A freshened up, fashion-free Friday open thread


Evening all.

Sorry for the general lack of activity on this blog over the past week or two. I’ve been doing some office-based contract work and C has been away this week leaving me as a temporary single parent on top. As if you care, but hey.

I thought I would start a new open thread though, as the last one is getting a bit long and unwieldy. Do please carry on your conversations here (I’ll be mean and close the other one whether you like it or not).

I also wanted a quick post to point you all towards a piece I have up at the Guardian today, which is in the HetPat ballpark. It’s a reaction to Grayson Perry’s essay in the New Statesman this week which, although I had a few issues with it, I think contains many really interesting and important insights. I addressed just one or two of them in my blog.

As a general rule I try not to grumble about editing and titling but I’ll quietly cohfess my heart did sink a little when I saw the headline. I thought I had written a forensic theoretical investigation into the mechanics of hegemony and the role of performative gender in sustaining structural authority in a world which maintains the illusion of transient adaptability while, in actuality, the locus of economic and social power remains stubbornly, persistently in situ.

But it got the title: “A man in a floral shirt is trying too hard.” 

Unsurprisingly, most of the comments are about floral shirts. Which I guess is fair enough.

Anyway, I’d be interested in the thoughts of you chaps and chappesses about either of the articles or, since it is Friday, anything else that is floating by your transom.

What’s up folks?

Comments

  1. StillGjenganger says

    Sorry, but I cannot see what you are aiming at with all that stuff about hegemony. Clothing is for 1), keeping warm, 2) communication. Whatever dress you adopt, you communicate that you are like other people who dress in similar ways. If serious, powerful people tend to dress in suit and tie, adopting a suit and tie sends the message that you too want to be seen as serious and powerful. Adopting something else sends a different message. ‘I-align-with-national-non-western-culture’ (Arab dress) ‘I-do-not-aspire-to-be-a-CEO’ (trousers and shirt, maybe with pullower, or tweed), ‘I-am-too-creative/techie-to-be-judged-as-just-a-manager’ (IT or advertising people with T-shirts, including Mark Zuckerberg), ‘I-am-hip-not-managerial’ (Richard Branson) ‘I-do-not-need-to-care-how-I-look’ (academic researchers wearing old worn jeans and sweatshirts), ‘I-am-not-like-the-others-but-an-energetic-man-of-the-people’ (Matteo Renzi, opting for billowing white shirts and no tie), . Whatever choice you make you align with or against the existing group styles. The only aternative I can see is anarchy, where clothing loses its function of signalling group membership, and frankly I think that new group styles woule re-establish themselves pronto.

  2. scoobertron says

    Rather off topic, but struck me as an interesting tidbit. Much has been made of Jennifer Lawrence’s suggestion that those who distribute leaked nude photos are committing a ‘sex crime’, including a recent Guardian article. However, it is worth noting that that this is something that the Guardian (among other publications) have been guilty of relatively recently. For example:

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jun/26/revenge-porn-victim-conservative-man-penis

    Contains a link to a page showing a leaked photo of a person’s genitalia. It strikes me as very odd that in a few short months, the Guardian’s view of this kind of activity has taken someting of a u-turn, from being an acceptable activity for a respected publication, to being (metaphorically, if not literally) a sex crime.

  3. Jacob Schmidt says

    It’s anarchy now; there’s no rule or authority, only a quasi equilibrium that is always shifting. Quite frankly, I’ll settle for that particular method of communication being affordable, so that people will stop reading “he doesn’t care” into “his tuition and rent total to 11 grand out of 13k income.”

    … frankly I think that new group styles woule re-establish themselves pronto.

    Probably. Ostensibly,* one of the goals of school uniforms is to enforce, well, uniformity ,and to cut down on cliques/bullying. It doesn’t work, of course: the kids take whatever half foot of metaphorical slack they’ve been given dress wise and use it to it’s fullest.

    * Frankly, I’m convinced the proponents of such are just authoritarian.

  4. StillGjenganger says

    @Jacob 3

    Quite frankly, I’ll settle for that particular method of communication being affordable, so that people will stop reading “he doesn’t care” into “his tuition and rent total to 11 grand out of 13k income.”

    Unlikely, unfortunately. Expensive fashions are an unfakeable signal for ‘I am rich’, and old, cheap clothes can only mean either ‘I am poor’ or ‘I do not care if I look poor.’

  5. says

    I spent the ’90’s dressing from charity shops. I got many more compliments than sympathy, but then that’s style dahlings.

    Unfortunately, anything a little bit special donated to a charity shop these days, quickly ends up in a Retro Clothing Outlet for twice the price it would have cost new.

    I have a job that regularly ends up with me being covered in crud so dressing smartly isn’t an option , but I do have a very nice grey suit that gets a run out for smart social occasions. Wearing it does make me carry myself straighter and as a result feel more confident, more “powerful” even.

  6. Marduk says

    Perhaps not OT entirely Scoobertron, I wonder if the hyperlinks are also the work of the subs?
    The article itself doesn’t lend me to believe JV would do that herself!

    I realised there was a minor crisis going on when Hadley Freeman took to eyerolling at a BTL commenter who apparently was so out of the loop as to complain about the standfast not matching her pellucid prose. Doesn’t everyone know those are written by someone who hasn’t read the article? Silly amateur readers embarrassing themselves with wild expectations!

    This is not to condemn the poor subs, there just aren’t enough of them is the impression I get.

  7. H. E. Pennypacker says

    I was expecting the Grayson Perry article to be quite good but, on reading it, I found it bitterly disappointing.

  8. mildlymagnificent says

    I spent the ’90’s dressing from charity shops. I got many more compliments than sympathy, but then that’s style dahlings.
    … I do have a very nice grey suit that gets a run out for smart social occasions. Wearing it does make me carry myself straighter and as a result feel more confident, more “powerful” even.

    Hah! My husband still has 4 charity shop suits – all designer, all fitted perfectly for his broad shouldered but fairly short frame. (We’ve thrown out a couple of others.) Apparently there was a bloke of a similar build in our previous neighbourhood with much the same physique and a gigantic clothing budget – these suits were all in the $2000+ price range originally. He seemed to throw out 2 or 3 suits every 18 months or so. We bought them for fairly normal charity shop prices during the 00s. Felt a bit mean a couple of times. One suit was priced at $10 more than another on one purchasing day and we realised that the staff didn’t know that the well-known name they’d bumped the price up on was worth about half of a couple of the more exclusive others. Though we’re consistent practitioners of the ‘always make a donation as well as buying stuff’ at these places so we made up the difference anyway.

    Though mr got obsessed … with silk ties. Our suit donor wasn’t the only one with a generous clothing budget apparently. We finished up with 70+ designer silk ties – made me feel a bit silly for having paid $100+ for one as a gift a few years earlier. Unfortunately we didn’t like paying more for dry cleaning than the cost of the item, so I ended up with the job of delicately handwashing half a dozen of these things at a time in hair shampoo and c.a.r.e.f.u.l.l.y pressing them to maintain a better appearance than you get from conventional drycleaning anyway.

  9. says

    MM

    Isnt it great to find a bargain 🙂 3 years ago I was working in the most exclusive part of London and would regularly trawl the charity shops. I got most of my work shirts for pennies but I never managed a suit (I’m a little over average size these days so I don’t get the choice)
    I did find 3 perfectly fitting leather jackets on the same say. Two of them were nearly new and all 3 cost £80. I found a label tucked away inside the liner of the nicest one and found the exclusive German designer’s website. The jacket wasn’t on the site but the cheapest item he had was a £1500 handbag!

    Oh and silk ties! I was wearing a new one every day, it became a bit of a joke in work as I didn’t even need to wear a tie. Some people appeared to be wearing them once and passing them on.

    BTW, you don’t know how to get egg out of silk do you?

    And I hope you hubby is feeling better.

    Oh yeah! feminism.

    Want to see what feminism has done for men in the lately?

    I was watching a telly programme last night about crap English footballers when Ashley Young’s exploits on his webcam erm came up. Oh how we laughed that a young man had been recorded, in the words of the tabloid press “pleasuring himself”, while believing he was having an intimate moment with a woman.
    Compare that to the reaction to the Brooks Newmark story, where people are seriously suggesting that the journalist who encouraged him to expose himself, for purposes other than that single intimate moment, could well have committed a sex crime.
    So, women fighting to define exactly what consent means helping to protect men’s rights on the internet.

  10. Ally Fogg says

    Gjenganger

    Clothing is for 1), keeping warm, 2) communication. Whatever dress you adopt, you communicate that you are like other people who dress in similar ways. If serious, powerful people tend to dress in suit and tie, adopting a suit and tie sends the message that you too want to be seen as serious and powerful. Adopting something else sends a different message.

    You are right, and the significant point is not that they could adopt something else to send a different message (I agree) the point is that, with very few exceptions, they don’t.

    Even Richard Branson – whom you mention – I just did a Google image search and his one deviation is that he doesn’t wear a tie. Virtually all the photos are him wearing a dark suit with a plain white shirt open underneath, or the same plain white shirt with the jacket removed. And he is someone who is considered a maverick!

    We are so stuck in the normalcy of the dark suit that it is really hard to conceive of an alternative. But imagine for a moment a parallel world where male politicians, business tycoons etc dressed with the variety and performance of, say, pop and rock stars. How different might that world be?

    Why don’t they? Because we are governed by a monoculture in which, in order to assume and wield serious power and influence one has to be a default straight, white, affluent male, and if you have the impertinence to not be one of those things you are obliged to go through a performance of adopting all their accoutrements as a mark of conformity or respect.

    The only aternative I can see is anarchy

    You say that like it is a bad thing.

  11. mildlymagnificent says

    BTW, you don’t know how to get egg out of silk do you?

    Urk. The classic gravy/custard/egg problem.

    Protein must never be treated with hot/warm liquid or air otherwise it sets pretty well permanently. Fats may need warm/hot water as well as a soap or detergent to be released from fabric. So the general routine for these combination food items is to get rid of the proteins with a cold process before worrying about the fats and oils. Or use a dry cleaning product.

