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Feb 24 2007

Ex-Harvard prez gets moment named after him

cactus.jpg
Unrelated nature photo of the day: live oak tree gives birth to bastard opuntia cactus. Blanco County TX, February, 2007.

One of the countless weapons with which the dominant male culture defends itself and its hatred of women against any real enlightenment is the moldy old established canon of male thought. The canon, which exalts an oppressive white male ideology while pretty much ignoring (except as specimens for study) the lower castes, is self-selecting, self-replenishing, and self-perpetuating. One of patriarchy’s great victories has been its success in passing its canon off as the ne plus ultra of all human intellectual and cultural endeavor. Which is of course entirely bogus, since to contribute to the canon, you have to be a dude. This bigoted class prerequisite is not seen as an impediment to the expectation that everyone, regardless of social status, assimilate this male-authored canon. And everyone does. Because history is men’s history, art is men’s art, politics is men’s politics, science is men’s science, sex is men’s sex, and even TV is men’s TV, what choice have we got?

To ensure this ubiquitous dudecentricity, at every gate to public life is stationed a pink-faced myrmidon, exquisitely schooled in the doctrine of dudely supremacy (is he also secretly afraid that his dick is too small and that he might be a homo? Probably.). He will admit through the gate to life’s rich pageant only creatures like himself.* Everyone else is obliged to stay home having pink-faced babies, or to stay out of sight slaving in some sweatshop.

The exception is when there’s a party and they need something to fuck. Fortunately for them, the supreme patriarchal hegemon has done an excellent job indoctrinating everyone. Men can rest assured that any public woman is a receptacle, if not for semen, then for disdain (e.g. ‘Amandagate’), or for absorbing one of those casual expressions of masterful primacy that helps get’em through the day. Who can forget W feeling up Angela Merkel at the G8 conference last summer?

Thus did Barry Gewen, a New York Times Book Review editor/myrmidon gatekeeper, come to have a “Larry Summers moment” while addressing The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study last week. As Ann Friedman, writing in The American Prospect Online, reports, Gewen seized the opportunity to explain that “the reason so few women reviewers appear in the NYTBR is that they just can’t write for a general audience about such topics as military history.” Like all men who have studied the canon, Barry Gewen knows “facts” about women’s “innate differences” that allow him to bask in the golden glow of his own importance, and of the importance of reviews of books on military history.

It would be nice if “Larry Summers moments” really were just moments. But they are not isolated instances of temporary insanity. They are not anomalous brain-farts specific to atypical academic wankers. They are ruptures in the facade of self-delusion that all successful men cultivate, little windows through which the subordinate castes may occasionally glimpse the gilded luxury of white dudes’ universal privilege. Which privilege is predicated on the lifelong practice of misogyny.
___________________________
* Except for a few tokens, who are let in so that dissident voices can be squelched by countering, “We let Condi Rice in, so clearly we’re not misogynist racists.”

[Thanks Joolya]

55 comments

  1. wren

    Oh, silly Twisty. Did you not realize that Condi speaks for EVERY female and EVERY black American? Therefore Bush is unequivocally endorsed by every member of both groups, and anyone who says otherwise is clearly delusional.

    Mandate, indeed.

  2. PhysioProf

    Something I wonder about is the reason for “Larry Summers Moments”. You claim that they are “ruptures in the facade of self-delusion”, and seem to imply that they are inadvertent. Could it be that they are intentional acts designed to remind the oppressed that–despite explicit claims of equality of opportunity–they are oppressed and they are going to stay that way?

  3. Twisty

    “Could it be that they are intentional acts designed to remind the oppressed that–despite explicit claims of equality of opportunity–they are oppressed and they are going to stay that way?”

    Good point. But christ, it oughta be enough that these fucks get away with active discrimination.

  4. Lipstick-and-Birk-Wearing Momma

    I agree with Physioprof. These remarks are intentional. Did some demon take over this guy’s brain and speak through him? No, of course not.

