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Feb 07 2013

A story

She stormed into the living room, throwing her tools at the storage bench. The clatter would have startled him, if he hadn’t heard her cursing all the way up the hill. “Vile-assed, scum-eating, mouth-breathing idiots!” She pointed an angry finger at him. “They wouldn’t know competence if it dropped a hammer on their toe, and all they can do is sit around and make stupid fucking comments about women’s body parts.”

“Sweetheart, really. You shouldn’t let the Neanderthals get to you like this.”

“I’m not talking about the Neanderthals. You don’t get it. I’m about fucking ready to move in with the Neanderthals. This is the men in your clan. The so-called progressive males of our vaunted fucking Cro-Magnon community. They’re a bunch of mis-bred, ill-trained, self-absorbed, mouth breathing, own-breath-smelling…”

“Oh, Sorry. I misunderstood. What happened?”

“Just more of the fucking same. They’re perfectly happy to add my kills to the pile — and I was the only one with a kill today, again — but when it comes to dividing it up, do I get a hunters’ count? I get the goddamn nuts-and-berries count, and jokes about how they have some meat I can… never mind.  I’ll be okay, lover. I’m sorry.  I just need to sit outside for a minute.”

She left. He limped over to the bench, picked up the knife where it had fallen onto the ground, gave it a once-over. It had a good-sized flake out of the edge that hadn’t been missing this morning. There it was, on the ground beneath the bench. She must have been pissed. He headed back to his workshop, pulled a knife out of the “new” stack he’d made that week, placed it on her bench.

She was sitting on the log outside, staring at the horizon. He sat down next to her.

“Breathing again?”

She chuckled. “Sorry.”

“You gotta be more careful with your knives. I just had to replace another one.”

“Your high-maintenance woman, that’s me. Where are the kids?”

“Helping my mom with the baskets. Bad today, sounds like.”

“Actually, you know what? It wasn’t any worse than any other day. This shit just builds up. It was a good hunt. Got us an Elasmotherium.”

“No shit!” He whistled. It’d be a nice break from aurochs.

“Yeah, it ran like hell. And so did I. And to tell you the truth, some of the other hunters backed me up when it came to divide the meat. A couple of them did, anyway. I got us the liver, some good flank.”

“Hell yes! I’ll get the fire going.”

“Not just yet. I’m not going to be hungry for a bit. Anyway, it’s not so bad as I made it out. It’s just that that asshole Bradley and the rest of his Bro-Magnon friends take every opportunity they can to shit-talk me, steal my tools, and all the time I’m saving their inept asses from the goddamn cave bear. Same old shit. ‘Woman no hunt, woman find berries and make babies,’ same fucking thing my mother put up with her whole life. We’re at the Last Glacial Maximum, for fuck’s sake! I can’t believe women are still dealing with this shit!”

“Yeah.”

They sat in silence for a time.

“You know,” he said after a while, “some of the hunters talk to me about you when they come for new knives or points. They say things I’d never have expected to hear ten years ago, about how women can be just as good hunters as men. I do really think you’re making a difference.”

“You think?”

“Well, Bradley’s never gonna fucking change. But he’s never gonna mate either. His attitude dies when he does. Those other guys? I think they’re listening. I mean, they might be saying nice things so that I’ll give them sharper knives and all. But they’d never even have done that ten years ago. Not my father. Not his father.”

“Huh. Maybe.”

” I mean it. By the time our daughters are grown, things are gonna be a lot better. You’re changing things for the better. They’ll be treated the same as any man.”

“Fuck, I hope so. You always know how to talk me out of my funk. But to tell you the truth, by the time you came out here  I was mostly thinking how beautiful the sun looks on the glaciers.”

“It’s gorgeous, isn’t it?”

“You really think they’re melting away?”

“As near as I can calculate.” He shrugged. “They used to be right here when I was born, and now they’re a day’s walk away.”

“Bradley thinks you’re being an alarmist.”

“Bradley’s a fucking idiot.”

128 comments

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  1. 1
    Arren ›‹ neverbound

    That was enjoyable. “Bro-Magnon” — ::snortle::

  2. 2
    unclefrogy

    Bradley is still an f’n idiot and yes the glaciers are melting again.
    and we are still waiting
    uncle frogy

  3. 3
    chigau (違う)

    Chris
    ♥♥♥

  4. 4
    microraptor

    Ah, if only.

  5. 5
    DLC

    After the mass human die-off of 2145, the carbon will eventually recede as it is absorbed by plant life as it marches through what used to be humanity’s works. Then in the fullness of time, the glaciers will start to come back. A new predator may eventually become capable of language and of tool use, and 500 years later Saurial Xrisc L’arhk will write a blog about how those odd polymer artifacts they found in the West seacoast diggings were really items of significance in the pre-historic religion, and that some samples which seem to be decyphered as oak a col seem to be in competition with the alternate god pe si. col. Xrisc will also rail against the bloody stupidity of the featherbrained morons who think the sacred amphorae were simple disposable storage vessels for popular drinks.

  6. 6
    JohnnieCanuck

    Change, the only thing that you can count on to be permanent.

    Fun story.

  7. 7
    Lofty

    Aah, the battle that humans will continue to wage until the last human succumbs. Fighting against priviledge.

  8. 8
    Menyambal

    A great read. Thanks for it.

  9. 9
    Inaji

    ♥ Thank you for the story.

  10. 10
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    This made my day, man. Thank you.

  11. 11
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    That was a thing of beauty and a joy to behold. Thank you!

  12. 12
    madtom1999

    So there we have it: Proof that equality for women causes global warming!

  13. 13
    ChasCPeterson

    Bradley and the Bro-Magnons.

    band name.

  14. 14
    rq


    This was fun! Thanks!

  15. 15
    =8)-DX

    So there we have it: Proof that equality for women causes global warming!

    Is that because equality makes women hotter?

  16. 16
    bradleybetts

    :D Awesome story Chris! I just wish you’d picked a different name for the Climate-change-denying misogynist arsehole in the story *pout*.

  17. 17
    georget

    Passing through airport security. Divested of all items metallic, I approach the machine. The man in the uniform directs foot placement. My feet. Raise arms above my head as the diagram instructs. There are blondes among the passengers. They are attractive.

  18. 18
    PZ Myers

    Now that’s evolutionary psychology.

  19. 19
    sheila

    Thank you.

    But Bro Magnon is possibly an uncalled-for slur against the real Cro Magnons.

  20. 20
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @DLC:

    Have you ever read “Motel of the Mysteries?”

  21. 21
    Nerdette

    This made my morning much better. Thank you for it!

  22. 22
    viajera

    How times have changed. Oh, wait.

    This is a great story, thanks.

  23. 23
    Gregory Greenwood

    A great story – it’s a shame we are still waiting for the ‘Bradleys’ of the world to get a clue/die out.

  24. 24
    Forrest Phelps

    Copied and saved. Printed for now.

    Saved for my four young Granddaughters, until they are ready.

    Thanks so much.

  25. 25
    marcus

    Great story! Of all the things that went away I think I miss Elasmotherium the most.

  26. 26
    David Marjanović

    Bro-Magnon

    So full of win!

    (…But Crô-Magnon, Elasmotherium, and the Last Glacial Maximum are three very different things time-wise, by tens of thousands of years, and it’s not quite clear if Elasmotherium ever ranged into western Europe.)

    Now that’s evolutionary psychology.

    What – the hypothesis that equality makes women hotter? :-)

  27. 27
    iknklast

    Wasn’t going to read it, because of a busy morning. I’m glad I did. Now my busy morning will be lived with a smile on my face.

  28. 28
    Jonathan Houser

    I will play a bit of devil’s advocate here. In the story, the lover insists that bradley is an idiot, he will never mate and his kind will die out. I don’t know if that is supposed to be intentionally ironic given that this takes place in the distant past and the bradley’s of the world still exist, but obviously Bradley did mate, and not only did he mate, he did so quite successfully and repeatedly.

    (here is where I will get into some hot water.) This begs the question, why is Bradley so successful at mating? I mean this as a legitimate question (as in I have no answer, or even suggestion as to an answer, as I am a man and cannot presume to know). I know no shortage of misogynistic frat boys and their middle aged counter parts that get laid regularly and by a variety of women. Frequently I am surprised by the women that they sleep with; intelligent women, professional women, educated women. And they didn’t do this by acting like feminists and tricking women into thinking they are somebody they aren’t. They did so by being bro-magnons. They did so with bad pick up lines, persistence, flaunting their “masculinity,” by being demeaning either intentionally or just because they do it so naturally.

