Comments

  1. John Morales says

    I don’t do the ironic antonomasia thingy, but I have no problem with those who do.

    BTW, catching up on the meddle thread, and I note that the ‘mad women of Pharyngula’ meme has become historical.

    ObMusicalInterlude: Meddle.

  2. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    Tony @ 500–thanks. “melanin enriched” holy shitballs, how does he even type this stuff without his keyboard cringing away from his racist fingers???

  3. says

    John:

    BTW, catching up on the meddle thread, and I note that the ‘mad women of Pharyngula’ meme has become historical.

    What did I miss?

    Cyranothe2nd, you can easily do thread searches with keywords or nyms by using Ctrl + f

  4. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    @ Caine–didn’t think it was on this iteration of the TD. But thanks. :)

  5. John Morales says

    stevenbrown, a “font” (actually, a generic typeface) is just a logographic variant of ordinary graphemes.

    (I myself noted on this site — years ago — that I find Comic Sans very legible)

  6. John Morales says

    Caine, I refer to the term “bitch brigade” which was rightly derided there.

    (As far back as 2005-6, people noted how uppity are the women commenters of Pharyngula, and thus the meme was aborn)

  7. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    No, please, go on, do explain.

    Are you saying there’s something wrong with coming up with new more positive terminology or something? How then do you explain why we’re now using African American nstead of the older terms?

    That word “racism” you keep using. I do not think it means what you think it does. / Inigo Montoya. (& me.)

    Now that is hilariously self unaware

  8. carlie says

    The only way that guy’s idea about showing the woman that “sometimes the world can be kind” makes any sense at all is if you take it as a given that of course the expected behavior would be for him to drug her and then rape her; in that case, see, he is being so nice! because he didn’t actually rape her and sent her on vacation instead! So in that world, where the expectation is of being drugged and raped, he gets a cookie for not doing that. He can’t seem to think about the possibility of a world in which people don’t expect women to probably get drugged and raped.

  9. mythbri says

    @Xanthe #490

    I recently watched Caroline Heldman’s TEDx talk myself, and recognized several behaviors that she identified as behaviors that I have. I’ve made a conscious effort to note the difference between when I’m adjusting my position for comfort, or when I’m adjusting my position because I think I might look slouchy, or adjusting my clothes to better hide my stomach (which I can’t help but think is too big).

    I agree that the criteria she laid out exactly fits the objectification present in the FB status that I quoted here. I wish she had gone a little more into detail about her statistic that 96% of objectified bodies in the media are female. I would say it’s as common as the nitrogen/oxygen mixture we breathe, and most of us are just as conscious of it (which is to say, not at all).

    It’s no wonder there’s such resistance to these kinds of topics – this kind of sexism and objectification is ubiquitous. It seems normal. Hell, it IS normal, but it’s something we need to change.

  10. carlie says

    Hm, should I be “carlie, whose body spitefully refuses to produce more melanin no matter how many sunburns it gets”?

  11. says

    Caine,

    A chick or a cunt? These are the options these days, like ‘gay or a guy’?

    Apparently! I know, and apart from the problem of being infantilised or treated as synecdoche, what about the possibility that I might be both?

    Thanks for the link to the anagram finder, as my dedicated program for such things stopped working after an OS upgrade. I decided to include the letter ‘a’ to widen the options, though ‘Xanthë, chronic tuck’ would be pretty accurate most of the time in respect of my clothing arrangements.

  12. says

    John:

    (As far back as 2005-6, people noted how uppity are the women commenters of Pharyngula, and thus the meme was aborn)

    Oh yes, that’s always noticeable. I got stuck on historical and was thinking in a different direction, so I brainfarted away from your point.

    I think it’s really nice it’s all so much larger than the mad women of Pharyngula these days.

  13. John Morales says

    mythbri,

    … or when I’m adjusting my position because I think I might look slouchy, or adjusting my clothes to better hide my stomach (which I can’t help but think is too big).

    (Riffing here)

    Some years back (hm, maybe more than a few, time speeds up as I age) I noticed it had become the fashion for girls and young women to wear pants the belt of which was just above the pubis; this meant that many flouted their bellies, whether they were chubby or not.

    (I thought it looked silly, but I was not unaware that they were flaunting themselves because the fashion allowed it, and thought it not at all a bad thing)

  14. mythbri says

    @carlie #510

    If I hadn’t already experienced it in threads right here at FTB, I would never have thought that anyone expected a cookie for NOT raping someone.

    Why isn’t NOT raping someone considered the default, instead of the norm?

    That’s like me expecting a cookie for NOT murdering someone.

  15. says

    Xanthe:

    though ‘Xanthë, chronic tuck’ would be pretty accurate most of the time in respect of my clothing arrangements.

    ‘Chronic tuck’ caught my eye immediately. Maybe it’s just the way it sounds, but I quite liked it.

  16. cm's changeable moniker says

    Guyland

    Pffft. Maurice Godelier. Buraya people. Societies are weird.

    Or, more relevantly:

    The average young American man today is moving through a new stage of development, a buddy culture unfazed by the demands of parents, girlfriends, jobs, kids, and other nuisances of adult life. Sociologist and gender studies authority Michael Kimmel has identified this territory as “Guyland,” a place that is both a stage of life and a new social arena.

    Paging David Brooks. David Brooks to the courtesy phone please.

  17. says

    John:

    Some years back (hm, maybe more than a few, time speeds up as I age) I noticed it had become the fashion for girls and young women to wear pants the belt of which was just above the pubis; this meant that many flouted their bellies, whether they were chubby or not.

    I remember wearing hip huggers in high school, some of which were very low cut, paired with short tops (usually came to the bottom of the ribcage) or halter tops. Showing your midriff off was all the rage back in the ’70s.

  18. mythbri says

    @John Morales

    My beef with fashion in general (which gets better or worse depending on what’s in style) is that designers rarely design clothes for women that look like me. I’m 5’6″ and stocky, with broad shoulders. It’s hell trying to find shirts that fit me and are long enough to cover my torso, or pants that fit but don’t drag on the ground. I was glad when layering clothing came into style, and I plan to pretty much stick with that, regardless of what kind of nonsense pops into fashion leaders’ heads next.

    And forget about finding tall boots that fit around my calves, or ANY cute shoes for someone with size 10.5 US feet…

  19. says

    Hi Mythbri,

    I recently watched Caroline Heldman’s TEDx talk myself, and recognized several behaviors that she identified as behaviors that I have. I’ve made a conscious effort to note the difference between when I’m adjusting my position for comfort, or when I’m adjusting my position because I think I might look slouchy, or adjusting my clothes to better hide my stomach (which I can’t help but think is too big).

    I have to ‘me too’ on this, with the additional double-sided gotcha! that being trans*, if I am engaging in feminine mannerisms I’m buying into the idea of ‘passing’ which helps oppress ourselves and other women, whereas if I behave in masculine ways then I’m not really transgender because ‘real transsexuals’ wouldn’t behave like that! *sigh*

    I agree that the criteria she laid out exactly fits the objectification present in the FB status that I quoted here. I wish she had gone a little more into detail about her statistic that 96% of objectified bodies in the media are female.

    I found myself wishing she’d given a little bit more detail on that, elsewhere she mentioned that the 96% statistic was her own findings: “I ran a content analysis in 2010 on top popular magazines, television shows, films, and music videos, and got this number.

  20. says

    cm:

    Pffft.

    If it’s not relevant to you, fine. I’m sure you can find it in you, somewhere, to not mind if others of us do find it relevant, especially as we are dealing with the effects every day of our lives. Thanks ever and all that.

  21. throwaway, Preferred singular pronouns: they, them, their, it says

    I had a frustrating encounter at a family function tonight. Young male sexist, but not really a sexist, oh no, he just calls em as he sees him. On the subject of the lack of female announcers in booths at sporting events but the prevalence of sideline commentators – of the women that he sees doing the commenting, most of the women can’t keep up or capture the essence of the game .oO(gross, kinda reminded me of coye, not the type of encounter I wanted tonight) in the same way a man can. I totally wanted to press the issue, dammit, but he’s the grand-nephew of a full-grown adult sexist who I’ve not really got along well with. I totally wanted to ask him whether he thought that maybe his bias in deferring to men as authority figures in all things sports was due to his upbringing in society. I really want to broach the issue next time I’m around him, because ridding the world of a prodigious sexist asshole (like Lee Coye) before he has the opportunity to get set in his ways is a net win for humanity.

    And that is why I say fuck civility. It really is a silencing tactic for those not in obedience to the status quo, and I should have recognized it’s the same pseudo-civility which gives religion that fucking untouchably-impolite-in-civil-discourse status.

  22. says

    Hi Sally, how ya doing?

    Xanthe:

    that being trans*, if I am engaging in feminine mannerisms I’m buying into the idea of ‘passing’ which helps oppress ourselves and other women, whereas if I behave in masculine ways then I’m not really transgender because ‘real transsexuals’ wouldn’t behave like that! *sigh*

    Oh ffs. That’s similar to the shit I’ve heard about being bisexual. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Shouldn’t it be about how you feel, as an individual? If you’re femme, you’re femme and why not do those things that make you happy? (And of vice versa, of course.)

  23. mythbri says

    @Xanthe #523

    Could you explain further about what you mean by “passing” oppressing other trans* women and cis-women?

    Do you mean it reinforces an oppressive form of femininity, instead of promoting gender fluidity (i.e., breaking down perceptions of behavior that is stereotypically masculine or feminine)?

  24. John Morales says

    mythbri, good attitude. :)

    You should know that I respect accept your body dysmorphia insofar as it is your own personal feeling, and pity you insofar as it’s societally-induced — and I can’t help but feel it’s both.

    (But we’re all a bit like that, at minimum)

  25. mythbri says

    @John Morales

    I understand what you mean. It’s a fine balance between accepting yourself, accepting negative feelings about yourself, and understanding how much of both of those can be attributed to societal influences.

  26. cm's changeable moniker says

    If it’s not relevant to you, fine. I’m sure you can find it in you, somewhere, to not mind if others of us do find it relevant, especially as we are dealing with the effects every day of our lives. Thanks ever and all that.

    Way to miss the point. Of course it’s relevant to me otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered posting.

