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Mar 02 2013

What is wrong with Republicans?

I really don’t get it. You’d think they’d learn after getting burned on the facts, but no, Republicans seem to have a need to engage their mouths to say something stupid about human biology all the time. The latest example: California Republican Celeste Greig declares that rape pregnancies are rare.

Granted, the percentage of pregnancies due to rape is small because it’s an act of violence, because the body is traumatized. I don’t know what percentage of pregnancies are due to the violence of rape. Because of the trauma the body goes through, I don’t know what percentage of pregnancy results from the act.

The weirdest thing about that comment is the context. She was talking about Todd Akin’s idiotic remarks about ‘legitimate rape’, and saying that he ought to have backed down and apologized. So she’s really saying, “He shouldn’t have said that, but hey, he was right anyway”?

The article goes on to explain what Greig didn’t know: that it’s biology, sperm meets egg, and that most studies show the frequency of pregnancy from sex acts consensual or non-consensual is roughly equal (with one outlier study showing the frequency of pregnancy after rape is greater than after consensual sex…probably because of reduced opportunities for contraception).

57 comments

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  1. 1
    tigtog

    The more I read them, the more I deduce that they wouldn’t know the Just World Fallacy if it bit them on the arse, despite how it colours most of the tripe that comes out of their gobs.

  2. 2
    davidct

    This fact comes from a member of a party that is openly dedicated to creating their own reality. This alternate reality is considered to be truth if it is repeated often enough.

  3. 3
    tbp1

    I think it’s a combination of misogyny (sad that women so often mouth such things) and magical thinking. I’m sure the ratios vary from person to person, but there’s a large element of magical thinking in everything Republicans believe: It would be great if tax cuts always raised revenues and stimulated jobs, so they do. It would be great if natural resources were infinite, so they are. It would be great if Obama’s election and reelection meant that racism is no long a problem in the country, so it’s true.

    Here, while not discounting misogyny, as I said, I think it’s also simply something they WANT to be true, and so they convince themselves that it is.

    This is not exclusive to conservatives, of course. We all do it some extent, but conservatives are really doing it at unheard of levels these days.

  4. 4
    Dave Johnson

    the great theatre of ruin

    dissidentsphilosophy.alldiscussion.net/t396-the-great-theatre-of-ruin

  5. 5
    twas brillig (stevem)

    not an apologist for Akin’s buffoonery, just want to express what I think he was “really” trying to say.
    I.E. when he said “legitimate rape”, I think he meant “legitimately rape”. Implying that what most women call ‘rape’ was really ‘good times’ they were regretting and so lying about it to blame the man. That concept alone is pretty bad, nevermind the mistaken biology that women’s bodies can just ‘flush away’ any sperm that enters them without permission (that the trauma of rape will disrupt the biology of conception). The point is; that as ignorant and offensive as the comment was, he was not identifying any rape as ‘legitimate’, just completely mistaken about human biology and completely lying about when women cry “rape”.

  6. 6
    Loqi

    stevem – we all know what he meant by it. We didn’t think he meant “rape that is perfectly legal.” Why people think we just misunderstood him is beyond my comprehension.

  7. 7
    busterggi

    Might just as well ask what’s wrong with a wooden post because it can’t learn anything either and for the same reason.

  8. 8
    Beth

    Perhaps she meant that out of all pregnancies, pregnancies that were a result of rape are a very small percentage. This is probably true because consensual sex is, thankfully, far more common than rape.

  9. 9
    sqlrob

    @Beth:

    That’s a pretty generous reading of that quote. I don’t see that at all. Your conclusion really doesn’t follow from “because the body is traumatized”

  10. 10
    Gwynnyd

    It’s probably also the unthinking opposite of the dumb, “I tried and tried to get pregnant, but I couldn’t until we (gave up/went on vacation/relaxed/adopted) and once I wasn’t so worried about it, I got pregnant right away!” If relaxing makes getting pregnant easy, obviously being “really, legitimately” raped would make a someone quite tense and the lady’s body would just shut it down, right?, just like your mom always said when cousin Bambi was married for a year and wasn’t preggers yet. Stupid! Idiots! headdeskthud

  11. 11
    twas brillig (stevem)

    re loqi @6:

    You’re right, it’s just that so many put so much emphasis on his use of “legitimate”, that it seems they are saying that was the _only_ thing wrong with his statement. Just seems to me to defocus that he was saying, “women only get pregnant when they had a ‘good time’, never when raped.”

    oh, I dunno, just the grammarnazi in me focusing too much on his use of “legitimate” when he should have used “legitimately”, regardless of the rest of the sentence.

