No, I don’t care if you’re insulted by my words. Grow a thicker fucking skin. *MISOGYNY GIRL!*

    Further reading confirms that renee is a very special snowflake who hates ophelia/rebecca/stephanie, in addition to using her own very special logic and abusing punctuation.

    I can’t decide if *misogyny girl*! is meant as snarky insult or an appropriately douchey superhero title that refers to renee?

    *pow* *biff!* *bam!*

    It’s……*Misogyny Girl!*…..her superpower is being clueless about misogyny and getting very angry if you notice it.

    Together with her sidekick *WooleyBumblebee!*, they patrol the blogosphere, refusing to show proper reverence to people they no longer worship.

  243. says

    Tethys:

    I can’t decide if *misogyny girl*! is meant as snarky insult or an appropriately douchey superhero title that refers to renee?

    I expect it’s a douchey superhero title for herself, given that’s she’s a Chill Girl™.

  244. A. R says

    Louis, what kind of paint thinner were you using? You’re a bit more strange than you usually are.

  245. Brownian says

    I’m now going to go and scrub the bathroom paint off of my bollocks. No idea how I got it there, I was sanding the loft hatch.

    If I’m reading this right, then getting ‘bathroom paint’ on one’s bollocks is a natural result of ‘sanding the loft hatch’.

    Nothing to be embarrassed about, Louis. It means you’re becoming a man.

  246. jackiepaper says

    If you feel lost without Renee’s wit and wisdom, she’s on her twitter account now making shit up. Did you know that in this very discussion it was suggested that all women are capable of every job in the military? I sure didn’t. It is as if it was never suggested at all. I mean it really would be a silly thing to suggest, had it actually happened. I guess it took a keen mind like Renee’s to fakebelieve it into being. Of course every man is not cut out for every job in the military either, but she has not speared that fact with her rapier sharp mind just yet. She’s busy sticking her flounce and calling names. She’s really a stunning piece of work.

  247. says

    JackiePaper:

    Did you know that in this very discussion it was suggested that all women are capable of every job in the military?

    Yes, Caerie mentions it a few posts up. It seems Renee has trouble with reading comprehension as well as pictorial headaches.

    It’s amazing, really, that the dim bulbs cannot grasp that being female should not be used as a bar against a given opportunity or occupation. Whether or not they make the grade has nothing to do with it.

  248. jackiepaper says

    When some people share their thought process it reminds me of watching a dog eat peanut butter.

  249. says

    Stupidest argument? That somehow *all* women are cut out for *all* military jobs. Drives me fucking nuts.

    Wow, that is creationist level missing the point. Well, at least she is an atheist and a skeptic. *rolls eyes* I think I need another beer.

  250. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Whoa…!
    If Louis is becoming a man, then the berries should be dropping, his voice should deepen, and he’ll get hair in undesirable places.
    ****
    Tethys:
    Thanks for that. Given her Special Snowflake Status, I thought there might be more examples of her unique brand of fuckwittery out there.

  251. says

    This is why I don’t engage you people on a regular basis. You simply take the word of the author, you never dig into things, you never actually ask people who’ve dealt with the issue at hand, and are simply happy patting each other’s back and not actually trying to find out the truth. Which is very sad considering you’re supposed to be (for the most part) skeptics.

    Oh, really?

    What exactly do you disagree with in my post? That douching is good for you? That the paper was accurately summarized by @NYBoxTurtle? Did you think everyone simply accepted my authority and didn’t bother to look at the extensive quotes from the paper on the harm of douching, or didn’t look at the paper itself, which I linked to?

    Don’t bother answering. I don’t give a damn what you say, slymepitter.

    Banned.

  252. Brownian says

    Don’t bother answering. I don’t give a damn what you say, slymepitter.

    S’okay, PZ. She didn’t seem to give a damn what we said either.

    Banned.

    That moves the line a few points in favour of ReneeHendricks. She’s bold ‘n’ all, but statistically, NoelPlum99 can cleave two women in half. Y’know, because penis.

    So the smart money’s still on penis.

  253. says

    Kristinc:

    The sad thing is, Renee is probably telling someone right now how PZ “banned her for disagreeing”.

    Naturally. This would be one of the reasons for a decline in reverence for PZ and why he’s running a church of echoists these days.

  254. Brownian says

    This would be one of the reasons for a decline in reverence for PZ and why he’s running a church of echoists these days.

    #trustory

  255. ckitching says

    Caine, Fleur du mal (#310) wrote:

    This would be one of the reasons for a decline in reverence for PZ and why he’s running a church of echoists these days.

    Which only makes this quote from the anti-atheism-plus page’s sidebar more ironic:

    If you’re PRO-AtheismPlus, your comments won’t be too welcome. Go to their little circle-jerk.

    How did the writer’s brain not explode when he or she wrote this?

  256. says

    ckitching:

    How did the writer’s brain not explode when he or she wrote this?

    Oh, it’s not hive mind or a circle jerk or sycophancy or even a whole bunch of people agreeing with one another when it’s them. That’s different.

    They are the brave resistance fighters, speaking the truthiness of true manliness, true femininity and defenders of free speechiness! They are hip and fearsome and never, ever tell a fib.

  257. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Wait…hold on…
    ::blinks::
    There exists an ANTI A+page?
    Is it covered in a thin film of virtual slime?

  258. chigau (無) says

    I am so sorry I missed the last few hours.
    But I would like to point out that no one has mentioned the real reason we cannot have women in the infantry:
    they go bug-fuck-loony for one week out of every month.
    (although, why that’s a bad thing in combat, I dunno)
    ——
    [the preceding was irony]

  259. says

    Chigau:

    But I would like to point out that no one has mentioned the real reason we cannot have women in the infantry:
    they go bug-fuck-loony for one week out of every month.

    Given noelplum’s apparent fear of discussing the history and origins of douching, I’m not at all surprised this failed to be brought up.

    After all, manly men capable of cleaving two women in twain don’t speak of such things. (Now I’m picturing noelplum as Al Bundy.)

  260. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    chigau:
    Meh
    You didn’t miss much.
    NOELPLUM99 showed how much of a nitwit he was. ReneeHendricks took the Baton of Idiocy and ran with it…

  261. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Caine:
    NOELPLUM is Al Bundy to ReneeHendricks’…?

  262. says

    @brownian You are one dumb stump. Men and women have different characteristics both mental and physical that would indicate there are obvious advantages and disadvantages when considering their effectiveness in a work environment. You know what evolution is right? There are certain characteristics each has the other doesn’t. For example women tend to have stronger immune systems. Is there a profession that they would be better qualified for than men because of that? That’s just one example. Even an idiot of your caliber should be able to figure it out. Your argument is lame as fuck cause there are no absolutes in life(note:exception to that- you suck=absolute), one exception doesn’t invalidate all instances. If everyone only considered data based on absolutes we would never get anything done. Guess that explains your worth doesn’t it? How pathetic is it to spend so much of your time as a groupie on PZ Lyers blog talking shit even after the person you have driven away with your moronic babble is long gone? Why don’t you go jerkoff the neighbors dog instead of pretending you are smart or witty I’m sure you are qualified. Oh, and sorry about the accident I hope you manage to get all you mental capacities back someday,it is a slow process idn’t it? Really slow. In response to your reply to this- “go fuck yourself idiot” This blog has become one sad fucking place

    [I hear you, bro. I really have to take steps to improve the quality of the commentariat around here. First step: get rid of the assholes. Oh, sorry man, that's you. Bye! --pzm]

  263. says

    There are certain characteristics each has the other doesn’t.

    Statistically yes, let’s grant that that is statistically so.

    Why does that exclude outliers?

    If 90% of all women are incapable due to dimorphism of performing the tasks needed for a job, why are you also ruling out 10% that are capable.

    That’s not rational or “the truth” that’s moronic.

  264. says

    one exception doesn’t invalidate all instances. If everyone only considered data based on absolutes we would never get anything done.

    Get that? data is not to be based on absolutes.

    Men and women have different characteristics both mental and physical that would indicate there are obvious advantages and disadvantages when considering their effectiveness in a work environment. You know what evolution is right? There are certain characteristics each has the other doesn’t. For example women tend to have stronger immune systems. Is there a profession that they would be better qualified for than men because of that?

    Except when we’re going on statistical averages, then we extrapolate absolutes from that.

  265. says

    This blog has become one sad fucking place

    Not for those who have the wherewithal to defend their positions and ideas. You certainly made it clear with your post that you are not in that category.

    It’s rather obvious that if you bothered to read the thread, you didn’t comprehend it at all, as noelplum’s pathetic excuses for an argument were thoroughly dismantled and discredited. That happens easily when attempting to argue it’s not me, I’m not a sexist douche, it’s biology! It’s evolution!”

    You can’t even manage paragraphs, Cupcake, so it’s unsurprising you can’t figure out the difference between a good argument and a bad one. You’re also flat out awful on the insult front. Leave the scathing wit to those who have the intelligence to pull it off.

  266. says

    There are certain characteristics each has the other doesn’t. For example women tend to have stronger immune systems. Is there a profession that they would be better qualified for than men because of that?

    You go from an absolute (one does, other doesn’t) to statistical likelihood (women tend to have) back to an absolute (women are better qualified) in the span of three sentences. Impressive.
    Unless, of course, one is looking for a coherent, logical argument.

  267. says

    Ing:

    That’s not rational or “the truth” that’s moronic.

    Of course it’s moronic. It will always be moronic when someone latches onto an aspect of science without understanding it in the slightest. All they’re looking for is something to shore up their particular biases.

  268. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    This blog has become one sad fucking place

    Yet you can’t seem to stay away.

  269. silomowbray says

    I am SO sorry. I can’t resist.

    Renee:

    Sigh. This is why I don’t engage you people on a regular basis.

    Whaddya mean, “you people”?!

  270. says

    @ Gilliel/Caine

    longbow

    (Tom Holland, re Medieval archery, IIRC) There was great upset back in the day. Soccer was distracting young men from longbow practice. (It takes years of intense training to shoot properly with the English longbow.)


    Re Army: Heights of soldiers.

    Back in the first Iraq war, I was stationed in the north (Kurdistan) and had a lot of contact with soldiers of different nationalities. One thing that really struck me. The ‘Merkin soldiers were definitely MUCH larger and more powerfully built than the British. The ‘Merkins were for a large part bulking bodybuilders, the British short and wiry (and extremely keen to engage). If the shit had ever hit the fan I would have dove behind the latter.

    @ Louis

    Hecatombs, Louis, hecatombs.

    @ Rodney Nelson

    You might want to add the anecdote of women fighting in the Spanish Civil War. Many manly soldiers from the frontline fascist forces learned the hard way just what good soldiers womenly women make.

    @ Renee Hendricks

    Until then, I’ll skip the idiocy.

    Read the sycophantic nigelTheBold’s #255 etc again. The problem does not lie where you think it does. (It is not for PZ to continuously restate the obvious. That is why he is an Ebil Oberlawb ™ – he has minions to do the minioning.) [stop press: banned. ... then lurk moar]

  271. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    That is why he is an Ebil Oberlawb ™ – he has minions to do the minioning.)

    Not for long, theophontes, PZ is thinking about firing his staff. Also, there may or not be a pre-emptive strike in the works, didn’t you get my memo?

  272. says

    Theophontes:

    (It takes years of intense training to shoot properly with the English longbow.)

    Oh yes. The last time I shot with a longbow was highschool and I shot with an 80 lb draw weight longbow. It took ages to reach consistent competency with it.

    I have a 60 lb draw weight recurve these days. Mister has a 100 lb draw weight compound bow.

  273. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    I’m curious to what evolutionary dimorphism disqualifies women from piloting murder drones

    I bet that if I were piloting a murder drone against two women piloting murder drones, I could totally disembowel them both.

  274. Snoof says

    There are certain characteristics each has the other doesn’t. For example women tend to have stronger immune systems. Is there a profession that they would be better qualified for than men because of that? That’s just one example.

    First thing: Citation needed on the immune system thing. I’m not kidding. Can you even describe how you’d quantify immune system strength? That’s the problem with many of these arguments – the complete lack of any sort of evidence for their assertions.

    Second thing: Even if we allow that a particular sex “tends to” be superior in one aspect or another, that has no relevance as to whether individuals actually have that superiority! When you hire people, you don’t get a randomly selected “woman” or “man”, you hire individuals based on their actual skills and traits. If you require upper body strength for a job, and your choices are between a man with no noticeable muscle tone and a woman who can dead lift a hundred kilos, it would be counterproductive to the point of stupidity to hire the man simply because “men are stronger on average”. The same thing applies to other sex discrimination – it makes no sense to arbitrarily exclude a chunk of the population.