    Why are Twighlight and Shades of Grey ridiculously popular books among women even though both of them fundamentally focus on and glorify women being in submissive, demeaning, border line abusive, relationships? Is it possible (and I’m going to just turn up the burner under the pot of hot water I am sitting in) that being a bro-magnon is in fact a perfectly viable strategy for mating because on some level in some way a statistically significant portion of women are in fact attracted to that “machismo” Don Draper type bro-magnon? We hear every story of how some douche-bag guy at work sent a woman an uninvited photo of his junk, and she was disgusted and outraged that he would think that was ok. But nobody ever tells the story about how he comes in to work the next day, acts like the misunderstanding was her fault, passive aggressively belittles her and some how she ends up consensually sleeping with him for six months. Clearly something is working for bro-magnon, or else he wouldn’t be using it as a mating strategy. It has to work some statistically significant portion of the time or the strategy would be abandoned outright, and nobody would be writing books for women where the love interest is a bro-magnon. Yet the strategy continues successfully, and the books sell millions.

    Again, I don’t mean this to be accusatory, I mean it as a legitimate question as a man who is baffled that the strategies of the bro-magnon are so successful in attracting women. I say this as a guy whose sister married an abusive asshole at age 18, and sees misogynistic douches being far more successful at mating than logic would suggest they should be.

    I accept what is coming to me.

  29. 29
    Amphiox

    Well, Jonathan, for one thing, we are looking at a meme here, and memes do not require mating to propagate.

  30. 30
    Jadehawk

    another funny thread ruined by a teal deer of JAQing off

  31. 31
    daniellavine

    Jadehawk@30:

    Is Jonathan actually wrong? In my experience misogynistic assholes don’t actually have that much trouble finding women. Or are you simply categorically denying that any explanation for this phenomenon could be “interesting”?

  32. 32
    jefrir

    Johnathon, a few factors play into this supposed sexual success by arseholes:
    1. Confirmation bias – if you have the idea in your head that the arseholes get more sex, then you will notice it more. This tends to be particularly common when the question you are actually interested in is “why aren’t I getting enough sex?”
    2. Arseholes do not come conveniently labelled, and may well be able to convincingly act pleasant for long enough to get sex or a relationship.
    3. Women grow up in the same sexist society as men – the social forces that tell men that these are normal or even good ways to behave are also telling women that this is what to expect or desire from a partner.

  33. 33
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Chris,

    This was an excellent story! Thank you!

    ——
    The baffled ones:
    1. The society that produces brô-magnons produces women who fall for brô-magnons. We don’t live in a vacuum. We are steeped in the same sexism. Society puts pressure on women to act in certain ways, to want things like kids and a family, we are being told that we need a manly man and kids to be complete… there are pigeon holes we are supposed to squeeze in, often “gently” nudged into them by our own families.

    2. I guess the meme is that brô-magnons are stupid dudebros who can’t string a sentence together and can be noticed and avoided easily? No. They can act one way with “the guys” and in a completely different way in front of a woman they are interested in… at least until they get into a relationship. And after that, women might be reluctant or unable to leave them for all sorts of reasons

    3. Another bothersome story women are often sold : “Your love can change a man”.
    You take a bro-magnon and turn him into a decent human being by sheer power of your love and devotion. It’s the very thing that stands behind The Shades of Domestic Violence – she will take a broken BDSMer and turn him into a “normal” man (note that being a Dom isn’t what’s wrong with him, it’s that he is an abusive shit who uses BDSM as pretense for all kinds of abuse and creepiness)

    …. and here I wanted to keep this short :/

  34. 34
    Hekuni Cat, MQG

    Thank you, Chris! ♥

  35. 35
    Jonathan Houser

    @jefrir, I certainly don’t have scientific data so 1. is a possibility (though I resent the last insinuation as I am a happily married man.) I think it would be an interesting study for a sociologist. Interview groups of men, test for misogynistic traits, and also how successful they are at getting women to sleep with them.
    2. Also a possibility, but if the meme of being a misogynisc asshole was selected against, on average assholes would be having less sex than non-assholes, again there is no data here but that doesn’t “seem” to be the case.
    3. Is both disturbing, but also I think the most likely. I think that is an elephant in the room. The meme is still being selected for by women. (Cue accusations of me blaming the victim, followed by obtuse labels or acronyms.) Twilight and Shades of grey are popular most likely because millions of women still find “being put in there place” to be sexually arousing.

    You can go ahead and call me a “teal deer”(I don’t even know what the hell that means.) But I think it is a question that deserves some exploring. Why is the meme being so successfully perpetuated, if it is so repugnant? Sex and money motivate and if the meme were in fact making sex less likely, or wasn’t profitable in the media, it would be a problem that would take care of itself in time due to a sort of social and economic natural selection. But it propagates just fine and remains a successful meme both financially and socially.

  36. 36
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    I swear I wasn’t copying from jefrir, it just took me some time to type everything. :)

  37. 37
    bradleybetts

    @Jonathon

    I sometimes wonder this too when I see a woman smitten with a guy who is evidently an arsehole. I think there’s two reasons:

    1- their back-slapping frat boy attitude comes across as confidence in social situations, and confidence is good in a, to borrow your phrasing, “mating” situation
    2- women are brought up to think that that’s what “manliness” is, and to be attracted to it.

    I could be wrong.

  38. 38
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Oh, so he is just JAQing off.

    I sense a but following each and every one of my points.

  39. 39
    Jonathan Houser

    @ beatrice, thank you for your reply. I think that ties into #3 from jefrir.
    But if it is the case that women are still selecting for the meme because society has taught them to do so, how do we change the other side of the culture? Castigating dude bros is definitely necessary, but will only be so effective as long as they continue to get positive re-inforcement and can reply “I’ve got three women I’m sleeping with right now that don’t seem to have a problem with how I am.”

  40. 40
    Chaos Engineer

    Is Jonathan actually wrong?

    Yes, he’s taking an artificial cultural phenomenon and speculating that it’s the natural order of things.

    In my experience misogynistic assholes don’t actually have that much trouble finding women

    That’s because there’s also a large pool of misogynistic/self-hating women. This is a cultural artifact and can be changed over time.

    Or are you simply categorically denying that any explanation for this phenomenon could be “interesting”?

    The problem is that it’s derailing. The discussion here is starting from the premise “Misogyny is bad and should be eliminated”, so if somebody chimes in with, “If I were a misogynist, then I’d be more successful at mating”, then the only possible response is “Even if that were true, misogyny would still be bad.”

  41. 41
    Jonathan Houser

    *le sigh* there is no but for every one of your points, and as far as we are quick to denigrate people with acronyms and names conversation can only be so effective.

    I agree with your premises beatrice, I am asking why it continues, and how can it change?

  42. 42
    Nick Gotts

    Jonathan Houser,

    I’d advise dropping the attitude. If your questions are genuinely well-motivated, then your pre-emptive squealing about accusations that might be made against you, indicates that you think commenters here will unfairly attack you.

  43. 43
    Jonathan Houser

    Case in point, @ chaos engineer. I never said or insinuated that it was the natural order of things, and should be that way. Why are people so quick to lump people in with “the bad guys” any time they ask a question that may require actual discussion rather than just the recitation of “the good guys” platitudes and party lines?

    I am not a teal dear (whatever the hell that is.) I’m not “JAQing off” (whatever that entails) I am asking a legitimate question about our society that needs to be addressed in order to make progress.

  44. 44
    Jonathan Houser

    *sigh* fine, lets not turn this into a topic about whose side I’m on, or what category I fall into. I don’t want that either, lets just pick up with beatrice, cultural norms, and so on.

  45. 45
    The Mellow Monkey

    Castigating dude bros is definitely necessary, but will only be so effective as long as they continue to get positive re-inforcement and can reply “I’ve got three women I’m sleeping with right now that don’t seem to have a problem with how I am.”

    Solutions:

    Shield and protect children from toxic expectations so that they grow up knowing they have choices.

    Men who are aware of the problem can live as examples of positive masculinity.