  12. 12
    Dick the Damned

    What is wrong with Republicans? Mostly, it’s too much fucking religion.

  13. 13
    Rey Fox

    When did ignorance become a point of view?

  14. 14
    SallyStrange

    Wouldn’t it be interesting if one of our national skeptical organizations put together a project of collecting and debunking myths about women’s biology. The way women’s biology and reproduction has been subject to intense cultural mythmaking would be a perfect exercise in observing motivated reasoning, confirmation bias, and many other common obstacles to rational analysis in action. It wasn’t until the past few decades when medical researchers stopped treated male bodies as the default and female bodies as the oddball outlier.

    How many would like to take a bet that the response would be, “Oh, that’s for women’s organizations.”

  15. 15
    ougaseon

    I am amazed. Not at the Republican, of course. Here we have a journalist in a major metropolitan newspaper, reporting on a politician’s idiotic statement who…actually went out and found the truth! And an editor who didn’t rip it out of the article! Whoa!

  16. 16
    Akira MacKenzie

    FYI, the link to this post from FTB’s Facebook newsfeed was blocked. Someone dubbed it “abusive.”

  17. 17
    dianne

    Query: Why are they talking about the circumstances of the conception as though that matters? A forced pregnancy is slavery, regardless of the circumstances that led to the pregnancy. In the US, at least, people are never, under any circumstance other than pregnancy, required to give use of their body to another under any circumstance, even to save the life of the other person. Why are fetuses granted more rights than living people?

  18. 18
    stanton

    When did ignorance become a point of view?

    When it was discovered that facts, science, reality, and intelligent/compassionate and or reasonable people can not be trusted to mindlessly kowtow to party dogma upon command.

  19. 19
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    You’d think they’d learn after getting burned on the facts…

    AH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
    *wipes tear*

    Come on now. These are the same assholes who deny global warming†. They push “trickle down economics” and insist that marriage equality will harm opposite-sex marriages.

    There is no changing their minds with facts. Facts don’t matter.

    †Or deny that it’s man-made, or deny that it’s a problem, etc.

  20. 20
    Lynna, OM

    Logic ala Todd Akin and Celeste Greig: If a woman is pregnant, she is in that state because she enjoyed the sexual act that brought it about. She is, therefore, responsible for her pregnancy and for bearing the child. We do not even need to discuss abortion rights for rape victims. We find this very convenient.

  21. 21
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    When did ignorance become a point of view?

    It is an American political tradition. We’ve had some “know nothing” political parties.

  22. 22
    Rey Fox

    Oh Sally. Skepticism is too pure and important to concern itself with girl stuff. We got Bigfoot stories to debunk!

  23. 23
    Sastra

    Gwynnyd #10 wrote:

    If relaxing makes getting pregnant easy, obviously being “really, legitimately” raped would make a someone quite tense and the lady’s body would just shut it down, right?

    I was going to make this point too, but you got there first. I think at least some of this “you can’t get pregnant from rape” idea is derived from misperceptions which aren’t coming from misogyny — they’re coming from folk biology. You even see it in folk-biology with a feminist slant: a woman’s body “knows” when it’s ready for a baby. We have an ‘inner wisdom’ which requires us to be mentally relaxed and spiritually receptive in order for that miracle of conception to take place. It’s the much-touted mind-body connection.

    If you really take the mind-body connection seriously then your state of health all comes down to the harmony within yourself. You can’t get cancer if you’re not stressed. And you won’t get pregnant if you’re raped.