    Here, I’ll prove it with maths (and a basic understanding of the normal distribution):

    Let’s say that when you measure the Arbitrary Job Rating of men, you get a mean of 50 with a standard deviation of 5, and when you measure the AJR of women, you get a mean of 45 with a standard deviation of 5. If your job requires a AJR of 50, that means roughly 50% of men will be capable of doing it, and so will 16% of women. More than that – 2.5% of women will have a higher AJR than 86% of men! You’re losing a quarter of your potential workforce if you exclude women from competing for that position.

    (Unfortunately, I don’t have the details on how actual physical and psychological quantities compare between men and women IRL, but I’m pretty sure the gaps between the means are much, much smaller, especially compared to the standard deviations. Can anyone suggest some sources?)

    What’s pissing some people off in the thread, myself included, is the idea that because an “average” woman is unable to perform a certain role, that means _all_ women everywhere should be automatically excluded from that role, by law and custom. That’s just fucking stupid. The “average” man can’t play the piano by sight reading sheet music, but we don’t therefore insist that no man be permitted to attempt it, which is exactly what’s happening in the “women in forward combat roles in the military” argument.

  275. says

    @ opposablethumbs

    I am no classicist (more “hobbyist”), but think you are refering to this:

    ‘Then, if we find either the male or the female sex excelling the other in any art or other pursuit, we shall say that this particular pursuit must be assigned to one and not to the other; but if we find that the difference simply consists in this, that the female conceives and the male begets, we shall not allow that that goes any way to prove that a woman differs from a man with reference to the subject of which we are speaking, and we shall still consider that our guardians and their wives should follow the same pursuits.’

    We are collecting works together wrt History and development of Religion on the pharynguwiki. The above is copypasta’d from “The Legacy of Greece” in the list there. (Yes, we need more volunteers … anything.)

  276. Wowbagger, Antipodean Dervish says

    reappaden, a pissant, wrote:

    This blog has become one sad fucking place

    Yeah, PZ no longer just provides material for the likes of you to jerk yourself off to for being superior to ‘them iggorant religious kooks’ but also uses his blog to hold the atheist community up to the same level of (much, much needed) scrutiny. Boo fucking hoo.

    Oh, and learn what a fucking paragraph break is, dumbass.

  277. Brownian says

    @brownian You are one dumb stump. Men and women have different characteristics both mental and physical that would indicate there are obvious advantages and disadvantages when considering their effectiveness in a work environment. You know what evolution is right? There are certain characteristics each has the other doesn’t. For example women tend to have stronger immune systems. Is there a profession that they would be better qualified for than men because of that? That’s just one example. Even an idiot of your caliber should be able to figure it out. Your argument is lame as fuck cause there are no absolutes in life(note:exception to that- you suck=absolute), one exception doesn’t invalidate all instances. If everyone only considered data based on absolutes we would never get anything done. Guess that explains your worth doesn’t it? How pathetic is it to spend so much of your time as a groupie on PZ Lyers blog talking shit even after the person you have driven away with your moronic babble is long gone? Why don’t you go jerkoff the neighbors dog instead of pretending you are smart or witty I’m sure you are qualified. Oh, and sorry about the accident I hope you manage to get all you mental capacities back someday,it is a slow process idn’t it? Really slow. In response to your reply to this- “go fuck yourself idiot” This blog has become one sad fucking place

    Dear me. I’ve been called out by a man incapable of jerking off and typing in full sentences at the same time.

    At least I hope that’s his excuse.

  278. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Did we just get a driveby comment by the poster child of scumbaggery himself, REAPPADEN? Gosh PZ has a special guest on his blog. And Brownian has someone who wants to get to the head of the line.

  279. says

    @ opposablethumbs

    Also, from The Republic:

    Book V

    Do you know, then, of anything practiced by mankind in which the masculine sex does not surpass the female on all these points? Must we make a long story of it by alleging weaving and the watching of pancakes and the boiling pot, whereon the sex plumes itself and wherein its defeat will expose it to most laughter? … Then there is no pursuit of the administrators of a state that belongs to a woman because she is a woman or to a man because he is a man. But the natural capacities are distributed alike among both creatures, and women naturally share in all pursuits and men in all…. Shall we, then, assign them all to men and nothing to women?

    We shall rather, I take it, say that one woman has the nature of a physician and another not, and one is by nature musical, and another unmusical? … Can we, then, deny that one woman is naturally athletic and warlike and another unwarlike and averse to gymnastics? … And again, one a lover, another a hater, of wisdom? And one high-spirited, and the other lacking spirit? … Then it is likewise true that one woman has the qualities of a guardian and another not. Were not these the natural qualities of the men also whom we selected for guardians? [emphasis mine]

    For all the misogyny of his own age, why should Plato be more advanced and less bigoted than those detractors of A+ in this, our own “enlightened” times?

  280. Orange Utan says

    @Ing

    I’m curious to what evolutionary dimorphism disqualifies women from piloting murder drones

    No joystick.

  281. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Did NOELPLUM, RENEE & REAP coordinate this or something? Who can we expect next?
    Since each one has been steadily more insipid, who would be worse than REAP?

  282. Aratina Cage says

    How pathetic is it to spend so much of your time as a groupie on PZ Lyers blog

    Well, he is in Meenehso-utuh. I suppose Lyeing might come in useful there during the holidays.

    What’s next from this master of comedy? “PZ Liers”?

  283. says

    @ Woo-Monster

    You have forgotten the myriad myrmidon minion hordes living in the catacombs of Thunderdome. We have stockpiles of dead philosophers to fling at detractors too.

    @ Caine

    Longbow.

    A point Tom Holland also made was this. Although the longbow had a transforming effect on warfare, one cannot simply switch an army to longbows. Bowmen (generally men as I recall) needed to be trained up from childhood. This “barrier to entry” was a form of defense in itself.

  284. says

    . Did you know that in this very discussion it was suggested that all women are capable of every job in the military?

    See, folks, that’s why Renee is very disappointed with you. You just take your own words to mean what they mean without skeptically asking her. She would explain to you what you actually mean and why you’re wrong.

    reappaden
    Hey, the next idiot shows up!

    For example women tend to have stronger immune systems. Is there a profession that they would be better qualified for than men because of that? That’s just one example.

    So, that means we should simply ban all men from the whole realm of medical professions like women are banned from some fields in the army?
    Or is it just another argument for “women are good at nurtering, therefore, get stuck at home and in badly paid jobs”?

    You know what evolution is right? There are certain characteristics each has the other doesn’t.

    One of us does understand it. You on the other hand should probably look up one of PZ’s posts last week.

    even after the person you have driven away with your moronic babble is long gone?

    Wow, that’s some way with words there. The people Brownian has driven away are gone!

    This blog has become one sad fucking place

    Here’s an idea: just leave and never come back.
    How come that we’re so pathetic that time after time again you folks feel the need to show up and look for our sad and pathetic company as if you didn’t have anything better to do?

    theophontes

    It takes years of intense training to shoot properly with the English longbow

    Yes, because of the extreme weight (drawing weight, that is) they had. IIRC there’s been skeletons where you see how the years of practise from young age on has deforemed the skeleton. The English longbow wasn’t a weapon of accuracy, it was more like a clusterbomb: Shoot enough over a long distance and you’re bound to turn the French knights into canned meat.

  285. StevoR says

    @56.doubtthat :

    It’s contemporary Aesop. How did the elephant get such a long trunk?

    It purchased a stretch limo?

    (Now, is it Americans or Britons that confuse “car trunks” with “car boots”? I can’t remember right now.)

  286. StevoR says

    @315. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ :

    (Love the solar* moniker there too btw)

    Wait…hold on…
    ::blinks::
    There exists an ANTI A+page?
    Is it covered in a thin film of virtual slime?

    Actually I gather its covered by mor etahn justa thin veneer of slime. From what I’ve read its bured at the bottom of a whole pit of the stuff!

    ++++++

    * Meaning with the top 5% of being stellar too – y’know our Sun is no average star** right?

    ** 80% or so of stars are actually red dwarfs not a one of which can be seen with the unaided eye.

  287. StevoR says

    Damn it! Typos. Fix :

    .. more than just a thin veneer of slime. From what I’ve read its buried at the bottom of a whole pit of the stuff!

  288. Pteryxx says

    I’ll just leave this here:

    http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/11/servicewomen-sue-dept-defense-over-ban-combat-roles

    Four female service members are suing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta over the military’s exclusion policy for women in combat roles. Backed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Service Women’s Action Network, the women argue that the policy has created a “brass ceiling” that prevents them advancing as far as their male colleagues.

    They also note that the policy does not fit the modern military, where women are often sent out into combat and performing the same jobs as male colleagues, without the ability to formally advance. “The modern battlefield means there are no frontlines or safe zones,” said Capt. Zoe Bedell, 27, who serves in the US Marine Corps Reserves. “The combat exclusion rule does not recognize that reality.” Bedell, who served in Afghanistan, said that women in her unit patrolled with men and carried the same equipment as men, even if they were formally barred from serving in combat units. She said she left active duty for the reserves because the combat exclusion policy “limits my future in the Marine Corps.”

    more background:

    http://news.discovery.com/human/women-military-front-120213.html

    Since the nature of war has grown far more complex than the old-fashioned battlefield structure, the government has decided to allow women to belong to units that are engaging in direct ground combat. With the new rules, women can now be artillery mechanics, intelligence officers, field surgeons and more. Still, when it comes to fighting up-close in major battles, women are left out.
    [...]

    Those remaining barriers may be doing female soldiers a major disservice, Browder said. For her most recent book, she interviewed more than 50 women who had fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and many reported having experiences that could easily be considered combat.

    Browder interviewed a number of women who were blown up by IEDs, for example. She met one female soldier who worked as an explosive-sniffing dog handler and found out months into her deployment that she was pregnant. And she talked extensively with a sergeant named Paigh Bumgarner, who was in a convoy that got ambushed by an explosive-filled vehicle. Bumgarner ordered that the vehicle be taken out and saved the lives of many of her friends.

    “You can’t tell me that’s not combat,” Browder said.

  289. Louis says

    Okay, here goes.

    {Stretches}

    Brownian is a dog wanking mental deficient with the inside leg measurement of a banana and the personal habits of a slightly moist gibbon who is incapable of wanking a dog.* I know this because he mocks people on the internet, which is the greatest crime ever, for stating their really important and totally valid opinions that they are fully entitled to and are not in any way contradicted by the available evidence. It is not in any way totally missing the point to mention that EVOLUTION (which says whatever I want to say dammit) proves women are a bit shit really and men are ace (because penis) and that any attempt to grant equality of opportunity is like saying there are no biological differences between men and women which if true means my wife has a cock. And she doesn’t. It’s purest fortune that my wife cannot be insulted by that comment because she has the incredible luck not to exist. BUT THAT IS IRRELEVANT!!! Brownian has been Mean On The Internet which is way nastier that forced clitoridectomies and bans on abortion, because I have a PENIS and none of the people that those things affect do. Also, did I mention EVOLUTION?? I saw him sucking off PZ Leyers once which is totally okay because I’m not a homophobe but, gays, yuck. He didn’t even have the decency to be very good at it. Someone also agreed with someone else on the internet once meaning that Pharyngulard (ha ha some people are fat) is full of feminazi fake sceptics who are trying to kill me for using the word “cumskip”. I can see them from my window with their pink ninja costumes and their combat copies of anything by Simone de Beauvoir. And wanking neighbourhood dogs. I can’t walk down the street without slipping in their feminist produced dog jitler. And Brownian once tried to sodomise my cat. Mr Tiddles was most perturbed. Especially as Brownian did it via the medium of moderate internet sarcasm and use of the word “fuck”. What’s with the hostility, buddy? Don’t you know if you lubed my cat up first it would love it? I found that out by lubing a series of cats. Whaddya mean that cat sodomy might not be the desired goal? HOW ELSE CAN I GET CATS TO LOVE ME? Mean so called sceptics, feminism and felinism have corrupted your tiny minds.

    How did I do? I’m worried I was too coherent.

    Louis

    * Important Note: This logical form, the modus ludens, is a vital part of many of the arguments seen here. Classic cases involve generalising from a tiny number of special cases, making specific claims based on wide generalisations, making an argument negated by the very form and “data” contained within the argument, missing the point by a country mile, and so on and so forth.