    Obviously this stain is set dry. The first thing I’d do is to gently flex the fabric to ensure that any remaining solid can flake off and be shaken or brushed (gently) out. I’ve learned to be willing to take risks with these things, you might not be so foolhardy. I’d put a drop or two of hair shampoo directly on the stain and leave it for half an hour or more before washing* in c.o.l.d water and rinsing in more fresh cold water. Allow to dry (no heating with a blow dryer or anything else silly) then see if the process needs repeating. Once it looks to be progressing well, wash the whole tie in a solution of a teaspoon or so of shampoo in 2-3 litres of warm-ish water – it can be warmer than blood temperature but not as hot as bath water – to get rid of any remaining fats. Then put a little bit of white vinegar into the final rinse, same temperature as the wash water, to ensure you’ve got rid of all the soap/ shampoo.

    Have a look at these methods with dry cleaning products. I’ve never tried this so I can’t vouch for any of them. http://cleaning.lifetips.com/tip/81103/stain-removal-from-clothes/food-stains-removal/silk-tie-stain-removal.html
    http://www.howtocleanstuff.net/how-to-remove-stains-from-dry-clean-only-fabrics/ Note the Tips and Ideas at the bottom of the page.
    http://home.howstuffworks.com/how-to-remove-egg-stains.htm

    *Washing ties. One thing I’ve discovered. No matter how prestigious the label, there’s no guarantee about how they are constructed internally, let alone how well. You need to be very, very careful – not merely gentle – about handling them when they’re soaking wet and especially if it’s completely sewn shut and the thing bulges when it’s full of water. If you’re “rough” or careless with it, you’ll be fussing endlessly later while trying to get the folds of fabric and/or the lining back into the correct position.

    Even that’s preferable to paying a dry cleaner for the privilege of returning you a perfectly clean but barely wearable tie – because it has an ineradicable set of tram lines down the middle because the work experience kid was set free to jam a tie flat into the ordinary press. If you want to iron the whole surface of the tie, you have to steam it gently while it’s hanging, not lying flat, or make up an ironing insert. (I use a cardboard roll from baking paper, pressed flat and wrapped in a man’s handkerchief, pushed up into the inside of the tie. Even then I barely touch the fabric itself.)

    Hubby feeling better. Yes and no. He’s obviously pretty well recovered, buuuuut the residual effects of the brain injury can make him really, really frustrated and a bit angry. The neurologist has finally arrived at the right dose of the right drug to eliminate the uncontrollable intermittent jerky movement of his right hand but both hands are now weaker and with a constant tremor. He can’t type at all which drives him nuts. And he frequently drops things which also drives him mad. He also drives me mad. He won’t let me offer to help him with anything – he has to volunteer to ask me first. I was boiling with fury the other night when he came home from dinner with a friend – and was pleased when he told me, pleased, that his friend had made no comment but simply took over and cut up mr’s steak for him. When I try anything like that I get my head bitten off. Grrrrrrrr.

    I understand, sort of, why it’s different at home or with me generally. But it does drive me nuts.

  12. Ally Fogg says

    scoobertron

    Contains a link to a page showing a leaked photo of a person’s genitalia. It strikes me as very odd that in a few short months, the Guardian’s view of this kind of activity has taken someting of a u-turn, from being an acceptable activity for a respected publication, to being (metaphorically, if not literally) a sex crime.

    Doesn’t make much sense. The Guardian didn’t run the photos and the article you link to is clearly condemning the practice.

  13. Ally Fogg says

    Danny Butts

    I was watching a telly programme last night about crap English footballers when Ashley Young’s exploits on his webcam erm came up. Oh how we laughed that a young man had been recorded, in the words of the tabloid press “pleasuring himself”, while believing he was having an intimate moment with a woman.
    Compare that to the reaction to the Brooks Newmark story, where people are seriously suggesting that the journalist who encouraged him to expose himself, for purposes other than that single intimate moment, could well have committed a sex crime.
    So, women fighting to define exactly what consent means helping to protect men’s rights on the internet.

    The MP very probably was the victim of a sex crime, in that it is a crime to use a false identity persuade someone to perform a sexual act (and submitting naked / sexual photos of oneself has been ruled by court precedent to be a sexual act)

    Ashley Young, from what I can recall, knew full well what he was doing with his webcam and the woman he was “conversing” with didn’t in any way coerce or entrap him into doing it. So it was more like the Anthony Weiner case than the Newmark one.

    One could argue that Young was the victim of a pretty sleazy variation on the kiss ‘n’ tell formula, but it is isn’t anything remotely similar to Newmark.

    And I can’t work out what you think feminism has to do with this?

    The only person I have seen pushing the argument that Newmark was the victim of a crime has been Rupert Myers who is a barrister and a Tory activist and about the least feminist person I could think of!

  14. says

    MM@ 11

    I knew that if I asked a woman…

    Glad to hear that there is some improvement with Mr MM. I can imagine it is frustrating to hear him praise a friend for helping while not allowing you to do the same thing. Maybe the friend wasnt known before for empathy or generally helpfulness and it was a surprise? Maybe its just that we are a funny bunch 🙂

  15. says

    Ashley Young, from what I can recall, knew full well what he was doing with his webcam and the woman he was “conversing” with didn’t in any way coerce or entrap him into doing it.

    I’ll disagree with this on the basis that although Ashley young knew what he was doing , he didn’t know that the act was being recorded. While Newmark knew he was being recorded, obviously he recorded it, he didn’t know what use that recording was being solicited for. In the legislation is it not only ” it is a crime to use a false identity persuade someone to perform a sexual act” but also to use those images for a purpose that isnt consented to? Isnt this why revenge porn can be prosecuted under existing legislation?

    And I can’t work out what you think feminism has to do with this?

    The only person I have seen pushing the argument that Newmark was the victim of a crime has been Rupert Myers who is a barrister and a Tory activist and about the least feminist person I could think of!

    that was probably the guy, it was on the Today programme a few days back. Whether you believe that he is doing it for the right reasons, protecting a Tory MP, he was using the arguments I have heard from feminists around the concept of consent. What you are consenting for the images to be used for when you consent to make them. Arguments I entirely agree with.

    Arguments that have been used by feminists, particularly lately, that are being used to protect (admittedly foolish) men.

  16. Ally Fogg says

    it is a crime to use a false identity persuade someone to perform a sexual act” but also to use those images for a purpose that isnt consented to? Isnt this why revenge porn can be prosecuted under existing legislation?

    I’m honestly not sure. I’d have thought the Ashley Young situation is more akin to recording a telephone call without to other person’s permission, which is a notoriously messy area of area of law. In brief, it is not illegal to do it, but can be a civil issue if someone uses it for any purposes. Which would mean Young could have sued the woman for a breach of privacy, but it would not have been a police /criminal issue.

    But as a general point, I’d argue that both Newmark and Young were done injustices for slightly different reasons, and both had their privacy and consent violated in different ways. Just where either sits legally is not really my expertise!

    If, as you suggest, feminism has played some role in shifting opinions so that we are more likely to notice that we should consider issues such as informed consent when we discuss how the media exploit sexuality, then that’s an instance when I’m prepared to say thank you to feminism.

  17. Ally Fogg says

    Oh, and I’d add, that your starting point was that people on a TV show had been having a giggle about Ashley Young, I think a lot of people on topical panel shows etc have been having a lot of fun at the expense of Brooks Newmark. I’m not entirely sure what you think has changed.

  18. Ally Fogg says

    then that’s an instance when I’m prepared to say thank you to feminism.

    oops, I’ve just read back and I realised that you were yourself saying much the same! Apologies.

  19. scoobertron says

    @Ally Fogg

    “Doesn’t make much sense. The Guardian didn’t run the photos and the article you link to is clearly condemning the practice.”

    That’s interesting. I thought the general opinion on these things was that it wasn’t acceptable under any circumstances to link to or distribute such images, and that this may well be covered by the upcoming legislation on revenge porn (which, I believe, will also cover linking and distribution). So by the same token, provided the article was sympathetic to her, it would be acceptable to link to pages containing images of e.g. Jennifer Lawrence’s genitals?

  20. Jacob Schmidt says

    MM

    Hubby feeling better. Yes and no. He’s obviously pretty well recovered, buuuuut the residual effects of the brain injury can make him really, really frustrated and a bit angry. The neurologist has finally arrived at the right dose of the right drug to eliminate the uncontrollable intermittent jerky movement of his right hand but both hands are now weaker and with a constant tremor. He can’t type at all which drives him nuts. And he frequently drops things which also drives him mad. He also drives me mad. He won’t let me offer to help him with anything – he has to volunteer to ask me first. I was boiling with fury the other night when he came home from dinner with a friend – and was pleased when he told me, pleased, that his friend had made no comment but simply took over and cut up mr’s steak for him. When I try anything like that I get my head bitten off. Grrrrrrrr.

    I understand, sort of, why it’s different at home or with me generally. But it does drive me nuts.

    I really wouldn’t want to be dependent on my partner; I’d hate to even bear a passing resemblance to a burden on someone I love. But I know that it would make my partner happy to help me when I need it. I feel like I would lash out, then feel bad for lashing out and taking away an opportunity for my partner to feel helpful; this, of course, might only make me lash out more. It is not a situation I would enjoy, to say the least. I hope your husband (and you) adjusts the best he (and you) can.

  21. Jacob Schmidt says

    So by the same token, provided the article was sympathetic to her, it would be acceptable to link to pages containing images of e.g. Jennifer Lawrence’s genitals?

    I think they’re two different, if related, phenomena. Lawrence’s photo’s were part of a massive leak, and were followed by a large ongoing, well, following. Linking would only enable and perpetuate that. Schindler’s photo’s, not so much. There’s a scandal, I’m sure, but it’ll die down into irrelevancy soon.

    That’s not to say linking was acceptable; I’d prefer if they hadn’t.

    On a related topic: I don’t feel much empathy for people who send unsolicited nudes then find those nudes being publicized. I can’t defend the stance morally: spreading nudes without consent is spreading nudes without consent, whether or not one feels sexually harassed by the sender. Yet I’m not fussed about it.

  22. Lucy says

    All I know is that men are immune to social conformity as communicated via peers and media proxy peers and therefore porn has no effect on them. The suit and patterned shirt simply serves to prove my point.