    As someone above suggested, it’s the Just World Fallacy — but combined with the Naturalistic fallacy and a heapin’ helpin of alternative medicine woo. I think the common belief in the magic power of the mind-body connection cuts across liberal/ conservative, feminist/ misogynist lines.

  24. 24
    Lynna, OM

    Another thing that’s wrong with Republicans is that even when the law recognizes their wrong-doing, they simply make a show of repenting. And then they go on as usual.

    Not only do some Republicans insist on ignorance as a virtue, they also insist on refusing to learn when their errors are clearly delineated.

    Todd Akin made a show of apologizing for his “legitimate rape” comments, but did not change his views.

    Ralph Reed sucked so badly at ethics that he had to hide for a couple of years. Now this criminal is on top again. He was recently impaled on the wall of separation between church and state, finding himself unable to nurture his rabid anti-gay views and his government-money-for-religious-institution views simultaneously, he just wobbled on top of the wall and became a sort of icon for hypocrisy.

  25. 25
    Lynna, OM

    Any time the frayed right-wing edge of the political spectrum starts talking about rape, look to see how it will affect their campaign to restrict access to abortion.

  26. 26
    Lynna, OM

    Beware of wearing second-hand clothes or jewelry while you are being raped. It could be a double whammy. Pat Robertson warns us that we need to “rebuke any demon spirits” that may have attached themselves to the used goods. If you don’t rebuked the demons, they can wreak havoc.

    I think Todd Akin missed a good bet here. He could conclude that any woman who is legitimately raped, and also mysteriously gets pregnant, can blame the pregnancy on demon spirits in her Goodwill clothing.

    Let me propose a Christian money-grubbing layer to this scenario: special ceremonies would be mandated to rebuke the demons and save the baby — for a cash payment.

    YouTube link for Pat Robertson’s wisdom on this issue.

  27. 27
    Lynna, OM

    If you want adults to be as intellectually impaired as Todd Akin and Celeste Greig, you have to start the process of degradation when they’re young.

    School is a good place for this bit-by-bit degradation of human intellect. Trap all those students and hammer home the ignorance day after day.

    Arizona, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas and Tennessee already have laws on the books that bring religion and right-wing theories into the classroom. North Carolina is considering laws that follow the Texas lead. Link at New York Times.

    … Dr. Chancey says that Mrs. Hart, 77, is not alone in using a high school elective to pole-vault the wall between church and state. “Reading, Writing and Religion II,” released Jan. 16 by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund, a watchdog organization focused on the separation of church and state, is Dr. Chancey’s second study of public school Bible courses in Texas. He wrote the first in 2006, after becoming intrigued by a lawsuit in Odessa, Tex., brought on behalf of a Jewish student concerned about her public high school’s evangelical Bible curriculum.

    … Texas passed a law requiring school districts to pay attention in their curriculums to religious literature, including the Bible, and its “impact on the history and literature of Western Civilization.” The requirement can be met through classes on the Bible or through readings in other classes, like social studies or English.

    … the new trend is to push the Bible into the heart of the instructional day. Since 2006, public schools in four other states — Arizona, Georgia, Oklahoma and Tennessee — have passed laws similar to the one in Texas, and North Carolina is considering such a bill. South Carolina allows students to receive credit for Bible courses taken off campus, say, at a church or a Christian college.

    It is not illegal to read the Bible as part of a public school curriculum, but it should be “presented objectively as part of a secular program of education,” as the Supreme Court held in 1963. “The court’s ruling,” Dr. Chancey writes in his new report, “means that Bible courses in public schools are constitutionally permissible as long as they are taught in an academic manner that does not cross the line into religious instruction or religiously biased presentation.” … many find it impossible, Dr. Chancey said, to offer a non-Christian perspective. … ‘The miracle stories happened.’ A lot of school districts portray this straightforwardly as history, confidently.” …

  28. 28
    Kagehi

    I rather sadly suspect this means some of them at least read, if not actually comprehended, some biology studies.. The book I finished reading on the subject includes a brief discussion of what they call “sperm competition”, and the argument that some of the stuff going on with our biology doesn’t make a bloody lot of sense for monogamous species, like.. at all. Point being, one of the things pointed out is that the female body tends to be hostile to sperm, **but** it can either be more, or less, hostile, and that this is entirely an unconscious response to who she happens to be having sex with at the time.