    In my best Borat voice:
    “Theeese things that go BOOM, they are not for the womeeeen. High five!”

  5. Twisty

    Well, look, it’s not as though the guy could really say anything else, is it? My whole premise is that he’s steeped in the old boys’ ideology, so this is his point of view. He is intentionally a misogynist every minute of every day, if only because he is not intentionally not one. If you see what I mean.

  6. Alarming Female

    One thing I’ve always appreciated about Twisty’s view of patriarchy is the concept that it also oppresses men. As a mother of sons, raised as strident feminists, I realize there are insidious ideas and germs of ideas that get past my radar and theirs. So it’s possible that an occasional, inadvertent misogynist vibe will rear its phallic head now and again.

    That’s not to say that I think this is what is going on with Summers or Gewen. Just that, when fighting the good fight against misogyny (gynophilia?) even ‘constant vigilance’ sometimes lets the ugly slip through.

  7. J

    “One thing I’ve always appreciated about Twisty’s view of patriarchy is the concept that it also oppresses men.”

    Word. As the son of a mother who chides practically anything to do with the word or notion of “feminism,” the indiscriminate nature of this oppression is a common occurance for me.

  8. ChapstickAddict

    and even TV is men’s TV

    And yet when I say that, I get the “But women have Lifetime! And Oxygen!” rebuttal.

    You know, after a hard day of trying so hard to keep my mouth shut during patriarchy-blaming moments (my current job is with a bunch of tech dudes and mostly female-ghettoized secretaries), it’s nice to come here and blame blame blame. It’s interesting the perspective I have on life ever since I came to understand what patriarchy actually meant (yeah, I’m still a young’un).

  9. Lipstick-and-Birk-Wearing Momma

    Last night, I was watching CNN, and four men were discussing whether calling Hillary “ambitious” or “polarizing” was sexist. You’d think that they’d have at least one woman’s opinion, but I guess that they can’t find a woman qualified to discuss sexism. All men!

  10. slownews

    But then on one hand I sort of appreciate those Larry Summers moments. Because we are raised with overt lip service paid to the idea of women doing what they want with whom. It’s not until we’re older that we get the covert subtext (see Chapstick): they do hate us. They do think we’re sexbot slaves. Sometimes I almost wish I lived ages ago. At least then the agenda would have been up front. But that’s what I believe is so insidious. The fact they tell us it’s all ok, women work now, we’ve been through that feminism stuff, but really, underneath, it’s NOT ok.

  11. Liz

    One supposes that this Gewen never thought that the reason few women are writing reviews about such topics as military history is that they have been systemmatically disencouraged from reading and writing on such topics? Military history is probably the biggest boys’ club in the study of history entire.

    Or, more likely, it never entered his little misogynistic brain to care about such considerations.

    (Long-time lurker, first time commenter on this amazing blog.)

  12. Scratchy888

    Generally, the patriarchal types also like to say:

    “The problem with you is that you need to realise that we’re all in ths together! Whatever happens to me (as a male imbued with the patriarchal ideology) is also happening to you. There is really no separation at all between us, so what are you whining about?”

    They also like to say:

    “The reason society doesn’t reward you is that you are distrustful. You need to trust us more. Can’t you see that we are all in this together?”

  13. thebewilderness

    There is a Medved column in which the subtext is how awful it would be for a straight man to be objectified by the gay or fat ugly women the way hawt chicks are objectified by straight men.
    There is also a case where the ACLU is defending a man for soliciting a funk filled bratwurst encounter from an undercover male cop. Not, mind you, an offer of pay. Just a straightforward request for a legal act.
    Medved and the cop clearly do not think straight men should have to be treated the way straight men treat women every day.
    The underlying assumptions of privilege sound really stupid when they speak them right out loud. Or when they act on them as in the case of arresting the sad clergyman.