    The average young American man today is moving through a new stage of development, a buddy culture unfazed by the demands of parents, girlfriends, jobs, kids, and other nuisances of adult life. Sociologist and gender studies authority Michael Kimmel has identified this territory as “Guyland,” a place that is both a stage of life and a new social arena.

    This seens wildly unsubstantiated, and furthermore seems (based on personal experience of my nephews and nieces) to be broadly untrue. If Kimmel has some surveys to back it up — the previous datapoint was that alumni didn’t want to inhibit party culture, which as far as I can tell says nothing about “the average young American man today”, well, let’s see it.

    But it feels, overall, like DB’s bobos. Plausible but wrong.

  27. says

    In case it wasn’t clear, I’m not endorsing either of the positions I laid out in #523, which are traps that trans* women are sometimes accused of falling into.

    Mythbri,

    Do you mean it reinforces an oppressive form of femininity, instead of promoting gender fluidity (i.e., breaking down perceptions of behavior that is stereotypically masculine or feminine)?

    In short, yes. I could probably dive into Janice Raymond’s book of transphobic shit and find a quotation which sums this attitude up, that trans* women performing femininity is R0NG because gender essentialism, because stereotyped femininity, because really Be-ing men trapped in men’s bodies, etc.

    Caine,

    Oh ffs. That’s similar to the shit I’ve heard about being bisexual. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Shouldn’t it be about how you feel, as an individual? If you’re femme, you’re femme and why not do those things that make you happy? (And of vice versa, of course.)

    Totally agree, and I love being femme and hate that I’m being judged on whether I’m doing it rightly or not. How that related to passing is that there shouldn’t be any need to engage in it all… except I do tend to police my own behaviour scrupulously in public because I don’t like being attacked by random hooligans, just for being a bit different. It’s exactly what Caroline Heldman mentions about the average woman being aware of exactly how often they are thinking about how their body appears to the world.

  28. says

    Xanthe:

    I love being femme and hate that I’m being judged on whether I’m doing it rightly or not.

    I don’t even know what it means to “do being femme right.” I have a feeling that if there were a test, I’d fail.

  29. mythbri says

    I grew up as a “tomboy” in the Mormon church, so I had to deal with being gender-policed and encouraged to do gender-policing myself. It was clear to me which gender was considered to be “better” than the other, and I figured that since I was already a tomboy, I would just embrace that identity whole-heartedly. Well, my approach to that was to reject femininity in many forms. I still hate the color pink, but not quite as much as I used to. I used to judge girls my age who were focused “too much” (in my opinion) on their appearances. I thought that any attention paid to one’s own appearance was an admission of having a shallow personality, but somehow I only applied this standard to girls. I don’t remember thinking of adult women in this way (except for the gender-policing that made it “okay” for me to identify “slutty” behavior in women), and I definitely don’t remember applying the appearance-concerns-are-shallow standard to boys or men.

    There were a lot of factors that contributed to me being outcast at school and at church, and in my extended family. I think my rejection of femininity can be safely assumed to be one of them. It wasn’t until I graduated high school, moved out on my own, and started attending college that I realized that it was okay for me to be as feminine as I cared to be. It didn’t make me weak. It didn’t make me shallow. It made me feel better about myself, actually. I was able to develop a style that worked for me, and my overall happiness with my self-image improved.

    If you care to take advice from someone who doesn’t know what she’s talking about, Xanthe, I’d say just do what comes naturally. I try to do that, too. And like Caine, if there were a test for “being femme correctly”, I have no doubt that I’d fail.

  30. cicely (Dancing on Monday's grave.) says

    WTF, Evolution? is made of Awesome! Think I’ll stat some of those suckers up. For later.

    Caine and Esteleth: I commend you for your work in the trenches. Permission to wimp out and not read those books? I’m totally willing to take your word for it, and don’t especially want to add that flavor to my nightmares, you see, and anyways I’m a total whimpering coward.
    And i can’t trust my imagination.
     
    Srsly. You’re due your choice of 1) medals or 2) as much Very Strong Drink as you’d like.

    What it would tell the “girl” is that she is powerless and safe only at the mercy of others; also, the obvious concern upon regaining consciousness would be to wonder what was done to her while she was unconscious.

    Exactly.
    “Lucky for you that I decided—this time—not to use my Penis Power for Evil! Be humbly grateful!”

    I’m really hopeful that I get it, but worried about the travel time

    Cyranothe2nd, I read this as, “I’m really hopeful that I get it, but worried about the time travel“.
    :D

    *turning the page*

  31. says

    Bottom line is, gender policing sucks, whether it’s being done by TERFs, HBSers, or anyone else. I’m lucky I haven’t encountered very much of it at all since I’ve transitioned, so that currently I tend to be my own harshest critic.

  32. consciousness razor says

    This seens wildly unsubstantiated, and furthermore seems (based on personal experience of my nephews and nieces) to be broadly untrue.

    You must have an awful lot of nephews and nieces — of what age, background, etc.? — or else I don’t see how your perceptions of them (assuming they’re accurate) could be about what is broadly untrue.

  33. The Mellow Monkey says

    Another problem with the concept of “passing” is that it sets up a narrow spectrum of cis people as having a normal appearance and as a goal to try to mimic, instead of actually accepting trans* people (and all the cis people whose bodies don’t match that norm).

    I remember a guest lecturer speaking about trans* issues in a sociology class when I was in college pointing me out to the rest of the class as someone who couldn’t pass because of the angularity of my facial features. No, ma’am, I just don’t have the features of a WASP woman, but thanks for drawing such attention to my looks.

    FTR, someone who would do something like that is a really bad choice for lecturing on trans* issues. She was lucky I was the target of her stupid example and not someone who could have been seriously harmed by it.

  34. consciousness razor says

    Rubio sure is talking a load of nonsense. Fuck, I think my brain is starting to shut down.

  35. says

    Cicely:

    I commend you for your work in the trenches. Permission to wimp out and not read those books?

    Absolutely. *Hands Cicely a drink and a cookie* Not the easiest reading I’ve ever done. Worthwhile, though. Manhood in America has given me a much clearer picture of how the concept of masculinity has been formed and how much it remains the same and also how it’s gone completely pear-shaped for a lot of men (mostly those attracted to MRA activity.) Misogyny provided an excellent historical perspective and how the same misogynistic attitudes keep successfully morphing, so they stay with us and Guyland is proving to be quite illuminating, even if it is depressing. Until the concept of masculinity starts to change, we aren’t going to get a whole lot further along. It’s another reason it’s so important for men to speak up to other men.

  36. cicely (Dancing on Monday's grave.) says

    Bedtime, and may the squirrels and the raccoons and the damned skunks rest quiet. And odorless.
     
    ‘Night, all.
    -

  37. consciousness razor says

    It’s another reason it’s so important for men to speak up to other men.

    It’s much easier with kids. They’ll listen and actually respond, even if it’s not in the most productive way. To them, I’m an authority and probably even a little intimidating. Talking to adult men about that sort of thing is so full of silencing tactics and other mind games that it seems impossible sometimes. If they’re friends or family, it’s easier since some of their defenses may not be up all of the time; but some random dude on the street or at work can take it a lot of different directions, none of which are very helpful.

  38. says

    CR:

    It’s much easier with kids. They’ll listen and actually respond, even if it’s not in the most productive way. To them, I’m an authority and probably even a little intimidating. Talking to adult men about that sort of thing is so full of silencing tactics and other mind games that it seems impossible sometimes. If they’re friends or family, it’s easier since some of their defenses may not be up all of the time; but some random dude on the street or at work can take it a lot of different directions, none of which are very helpful.

    Yes, Kimmel mentions how easy it can be to discuss such things with boys*, however, the transition from boy to guy happens at a young age these days, and that’s where a great deal of toxic masculinity is hammered home, even when a guy thinks it’s all a bunch of shit. The consequences of going against the tide are very high. It’s a very interesting read, and while I appreciate just how difficult it can be to talk to adult men, it’s still beyond important that men do that, because men will still tend to pay more attention to another man.

    What’s been really helpful in reading these books is that Mister is reading them, too. It’s very helpful to talk about these issues with a man (I wish more men would read them, I’d love to get their perspectives as well), who lives with these various concepts, has struggled with them, grew up with them, etc.

    *I really have to take everyone else at their word here, as I have no experience with boys of any age, not having any sprogs (nor any siblings) and very little to do with sprogs in general.

  39. says

    Hekuni Cat:

    I have just started Misogyny. Thank you for suggesting it.

    Thank you! That’s an excellent book, I learned a lot. Especially in the very early history part and the specifics of how religion played out in changing and spreading misogyny. I hope you enjoy it and I’d love to hear what you think about it.

  40. says

    [patriachy vs matriarchy]

    There seems to be an underlying fear amongst defenders of the patriarchy, that feminists seek to create a “matriarchy” that will retain the same power structures and merely invert the power gradient itself. That is to say that the same iniquities will be retained, but prosecuted by women rather than men. Misogyny will simply be replaced by misandry.

    I see that this issue has been adressed by Mara Lynn Keller in Fertility, Sexuality and Rebirth:

    In her Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion, British classicist Jane Ellen Harrison refers to the early agrarian cultures as “matriarchal.” Marija Gimbutas refers to them as “matristic” instead of “matriarchal,” to avoid the connotations of dominant political power attached to the concept “patriarchy.” Marilyn French writes of “matricentry.” Riane Eisler refers to these early agrarian cultures as “partnership societies,” emphasizing that while mothers were central, women and men were equally valued. I refer to the numerous early farming societies where Goddess religion appeared as the primary spiritual focus as female-prominent and Goddess-preeminent, or more simply, as the mother-rite cultures. There is increasing archeological, anthropological, religious, artistic, literary and historical evidence that a mother-centered epoch of human cultural evolution prevailed from at least ca. 6500- 3500 B.C.E. and later, until in region after region this way of life was overtaken by patriarchal warrior clans …

    The emphasis is mine. It may be that the search for a “matriarchal society” is looking for the wrong things. It is not, as the above indicates, a search for dominance by women or an inversion of the patriarchy. It is in fact quite a different kettle of fish altogether.

  41. says

    Nepenthe, in respect of #559, would any of “not wanting to come out and admit you’re probably transsexual because of fear that people of what people would think (i.e. you’re mentally ill), and therefore living in denial about it for twenty or so years” fit the bill?