    The problems with interpreting this as, “will prevent pregnancy in case of rape”, are:

    1. It is not voluntary.
    2. An increase/decrease in such hostility hasn’t been shown, at all, to be effected be emotional states.
    3. Since both of the above, a “good genetic match”, probably isn’t going to do anything at all to lower the odds of pregnancy, instead of actually increasing it, and, well.. just because a guy is a total psycho doesn’t make him not a good genetic match.
    and 4. It still wouldn’t decrease the odds, in case of making the environment more hostile, to 0%, or anything close to that.

    Oh, right, and there is some potentially controversial data suggesting that when it comes to arousal women are already semi-disconnected between their preferences and their actual physical arousal. Basically, when checking for increased blood flow to certain areas.. and mapping brains responses, specific to such arousal, and the “awareness” of it, men tend to only be aroused by what they like, and are aware they like, with all 3 systems firing at once. Women.. seemed to fire the arousal, and blood flow changes, even when their actual conscious response to what they where seeing was negative, regardless of if it was two men, two women, man and woman, a whole group, or even two animals. Almost as though, according to the book, they have a more intellectual reaction to what they like, which overrides everything else, but a disconnect with what their bodies may be doing in response to the same images, while men just.. don’t fire on anything they don’t find sexy “period”.

    All of which makes the idea that women can, consciously, never mind unconsciously, turn off their ability to get pregnant with some wacko that just happens to also have a high genetic compatibility completely absurd.

    But, I can easily see one of these dimwits doing the grocery store equivalent of reading, “2 for $5″, and missing the only slightly smaller print that says, “If you buy 5 or more”, by only seeing what they want, and not actually bloody reading, or understanding, the parts that derail their own wishful thinking. Which, in this case, would be, “It might work, if we assume that the guy was a really bad genetic match, and somehow the trauma actually did cause enough of a reaction to turn an (unknown)% lower chance, into a 0% chance.” But.. there is no evidence this is the case, and lots, and lots, of evidence it isn’t.

    Well, unless, of course, we are going to blame women for unintended attractions, with genetically compatible males, can call that, even in cases of rape, “Wanting it!” Ugh….

  29. 29
    robro

    Greig is just aping the party line on Akin. It isn’t that he said something wrong, it’s that he said it so that it got in the news. This was relatively explicitly stated immediately after the election…I seem to recall someone like Bill O’Reilly spewing that line. I’m sure Akin did regret saying it, as Greig will, but they firmly believe they are right that there are post hoc claims of rape to justify abortions.

    It’s subtle, but I suspect there’s a hint of racism behind the “legitimate rape” belief. They believe that Black women, particularly teenagers, are having sex irresponsibly and getting pregnant, then claiming they were raped to get the government to not only allow the abortion but pay for it. Or, they are using the rape claim as a rationalization of their baby-for-the–welfare-check. And yes, there’s still a belief among some White Southerners I know that Black women have babies to get those huge welfare checks.

  30. 30
    unclefrogy

    evidence did someone say evidence?
    maybe that was a typo you meant to say for ever dense.
    uncle frogy

  31. 31
    Dabu

    Same old screed. If stupid was convertible to energy, the world would never have a crisis again.

    I never knew that hormones released during a rape acted as an effective spermicide. I’m no biologist, but that seems extremely unlikely. Perhaps Celeste Greig can explain it.

  32. 32
    tigtog

    Oh, right, and there is some potentially controversial data suggesting that when it comes to arousal women are already semi-disconnected between their preferences and their actual physical arousal. Basically, when checking for increased blood flow to certain areas.. and mapping brains responses, specific to such arousal, and the “awareness” of it, men tend to only be aroused by what they like, and are aware they like, with all 3 systems firing at once. Women.. seemed to fire the arousal, and blood flow changes, even when their actual conscious response to what they where seeing was negative, regardless of if it was two men, two women, man and woman, a whole group, or even two animals.