  14. judithweingarten

    Lipstick-and-Birk-Wearing Momma writes >four men were discussing whether calling Hillary “ambitious” or “polarizing”

  15. PhysioProf

    The patriarchy does oppress men as individuals, by forcing them to hew to particular arbitrary behavioral norms. But those behavioral norms are defined by–and support–the hegemony of men as a class over women as a class.

  16. Flamethorn

    and four men were discussing whether calling Hillary “ambitious” or “polarizing” was sexist.

    Isn’t anyone who runs for president, almost by definition, ambitious?

    As for polarizing, good if she is, the Dems are way too much like the Repugs.

  17. Alarming Female

    I agree entirely with PhysioProf that the patriarchal behavioral norms benefit the hegemony of men as a class, in much the same way as racist behavioral norms benefit “white” people.

    As a concerned individual who is also a member of the racist hegemony, however, my enlightenment is ongoing. Every time I “unpack” my “invisible knapsack,” a la McIntosh, I’m slapped upside the head with yet another realization of the sometimes invisible, to me at least, reality of white privilege.

    The difference is acknowledging the privilege and challenging it, rather than accepting it without question or, worse, basking in it as one’s right.

    Raising awareness of racist and misogynist privilege is a crucial step, which it why a forum such as Twisty provides is so valuable. When we live it a culture where it is taboo to even discuss white privilege or frames of male supremacy, talking and learning in a civilized forum is more important than ever.

  18. Lipstick-and-Birk-Wearing Momma

    Flamethorn, I definitely believe that calling Hillary “ambitous” is sexist and insulting. Of course, anyone who runs for president is ambitious. Labeling Hillary “ambitious” like it’s a negative characteristic is sexist. I’ve never heard the term “ambitous” applied in a derogatory way to any male. The term “overacheiver” also seems to be applied excusively to women.

  19. Julie

    ” … at every gate to public life is stationed a pink-faced myrmidon ….

    Only a patriarchal society could have invented the Myrmidons. Among actual ants, the fighting is done by females. In fact, they’re generally the oldest females.

  20. TP

    Privilege reduces your enjoyment of reality by making you vulnerable to wounded pride whenever reality somehow asserts itself, and for a brief and shining second, you see yourself for what you really are: a whining delusional fool who feels sorry for himself if he doesn’t get the respect he deserves.

    This is not the same thing as active, continuous oppression. Like that suffered by non whites and women.

    Though I think I am a better and happier person for trying to embrace feminism, I still don’t think I was actually suffering when I expected more male privilege as I did when I was younger.

    It is a drag, though, to be in the oppressing class when you don’t want to be. My first experience with oppression being forced on me was when I was a young man and I moved from St. Louis to Hayward, California.

    Growing up in St. Louis, Mexican was no different than Irish or Italian or any other white heritage, as far as I knew. But once in California, I discovered that racism against Mexicans was considered a very realistic and indisputable situation. It wasn’t even considered racism, it was just that they were dirty and stupid and lazy and refused to speak english and that’s just the way they were.

    I realized then and there that was how it worked: Assumptions of privilege based on superiority imagined.

    And the oppressed couldn’t easily see me as anything but an oppressor, no matter how innocent of racism I happened to be.

    This ties back to my belief that men really shouldn’t presume to preach feminism or to criticize or preach to any oppressed group from a racial standpoint. It’s not enough to be free of prejudice yourself, the oppressed have to be freed from their oppression, and that has little to do with you as an individual and everything to do with the culture at large.

  21. edith

    Nice, cute little “moments” of bite-size sexism is part of the myth that the patriarchy chooses to perpetuate about itself. The matrix lets us see it for what it is once in a while so that we think we’re so smart, being able to see the matrix and all. It’s all part of the plan. If we see the random instances of media-reported sexism, we’ll focus on that and not the sexism that’s all around us. Thanks but no thanks, patriarchy. I don’t need your cast-off, burnt-up kernels of popcorn to chew on, I want to focus on the whole fucking bag. How many metaphors do I have to mix to show my anger sufficiently?