    Open the eyes of straight/bisexual women to the fact that they deserve better and there are preferable choices out there for them, either with partners who will treat them better or without a mate at all.

    Make not having a mate a viable choice for everyone and not something to judge their social worth by.

    Provide assistance and counseling to people in abusive relationships and those attempting to leave them.

    Society is made up of people. Change people and their situations and you change society.

  46. 46
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Jonathan,

    What to do?
    Parents, teach your kids to be themselves, whatever that is, instead of trying to force them into a sexist mold.
    Don’t let sexist opinions go unchallenged.
    Listen when women tell you about sexist harassment or explain why something you might have considered fine is sexist.

  47. 47
    Ze Madmax

    Jonathan Houser @ #35

    Two points:

    1. I don’t think you understand how memes work.

    2. Regarding this:

    I think it would be an interesting study for a sociologist. Interview groups of men, test for misogynistic traits, and also how successful they are at getting women to sleep with them.

    The problem with such a study (besides the nightmare of operationalizing “misogynistic traits” and “sex-success”) is that you’re starting from a flawed premise, which is that the fact the endorsement of sexist beliefs has a positive influence on desirable social outcomes. Rather, the issue (as it’s been pointed out already) is that sexist beliefs are normative, and therefore, endorsing them doesn’t have a negative influence on desirable social outcomes.

    And thus, if you want to address the issue, you work towards changing the culture so that sexist beliefs stop being an acceptable norm and become and unacceptable deviance from the norm.

  48. 48
    Jonathan Houser

    I think those are all valid strategies. I wonder though if much like with atheism, there is simply a generation that will not be deterred, and our best hope is raising a new generation. We frequently assert that there is no convincing the southern baptist conservative fire and brimstone christian that evolution is true, and the bible is not literal, but in having the discussion with them we show the next generation that maybe they shouldn’t adopt the stance of their fore-bearers. Is this a similar situation? That at a certain age group the mistakes are doomed to continue, and our best hope is to serve as a good example for the generations to come?

  49. 49
    Nick Gotts

    Jonathan,

    What to do?
    Raise the status of women and girls, and of those most involved in bringing up children; educate socially and emotionally as well as intellectually. Decrease income inequality and expand the welfare state. All these work toward making people, especially women and girls, more confident and secure. People who are confident and secure are less likely to be drawn into abusive relationships – or, for that matter, abusive religion.

  50. 50
    Rob Grigjanis

    First off: Good story, Chris. I like period pieces.

    Jonathan @28: “Why are Twighlight and Shades of Grey ridiculously popular books among women…”

    A bit of perspective here. In the UK, sales figures for Shades of Grey are 5-6 million. So, 9% of the population. About the same percentage as creationists, and less than the 12% for IDers. Link.

    Some people read crap. Some people believe crap. Whodathunk?

    Generally, “In my experience” and similar constructions are not good foundations for an argument.

  51. 51
    bradleybetts

    @Beatrice

    Another bothersome story women are often sold : “Your love can change a man”.
    You take a bro-magnon and turn him into a decent human being by sheer power of your love and devotion.

    Ooh, I hate this one; the stupid meme propagated by crappy women’s mags that the man you meet is some sort of “base model” that can improved upon and changed as the relationship grows.

    It is shit advice. For a start, if the “base model” you pick happens to be me or someone like me, this approach is going to get you dumped. It could also land you in an abusive relationship because you ignore what should be red flags, labelling them as minor chracter flaws that can be buffed out later, once you’ve got your feet under the table.

    And yet there are millions of women out there who read these scraps of decorative bog roll and then go out into the world thinking this is a viable attitude to enter a relationship with.

  52. 52
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Johnathon, a few factors play into this supposed sexual success by arseholes:

    Another one I’ve seen suggested:
    4. Women, too, are known to on occasion be horny but not interested in or up to a relationship. A guy she wouldn’t actually want to be around anyway, but who is sexually available and won’t be hurt by subsequent disregarding, can be useful to women in this state. In other words, quite often the fuckheads who stupidly imagine she’s thinking “at last, a REAL MAN” are really the dubious beneficiaries of “…well, what do you know, here I am thinking I need to get myself a new vibrator and a dildo with a buzz just sits down next to me!”

  53. 53
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Why are people so quick to lump people in with “the bad guys”

    Pattern recognition.

  54. 54
    Chris Clarke

    (…But Crô-Magnon, Elasmotherium, and the Last Glacial Maximum are three very different things time-wise, by tens of thousands of years, and it’s not quite clear if Elasmotherium ever ranged into western Europe.)

    BAD disbelief! Get back into suspension!

  55. 55
    Matt Penfold

    Also, with 50 Shades of Gray, how many people have read it because they are genuinely interested in reading such books, and how many because they wanted to see what all the hype was about ?

  56. 56
    Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff

    To Jonathan:

    Answer #1: Sexism: You’re soaking in it.

    More detailed Answer #1: Really, your question isn’t BAD so much as it demonstrates the limits of your thinking. For instance, let’s broaden the question from the implied “in our culture” to other cultures. Why would, say, an Aztec woman want to be married to, or sleep with a priest who regularly guts men, women, and children? Because *that’s the culture she is in, and she sees little wrong with it* (and even fewer alternatives).

    Answer #2: Women are human.

    More detailed answer #2: Women, being human, are equally as stupid, self-destructive, duplicitous, bored, horny, and desperate as men. They’ll sleep with a bro-man because, well, she’s horny and available, and he’s there and available, too. “Sensitive” guys (and I include myself) can find lots of sexual relationships — if you *get out there*.

    Answer #3: People (men and women equally) lie, lie, lie — and did I mention that they lie?

    More detailed answer #3: The field of sexology is only in its infancy. Right now many previously-held “truths” are having to be re-researched because it has become clear that in many previous studies of sex, men lie (exaggerate) how many sexual experiences and partners they have had and women lie (minimize) how many sexual experiences and partners they have had. Putting it bluntly, you’re a fool if you believe the bragging of the bro-men about how many women they’ve had sex with, and how great the sex was.

    There are many, many nerds and sensitive guys out there having totally fucking fantastic sex lives — they’re just not advertising.

    Finally, let’s look at some evidence from biology. A while ago, scientists thought the deer who mated by the “harem” method, whereby some big macho stag fights off other big males in order to be the sole impregnator of a whole bunch of does would result in inbreeding. This wasn’t happening. So they observed, watched closely the actual activities of ALL the deer during mating season, not just the big, flashy males. You know what they found? While the macho deer were stomping and fighting and wasting all their time and energy, the supposedly-passive does in the harems were signalling availability and choosing to be impregnated by lower-status male deer, who fucked while the other stags fought. This became known as the “sneaky fucker” strategy, and it’s actually widespread.

    Apply it to humans, Jonathan. We “sneaky fuckers” are around, and having a very good time, thank you very much. Note please that the “sneaky fucker” strategy depends upon women being active in their pursuit and acceptance of “lower status” males.

    The most annoying thing about your posts, Jonathan, is not the questions themselves, which are irritating because they have been asked so many times, but the underlying assumption that women have no agency, no choice, no, well, brains, and will respond with evolutionarily-dictated lubrication and leg-spreading when bro-men make their confidence/alpha-male displays.

  57. 57
    Chris Clarke

    Jonathan Houser @ #35;

    In the Pretend Pleistocene in which Cro-Magnon, Elasmotherium and the Last Glacial Maximum coincided, misogynists ensured their views survived through the generations by writing self-indulgent, off-topic, paragraphs-long comments on blog posts.

  58. 58
    Jonathan Houser

    @ ze madmax comment 47.

    The social sciences have operationalized wierder and more vague things, but I don’t really mean this to be a discussion of the successes or methodologies of the social sciences.

    Normative behavior can still be selected for. It has been a while since my last biology class, but isn’t that called “stabilizing selection” or something of that nature. Where essentially anything that deviates too far from the mean is selected against, or at the least is less successful keeping a sort of stasis.

    I think that is the real danger. Stabilizing selection of the meme. Society will push back in more nefarious ways than just angry dude-bros that feel threatened by feminism. The culture itself will perpetuate an ideal that will get women to select for the misogynistic meme keeping a sort of stability. Again, to clarify, I am not suggesting that this is the natural order, or should remain the status quo, but rather suggesting that changing the culture will require more than pointing out how stupid dude-bros are. And to clarify that point, I am not suggesting that nothing is being done other than castigating dude bros. I just think pointing at how stupid they are is the easiest thing to do, but also possibly not as effective as we would like it to be.