    This strikes me as consistent with hypothesising vaginal lubrication as primarily a protective adaptation against damage to the vaginal tissues from sexual activity rather than a sign of “arousal” per se.

    Given that women historically/prehistorically have not necessarily had the choice of whether sexual penetration happens to them or not, an adaptation of secreting lubricant whenever sex starts to happen in one’s vicinity in case it means a sexual attack is imminent at least protects one against many injuries that can happen when the lubrication isn’t present (read about the commonplace bruising and lacerations in parts of Africa due to male preference for “dry sex” and how this practice vastly increases the likelihood of women contracting HIV/AIDS).

  33. 33
    hillaryrettig

    What’s wrong with them is Authoritarian Personality Disorder which, hopefully, one day soon will be a recognized psychological problem. Psychologist Bob Altemeyer found three defining traits of right-wing authoritarians:

    1) submission to legitimated authorities; 2) aggression towards sanctioned targeted minority groups; and 3) adherence to values and beliefs perceived as endorsed by followed leadership.

  34. 34
    truthspeaker

    ougaseon

    2 March 2013 at 10:46 am (UTC -6)

    I am amazed. Not at the Republican, of course. Here we have a journalist in a major metropolitan newspaper, reporting on a politician’s idiotic statement who…actually went out and found the truth! And an editor who didn’t rip it out of the article!

    I agree. That’s one reason public liars have been emboldened even further – much of the news media thinks it’s their job to repeat what people say without fact-checking it.

  35. 35
    Pteryxx

    Kagehi @28 and tigtog @32:

    Basically, when checking for increased blood flow to certain areas.. and mapping brains responses, specific to such arousal, and the “awareness” of it, men tend to only be aroused by what they like, and are aware they like, with all 3 systems firing at once. Women.. seemed to fire the arousal, and blood flow changes, even when their actual conscious response to what they where seeing was negative, regardless of if it was two men, two women, man and woman, a whole group, or even two animals.

    This strikes me as consistent with hypothesising vaginal lubrication as primarily a protective adaptation against damage to the vaginal tissues from sexual activity rather than a sign of “arousal” per se.

    …I wonder, though, how much of the correlation between physiological state and self-reporting of sexual interest in men specifically is due to cultural beliefs about men always being ready to have sex, sex as a need, erection = desire for sex and so forth. Body betrayal being a thing in rape victims of any physiology. (Ugh, what a horrible research topic.)

  36. 36
    Jafafa Hots

    When did ignorance become a point of view?

    It is. In the same way that stationary is a speed.

  37. 37
    bovarchist

    It’s not just Republicans to blame. I’ve heard something similar from (liberal) sex therapists; that the vagina is an acidic environment hostile to sperm, but the lubricating fluids produced when she becomes aroused are alkaline, raising the pH levels in the vagina and allowing more sperm to survive. Don’t know where this bullshit started, but Akin seems to just be repeating what he heard from Dr. Ruth.

  38. 38
    Ichthyic

    It’s not just Republicans to blame. I’ve heard something similar from (liberal) sex therapists;

    science, filtered through media transmission, becomes little more than fertilizer.

    see Kagehi’s post a few above yours to see what this kind of thing looks like at the primary source.

    I’ve heard “Dr Ruth” making some rather egregious errors herself, but that’s not the issue HERE.

    this is an intentional misinformation campaign running through republican talking point circles.

    not the same, not comparable.

  39. 39
    Ichthyic

    “see Kagehi’s post a few above yours to see what this kind of thing looks like at the primary source.”

    I meant to add there:

    …before it gets twisted by the media.

  40. 40
    Ichthyic

    but the lubricating fluids produced when she becomes aroused are alkaline

    this is likely a twisted version of the actual fact that vaginal pH levels DO decrease shortly before ovulation.

  41. 41
    uzza

    Because of the trauma the body goes through, I don’t know …

    Whose body? Is someone beating the sense out of this person?