  22. roamaround

    TP, so interesting that moving from one racial context to another made prejudice transparent to you. That’s happened to me, and I’ve witnessed it many times in others. The Japanese college student who wore a Che t-shirt and idolized Malcolm X said about the oppression of the Korean minority in Japan, “Oh but that’s different! They’re really bad! I had a bad experience with them.”

    After years abroad, I remember looking around in a Phoenix restaurant and noticing for the first time that all the customers and waiters were white and all the kitchen help and busboys were Mexican. It had been that way before; I just hadn’t seen it.

    Too bad there isn’t anywhere men like Barry Gewen can go to experience gender equality so then they might recognize its absence. I think you have to care first though, so never mind.

  23. femhist

    The saddest thing about the whole thing is that the dude said this after being introduced by DREW FAUST, the new President of Harvard, whose books are about THE CIVIL GODDAMN WAR! For God’s sake! How dumb is this guy? Still, I take heart in the fact that Dr. Faust is taking over. She’s too diplomatic to call this dude out, but make no mistake about it, she is no pushover. As evidence of just how frightened certain of the male power elite are of the ascent of a woman, no matter how mild-mannered and well-respected, I give you this spittle-flecked jewel:
    http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=516957
    I take small comfort in the fact that this dude is a history concentrator. All the female history grad students were emailing that piece around, and he better hope he doesn’t get any as his TFs for the rest of his undergraduate life (TF=harvardspeak for TA/person who grades his sorry ass). Or, for that matter, many of the female faculty.

  24. Ramblin' Rabbit

    “bask in the golden glow of his own importance”

    At first I misread this as “impotence.” It sort of fit.

  25. Betsy

    “the reason so few women reviewers appear in the NYTBR is that they just can’t write for a general audience about such topics as military history.”

    OK, that sentence just blows my mind.

    “so few women reviewers”
    and then a few words later
    “general audience”

    so
    “women”
    is implicitly juxtaposed with
    “general”

    The population IS 52% female, isn’t it?

    Doesn’t that make being female the general rule, and male, the exception?

  26. Betsy

    P.S. Gewen, about half of the “general audience” is too freakin’ busy feeding, rearing, cleaning, and caring for the next generation to bother with reading about how the other half of the “general audience” blew the members of previous generations to bloody smithereens.

    Military history, indeed.

  27. Violet

    I seem to recall that Barbara Tuchman wrote highly praised books on military history and received a Pulitzer prize for her efforts. But I guess Mr Gewer wouldn’t know Barbara Tuchman (The Guns of August) from Barbara Cartland (Wanted – One Wedding Ring).

  28. donna

    Wait… a .. minute!

    Condi is FEMALE???

    Huh…

  29. Antelope

    And the NYTBR, of course, doesn’t employ ANY male reviewers who are lacking in familiarity with military history, because miltary history is all that they ever review, after all.

    Okay, maybe that was too obvious to be worth mentioning.

  30. Twisty

    ‘so
    “women”
    is implicitly juxtaposed with
    “general”’

    Thanks for making this observation, Betsy. It is one of my particular pet peeves, that language is manipulated to enforce the weirdification of women. I’m constantly reading studies and reports and statistics — in fact, I just read one ‘family-values’ website on internet porn that did this — where there’s a primary category for the ‘adult statistics’, which is understood to mean “men”, and then a sub-category for “women,” who are understood to be variants of normal.

  31. Elle

    How depressing. Oh, well, isn’t that what patriarchy is? Reality = male reality; women are a subset; “general audience” = male readers. To be fully human is to be male (and start and write about war) and to be male is to be fully human. So who wants to be fully human? My dogs, cats, horses, and chickens — even the alligators down at the pond — seem to behave a lot better than most of the “full humans” of my acquaintance. In patriarchy, women have long been associated with nature and the animal world. I’m for embracing it. Let’s rejoin the animal world and rejoice in it – if they will have us.