  59. 59
    bradleybetts

    @Chris #57

    Oh sweet Jeebus, I’m in tears :’D Very well done, sir.

  60. 60
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    I just think pointing at how stupid they are is the easiest thing to do, but also possibly not as effective as we would like it to be.

    Thanks for sharing your concern and advice about what would work better. Oh wait, scrap that last bit, you offered nothing but “concerns”.

    Protip: If you don’t know biology and want to make claims that heavily depend on knowing biology… don’t.

  61. 61
    Jonathan Houser

    Could we not call me or insinuate that I am a misogynist please (I liked your story, chris, sorry I didn’t mention that first, that was poor form)? Nobody here even knows me. I am in good faith even using my real name with my real e-mail address. I am being legitimate and trying to have a real conversation and I am interested in people’s responses. I’m not advertising, I’m trying to discuss.

  62. 62
    damiki

    I’m reminded of an interesting article I read that was addressing (some religious somebody’s) concern over the high divorce rates, and what it meant about declining family values.

    The point of the article was that the values (and the nature of relationships) haven’t changed, the social norms have changed, so folks (mostly women) are now freer to leave destructive relationships. The social stigma is mostly gone, now we just need a sufficient social safety net to remove the financial restraints.

    Things are getting better, but the arc of history seems slow. That’s mostly because we live so god-damned short.

  63. 63
    Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff

    Jonathan, did you note the underlying assumption you have that I pointed out in #56? That could count as “calling or insinuating that you are a misogynist”, couldn’t it?

    The point is that your question is based on a number of faulty premises, and when we bring those to your attention, well, you’re going to feel that we’re pointing out faults. Which we are. And you feel defensive. Which is natural, but doesn’t get us anywhere.

    It may be difficult for you to make the adjustment to posting in this particular environment, but let me assuage your feelings by pointing out that all of us who regularly post here know that we are affected by, and express sexism (we’re soaking in it) even when we don’t want to. And considering and answering the kinds of questions you ask means questioning, and, yes, attacking these assumptions when they appear. Get used to it. Apologize, learn, and move on. I guarantee if you do this, you will eventually get to and better and more interesting place.

  64. 64
    Julie

    Funny story Chris thanks.

    I had to look up Elasmotherium so \o/! My learn something new everyday rule is done before lunch.

  65. 65
    Chris Clarke

    Could we not call me or insinuate that I am a misogynist please

    It’s like clockwork. Write something that castigates a group of men for sexism — even fictional men, and even fictional men that have been dead since the Ice Age — and some dood shows up to suggest that maybe women bring the shit on themselves.

    How the hell am I supposed to react to your doing exactly that, Jonathan?

  66. 66
    Jonathan Houser

    Jesus christ, I’m not making claims that depend heavily on biology, I’m not even making definitive claims. What else am I supposed to offer but “concerns?” Should I tell the feminist movement what I think they should do? Would that be better? I am trying to have a discussion with people that know about the topic so that I can get perspective on questions I have. I am not a misogynist, I am not being self indulgent, I am not JAQing off (still don’t know what that means), I am not trying to perpetuate anti-feminist ideals. And people wonder why I was “pre-emptively squealing about accusations that might be made” against me (flattering language by the way, the squealing bit especially.) Because I’ve been on the internet long enough to know that they absolutely would.

    The internet is impossible. Thanks anyway guys, despite my exasperated exit, I did in fact get some perspective on things, and I appreciate those that responded in earnest even if they did intermittently accuse me of JAQing off on them (really going to have to look that up.)

  67. 67
    Matt Penfold

    Jonathan Houser,

    Maybe the lesson you should take from this is that if you are ignorant about a topic, which you seem to be about patriarchy, it might be better to keep quiet and learn rather than rush in to show off the extend of your ignorance.

  68. 68
    Chris Morrow

    Jonathan: One reason that you may get a cold reception from some commenters is that your message is a common one, and it often carries a subtext of “I, a sensitive non-asshole man, am entitled to sex with those women.” (Maybe that subtext is true of you and maybe not, but the message tends to carry it either way.)

    While there may be legitimacy to your observations, they carry a connotation of “Women are making the wrong romantic choices.” Which is in turn semi-incoherent. I’m reminded of a sitcom character who accuses his friends of “having fun wrong.”

    Anyway, to whatever extent there could be an evopsych-dudebro-attraction thing going on, it gets tiresome how often the conversation is all about how women are affected by culture/DNA but still ought to know better — and never men — so the onus is put on women. It’s a bit like the meme “What’s wrong with advising women on how to protect themselves from rape?” On the surface, nothing wrong with safety-mindedness, but the sheer frequency of the message and its connotations can get people worked up.

    Do “asshole guys” tend to have lots of guy friends, or do they tend to be lonely? In the popular sterotype that connects to the “chicks dig jerks” meme, it’s the former. Why then is there not (outside feminism) a meme along the lines of “Those guys should ditch their asshole friends instead of succumbing to peer pressue and/or evolutionary psychology”? It’s like there’s no sense in which men have responsibility for, well, anything. Or conversely, that men don’t have to be told whom they should be friend with. (I can’t decide which of these is a better way of constructing things.)

    On top of all that, we can easily flip things around. For every movie and fairy tale about a woman learning to overlook a man’s unattractiveness/poverty/whatever and learn to love him for his heart, there are approximately zero equivalent stories with the genders flipped around. An attractive woman pursuing an attractive man is fodder for comedy, what TvTropes calls the Abohrrent Admirer. Why are men allowed to simply like whoever they find appealing and reject whomever they don’t, as opposed to applying some kind of meritocratic system?

    (I don’t have answers to all my own rhetorical questions; this can be complicated stuff. I’m just throwing it out there.)

  69. 69
    Jonathan Houser

    Don’t tell me about patriarchy. I grew up in a religious cult where women couldn’t “teach men” and so if they had something educational to say, they had to say it to another woman if they were in the presence of a man, just to make sure she wasn’t being so presumptuous as to “teach” him something.. My sister married an abusive asshole as soon as she could legally married because she grew up in that patriarchal environment. I know all about patriarchy.

    You can’t learn anything if the people you are learning from only repeat the same platitudes over and over. But if you ask some questions, even if they are questions that anger people, then you might get something other than a platitude, at least from a few people.

    Again, sorry for any disturbance, thanks to those that actually engaged me in conversation. I liked your story Chris.

  70. 70
    Jonathan Houser

    Thank you chris morrow also for your kind and decent reply.

  71. 71
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Chris Morrow,

    Do “asshole guys” tend to have lots of guy friends, or do they tend to be lonely? In the popular sterotype that connects to the “chicks dig jerks” meme, it’s the former. Why then is there not (outside feminism) a meme along the lines of “Those guys should ditch their asshole friends instead of succumbing to peer pressue and/or evolutionary psychology”? It’s like there’s no sense in which men have responsibility for, well, anything.

    Thanks for pointing this out.

    It always seems to come down to women having to fix things. Men’s behavior is our responsibility instead of their own.

  72. 72
    Nick Gotts

    And people wonder why I was “pre-emptively squealing about accusations that might be made” against me (flattering language by the way, the squealing bit especially.) – Jonathan Houser

    My point was precisely that you began the linguistic hostilities by your pre-emptive squealing. Now it’s possible people might attack you unfairly, here as anywhere; but it’s better to wait until it happens before complaining.

    I don’t see much substantive response from you to those who answered your questions: why some women fall for bro-magnons, and what can be done about it. It’s almost as though those questions were not really the point of your intervention here.

  73. 73
    daniellavine

    As much as everyone seems to want to leap to the conclusion that Jonathan is posting in bad faith I haven’t seen any sign that this is the case and I’ve learned a bit from the responses to his questions. From my perspective it’s been a pretty worthwhile exchange. I understand if people are frustrated by seeing the same questions over and over but I haven’t actually seen such a focused conversation on this topic without an accompanying debate about whether misogyny is bad derailing it. (For the record, yes misogyny is bad.)

    Yes, he’s taking an artificial cultural phenomenon and speculating that it’s the natural order of things.