    P.S. For those concerned about the state of my weirdness: I have always been this weird. You’ve just been cold turkey for a fortnight or so. It’s like caffeine. You’ve been drinking from the font of my oddity frequently, and after a time a tolerance has built up in some parts. A few days holiday and I seem barking again. Or do I? Maybe in the interim it is YOU, yes YOU, who have all gone mad. MAD. MAAAAAAAAAAAD. Perhaps we’re all brains in buckets and it really is all pixies underneath. Never thought of THAT did you you so called sceptics? Huh? Go worship your feminisms and your PZ Lierz you MINIONS!!!!!1111!!

    Oh crap. I can’t turn it off. I’m permachannelling fuckwits. HELP. HELP! I have work to do!!!!

  290. Tigger_the_Wing says

    That’s OK, Louis; a bit more sanding and you’ll be right back to what passes for normal* around here. =^_^=

    *That is, much more sensible and coherent than 97.8363% of teh intawebz.

  291. says

    I’ll just say this. Following the logic of the pro-douches, we should all be continuously hooked up to a high pressure water or Lysol hose up our rectums, because that’s a tube 5 meters long filled with all kinds of icky bacteria thingies. Can’t possibly be good for you.

  292. erikthebassist says

    Can I just talk about the swelling of pride I have in my heart right now for The Horde™.

    This thread has been fucking epic, but comment #302:

    jackiepaper
    27 November 2012 at 7:13 pm
    When some people share their thought process it reminds me of watching a dog eat peanut butter.

    summed up the entire thing and wins every internet there ever was or will be.

  293. erikthebassist says

    And louis at 351, you have outdone yourself, molly…. molly… molly.. molly. molly molly molly molly!!!!!

  294. vaiyt says

    For example women tend to have stronger immune systems. Is there a profession that they would be better qualified for than men because of that?

    You support banning all men from the medical profession, then?

    there are no absolutes in life

    Says the person who’s arguing all women should be absolutely excluded from jobs because an average number of them may do it worse than an average number of men.

  295. Gregory Greenwood says

    Lousi @ 351;

    A noble (if possibly somewhat cat-traumatising) effort, but you are still more coherent than reappaden.

    Someone also agreed with someone else on the internet once meaning that Pharyngulard (ha ha some people are fat) is full of feminazi fake sceptics who are trying to kill me for using the word “cumskip”. I can see them from my window with their pink ninja costumes and their combat copies of anything by Simone de Beauvoir.

    But are they frontline pink-clad femi-ninjas? And how many do you think noelplum99 could simultaneously disembowel with a big wooden mallet?

  296. Louis says

    Gregory,

    Oh at least twelve. Feminism weakens the immune system, almost by sheer coincidence, quite specifically towards mallets. It’s kind of like zombies exploding in a flesh defying manner when treated to even moderate trauma.

    I’d explain more but there’s maths and we all know girls, and thus by extension feminists, are no good at maths. Girls and feminists are however good at looking pretty and twirling their hair.

    {Waggles eyebrows suggestively at Gregory}

    Well hello there, beautiful…

    Louis

  297. Stacy says

    Mr Tiddles was most perturbed.

    I am going to try very hard to work this phrase into random conversation whenever I can.

  298. says

    I thought I would pop back once more with my ‘disembowelling mallet of truth’.

    Some people have some serious and genuine complaints about my position here but cut amongst it is some serious misrepresentation of what i have said.

    To be clear:
    1) I Am NOT stating that all women fall below the physical requirements for infantry roles. In fact, if that were the case there would be no need for any kind of bar in the first place.
    2) I am not referring to all combat roles.
    3) I am not suggesting that my bone of contention is in any way the historical reason why men and men alone have formed the basis for most armed forces.
    4) My concern is IN NO WAY WHATSOEVER linked to average characteristics of women other than a greater predisposition towards stress fractures when operating under load.

    It seems to me there are two legitimate disagreements you can have with me. please tell me if you feel the list is incomplete:
    1) The stress fracture argument is bogus (Stephanie’s argument) and only results because women are being subjected to types of training that, for legacy reasons, are appropriate for men but deleterious for women.
    2) Gregory’s argument that it really doesn’t matter how many stress fractures are brought about, this is an issue of principle and if we ignore it we are on some slippery slope to oblivion.

    To Stephanie’s point:
    Stephanie linked me the full paper to which she had previously linked the abstract. It was slightly frustrating to read as it omitted to detail the particulars of the regimes employed but what is absolutely clear from it is that the two groups were working not just to different schemes but to different standards!
    What her linked paper demonstrated was that when men and women both work at the same level of cardiovascular strain (to quote the report ‘Although the absolute demands of physical training were greater for male recruits, the relative cardiovascular strain experienced was similar between sexes’) the issues of injury for women melt away. Well no shit!
    The whole report is based on relative demands so what use is this? Unless Stephanie is arguing that infantrywomen should have lower standards to meet, or that standards for ALL infantry personnel should fall, then I don’t see what impact this has on the issue at hand.

    As it stands we STILL have a military with two points of discrimination for eminently pragmatic grounds:
    1) Female applicants have to meet a lower standard for the same role (which none of you seem to give a crap about or think is sexist, given your none response every time I mention it)
    2) Female applicants are precluded from the most physically arduous role (which you all seem to give a crap about and deem sexist)

    I accept that both are discriminatory and jar with the ideas I think we all agree on, to pick individuals based on their own merits and not group characteristics, but I believe that in each case pragmatic concerns trump ideology in this exceptional line of work.

    To Gregory’s point @186

    Handwaving over cost or notional operational issues could just as easily be used to justify other forms of discrimination in military recruitment

    .
    Of course there are many such potential issues of ‘principle’. In my own employment women are barred from dealing with incidents involving radioactivity on grounds of greater harm (the potential loss of a lifetime of mutated eggs versus one mutated cumshot of sperm) but do we really have to rail against that eminently sensible and pragmatic decision on the grounds that the floodgates could open to holding back all manner of groups of people in any circumstance where there may be a differential risk? I would say not. The vast majority of the human experience involves negotiating potentially slippery slopes rather than plumping for an absolute and an appeal against this is exactly the same scaremongering politicians on either side use whenever it suits (but ignore whenever it doesn’t).
    As to your other point Gregory, you descended into the same silliness as many of the others. Agreed, if small people all train for years with swords and big people never so much as pick one up then you have a point. However, in the history of military conventions, both formal and informal, I am unaware of any which mandated that larger individuals refrain from training to give the smaller ones a chance. Equally trained the old adage is that “a good big’un always beats a good little’un” and i think there is some truth in that.

    PS: On the issue of size I should just mention on of the more insane responses I have recieved has boiled my arguments just down to an issue of size, as if men or just scaled-up women (or vice versa), in fact reference was even made to potentially limiting the roles of Indian recruits on these grounds. Ghurkas have served in the British Army for many decades and these diminutive Nepalese soldiers have, as far as I can ascertain, no issue with stress fractures. Had they done so I suggest we would have stopped using them many years ago.

    Jim – The mallet-wielding personification of patriarchy (apparently)

  299. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Jim – The mallet-wielding personification of patriarchy (apparently)

    Nope. Just the longest recorded case of respiratory function in an anencephalic.

  300. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    re: #337: Its hilariously perfect that Brownian managed in only 29 words what Reap PigFuckingBigot Paden couldn’t manage in 235 words – a complete eviseration.

    No wonder the queue is so long!

  301. says

    Jim forgets he’s the one who brought height into the argument in the first place.

    In The UK the average man is 5′ 9″ and about 85kg
    The average woman is 5′ 3.5″ and about 69kg
    the average woman has about 60% of the upper body strength to twirl her weapon than the average guy.

    Is it these statistics themselves you find sexist or is the sexism displayed when I pretend they do not exist?

    You darling, darling man who has helpfully told us all how big and strong you are, why are you confused when people counter your arguments with statistics about size?

    It’s okay for you to tell us women are weak and helpless because of their size, but pointing out that there are many men who are the same size as these women is awful of us?

    There certainly are statistical physical differences between men and women–has anyone denied that?–but there is also a lot of overlap, which is why making policy off of such generalizations is short-sighted. Especially when many of the factors that put women at a disadvantage are socio-cultural, like bone density.

    Beginning in adolescence, pressures for “feminine eating” and fewer opportunities/less encouragement for weight bearing activities in girls have a measurable impact on skeletal development. These “feminine” injuries you keep citing can also be found in male athletes who restrict their weight, such as jockeys and wrestlers.

    Are stress fractures just as common in women who have never been exposed to a culture with ideas about “feminine eating”? We don’t know. What we do know is that men who had disordered eating in childhood also exhibit these stress fractures. So rather than restrict what women can do–a suggestion you made in regards to foot soldier infantry–it would make a lot more sense to focus on the health of developing bodies so that there will be more healthy adults capable of bearing weight, regardless of what vocation they choose.

  302. keenacat says

    For example women tend to have stronger immune systems. Is there a profession that they would be better qualified for than men because of that? That’s just one example.

    *thoughful face*
    So this is why women have a higher incidence of autoimmune diseases. I really wonder if there’s a profession where we’d need to have a raging autoimmune disease to participate –

    OH WAIT YOU HAVE NO FUCKING CLUE WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT!
    So fuck you.

    Nope. Just the longest recorded case of respiratory function in an anencephalic.

    I love you. I want to steal your sperm and impregnate myself with you gay feminazi babbehs.

  303. says

    noelplum99:

    It seems to me there are two legitimate disagreements you can have with me. please tell me if you feel the list is incomplete:
    1) The stress fracture argument is bogus (Stephanie’s argument) and only results because women are being subjected to types of training that, for legacy reasons, are appropriate for men but deleterious for women.

    You must’ve missed my comment at #114.

    There is a major problem with using this study for any conclusions about the suitability of women in specific roles: it produced correlation, not causation. It might be that the women in more demanding positions have to work harder than their male counterparts just to be considered competent. That also would lead to more fractures among women.

    Your entire defense of your position rests on a report that doesn’t establish your case. It doesn’t report that women have softer bones, or bones that are more likely to break under identical circumstances as men.

    And yet that’s how you present the report.

  304. says

    The Mellow Monkey: Caerie @364

    Either someone has spiked my cup of tea this morning or you are as thick as shit.
    FFS, at no point am i suggesting that all men are larger than all women but that if i were to face an unseen randomly assigned man or woman my expectation would be that the man would be larger.

    http://www.allcountries.org/uscensus/230_cumulative_percent_distribution_of_population_by.html

    Going by this I have about a 40% chance of a guy being 5′ 10″ or more and about a 1-2% chance of a woman being that tall. Do you not regard that as statistically significant or something one may wish to take into account when considering an unseen opponent?

    The daft thing is there are enough potential bones of contention with what i am discussing on this blog but bizarrely some of you are choosing to instead tell me i have said things that I have never and then deconstruct the argument you have made on my behalf.

    With regard to your ‘feminine eating’ hypothesis. In this context I couldn’t give a flying fuck. Perhaps you have a bone deficiency because your parents willfully kept calcium out of your diet: should the army turn a bline eye to that and employ you anyway? Perhaps you are blind because your neighbour gouged your eyes out: should the army overlook that and employ you as if you were sighted?
    Pressure on adolescent girls to be thin is a societal problem (and i agree with your concerns) but just because you think that in this you may have pinpointed the reason for the stress fractures has no bearing on suitability.

    Jim

  305. says

    Going by this I have about a 40% chance of a guy being 5′ 10″ or more and about a 1-2% chance of a woman being that tall. Do you not regard that as statistically significant or something one may wish to take into account when considering an unseen opponent?

    No one here is suggesting that people in military positions should be chosen by random lottery. That is only way that averages like that would actually matter.

    As PZ said yesterday, sans sexism there might be a 70/30 split in positions that rely on physical strength. Not 50/50. Not “random females from the population.” Only those who are capable of the work, regardless of sex.

    If someone has a learning disorder and yet is still an excellent student, it would be discrimination to deny them a place at a university, even if the average person with that learning disorder would be unsuited for the program. We aren’t suggesting a lottery of women of all sizes and all backgrounds should be held to shove them into every position in the military, whether they’re suited for it or not. We’re suggesting not having a ban in place and choosing based on ability.

  306. says

    Nigel @336

    There is a major problem with using this study for any conclusions about the suitability of women in specific roles: it produced correlation, not causation. It might be that the women in more demanding positions have to work harder than their male counterparts just to be considered competent. That also would lead to more fractures among women.

    I don’t understand this response. We are not talking about women in ‘positions’ we are talking about recruits in training. The report is clear: men and women previously trained alongside one another but to different standards, when the difference in standards were dropped (to end the discrimination) then the stress fracture problem manifested.