  32. Elle

    And another thing, speaking of the NYT and general audience. The top two “most popular” emailed stories today are “Sorority Evictions Raise Messy Issue of Looks and Bias” and “Pole Dancing Parties Catch on in Book Club Country.” (If I could figure out how to link to them here, I would. But I am a mere woman.) Anyway, If these two stories are the most popular among the general audience, what does this say about the general audience of the NYT? If the general audience is understood as male, does this mean that these articles are popular because they confirm the approved patriarchal image of women as petty, superficial, …. and so forth? Does this mean that the “general audience” itself is petty, superficial,…? Does being interested in women’s “doins” mean one is petty and superficial? Are these activities emblematic of women? Is the NYT petty and superficial for running these stories as emblematic of women?… OMG!!!

  33. edith

    femhist, that link was utterly depressing. Knob central, Harvard is, huh?

  34. maribelle

    quote from link by femhist:

    The greatest hope we can entertain is that the new president does not effect any drastic changes at the University. Indeed, to ensure that she not interpret her mandate too widely, Dr. Faust would do well to heed the lesson of the similarly-named character in Marlowe’s tragedy—and not “practice more than heavenly power permits.”

    Translation: Behave your uppity, underqualified self and don’t be shaking things up cause the “heavenly powers” (read: patriarchy) won’t “permit” it. *The mind reels.*

    The “greatest hope we can entertain” is no drastic changes to the perception of unquestioned white male supremacy. *The mind reels again.*

    PS–This was written by a student; A SOPHOMORE! insulting the president of Harvard’s adademic work while telling her to mind her p’s and q’s and keep her unqualified hands off his male privilege. *The mind falls out the back of the head and rolls across the floor*.

    (PS great thread–too many “you go, blamer!”‘s to hand out. Pass the bucket around and help yourself.)

  35. Antelope

    What I liked most about Young Sir’s article is that first he suggests she lacks the requisite vision to lead such a large institution, then he concludes by saying that she’d better not go and do anything visionary!! Because, y’know, she probably doesn’t have the capacity to do anything visionary, but if she does, she’d best refrain.

  36. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    I think it was Abraham Lincoln who said he preferred tyranny straight up without the base alloy of hypocrisy. So yes, I’d rather have the patriarchy’s uglier attitudes out front where I can see ‘em.

  37. SunlessNick

    Also from femhist’s link:
    Indeed, Radcliffe dwells in its own little world of peripheral curiosities, its spat of fellows united only by their obsessive imposition of oftentimes-anachronistic “gendered” perspectives on their subject fields. Unlike many of the professional schools over which Faust will soon preside, the Radcliffe Institute is not on the cutting edge of scholarship or research.

    Which is a perfect example of the male-centred canon that Twisty describes in her post. The writer rejects works by the students and professors at Radcliffe – with “At Radcliffe, intellectual and administrative rigor is, apparently, not a prominent characteristic” – based it seems on nothing but their titles, and proceeds to reject the inclusion of gender as viable subject matter in any, you know he means, serious study.

    [P.S. This is the first time I've tried to post here, and I love that posting button is marked "blame"]

  38. femhist

    Re: the excerpt that SunlessNick quoted:
    Moreoever, the little twerp (the author of the column, not Sunless Nick!) is *wrong* about what the Radcliffe institute does. It’s “spat of fellows” (hurl) is NOT unified by any imposition of gender on their fields. Their fields range from the arts to the humanities to the sciences, and if anyone can explain how the astronomers (for example) at the Radcliffe Institute have their work compromised by their political/sociological views, I will be surprised. The next big speech is entitled Oceans, Climate, Biodiversity, and Human Health: the Cholera Paradigm. http://www.radcliffe.edu/events/lectures/2007_colwell.php

    Oy. These troglodytes can’t even get their facts straight before they go out feminist-bashing.