    I know one other thing: Claire wouldn’t black up to explore his racial identity.

  23. Sans-sanity says

    @Jacob,

    I think that it can be defended on moral grounds. An agreement of privacy exists between people exchanging solicited pictures, no such agreement exists with unsolicited pictures.

    Without that social contract, even if the sender hopes that their pictures go no further, they have no grounds to dictate the future behaviour of someone who did not agree to or invite the sending of the pictures. As the recipient has been denied the option of not receiving the pictures, they are unbound and morally free to put them to whatever use they chose.

    That the sender may experience a feeling of sexual violation as a result of the reciever’s choice of action is their own responsibility. A compassionate receiver may chose to spare them that, but it is their own choice to make.

  24. Marduk says

    Then again:
    http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2014/oct/13/work-clothes-woman-choices
    Is this what men should wish on themselves? There are a lot of benefits to clear rules and conformity, it spares effort.

    Rather strange reference to Sterling Archer who is in fact one of the great suit wearers of our time, at least when he isn’t pioneering “the tactical turtleneck” of course. Still, it is the best TV show currently being made and apparently a decision has been made on a particularly unfortunate problem: http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2014/10/13/archer_and_isis_parting_ways_fx_show_moves_sterling_archer_to_cia.html

  25. StillGjenganger says

    @Ally 10
    Seems to me that something close to the current situation is pretty much impossible to avoid – the dress code could bit more colourful or a bit less rigid, we could have one or two alternative styles, for women, say, but that is about it. Even if executives dressed like rock stars, there would still be quite precise rules about what your would-be executive should and should not wear.

    The point is that any way of dressing signals something. Your would-be executive could choose ‘I listen to heavy metal’ or ‘I live the natural life style’ as his main signal, but if his peers all wear a suit and tie, the signal ‘I am a serious and powerful person’ would be conspicuous by its absence. Very conspicuous. For Mark Zuckerberg the message would come across as ‘I am so powerful I do not have to care about your conventions’. For Joe Bloggs the message would be ‘I am different from you and I do not take my job seriously’.

    The big alternatives all seem impossible or undesirable to me:
    – A world where dress carries no signals, because everybody dresses on a whim without reference to the social effect?
    – A world where the signal ‘I am the kind of person who governs companies and countries’ is seen as pretty unimportant, on the lines of signalling your taste in music?
    – A world where every national, country, and social group has its own separate dress code, and all these codes are equally known and respected worldwide?

    My guess is that the dominance of the suit and tie might last until a new dominant group imposed something else, long after straight, white males are no longer topdogs. Much like Latin or Court Persian continued to hold sway long after the empires that used them were gone.

  26. Carnation says

    @ GJganger
    @ Ally Fogg

    There was a brilliant documentary a few years ago, can’t for the life of me remember the name of it, but it detailed how very powerful leaders (it listed Hitler, Stalin and, oddly, Richard Branson) didn’t “dress to impress” but were often surrounded by those that did (Goering, for example). The psychology is pretty clear: these guys need to dress up to show importance, I don’t need to bother.

  27. WM says

    Re: the Grayson Perry thing, here’s how the self-named ‘liberal media’ tend to work in this area.
    Generally speaking, they will devote their energies to bashing men. When called out on this (and it is pointed out to them that men are a fairly diverse lot) they refine this to say, oh of course we only mean ‘white men.’ They, to us, are the true enemy. Point out that such people are actually quite varied too, they will suddenly change this concept to ‘white male graduates’ who, by virtue of their immense privilege, should be regarded as the ‘patriarchal layer of society’ and thus implicitly the enemy. Say in response to this that there are many male graduates either unemployed or in non-graduate employment, and that many male graduates from the arts and humanities( or who work part-time) have a ‘reverse pay gap’ compared with women (and indeed with many skilled, non-graduate men). No problem, they will then change the definition and here comes the refrain ‘oh, of course we really just mean the top 0.1%, the CEOs and the politicians, we’re not trying to tarnish or demonise anybody else here. No need to worry whatsoever…’

    Except, of course, that by the time you have reached this last category, everyone is well acquainted with this commitariat’s ‘modus operandi’: essentially, to be a man – any man – is to be afforded immense patriarchal privilege, and thus to be some sort of tyrant and oppressor. (A tramp out on the street may thank you kindly for making this observation, as long as you remember to put a penny in his begging bowl.)

  28. says

    WM @27

    here’s how the self-named ‘liberal media’ tend to work in this area.

    LOL. Ive just opened the “bbc news” home page ‘cos you dont get more “liberal media” than that.

    Of the news stories all but 2 are about men. Powerful political men , celebrity man slaughtering men, chess tornamenting men and sacked top retail executive men and criminal men So, a pretty broad sweep of men.

    the women? a transsexual celebrity singer talking about how hard it is to be a transsexual celebrity, and another celebrity singer celebrating the very few women who have made a mark in popular music.

    Men= diverse and news worthy.
    Women= fluffy personal interest, and not even being given the “privileged” of being important enough to be news worthy.

  29. says

    When I first started drawing comics, I quickly became aware that I had taken on some tasks that, in the theater or film, would be done by several people, like set design and, most difficult for me, costume design. If it wasn’t easy to clothe my female characters, clothing my male characters was exceedingly difficult. As it happens, around the same time I came across a book called Jocks and Nerds about men’s clothing. At the outset, the authors state that while women dress to make themselves personally attractive, men dress principally for occupations or social roles. The businessman is only one of the roles.

    One point I’ve heard made about the business suit, and I can’t recall who said or wrote it, is that the business suit is designed to hide the individual’s physique in such a way that younger men look no more physically attractive than older men, and that this relates to the fact that older men are in a position of power in most business organizations.

    @ StillGjenganger: Although lower middle class myself, I grew up in predominantly upper middle class environments and I definitely learned that dressing in a manner that was too flashy was gauche. Later in life, when I found myself in predominantly working class environments, I would learn that dressing down could easily be perceived as an insult to one’s host.

    It is really the sellers of clothing and cosmetics that promote the notion that somehow this all represents an “authentic” self. There’s nothing like a social faux pas to make one realize the social function of clothing. If a person goes from one country to another, or even from one class or other sub-group to another in the same country, it’s almost inevitable to make mistakes.

  30. W.M. says

    I don’t follow Danny, you don’t think the liberal media run stories about female politicians too, whenever they come up?

  31. says

    WM@ 31

    First of all it would be interesting to know your definition of liberal media. I may well have a different perspective of what that is.

    For example I would include the BBC in this category and of course The Guardian.

    Both The Guardian and BBC new’s home page today contained a great number of articles that showed diversity of men. Those in the 0.1 as you say were clearly labelled as “politician” or “top executive”.

  32. says

    book called Jocks and Nerds about men’s clothing. At the outset, the authors state that while women dress to make themselves personally attractive

    I don’t think I’d have bothered reading past that point.

  33. WM says

    As for this: Is there any chance that you are a white male? possibly an arts/humanities graduate?

    Quite honestly that is none of your bluddy business! 🙂 But I think it does somewhat prove my point that making crude generalisations, based on such unsubtle, broad-brush stereotypes can often stir up prejudices about people whose circumstances you have no knowledge of, and whose life may be very different to the kind of cliches one constantly finds in the media.
    But basically, if you look at Perry’s approach, demonising and dehumanising people just because they correspond to a certain social demographic is, I believe, a God-awful way to do politics, or journalism for that matter.

  34. H. E. Pennypacker says

    @ Gjenganger

    I’m really not sure about this idea that clothing is only for communication (and keeping warm). I think the problem might be partly be an issue with the idea of communication itself which is often employed in a model that assumes a subject has a message in their head which they then communicate (via language or some other method) which is then interpreted or decoded by the person they are communicating with. Actually though, the processes of thinking and communicating can’t really be separated in the vast majority of cases and ideas can develop out of the interaction between two subjects.

    Likewise this idea of clothing as communication seems to rest on the assumption that a person has decided on an identity and then selects clothing to communicate their chosen identity. This separation of processes is reminiscent of the beginning of some computer games where you must select your characters gender, clothing, hairstyle etc. before the playing the game. But of course real humans don’t appear in the world as fully formed adults with a specific style of dress. The clothes we buy and wear are a part of how we construct our own idea of who we are rather than merely communicating an identity we have already chosen. Just as there is no message fully informed in a persons head that is then communicated through speech most people don’t have a fully formed identity that they then communicate through certain wardrobe selections. Just as ideas and thoughts come out of the process of speaking so identities can be formed from the process of selecting clothes.

  35. says

    @ 33 Danny Butts:

    I should be careful not to misrepresent what the writers actually said. I picked it up off of a remainder table over twenty years ago. I’m not at home, so I can’t pull it down to give an exact quote and I could very easily be misplacing the emphasis. In any case, the book is entirely about men’s fashion. Any mention of women is incidental. Beyond that, I should emphasize had my own particular reasons for having an interest in it. It is more than amply illustrated, which was a big plus for my purposes.

  36. H. E. Pennypacker says

    @ Ally

    On the power of the modern business suit you should check out David Graeber linking it to Foucault’s work on changing disciplinary systems among other things (he spells it out most clearly in an article called Beads and Money but the only readily available pdf I could find it is from a book of his http://sociology.sunimc.net/htmledit/uploadfile/system/20110227/20110227194421617.pdf – the relevant section is from the bottom of page 94 onwards).

    Foucault posits a radical break in the way power operated at the beginning of the 18th century. Previously elites were highly visible and material; a spectacle of power and wealth gazed upon by faceless anonymous masses. Afterwards the gaze was turned upon the general population who were measured, ranked and judged through institutions such as the school and the hospital by faceless, invisible bureaucrats.

    This largely coincided with what one historian called “the great masculine renunciation”, where men in the upper tiers of society gave up gaudy, elaborate costumes, jewellery and make-up in favour of sombre suits. Whereas before their power was based on their status, it was now based on their potential for action. Whereas spectacular finery and the paraphernalia of power demonstrate how you expect others to act towards you the anonymous uniformity of the suit hints at your ability to act upon the world.