    I didn’t get that impression. Jonathan does seem to be a little confused how “selecting for” doesn’t really make much sense outside of biological evolution, though. Perhaps it’s just wasn’t clear whether he was talking about biology or culture?

    That’s because there’s also a large pool of misogynistic/self-hating women. This is a cultural artifact and can be changed over time.

    Hmm, I don’t really like the implication that women who have internalized some of our cultures norms are “self-hating”, especially when this statement has such a strong subtext of implying that these women are broken. Besides that, yes it’s obviously a cultural artifact. A discussion of the particulars of acculturation in this case — or even the character traits to which these “self-hating” women are attracted — would be more interesting and useful.

    I think a lot of it comes down to confidence and that this is another incident of PHMT. Men who adhere to the cultural norms in question get a lot of positive reinforcement and end up being confident as a result, while those who do not adhere closely to such norms are mocked and derided and often end up feeling insecure as a result. I think there’s enough good reasons for people to find confidence sexy that we don’t really need to invoke the idea that large numbers of women have been broken on the wheel of patriarchal culture to explain this. Obviously the suggestions commenters have made in response to Jonathan’s questions provide the solution here: challenge the norms where possible and encourage children to feel good about being themselves.

    The problem is that it’s derailing. The discussion here is starting from the premise “Misogyny is bad and should be eliminated”, so if somebody chimes in with, “If I were a misogynist, then I’d be more successful at mating”, then the only possible response is “Even if that were true, misogyny would still be bad.”

    Try reading that again as if someone else wrote it. You should quickly see that it makes no sense. “Why are misogynists so often so successful in various aspects of life,” is absolutely relevant to the premise that misogyny is bad and should be eliminated — it gets to the heart of why misogyny has not yet to be eliminated and what will be the major obstacles in trying to eliminate it. Jonathan didn’t once question the idea that misogyny is bad so “misogyny is still bad” is just a non-sequitir.

  74. 74
    daniellavine

    While there may be legitimacy to your observations, they carry a connotation of “Women are making the wrong romantic choices.” Which is in turn semi-incoherent. I’m reminded of a sitcom character who accuses his friends of “having fun wrong.”

    Several of those responding to Jonathan have explicitly said they’re making the wrong romantic choices rather than simply saying something with that sort of connotation.

  75. 75
    DLC

    Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort @20 :
    No, I haven’t read Motel of the Mysteries — but part of my idea came from a former D&D buddy who was an archeology and history student. We used to have the odd table-talk discussion of “what will they think of us n number of years from now”.

  76. 76
    Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff

    Jonathan, now that you have mentioned that you grew up amongst a bunch of fundamentalist fuckheads, we can see how that mindset still expresses itself through you. Not that you want it to, Jonathan; you’re making the effort to break out of it, but, again, your assumptions still shade your thoughts.

    Instead of thanking those who were polite to you, how about answering their questions? For instance, do you feel, upon reading what you have written, that you are unconsciously denying women agency? Ask yourself that question and answer it here. We’ll respect you for examining your base assumptions.

  77. 77
    David Marjanović

    BAD disbelief! Get back into suspension!

    :-( *shuffles into corner*

    I don’t have sound here, but I think that’s it.

    “teal deer”(I don’t even know what the hell that means.)

    “Teal deer” is a joke pronunciation of tl;dr, which means “too long; didn’t read”. You’re new on the Internet.

    “JAQing off” (whatever that entails)

    Pretending to be “just asking questions”.

    with my real e-mail address

    Only the blog owners can see your e-mail address. And I don’t think the software would complain if you entered “president@whitehouse.gov”.

  78. 78
    bradleybetts

    @Jonathon

    You have to understand that Pharyngula is plagued almost constantly with MRA trolls who come on and try to derail threads and generally be annoying, all the while hiding behind “innocent questions”. Apparently it’s called “JAQing off” (Just Asking Questions). Now, I’m new to all this and willing to give you the benefit of the doubt (I only haven’t replied because I haven’t really got any answers for you that differ from what’s already been said), but some of the old guard are rather more cynical.

    Personally, I think you’ve kicked off a rather interesting discussion :) I’ve quite enjoyed reading it.

  79. 79
    David Marjanović

    An attractive woman pursuing an attractive man is fodder for comedy, what TvTropes calls the Abohrrent Admirer.

    That’s an unattractive woman pursuing any man.

    My point was precisely that you began the linguistic hostilities by your pre-emptive squealing. Now it’s possible people might attack you unfairly, here as anywhere; but it’s better to wait until it happens before complaining.

    Seconded. Trolls love to say “you’ll hate me for this”.

  80. 80
    David Marjanović

    Oh, here’s the general trope:
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NoGuyWantsToBeChased

  81. 81
    daniellavine

    Jonathan, now that you have mentioned that you grew up amongst a bunch of fundamentalist fuckheads, we can see how that mindset still expresses itself through you.

    Could you quote precisely what Jonathan said that demonstrates this? I honestly think a few of the replies to Jonathan have been worse in this respect than anything Jonathan said.

  82. 82
    miller

    I know this wasn’t the main point of the story, but I really enjoyed the part where competence was personified as someone who drops hammers on people’s toes all the time.

  83. 83
    Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff

    daniellavine: There is no precise quote that applies, it is the unstated assumption in his questions that women just “lubricate and spread” for bro-men, and ignore the sensitive guys — that is, that women don’t in fact have full agency and independence in thought and action and really make thought-out choices.

  84. 84
    zoniedude

    What I find most fascinating about the story and comment thread is the underlying premise that women have no intrinsic value other than emulating males. In the story both the man and the woman have essentially equivalent roles. There is no recognition that women in that age possessed a wide range of expertise in plant science and chemistry that was necessary for survival.

    I’m getting ready to make banana bread this morning. I will use baking soda and baking powder. Where did those chemicals come from? Was it men that figured out how to create bread with yeast and dough? Did men develop fired pottery or was that discovered while baking bread? How did they find out and remember which plants could be eaten and which were poison? Women didn’t need to hunt to be valuable contributors to society.

    Even today, because technology has made many traditional female roles obsolete, there are those who assume that means they have to fulfill male roles. Fine if they want to, but don’t underestimate the ability of women to transform society with new roles. My wife is an executive who makes more money that I do (or did before I retired). She has an amazing ability to organize people to accomplish difficult tasks; I don’t. On the other hand, I had analytical abilities my wife doesn’t have.

    I understand the fictionalization of modern problems in an ahistorical context, but I sometimes get the feeling that the assholes in these threads sometimes are fixated on women as being ersatz men, so I’m somewhat chagrined to see this topic covered in an intellectual environment of women as ersatz men. It just seems to me that if you argue women’s rights from a premise of women being ersatz men you lose before you start.

    I read recently that financial management companies headed by women outperform those headed by men, primarily because they don’t make the macho mistakes men do. Ersatz men can be an advantageous condition.

    Oh, and my wife is gorgeous without make up, so she doesn’t wear any. She’s not any less feminine for being successful as an executive. But she doesn’t define herself as a sex object to begin with. She sees her feminine abilities (tend and befriend) as being competitive advantages. She is a warrior in her own right, not as an ersatz man.

  85. 85
    daniellavine

    Hairhead@83:

    Or maybe he was simply making an observation from his own experience as I was. Such anecdotal accounts shouldn’t be generalized or assumed to be true, of course, for reasons stated by other commenters such as confirmation bias. On the other hand, in the absence of solid data about the preferences of women vis a vis bro dudes I’m not sure what else we have to rely on other than our experiences.

    At any rate, Jonathan seemed to be to be saying that many women choose of their own volition to be romantically interested in bro dudes, which mightily contradicts the idea that he was denying the agency of women at all let alone in general.

    Meanwhile a few of the people castigating Jonathan stated in no uncertain terms that women who choose bro dudes aren’t making a choice, they’ve been culturally programmed into doing something that is bad for them. That would seem to me to deny the agency of these women, whereas Jonathan’s acknowledgement that they’re making a free choice (of which many of us disapprove in some sense) is absolutely affirming the agency of these women.

  86. 86
    daniellavine

    It just seems to me that if you argue women’s rights from a premise of women being ersatz men you lose before you start.

    Seems to me you’re the one making essentialist assumptions about how men and women are “supposed” to behave.