  42. 42
    Kagehi

    Given that women historically/prehistorically have not necessarily had the choice of whether sexual penetration happens to them or not

    The author of the book would likely call that a “Flintstonization”. Basically, we don’t have the slightest clue what “prehistory” would have had in it, but when you look at so called “primitive” tribes in the modern world, i.e., true hunter-gatherers, or those very close to that, where there are no complex social rules involving paternity, most of them don’t even have a name for the term rape. Not, mind you, because they call it sex, or don’t see it as wrong, or some other similar reason, but simply because it makes no sense to them at all to force something, which is readily available. Yes, historically, as in “post-women as property”, and the need to enforce some sort of limits/chastity on them, it might make sense, if for no other reason that lack of availability + men unable to get any = some percentage deciding to take it. The problem being.. that may just be something that has only been going on for a few thousand years (like 10k or so), not something that would logically have been adapted from earlier behavior.

    This is, of course, one of the problems with the whole field of so called “evolutionary psychology”. Its almost **all** Flintstonizations, almost all “studied” form a tiny subset of people (one wonders what the results of some of it had been if they studied college students, during the 60s, at a liberal campus, instead of something more recent… lol), and its way to easy for someone to make guesses about why X is going on, which sound logical, as long as, for example, you ignore any and all cultures on the planet that don’t subscribe to monogamy, ideas of chastity, virgin purity, and the need to determine, or even understand, paternity.

    For the idea that rape was common in pre-history, assumes that they functioned like we do, in a society where all/most of those things actually mattered. If that assumption is wrong, and it very well could be, then the whole “explanation” for why such arousal happens gets turned completely on its ear, and is no longer valid.

  43. 43
    Lynna, OM

    Oh my goodness. [understatement] Alaska is a one-party state, and that party is the Republican party. If you think rape victims have it bad only in Todd Akin and Celeste Greig territory, you should review the parlous state of affairs in Alaska.

    Alaska is also a good example of the way that state legislators lump anti-woman/anti-education policies with sucking up to big oil and religion. It’s always the same. One level of ignorance and venality seems to affect all the other levels of decision making.

    … In his quest to force victims of rape and incest to have babies, Sen. John Coghill of North Pole apparently couldn’t find an Alaska doctor to help him stack the testimony on his bill. He trotted in Outside hacktivists to justify the elimination of “medically necessary” abortions for poor women, regardless of the diagnoses of their doctors. The Alaska front in the War on Women has never been more fierce, so prepare yourself, ladies, for more “barefoot-in-burkas” legislation.

    We can’t afford to fund pre-K programs, and we have to cut post-K programs but the coal industry can get a cool $326 million for a railroad spur line.

    Let’s change our Constitution so we can fund religious education but don’t ask what it’s going to cost us. I guess if we’re paying for praying, we should have faith it’ll all work out. No fiscal facts for us.

    The Lady Republicans in the House accessorized themselves to vote for the unconstitutional gun bill. Camo scarves — that’s so clever! “We went shopping!” OMG!

    Apparently Sen. Mike Dunleavy’s constituents came to him and begged for a bill allowing insurance companies to set all our rates based on our credit scores. Really? So if we’ve never had a loan or a credit card, we get to pay more? Genius. Who writes this stuff? Oh, right: insurance company lawyers.

    An advertisement starring former lawmaker Glenn Hackney, paid for by mysterious oil industry donors, has been airing. It compares Gov. Jay Hammond’s leadership in creating the Alaska Permanent Fund to Parnell’s effort to save big oil companies billions in exchange for … exactly nothing….

    As the writer of the opinion column noted: “Sean Parnell is what you’d get if Frank Murkowski and Sarah Palin had a baby governor: A pro-oil evangelical busily concealing his own lack of substance by demonizing the federal government.” Sean Parnell is the current Governor of Alaska.
    Link to full story in the Anchorage Daily News.

  44. 44
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    It has nothing to do with rationalization based on sperm selection or any science. It’s just an old clerics’ tale, recycled: “a truly virtuous woman won’t get pregnant if raped. If she got pregnant, she must have wanted it.”

  45. 45
    bargearse

    Sallystrange@14

    Change “women”to “bigfoot” and I’d take that bet. Until then, not a fucking chance.

  46. 46
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Don’t know where this bullshit started, but Akin seems to just be repeating what he heard from Dr. Ruth.