    If you look at the stats, even when working to the discriminatory lower standard, the rates amongst female recruits for overuse injuries were three times that of their male colleagues, when the standard was raised it more than doubled. And this is in basic training we are talking about, not the higher standards under heavier loads that then take place for infantry specific roles.

    I may be wrong in my analysis, but not on the grounds you give here because the claims you make here do not relate to what the report was about.

    Or maybe this is just me trebling down now?

    Jim

  307. says

    Caerie @370

    You are mixing up your discussions here. The part of my discussions you are aiming at is the part when i was considering hand to hand combat in centuries past (responding to why armies were traditionally male and may still have been even in a matriarchy) and how i would feel knowing I would be facing off against a man versus a woman.
    That discussion has NOTHING to do with selection or suitability for modern army roles from the perspective i have been arguing and at no point whatsoever have i brought it up as an issue.

    Jim

    PS: this is the third or fourth time I have had to point this out. Perhaps if people read what was written rather than assuming my arguments and intentions with your own stereotypes it might help matters.

  308. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    What does “stronger immune system” mean, anyway?

    It can disembowel two women in one swing.

  309. says

    The part of my discussions you are aiming at is the part when i was considering hand to hand combat in centuries past (responding to why armies were traditionally male and may still have been even in a matriarchy) and how i would feel knowing I would be facing off against a man versus a woman.
    That discussion has NOTHING to do with selection or suitability for modern army roles from the perspective i have been arguing and at no point whatsoever have i brought it up as an issue.

    You seem to be the only one here who wants to argue about hand to hand combat between yourself and two random women set against the backdrop of some picturesque historical era. Is this a common fantasy of yours? If so, you may enjoy fine literature that explores the physical dominance of men, such as Taken by the Viking and its family values sequel Bred by the Viking.

    Since no one else is having that conversation, why don’t you get back to this statement:

    I still support a ban on women for foot soldier infantry positions though the advent of more technological forms of warfare i think opens up roles for front line combat positions in more technical roles (tanks, artillery, etc).

    If you’re not basing this on average characteristics of women as a whole (the basis of your sexy menage a trois battle fantasy) rather than individual merit, what are you basing it on?

  310. says

    Caerie,

    I mentioned it once in a direct question asked to me. Since then it has been batted back to me a dozen times, always scoffing (which is fine) but usually strawmanning entirely what i said or misapplying it to the other discussion that is going on.

    I can assure you, unless someone else brings it up i won’t mention it again.

    If you’re not basing this on average characteristics of women as a whole (the basis of your sexy menage a trois battle fantasy) rather than individual merit, what are you basing it on?

    But as I have said numerous times, this rationale of mine here is a pragmatic fudge which i justify on the grounds that this is something I don’t think the army has the wherewithall to measure. No different to all the other pragmatic fudges like blanket bans on driving below a certain age or voting (or joining the military above or below a certain age) and for the same reason that the kinds of individual assessment that would be required in each case are prohibitive.
    If someone can show me that i am wrong in this and that there are reasonably easy and cheap tests (cheap enough for the army to be able to afford to use them, i mean) that could be done to determine which individuals cross the acceptability threshold for these overuse and stress injuries then i would be more than happy to go with that because then i would not have to take a pragmatic position that sits at odds with my stated (and earnestly held) ideologcal position (that we ought to assess people as individuals and not be the average characteristics of some group to which they belong).

    Jim.

    PS: One source of amusement in this thread is the amount of people who feel the need to point out to me that my stance here is at odds with my stated ideological claim, as if this is something I am not acutely aware of already. Maybe that is the problem with arguing with ideologs who cannot see further than their ideological position so assume noone else can either? Who knows.

  311. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Noelplum99:
    No, there are not pragmatic reasons for continuing discrimination in the military. Those physical characteristics you mention that are different between the sexes should not be used to deny women the right to serve any position in the military. If there are physical qualifications to be met, the military should allow anyone to do those tasks if they qualify. I have a roommate who was in the military and she is a fitness instructor. She is far more fit than many men I know. She and any other women like her should be allowed to serve on the front lines, or infantry, or wherever you support the continued discrimination of people based on sex.

  312. Gregory Greenwood says

    Louis @ 359;

    Oh at least twelve. Feminism weakens the immune system, almost by sheer coincidence, quite specifically towards mallets.

    Ah, yes – let none forget the great and terrible mallet plague of 1914, that killed none but women, feminists, and men wearing pink…

    It’s kind of like zombies exploding in a flesh defying manner when treated to even moderate trauma.

    It does make one wonder how they are quite so good at acheiving zombie apocalypses against armies equipped with modern weapons when they blow to peices when belaboured with a baseball bat.

    Then again, given the fact that as zombies they have reading comprehension skills on a par with those of your average MRA ‘truskeptic’, I sometimes wonder whether the zombie outbreak has already begun, but rather than going out to eat brains they instead shuffle to the nearest computer and drool onto the keyboard whilst laboriously typing yet another post with the tagline ‘#FTBullies’…

    I’d explain more but there’s maths and we all know girls, and thus by extension feminists, are no good at maths. Girls and feminists are however good at looking pretty and twirling their hair.

    {Waggles eyebrows suggestively at Gregory}

    Well hello there, beautiful…

    Well I do declare! You are too kind, good sir. You have my feminisms all aflutter, you and your roguish painted scrotum…

    :-P

    I do have a couple of questions, however – how exactly does one waggle one’s eyebrows suggestively? Does it take much training?

  313. says

    If someone can show me that i am wrong in this and that there are reasonably easy and cheap tests (cheap enough for the army to be able to afford to use them, i mean) that could be done to determine which individuals cross the acceptability threshold for these overuse and stress injuries then i would be more than happy to go with that because then i would not have to take a pragmatic position that sits at odds with my stated (and earnestly held) ideologcal position (that we ought to assess people as individuals and not be the average characteristics of some group to which they belong).

    Why are the tests that armies perform to sort fit men from unfit women insufficient to sort fit women from unfit women? Because women are more likely to get stress fractures, and testing for bone density is expensive? Is that what you’re down to now? Stress fractures and expensive tests?

    You seem a lot like a liar in this conversation, rather like Mr. BoxTurtle. You said you WANT to judge people by their individual strengths and weaknesses, but in reality you don’t want to unless it’s cheap. Or something.

  314. says

    Noelplum/Jim:

    I think we would all benefit from one, simply clarification: Do you, or do you now, support the banning of one entire gender from an activity or career position due to the qualities of an average member of said gender?

    If yes, then you’re an idiot and we’re pretty much done with you.

    If not, then what the fuck have you been arguing for this whole time?

  315. says

    Lost track of the discussion. It reads like Noel is not discussing the OP, and the topic has turned to women in the military. It looks like a derail. Can Noel defend that douching is beneficial and not a practice inculcated by patriarchy?

  316. says

    TerranRich @381

    I am not sure I can answer your question any more that to repeat what i have said already. On an ideological level i oppose judging or limiting people based on average characteristics but I am a pragmatist, not an ideolog, and sometimes I set my ideology aside. There were two occupations I did this for, midwives and infantry foot soldiers, I have been dissuaded on midwifery but my position remains on infantry.
    I simply cannot be clearer than that. If you are unable to get your head around someone suspending their ideology for what they see as a more significant practical concern then i don’t know how to help you.

    Tony @376
    For the sixth time this is not about fitness. you may as well have been discussing your roommate who is a brain surgeon. I am not discriminating on the grounds of fitness any more than I am on grounds of intellect. How many times do i need to make that plain?

    Sally @379

    Why are the tests that armies perform to sort fit men from unfit women insufficient to sort fit women from unfit women?
    For the seventh time this is not about fitness. From the very first time i mentioned this it was about stress fractures and it has been about stress fractures all the way through and it STILL ABOUT FUCKING STRESS FRACTURES (unless you are gathering my argument from the idiots misrepresenting me rather than from my own posts)!!!!

    Jim

  317. says

    noelplum99:

    I may be wrong in my analysis, but not on the grounds you give here because the claims you make here do not relate to what the report was about.

    What part of “correlation is not causation” do you not understand? It’s a very simple concept, and a fairly common one.

    You are drawing conclusions based on correlation, not causation.

  318. says

    lilandra @383
    Yes, the topic is seriously derailed. Ofc, i could ask everyone to stop talking about it but then I think we would both know what would be thrown back at me then.

    Can Noel defend that douching is beneficial and not a practice inculcated by patriarchy?

    I don’t want to defend douching, it seems an odious and unnecessary practice. does that make it a symptom of patriarchy? I don’t see that it does. The defenders and promoters of patriarchy theory are keen to point out that partriarchy can also hurt men and lead to harmful and negatives stereotypes and requirements of men. So if that is the case why can sexist and negative attitudes towards women be the sole preserve and symptomatic of patriarchy? On what grounds do you assert that douching would never have arisen in a gender-neutral or matriarchal environment?
    Men and women can pressure and shame one another quite without the authority and status that patriarchy grants for some so i really don’t see how wo go so seamlessly from expressing our disapproval in a practice to lazily attributing it to patriarchy, other than on the ground that every wrong in the world is due to ‘the patriarchy’ and if only that were different we would live in some utopia!
    i just don’t buy it.

    Jim.

  319. Gregory Greenwood says

    noelplum99 @ 361;

    Of course there are many such potential issues of ‘principle’. In my own employment women are barred from dealing with incidents involving radioactivity on grounds of greater harm (the potential loss of a lifetime of mutated eggs versus one mutated cumshot of sperm)

    Again, why shouldn’t the women be notified of the risks and allowed to make up their own minds like the adults they are?

    And what about women who are already infertile? Or have undergone radiotherapy? Or have had their eggs harvested? Or simply don’t want to have children? Why should they be denied access to a certain career path by sole virtue of their possession of double X chromosomes? Indeed – given the fact that the risk is not non-existent when applied to men dealing with radioactive materials – would it not be more sensible to warn the applicants of the risks, so that a man who does want to father children in the future is aware of the risks, and perhaps may choose to avoid the job, while a woman who has no interest in children or is incapable of bearing them is not automatically excluded based upon irrelevant aspects of her biology?

    but do we really have to rail against that eminently sensible and pragmatic decision on the grounds that the floodgates could open to holding back all manner of groups of people in any circumstance where there may be a differential risk? I would say not.

    Denying women the right to choose based upon assumptions about their proper role in society is very far from ‘sensible’ or ‘pragmatic’ – all it does is limit the potential recruitment pool and replicate misogynistic tropes about what kind of jobs women are fit for, or are fir for women.

    The vast majority of the human experience involves negotiating potentially slippery slopes rather than plumping for an absolute and an appeal against this is exactly the same scaremongering politicians on either side use whenever it suits (but ignore whenever it doesn’t).

    So you honestly see no similarity between discriminating against women because of their sex, and discriminating against gay people becaue of their sexual orientation, or ethnic minorities because of their skin tone?

    Really? There is no parallel here for you?

    I am arguing that women are people who should be afforded the same opportunities as men, and that we shouldn’t repeat the same mistakes that have in the past lead to clearly comparable cases of discrimination against people for aspects of themselves that they cannot control, and you call it scaremongering.

    Scaremongering – your word. Tell me; what do you find so very frightening about the idea that women are the equals of men, and that discriminatory attitudes to the contrary should be opposed just as homophobia and racism should be opposed? Why is discrimination against women more acceptable to you than other forms of discrimination? I hope that it is not because you feel that women genuinely are inferior to men, and so discrimination against them is only ‘sensible’ and ‘pragmatic’, especially given the fact that this exact same argument has been wheeled out to try to justify every form of bigotry under the sun.

    As to your other point Gregory, you descended into the same silliness as many of the others. Agreed, if small people all train for years with swords and big people never so much as pick one up then you have a point. However, in the history of military conventions, both formal and informal, I am unaware of any which mandated that larger individuals refrain from training to give the smaller ones a chance.

    Those are some highly mobile goalposts you have there. You are the one who claimed that superior strength would be the dominant factor in your little hypothetical of two-on-one inter-gender combat, and I and others have pointed out that skill, dexterity and speed are actually more important, only for you to now try to specify after the fact that varying skill levels should not be a factor in order to avoid dealing with the fact that your initial claim that strength is the dominant factor doesn’t actually make sense. Demanding that factors other than brute strength be artificially ignored does little to back up your claim that men are automatically better suited to combat than women – the whole point is that individual variation is a more significant factor than generalisations about variance between genders.

    Equally trained the old adage is that “a good big’un always beats a good little’un” and i think there is some truth in that.