  37. StillGjenganger says

    @H.E.P 35
    I quite agree. Clothing is part of forming your identity, not just of communicating the product. And a lot is a matter of how you feel comfortable, and maybe not completely conscious. But there are conscious elements too, both in ‘how do I want to be’ and in ‘hoe do I want to be seen’.,

  38. Lucy says

    “This largely coincided with what one historian called “the great masculine renunciation”, where men in the upper tiers of society gave up gaudy, elaborate costumes, jewellery and make-up in favour of sombre suits. “.

    And hung it on their female pets.

  39. says

    WM @ 34

    Quite honestly that is none of your bluddy business! 🙂 But I think it does somewhat prove my point that making crude generalisations, based on such unsubtle, broad-brush stereotypes can often stir up prejudices about people whose circumstances you have no knowledge of

    The reason I brought it up is that what you said in your harangue against the “liberal media” (your scare quotes) @27, co-opts what genuine minority groups have done for years when talking about their treatment at the hands of the “conservative media”, from here on referred to as “the media”.

    PoC for example would say that the media’s usual portrayal of them as criminal thugs was unfair as the vast majority of them were ordinary people getting on with life. It was only a tiny minority that the media focused on as representative of the wider group. The same with LGBT groups who complained that the media would portray them as predatory perverts. Today Muslims will say that constantly being portrayed as violent jihadists, ignores the vast majority of muslims who are just trying to get on with life like everybody else. The complaint against the media was coming from the groups that felt they were being unfairly characterized.

    So @27 when you berate the media for talking about “men” when they only mean 0.1% of men, rather than the other white, middle class privileged men, who have just scrapped through an arts degree and are being out competed by brighter women, don’t blame me for thinking you might be talking about yourself.

  40. H. E. Pennypacker says

    @ Danny Butts

    “So @27 when you berate the media for talking about “men” when they only mean 0.1% of men, rather than the other white, middle class privileged men, who have just scrapped through an arts degree and are being out competed by brighter women, don’t blame me for thinking you might be talking about yourself.”

    You mean like how, in general, women are getting out competed by brighter men in the race for jobs as CEOs, politicians etc.?

  41. WM says

    @41 Danny, the points that I’ve made stand on their own terms, regardless of who I am, or what my life experience may (or may not) have been. But your fixation on this idea does rather suggest that you are only capable of thinking through prejudice, as opposed to reason, with regards to this issue.
    If I said that I was a Taiwanese carpenter, would it really make any difference to the legitimacy of ANY of the points that I have raised?

    You know personally, I don’t think it’s a crime to be black, or white, a graduate, or someone without any formal qualifications. Sure, the ‘liberal’ media are perfectly free to stir up prejudice against anyone they choose, including such nebulous categories like ‘men’ or ‘male graduates’, but ultimately it just means they will enjoy influence amongst ever smaller numbers of people (and ones at that who aren’t all that passionate or indeed consistent about concepts such as ‘discrimination’, that’s all).

  42. says

    H.E

    You mean like how, in general, women are getting out competed by brighter men in the race for jobs as CEOs, politicians etc.?

    LOL, I see what you did there but no.

    This is about a specific belief that the “liberal media” disadvantages men by portraying them as politically and socially powerful. I know, I’m having a little difficulty with that myself but its right there @27, the argument of many disadvantaged minority groups “the media only portrays the bad bits” co-opted. In this case though its “the liberal media” (ooo, scary) which still hasn’t been defined.

    If someone is brought up white, middle class , generally privileged but doesn’t do as well as a woman, that person who has been a consumer of the “liberal media” which says things should be equal, must look at the woman out competing him and think that the only difference between me and her is that she is a woman. Therefore the “advantage” conferred on her by the “liberal media” is only that she is a woman. When in fact our subject might just be a bit dim in comparison.

    The reason men are doing better than women is the Patriarchy, the reason that working class women are not doing as well as middle class women is the Kyriarchy, but all that will change. Be afraid, or not, that bits up to you.

  43. H. E. Pennypacker says

    @ Danny Butts

    To be honest I’m not really backing the original post @27 (although I think there is an element of truth that I would frame rather differently and put in a rather different argument) I’m just not all that keen on this idea that any time a man doesn’t succeed in some area (at least if he’s a middle-class white man) then that must be due to some personal failing. When a woman is doing worse than a man it’s patriarchy but when a man does worse than a woman it’s his own fault.

    Actually, I think sometimes it’s probably the fault of patriarchy. If a man has been unemployed for a while largely due to the fact that he’s depressed it’s hard to believe that patriarchy doesn’t have a hand in this. The idea that men must be strong likely makes it harder for him to seek help than for a woman with the same problem. The same idea might well contribute to the problem of men’s mental health problems not being taken as seriously by those in power as they should be.

  44. WM says

    @44 Oh honestly, fuck off Danny Butts, you really know nothing whatsoever about me (and judging by the unthinking idiocy and prejudice displayed in your posts, I’m really quite glad that that’s the case).

    (BTW sorry, Ally, wouldn’t usually do that kind of swearing/full-on abuse, but due to the constant stream of ad hom it’s really become pretty much unavoidable in this case).

  45. WM says

    Also Ally I would just add that I do hope this might hint at some of the dangers involved in flirting with the
    sort of ‘class-war’ or ‘class-hatred’ which is voiced in the Perry piece. I mean, look at it this way. Would you really want any guy (who might on some level or in some way be described as ‘middle-class’ or at least not ‘working-class’) on reading your blog to come away with the impression that he is some sort of ‘enemy’ in terms of your political world-view? Who on earth would be interested to sign up to such a project; what reason would any such person have? The most you can say is that certain broad social categories in the population may on average enjoy more privileges and opportunities than others, but that’s the thing – it simply means on average. But this whole idea of constantly degrading people, writing off their humanity and life experience, simply because you suspect they are a member of the ‘patriarchy,’ based on such wide-ranging assumptions, to be honest, I think such an attitude might have some limitations (and I’ll put it as politely as that).

  46. Ally Fogg says

    Would you really want any guy (who might on some level or in some way be described as ‘middle-class’ or at least not ‘working-class’) on reading your blog to come away with the impression that he is some sort of ‘enemy’ in terms of your political world-view?

    On the basis that anyone drawing that conclusion is a fucking idiot, I would happily say I’m not remotely bothered as to whether or not a fucking idiot is reading my blog.

    It is not about one group of individuals being “the enemy.”

    It is about a social system that systematically empowers and/or disadvantages people in particular ways depending upon characteristics such as gender and ethnicity.

    And it absolutely is NOT about ‘averages.’ There is no such thing as an average person or even an average straight, white, middle-aged. middle-class male. Even if you were to somehow categorise and quantify all of humanity’s characteristics, traits, life experiences and fortunes and, from there calculate who is the average straight white male, he would not be especially advantaged.

    However the social structures which mean that the person running the government, the corporation, the bank, the whatever is disproportionately likely to be a middle-aged white man are the exact same social structures that mean the homeless person, the alcoholic, the suicide case is also disproportionately likely to be a middle-aged, white man.

    I am no more saying that the straight white male is “the enemy” than I am saying the straight white male is a homeless street-drinker.

    I actually don’t think about these issues in terms of enemies, but if I did, the enemy would be a faceless hegemonic social structure, not a human being.

  47. WM says

    Oh well, fair enough Ally, as you know by now I am at least capable of putting my hands up and admitting feats of idiocy, and if I’ve misread/misinterpreted some things you’ve written in the past to get the wrong impression, then I sincerely do apologise. But yes that does sound entirely reasonable. If you could educate some of your colleagues at the G. on some of these concepts, that would be very useful too!

  48. Lucy says

    “However the social structures which mean that the person running the government, the corporation, the bank, the whatever is disproportionately likely to be a middle-aged white man are the exact same social structures that mean the homeless person, the alcoholic, the suicide case is also disproportionately likely to be a middle-aged, white man.”

    More like: white man are the social structures which mean governments, corporations, banks, homes, lack of them, alcohol and possibly even suicide exist.

  49. Carnation says

    @ Lucy #51

    No, Lucy. Not at all. The very nature of heteronormative patriarchy means that everyone, to a greater or lesser extent, is affected by the pressures of heteronormative patriarchal constraints. Whilst a minority (men and women) will thrive, they will do so against a backdrop of societal expectations, demands and threats.
    This goes well beyond economic status and progress, though of course that is an extremely important theme.

    Societal demands to be married, to have children, to provide, to consume and to conform affect everyone – men and women, middle-aged and not. And virtually everyone, consciously or not, polices others. The sartorial nature of this was alluded to in Ally’s piece.

    Your comment was naive, crass, simplistic and wrong.

  50. H. E. Pennypacker says

    I thought it might be worth throwing this into the mix:

    http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2014/10/manifesto-new-man-how-great-white-male-can-stay-relevant

    Rather a mixed bag, I thought Rowan Williams’ was the best. I think it’s interesting that the two gay men made sure to distance themselves from a group for which they tick every other criteria (male, white, middle-class). Grayson Perry did much the same thing by pointing out that his background is working-class and he’s a transvestite.

  51. H. E. Pennypacker says

    @ Lucy 51

    I really shouldn’t justify that with a serious response but you do realise that alcohol and banking were probably invented in the Middle East, and that people have been building homes since before white people existed, right?

  52. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation 52

    You are way too narrow here. This is the correct version:

    The very nature of society means that everyone, to a greater or lesser extent, is affected by the pressures of social constraints. Whilst most (men and women) will thrive, they will do so against a backdrop of societal expectations, demands and threats.

    Margaret Thatcher notwithstanding there is such a thing as society – and unless you want to wander the icy wastes alone like a polar bear, it is the only game in town.

  53. Minnow says

    It’s worth remembering that conformist dress codes such as the men’s business suit, shirt and tie can be liberating for marginalised groups as well as constricting because the code is very clear and easy to adopt. If a working class black man wants to move into power circles he will face many obstacles but he can easily adopt the dress mode and will not have to learn complex or shifting rules, the sort of thing that signifies ‘cool’ or ‘hipness’ in other social groups, for example which can easily exclude those who have not grown up understanding them. It means he won’t have constantly to apologise for, explain, or discuss what he has chosen to wear, or be sniggered at from the bar and can instead be heard. Women, who still have much more leeway when it comes to dress, have the advantage of being able to dress much better but are always in the position of having to self explain unless they do a Merkel or ‘brand’ themselves like Teresa May. I think we will see something like the business suit become mandatory for women in public life and they will be free at last of the sort of belittling reportage that starts by discussing what they have on. But it will come at a price. I don’t think this is a simple story of freedom vs oppression.