  42. Tigger_the_Wing, Melanin Deficient says

    Seconding Xanthë’s comment (except, in my case, it was close to half a century). ‘Being true to yourself’ is only allowed by society if your ‘self’ fits into one of a very few acceptable boxes. Just like everyone can be unique as long as we do it the same way as everyone else.

    I am incapable of slipping easily (or at all) into the mindset of ‘feminine'; I simply don’t ‘get it’, and never did (much to the ongoing despair of my mother, particularly in my teens). I sort-of learnt to co-ordinate outfits but when I attempt to do so in a ‘feminine’ way, I’m pretty darned sure I miss completely. I don’t have the body language to carry it off either.

    Fortunately, I am pretty much unaware of other people’s reactions to me.

  43. Mandrellian, Kicker of Biological Goals says

    “Be true to yourself.” Interesting concept – how many people can say they do it 100% ?

    In many contexts, as intimated in #562 by Tigger, being true to oneself (or “being yourself” or “living your truth”, however it’s expressed) is inappropriate or unwelcome. Be “yourself” at school and if you’re not immediately able to be pigeonholed you might well find yourself friendless or marginalised. Be “true to yourself” during Pop Idol (as opposed to conforming to the narrow behavioural and artistic parameters dictated by the show and the culture it’s a symptom of) and you’ll be voted off. “Live your truth” at work and you may need to look through the classifieds the next day.

    The above may be extreme examples but the fact is, most of us have more than one “self” that we wear like clothes and I suspect most people aren’t even aware of how many selves they actually possess. Work self, home self, alone self, mum & dad self, sibling self, child self, grandparent self, in-laws self, party self. Even if subtle to the point of imperceptibility, the adjustments we make to our behaviour and communication style alter who we are depending on the specific context. In many cases it is entirely true that our actions define us, not just to others but to ourselves, and the confidence to actually be a different self to one that’s normally dictated by context is rare, temporary and often, as you might expect, imposed by a change in the context: i.e. you find yourself the centre of attention after a particularly awesome joke/sports victory/stage performance and briefly experience an upsurge in self-confidence such that you’ll behave in a radically different manner than usual (provided the positive social feedback continues).

    As I put it at this shonky comic of mine here [http://ekranoplan.org/hairdo.html]: “a certain level of popularity is required before non-conformity is a viable [social] option.”

    /end meta OT comment and necroplug.

  44. says

    Xanthe

    I have to ‘me too’ on this, with the additional double-sided gotcha! that being trans*, if I am engaging in feminine mannerisms I’m buying into the idea of ‘passing’ which helps oppress ourselves and other women, whereas if I behave in masculine ways then I’m not really transgender because ‘real transsexuals’ wouldn’t behave like that! *sigh*

    Damn, that’s really being between a rock and a hard place. We kind of talked about it in the Lounge these days, too. Given how far cis women’s (and men’s) choices are already policed I fail to even imagine how bad it must be for trans* people.

    On the issue of being femme, femininty and masculinity, and gender expression, I still want all of that to die in a fire. Fuck that shit. There’s nothing inherently female in pink lace, or masculine in a black powerdrill.
    In our society nobody can be “true to oneself”. We have never been given all the options.
    I still accept and respect and support that in a society salient with gender “gender expression” needs and should be protected. But it’s a fine line to walk. I don’t want trans* women’s lives to be used to beat me over the head with in terms of gender expression and behaviour and I most definetly don’t want to throw trans* women under the bus on my crusade against femininity and masculinity.

    Anecdote to fit the topic: I had noticed that the little one was only ever talking about her male kindergarten pals (with the exception of one girl). What took me about three weks was asking myself the question about <iwhich girls might be her friends. So this morning I did a quick count and look and behold, currently the boys outnumber the girls 2:1 and it’s even worse in her age-group. I am pretty sure that I would have noticed way sooner had it been the other way round.

  45. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Y’know what?

    Y’all cannot judge me based merely on a handful of comments

    That you’ve very badly misinterpreted and misread.

    You do not know me.

    You can’t judge me.

    I simply am NOT who or what some of you falsely think I am.

    *I* know who I am.

    And you do NOT.

    I tell you as the expert and primary source when it comes to who I am that

    I am NOT a bad person.

    Or any of the horrible, hurtful things I’ve been very wrongly been accused of being on Pharyngula.

    Y’all are far too quick to condemn.

    Those who merely disagree with you on a few issues.

    I think y’all need to realise, absorb and appreciate this observation

    Of fact.

    Learn from it, and stop being such douchebags to those who just disagree with you.

    Ocassionally, on some issues.

    ‘K?

  46. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    PS. .. And all that stuff I wrote in # 566 I intend to prove to y’all eventually.

    @568. theophontes (坏蛋) : You think I’m not doing that already?

    Please ask yourself – you and others here – could you be wrong about me?

    I tell you that you are.

  47. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    G’night y’all.

    Will catch up in a day or two, inshallah, shalom.

  48. says

    There is good in you StevoR, but you keep digging yourself into this weird ethnocentric hole as you try to prove that you hold absolutely no ethnocentric ideas. You do. I do, too. Everybody does. Is it more important to you to prove your point or to understand where you keep going wrong?

    Please think about your answer.

  49. Pteryxx says

    Will catch up in a day or two, inshallah, shalom.

    *facetalon* *heavy sigh*

    “Goodbye, Mrs. Gloop. Adieu, auf wiedersehen, gesundheit, farewell.”

  50. says

    I intend to prove to y’all eventually.

    This keeps me going (against my better judgement).

    StevoR, you really have to learn to be more self-critical. That is never easy but you have to realise that this has got to come from you. One way to start, is to take criticism seriously. We are not making shit up, we really do see you are having some serious issues and at the same time being in denial. We have not just selected some random commentor and accused him of bigotry. It is your very own words that have lead to this. Unless you start opening yourself up to our criticism (it is what you make of it) you cannot do yourself the favour of reform. Too many of your comments come across as a caricature of a bigoted person. Surely you don’t really want this for yourself?

    (A friend is not someone, who when noticing a booger on the tip of your nose, stays quiet and lets you continue on in embarassment. Stop making the rest of us out to be the enemy and either trust us or look in the mirror.)

  51. says

    StevoR

    Y’know what?

    Y’all cannot judge me based merely on a handful of comments

    You know what?
    Yes we can

    That you’ve very badly misinterpreted and misread.

    Again you’re throwing yourself on the floor and feel that you’re badly misunderstood and that’s everybody else’s fault. Again you’re wrong. If you constantly express yourself in a way that is interpreted as racist by about everybody, the problem is you, not everybody. No, that’s not an appeal to popularity. It’s how fucking language works. Again, you haven’t actually brought forth any argument why your “melantonin enriched” fuckwittery was anything but racist and you keep insisting that the only person allowed to judge anything as racist or not is yourself. Get over yourself, nobody died and made you Chomsky.

    You do not know me.

    And I’m damn glad about it.

    You can’t judge me.

    I still can. Don’t know why you think the word “can’t” makes any sense in there. I am obviously able to do so, I obviously have the opportunity to do so and I am obviously allowed to do so. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t even mean we shouldn’t.

  52. Pteryxx says

    Giliell: but, but the “melatonin enriched” remark was YEEEARS ago and he’s changed! (So was the inshallah/shalom remark. My how time flies.)

  53. Tigger_the_Wing, Melanin Deficient says

    StevoR, seriously, it was the (largely false) impression that I had about Australia being full of people like you that put me off the idea of ever coming here. When the move became inevitable, I was afraid; but put a brave face on it for hubby’s sake, kept reminding myself it was only going to be a few months, how bad could it be, etc., and came anyway.

    I’ve been here for eight years now. I have come to the conclusion that the only reason that Australia has a poor reputation overseas is because the xenophobes, although actually in a minority, are loud and pushy and so overwhelming of the rest that they are all anyone else sees.

    You, StevoR, might not like to think of yourself as one of them; if so, stop bloody acting like them!

    We all say stupid, bigotted shit sometimes; we don’t always engage our minds before letting our mouths/fingers run away. The difference between you and most other people is that when we are called out for saying something wrong, we apologise; but you? You double down, tell everyone criticising you that they are mistaken in the way they have interpreted what you said.

    No. They aren’t. What you type here is frequently racist. If you don’t like your comments being characterised as racist, read them carefully before posting them and remove the racist bits. If you do not recognise the racist bits as being racist, and inadvertently post them, then apologise when they are pointed out, learn why they are racist and avoid the same mistake in future.

    On the other hand, if you continue to defend those comments then guess what? You’ll get labelled racist. Because only racists defend racist comments. Decent people apologise for them.

    You’ve been told this over, and over, and over again. People are fed up with repeating to you the reasons why you keep getting yourself into trouble.

    People aren’t being douchebags to people for disagreeing with them. You are being a douchebag for failing to apologise when you hurt people. You’re hurt by the accusations? Then stop repeating the behaviour that attracts them.

    Unless someone is pointing a weapon at you and threatening you with harm if you don’t post racist comments, then you have to take responsibility for the things you have typed. Stop blaming other people for their perfectly reasonable responses and grow up.

  54. says

    @ Giliell

    You’re a much nicer person than me.

    OK, granted, I do tend to bait up with marshmallows rather than smelly cheese.

    (On the other hand, I do not know how long I can remain polite with this person.)

  55. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    I’d say drugging someone (without their consent) is a violation akin to rape, even if that’s all you do to them. It’s also, of course, highly dangerous – people vary widely in their reaction to drugs, and may be on medication that interacts with what they are given. Mythbri, did the Nice Guy make clear at any point that this was just a fantasy and of course he’d never actually do it? I don’t get that impression from what you say, but it would make a considerable difference: people can have and enjoy fantasies that they know would be completely wrong to carry through, without harming others; although judgment in when to share such fantasies is also needed.

  56. casus fortuitus says

    Caine:

    We’re about swimming in Heartless Bitches here, but no one told me about the brigade.

    John:

    (As far back as 2005-6, people noted how uppity are the women commenters of Pharyngula, and thus the meme was aborn)

    throwaway:

    And that is why I say fuck civility. It really is a silencing tactic for those not in obedience to the status quo, and I should have recognized it’s the same pseudo-civility which gives religion that fucking untouchably-impolite-in-civil-discourse status.