    And what if the ‘good big’un’ in a given case happens to be the woman? As noted by other commenters, variation in height within genders is often as great or greater than variation between genders, so there will be several cases where a tall woman will be substantially larger than many men. Why should she be denied the choice of service in the frontlines, when a man smaller than she is is not, assuming that their training is equal?

    On the issue of size I should just mention on of the more insane responses I have recieved has boiled my arguments just down to an issue of size, as if men or just scaled-up women (or vice versa), in fact reference was even made to potentially limiting the roles of Indian recruits on these grounds. Ghurkas have served in the British Army for many decades and these diminutive Nepalese soldiers have, as far as I can ascertain, no issue with stress fractures. Had they done so I suggest we would have stopped using them many years ago.

    Would you happen to have and actual evidence demonstrating that a 6’2″ woman is more vulnerable to stress fractures than a 5’4″ man to such a degree that she should be denied the opportunity to serve in a frontline role because of her lady parts?

  320. says

    Nigel @385

    Which is why best practice is to adjust just one variable at once. They adjusted one variable at once, how many would you like them to have adjusted.

    I tell you what, don’t answer that, answer this: what is your alternative explanation for the increased injury rate when the intensity of the training was increased other than as a result of the intensity of the training being increased?
    Maybe their male colleagues suddenly started disliking them and kicking them in the ankles perhaps, furious as they were that the playing field had now been levelled and they all were expected to attain the same level of fitness to perform the same job?
    Ok, i should cut the sarcasm and allow you to give me your alternatives rather than my flippant ones :)

  321. says

    @387 Gregory Greenwood

    i will just answer this one before even reading any further:

    Again, why shouldn’t the women be notified of the risks and allowed to make up their own minds like the adults they are?

    maybe where you live things are different. In the UK employers have a duty of care. Under the H&S at work act 1974 it is incumbent upon employers to take reasonable steps to protect their staff (and staff to protect themselves and each other), they cannot simply ask you to sign a waiver in the way you suggest. If fire services did as you suggest, women made sterile through exposure to radioactivity would be able to sue for, who knows hundreds of thousands, millions? I realise that is of no concern to you because your ideological perspective is above putting a price on but real people running real organisations cannot allow them to be run into the ground by granting their staff the freedoms to willingly place themselves in unnecessary danger.

    Jim.

  322. says

    noelplum99:

    I tell you what, don’t answer that, answer this: what is your alternative explanation for the increased injury rate when the intensity of the training was increased other than as a result of the intensity of the training being increased?

    Oh, I’m not saying the increase in training intensity didn’t result in the increase of training injuries. We’re not talking about an increase in training injuries, though; we’re talking about the disparity of training injuries between males and females. You’re attributing the disparity to a weakness in women, when in fact you have no evidence that this is the case. You are completely ignoring potential social factors, only one of which I presented as a possibility.

  323. doubtthat says

    I’ll try one more time. Noel, setting everything else aside, why should I view your statements about the “innate” capacity of women with regard to the army any differently than past claims about the “innate” capacity of women with regard to being doctors, lawyers, politicians, participating in sports (recall that people thought women would die if they had to run up and down the basketball court, so when they were finally allowed to play, one group of women stayed on the defensive end of the court, one stayed on the offensive–they weren’t allowed to run back and forth).

    Early on you could provide ample evidence to show that women suffered far more injuries playing basketball. You could show that they were academically less capable then men across the board. Yet now we look back and acknowledge that this was solely due to the educational and sporting opportunities that were available to girls and young women. Now that those opportunities are the same, that gap has disappeared.

    Why won’t it be the case that in a couple of decades as women are allowed to participate in more rigorous ROTC programs (for example), and training measures implemented with knowledge of the potential injury risk become more normal, that injury gap won’t disappear?

    Basic training exists only in part to prepare for the technical aspect of being a soldier. A great deal of it to prepare people for the mental stress. Those types of endurance tests do not bear a 1:1 relationship with actually being a soldier, and the same ends can be obtained with tests developed to limit injury.

    I will further point out that in the United States, in order to make the armed forces available to more people, they have set up pre-basic training camps (mostly for out of shape [fat] people) to help build up bodies before the grueling tests. I would be interested to see the results of your injury study when and if that sort of preparation becomes the norm.

  324. Ogvorbis says

    noelplum99:

    I went through Basic Training in the US Army in 1990. Of my training platoon (43 young men in very good physical condition (well, most of us were)), 8 suffered some sort of stress fracture during training. Two (one femur and one tibia) went through to completion resulting in medical discharge with disability. And the other 6 were only the ones for whom the symptoms were severe enough to report. (There was also one medical discharge for a severe knee injury (me), one medical discharge for a broken back, and one medical discharge for asthma (which showed up right after we went through the gas chamber)).

    A woman I work with saw combat in Iraq. She told me that in her training company, there were only 3 reported stress fractures and none went through to completion. Her entire company only had one medical discharge.

    Of course, this is anecdotal so feel free to dismiss.

  325. says

    Gregory

    So you honestly see no similarity between discriminating against women because of their sex, and discriminating against gay people becaue of their sexual orientation, or ethnic minorities because of their skin tone?

    No. Discrimination is not a bad word. Every recruitment process is discriminatory and don’t think anyone would want to see indiscriminate recruitment. The factors on which one discriminates need to be reasonable and justifiable but beyond that i don’t see any reason to place hard and fast limits.

    Tell me; what do you find so very frightening about the idea that women are the equals of men, and that discriminatory attitudes to the contrary should be opposed just as homophobia and racism should be opposed?

    It is interesting but i don’t even think in terms of women either being the equal of men or otherwise. What if women are not the equal of men? What if straight white men are not the equal of gay east asian men? I don’t really care because my **ideological stance** is to view people by their individual characteristics and out of the tens of thousands of jobs that exist the fact that there is one single role where i make a group factor an issue (aside from the obvious such as male actors for male roles, black actors for black characters, female to catwalk female clothes etc) impacts not on my ideological underpinning but just shows i will will grudgingly set such things aside when i feel common sense dictates.

    I hope that it is not because you feel that women genuinely are inferior to men, and so discrimination against them is only ‘sensible’ and ‘pragmatic’, especially given the fact that this exact same argument has been wheeled out to try to justify every form of bigotry under the sun.

    Well Gregory, if your position is that treating women based on their skills and merits is critically dependent upon woman as a group being exactly equal (whatever the hell that even means) to men then you are the one on shakier ground. The real historical problem with bigotry is not the issue of erroneous representing of groups but of feeling that this legitimised treating the individuals within that group to different standards (based on that erroneous assessment) in situations where people can quite easily be assessed and treated as individuals.

    and I and others have pointed out that skill, dexterity and speed are actually more important

    I didn’t agree with you that they were more important, i did agree with you that they are other relevant factors.
    If you look at boxing, it is very rare anyone has much success at all going more than one weight division above their own. All the speed and skill in the world will not help a flyweight against a heavyweight.

    As noted by other commenters, variation in height within genders is often as great or greater than variation between genders, so there will be several cases where a tall woman will be substantially larger than many men. Why should she be denied the choice of service in the frontlines, when a man smaller than she is is not, assuming that their training is equal?

    Once again, as have most of your colleagues, you have lurched from one discussion i was holding to the other. In fact the British Army generally regards very large people as not ideal for infantry positions, it is generally wirey slightly shorter individuals with excellent strength-to-weight ratios that are the best for the kinds of strength-endurance and load-bearing endurance activities that sort the adults out from the juveniles (that was my attemopt at a gender free ‘men from the boys’ there). Like i said earlier, ghurkas have served for decades, do full infantry training with fully loaded bergens and i can find no information anywhere that suggests that these smaller soldiers suffer the stress fracture and overuse issues. if they DID then you would be in the lucky position of being able to label me a racist as well as a sexist!

    Jim

  326. Gregory Greenwood says

    noelplum99 @ 389;

    maybe where you live things are different. In the UK employers have a duty of care. Under the H&S at work act 1974 it is incumbent upon employers to take reasonable steps to protect their staff (and staff to protect themselves and each other), they cannot simply ask you to sign a waiver in the way you suggest.

    I do live in the UK, and I am aware of employer duty of care, but that does not mean that I approve of the use of the law to try to restrict the career paths of women based upon assumptions about their role in society. That something is enshrined in law does not automatically mean that it is right.

    Also, the potential harm to the reproductive organs of both genders caused by radioactive materials is well established, but your claims about stress fractures among women are not, so the two situiations are not even comparable.

    I realise that is of no concern to you because your ideological perspective is above putting a price on but real people running real organisations cannot allow them to be run into the ground by granting their staff the freedoms to willingly place themselves in unnecessary danger.

    What can I say – I am quite, quite unreasonable when it comes to insisting that women are people too, and shouldn’t be treated as second class citizens because they weren’t graced with a penis at birth. I maintain this insistence even in the face of people losing money, out of my unconscionable belief that the equality of women is more important than budgets (or profit margins, in for-profit organisations).

    It’s a character flaw…

  327. says

    First the wiki facts on general muscle dimorphism

    Typically, males are physically stronger than females. The difference is due to females having less total muscle mass than males, and also having lower muscle mass in comparison to total body mass. While individual muscle fibers have similar strength, males have more fibers due to their greater total muscle mass. The greater muscle mass of males is in turn due to a greater capacity for muscular hypertrophy as a result of men’s higher levels of testosterone. Males remain stronger than females, when adjusting for differences in total body mass. This is due to the higher male muscle-mass to body-mass ratio.[10] This sex difference does apply to all human societies. In Bali, for example, where men do not usually participate in heavy work, there is less difference between the muscle mass of men and women.[11]

    As a result, gross measures of body strength suggest a 40-50% difference in upper body strength between the sexes as a result of this difference, and a 20-30% difference in lower body strength.[12] This is supported by another study that found females are about 52-66% as strong as males in the upper body, and about 70-80% as strong in the lower body.[13] This is due to the fact that during childhood, both males and females use their leg muscles the same amount for activities like running, walking, and playing. The wider variation in upper-body strength is also socially created by the pressure on males to enhance their muscles.[14] One study of muscle strength in the elbows and knees—in 45 and older males and females—found the strength of females to range from 42 to 63% of male strength.[15] Differences in width of arm, thighs and calves also increase during puberty. Exercise can lower the degree of sex differentiation in muscle development as adults. For example, the amount of oxygen that the blood can carry is very similar in male and female athletes, while in untrained people women cannot carry as much oxygen.[16] Most statistics in the areas of strength, power, muscle mass, and height of human males and females is based on mean numbers, but these numbers are not exact representations of a society as they exclude information on the spread of the data. When considering the spread of most statistics, there is significant overlap in the values of physical traits between men and women. In addition, there are a significant number of individuals who deviate from from the average statistics.[17]

    TLDR: Males have greater muscle mass ratio than women, generally as part of dimorphism. Women have been seen to have worse oxygen carrying capacity in their blood but this is a difference that shrinks or goes away in physically trained women. There is significant variation from the mean.

    Now on the immune issue.

    Females typically have more white blood cells (stored and circulating), more granulocytes and B and T lymphocytes. Additionally, they produce more antibodies at a faster rate than males. Hence they develop fewer infectious diseases and succumb for shorter periods.[37] Ethologists argue that females, interacting with other females and multiple offspring in social groups, have experienced such traits as a selective advantage.[38][39][40][41][42]

    Citations ^ Jo Durden-Smith & Diane deSimone (1983). Sex and the Brain. New York: Arbor House. ISBN 978-0-87795-484-2.

    ^ Eileen S. Gersh & Isidore Gersh (1981). Biology of Women. Baltimore: University Park Press. ISBN 978-0-8391-1622-6. LCCN 80-025534. OCLC 6914860.

    ^ Jay H. Stein (1987). Internal Medicine (2nd ed.). Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 978-0-316-81236-8.

    ^ M. McLaughlin & T. Shryer (8 August 1988). “Men vs women: the new debate over sex differences”. U.S. News & World Report: 50–58.

    ^ B. S. McEwen (1981). “Neural gonadal steroid actions”. Science 211 (4488): 1303–1311. Bibcode 1981Sci…211.1303M. doi:10.1126/science.6259728.

    Since I doubt many of these douches are doing independent research, I think it’s safe to presume they got the immune issue from Wiki and are using that definition.

  328. Brownian says

    That is simply a lie. You are out right making an argument to a priori disqualify people from positions due to average characteristics of a demographic.

    NoelPlum99 just doesn’t want to fight Renee ‘Cables of Steel’ Hendricks, so he’s walking back his argument.

    Don’t chicken out now buddy, I’ve still got my money on penis.