  54. Carnation says

    @ GJganger

    Well, I firmly believe that the society we live in is hugely influenced by, indeed based on, heteronormative patriarchal standards and assumptions (with some transgressions, which often support the status quo anyway). Capitalism and neo-liberalism are the only societal structures with arguably greater influence, but I view them as pretty much intertwined with heteronormative patriarchy anyway.

    The binary has been set, for better or worse. It’s up to men and women individually to decide whether, or not, they can rise above and beyond it.

  55. says

    Ally @45: Ta!

    H.E@46: You seem to have argued yourself around to the point.
    It isnt that I would argue that there is no personal responsibility its just the degree. A social conservative would argue that good or bad things that an individual experiences are due to that persons ability to negotiate society and a social progressive would argue that successes or failures are due to society restricting a person’s autonomy, its basically the same argument but with the emphasis reversed.
    I am not a liberal, I don’t believe that everybody should be allowed to just let it all hang out, however I am a (i think) progressive socialist as I believe society should be as open to an individual’s needs as possible.
    What’s important is whether an individual’s wants and needs are in step with what society expects of them, and as your examples of depression and men’s health problems illustrate, our society has a very narrow and damaging expectation of how men should act.

  56. H. E. Pennypacker says

    @ Danny Butts 58

    Thanks, I didn’t realise that was the point you were making and now I’ve argued my way round to it! I should have just listened to you the first time instead of disagreeing.

    I’m still slightly confused though. Perhaps you could help me. When you suggested earlier that if a man is not doing as well as women in the job market it is because he is less intelligent than them (so he is unsuccessful at negotiating society), but seeing as you’re a social progessivist and not a conservative you obviously don’t think this. Is it that society is restricting him by offering too few good jobs for people who aren’t intelligent?

    I think I understand your point about men’s mental health problems not being taken seriously because it doesn’t fit in with what society expects them to be (thank you for explaining this to me) but isn’t it possible that when WM pointed out that there are many middle-class men who are unemployed or earning less than the average woman some of the men in this group might be there because they have mental health issues? Now you said they’re getting out-competed by brighter women so is it that all men with depression and other mental health issues simply aren’t that clever? Or is it that only less intelligent men let crippling depression get in the way of their success in the job market? I guess maybe there’s a more obvious answer I haven’t been able to think of.

  57. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation 57

    Well, I firmly believe that the society we live in is hugely influenced by, indeed based on, heteronormative patriarchal standards and assumptions […] Capitalism and neo-liberalism

    That is as may be. But the if people are “affected by the pressures of [] constraints. […] against a backdrop of societal expectations, demands and threats” that is not a problem of patriarchy, but simply the nature of societies – and the people who live in them. Any society has social roles that both constrain people and help form them, and any society will police those roles. The alternative to patriarchal and capitalist norms is not freedom from constraints, but a different set of constraining norms: matriarchal, unisex, tribal, comradely communist, communal, or what have you. The difference is not between constraining norms and freedom, but between different sets of norms that may suit you (orme) more or less well.

  58. says

    H.E. 59.

    Is it that society is restricting him by offering too few good jobs for people who aren’t intelligent?

    Well, for a start I think that defining men by their occupation is a toxic masculinity, but hey, I’m off work myself this afternoon with nothing much to do so I’ll play along.

    The answer would be for men to start valuing those jobs that are of help to society and almost exclusively done by women, then a man doesn’t need to feel “less intelligent” (see, playing along) if he becomes a nurse practitioner rather than the manager of a successful sports team. Unfortunately society isnt at that point yet so…

    When you suggested earlier that if a man is not doing as well as women in the job market it is because he is less intelligent than them (so he is unsuccessful at negotiating society)

    Society is changing and yes, men are having difficulty negotiating it. Who would you rather employ? the young men of gamergate or Anita Sarkiesian?

    3rd paragraph up to…

    “Now you said they’re getting out-competed by brighter women so is it that all men with depression and other mental health issues simply aren’t that clever? Or is it that only less intelligent men let crippling depression get in the way of their success in the job market? I guess maybe there’s a more obvious answer I haven’t been able to think of.”

    once I make sense of all the subclauses, I’l get back to you.

    (thank you for explaining this to me)

    Not a problem mate, anything else you want any help with give me a shout. I’m quite good at sarcasm.

  59. says

    StillGjenganger@60

    The alternative to patriarchal and capitalist norms is not freedom from constraints, but a different set of constraining norms

    To steal Ally’s line, you say that like its a bad thing.

  60. H. E. Pennypacker says

    @ Danny Butts

    This has confused me even more. You said that you’re a socialist progressive but now you’re saying that men fail in the job market because they’re not able to negotiate it properly (which you said is the opinion of social conservatives). I would have thought that progressive socialist would, if anything, be less likely than social progressives to agree with social conservatives.

    I’m sorry if you didn’t understand my other questions. I probably didn’t explain them very clearly. I definitely missed out a comma or two.

    “Now you said they’re getting out-competed by brighter women so is it that all men with depression and other mental health issues simply aren’t that clever?”

    The “they” in this sentence refers to men (at least ones who are middle class and white) who are doing worse than the average woman in terms of salary. You said they are doing worse than the average women because the average women is smarter than them. We also agreed that some men who are doing worse than the average women have a mental health problems. I was confused because I would imagine that having a serious mental health problem might effect how well you do in the job market. It seemed to me that some of these men ( the ones who have mental health problems and aren’t doing very well in the job market) probably wouldn’t be less intelligent than the average woman. Therefore, their low wage or lack of a job issn’t attributable to a lack of intelligence. My confusion arose because when I pointed this out you said I was agreeing with your position (that when men don’t earn as much as the average woman it’s because they’re not as smart as the average woman) but the two positions seem contradictory to me.

  61. Carnation says

    @ GJganger

    Yes, I’d agree. But if the constraints of a society are excessively negative, shouldn’t said society challenge and change?

    Feminism is the classic example of this, of course.

  62. says

    This has confused me even more. You said that you’re a socialist progressive but now you’re saying that men fail in the job market because they’re not able to negotiate it properly (which you said is the opinion of social conservatives). I would have thought that progressive socialist would, if anything, be less likely than social progressives to agree with social conservatives.

    That isn’t what I said, and I suspect you know that.

    I’m sorry if you didn’t understand my other questions. I probably didn’t explain them very clearly. I definitely missed out a comma or two.

    “Now you said they’re getting out-competed by brighter women so is it that all men with depression and other mental health issues simply aren’t that clever?”

    that isnt what I said and I suspect you know that.

    The “they” in this sentence refers to men (at least ones who are middle class and white) who are doing worse than the average woman in terms of salary. You said they are doing worse than the average women because the average women is smarter than them. We also agreed that some men who are doing worse than the average women have a mental health problems. I was confused because I would imagine that having a serious mental health problem might effect how well you do in the job market. It seemed to me that some of these men ( the ones who have mental health problems and aren’t doing very well in the job market) probably wouldn’t be less intelligent than the average woman. Therefore, their low wage or lack of a job issn’t attributable to a lack of intelligence. My confusion arose because when I pointed this out you said I was agreeing with your position (that when men don’t earn as much as the average woman it’s because they’re not as smart as the average woman) but the two positions seem contradictory to me.

    As the first 2 statements are false there is really no point in going through the tl;dr above, but then I suspect you know that.

    What I did say was that I didn’t have much to do, not that I was bored to distraction.

  63. H. E. Pennypacker says

    @ Danny

    Sorry, it’s probably a reading comprehension problem on my part. It honestly did look like that was what you were saying to me:

    WM said:

    “there are many male graduates either unemployed or in non-graduate employment, and […] many male graduates from the arts and humanities( or who work part-time) have a ‘reverse pay gap’ compared with women.”

    which you characterised as him talking about:

    “white, middle class privileged men, who have just scrapped through an arts degree and are being out competed by brighter women.”

    To be fair, I broadened it to the general population rather than specifically people who have a degree in the arts of humanities but I’m fairly certain that doing a degree in the arts or humanities isn’t a safeguard against mental health problems.

  64. H. E. Pennypacker says

    That “to me” on the end of of the second sentence was supposed to mean “this is what it looked like in my opinion” rather than “I thought it was addressed to me”.

  65. H. E. Pennypacker says

    Sorry for the triple post but I wanted to add that if misunderstood you Danny then I withdraw my initial criticism.

  66. StillGjenganger says

    @Danny 62 (and Carnation 64)

    What I object to in posts like Carnations 52, is that he implies that if it was not for heteronormaltive patriarchy and all we would be free from all these constraints. For one thing that is false – different norms: different constraints. For another thing it lets him attack the current situation without actually considering the alternatives, implying that whatever is wrong now will automatically be put right if he gets his way.

    A different set of norms (constraints and all) might be quite good. But it would depend a lot on what the new norms were.

  67. Carnation says

    @ GJganger

    With all due (and genuine) respect, I didn’t imply that and would like you to acknowledge that.

    TBC (on a train and some men are drunkenly performing their masculinity in a distractive, if somewhat amusing, way).

  68. says

    StillGjenganger

    What I object to in posts like Carnations 52, is that he implies that if it was not for heteronormaltive patriarchy and all we would be free from all these constraints. For one thing that is false – different norms: different constraints. For another thing it lets him attack the current situation without actually considering the alternatives

    As I’m included in the above I will give this a go but obviously dont want to be thought of as speaking for Carnation.

    First of all it isn’t fair to say that I am not considering the alternatives.

    I’ve spent the last few years trying to figure out a way to allow for individualism in a council communism/anarcho syndicalist structure once you accept the need for a “party organization” (scare quotes intended). The fact that I admitted for the first time above and to myself that I’m not a liberal, made me also wonder at what point Stalin came to the same conclusion

    So in fact I am considering the alternatives.