    This article is relevant to your (apparent) interests. It’s about the negative correlation between likability and success for women (as opposed to the positive correlation for men):

    One of the questions I get asked most often from young women who are just discovering feminism is how they can maintain relationships when the people in their lives see feminism as so confrontational. How can they talk about the issues that matter to them when they are constantly seen as the bossy bitch at the family dinner table? How will they ever have a boyfriend if they object to the sexist movie he wants to go see on Saturday night? How can they get their roommate to stop telling jokes about man-hating and Birkenstocks? What they’re really asking is how is it possible that they will be understood, liked and loved when the world is telling them that they’re actually a huge pain in the ass.

    My answer generally consists of tips on how to strategically talk with people without putting them on the defensive—ask them their stories, meet them where they’re at, find entry points in a conversation that will resonate. I still believe this advice is helpful, but I wonder if I’ve been doing these young women a disservice by not telling them the full story. Because if I had to choose between being likable or being successful, I’d choose the latter every time.

  57. says

    My heart bursts to full. Army of Darkness is on TV, and Keythe Farley, who plays Thane Krios in Mass Effect series, liked my stupid joke on Facebook. Also we haz Girl Scout Cookies. It’s the little things.

  58. throwaway, Preferred singular pronouns: they, them, their, it says

    Thank you for the link casus fortuitus. The article was great but the comments… dammit why must the comment sections whenever someone uses the word ‘feminism’ always fill me with rage? Among the most amusingly clueless comments were the men saying “Men, too!”

  59. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I simply am NOT who or what some of you falsely think I am.

    *I* know who I am.

    And you do NOT.

    Denial, it’s whats for breakfast.

    If you don’t want to be called a racist, stop giving everyone reasons.

    And just maybe reassess the things you are saying both intentionally and casually, it’s giving everyone these reasons I mentioned.

  60. ChasCPeterson says

    I simply am NOT who or what some of you falsely think I am.

    *I* know who I am.

    And you do NOT.

    Right on, brother! Me too!
    (I’m a brain in a vat. You couldn’t tell, right?)

  61. casus fortuitus says

    throwaway:

    Thank you for the link casus fortuitus. The article was great but the comments… dammit why must the comment sections whenever someone uses the word ‘feminism’ always fill me with rage? Among the most amusingly clueless comments were the men saying “Men, too!”

    I know, right. It’s infuriating. I’m a Brit and probably our most liberal (in the US sense – increasingly, the UK sense too) national newspaper is probably the Guardian. It’s a veritable bastion of progressiveness and publishes lots of sensible things. It has stuff like a dedicated section for women’s issues with a lot of regular feminist contributors. For the most part (there are notable exceptions), those feminist contributions are extremely valuable and I couldn’t agree with them more, but the comments… oh gods the comments. Honestly, nothing brings out the oppressed, downtrodden men like people pointing out that society treats women unfairly. I swear, in every article about women’s issues, there are men crying “misandry”, because apparently just talking about women is oppressing men.

    It’s actually depressing.

  62. consciousness razor says

    Caine:

    Yes, Kimmel mentions how easy it can be to discuss such things with boys*, however, the transition from boy to guy happens at a young age these days, and that’s where a great deal of toxic masculinity is hammered home, even when a guy thinks it’s all a bunch of shit.

    Seriously young. (I meant to qualify all of that with “some boys,” of course.) One of my nephews is ten. I suppose he’ really not too bad yet, but it’s already hard to get much out of him or get things to sink in, though I really don’t see him as much as I’d like anymore, so I guess I haven’t bonded as much as I did with his older brother.

    It’s a very interesting read, and while I appreciate just how difficult it can be to talk to adult men, it’s still beyond important that men do that, because men will still tend to pay more attention to another man.

    Definitely. I was just venting the old spleen. Then again, it might also hint at a decent approach if you’re talking to a father: talk to them about their sons and how things are going, just as casual conversation, but especially if you notice something seems off. You can distance the subject just a little away from them personally, which could help them notice a behavioral pattern they wouldn’t (otherwise) notice about themselves. I’m sure many are willing to see their kid’s mistakes, in a way they wouldn’t be comfortable noticing about themselves. Even so, just talking about it can get them on the right track to being the right kind of influence as well as possibly changing their own behavior.

    ———
    Mandrellian:*

    Be “true to yourself” during Pop Idol (as opposed to conforming to the narrow behavioural and artistic parameters dictated by the show and the culture it’s a symptom of) and you’ll be voted off.

    That’d be a good thing, wouldn’t it? I wouldn’t be much of a dilemma for me; I can say that much.

    *For some reason, I keep reading your ‘nym as “Mandalorian,” probably because I’m a nerd.
    ———
    StevoRacist:

    Y’all cannot judge me based merely on a handful of comments

    Define “a handful.” Is it more than five or thereabouts? Because at this point, you’re easily a couple orders of magnitude more ridiculous than that, if we just go by the number of comments and don’t even start to consider their content (which is actually the only thing that’d be relevant).

    Besides, yes, in fact I could judge you what you have said based on just one comment.

    *I* know who I am.

    And you do NOT.

    I don’t give a rat’s ass who you are. You could be the Queen of fucking England for all I care. I can read what you say. You apparently cannot, or else you cannot be honest about it.

    I can certainly misinterpret things I read. But when you admit you’ve made mistakes, because of being drunk or tired or whatever-the-fuck, that’s not a fucking misinterpretation according to you, you dishonest fucking asshole. So get your fucking story straight or realize that you’re still that same bigoted shithead who apparently has some problems coming to terms with that fact.

    I tell you as the expert and primary source when it comes to who I am that

    Down the rabbit hole we go again. If you ever take a break from navel-gazing, feel free to stop commenting at any time. I’m just a figment of your imagination anyway, so there’s no use. You clearly realize that now. The only thing that counts is you, because you’re the fucking Primary Source™ of all the information You, Whoever The Fuck You Are™, would ever need to know, aren’t you? Who gives a fuck about listening to other people or thinking about their perspectives on things, am I right?

  63. Amphiox says

    StuffyRacist still barfing all over the place, I see.

    Pretty much showing that the prior claim of “disavowing” earlier statements is just another pitiful lie.

    When one “disavows” something in good faith, one does not continue to pugnaciously defend those statements, and one does not continue to make new statements that are essentially the same. All of which the StuffyRacist continues to do.

    Racist is as Racist says. ONE comment in proper context is enough to judge.

    The only thing the StuffyRacist has consistently “disavowed” is attempting to grow as a humane individual.

    Pathetic.

  64. casus fortuitus says

    Point of order!

    consciousness razor:

    You could be the Queen of fucking England

    There’s no Queen of England, so StevoR can’t be such a person. He could be the Queen of the fucking United Kingdom, though. :)

  65. The Mellow Monkey says

    theophontes, thank you for that link. This part of it on the second page really jumped out at me:

    This Earth/Mother-centered religion stands in marked contrast to the male-centered Mystery religions of Osiris, Dionysus, and Orpheus; or to the Hebrew and Christian stories of Isaac and Jesus, all of which involve a ritual sacrifice or agonizing death of a young male son and/or god. The Mysteries of Demeter and Persephone embodied the values of the relatively peaceful farming and training mother-can societies of the Goddess-preeminent Neolithic, before the sacrifice of sons in war became common practices as patriarchal warrior clans forced their way to power.

    It’s such obvious symbolism now that I’ve read it described that way. How does a patriarchal society ensure it has a steady supply of willing fodder for the battlefields? By enshrining male sacrifice in its very religion. Facing violent death becomes something admirable and masculine.

  66. Have a Balloon says

    casus fortuitous

    The Guardian comments section is depressing, true, but on occasion I find there is hope. They continue to print articles on feminism – a lot of them – so it’s good to see that the poor reception doesn’t stop the issues being aired. There was a time when I could never read any article from the Guardian about rape, because the comments would immediately focus on false accusations and victim-blaming and what-about-the-men. But more recently I have seen a turnaround, especially with child sexual abuse reports, with more people contradicting rape culture and calling out the harmful myths that get repeated. It was also great to see the almost universal condemnation of that transphobic dreck they published last month. But yeah, once you get to wider feminist issues the response is pretty much entirely “Dear Muslima”. I’ve got to the stage where I read an article about an issue that affects women, and my first reaction is to think “oh no! the author didn’t talk about how the issue affects men too sometimes, and that not all men are like that! now nobody will pay attention to the message!”

    Having a rant because I just watched a debate about the gay marriage laws in the UK that might finally be happening, and pretty much the entire discussion got redirected to talking about how important it is that no religious people anywhere are offended. Most of the airtime was given over to a couple of bigots who went on about how there are more important things to talk about, and nobody really cares about gay marriage anyway, and you already have civil partnerships, and what about the 300% of teachers who in a recent poll said they would get executed by their place of worship if they dared to talk to their students about homosexuality being a thing.

  67. casus fortuitus says

    Have a Balloon

    Yeah, it’s fair to say that articles specifically about rape, or articles that are themselves manifestly abusive, tend to attract a decent sort of commenter. I’m hoping that’s a sign of changing attitudes to feminist arguments; (older) friends of mine have said that many of the points being made wouldn’t have been published ten years ago. So maybe there’s hope.

    I’ll also second you on the same-sex marriage* thing. The actual legislation is so careful to protect religious interests from having to deal with the issue if they don’t want to that I don’t see how anyone can reasonably object. So by process of elimination, religious objections are manifestly unreasonable. Also unreasonable to say that there are more important things to discuss: more important than equality before the law?! And I’m sure it’s almost exclusively straight people running that “argument”. As a gay person, I’m so grateful that totally disinterested parties deign to tell me that my legal rights are less important than, for example, gutting public services.

    * I have a problem with same-sex marriage being cast as “gay marriage”. “Gay” for me is a sexual orientation, and isn’t just two people of the same gender being in a sexual / romantic relationship. Would two bi women getting married be a gay marriage? I don’t think so, and I think it disappears bi people to talk of gay and straight marriage. I realise this might be quite an idiosyncratic take on it, though.

  68. says

    I sit here scratching my head, completely puzzled as to why SteveoR appears so desperate to gain the approval of people who clearly do not like him. Despite his protestations to the contrary, he continues saying racist shit, whether it is “melanin enriched” or talking about those high falutin’ “Western values”. His lack of self awareness is staggering and his desperation to endear himself to the commentariat is pathetic.