    I suppose it is much easier for you to blame a sex therapist instead of seeing Akins words as just one of many talking point about why women should have no say over what happens to them.

  47. 47
    tigtog

    Basically, we don’t have the slightest clue what “prehistory” would have had in it, but when you look at so called “primitive” tribes in the modern world, i.e., true hunter-gatherers, or those very close to that, where there are no complex social rules involving paternity, most of them don’t even have a name for the term rape. Not, mind you, because they call it sex, or don’t see it as wrong, or some other similar reason, but simply because it makes no sense to them at all to force something, which is readily available.

    How egalitarian are these “readily available” sexual interactions i.e. how many of them involve the women initiating sexual congress, or is it just that women in these societies are expected to acquiesce to male sexual offers within the troupe as a matter of couse, so that the concept of sexual consent as well as the concept of rape is outside their vocabulary? Is it possible in any of these societies for a nubile female to refuse to engage in sex with the males and still be allowed to share the troupe’s food, for instance?

    It doesn’t have to be “forced” in order to be outside the woman’s choice, if the society doesn’t give women the ability to say no without starving/shunning. Wives/concubines have been expected to acquiesce to sex without reference to their own level of sexual desire for all of recorded history, and I see no documentation anywhere demonstrating that societies where marriage/inheritance is not part of the societal organisation are thereby automatically societies which prioritise female sexual desire as the sine qua non of sexual interactions.

    Given that female sexual desire has been until very recently (and far too often still) considered utterly irrelevant as to whether she is expected to engage in sexual intercourse with males who want sex, vaginal lubrication (and the associated blood-flow increases) being primarily a protective adaptation to the fact that sexual encounters have generally been outside women’s control surely makes more evo-devo sense than yet another “women are just so inconsistent” narrative.

  48. 48
    kayden

    Why don’t Republicans back off on talking about rape? It’s not a good fit.

  49. 49
    paulburnett

    This latest flap is not new news – see http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/03/03/1191200/-The-GOP-s-Shameful-Recent-History-on-Rape

    But it goes back a lot further – see http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/20/myth-about-rape-and-pregnancy-is-not-new/

    “If, however, the woman should have conceived at the time alleged in the appeal, it abates, for without a woman’s consent she could not conceive.” – from a British legal text from the year 1290 (not a typo – over 700 years ago).

  50. 50
    Nick Gotts

    paulburnett,

    So, that’s very nearly “since time immemorial”, which was long defined in English law as before 6 July 1189, the date of Richard I’s accession.

  51. 51
    Nick Gotts

    Kagehi@42,

    Do you have a source for your claim that rape doesn’t happen in modern foraging societies because sex is “readily available”. I find it extremely implausible, and it sounds to me like the myth of “primitive communism”.

  52. 52
    andrewryan

    “I don’t know what percentage of pregnancy results from the act.”

    If you don’t know, then why comment on it? Either find out, so you can actually be informed on the issue, or shut up about it.

  53. 53
    mildlymagnificent

    The only vaguely relevant thing I recall about modern hunter gatherer groups, well one group anyway, comes from an episode of http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00kfqps, Dr Alice Roberts’ terrific series. She asked the women (gathering) what they looked for in a husband. It turns out looks and other aspects of appearance or grooming and suchlike are entirely irrelevant, what mattered to these women was how successful he was as a hunter. If he’s not a good provider, he’s history, regardless of any good looks or fancy dancing about.

    The important implication from this, for me anyway, was that this was an indication that their marriage custom was female sexual selection from a group of males who had to demonstrate their prowess to be considered. This wasn’t the focus of her series so she more or less left it there. It’d be a good series if she ever did one, though it’s not exactly (not even) anatomy which is her speciality.

  54. 54
    mildlymagnificent

    Better source. The other one gives no access and I’m not even sure it’s the right one. This is.
    http://www.infocobuild.com/books-and-films/science/origins-of-us-bbc.html

  55. 55
    Kagehi

    How egalitarian are these “readily available” sexual interactions i.e. how many of them involve the women initiating sexual congress, or is it just that women in these societies are expected to acquiesce to male sexual offers within the troupe as a matter of couse, so that the concept of sexual consent as well as the concept of rape is outside their vocabulary?