    Have you ever asked Carnation what their alternative ideas are?

    A different set of norms (constraints and all) might be quite good. But it would depend a lot on what the new norms were.

    Well exactly, but considering that the status quo is definitely harmful to both women and men, it is up to progressives to suggest it be reformed. As to what its replaced with, ask 50 different people and you’ll get 51 different opinions.

    I also don’t object to conservatives resisting change to the status quo, its what conservatives do.

  69. Jacob Schmidt says

    What I object to in posts like Carnations 52, is that he implies that if it was not for heteronormaltive patriarchy and all we would be free from all these constraints.

    We would be free from the constraints of that particular social structure. Of course, it’s clear that by “these constraints” you mean “any constraints,” but Carnation specified a set of constraints:

    The very nature of heteronormative patriarchy means that everyone, to a greater or lesser extent, is affected by the pressures of heteronormative patriarchal constraints.

    Indeed, total freedom isn’t really the point: I want strong constraints against destructive behaviour. The current system ain’t doing that to any extent with which I could be satisfied.

  70. mildlymagnificent says

    Minnow @56

    It’s worth remembering that conformist dress codes … can be liberating for marginalised groups as well as constricting because the code is very clear and easy to adopt. If a working class black man wants to move into power circles he will face many obstacles but he can easily adopt the dress mode and will not have to learn complex or shifting rules, the sort of thing that signifies ‘cool’ or ‘hipness’ in other social groups

    QFT. It’s the same reason that I use to support school uniforms. I’m not in favour of expensive, bespoke-tailored outfits with ludicrous straw hats (though the universal sun-safe hats used in Australia have supplanted fashion concerns on this score at least http://www.sunsmart.com.au/communities/early-childhood-primary-schools).

    Our kids went to one of those highly “mixed” class/SES schools. Recent refugee immigrants alongside kids from wealthy families economising (by not paying expensive private school fees until secondary school and using the local primary school) alongside kids from families on benefits. Kids complying with the school “dress code” – no official uniform – and wearing some items with the school badge attached were less affected than some similarly poor kids whose casual clothes failed to match up with the expensive outfits of the wealthy kids.

    I also noticed the difference on social occasions. Working in an accountant/lawyer dominated environment, the “suit” was obviously the default for most of us, men and women alike. Go to a picnic with several hundred of these and some other employees with different jobs/conventions, but “office” suitable on workdays, and all these people are suddenly individuals. Some in obvious surfer, motorbike, cricket enthusiast garb (which, in their own way, obscure class/SES/ethnicity in much the same way as the office garb) but most of us in non-business casual. A whole lot of differences emerged which the conventional suits simply obliterated.
    ………………….
    Jobs for men. Too many comments to quote, but none of them directly relevant to the point I constantly make. The biggest obstacle to men obtaining, or working their way up to, satisfying middle class jobs is the lack of entry points into the lower echelons of business and. all. other. organisations. I don’t know what the UK or US equivalent would be, but there is no way for a bloke who started work riding a bicycle delivering telegrams to finish up as a qualified technician or a postmaster or a senior executive in the public service. Many thousands of Australian men did this – and more than a few of them finished up running large organisations while the bulk of them got “good, steady jobs” that could sustain them and their families in some comfort if not luxurious ease.

    There are few of these jobs in some industries and none in many more organisations now. Technology has been a great boon to people with physical disabilities allowing them easier lives and more employment opportunities. It’s been a disaster for people with language or educational or intellectual or psychological limitations. Those jobs requiring a strong back or pushing a broom to maintain factory premises or to load/unload warehouse shelves, trucks, trains and ships or to keep streets, paths and parks in a civilised condition – they’ve all been eliminated, reduced in number and/or increased in complexity by machinery/computers and by the literacy requirements to understand operational and safety instructions. There are also formal requirements like licenses to operate forklifts and fancy single operator garbage trucks which weren’t needed for trolleys and other simpler arrangements.

    I pity parole officers trying to place illiterate released prisoners nowadays. The days of routinely ringing a local council to place the person on a garbage truck team are long gone. (At least where I live.)

  71. WM says

    ‘made me also wonder at what point Stalin came to the same conclusion’

    Oh well you gotta admit the interwebz can be a fun and amusing place at times cant it? It’s also intellectually quite nourishing, as some remarks on here make me wonder whether Stalin may at some point have considered that some attempts at ad hominem gender shaming, based on ideas around heteronormative patriarchal expectations/roles might (on some level) be incompatible with certain notions of ‘toxic masculinity’ and ‘progressive values.’ But who knows, all this may never have crossed his mind! 🙂

  72. says

    MM

    I don’t know what the UK or US equivalent would be, but there is no way for a bloke who started work riding a bicycle delivering telegrams to finish up as a qualified technician or a postmaster or a senior executive in the public service. Many thousands of Australian men did this – and more than a few of them finished up running large organisations while the bulk of them got “good, steady jobs” that could sustain them and their families in some comfort if not luxurious ease.

    Its called graduate entry now. It doesn’t matter what you graduated in ,as long as you graduated. I work in highways maintenance and I kid you not, I was recently on a site discussing safe working with someone who had graduated in Hair and Beauty.

    I will say that my own organisation; a local council, has an excellent record in training. Even won awards for taking 18 year olds and putting them through engineering degrees. Wont do bugger all for the older staff of course as there are no awards or publicity in it.

  73. Lucy says

    H.E.PennyPacker

    “I really shouldn’t justify that with a serious response but you do realise that alcohol and banking were probably invented in the Middle East, and that people have been building homes since before white people existed, right?”

    Every culture (‘s men) invented alcohol and some form of commerce, governments. Okay I’ll give you farming and hence homes rather than nomadic shelter.

    There’d be far fewer suicides without them: there aren’t so many congenital as environmental depressives.

    As I’ve said before, that’s not how women organise themselves.

    I was specifically talking about Britain, as I assumed Ally Fogg was.

  74. H. E. Pennypacker says

    @ Danny

    It all rather depends on what you mean by that.

    How would you suggest that a collective deals with non aligned/unsympathetic entities?

    I had written quite a lot of questions about what precisely is meant by different terms here but then it occurred to me that your question probably means something along the lines of, “How would a group that doesn’t have a top down political structure deal with other groups (eg. nation states) that aren’t too keen on the way they’re doing things.”

    The answer here would be that there are plenty of people organising their lives with some form of consensus decision making and very little interference by the power of the state that they’re in. One of the ways to do this is not to mention to anyone that you’ve escaped the bonds of the governments power because as soon as you do they’re likely to come in and assert their authority.

    Finally it seems that communities without much in the way of vertical power structures can defend themselves militarily as the Syrian Kurds are currently demonstrating: popular assemblies are the ultimate decision making bodies, the property of the regime has been handed over to worker-managed cooperatives and the fighting is being done by popular militias (including all female militias).

  75. says

    H.E. @ 81

    “How would a group that doesn’t have a top down political structure deal with other groups (eg. nation states) that aren’t too keen on the way they’re doing things.”

    Yes and no. I suppose my inclusion of “unsympathetic” was a mistake or maybe more of an over emphasis. I didn’t necessarily mean hostile groups, but I did mean entities like nation states. I also don’t think that a “party structure” needs to be top down to be problematic in these circumstances. I’m thinking of concepts like “cabinet collective responsibility” where a government can be formed by many individuals with a spectrum of views, however the executive needs to be a united body. It would be the executive that is the representative body.

    popular assemblies are the ultimate decision making bodies, the property of the regime has been handed over to worker-managed cooperatives

    I will do some reading, thank you.

  76. H. E. Pennypacker says

    @Danny 82

    Sorry I didn’t make it clear but when I mentioned a top down structure I wasn’t thinking of a centrally organised political party but a society. I meant a group of people where there is no body that can enforce rules on anyone so there wouldn’t be an executive. The only group able to make decisions would be the whole community through some kind of consensus process. In societies that are organised like this even these whole-community level decision normally can’t really be enforced on people who are really against them. Among certain Amazonian groups for example, when someone knows that almost everybody else agrees to a decision that they’re strongly against they will normally give their assent in public and afterwards completely ignore the decision.

  77. StillGjenganger says

    @Danny Butts 73:

    I’ve spent the last few years trying to figure out a way to allow for individualism in a council communism/anarcho syndicalist structure once you accept the need for a “party organization” (scare quotes intended). The fact that I admitted for the first time above and to myself that I’m not a liberal, made me also wonder at what point Stalin came to the same conclusion

    That is definitely worth respect. It is not easy, and people who look honestly at reality are 1) actually possible for those who disagree to discuss with, and 2) much less likely to cause disasters than nice and well-meaning people who live in dreamland. (Which is why Richard Nixon, slimy as he was, was a much better president than Bush junior).

    @Carnation 72:

    With all due (and genuine) respect, I didn’t imply that and would like you to acknowledge that

    It was what I read from your post, but I am glad that it is not what you think.

    But one way or the other, I think that both your attitudes are problematical

    Well exactly, but considering that the status quo is definitely harmful to both women and men, it is up to progressives to suggest it be reformed. As to what its replaced with, ask 50 different people and you’ll get 51 different opinions.

    What that phrase says is that the status quo is so bad that it definitely needs changing – to whatever else one could think of. And linking the diagnosis to ‘patriarchy’ (as both of you do) you are claiming without evidence that some, any, patriarchy-free alternative is necessary, even without knowing what it is. Which sounds very much like “This house is bad, it needs pulling down, we can see afterwards where we are going to live instead” – fine for those who have already decided that they want some particular change..

    I’ll give a couple of comparisons:

    You could say that cars kill thousands every year, and so are definitely ‘harmful for men and women’. But the causal connection is a lot clearer for traffic deaths than it is for patriarchy. And no-one uses this argument to say that we definitely must ban driving, and as for what to do instead, well, “ ask 50 different people and you’ll get 51 different opinions“. When planning traffic people look at specific alternatives and see how they compare.

    At the other extreme, consider Lucy’s post 51, which is an extreme example but a similar attitude:

    More like: white man are the social structures which mean governments, corporations, banks, homes, lack of them, alcohol and possibly even suicide exist.