  69. Beatrice says

    Tony,
    I started using marriage equality after people mocked the term gay marriage by referring to gay driving, gay eating, gay…. you get the picture. Marriage is marriage.

  70. casus fortuitus says

    Tony:

    It also seems to me that ‘gay’ is often meant to refer to men, and ‘lesbian’ to women

    Yeah, there’s that, too. In the UK, the government department responsible for the legislation frames it as “equal marriage”, so you’re in good company on that one. :)

  71. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    StevoR – How about instead of whining about your comment from “years ago” being used against you, you address the racist shit you’ve said in the last few weeks? Because really all that “I was a different person then” shit rings pretty fucking hollow when you are still saying the same kind of bullshit.

    And yeah, the “misinterpretation” bullshit doesn’t fly either. As many other people have pointed out when the entire room “misinterprets” you (and don’t give many any of that “a few commenters” shit either, unless you can point to someone who doesn’t think you’re a fucking racist), the problem is almost certainly on your end.

  72. Nepenthe says

    @Xanthë 561 and Tigger_the_Wing 562

    I don’t know. I’m stumbling over the concept of a coherent self that one can be true to.

  73. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Our Wedding Song

    The collective known as cdza a senior living home and performs the wedding songs of four different couples while each couple dances and cutaways to their reminiscing about their relationship.

    It is very touching. If you have ten minutes, watch it.

  74. says

    Hi Tony! Yeah, I’ll definitely accept a stiff drink. I’ve been feeling pretty stressed out lately.

    CICELY!

    Xanthë!

    Cheerful news: just after I opined that I thought that universal childcare/pre-school would be a useful policy to decrease gender disparities in the workplace and government, Obama announces that he’s calling for universal pre-school! That’s good news, as is his forceful language about climate change (I’m still pessimistic but hey, I’ll take what I can get).

  75. Dhorvath, OM says

    Nepenthe,

    I’m stumbling over the concept of a coherent self that one can be true to.

    I find much of myself in that statement.

  76. cicely (Dancing on Monday's grave.) says

    StevoR: It’s true that we don’t know you. How can we? We only know what of “you” that you’ve put up here on display. It’s what we have to judge you by.
     
    Many here are not impressed by what they see.
     
    At least, not favorably.

    SallyStrange: You may or may not Have Mail; last night I sent an email in what I think is your direction.
    -

  77. says

    SallyStrange:
    Bottoms up!
    Btw, how does universal preschool aid in reducing gender disparities in the workplace?
    I left that in because as I finished typing it out, the lightbulb moment occured (self: universal preschool means more women will be able to return to the workforce sooner, as they won’t have to stay at home and care for the little ones). It took me a second.

  78. cicely (Dancing on Monday's grave.) says

    SallyStrange: Won’t be be able to check for any return-fire until this evening (not allowed to mess with email at work). Good to know that I have the right address, though!
    :)
    -

  79. andr0idthepoet says

    Hello folks. I haven’t made a good impression so far but a commenter, John Morales, suggested I join this thread in order to learn the ropes.

    I work in education in the UK and, although not, perhaps, an intellectual high-flyer, I am well-educated and a decent person at heart. I am open to criticism and willing to have my prejudices challenged!

    So, gender disparity in the workplace seems a good place to begin! I’m one of two male teachers in an English department comprising 12 teachers, and the only one with an English degree. I think this disparity is unhelpful for pupils who, arguably, need positive male role models. Any thoughts?

  80. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    I think PZ should earmark one thread just for the use of lee coye and call it lee coye’s play pen.

  81. broboxley OT says

    just a quick flyby, saw this link to the great white north
    http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Mounties+raped+abused+aboriginal+girls+rights+watchdog/7957561/story.html

    The most serious allegation involved a woman who told researchers that she was raped and threatened with death by four RCMP officers after she was abused in a remote location.

    Other allegations include: young girls being pepper sprayed and shocked with a Taser; a 12-year-old girl being attacked by a police dog; a 17-year-old girl being repeatedly punched by an officer; women strip-searched by male officers; and women injured by excessive force during their arrests.

    “In 5 of the 10 towns Human Rights Watch visited in the north, we heard allegations of rape or sexual assault by police officers,” the report states.

    “Human Rights Watch was struck by the level of fear on the part of women we met to talk about sexual abuse inflicted by police officers.”

    Rhoad said about a dozen young women cancelled interviews with researchers because they were too scared of repercussions from police officers working in their small communities.

    Samer Muscati, a Canadian co-researcher, said the level of fear among the women interviewed was on par with what he’s encountered while researching abuses by security forces throughout the Middle East, Iraq, Libya and Sudan.

  82. says

    Theophontes:

    It may be that the search for a “matriarchal society” is looking for the wrong things.

    Indeed. Jack Holland addresses matriarchies in Misogyny. Mostly what is addressed is that there’s extremely little evidence for any matriarchal society, and what evidence there might be is open to interpretation, as these societies were supposedly before any record keeping or written history. There is evidence that in pre-Classical culture, there was a form of matriarchy in Celtic culture, but it’s of the type you spoke about, where there was a more balanced relationship between women and men.

    All that said, the fear of “stomp on the men!” matriarchies started early in history, the Greek obsession with Amazons started with Herodotus in the 5th century. The Athenians were particularly obsessed with the concept of Amazons.

  83. Amphiox says

    re @607;

    What do you think is the cause, at root, of the gender disparity that you have observed?

  84. mythbri says

    @Nick Gotts #579

    I’d say drugging someone (without their consent) is a violation akin to rape, even if that’s all you do to them. It’s also, of course, highly dangerous – people vary widely in their reaction to drugs, and may be on medication that interacts with what they are given. Mythbri, did the Nice Guy make clear at any point that this was just a fantasy and of course he’d never actually do it? I don’t get that impression from what you say, but it would make a considerable difference: people can have and enjoy fantasies that they know would be completely wrong to carry through, without harming others; although judgment in when to share such fantasies is also needed.

    This Nice Guy posted this probably thinking it was typical of his normal status updates (he tries to be “funny” or “quirky” with those, sometimes succeeding, sometimes – as in this case – failing). I’m not sure I’d even call it a fantasy in the sense that he might have thought “I’d like to try this with a [willing] person at some point”, though of course there’s no way for me to be sure about that.

    In thinking more about it (it happened the day before yesterday), the subtext, conscious or not, of what he was saying is even more disturbing than I’d originally thought, too. The subtext is power, domination, and “mercy”. “Mercy” in the sense that power and domination are assumed. That is the “natural state” of things. The “mercy” part comes in because things that are culturally understood as precursors to a sexual assault or rape (drugging someone’s drink and asserting control over them while they’re unconscious) turn out to be precursors to something “positive” (in this case, Disneyland).

    He used the word “kind”. Like it’s somehow inevitable that a woman would be drugged and kidnapped, her agency taken away, and the end result of it was something “good” instead of bad. It also kind of takees the idea of “rape as a compliment” and turns it into “drugging and kidnapping is a gift,” which is epicly disturbing.

    I don’t understand what he was going for, here. I imagine that if I had challenged him further on what he said, he would have characterized it as a joke and gotten even more defensive, wondering why I (and others) were making such a big deal out of a “harmless” FB status update.

  85. says

    andr0idthepoet
    Taking the chance that you are an honest interlocutor, yes the gender disparity in teaching is part of the general problem regarding women in the workplace, but the reasons have nothing to do with ‘positive male role models’ per se. Rather, the problems, in brief, are as follows (Ordered for convenience, not importance):
    1)Teaching is one of the few professional roles which is currently considered acceptable for women to engage in, leading women who might have preferred a different career to be driven into teaching instead by various social forces.
    2)The association of teaching being an appropriate job for women, due to the force of misogyny in society, conversely strongly discourages male teachers.
    3) This is given added force by the deliberate tendency to pay teachers sub-family wages, which combines with the social expectation of ‘man as breadwinner’ to drive men away from teaching and further entrench the economic disenfranchisement of women.
    4) All of these factors negatively affects teaching quality, because women end up teachers who’d be better suited to be lawyers, engineers, or what have you, while men who ought to be teaching and would be quite good at it don’t.

    FWIW, I’m a school custodian in the U.S., and I’m one of 5 male staff, only one of whom is a teacher.

  86. says

    Can’t say what it’s like in the UK, but here in the U.S., reading books, being intellectual and teaching are still seen as feminine pursuits, not “properly” masculine. There’s another problem with men who teach too, outlined in Guyland:

    Some male teachers put down their female colleagues, or support or ignore the teasing and bullying in their own classrooms as a way to enhance their own credibility with their male students.

    I think more male teachers (not coaches) would be a plus, particularly in the lower grades, not university level, if we’re talking role models. However, I think men who teach need to be very mindful of what type of role model they are supplying – if they display conscious or unconscious sexism, say, then that’s not the best model, eh?

  87. says

    Broboxley:

    not exactly a matriarchy, but a little more equal

    That’s the point, though. These dominant matriarchies, where women had all the power and men were subjugated, simply didn’t (and don’t) exist, except in the imaginations of men. It’s an abiding fear men have though, because they are absolutely sure if women got in the power seat, they’d do the same exact things men have done.

  88. andr0idthepoet says

    @613 That’s a good question. When I trained to be a teacher, some 16 years ago, my peers were predominantly female. I don’t know if this has always been the case. The teaching profession certainly seems to have become attractive to female candidates – although with the current government’s plans to convert state schools to ‘academies’ (some of which are inflexible regarding child-care arrangements) – I wonder if this will continue to be the case.

    In most of the schools in which I’ve taught, however, most senior leadership teams have been predominantly male. There is a similar imbalance in the primary sector.

    Some, perhaps, may argue that this is not an imbalance but the way things should be. I’m not convinced!

  89. says

    andr0idthepoet, a protip: use people’s nyms when replying, threads get very long here, and scrolling all over the place to see who and what you’re responding to is a pain in the neck. Also, quoting what you are responding to is best.

    If you don’t know how to quote, use:

    <blockquote>Place Text Here</blockquote>

  90. andr0idthepoet says

    @615 I really appreciate that comment because it’s often difficult to see the bigger picture when dealing with (or trying to deal with, in my case) the day to day demands of my professional life. You’ve given me much food for thought, thanks.