  329. says

    This argument actually reminds me of the biography of Frederik Douglas I read (and really recommended everyone read about the man his life was fascinating) with how the argument was that blacks were only good for slaves by their nature and incapable of other tasks, so Douglas being a former slave who could read and write well and succeed elsewhere caused major snit fits including the excuse that he can only do that because he’s part white.

  330. says

    OK, I think i am done here, this at the round in circles stage right now.
    The discussions here have given me a couple of topics to chew over on video so i thank you all for that.

    If anyone feels the need to ‘school’ me further then please contact me at my email ([email protected]) or pm me via YT but please only do so if it is likely to move the conversation forwards rather than eliciting the same moves on either side.

    tak
    jim

  331. says

    Ing:

    There is significant variation from the mean.

    This needs to be tattooed on a few foreheads. There is value in this kind of data and looking at group characteristics, but individuals are not defined by the averages.

  332. Brownian says

    This needs to be tattooed on a few foreheads. There is value in this kind of data and looking at group characteristics, but individuals are not defined by the averages.

    Oi, QFT. If I hear one more person claim that a life expectancy of 30 in the middle ages meant you were an elder at 27, I’m gonna throw them to Renee to have her muscular way with.

  333. says

    Oi, QFT. If I hear one more person claim that a life expectancy of 30 in the middle ages meant you were an elder at 27, I’m gonna throw them to Renee to have her muscular way with.

    I’m always fascinated by this set of observations

    A) Few people understand math well, including averages despite it being elementary school math explained to everyone at great length

    B) Despite this lack of understanding people greatly trust said math

  334. Gregory Greenwood says

    noelplum99 @ 394;

    No. Discrimination is not a bad word. Every recruitment process is discriminatory and don’t think anyone would want to see indiscriminate recruitment. The factors on which one discriminates need to be reasonable and justifiable but beyond that i don’t see any reason to place hard and fast limits.

    Don’t play word games – a recruitment process that winnows out those individuals that lack the requisite level of ability is not the same thing as a process that assumes that women are incapable by virtue of their womanhood irrespective of their actual ability as individuals.

    Indiscriminate (meaning without proper application of judgement about the ability level of specific recruits) recruitment would be irresponsible, but this does not mean that discriminatory (meaning making assumptions about people based upon one’s preconceptions about the social group they are part of, instead of their actual ability) recruitment processes are the acceptable alternative.

    It is interesting but i don’t even think in terms of women either being the equal of men or otherwise. What if women are not the equal of men? What if straight white men are not the equal of gay east asian men? I don’t really care because my **ideological stance** is to view people by their individual characteristics and out of the tens of thousands of jobs that exist the fact that there is one single role where i make a group factor an issue (aside from the obvious such as male actors for male roles, black actors for black characters, female to catwalk female clothes etc) impacts not on my ideological underpinning but just shows i will will grudgingly set such things aside when i feel common sense dictates.

    If one’s basic assumption is that membership of a certain group says nothing about the ability of that particular person, then this is the same as stating that those two groups are equal. Yet you are the one who keeps arguing for making assumptions about the incapacity of women based upon their womanhood alone, as can be seen from you statement @ 55;

    No, I think they are common sense. I still support a ban on women for foot soldier infantry positions though the advent of more technological forms of warfare i think opens up roles for front line combat positions in more technical roles (tanks, artillery, etc).

    How is a blanket ban on women as a broad group not an example of making assumptions about the abilities of an individual based upon their membership of a social group, in this case being a woman? Why is this exception to your stated standard position of egalitarianism justified in the case of military recruitment? You still haven’t managed to make a cogent case in this regard.

    Well Gregory, if your position is that treating women based on their skills and merits is critically dependent upon woman as a group being exactly equal (whatever the hell that even means) to men then you are the one on shakier ground.

    If the system, and the people who subscribe to it, hold a woman’s gender against her becasue they do not see ‘women’ as a social group as equal to ‘men’ as a social group, then that system (and its adherants) are ensuring that this woman faces an uphill struggle from the off – it places an extra obstacle in the path of every individual woman if the social presumption is that women as a group are inferior, and that as such individual women must work harder than men just to be taken seriously in what is still very much a male dominated world where pay inequality and glass ceilings are a day to day reality for millions of women world wide.

    The real historical problem with bigotry is not the issue of erroneous representing of groups but of feeling that this legitimised treating the individuals within that group to different standards (based on that erroneous assessment) in situations where people can quite easily be assessed and treated as individuals.

    If your base presumption is that women as a group are lesser than men, then it is inevitable that this will also impact your assessment of individual women – the two attitudes cannot be so easily separated.

    Also, misrepresentation of groups has been quite a problem with regard to bigotry – just ask any jewish person about the history of the so called ‘blood libel’ for a rather graphic example. Identifying the group a person belongs to as inferior is always the first step toward discriminating against the people who make up that group.

    I didn’t agree with you that they were more important, i did agree with you that they are other relevant factors.
    If you look at boxing, it is very rare anyone has much success at all going more than one weight division above their own. All the speed and skill in the world will not help a flyweight against a heavyweight.

    Boxing is a specific form of unarmed combat that privileges strength and endurance. The same is not true of martial arts like judo or karate, and in any case your original example references armed combat. You really are struggling to find a very narrow and specific example from which to make a very broad generalisation.

    Once again, as have most of your colleagues, you have lurched from one discussion i was holding to the other. In fact the British Army generally regards very large people as not ideal for infantry positions, it is generally wirey slightly shorter individuals with excellent strength-to-weight ratios that are the best for the kinds of strength-endurance and load-bearing endurance activities that sort the adults out from the juveniles (that was my attemopt at a gender free ‘men from the boys’ there). Like i said earlier, ghurkas have served for decades, do full infantry training with fully loaded bergens and i can find no information anywhere that suggests that these smaller soldiers suffer the stress fracture and overuse issues. if they DID then you would be in the lucky position of being able to label me a racist as well as a sexist!

    What makes you think that women have lesser strength-to-weight ratios than men? This is relative strength you are discussing here, afterall. Are you asserting that male musculature is more efficient per unit of mass than that of women?

  335. says

    @Gregory

    On average men have a metabolism that converts more energy to muscle than to fat than women and have a dimorphism that gives a greater muscle/mass ratio.

    But…and this is where the difference between knowing a fact and being rational and using facts comes in

    a) that’s average and there is significant variation
    b) Even if we take as a given that the best trained and conditions woman falls short of the best trained and conditions man…that doesn’t mean she is unfit for the task required. The men the army is currently accepting are not always the paragons of athletics even if they are in upper percentiles due to training and conditioning. Good enough literally IS good enough. Even if the best crop of potential women recruits only match the worst of infantry, they still made the cut. That’s the difference between having a merit based criteria where it’s “if you can meet X goals regardless you are in” versus “on average your demographic cannot do X, therefore we’re not interested in seeing you try”
    c) I haven’t found research done on it, but I am curious on the possible size/efficiency ratio of infantry soldiers or specialists. I’m not saying its the case but it could very well be that a smaller frame might actually be a benefit that outstrips greater carrying capacity given the current warfare climate.

  336. doubtthat says

    @Ing:Intellectual Terrorist “Starting Tonight, People will Whine” 399

    “…the argument was that blacks were only good for slaves by their nature and incapable of other tasks…”

    The frequency with which the achievement gap shrinks following the elimination of the opportunity gap is a fascinating historical coincidence (I’m sure).

    I really don’t see the problem in any of this. Either women are being arbitrarily denied opportunity in the military or women are incapable of performing tasks necessary to infantry positions. Noel is arguing against the former, but if you believe the latter, let them try, if there’s a real block, then they won’t make it, anyway.

    Regardless of the factual position, legal restrictions to participation are useless, which leads one to the inevitable conclusion that folks want women excluded from the armed forces for reasons having nothing to do with ability.

  337. says

    Men tend to be color-blind far more often than women, in vast magnitudes. Therefore, men should be banned from any military operations or positions where distinguishing color is necessary. Amirite?

  338. says

    Following in Ing’s snarkiness footsteps:

    Women’s better overall endurance is far more important than strength with regards to infantry combat, as well. Yet I don’t see anyone arguing that men should be excluded from infantry combat because they are weaker on average with respect to endurance.

  339. No Light says

    NigelTheBold
    See, I told you that Mr Thicky-bobo Jimmy “I don’t fucking understand what patriarchy means” NoPlums wouldn’t stick the flounce.

    He’s entirely incapable of not douchesplaining. Once he’d furiously rubbed out some bollock-babies over the thought of slaughtering women with his mallet-wielding DoomCock, had his post-wank nap and then read the Daily Mail, he had nothing better to do.

    Gregory Greenwood

    How very dare you say you live in the UK! NoPlums is the sole resident and ultimate expert on British life.

    Louis

    My regards to Mr Tibbles. Has he recovered from his shock?

    Tony

    What odds are you offering on the results of Jimmy Mallet vs CableSwinger?

    Josh

    Jim – The mallet-wielding personification of patriarchy (apparently)

    Nope. Just the longest recorded case of respiratory function in an anencephalic.

    I’m awarding you the inaugural Joshcar. A golden statue of the man of your choice, presented for services to comment sections.

    Ing Caster fucking Semenya being the case in point. Poor woman.

  340. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Thus spoke Brownian:

    Don’t chicken out now buddy, I’ve still got my money on penis.

    The wooden mallet is the penis.

    (Worked in a Buffy and a Horrible reference on the same day. I better work on getting an Angel and Firefly in also.)

  341. says

    And again IIRC color blindness is often receive on the X chromosome, so it is actually rare for women to be colorblind due to needing two copies of the gene

    On the flipside of the coin, it’s theorized that some women may actually be tetrachromats and thus see four photopigments instead of three.

  342. Gregory Greenwood says

    Ing @ 407;

    Thanks for the information. As you say, the variation between individuals is the most important factor, not generalisations about gender. If a person who hapopens to be a woman makes the cut, then she makes the cut – the absence of a penis should not be the deciding factor.

  343. Brownian says

    I’m always fascinated by this set of observations

    A) Few people understand math well, including averages despite it being elementary school math explained to everyone at great length

    B) Despite this lack of understanding people greatly trust said math

    I suspect that in the case of life expectancies in particular, what many people don’t seem to understand (or remember) is that simple descriptive statistics such as means don’t tell us all that much about the underlying distribution. In the case of life expectancies, the real information is in a life table.

    There are some great examples of data with similar simple descriptive statistics in Anscombe’s Quartet, which illustrates the importance of understanding the underlying data distribution.

    Men tend to be color-blind far more often than women, in vast magnitudes. Therefore, men should be banned from any military operations or positions where distinguishing color is necessary. Amirite?

    Sadly, the US Army (at least) evaluates potential snipers on the basis of having color vision, rather than having nopenis: http://www.specialoperations.com/Schools/Army_Sniper/Default.htm

    So there’s the theory of colourblind snipers laid to rest, for those aware of the rumor.

  344. says

    Ing: I know all that. But I meant all men should be banned, not just the color-blind ones. You know, like banning all women from infantry duty instead of just the ones who don’t qualify on an individual basis. That would make too much sense.

  345. Gregory Greenwood says

    No Light @ 413;

    How very dare you say you live in the UK! NoPlums is the sole resident and ultimate expert on British life.

    No I am imagining a parallel reality where Britain is actually only occupied by noelplum99, who rules from his penis-shaped fortress of manliness and kidnaps women from other parts of the world in order to hold two-on-one mallet-based gladatorial combats. Naturally, every British person that the rest of the world meets or sees on television is actually noelplum99 in disguise, and predictably hilarious highjinks ensue…

  346. Brownian says

    PROHIBITED ITEMS: FEMALES IN THE BARRACKS

    I think you might be wrong about the penis thing

    Vaginas must get in the way of receiving spotter coordinates or something.

    I’m sure there’s a study.

  347. says

    From Noel bold emphasis mine…

    I don’t want to defend douching, it seems an odious and unnecessary practice. does that make it a symptom of patriarchy? I don’t see that it does. The defenders and promoters of patriarchy theory are keen to point out that partriarchy can also hurt men and lead to harmful and negatives stereotypes and requirements of men. So if that is the case why can sexist and negative attitudes towards women be the sole preserve and symptomatic of patriarchy? On what grounds do you assert that douching would never have arisen in a gender-neutral or matriarchal environment?