  87. 87
    Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff

    daniellavine: we are looking at the same thing and having two different interpretations. To my mind, Jonathan is asking, “Why do women choose to be with abusive arseholes? As a volitional choice, it seems contrary to everything logical and rational. Therefore it must be because there is something *magic* about arseholes which *makes* women choose them!” That is, women don’t actually have agency — the “magic arsehole” makes them do it. That’s the assumption that I read.

    Likewise, I think you are misreading and exaggerating the responses. Women “choose arseholes” for a number of overlapping reasons: social pressure, economics, self-doubt and self-denial, lack of visible alternatives (the invisible sensitive guys who aren’t putting themselves out there), and sometimes horniness, boredom, and drunkenness. This doesn’t deny women their agency, but admits to the multiple pressures a sexist society puts on women to guide them to these choices.

  88. 88
    duane

    We’ll probably never know, but I wonder if misogyny as we understand it was practiced in paleolithic times (i.e. before the advent of agriculture). With small clan groups fighting for survival day by day, I doubt (and this is my opinion) that there was much time and motivation for it. What a parable, though!

  89. 89
    daniellavine

    Hairhead@87:

    I’m not misreading or exaggerating:

    In my experience misogynistic assholes don’t actually have that much trouble finding women

    That’s because there’s also a large pool of misogynistic/self-hating women. This is a cultural artifact and can be changed over time.

    The first line is me and the second line is Chaos Engineer’s response. That’s a whole hell of a lot closer to denying the agency of women than anything Jonathan has said.

    In regards to Jonathan, I think you are “misreading and exaggerating the responses”. To put it kindly. It wouldn’t hurt you at all to be charitable, or at least ask Jonathan questions before leaping to assumptions of bad faith.

    You’re essentially admitting you have no textual support for your assertions and that this is all an assumption on your part. Why I should agree with you on that account is still a mystery.

  90. 90
    frog

    daniellavine: “Hmm, I don’t really like the implication that women who have internalized some of our cultures norms are “self-hating”, especially when this statement has such a strong subtext of implying that these women are broken. “

    –>There’s validity to your point. OTOH, what else would you say about the 5th Column of women who are anti-feminist and think women ought to get back in the kitchen and out of the workplace, and be dependent on their man (any man they can nab) for financial stability?

    I don’t know if you follow Ed Brayton’s blog, but earlier this week there was discussion of Suzanne Venker’s book, How to Choose a Husband, and a more odious tome of shit would be hard to find. If Suzanne Venker doesn’t hate herself, she certainly hates some very large percentage of other women.

    And yes, I will say flat out: There is something wrong and broken with women like that. Is it their fault? No. Are they reparable? Probably. But anyone who says that people of [category X] should deliberately abjure and abnegate their own desires, preferences, and freedom and hand them over to someone else, is seriously fucked in the head.

    zoniedude: “What I find most fascinating about the story and comment thread is the underlying premise that women have no intrinsic value other than emulating males.”

    –>Who’s emulating males? You are assuming that “hunting” is by definition male. Whereas it’s obvious to me that if women want to do it, then it’s also something that women do.

    more zoniedude: “I’m getting ready to make banana bread this morning. I will use baking soda and baking powder. Where did those chemicals come from? Was it men that figured out how to create bread with yeast and dough? Did men develop fired pottery or was that discovered while baking bread?”

    –>Does you making banana bread make you a woman? Do you think of yourself as “wanting to act like a woman” when you want to bake?

    “She has an amazing ability to organize people to accomplish difficult tasks; I don’t. On the other hand, I had analytical abilities my wife doesn’t have.”

    –>And meanwhile, there are men in the world who are superb at organizing people, and women who analyze like champs.

    The best navigators I know are women–and not because they’re willing to ask directions (har har), but because they can read a goddamn map and they have an innate sense of which way is north.

    “I understand the fictionalization of modern problems in an ahistorical context, but I sometimes get the feeling that the assholes in these threads sometimes are fixated on women as being ersatz men, so I’m somewhat chagrined to see this topic covered in an intellectual environment of women as ersatz men.”

    –>Are you suggesting that, for instance, the women who fought to be allowed combat roles in the military are wanting to be “ersatz men”?

    Your problem here is that you have underlying assumptions about what activities are “manly” or “womanly.” Just because those assumptions are common, doesn’t make them true.

    People can want to hunt or fight or bake or drive cars or cheer for sports teams or sew quilts. None of that depends on the possession or lack of a Y chromosome.

  91. 91
    throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble

    She sees her feminine abilities (tend and befriend) as being competitive advantages.

    I can’t tell if this is sexism or ersatz sexism. Still has the same noxious odor.

  92. 92
    daniellavine

    @duane:

    Given the variety of lifeways among modern hunter gatherers my guess would be that there were both matriarchal and patriarchal societies in the paleolithic.

  93. 93
    daniellavine

    frog@90:

    I don’t think such women are broken or sick, I think they’ve just internalized a value system that is incompatible with my own. When they talk about what’s “good for women” the meaning of the word “good” is different from when I talk about what’s “good for women” (which is not actually a phrase I’d ever use since I don’t actually presume to know).

    So I think they’re still making choices as freely as any other human being, they’re just using different criteria to assess the desirability and likelihood of various outcomes. I don’t like those criteria and I will spend the rest of my life arguing against them and for value systems that honor difference instead of belittling it. But I’d prefer not to assume those with different values from my own are subhuman in any way since that sort of attitude has historically yielded some pretty terrible results.

  94. 94
    The Mellow Monkey

    Ah, “tend and befriend.” We’ve been over this before in this thread.

    Strange how none of the Horde women tried to deal with the argument by befriending or tending the idiot making it.

  95. 95
    Muse

    zoniedude

    What I find most fascinating about the story and comment thread is the underlying premise that women have no intrinsic value other than emulating males. In the story both the man and the woman have essentially equivalent roles. There is no recognition that women in that age possessed a wide range of expertise in plant science and chemistry that was necessary for survival.

    And here you start off with a seriously flawed premise of serious gender essentialism. You should be starting with assuming that mostly humans are the same. Also – you’re makign unfounded assumptions about other things. Please cite me your data for why you think that it was the women in the Pliocene who were experts in plant chemistry?

    I’m getting ready to make banana bread this morning. I will use baking soda and baking powder. Where did those chemicals come from? Was it men that figured out how to create bread with yeast and dough? Did men develop fired pottery or was that discovered while baking bread? How did they find out and remember which plants could be eaten and which were poison? Women didn’t need to hunt to be valuable contributors to society.

    But did they? We are drawing inferences from relatively modern societies. It’s certainly possible that all people foraged and a subset hunted. We don’t know for sure that only men hunted. For the record it was a man, Alfred Bird, who invented modern baking powder and men, John Dwight and Austin Church, who did the first commercial baking soda. Just saying…

    Even today, because technology has made many traditional female roles obsolete, there are those who assume that means they have to fulfill male roles.

    Dude, you’re being seriously gender essentialist here (and also wrong). Many traditionally female roles are still around, as they deal with jobs that can’t be replaced by technology, among them childcare, nursing, and teaching.

    Fine if they want to, but don’t underestimate the ability of women to transform society with new roles. My wife is an executive who makes more money that I do (or did before I retired). She has an amazing ability to organize people to accomplish difficult tasks; I don’t. On the other hand, I had analytical abilities my wife doesn’t have.

    And I’m a damn fine analyst. In fact, I’m better at analysis than dealing with people. What does this have to do with my reproductive organs or what gender society sees me as or I see myself?

    I understand the fictionalization of modern problems in an ahistorical context, but I sometimes get the feeling that the assholes in these threads sometimes are fixated on women as being ersatz men, so I’m somewhat chagrined to see this topic covered in an intellectual environment of women as ersatz men. It just seems to me that if you argue women’s rights from a premise of women being ersatz men you lose before you start.

    What the fuck does erstaz men even mean? People are being human. There are very few jobs that require a factory installed penis to do…

    Oh, and my wife is gorgeous without make up, so she doesn’t wear any. She’s not any less feminine for being successful as an executive. But she doesn’t define herself as a sex object to begin with. She sees her feminine abilities (tend and befriend) as being competitive advantages. She is a warrior in her own right, not as an ersatz man.