  39. chris

    Actual quote:
    “”My best guess, to provoke you, of what’s behind all of this is that the largest phenomenon – by far – is the general clash between people’s legitimate family desires and employers’ current desire for high power and high intensity; that in the special case of science and engineering, there are issues of intrinsic aptitude, and particularly of the variability of aptitude; and that those considerations are reinforced by what are in fact lesser factors involving socialization and continuing discrimination,” Dr. Summers said, according to the transcript.

    “I would like nothing better than to be proved wrong, because I would like nothing better than for these problems to be addressable simply by everybody understanding what they are, and working very hard to address them,” he added…

    Just so everyone is on the same page. What’s your problem with this? Do you dispute that men are more willing to put in 80 hour weeks?

    thebewilderness spake:
    “There is also a case where the ACLU is defending a man for soliciting a funk filled bratwurst encounter from an undercover male cop. Not, mind you, an offer of pay. Just a straightforward request for a legal act.
    Medved and the cop clearly do not think straight men should have to be treated the way straight men treat women every day.”

    You aren’t making any sense – what’s wrong with soliciting for sex? Either you want to or you don’t. The fact is, it’s legal for a man to solicit a woman, so why no another man?

  40. Twisty

    Do I read you aright, Chris? Do you actually interpret the Summers statement “there are issues of intrinsic aptitude, and particularly of the variability of aptitude; and that those considerations are reinforced by what are in fact lesser factors involving socialization and continuing discrimination” to mean “there is no innate difference between science and engineering aptitude between men and women”?

    Because the chappie makes no mention of the greater number of hours dudes valiantly work while their womenfolk are too intrinsically aptitudeless to do anything but tend the young’uns.

  41. blondie

    Since the overwhelming majority of the general reading audience is enthralled with military history, a lack of ready familiarity with military history must condemn all such ignoramuses to exile from the great and mighty (cue bell-ringing and trumpet fanfare) New York Times Book Review.

    Who doesn’t like to sit around and chat about the inevitability of the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria?

  42. Alecto

    I was all set to comment on how the fact that Gewen considers military history a field of solely male interest troubles me, that part of the reason Faust made president then was due to the fact that she has properly dudely interests. But then I did a little digging, and one of her books is Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War. So unless the Civil War focus sufficiently removed the taint of the girly subject matter, I suppose I can save my screed on how we don’t just need women in power but also a valuing of traditionally “womanly” interests as well.

    (Unfortunately, it appears to deal only with the white, upper-class women of the South. Pity.)

  43. chris

    > Do I read you aright, Chris? Do you actually interpret the Summers statement “there are issues of intrinsic aptitude, and particularly of the variability of aptitude; and that those considerations are reinforced by what are in fact lesser factors involving socialization and continuing discrimination” to mean “there is no innate difference between science and engineering aptitude between men and women”?

    Nope. Women and men are wired differently – this is obvious. What he’s saying is that women may have different aptitudes and that they are also socialized differently, so far as he can see. At the root, he wants to find out why so few women apply to technical programs, presumably with an eye to improving the numbers.

    For the crime of stating this fairly obvious fact and speculating that women may have different goals, he was booted. A bunch of hypersensitive fools kicked out somebody who wanted to find out why so few women went into science and engineering. Yay.

    > Because the chappie makes no mention of the greater number of hours dudes valiantly work while their womenfolk are too intrinsically aptitudeless to do anything but tend the young’uns.

    Bitter much? What makes you think it’s either chemical engineering or pop out kids for 20 years? Lots of female accountants and adverising people. Hell, probably more doctors and lawyers, too.

    I expect there are fewer female investment bankers – most women I meet aren’t nearly cutthroat enough for that sort of business. Most men, too.

    > Who doesn’t like to sit around and chat about the inevitability of the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria?

    The study of military history is the study of the wielding of power at its ugliest. If you don’t understand how power is wielded and what happens when you do it wrong, no, you don’t get a seat at the table. Unless your name is Bush, apparently.