    Are you aware that Lysol used to make douche? The whole point of the ad is (paraphrasing here) that just may be your man doesn’t love you because your you haven’t questioned yourself like may be your cooch smells, and that is why you are locked out of the bedroom. Can you imagine some poor woman worried about losing her husband with few options to support herself because of the ahem…PATRIARCHY using a disinfectant on her native,beneficial bacteria? The problem would only worsen as yeast colonized her, which she would probably respond to by using more Lysol. If you can still maintain your incredulity about whether or not patriarchy inculcated this practice perhaps you don’t know what patriarchy means. That is as charitable a reading I can give your response. That perhaps you don’t know what you are talking about.

    Again bold emphasis mine…

    Men and women can pressure and shame one another quite without the authority and status that patriarchy grants for some so i really don’t see how wo go so seamlessly from expressing our disapproval in a practice to lazily attributing it to patriarchy, other than on the ground that every wrong in the world is due to ‘the patriarchy’ and if only that were different we would live in some utopia!
    i just don’t buy it.Jim.

    Sort of like lazily attributing the way African Americans are still found attractive by some by the lightness of their skin due to inculcation of racist attitudes? Or is racism over-attributed in your estimation too? Perhaps, You could define exactly what you mean by patriarchy and that might help.

  348. chrislawson says

    I know this is late in the game, but the paper on military training injuries has some interesting pull-quotes, e.g.:

    “Hill postulated that a mixed platoon of recruits would tend to march at the male stride (45 cm) rather than the shorter female stride (38 cm) because most of the recruits in the platoon were male and this led to an increased incidence of stress fractures of the public ramus amongst females.”

    Thus one of the postulated explanations for the increase in female injuries is that they were subjected to inappropriate physical stresses because the training was normalised for males.

    Then there’s: “Laubach researched the comparative strength of the sexes and found overlapping curves of normal distribution, the 5th percentile for male strength approximating to the 60th percentile for women. Seemingly, however, a woman’s muscle can be trained to mimic male muscle, though it takes a long period of time. A US Army study showed that the proportion of female recruits capable of passing strenuous physical tests rose from 29% to 40% after 8 weeks of basic training, yet when a similar group were trained over six months with additional resistance training, the proportion capable of achieving the test scores was as high as 78%.”

    Thus if you develop a good training program, the female pass rate went from 29% to 78% for what is supposedly an innate genetic inferiority that ought to exclude women from being allowed to work in a role on the basis that only 78% of them can qualify.

  349. Gregory Greenwood says

    Also continuing Ing’s snarkiness…

    Is it not widely known (studies? Are there studies? I don’t care, it’s just ‘sensible’ and ‘pragmatic’) that women are better at teamwork based activities than men – because calibrative-gathering-and-social-behaviours-rather-than-macho-lone-hunter-mentality-and-the-male-need-to-ensure-dominance-to-secure-mating-privileges evo-psych stuff.

    Since modern military engagements are highly complex affairs that demand the highest level of coordination and cooperation in order to function, and have no place for hollywood-esque ‘lone wolf’ idiocy, the psychological predisposition of men toward dominance displays over productive teamworking means that all men should be barred from military service…

  350. Brownian says

    I wonder if it was the rel=”nofollow” tag? I could follow it from my subscriber feed in email (which shows the tags) but not from the blog itself.

    Might be an issue that gets solved in the new site format.

    Nonetheless, you’re welcome for the relink, but thanks for providing it in the first place.

  351. Esteleth مقدس پنیر اور بسکٹ کے ساتھ says

    The “women shouldn’t be around ionizing radiation in the military or industry because babies” argument is such bullshit. I mean, what do you think the stats are on male:female ratios in X-ray medical technicians is? Dental hygienists? Oncology nurses (who spend more time in close proximity to patients than oncologists)? I mean really.

    Also, it is like no one has heard of radiation dosimeters. They are checked regularly by anyone who has to wear one.

  352. says

    @Gregory

    FURTHERMORE, the biggest boon to unforeseen or unique circumstances is diversity, greater POV and background diversity gives you a greater chance of catching upon some data point or reaching a unique solution, ergo we should try to have mixes of genders, races and backgrounds in groups in order to maximize the adaptability of the army units. True initial team building will be harder but the end group will likely be better at solving unique problems.

  353. says

    @Gregory

    If I may make a geeky aside, this whole thing does remind me a bit of Farscape where there is an alien race (actually an offshoot of humans) that when they learn about humans see them as completely inept at warfare due partially due halving the potential pool of recruits. This race had integrated military and didn’t seem to even understand the concept of why they shouldn’t. As a pleasant surprise for a space opera the Farscape writers had thought ahead about the implications of such a society and this race actually did use transhumanist tinkering to make things like birth and conception less strenuous for women (the women have a much shorter gestation time and have to consciously choose to start an implanted embryo’s gestation, otherwise it remains dormant for up to two years). It was just an odd surprise since even many “progressive” sci-fi shows completely forget about women’s issues that the writers actually thought about what a militant co-ed society would see as health problems and how they’d address them

  354. says

    Ing:

    Also the sudden requirement for size/strength does seem a bit suspect considering at least in the draft days they actually did put shrimpy men through basic training. Are you honestly going to tell me that Harlan Ellison is qualified for army combat but say Venssa Williams is not?

    Seth Green would break Lucy Lawless over his knee.

    Remember: you can’t judge on individual qualities. Only averages within a group!

  355. says

    One thing that hasn’t even been mentioned much at all is the question whether the physical requirements actually adequately reflect the requirements of the job or whether it’s just a handy way to keep a large proportion of women barred from certain fields

  356. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Brownian,

    I wonder if it was the rel=”nofollow” tag? I could follow it from my subscriber feed in email (which shows the tags) but not from the blog itself.

    nofollow is an anti-spam measure added by the WordPress software to all commenters’ links. It’s not the issue here.

    lilandra accidentally used the title attribute instead of href. Most browsers interpret the empty href as a link to the originating page.

  357. Gregory Greenwood says

    Ing:Intellectual Terrorist “Starting Tonight, People will Whine” @ 434;

    FURTHERMORE, the biggest boon to unforeseen or unique circumstances is diversity, greater POV and background diversity gives you a greater chance of catching upon some data point or reaching a unique solution, ergo we should try to have mixes of genders, races and backgrounds in groups in order to maximize the adaptability of the army units. True initial team building will be harder but the end group will likely be better at solving unique problems.

    But… but.. what about noelplum99′s studies? Studies that show that women cannot possibly be part of frontline combat operations or their skeletons will shatter like glass?

    And what if the enemy has big wooden mallets optimised for disembowelment? What then?

    @ 435;

    I always rather liked Farscape, and the points you make about the Peacekeepers actually using transhumanists technology (a set of possible future technologies that are strangely missing from much sci fi) to address women’s issues was certainly refreshing, even if they seemed to completely bork the process by somehow introducing a high level of sensitivity to heat into Sebacian physiology (though that was probably just a macguffin to justify the issues of the Scorpious character with regard to body temperature maintenance due to his his heniously unscientific hybrid Sebacian/Scarran physiology (oddly enough, exactly how a mammalian species would procreate with what one assumes is probably an egg-laying reptilian one – with which it doesn’t even share a common evolutionary history – is never really addressed in the series.)

  358. arcus says

    There has been a few aspects regarding placing women on the front lines which hasn’t necessarily been illuminated. First things first, soldiers are not considered people, they are disposable chattel which usefulness is measured in how many minutes they can be expected to survive in battle.

    One thing is the physical requirements, most men can casevac an 80kg person for 3km while most women would struggle with the task. This argument would of course not support a total exclusion as there would be quite a few women able to do it.

    Another thing is the problem with personal hygiene in the field. My guess would be that doctors would not recommend women to crawl around in the mud for a few weeks without cleaning themselves or having access to hygiene products while menstruating. I would assume the probability of infection would considered unacceptable by the military commanders.

    Lastly, it must be taken into account that rape may be employed as a weapon. Female POWs could be gang raped for days, have their breasts cut off, then sent back across the line to demoralize and place fear into opposing female troops.

  359. says

    And what if the enemy has big wooden mallets optimised for disembowelment? What then?

    You know, it’s easy to make fun, but I think we can all agree that in every historical period and culture in which war was fought via two men (or one man and two women) in an arena with disemboweling mallets, those with the superior mallet-swinging upper body strength would have an advantage.

    The trouble is that I can’t think of any wars that describes.

  360. says

    Another thing is the problem with personal hygiene in the field. My guess would be that doctors would not recommend women to crawl around in the mud for a few weeks without cleaning themselves or having access to hygiene products while menstruating. I would assume the probability of infection would considered unacceptable by the military commanders.

    Here you have it, ladies, you’re just filthy.
    I’m wondering, when was the last time this “crawl in the mud for weeks with no water for washing” happened? WWI?

  361. Ogvorbis says

    Lastly, it must be taken into account that rape may be employed as a weapon. Female POWs could be gang raped for days, have their breasts cut off, then sent back across the line to demoralize and place fear into opposing female troops.

    Yeah, because male POWs have never been raped. Not even by US soldiers. Ever.

  362. arcus says

    @Giliell, Approved Straight Chorus

    I didn’t really make that argument, I noted a fairly well known biological phenomenon women endures combined with a fairly common predicament front line troops find themselves in. I think there may have been a bit of mud crawling in Vietnam too.

  363. Brownian says

    Here you have it, ladies, you’re just filthy.

    It’s not that ladies are filthy, it’s just that they need a massive pharmachemical industry to keep them from exploding with vaginal creepy-crawlies.

    I’m wondering, when was the last time this “crawl in the mud for weeks with no water for washing” happened? WWI?

    Women having no access to hygiene products while menstruating?

    The vast majority of human existence, I think. Good thing the ground was so clean and mud-free all that time or we might never have made it as a species.

  364. arcus says

    @Ogvorbis

    Of course they have, please show where I stated something else. I’m merely stating that it’s something women will also have to contend with, and probably at a higher rate when they have been dehumanized.

  365. Brownian says

    probability of infection

    from menstruating?

    Right. Thankfully, men have no holes with which to get their inner awesomes sullied by dirt.

    Female POWs could be gang raped for days, have their breasts cut off, then sent back across the line to demoralize and place fear into opposing female troops.

    I thought the real skeptics had all completely debunked Schrödinger’s Viet Cong.

  366. Brownian says

    and probably at a higher rate when they have been dehumanized.

    Can you imagine?

    Oh, what a terrible and not at all like the civilian world we already live in it will be when women are simply seen as pussy conveyances rather than autonomous, sentient individuals.

  367. Ogvorbis says

    arcus:

    You stated:

    Lastly, it must be taken into account that rape may be employed as a weapon. Female POWs could be gang raped for days, have their breasts cut off, then sent back across the line to demoralize and place fear into opposing female troops.

    and I merely pointed out that

    ah, fuggit.

    I withdraw. Not going here. not now. sorry.

  368. says

    Lastly, it must be taken into account that rape may be employed as a weapon. Female POWs could be gang raped for days, have their breasts cut off, then sent back across the line to demoralize and place fear into opposing female troops.

    Because male POWs have it so easy, right? Being a prisoner of war is only bad if you have a vagina.

    It’s not like men have had their genitals cut off or any of that. War is only bad for women soldiers, not for men or civilians caught in the middle of it all.

  369. Brownian says

    I’m merely stating that it’s something women will also have to contend with, and probably at a higher rate when they have been dehumanized.

    Right, like rape is rare during wartime.

    Arcus, the next time you feel like writing “My guess would be”, go find an industrial press, have them engrave one of the plates with that phrase, and stick your fucking head in.

  370. arcus says

    @chigau (無)

    From lack of cleanliness. It’s impossible to stay clean in the field, access to clean water, soap, and fresh clothes cannot be guaranteed.

    We called what we got cock-cheese after a few days, the nastiest stuff you can imagine. Add in what the effects of the inevitable kerosene and gun oil which get into your food, and you have an plethora of hygienic issues.

  371. says

    I didn’t really make that argument, I noted a fairly well known biological phenomenon women endures combined with a fairly common predicament front line troops find themselves in. I think there may have been a bit of mud crawling in Vietnam too.

    Oh yes you did.
    You made the argument that a big problem with women in front lines is that it’s impossible to keep them clean. Because of mud for weeks.
    I’m wondering, shouldn’t that also be an issue with people made of flesh? Because they get easily hurt and then there’s that nasty open wounds and they’ll have to crawl in mud for weeks.

  372. arcus says

    @Brownian / Caerie

    Wow.. Straw man much? You need training in spotting and engaging arguments.

    I never said men aren’t raped or have it easy in war, nor that rape hasn’t been used as a weapon before.