    What does your wife being lucky enough to conform to societal standards have to do with anything? Those aren’t feminine tendencies inherent in being female – they are socialized aspects of culture. Also figure out the difference between female(sex), woman(gender), and feminine (gender presentation).

  96. 96
    Howard Bannister

    There are powerful incentive systems in place to be the “good” woman, the anti-feminist, the special snowflake. Being Sarah Palin means you get a TV show and tons of money. But there’s only room for one or two of you, and you must viciously hold down other women.

    As long as the Patriarchs need a woman they can point to and say ‘see, women agree with me,’ they will reward that one single super-special woman very well–and try very hard not to actually give them power. Just enough of a platform to be heard.

    And if you have already internalized the dictums of anti-feminism, having it drummed into your head, it becomes one of the few roles where you do get to speak out and not feel guilty about it.

    I’ve known women who filled that role. I’ve known black men who filled that role. I’ve met gay men who filled that role. (“ex-gay”)

    As daniellavine points out, it is a rational strategy. Morally, ethically? Blah.

  97. 97
    daniellavine

    The Mellow Monkey@94:

    I’m not sure that was directed at me but if it is I’m not advocating anyone “tend and befriend” Jonathan. I’m just suggesting that if you don’t go out of your way to read misogyny into Jonathan’s comments you might not actually see any in the first place.

  98. 98
    daniellavine

    howard@96:

    Actually, I think you’re making a point that I actually missed. I was talking about women who honestly believe in patriarchal values whereas you seem to be talking about women who opportunistically use the patriarchal value system to accrue benefits (financial and status) to themselves.

    It’s a great point. I’m sure you’re right that a lot of woman — Ann Coulter comes to mind — try to undermine women’s rights for selfish, short-sighted reasons rather than because they think it’s the right thing to do. But I also think a lot of women honestly think that undermining women’s right is the right thing to do, and I think other have done a great job of discussing why this is (they’ve internalized bits of the patriarchal value system as part of their identities as people).

    For the opportunists, I agree that such a strategy is morally bankrupt. For the true believers, while I disagree with their values and the conclusions they draw as a result of those values I won’t deny that they at least have moral values. It’s something to work with. As Walter says in the Big Lebowski, “At least it’s an ethos.”

  99. 99
    The Mellow Monkey

    daniellavine, you aren’t the one who introduced the term to this discussion. My post had nothing to do with you.

    zoniedude at #84 brought the term up. I provided a link and context for anyone who had missed the argument about it the last time someone was claiming “men have fight or flight/women tend and befriend” in a thread here.

  100. 100
    daniellavine

    The Mellow Monkey@99:

    Ah, I apologize, I missed that in zoniedude’s post. Probably had something to do with the blood vessels that started bursting in my eyes somewhere around the end of the first paragraph. (I thought you meant “tend and befriend” people who are JAQing off in response to me suggesting that it might make sense to be charitable to Jonathan just to be explicit about the nature of my understanding.)

  101. 101
    frog

    daniellavine: I don’t think that having different values makes one subhuman, but either do I accept that all sets of “different values” are equally valid. Neither do I accept that certain specific values are prevalent in a mind that I would define as “healthy.” Note I also do not feel that an unhealthy mind = subhuman.

    Humans get ill. Illnesses of the mind are something we barely have a handle on. We’re not really sure how they arise–how much is genetic, how much is cultural, how much is viral, etc. We also aren’t really sure how to define the line between “mental illness” and “cultural values” or even “natural, normal phenomena.”

    Once upon a time, homosexuality was considered a mental illness. Nowadays many (most, I hope) people recognize that this is nonsense.

    So yes, I understand why someone wouldn’t want to make too many judgements in this realm. Does a woman wear high heels because she likes high heels, or because her mind has been fucked up by the patriarchy and she needs to be “cured”? That is indeed a dangerous slope to slide around on.

    However, when someone’s feelings about how other people should behave cross the line from “this is neat and I recommend it” to “you are bad and evil and stupid if you don’t do this,” then I feel comfortable calling their behavior a pathology.

    The pathology isn’t necessarily in the thing that they prefer themselves (it might be, but as noted above, that’s a lot stickier of a question). To me the broken part is in their saying, “I don’t care what you want, YOU WILL DO THIS BECAUSE I SAY IT’S BETTER RARG GARBLE WARBLE.”

    Getting back to that sticky question of where one might draw a line: My value system will not stretch to include “deliberately choose to be subjugated” in the category of mentally healthy. This is in line with my value system that doesn’t include “deliberately starve yourself to fit an unrealistic body ideal” or “deliberately cut yourself” in the category of mentally healthy, either.

    Now, everyone has their mentally unhealthy traits. The question of how much is too much–how many standard deviations beyond average are acceptable–is again the sticky question.

    I’m all for moral relativism–I don’t pretend to have solid answers, here. But there are a few things I can point to that are so far beyond the gray zone that I feel comfortable calling them completely unacceptable. “Insisting women shouldn’t have agency or self-determination” is right up there with “Don’t let girls go to school” in my estimation. Those aren’t “values” I am in any way willing to tolerate.

  102. 102
    Johnny Au Gratin

    Is this a similar situation? That at a certain age group the mistakes are doomed to continue, and our best hope is to serve as a good example for the generations to come?

    You can’t teach an old dog new tricks is a stereotype that needs to die. People who value learning continue to learn their whole lives. Certainly some don’t value learning and are beyond the reach of reasoned argument. But many people feel a need to keep their heads down and not make waves while they are young and looking to establish themselves, only to decide later that they are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.

  103. 103
    cicely

    Great story, Chris!
    :) :) :)
    -
    What Beatrice said.
    -

    I wonder though if much like with atheism, there is simply a generation that will not be deterred, and our best hope is raising a new generation.

    Not quite so cut-and-dried—after all, where are our “seed atheists” originating, but from within that generation’s ranks? After all, many of us right here on this blog were raised with that generation’s religious biases, and had to shake ‘em off. I think we’re looking at more of a gradual attrition thing added to raising a new generation.
    -

  104. 104
    daniellavine

    frog@101:

    Fantastic comment, you’ve given me a lot to think about. I may be taking an airy metaethical philosophical view of the whole thing at the moment. You’re absolutely correct that some value systems contradict mine so blatantly that I have very visceral, emotional reactions to them.

    I particularly liked this:

    The pathology isn’t necessarily in the thing that they prefer themselves (it might be, but as noted above, that’s a lot stickier of a question). To me the broken part is in their saying, “I don’t care what you want, YOU WILL DO THIS BECAUSE I SAY IT’S BETTER RARG GARBLE WARBLE.”

    Yes, authoritarian value systems are very hard to argue with because their adherents simply won’t listen to arguments against. It’s a sort of ethical version of Dunning-Kruger effect — those of us who take relativistic views of morality are likely to question and second-guess our ethical judgments while those we’re opposed to are unlikely to do so. So at this point I try to be wary of value systems whose adherents are steadfastly against compromise or listening to other points of view because I think I agree that this is where value systems can become pathological.

  105. 105
    unclefrogy

    The question of why misogynistic men seem to be having sex fine enough starts with an assumption that they are. It was not taken very seriously here just now. There were many solutions offered to correct the problem of misogyny all sound good to me. The question of human sexual preference and selection is very difficult to study because you can’t just set up a blind and watch unseen, that would probably get you arrested. There are a great many variables interacting in the population in the U.S. there is not really one dominant culture but a great many overlapping subcultures along with many socioeconomic sub groupings which also overlap all of that interacts with personal individual psychology then add to that the truth that you mostly have to do the study by interviewing humans who as been stated already there is not any reliable way to verify what they are telling you. That is before you even take into consideration the effects of biology?
    so the questions raised are complicated. Are “they” having sex relations regularly? All of them or just some subset of them? how does that compare with others? and the different subgroups?

    The fact that there does not appear to be any “simple” answer to this complicated problem might have something to do the fact that we are one of the most complicated creatures of all.
    Not forgetting for a moment the observed effects of advertising and marketing has had on influencing people.

    uncle frogy

  106. 106
    jefrir

    Johnathon,

    The meme is still being selected for by women.