  44. hedonistic

    Chris, you’re lucky your comment wasn’t deleted for breaking the “You’re Just Bitter” Rule. By the time a woman reaches 40 if she’s not PISSED at this kind of sexism, she’s just dumb. YOUR POINT, SIR, IS?

    “Men and women are just wired differently.” Perhaps so, just a leetle beet, but probably not in very meaningful ways and certainly not enough to justify the yawning power gaps that still exist between men and women. Men decide what’s important, and – surprise! – women rarely seem to make the cut. The game is rigged. That’s why we’re pissed. Get it?

  45. hedonistic

    Chris said: “If you don’t understand how power is wielded and what happens when you do it wrong, no, you don’t get a seat at the table.”

    Long ago I concluded that what men call “history” is nothing more than a compendium of Men Behaving Badly. The script practically writes itself! Once I understood what HIS STORY is really about, it was easy to stop paying attention to it except for pure entertainment purposes when its unintended consequences happen to be kinda funny.

    Meanwhile, I fail to understand how “the weilding of power at its ugliest” is so goddamn important, unless it’s provided as a cautionary tale. Unfortunately what it has turned into instead is an Operations Manual on How to Be, which is fucking stupid. Why do I have to be flaming ASSHOLE to get a “seat at the table?” IBTP.

  46. chris

    > Chris, you’re lucky your comment wasn’t deleted for breaking the “You’re Just Bitter” Rule. By the time a woman reaches 40 if she’s not PISSED at this kind of sexism, she’s just dumb. YOUR POINT, SIR, IS?

    My point is that Twisty is taking a wholly unwarranted interpretation of the facts and twisting (heh) the words of someone who’s actually on her side into an attack on women as a whole. How is that not bitter?

    > “Men and women are just wired differently.” Perhaps so, just a leetle beet, but probably not in very meaningful ways

    Give a 2-3 year old a doll. The girls role play domestic scenes that they’ve seen, while the boys make a gun. Yeah, we’re put together a bit differently.

    > Men decide what’s important, and – surprise! – women rarely seem to make the cut. The game is rigged. That’s why we’re pissed. Get it?

    Nothing personal. The men in power rig the game for their progeny – this shouldn’t be surprosong. I understand the part where you’re pissed about old boys clubs, but the harvard guy isn’t trying to bar the door.

    > Long ago I concluded that what men call “history” is nothing more than a compendium of Men Behaving Badly.

    That’s because men were in power. If it were women, then set pieces would be different, nothing more.

    > Meanwhile, I fail to understand how “the weilding of power at its ugliest” is so goddamn important, unless it’s provided as a cautionary tale.

    Well duh, that’s the most important part, and it gets ignored regularly. Then we go play in the sandbox and history tries to teach us again. It;s a very patient teacher, even with the dullest of students.

    > Why do I have to be flaming ASSHOLE to get a “seat at the table?” IBTP.

    You don’t, unless you want to be a senator or a C-level executive. Then you need to learn how to play hardball, which is what I assume you wanted. Blame the game all you want, but you don’t get to change the rules until you’re rubbing elbows with the people who write them.

  47. Twisty

    Chris. There is nothing in your comment that is not insulting or asinine. Thank you for representing your species here at Feminist Headquarters. Meeting adjourned.

  48. Kali

    “Give a 2-3 year old a doll. The girls role play domestic scenes that they’ve seen, while the boys make a gun. Yeah, we’re put together a bit differently.”

    If boys/men are inherently more violent, how is that justification for handing them the reins of society? Quite the opposite.

  49. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Yeah, I can invision it now: This Alternative Reality where all men are locked in cages (Planet of the Apes, anyone?) because they’re too agressive and violent to be trusted in polite society. Testosterone poisoning, doncha see, it befuddles their peabrains and they just can’t reason. Dumb animals.

    (Sorry, did someone just take offence? Thank you!)