  91. andr0idthepoet says

    Caine, brigade de garces

    a protip: use people’s nyms when replying, threads get very long here, and scrolling all over the place to see who and what you’re responding to is a pain in the neck.

    Thanks! I’m sure I’ll get the hang of this!

  92. says

    CR:

    Then again, it might also hint at a decent approach if you’re talking to a father: talk to them about their sons and how things are going, just as casual conversation, but especially if you notice something seems off. You can distance the subject just a little away from them personally, which could help them notice a behavioral pattern they wouldn’t (otherwise) notice about themselves. I’m sure many are willing to see their kid’s mistakes, in a way they wouldn’t be comfortable noticing about themselves. Even so, just talking about it can get them on the right track to being the right kind of influence as well as possibly changing their own behavior.

    That’s a good tactic, thank you. Some things are seriously disturbing me as I continue reading Guyland. One in particular is that rape (via objects) or other assault involving sexual humiliation has become a standard element of initiation rites and hazing. These rapes and assaults aren’t likely to be spoken about or reported (minus a few exceptions), which means the amount of young men who have been raped and assaulted is much higher than we think it is.

  93. cm's changeable moniker says

    @consciousness razor, you’re right: my N=6 and they’re not American–bad reading on my part. Sorry. But I’d still claim they’re not unrepresentative of Brits …

    Kimmel:

    Guyland is not exclusively American terrain. Both Britain and Australia have begun to examine “Laddism” — the anomic, free-floating, unattached and often boorish behavior of young males. “Lads” are guys with British accents — consuming the same media, engaging in the same sorts of behaviors, and lubricating their activities with the same alcohol.

    It is true; they are being examined:

    [People say children] are growing up delinquent. As David Cameron put it after last year’s riots, “Irresponsibility. Selfishness. Behaving as if your choices have no consequences. Children without fathers. Schools without discipline. Reward without effort.” All quite convincing. Thankfully, however, mostly quite wrong.

    The first part is that society is not broken, at all. If anything, it’s healthier than ever. In this week’s issue, we’ve published a story about the current generation of young people—those aged between around 15 to 25. This generation of young people is the best behaved in decades. They drink less, smoke less, take fewer drugs, and have fewer teenage pregnancies. They get better exam results and are more likely to go to university. Frankly, they’re incredibly well-behaved. All this has happened despite a huge and ongoing increase in levels of single-parenthood and a similarly large decline in marriage, not to mention the lack of discipline in schools that Mr Cameron mentioned.

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/blighty/2012/10/british-society

    And from the linked story:

    In 1998 fully 71% of 16- to 24-year-olds admitted drinking in the previous week. In 2010 just 48% did. The decline in drug-taking is even sharper (see chart). Teenage pregnancies are down by a quarter since 1998, to the lowest level since 1969. School-truancy rates have fallen since 2007, along with levels of youthful criminality. Young people have even become more polite: according to the Offending, Crime and Justice Survey, people born between 1992 and 1996 are less frequently rude and noisy in public places than were previous cohorts at the same age.

    http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21565238-why-young-britons-have-turned-responsible-continent-generation

    I’m not usually Panglossian, but with three Gen-Zs to raise, this gives me hope. ;-)

  94. cm's changeable moniker says

    I did find one bit of Kimmel that cheered me up, though:

    Let me give you another example of how power is so often invisible to those who have it. Most of [you have] probably noticed that there is one big difference between e-mail addresses in the United States and e-mail addresses of people in other countries: their addresses have “country codes” at the end […] for example […] “uk” for England (United Kingdom) [..]. But when you write to people in the United States, the e-mail ends with “edu” [or “org”, “gov”, or “com” or “net”]. Why is it that the United States doesn’t have a country code?

    It is because when you are the dominant power in the world, everyone else needs to be named. When you are “in power,” you needn’t draw attention to yourself as a specific entity […] all other countries are other and thus need to be named, marked, noted. Once again, privilege is invisible.

    .us is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the United States. {com,net,org} were never, as far as I can tell, restricted to Americans. (And even I own a .net domain. Feel the power of my genericity! I name, mark, and note you all!!1!)

    Honestly, is there some sort of narrative-sociology privilege that obviates the need to fact-check?

    I keed, I keed. ;-)

  95. b. - Order of Lagomorpha says

    Janine spake thusly:

    I think PZ should earmark one thread just for the use of lee coye and call it lee coye’s play pen.

    May I second that motion with the request that it’s called the Coye Pond? (Sorry, I was torn between a bad pun and requesting it be called The Chum Bucket. The pun won out as they are wont to do.)

  96. keresthanatos says

    Just watched the post about the Municipal Organ……128 ft stops……..I wonder what type of engineering had to be done to the building to allow it to stand that amount of sound pressure. Thanks for the link CM.

  97. Have a Balloon says

    casus fortuitous, Tony, Beatrice

    Re. Gay marriage – you’re right, I didn’t think of it like that. Same sex marriage is a much better term. I find that during the debate on SSM that anyone who wasn’t a gay male tended to be erased. The number of people who would argue that same sex marriage wasn’t ‘real marriage’ because neither partner could ever give birth to their own child was…sad. It completely erased lesbians. Also infertile people, but they always seemed to try and weasel out of that one.

    I find bisexual people don’t so much get erased as misrepresented. Another really common ‘argument’ was “what about a bisexual woman who wants to marry a man and a woman?” o.0

  98. consciousness razor says

    One in particular is that rape (via objects) or other assault involving sexual humiliation has become a standard element of initiation rites and hazing.

    I wouldn’t think of that as a new phenomenon, but I’m not sure if “has become” is supposed to imply that. For me, it was two guys from my school; and it was basically like hazing, just not for an organized group of some kind. I guess that’s called “bullying.” I also went through ‘real’ hazing in college, but it wasn’t even approaching anything like that, though I heard plenty of stories from much older alumni….

    These rapes and assaults aren’t likely to be spoken about or reported

    Mine never was. I threatened them with it if they wouldn’t stop tormenting me about it, which did shut them up, and it didn’t happen again (not to me). But I regret that I didn’t tell anyone.

  99. says

    Have A Balloon:

    It completely erased lesbians. Also infertile people, but they always seemed to try and weasel out of that one.

    It’s highly offensive to childfree people as well. Over the years, I’ve encountered a whole lot of people who feel that childfree people shouldn’t be allowed to marry either.

    I find bisexual people don’t so much get erased as misrepresented. Another really common ‘argument’ was “what about a bisexual woman who wants to marry a man and a woman?”

    Bisexual people get erased all the time, by all sides. It’s not misrepresentation as much as it is convenient to use us for a ‘slippery slope’ argument. Some bisexual people are poly, others aren’t, but that goes for all people.

  100. says

    CR:

    Mine never was. I threatened them with it if they wouldn’t stop tormenting me about it, which did shut them up, and it didn’t happen again (not to me). But I regret that I didn’t tell anyone.

    I’m glad you were able to stop it, but very sorry it ever happened in the first place.

  101. Have a Balloon says

    Caine

    Yes, I expressed myself badly. Bisexual people get erased all the time, I agree. It’s just in my experience that I see bisexuality mentioned more frequently than lesbianism in the context of SSM, used as a slippery slope. But maybe that’s just the availability heuristic.

    I’ve encountered a whole lot of people who feel that childfree people shouldn’t be allowed to marry either.

    Seriously? I thought the whole ‘marriage is only for children’ thing was used to oppose same-sex marriage, but people find stupid reasons why it’s still ok for childfree people to get and stay married. Denying it to anyone without children is incredibly awful, but I suppose at least it’s consistent.

  102. says

    Have A Balloon:

    Seriously?

    Yep. There are a lot of people who seem to think that “if you aren’t going to have children, what could you possibly need to marry for? Why would you want to?” There are a lot of idiots out there.

  103. The Mellow Monkey says

    People say all kinds of gloriously dumb and offensive things to childfree people. Here’s a childfree bingo card for a sampler.

    For some strange reason, encountering people who don’t want children seems to turn certain people into huge assholes.

  104. b. - Order of Lagomorpha says

    @ Have A Balloon

    Yes, definitely. My husband and I married when I was 40 and we both got inundated with, “Weeeellll…why bother? You’re not likely to have kids at your age.”* I realize that anecdote doesn’t equal evidence but within my personal n=1 sample, yes, it does happen.

    *Liberally interspersed with, “Wait, you’re not gay??!?” and “It’s about damned time you finally settled down.” Luckily, my family is relatively sane, so we only got hit by his side. And kindly do not get me started on doctors and nurses who, when you’re experiencing a miscarriage at 40 (and 3 more at 41), going on about, “You really should’ve had kids sooner. This is what happens.” Gosh. Gee. Thanks for the sympathy and understanding. Next life, I’ll be sure to pop kids out all over, regardless of, you know, being in love with and having a stable relationship with the person that fathers them. Yeah.

  105. says

    @ The Mellow Monkey

    I was going to make some additional points about matriarchal society, but Caine beat me to it. Evidence, in the form of all manner of artifacts, indicates a universal reverence for the Earth Mother. (Fairly typical example: Venus von Willendorf)However, in terms of the actual stories and religious ceremonies etc we know relatively little. In Crete, it appears they even had a triune Goddess (Mother,Father and Child). If you are looking for more reading matter in this vein, we have a collection on the Pharynguwiki.

  106. says

    @ Caine

    “if you aren’t going to have children, what could you possibly need to marry for?

    Notice that this is often trotted out as an argument against marriage equality by the religious right. They have such a fixed idea of how society is cobbled together, these obvious points – even in just heterosexual marriage – whizz right past them. Reality is not their strong card.

  107. mythbri says

    Wow!

    I almost got blackout bingo on Mellow Monkey’s childfree bingo card, and I’m only 28. Of course, I was raised Mormon, so…

  108. consciousness razor says

    Yep. There are a lot of people who seem to think that “if you aren’t going to have children, what could you possibly need to marry for? Why would you want to?” There are a lot of idiots out there.

    I suppose a rational case could be made* that even though I don’t want children, I should want to get married so that I wouldn’t be guilty of so much fornicating. If I’m going to hell for eternity, it seems like it’d be more interesting to hang out with all the heretics and blasphemers, so I try to avoid lesser offenses as much as possible.

    *Not intended to be a factual statement.