    Specific numbers.. Not clear. However, some of them I do know about, including mentioned in the book, involve, “If you decide, male of female, that you don’t want to keep spending time with someone, you can just move your hammock.”, or there is the one where the women get together and go around to all of the huts, picking one of their own to “offer up” sex for the night, not necessarily the same woman each time, as a result, as long as the guy inside can come back with food (and where the guys meet up in secret before coming back, to share the result of the hunt, so no one misses out, like the women would have no clue they where doing it), or the one they actually talked about on TV at one point, where the father builds a special hut for is daughter, when she is old enough, and before she decides who to marry, has any number of male, and possibly female, visitors, while everyone pretends what is really going on isn’t. In that last case, there is a very clear cultural standard that says “she” is the one that gets to decide who shows up at the hut, not the guys.

    And, that last one isn’t even a hunter-gatherer group, but a more modern society, with clear property rules. So.. I am sure you can go around, doing like the anthropologists did, and “find” reasons to conclude that there was no real choice, somehow. Hell, you could go around to modern “key parties” and claim that there is no consent on the part of the women, since the guys are picking the keys out, and there is an “assumption” that none of the women are “allowed” to say, “I have a headache”, if they get picked out of the hat by someone they have no interest in. Short of barging into every house whose keys where in there, you can’t be sure what is going on, and the story you get from the guys may not reflect what the women are actually doing in every case. So, no. I don’t have exact numbers on cases where somehow there is just some wildly different definitions, but part of the point of studying such tribes is to, unless you are some of the big name anthropologists, including the one that managed to break enough social taboos in his “study” for the tribe to decide that “anthro” meant, “A strange animal with perverse and unnatural tendencies”, is to avoid bringing your own biases into the picture. Unfortunately, it seems possible that this has, much like early studies on birds and “assumptions” of their monogamy and behaviors, bias has been getting in anyway.

    In any case, there does seem to be a difference between true hunter-gatherer types, and some groups that get “mislabeled” as such, despite the fact that they have stationary living arrangements, grow crops, etc., and therefor shouldn’t qualify. And, yes, the behaviors of such groups are “not” the same, with some exceptions, like the one I mentioned with the love huts for young girls, as those that *are* hunter-gatherer. Some of the “in between” cases are likely to be a bit like telling an escort that they, “don’t have a choice”, while ignoring the fact that one of the key differences between and escort and a street walker is that they actually “can” say no, even if, as a job, they do so less often that someone else might. One needs to be real careful lumping everything that “looks like” lack of choice into a big pot, like many researchers did with anything that looks vaguely like “marriage”, just to prove some point.

  56. 56
    Kagehi

    Do you have a source for your claim that rape doesn’t happen in modern foraging societies because sex is “readily available”. I find it extremely implausible, and it sounds to me like the myth of “primitive communism”.

    Didn’t say that it absolutely doesn’t, in all cases, its not like there is exhaustive data on the subjected, or that, again, there might not be some opposite biases involved, but there is a strong implication that its rarer, or even non-existent, in some tribes, and even in some non-hunter-gatherer communities. The ones that wrote the book have a website here:

    http://www.sexatdawn.com/

    Maybe they would be a better source to ask how accurate my assessment of their examples are. As to the non-hunter-gatherer tribe I mention in the post just prior to this one, that was discussed on some TV special about sex, where they where specifically addressing how teen sex is treated, and they mentioned actually describing what rape was, and having gotten the reaction, “Why would anyone do that to someone?”, from pretty much everyone they asked, which is to say, both young girls who where old enough to have those private meeting huts (for ‘talking’, aka sex, with boys), and women who where already married (this being one of the things they do that also doesn’t fit the model of hunter-gatherer, along with their owning houses, farms, etc.) I am not sure what channel it was, nor do I remember the name of the culture.

  57. 57
    chigau (違う)

    I am not sure what channel it was, nor do I remember the name of the culture.

    ffs

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