    She notices – correctly – that our society has some serious problems, with the way coprporations, govenments and banks work on one hand, and with homelessness, alcoholism and suicide on the other hand. And that current society has largely been shaped by men (Well, up to a point, minister, but I will grant her that one). Her conclusion then is that we should instead have a world made and run by women, and in that one there would be no power structures, and no misery, and everyone would be so much happier. I do not need to point out the holes in that argument, but let me suggest that yours suffer from some of the same weaknesses.

    All in all, I am reminded of a George Orwell quote, to the effect that people who identify with the system, think in terms of running things, and so are driven to ask themselves ‘In such and such a situation, what would you do?“, Such people are abhorrent (to George Orwell) but this does give them a certain realistic and responsible attitude. People who identify by their opposition to the system, on the other hand,can build castles in the air without being constrained by reality. Too many of them choose to do so.

  78. StillGjenganger says

    @ H.E.P., Danny
    Now that this is getting into the abstract properties of anarchism, can I put to you the standard counterargument? Viz. that an anarchic society is ruled (yes: ruled!) by social pressure and public opinion, that it can work very well for societies of a few hundred individuals and the kind of project that such groups can undertake, but eventually breaks down when group and project size becomes too large for social control mechanisms to manage.

    The Economist recently had an example that I think is interesting, i.e. the development of prison gangs (like the Aryan Brotherhood) in the US.
    As they tell the story, prisons in the ’50’s and ’60’s had no gangs. Prisoners were ruled by their own behaviour code (with rules like ‘never cooperate with the authorities’), which was enforced by social pressure. Meanwhile individuals could achieve some measure of protection and trust by building and maintaining an individual reputation for ferocity and straight dealing. You might see this as a functioning anarchy.
    As prison populations kept swelling the system broke down. It was too easy to escape the social control, too easy to break your word and hide from the consequences, and too hard to build an individual reputation through the whole prison population. At this point prison gangs grew as formal power structures that had become necessary to make the system manageable. A gang can establish behaviour rules and punish members who transgress, it can establish a reputation for both power and reliability, and it can create a predictable social environment. Basing the gangs on race (and abundant tattoos) are seen not as a reflection of prisoner racism, but as a practical way of making sure that gang membership can be signalled unambiguously, and that people can not play the system by surfing between gangs.

    How is this for an example on the limits of anarchy?

  79. H. E. Pennypacker says

    @ Gjenanganger

    I’m not sure that the US’ prison system is a great example for evaluating the potential of anarchy. I haven’t strictly been thinking of anarchy in my posts above but of systems where one powerful group can’t enforce it’s will on others. For example, there are groups that have a recognised and designated leader but this leader has no power to actually make anyone do anything that they don’t want to do. In these places, most leaders have two defining qualities: they are brilliant orators and they have less material wealth than almost everybody else.

    To be honest, I’m not sure that size is a major problem – why would you have to have everyone in a certain place as a member of the same group. The main thing that causes problems for such horizontal power structures is wealth and/or power becoming concentrated in the hands of individuals or small groups. Most egalitarian societies have very strong mechanisms for dealing with this – among hunter-gatherers you find a distribution system that in the anthropological literature is generally called “demand-sharing”. Essentially, if you have more than someone else they can come and demand that you share with them.

    Larger groupings of agriculturalists or pastoralists who often have something closer to our conception of private property generally have different systems for dealing with the problem of wealth/power becoming concentrated in the hands of a small group. Amongst one group of pastoralists (I’m pretty sure it’s the Tiv of Nigeria) there’s a belief in a certain type of cannibalistic witchcraft that makes it’s practitioners more powerful, successful etc. Thus, whenever anybody becomes excessively powerful or rich they get denounced as witch.

    I’ll finish by pointing out that although egalitarian groups often develop into ones with a hierarchy the reverse is also true. Although archaeology (and anthropology in the past) is dominated by an evolutionist scheme that societies progress from small egalitarian bands to large hierarchical societies there is increasing evidence that many egalitarian societies are conscious social movements – reactions against inequality and hierarchy. If we accept that hierarchical and egalitarian societies can lead to the other, then which seeing one of the two as the ultimate social reality is not an objective fact but a political choice.

  80. StillGjenganger says

    @H.E.P 86
    I can imagine only two systems where ‘one powerful group cannot impose its will on others’. One is that everybody can do what they want and nobody can tell them not to. In which case, how do you decide where to put the airport (when everybody wants it in somebody else’s backyard), and how do you close down polluting factories, when owners and workers prefer to keep them open? The other is that there is only one group: ‘everybody’ or ‘public opinion’, and no rival group can form. Which just means that individuals are powerless against the mob.

    The size that gives the problem is the size of the group. Dividing a large society in multiple small groups would mean that each group can be communal – but it would also means that there is no mechanism to arbitrate between groups, so it would only work if groups never come into conflict.

    For the rest, nothing in your examples seems to contradict my thesis that communal power works through social pressure in a coherent group of limited size. Demand sharing would depend on people knowing the situation of others, being able to judge if some specific person was indeed in need, and appealing to the community in case of conflicts. It would not work in contemporary London – if anybody could knock on your front door, claim they were hungry and demand dinner, the number of freeloaders would increase relative to the number of cooks until the system collapsed. As for public opinion having the power to condemn anybody they chose as a witch, that does not sound like a good system to live under. Again, in a coherent group of limited size where people knew each other’s business and there was a strong ethos saying when somebody could be condemned as a witch and when not, it might work. Though I would hate to be gay, albino, or generally different from the norm in such a society. In contemporary London it would mean that death or imprisonment as a witch would be only one tabloid front page or twitter campaign away. Of course, if anybody who was markedly richer than the rest got taken out as a witch, we might not have large cities, newspapers, or Twitter to contend with.

    This is not to say that communal organisation is a bad thing – for groups with shared interests and a strong, shared ethos it should make for a more pleasant (and effective?!?) governance than a chain of command. But I would say it does require some less communal mechanisms to fall back on in case of crisis or a conflict with surrounding groups.

  81. says

    “you are claiming without evidence that some, any, patriarchy-free alternative is necessary, even without knowing what it is. Which sounds very much like “This house is bad, it needs pulling down, we can see afterwards where we are going to live instead” – fine for those who have already decided that they want some particular change.”

    This is absolutely not what I am saying and no wonder Carnation objects to the characterisation.

    If I were to characterise your arguments as ” I support the status quo and if young girls need to be maimed in sweat shops to keep it, I’m happy to see that”.

    Yes, I would like to pull the house down, but one brick, one floor at a time. No one here at least is demanding everything changes over night for the simple fact that that is an unreasonable expectation.

    well, “ ask 50 different people and you’ll get 51 different opinions“. When planning traffic people look at specific alternatives and see how they compare.

    You’re playing on my pitch here because that’s exactly what I do for a living and I can assure you that when “looking at alternatives” you do get more opinions than people , mainly because as more people discuss the issues more people find compromises and novel solutions. I’m involved in a massive scheme at present (£33 million) to make cycling safer and more attractive. It will involve re-designating about 1/3 of the borough and the drivers are up in arms over the change and want the whole thing cancelled, the cyclists are pushing for us to go even further and something that none of use planners expected, a lobby from pedestrians who would like a completely different focus. We will come to a compromise using hopefully novel solutions that will make the environment that little bit better for everyone but the one thing I can guarantee you is that cars will not be banned.

    At the other extreme, consider Lucy’s post 51, which is an extreme example but a similar attitude:

    And you will notice that Carnation has responded, I would have also but others have done a fine job so there is no real point in considering it.

  82. StillGjenganger says

    @Danny 88
    We re getting into repetition here, so we had better wind down. A better outcome would have been if both sides had become a bit wiser, understanding what the others were on about, but it did not happen this time (not to me, at least).

    On traffic I notice (with approval) that you not only gather all the ideas, you also combine them into precise alternative schemes and evaluate the relative consequences of each, before you make a decision. It is the second step that I feel is lacking somewhat in the gender debate – but OK, we are back in repetition.

    As for ‘if I were to characterise your argument …‘ I would never say that maiming children in sweatshops was necessary to preserve the status quo (I would probably not find it acceptable either).. But I do in general try to work out and face up to the consequences of my ideas. For instance i feel that stereotypes and roles are useful to facilitate human interactions, and that they should generally be set by the majority to suit mainly the majority. And I accept that the price is that people that do not fit into the majority will unavoidably be at some small disadvantage – also in those cases, like gay marriage, where I am the one to end up in the minority.

  83. StillGjenganger says

    We almost crossed comments on one of the Shia LaBoeuf debates on CiF, but mine was one of the many deleted ones. If you think there is an interesting debate to be had on positive consent in the light of this case (most likely you do not), it would have to be here.

  84. StillGjenganger says

    @ Danny Butts 83 (from the UVA rape thread)

    Since we’ve all obviously been reading Richard Carrier and see Baye’s theorem as the bees knees this month, lets go ahead and apply it to a rape trial.
    Members of the jury, there were no witnesses to the alleged rape and its basically his word against hers. The prior probability that this woman has falsely accused this man of rape is 2%. Now go away and bring in your verdict.
    Jesus, I don’t think that men are all on the autistic spectrum, but I strongly believe many of us aspire to be

    Add one more sentence, “The required standard of proof is 99.8% probability.” (or whatever) and you have it. Consider: In a lot of jurisdictions, for a lot of crimes, people can be put in prison on the unsupported word of a police officer, or at least two police officers who agree. Juries believe that the police is unlikely to lie. That is why is matters if the probability of innocence is 0.2%, 2%. 5%, or 15%.

  85. StillGjenganger says

    @Raging 88 – from UVA rape thread.

    Probabilities do matter, because juries have to judge what is plausible and what is not, and that is a probability judgment.

    No, it’s an EVIDENCE judgment. It’s the evidence relevant to the particular case that tells us what’s plausible, not some dodgy abstract probability calculation that has nothing to do with the particular charges in question in a particular trial.
    Seriously, what color is the sky in this country of yours where abstract probability calculations are considered admissible evidence?