  109. says

    CR:

    I suppose a rational case could be made* that even though I don’t want children, I should want to get married so that I wouldn’t be guilty of so much fornicating. If I’m going to hell for eternity, it seems like it’d be more interesting to hang out with all the heretics and blasphemers, so I try to avoid lesser offenses as much as possible.

    Works for me.

  110. The Mellow Monkey says

    The “genetic immortality” one cracks me up. Yes, my genetic input will by slightly more than half in my children–people I can’t guarantee are going to reproduce themselves–and it will be reduced further with every generation so that it’s entirely possible to have thousands of descendants and not have a single gene surviving, but this is going to give me “genetic immortality.”

  111. says

    MM:

    The “genetic immortality” one cracks me up.

    That one, the whole “what about your legacy!?” thing always causes a near fatal eyeroll. I’ve told people “think for a minute. Think about every single person, throughout history. Every. Single. One. Pick any one, say, from the 4th century, and show me their legacy.”

  112. Esteleth, Ficus Putsch Knits says

    The “legacy” thing peeves me.

    Let’s assume for the sake of argument that I stay in science – maybe get a professorship somewhere. My legacy would be (1) my students and (2) any scientific progress I make.

    Alternatively, let’s say I switch fields and go into nursing. My legacy would be every patient I tended.

    Not knocking children-as-legacy, but, uh.

    Also, the “children are your legacy” carries a few whiffs of “children are obliged to do what their parents want with their lives and be the people their parents want them to be.”

  113. Esteleth, Ficus Putsch Knits says

    I mean, shit. If I think about my own early life, one of the most important figures in my early life was my fifth-grade teacher.

    He died when I was in high school. I clipped the obit out of the paper. He and his wife had no children. And yet, when I went to his funeral, I was surrounded by his children.

  114. says

    b. – Order of Lagomorpha #630

    May I second that motion with the request that it’s called the Coye Pond?

    Damn, that would be great. Then whenever he does that thing about not backing up his claims, or refusing to respond to others’ points, we can all say, “Come on, don’t be coye!”*
     
    *sadly, I actually say this when I pass the koi pond at our local Chinese joint.

  115. Have a Balloon says

    Wow. I knew that childfree people faced a lot of flack for not having children (and thanks to Pharyngula for teaching me that there is a difference between childfree and childless!), but this is the first time I’ve heard of them actually being told they shouldn’t get married. I have always thought of the main purpose of marriage as a way to designate somebody who isn’t related to you as your official next-of-kin. It’s adding someone to your family*.

    In fact, I’m often surprised by how many people in my generation are still following the marriage-kids script. Several of my friends have recently got married, and I felt a bit sorry for them because I figured they’d be being pressured into having kids, but I know they are really keen to reach the tops of their careers. They never struck me as children people. But as soon as they get married it’s like something goes click!

    Of course, maybe they always wanted kids and I just didn’t know them as well as I thought :)

    *This, by the way, is the main reason I’m so eager for civil partnerships to be extended to heterosexual couples. I couldn’t ever stomach the idea of a marriage because of all the patriarchal baggage, but I wouldn’t be comfortable just co-habiting, especially if there were things like a shared mortgage or one of us had an illness, because if things change then you have no rights and no official relationship to your partner.

  116. says

    Esteleth:

    Also, the “children are your legacy” carries a few whiffs of “children are obliged to do what their parents want with their lives and be the people their parents want them to be.”

    Yes, very much. One time, when I was getting hit with the “children as legacy” business by this woman, I asked her “what if your child turns out to be a serial killer? What will your legacy be?” She shut up, left, and has never spoken to me again.

  117. The Mellow Monkey says

    And if your kid does something that makes them go down in history or otherwise establishes them as an incredibly influential person, guess what?

    That’s not your legacy.

    So cut out the middle man (er…kid?) and do whatever notable thing you think needs doing yourself.

  118. ChasCPeterson says

    I was going to make some additional points about matriarchal society, but Caine beat me to it. Evidence, in the form of all manner of artifacts, indicates a universal reverence for the Earth Mother. (Fairly typical example: Venus von Willendorf)However, in terms of the actual stories and religious ceremonies etc we know relatively little. In Crete, it appears they even had a triune Goddess (Mother,Father and Child).

    ?
    Female-gendered objects of worship ≠ matriarchal society.

    Yes, my genetic input will by slightly more than half in my children–people I can’t guarantee are going to reproduce themselves–and it will be reduced further with every generation so that it’s entirely possible to have thousands of descendants and not have a single gene surviving,

    on the other hand, from the organismal rather than genetic viewpoint, every single one of your ancestors reproduced successfully; and I mean back beyond fish-ancestors to worm-ancestors and unicellular-flagellate ancestors etc. If you don’t reproduce, whatever, but it’s the end of a very long chain, in every case.

  119. consciousness razor says

    “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying.” —Woody Allen

    Honestly, I don’t even want that, but seriously people: what else could immortality be if it isn’t not dying? Plus, as you both said, that’s not how genetics works either…. It’s not looking good so far, even as a concept.

    The ‘family name’ thing is pretty much the same shit. Just about all of my siblings and cousins in my giant fucking family have already taken care of that, so I guess I’ll have to find something else for my entire life to be about. You know, if that sort of thing is allowed.

    It’s just fucking weird that people care who you marry or if you do anyway. Is there some reason why it’s their fucking business and not mine?

  120. says

    Chas:

    Female-gendered objects of worship ≠ matriarchal society.

    True, and it’s an important point. It’s why speculation about possible matriarchies remains speculation. In many cases, it’s not even known what the feelings were about female-gendered statues or figures.

  121. The Mellow Monkey says

    In many cases, it’s not even known what the feelings were about female-gendered statues or figures.

    Years ago, I remember reading an article claiming that they were definitely not items of worship. They were fashion dolls.

  122. says

    MM:

    Years ago, I remember reading an article claiming that they were definitely not items of worship. They were fashion dolls.

    Heh. I suppose that’s a theory. Of sorts. I suspect most of them had to do with fertility, whether of people or the land, or both.

  123. says

    @ Chas

    Caine beat me to it again. Unfortunately we do not have any written records of those times and there is a measure of conjecture in what people of those times believed. What we can do is look at more recent similar artifacts and consider the reverence by which these feminine forms are held. We can also more easily plot the rise of patriarchal forms of worship and the corresponding dying out of the sacred feminine and its artifacts.

    For clarity: After much searching I have not been able to come up with convincing evidence for a full blown matriarchy, now or in the past. The closest contemporary examples I can think of are the Musuo and some Dai communities in South Western China. There are also some communities in India that have matriarchal tendencies.

  124. says

    Theophontes:

    What we can do is look at more recent similar artifacts and consider the reverence by which these feminine forms are held.

    This could well be utterly mistaken as well, though. Have A Balloon brought up a good case – the Virgin Mary. In Misogyny: The World’s Oldest Prejudice, Jack Holland devotes considerable time to the subject of Mary. When the Catholic church made certain changes to cover their doctrinal asses, Mary became much more important than was ever intended. The twists and turns Mary took through different time periods are fascinating, as is how she came to be one of the primary pillars of misogyny. Thousands of years from now, if the ruins of a cathedral were dug up, and one of the ubiquitous statues of Mary found, the immediate speculation would be most interesting and most likely wrong without any outside sources as to what the statue was all about.

  125. says

    @ MM

    (I trust it is OK to use your initials?)

    They were fashion dolls.

    We actually know a fair bit about such artifacts, because aspects of the underlying religions are still very much alive. There still is worship of matrilineal ancestors in parts of Africa. This Belly Mask is the perfect aid to getting pregnant.

  126. consciousness razor says

    I suspect most of them had to do with fertility, whether of people or the land, or both.

    I would say so. You want some powerful, hidden agent to do things for you or to stop doing bad things to you. Probably quite a few of them, some of whom happen to be female. (You think so, at least; but they don’t exist, either because they’re mythical beings or dead ancestors.) The fact that the agent’s female may even be very significant to you; and you may think she’s very, very powerful. But that’s not what a matriarchal or egalitarian society is. Those tend to involve what happens to actual beings with actual powers.

  127. says

    John:

    We’re all familiar with Venus figurines, no?

    Yes. Once again, those are pre-history. They are not evidence of matriarchies. They’re evidence that artists then were attracted to the female form, just like artists now. That’s not saying much.

  128. says

    Theophontes:

    There still is worship of matrilineal ancestors in parts of Africa.

    Worship is not a sign of a matriarchy, though. Again, Virgin Mary. Lot of people worship her, there have been cults built from worshipping her. That doesn’t make the Catholic church a matriarchal institution.

  129. mythbri says

    Has there been research done on types of deity across cultures, from this perspective?

    Depending on the society, you can see examples of male gods being worshipped as “characters” or “personalities”, where female gods are worshipped as attributes.

    Virgin Mary definitely fits the bill, as do most of the women who are lucky enough to be mentioned by name in the Bible.

    “Virgin” being a major clue – that’s an attribute, or state of being. It doesn’t define someone as a person.

  130. says

    Mythbri:

    “Virgin” being a major clue – that’s an attribute, or state of being. It doesn’t define someone as a person.

    Yes. It’s telling that Mary is more known as The Virgin Mother than Mary.

  131. consciousness razor says

    Worship is not a sign of a matriarchy, though. Again, Virgin Mary. Lot of people worship her, there have been cults built from worshipping her. That doesn’t make the Catholic church a matriarchal institution.

    Indeed, the whole venerating her for being a “sinless” virgin thing should be a pretty obvious sign. You can “worship” her and think that’s a good thing, that you have a positive attitude toward women for whatever bullshit superstitious reason you want. But it can still be really fucking sexist.

  132. says

    @ Caine

    Mary became much more important than was ever intended.

    It is very hard to kill off religion and superstition. The old religions simply morph into forms acceptable to the new. Much of the early converts to xtianity (we discussed this recently wrt Byzantiums headlong scramble for converts) were very shallow in their xtian beliefs, but carried with them all their old ways.

    Thousands of years from now, if the ruins of a cathedral were dug up, and one of the ubiquitous statues of Mary found, the immediate speculation would be most interesting and most likely wrong without any outside sources as to what the statue was all about.

    There would needs be some speculation, but it is not quite like this. In such an analogy one must allow that there would still be many aspects of the old religion extant, and many other forms of clues too. Though there is conjecture, the liabilities of this are counterbalanced by a great deal of meticulousness and hard work on the part of historians.