    The way you phrase (and your other comments saying similar things) suggest that you have a rather simplistic idea that women are consciously choosing partners who display this sort of behaviour – with the subtext that it is therefore women’s fault that men behave like this, and that women get hurt by it.
    In reality, it is not that women select for it, but that society does – and not always in a straightforward way. We have many aspects of our culture that tell us, from birth, that tell us what men are supposed to be like, and what women are supposed to be like. We absorb those ideas, and use them to inform our own behaviour and our expectations of others. Society punishes those who do not conform, in ways both obvious and subtle. These ideas are so deeply ingrained that it is hard to shake them off, even once we realise where they come from – and many people never realise that they are cultural, and instead go on assuming that they are just the way the world works (see Zoniedude’s comments up thread for an example).
    If we want to change that culture, one of the simplest ways we can go about doing it is by pointing out that these beleifs are cultural – and that they are stupid, and harmful. Just like Chris did in this post.

    Also, no-one gives a shit if you are posting under your real name or not, and if you want to know what something means, typing it into google is far more effective than whining about how we used a term you don’t understand. Doing your homework would help a lot with getting people to assume good faith.

  107. 107
    ednaz

    Good Story, Chris. Thanks!

  108. 108
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    A child is born and the first question asked is: “Boy or girl?”

    Upon hearing that they have a new son, they raise their voices above his cries and say: “Good lungs on him, he’ll make a fine [sport participant]”

    Upon hearing that they have a new daughter, they wait until she stops crying and say: “Isn’t she beautiful.”

    Culture is pervasive, it penetrates all boundaries; brains, all brains, are so plastic that to hem them in with artificial limits is absurd.

    Fuck gender essentialism.

  109. 109
    frog

    No one has brought it up, and perhaps it is a bit of a derail, but another explanation for why dudebros are able to have sex is that they are probably the primary perpetrators of date rape. From their perspective they had sex*. This is what they will tell their friends.

    So if a researcher asks one of these guys if he had sex in the previous week, he may say “yes”; while the woman who was plied with alcohol, rohypnol, or old-fashioned aggressive pressure may reply, “Um…I guess so.”

    Whereas decent men and their active-participant partners will both give the same answer: “Yes, I did.”

    *They define “sex” as “I stuck my penis in someone”; the recipient’s enthusiasm or lack thereof is irrelevant to them.

  110. 110
    marilove

    I have to say, as an outsider to this current conversation and just reading through it quickly, I was put off with how quickly Jonathan got defensive, and instead of apologize, he is wondering (after much *sigh*ing, of course) why everyone is being so mean, instead of, oh, I don’t know, admitting that maybe he came across it wrong, and genuinley apologizing.

    *le sigh* there is no but for every one of your points, and as far as we are quick to denigrate people with acronyms and names conversation can only be so effective.

    Nice lecture. Maybe you should learn the culture and ask genuine questions when you’re unsure, minus all the sighing and bitter defensiveness?

    *sigh* fine, lets not turn this into a topic about whose side I’m on, or what category I fall into. I don’t want that either, lets just pick up with beatrice, cultural norms, and so on.

    Second passive-aggressive *sigh*! And a “fine”, to boot!

    This place (and I don’t comment much but I do lurk) has a LOT of trolls who really start off exactly as you did. It’s obnoxious, and people have already told you this. You really were indistinguishable from a JAQ-off (and to be perfectly honest, I’m not yet convinced of your innocence, considering how much sighing and lecturing you’ve been doing, instead of maybe changing your tactics and actually acting like, oh, I dunno, an ally, instead of someone on the defensive.)

    *LE SIGH!* This would be an excellent time to learn something, and to perhaps learn from your mistake.

    (You see how freakin’ annoying that sigh is? Because it is. Please stop it.)

  111. 111
    marilove

    Grammar is hard … ugh. I’m tired. Long day.:D

  112. 112
    Richard Smith

    @marilove (#110): If only there was a resource, like an essay, or link to one, that people like Jonathan could read before whining that they’re not a racist sexist…

  113. 113
    Koshka

    FossilFishy,

    A child is born and the first question asked is: “Boy or girl?”

    Even before birth it is asked – or, even worse, “What are you hoping for”. My answer to this was usually “human” or “healthy”.

    Upon hearing that they have a new son, they raise their voices above his cries and say: “Good lungs on him, he’ll make a fine [sport participant]”
    Upon hearing that they have a new daughter, they wait until she stops crying and say: “Isn’t she beautiful.”

    I have 2 daughters. Since they were born I get “I bet you are not looking forward to them becoming teenagers”. This makes me want to scream. You don’t get this with sons.

    Fuck gender essentialism.

    Indeed.

  114. 114
    Koshka

    Oh, and my wife is gorgeous without make up, so she doesn’t wear any.

    It must be great to be you.

  115. 115
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    “Oh, and my wife is gorgeous without make up, so she doesn’t wear any.”
    How nice for you. I myself am quite stunning without makeup, and I wear it when I wish to because it brings me great happiness. And I’m not a woman, so. (Or a man.)

    Zoniedude, your baseless gender essentialism would be laughable if it weren’t supporting to much discrimination.

  116. 116
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    What I find most fascinating about the story and comment thread is the underlying premise that women have no intrinsic value other than emulating males.

    In case it hasn’t been made clear to you yet, you have totally missed the point of the story. The point is that no one should be denied an opportunity to do what they want merely because of what’s between their legs, nor should they be denied equal credit or recompense for what they do. There are no male or female activities (aside from childbirth and breastfeeding) or traits; there are only human activities and traits.

    If you can’t grok that, you really need some time by yourself to think.

  117. 117
    SallyStrange

    If women naturally dig assholes, why does patriarchy insist on controlling women’s sexuality?

  118. 118
    chigau (違う)

    bunny
    bunny
    bunny

  119. 119
    Chris Clarke

    Chigau @188:

    Were you requesting that of someone in particular, old pal, or just improvising poetry?

  120. 120
    chigau (違う)

    Chris
    I would like for you to:
    Make all the nasty comments on this thread into bunnies
    or
    Make all the comments on this thread which contain the letter “e” into bunnies
    or
    Make all my comments on this thread into bunnies
    or
    just add some bunnies
    :)

  121. 121
    Chris Clarke

  122. 122
    chigau (違う)

    Aaaah.
    That’s better.
    ♥♥♥
    Thanks

  123. 123
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    I’m cool with bunnies. They’re a different species, yes, but we have the same soft.

  124. 124
    laurentweppe

    and all the time I’m saving their inept asses from the goddamn cave bear

    See? See?
    That’s where we can see it’s all the woman’s fault: she should never have saved their bacon: that’s what being an intelligent, civilized primate is all about: you do not challenge your ennemies in broad daylight like those silly wolves and their silly rituals of dominance: you stab them in the back, or during their sleep, or just let the cave bear eat them alive: that’s how you get on top: trully girl, you just showed why you don’t deserve to be the tribe’s alpha.

  125. 125
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Oh, and my wife is gorgeous without make up, so she doesn’t wear any.

    I’m sure you met her at summer camp and she’s from Niagara Falls too.

  126. 126
    birgerjohansson

    Jonathan, come back.

    If you are not an MRA and you spend time learning about Pharyngula you too can contribute something positive.
    .
    It takes some time “finding stuff out”. For instance in the beginning I was taken aback by the use of “arseholes”, “fuckheads” etc. in the threads, but when I had been here for some time
    and became familiar to the stuff that goes down on the American side of the Internet (insert latest shocking example of misogynist/racist/homophobic attacks) I realised that calling the various sociopaths names that gives a feeling of symbolic revenge is a decent survival strategy when you are neck deep in this endless struggle.
    Fred Phelps and George Bush do not deserve politeness, nor do their clones.

    This is just one example of the local culture.
    .
    Also many commenters have had harrowing personal experiences with abovementioned arseholes, so if a question is phrased like one commonly used by JAQers you might get “friendly fire” at an early stage.

  127. 127
    birgerjohansson

    The cute bunnies from Scenes From A Multiverse usually have their Alien Queen mother somewhere nearby. That is why I avoid lagomorphs*.

    (*is that the correct term? Merkun not first language)

  128. 128
    opposablethumbs

    Been Pharyngula-deprived for days and just made it part of the way back here from the desert of Other People’s Deadlines, but I couldn’t leave this thread without saying

    Thank you Chris!
    I really loved the story. Posting it off to DaughterSpawn and SonSpawn right now.

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