    I really do not think we disagree as much as that, on probabilities at least. Of course no one would give general instructions as probability percentages – that would confuse more people than it helped. And you would not reduce the decision-making process to a probability calculation either. But – call it evidence, call it probability – the considerations are the same. How much weight should you put on different kinds of evidence, what are you allowed to conclude in each case, etc. On the general level I believe that under UK law, it used to be that you could not convict for rape on the sole word of the accuser, without some kind of corroboration. That has now changed – and however you choose to put it that is a way of telling juries that they should consider witness statements as more reliable than they used to. The whole campaign about rape stereotypes, not thinking that victims are lying, etc., is about making people believe more in rape accusers and what they are saying. And the real point of the debate is just how much you should believe them, and how sceptical you should be. Which is important, because redress for rape victims, freedom for the accused and justice for both depend on these considerations. Feminist academics care about false reporting percentages because the agreed percentage feeds directly into who juries are going to believe, and I care for the same reason. Whether you describe these things as probabilities (as I prefer) or as rules for treating evidence (as I think you prefer) the real question is the same. And the question matters..

  86. StillGjenganger says

    @Adiabat 103 (from the UVA rape thread)

    “You are right – we do not know. But we need to form some kind of reasonable estimate to work with… 4-8% ought to be close enough for government work”

    Yes we do need an estimate to work with, but I don’t think if we lack one we should just invent one that ‘feels right’ to you, or anyone else. Our intuition is a sorely lacking instrument in this area:[…]
    Any estimate should be derived statistically, and […] we are left with an Inverse Problem that can likely only be handled using Bayesian statistics.

    So we take the information we do have and construct a model based on what we either already know or is at least open to study. We can start to build our model […]. It’s how genuine progress on the issue can be achieved.

    Undoubtedly we could get better results if we built a detailed formal model and refined it through several decades of research work. But that does not mean we have to wait that long before we discuss this. These formal models can be a useful tool, but they are neither necessary nor sufficient to get good results (have we not had this discussion before?).One of the nice things about Baeysian reasoning, as I thought, was that you can get quite decent results with limited and qualitative data, if you go about it right.

    If you can produce any actual data about police ability to detect falsehoods, biases in evaluating rape cases, response to overwork, how academics analyse case material etc. I would be delighted to hear it and would incorporate in my rough estimate as my time and skills allowed. The more we know, the better.
    Meanwhile we work with what we have, which is limited data, and the principle that in the absence of data it is better to stick to estimates that minimises the consequences of our guesswork. Which is why we should stick to lowish estimates of false reporting rates. We know that values close to 4-8% are reasonably likely, but for higher values we know no such thing. And assuming much higher values has important consequences for the argument that our lack of information will not bear.

  87. Adiabat says

    StillGjenganger (96):

    One of the nice things about Baeysian reasoning, as I thought, was that you can get quite decent results with limited and qualitative data, if you go about it right.

    Yes, and it can also suffer quite badly from junk-in/junk-out when people just make it up as they go along. How did you even derive your 4-8% figure?

    We know that values close to 4-8% are reasonably likely, but for higher values we know no such thing.

    That’s just not true. The Total false claims = # “shown to be false” in studies (2-8%) + an unknown number that are false but couldn’t be shown to be false (Kelly’s 3% figure, for example, used an 8% figure provided by the police and whittled it down using very strict criteria. That initial 8% figure wouldn’t, by it’s very nature, include false claims that the police failed to detect). Using Bayes’ Theorem for estimation of an unknown quantity in the kind of inverse problem we are faced with is based on comparing different models to find the most probable (it’s why Bayesian statistics has become more popular as computer power has increased and can crunch the numbers for large variations of said unknown quantity). Using the 2-8% figure and incorporating findings (linked before) which showed around a 70% success rate for the police to detect deception to reach a figure for the Total number is, even as basic as that model is, going to provide a more likely estimate than you just making up a figure based on your feeling in the matter. In a Bayesian analysis it is actually my figure that “minimises the consequences of our guesswork” through minimising the actual guesswork.

  88. Carnation says

    @ Adiabat

    Given that you maintain that GamerGate is actually about ethics in games journalism, should anybody take your seriously? Or just treat you like an embittered anti-feminist with a terrible case of confirmation bias?

  89. StillGjenganger says

    @Adiabat 97
    Obviously a detailed Bayesian analysis based copious amounts of data on all the relevant factors would be much better than anything we can rustle up. And it is indeed quite possible that such an analysis might find much higher numbers for incorrect reports. The thing is we do not have that model, or the data needed to support it. So we need to give some kind of estimate with the data we have got. And here it is much more reliable to stick fairly close to the ranges we have (‘we do not know, but if at least 4-8% of reports are proved to be insincere, we are safe in assuming at least that’) instead of going far outside it (‘We do not know, and since it might be 50% for all we know, we must allow for the possibility that it is up to 30%’).

    The 70% success for the police to detect deception does not say much in itself. First because it measures the pure analysis of speaker behaviour on material that is the same in each case, whereas dealing with a rape report covers a greater variety of situations, gives you much more information, lets you ask your own questions, … Second because the police should be about equally likely to get false positives and false negatives. Thirdly because many people claim that the police is biased, some say seriously so, and we have no estimate on that. The uncertainty in deception detection just adds an extra factor of uncertainty, And we already knew that any determination, police, academic,, … is uncertain.

    The 4-8% Well, consensus studies come out as 2-8% with fairly robust methodology. They will obviously be underestimates. The lowest figures come from people with an axe to grind who have been particularly zealous in limiting the number to cases that could not possibly have another explanation. It seemed reasonable to judge that those numbers would be clearly too low, and to estimate that the very lowest numbers in the spread were not realistic. The rest are too low too, but by low much? How many reports are deliberately malicious without leaving some kind of clear evidence in the record? Might the 8% be overly lax in the first place? We do not really know if the upper limit should be 9%, 12%, or 20%. One could extend it by a fraction of the spread, and come to say 4-10%, but the difference between 4-8% and 4-10% does not make much difference to the debate, and I thought it was better to avoid arbitrary claims that extend the range. The most significant point is that there clearly is a potentially even larger group of cases, could be another 10% but it is almost impossible to estimate, where the accuser is sincere but the accused is innocent anyway. There is no point in arguing fiercely about an insignificant 2% – or an unjustifiable 10% – extra cases of insincere accusations when the data are so uncertain and the biggest source of bias is something else anyway.

    Once we have some kind of reasonable estimate with the data we have we can start thinking about what is needed to firm the whole thing up. But until then talking about the maybe’s, or putting a lot of weight on number ranges that are only backed by ignorance, is fruitless, potentially misleading, and a ruin to our credibility.

  90. Adiabat says

    StillGjenganger (99): Your approach seems very confused. Whatever issues you have with the 2-8% figure for ‘shown to be false’ is a separate issue from the unknown quantity that ‘haven’t been shown to be false’.

    For the 2-8% figure: Fine, you don’t like the studies that had results at the lower end of that range; why don’t you take it up with those studies by identifying flaws with them instead of using the word “Bayesian” just as a way to dismiss them?

    What I’m interested in is a model that can estimate the ‘haven’t been shown to be false’ category. Creating a model that can estimate this from the ‘known’ category isn’t dependent on the actual figures, in much the same way that the methodology for identifying dark matter in a gravitational lens system is independent of the particular system being analysed. What’s important is being able to estimate the ‘not shown’ category from the ‘shown’ category, and I think this is possible in a way that directly measuring the ‘not shown’ isn’t.

    Once we have some kind of reasonable estimate with the data we have we can start thinking about what is needed to firm the whole thing up.

    In a Bayesian analysis the ‘firming’ things up part IS the ‘finding a reasonable estimate’ part. I have no idea what it is that you are trying to do.

    But until then talking about the maybe’s, or putting a lot of weight on number ranges that are only backed by ignorance

    That IS the Bayesian approach for estimation of unknown quantities. It’s about playing with the uncertainty for the various models using figures, derived from squeezing the total amount of useful information from what little we have, and ranking them to find the most probable. I don’t recognise your approach in any of the Bayesian approaches to these kinds of problems that I’m aware of. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that you’re using the word as a way to give some kind of authority to what are essentially just your opinions.

    There is no point in arguing fiercely about an insignificant 2%

    I have no idea at which point in this conversation you switched from stressing how important it is to get an accurate statistic to not caring if you’re accurate in case someone is offended.

    Carnation (98): Well, strictly speaking, that would be a logical fallacy, an attack on the person rather than the argument. However, practically speaking, there is sometimes a need to discount someone’s views based on various factors such as previously demonstrating low intelligence or a tendency to engage in bad faith. I do this myself with many of the regulars here, including yourself (though even then I’ll engage these people if they happen to make a decent argument).

    Personally I think people can apply this however the fuck they want. Notwithstanding the fact that your summary of my views is slightly inaccurate: I think gamergate is “about” several issues, one of which is journalistic ethics, if someone thinks that this position is so egregious that it renders the holders view of, say, Bayesian statistics invalid that’s up to them.

    However, bear in mind that this standard is a double-edged sword in that while it allows you to dismiss everything a particular person says, it also opens up the person applying it to the same mechanism from other people. Those who consider your application of this ‘shortcut’ to be wrong will begin to question your judgement in turn and you may end up looking like the bigger fool.

    (Though you should be getting used to that by now.)

  91. Whiney says

    Psst, Ally, this is just a bit of a jokey aside but … You know that Mike Buchanan of J4MB has somewhat upstaged you in various ways this year (i.e. getting into Time Magazine, The Washington Post, the first MHRA conference in Detriot etc), well, I was thinking that to put your own politics ‘back on the map’ you could maybe start your own party, but instead of ‘Justice For Men and Boys (and The Women That Love Them), it could perhaps be called ‘White Guys Fighting To Abolish Their Own Privilege (Even If They Don’t Particularly Have Any).’ I reckon this could be a real success, and would certainly enjoy much support on the liberal left, especially amongst a sub-section of the Guardian readership.
    Jus’ a thought, anyways. 🙂

  92. StillGjenganger says

    @adiabat 100
    Well, make your model, publish, it and defend it. Once you have a well-established, highly reliable model of how many false accusation there are, that will obviously crowd out inferior estimates. Until you get it, though, using your dreams of future models to dismiss existing efforts is just so much hot air.

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