  133. says

    CR:

    Indeed, the whole venerating her for being a “sinless” virgin thing should be a pretty obvious sign. You can “worship” her and think that’s a good thing, that you have a positive attitude toward women for whatever bullshit superstitious reason you want. But it can still be really fucking sexist.

    It’s terribly sexist. There’s a reason most of the statues of Mary (as well as most depictions) have her firmly trodding on a snake. People have always known she’s actually stomping a penis, symbolically putting the kibosh on sex in general, let alone bad sex.

  134. Have a Balloon says

    There was an MRA on Avicenna’s blog the other day claiming that India was a great place for women because they had female deities.

  135. glodson says

    Yes. Once again, those are pre-history. They are not evidence of matriarchies. They’re evidence that artists then were attracted to the female form, just like artists now. That’s not saying much.

    I thought the art was more a function of an association. As we started to see the beginnings of agrarian cultures, moving away from the hunter-gather and nomadic lifestyles, it was largely the men that hunted while the women would do the early farming. Women already gave birth, and now they were producing the crops. This created the idea that the women were a source of life. Hence, these society produced earth goddesses and fertility goddesses.

    Of course, as far as I know, they weren’t matriarchal. Some might have had priestesses, but even then, I do believe that these when we really got started with the whole farming then, societies were mostly egalitarian. But as the men moved into the farming sphere, the roles for women changed. Especially in terms of leadership. Any semblance of equality was removed. We still have the Earth Goddesses and Fertility Goddesses, but soon we start to see Gods invading those spaces.

    At least, that’s always been how I understood it. The existence of the Earth Goddesses is more a clue as to would often tend the early crops as we transitioned into a truly agrarian society, but not evidence of a matriarchal society. Sorry to jump in like that.

  136. says

    For a proponent of the matriarchal nature of early human societies, I suggest checking out Robert Graves (see link above to Pharynguwiki). Though his ideas are found contentious by some, his writings are nevertheless fascinating and detailed.

    Mrs Snake is back!!! (Now where is SGBM?)

  137. glodson says

    There was an MRA on Avicenna’s blog the other day claiming that India was a great place for women because they had female deities.

    I think I remember seeing that. It is amazing how some people will take something like that and stretch it in order for their narrative to make sense.

  138. says

    Glodson:

    The existence of the Earth Goddesses is more a clue as to would often tend the early crops as we transitioned into a truly agrarian society, but not evidence of a matriarchal society.

    Yes. There’s simply no evidence there were matriarchal societies, no matter how much some people wish to believe so. For those who claim figurines are evidence of such, it’s wishful thinking. We simply don’t have the evidence to point to any society in which women held the power in society.

  139. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    In many of those societies, the story of women giving birth is that they were just the fertile grounds and the men planted their seeds. Man, active: women, passive.

  140. says

    Janine:

    In many of those societies, the story of women giving birth is that they were just the fertile grounds and the men planted their seeds. Man, active: women, passive.

    That’s a belief that lasted a long time. Classical Greeks believed that an infant was “complete” in the sperm, the woman was only needed for nutritive purposes.

  141. glodson says

    @ Caine: Part of the problem is that I do believe these figures tend to date back to the Neolithic period, at latest. Making them a part of prehistory.

    So, whatever was there before, evidence is murky at best, was definitely replaced by the time we see major societies form. Which did tend to shift the power heavily into the hands of the men in those societies.

  142. says

    Glodson:

    Making them a part of prehistory.

    Yes, I know. I’ve mentioned that several times upthread, along with others. As much as people might wish to believe matriarchal societies existed, there’s simply no evidence to that effect. Now there’s a very long history of men fearing matriarchies (see #612), but that’s a whole ‘nother thing.

  143. erikthebassist says

    holy hell in a hand basket I just lifted my head up from the epic “I am asked a question about commenting” thread. I have never been more convinced that libertarianism is the real culprit, and that a lot of people confuse free thought with freedom to believe whatever the fuck I think fits my world view.

  144. erikthebassist says

    1500 comments and not a hint that lee coye has even questioned himself once. Dunning-Kruger indeed.

  145. glodson says

    Sorry, tunnel visioned and my tendency for pedantry got me.

    Even if there existed widespread tendencies towards a matriarchal society, they would have been supplanted long ago.

    However, we can try to look at modern hunter-gather societies in order to make a reasonable guess what structures such societies might have had in the past. It isn’t prefect, but it is a start. I’ve been trying to dig up some information on these modern societies. I recall reading they were largely egalitarian… but that means nothing really as I can’t even remember this entire thread.

    So far, anything good has been behind a pay-wall, and the bad is too absurd to post. I fail at google.

  146. says

    Glodson:

    However, we can try to look at modern hunter-gather societies in order to make a reasonable guess what structures such societies might have had in the past.

    Again, no evidence of matriarchal societies. As I said earlier, early Celtic society had an *almost* egalitarian thing going, where women had many of the same rights and benefits of men, but not all.

  147. glodson says

    Caine: That’s kind of my point.

    At best, we have some evidence that in those societies, men and women were mostly equal. No matriarchy, no patriarchy. Some of the earliest religious leaders might have been women, but that doesn’t mean that women ran society.

    Maybe this is an indication it just time for bed.

  148. says

    @ glodson

    Even if there existed widespread tendencies towards a matriarchal society,

    We can also look towards our closest ape cousins. Chimps tend to MRA’s whereas bonobos are matriarchal. If you want to look into this further, check out the work of Frans de Waal, who has done many decades of research into our closest cousins. It is quite incredible how many of the behavioural trates we arrogantly assume to be unique to humans, are not.

  149. glodson says

    @ Theophontes

    I had an anthropology professor point that out to our class, a few years ago. He did pointed out that the chimps were much more violent while the bonobos are much more about tons of sex. This is really, really, really simplifying it.

    Hell, he had us read “Evolution’s Rainbows” by Joan Roughgarden. It was an interesting book, about sex and gender in the animal kingdom. I know I found out that the animal kingdom was far more diverse than I had thought. An interesting read.

    Also, it was the first time I ran into Evolutionary Psychology. It… was a bit shocking.

  150. consciousness razor says

    I thought the art was more a function of an association. As we started to see the beginnings of agrarian cultures, moving away from the hunter-gather and nomadic lifestyles, it was largely the men that hunted while the women would do the early farming. Women already gave birth, and now they were producing the crops. This created the idea that the women were a source of life. Hence, these society produced earth goddesses and fertility goddesses.

    We really don’t know what things were like.

    For one thing, “farming” could certainly include tending livestock, not just growing crops. It’s possible that hunting and farming would both take a lot of time to do much good for a fairly large population, so why would you try to do each half-assed? If you’re going to roam about, hunting or following herds wherever they go, it makes things a whole lot more difficult than they really need to be if another part of your group were supposed to stay put and farm a particular a piece of land. Are you really going to make these constant trips all the way back home with your rotten meat, then leave again just so you can hope to find that herd again?

    It’s also not very convincing that they’d make such an association. We’re assuming the men (or hunters) were also thought of as a “source of life,” to use your phrase, because they were bringing home the bacon not just out having a good time with some beers, so it doesn’t make it clear what if anything is supposed to be different or special about the women (or farmers).

    Of course, as far as I know, they weren’t matriarchal. Some might have had priestesses, but even then, I do believe that these when we really got started with the whole farming then, societies were mostly egalitarian. But as the men moved into the farming sphere, the roles for women changed. Especially in terms of leadership. Any semblance of equality was removed.

    Well, as you settle down and get a larger population, you’ll need a little more “leadership,” but that applies to everyone. You get a head honcho and lots of underlings, because there’s lots of work to do just to keep the whole operation organized. It’s not obvious what the arbitrary reason is that some of the men were eligible to be “leaders” and none of the women were, rather than the reverse, or rather than left-handed people, people with large noses, etc.

  151. says

    CR:

    We really don’t know what things were like.

    No, we don’t. There’s a lot of projection though, when it comes to those who think there were matriarchal societies. We’re talking Matriarchy, as opposed to Patriarchy. Matriarchy doesn’t mean a society where women were treated well, or one which worshiped women or goddesses, it means a society where women were in control, had the power and made the rules.

  152. casus fortuitus says

    Have a Balloon

    This, by the way, is the main reason I’m so eager for civil partnerships to be extended to heterosexual couples.

    A gentle, good-natured reminder: civil partnerships need to be extended to opposite-sex (or mixed-sex, since I’m not that keen on setting up the sexes as “opposites”, either) couples: strictly speaking, two heterosexual people of the same sex could enter into a civil partnership already. And where did those bisexual people go again? ;)

    But actually, I completely agree with you about the principle here. I’m fairly outraged that Cameron is refusing to extend civil partnerships to everyone, under the guise of keeping marriage strong. Ugh, conservatives.

  153. Have a Balloon says

    Oh, I fail :( Sorry. I was concentrating on making sure I didn’t say ‘gay marriage’…

    There’s a weird sort of alliance, though, in that the homophobes are pushing quite hard for civil partnerships to be extended to opposite-sex couples, because otherwise Teh Gays get something extra and IT’S NOT FAIR.

  154. says

    I’ve encountered a whole lot of people who feel that childfree people shouldn’t be allowed to marry either.

    But everybody will cheer grandma and grandpa on if they re-marry after they’ve been widowed for long enough…
    Hipocysy, it knows no end.

    Caine

    That’s a belief that lasted a long time. Classical Greeks believed that an infant was “complete” in the sperm, the woman was only needed for nutritive purposes.

    I’m wondering how they made sense of children who looked exactly like their mother…

    +++
    re: prehistorical evidence
    It’s again a field where our ideas about the present heavily influence our assumptions about the past.
    See Mammoth-hunting menz

  155. casus fortuitus says

    No worries at all, Have a Balloon.

    Yeah, for once I can agree with the religious bigots. Stopped clocks and right for the wrong reasons and all that.

  156. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Chimps tend to MRA’s whereas bonobos are matriarchal. – theophontes

    Which is excellent evidence for the limitations of extrapolating between human socio-sexual behaviour and that of even our closest relatives; even setting aside human cultural hypertrophy, these things clearly change quite fast among apes on an evolutionary time scale. Gorillas and gibbons have different systems again – from those of any of the three chimpanzees, and from each other.