    Or here’s another one! The Alternative Reality where women band together and arm themselves with heavy artillery to shield themselves from the Original Protection Racket: Men protecting “their” women from other men. Because All Men are Assholes. Or something like that.

    (Sorry, but I’m home with a sick kid and would rather hang out at IBTP than clean up the piles of cat barf in the other room!)

  50. Sam

    There’s an intriguing book by June Stephenson titled Men are Not Cost-Effective, 1995, that includes the following statistics about men and crime.

    Men commit:

    99% of rapes
    97% of child molestation.
    92% of burglary
    92% of robbery
    91% of public drunkeness
    90% of car theft
    90% of vandalism
    88% of murder
    87% of arson

    I don’t believe men are inherently rampaging thugs but that anyone will get away with what they’re allowed to get away with; men literally get away with murder.

  51. Mandos

    If boys/men are inherently more violent, how is that justification for handing them the reins of society? Quite the opposite.

    The argument is the “channeling of energy” argument, which you’re supposed to already know about. Violence is just another word for misplaced leadership.

  52. chris

    > Chris. There is nothing in your comment that is not insulting or asinine. Thank you for representing your species here at Feminist Headquarters. Meeting adjourned.

    No sweat, glad I could be of service. Just remember: it’s your species too.

    > If boys/men are inherently more violent, how is that justification for handing them the reins of society? Quite the opposite.

    Good question. It presumes that violence is bad, which is a distinctly modern notion. It also presumes that the reins are given. Quite the opposite is true: they are taken.

    > anyone will get away with what they’re allowed to get away with; men literally get away with murder.

    Yup. Women get away with other things, although not on the scale of murder. They can get away with murder too – it only requires planning and, of course, never telling anyone. Furthermore, they more senseless the killing, the harder it is to find a murderer. Go figure.

    > Violence is just another word for misplaced leadership.

    Nah, leaders get others to do violence for them. Followers get their hands dirty.

  53. Kali

    “The argument is the channeling of energy argument, which you’re supposed to already know about.”

    Yes, the “if you don’t hand it over nicely, I’ll have to take it by force” argument in disguise.

    “Good question. It presumes that violence is bad, which is a distinctly modern notion. It also presumes that the reins are given. Quite the opposite is true: they are taken.”

    One more wonderful manifestation of the patriarchy – a meritocracy defined in terms of a violent power-grab, that is then labeled euphemistically as “leadership”.

  54. man (read: all men)

    “Give a 2-3 year old a doll. The girls role play domestic scenes that they’ve seen, while the boys make a gun. Yeah, we’re put together a bit differently.”

    I do keep hearing this and find it a fascinating defense for centuries of abuse. At work the other day one of my female coworkers was confronted with this same challenge, a male rebuke for defending herself against blatant sexism and stereotyping. “What? You don’t believe there are any inherent differences between men and women?”

    That’ll teach her not to assume she can be a person too.

    On the other hand it was my older brother (at a very young age) who walked around nursing his dolls until my mother insisted that he could not possibly be a mother when he grew up. Poor kid, he never touched a doll again. (My mother feels awful about it still.)

    I wasn’t as easily swayed, and played with both dolls and weapons, fantasy house and fantasy warfare, late into elementary school when it became the ultimate un-cool. Now I’m cool, thank god.

    I suppose I’ll just throw my backing (and all the masculine power, authority, certainty and firepower that come with it) behind hedonistic when she says: “Perhaps so, just a leetle beet, but probably not in very meaningful ways and certainly not enough to justify the yawning power gaps that still exist between men and women.”

    And then I’ll add: And don’t you (male) dare (male) using it (male) as a (male) excuse for (male) sexism.

    (Love the blog. Great stuff.)

  55. Marytracy9

    “Because history is men’s history, art is men’s art, politics is men’s politics, science is men’s science, sex is men’s sex, and even TV is men’s TV, what choice have we got?”

    absolutely, 100% right.

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