    However, as massed formation of female soldiers on the front lines have not been utilized, all any of us can do is to speculate. You will have to disagree with my assertion of female soldiers not becoming demoralized when encountering gang raped and mutilated fellow soldiers. It would be possible that they’d just become pissed and fight that much harder, employing dirty tactics in war does some times backfire.

  373. Brownian says

    Wow.. Straw man much? You need training in spotting and engaging arguments.

    Right, I’ll keep that in mind when I read someone speculating without any actual evidence whatsoever.

    You will have to disagree with my assertion of female soldiers not becoming demoralized when encountering gang raped and mutilated fellow soldiers.

    No, you’ll have to acknowledge that civilian women already deal with that reality on a regular basis, wartime or not.

  374. says

    You will have to disagree with my assertion of female soldiers not becoming demoralized when encountering gang raped and mutilated fellow soldiers.

    Why do you think that this would be so especially effective against female soldiers, when male soldiers don’t need special protection against seeing such atrocities?

    Do you think it’s because women are targeted for abuse and dehumanization throughout their lives and so are primed to be especially psychologically vulnerable to such attacks? If so, do you think that continuing to uphold the sexist system responsible for that dehumanization will somehow help?

    Or do you think that women, by virtue of their womanliness, are simply more likely to be emotionally disturbed by such horrors of war?

  375. says

    Also, my wife and I were flitting along through a few tv channels the other night, and we briefly stumbled across some entirely forgettable program that was talking about some terrible male problem caused by sweaty scrota called “bat wings”. I’d never heard of it or experienced it (but then, my testicles are so huge there is little slack in my scrotum), but it sounded disgusting.

    I think this is another reason men should stay at home, carefully washing away their smegma and powdering their ball sacks.

  376. arcus says

    @Giliell

    My argument is based around two facts, that being in the field it is impossible to keep clean for anyone, combined with the fact that women have a different physiology than men. Do an experiment, enact field conditions and see how you fare, post results.

    @PZ

    I wish.. Unfortunately the cock cheese is just disgusting, though it does occasionally infect blister sores from underwear rubbing against the thigh. I’m not sure uncleaned menstrual blood would be as benign, though the input on potential effects from a gynecologist would probably enlighten the subject a bit more.

  377. says

    I don’t get it… so, female POWs can be raped… so that means they shouldn’t be allowed to choose to put themselves into that sort of position? Male POWs can be raped as well, but more commonly just traditional torture as well. If men were more likely to be tortured than women, would we then ban men from serving?

    It all comes down to whether or not these factors are justification for banning an entire group of people from a certain activity/position/situation based solely on genetic happenstance.

  378. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    I really fail to see how female soldiers being raped by the enemy and then sent back to demoralize their comrades would have a significantly different effect (morale-wise) than the occurring now and throughout history rape of female civillians by enemy soldiers.

    Also, if there were fears of menstruation being an issue, it isn’t like there aren’t safe, effective methods of making women stop menstruating. And any condition that made menstruation that much of a problem for women would cause equivalent – or worse – problems for the nose, eyes, GI tract, etc of both men and women.

  379. Gregory Greenwood says

    PZ Myers @ 461;

    Then, clearly, disgusting filthy men with their revolting cock-cheese should not be allowed to serve in the field.

    And women can’t serve in the field either, because it is all dirty out there and they will insist on menstruating, and because rape is worse for female soldiers than for male ones.

    Apparently.

    In the world according to arcus.

    So that settles it then – if we want to keep on having wars (and boy howdy, do the Republicans ever want that) then someone is just going to have to get on with it and invent Terminators.

    I mean, what could possibly go wrong when one builds an army of autonomous robot killing machines…?

  380. says

    I’m not sure uncleaned menstrual blood would be as benign, though the input on potential effects from a gynecologist would probably enlighten the subject a bit more.

    How do you think menstruation works? Do you think we have to wash the blood out of our vaginas?

  381. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    Caerie, I once encountered a man who thought – honestly believed that women could control the flow of menses like we control the flow of urine. And that it didn’t just dribble out.

  382. Brownian says

    Do an experiment, enact field conditions and see how you fare, post results.

    Taken from the Skeptically Skeptic’s guide to useless fucking research.

    It’s not enough to note a difference—the relevant research is to determine if field-activity limiting infections show greater variability between men and women than within each gender.

  383. says

    I’ve also heard that the bad guys can demoralize our troops by shooting them.

    Wow, these are actually really powerful arguments for not getting certain kinds of people involved in wars. You know, the ones with blood in them.

  384. Gregory Greenwood says

    The Mellow Monkey: Caerie @ 446;

    You know, it’s easy to make fun, but I think we can all agree that in every historical period and culture in which war was fought via two men (or one man and two women) in an arena with disemboweling mallets, those with the superior mallet-swinging upper body strength would have an advantage.

    The trouble is that I can’t think of any wars that describes.

    You see, that’s your problem – you are altogether too hung up on making your argument conform with mere reality. Now is the time to take a leaf out of noelplum99′s book, and not let little things like history get in the way of applauding the real manly man skill of big wooden mallet swinging, and its potential for disemboweling multiple women…

  385. strange gods before me ॐ says

    my testicles are so huge there is little slack in my scrotum

    This should go on the wiki.

  386. rq says

    Definitely gone around in a full circle now. And my vote still goes to ‘Patriarchy’ rather than ‘stinky women’.

  387. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Lastly, it must be taken into account that rape may be employed as a weapon. Female POWs could be gang raped for days, have their breasts cut off, then sent back across the line to demoralize and place fear into opposing female troops.

    Wow! I guess that was the reason why so many German women were raped by members of the Red Army during the closing weeks of the second world war, they were in the military.

  388. Brownian says

    my testicles are so huge there is little slack in my scrotum

    I have a friend like that. Like two bowling balls in a condom, his nutsack looks like.

    He still got trenchfoot doing forestry work.

  389. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    PZ:

    my testicles are so huge there is little slack in my scrotum

    I am not an expert in matters testicular, but are you sure that’s safe?

    Also, you owe me a bottle of monitor cleaner and a towel. And some tea.

  390. says

    . I’m not sure uncleaned menstrual blood would be as benign, though the input on potential effects from a gynecologist would probably enlighten the subject a bit more.

    Yeah, because we literally bleed for 5 days.
    And since the beginning of time we haven’t learned to deal with it. Like, say, depo medication, tampons or mens cups, which can be easily cleaned by *whisper* peeing on them if necessary.
    Listen, somebody as incompetent as you in actual female hygene should just keep their mouth shot.
    And ban men with small balls from the military.

  391. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Another thing is the problem with personal hygiene in the field. My guess would be that doctors would not recommend women to crawl around in the mud for a few weeks without cleaning themselves or having access to hygiene products while menstruating. I would assume the probability of infection would considered unacceptable by the military commanders.

    I remember Newt Gingrich making a similar type of argument almost twenty years ago; that women are prone to diseases and so have to be kept away from the battle field.

  392. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    I guess that was the reason why so many German women were raped by members of the Red Army during the closing weeks of the second world war, they were in the military.

    And those French women who were pimped out against their will for food also during WWII. Totally soliders.

  393. chigau (無) says

    arcus

    I’m not sure uncleaned menstrual blood would be as benign, though the input on potential effects from a gynecologist would probably enlighten the subject a bit more.


    What do you think gynecologists do?

  394. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    Also, those women the Balkans? Totes infantry, amirite? And the ones in the Congo? And Rwanda? And, and, and?

  395. says

    Equally trained the old adage is that “a good big’un always beats a good little’un” and i think there is some truth in that.

    conclusion: Hispanic men should be banned from combat positions in the military, since they’re on average rather short; they could be instead replaced by women of Germanic origin, since they’re on average bigger than Hispanic men. (avg. height of male Mexicans: 1.63m; average height of female Germans: 1.68m)

  396. says

    What do you think gynecologists do?

    Apparently the hold our hands during that time of the month and will tell us exactly what to do because we haven’t been dealing with that since age 12…

    +++

    (avg. height of male Mexicans: 1.63m; average height of female Germans: 1.68m)

    Fuck, apparently I’m a male Mexican.
    That explains some things…

  397. says

    I’m seriously curious about how arcus thinks menstruation works. Does he think the menses will turn into some big infection causing clot all up in there without a Calgon bubble bath every night?

    Or maybe ladies are just so delicate that a bit of blood and tissue smeared upon their skin will kill them, while manly dick-cheese is just part of war.

  398. arcus says

    @Terran

    There’s a few things going on. Women are more likely than men to get raped, especially in a war, and especially if they are combatants. I’m considering whether this would potentially have an effect on morale. It’s quite possible that it wouldn’t, but it has been used effectively against civilians in WW2 and various African theaters (Kongo, Rwanda, Sierra Leone).
    Men are routinely tortured in war. This doesn’t seem to have a major effect on morale, and occasionally strengthens resolve. If a predictable consequence has a negative impact on combat effectiveness of troops that is reason enough to avoid it.

    @Esteleth

    Civilians and combatants may react different, and in any event non-combatants are irrelevant in a discussion of combat effectiveness. If women are willing to “shut down” their reproductive system when serving I am aware that there’s a shot for that. It’s a very good idea, and I would support this being a demand for front line service.

    @Caerie

    It would, of course, have an effect on both genders. I haven’t stated something else. However, women are the ones which can expect this treatment if caught. Men can better relate to the fate of other men.
    I’m talking about the issue of not being able to change your underwear or other clothing for a weeks on end, on and off for years on end, in a worst case scenario.

    @PZ
    Do you ever stay on topic? Preparing soldiers for the spectacle of death is part of basic training. With female front line troops you would have to develop a training program to prepare them for the additional spectacles they are likely to encounter.

    When did putting women in a position with an increased likelihood of getting raped become a good cause for promoting equality?

    @Janine
    They were raped for the same reason Dresden was bombed: To demoralize Germans. Both were as effective as they were despicable. (And it wasn’t only the Soviets which did it.) The difference is that training them as soldiers you are sending them towards that fate, as civilians at least some of them may be able to flee.

  399. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    What do you think gynecologists do?

    I’m assuming that commenter meant something along the lines of TSS or something? Which is why a doctor’s opinion would be necessary?

    At least, I HOPE that what this means.

  400. keenacat says

    arcus,

    darling, here’s input from an actual doc:
    Due to continuous excretion of liquids from the inner vaginal walls, a vagina is remarkably apt at keeping clean, way, way more so than a penis.
    It’s why douching is so unnecessary, even if it was done with something harmless. The vagina even has little helpers to keep clean, symbiontic bacteria that produce an acidic environment demetrial to germs.

    Your penis is DREAMING of such an effective self-cleaning mechanism. The vagina is actually the genital way better equipped to handle lack of hygiene.

  401. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    I would like arcus explain to us just how women were just too unhygienic to be effective snipers in the Red Army.

  402. arcus says

    I’ll end by saying: Please put your American women on the front lines. In my experience they can hardly be any worse than the useless males I encountered. :)

  403. says

    When did putting women in a position with an increased likelihood of getting raped become a good cause for promoting equality?

    since there has been a women’s rights movement, actually. Since the threat of being raped by some evildoer has been a specious argument against letting women do things since forever, the women’s rights movement has, if one believed that idiotic propaganda, always been about putting women into situations in which they’re “asking for it”. See also: Chivalric Phallacy

  404. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    They were raped for the same reason Dresden was bombed: To demoralize Germans. Both were as effective as they were despicable. (And it wasn’t only the Soviets which did it.) The difference is that training them as soldiers you are sending them towards that fate, as civilians at least some of them may be able to flee.

    Yeah, that chance to flee worked so fucking well.

    Let’s us see how this works. Women cannot be sent to battle because they will get raped if captured. Yet one of the reasons given for war is to protect the women from invaders raping their women.

    Tell you what, arcus, I would rather not have you decide what we may or may not do.

  405. No Light says

    Gilliel, Esteleth, Caerie, Kristin – I’ve just laughed so hard that I’ve pinched a nerve in my back. Luckily I’m a doubleplus ungood (woman and cripple) so it’s no biggie!

    Oh arcus…

    Comment:

    Another thing is the problem with personal hygiene in the field. My guess would be that doctors would not recommend women to crawl around in the mud for a few weeks without cleaning themselves or having access to hygiene products while menstruating. I would assume the probability of infection would considered unacceptable by the military commanders.

    Motherfucking lolocaust right here guy.

    1. Menstruation is optimal. Seven years and counting here. Also, how do you think it works? I can’t grasp your reasoning.

    2. Military women are at FAR greater risk of rape and sexual assault from their colleagues. Watch The Invisible War. Do it.