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Apr 02 2007

Footnote to blaming greatness: the impending what-about-the-men section

pterrys_rae.jpg
Stingray’s garish lunch. P. Terry’s Burger Stand, S. Lamar, March 2007.

I’ve been threatening for some time now to inaugurate a “Dear God, What About the Men?” section in the FAQ. I envision it as required reading for callow dudely proto-blamers, with the impossible-but-I-can-dream-can’t-I goal of keepin’em out of the comments section until they get a grip. This way, when what-about-the-men happens, I can post a single link, be done with it, and proceed, like any decent spinster aunt, with cocktail hour.

I continue to threaten rather than do, half because educating clueless dudes is not even remotely the focus of this blog, and half because if I wait long enough, other people will write it for me. Ilyka, you will recall, was kind enough to address the phenomenon of dudely blog commenters who get all worked up on the “hey, I wouldn’t ever rape anybody; you feminists are all just a bunch of hatas!” theme. Likewise has Mr. Shakes (formerly of Shakespeare’s Sister, now of the brand-new same old blog Shakesville) written a swell piece on the pathology of progressive male contempt of feminism. He takes a stab at re-branding feminism as a civil rights movement and at exposing patriarchy as a global oppressor, urging men to stick it to The Man for their own benefit.

Quoth Mr Shakes:

One of the greatest bulwarks against men accepting the feminist movement is that they seem to think that women gaining power must necessarily dilute their own exclusive powers and status. But in so holding onto this erroneous notion, they forget that they themselves are powerless in the face of the corporate plutocracy that now weighs down so heavily upon all of us. If they could get their heads around the fact that they too are powerless and insignificant and ignored, they would stop trying to beat up on the kids they perceive to be weaker and instead acknowledge their own weakness, ally themselves with them, and move forward with them in a new movement that would grant greater freedoms for all of us. It shouldn’t be about trying to maintain some illusory advantage over others [1]. It should be about trying to create concrete advantages for all of us.”

I imagine it would be a pretty fun party if the Blamers met the Shakers, especially if it were on a yacht somewhere. But I digress.

Anyway, because the guiding principle of my twilight years is to do as little as possible, I invite all blamers to submit suggestions, now or whenever you happen across them, for inclusion in the What About the Men page.

Allow me to assuage any anxiety by reiterating that this will just be a section of the FAQ; the blog proper will continue to espouse the same comforting revolutionary chick-centric fuck-patriarchy pseudo-Marxist anti-nuclear-family pro-choice anti-reproduction pro-liberation femininity-is-wack anti-religion anti-gender peak-oil anti-marriage impeach-Bush pro-skank ideology you love and deserve.
__________________________
1. I disagree that the advantage men have over women is illusory; what I think Mr Shakes means here is that the perceived natural right to this advantage is a mass hallucination.

493 comments

6 pings

  1. Cass

    Its a good step, though since this FAQ section won’t be front-and-center on the blog, I’m still afraid we’ll end up provoking some anxiety in the minds of thoroughly blameless and innocent men. How bout a name change: “I Blame The Patriarchy, But Not Necessarily The Men, Some Of Whom Are My Best Friends”?

  2. Cass

    I thought the Mr. Shakes piece was very good.

  3. Come the Revolution

    Thoroughly blameless AND innocent? What are they infants?

    Jeewhiz, even I am not thoroughly blameless and innocent when it comes to the patriarchy.

  4. BubbasNightmare

    The “Old-Fashioned Southern Gentleman” section:

    (and if I may be sufficiently presumptuous to expound a bit–please use, abuse, or ignore at your whim, TF)

    A sub-species of “the nice guy”, the OFSG thinks he promotes women to a status superior to men by elevating them onto a pedestal. The OSFG actually takes away a woman’s right to run her life by nicely making her decisions for her. The OSFG then feels insulted when the woman resists this treatment. See Chivalry.

    In the words of Hedonistic Pleasureseeker, all this “elevation” does is allow everyone to “just looks up her dress anyway”.

    (Side note: Twisty, thank you for the preview function. Now, we of the fumbley fingers can honestly screw up our HTML code.)

  5. msxochitl

    I read the whole thing. He never acknowledges that men, as a class, benefit from the oppression of women. He claims that only rich men benefit from patriarchy–this is why he claims that the notion of male privilege is an illusion.

    Shakes: “What men need to understand is that their wives, the black guy across the street, the gay guy next door, are not the only ones toiling under the weight of a patriarchal system that doesn’t benefit all men, but instead a select few who hold all the power and all the wealth in their hands . . .”

    Because non-rich dudes don’t benefit from patriarchy, non-rich dudes should unite with women to fight against the real enemy: capitalism.

    Now, what exactly does this have to do with feminism again?

  6. Andrew B.

    The lingo and concepts of blaming are essential for new blamers and while I know you don’t want to educate dudes, it might be helpful to send them along to some elementary reading on gender and privilege, such as:

    Judith Lorber’s “Social Construction of Gender” (http://www.meac.org/Resources/ed_services/SG_WEB/SeeingGender/PDFs/SocialConstructionOfGender.pdf)

    Kendall’s “Understanding White Privilege”
    http://www.alumni.berkeley.edu/Students/Leadership/Online_LRC/Diversity_Center/Understanding_White_Priveledge.asp

    Peggy McIntosh’s “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”
    http://seamonkey.ed.asu.edu/~mcisaac/emc598ge/Unpacking.html

    Males, especially, need to learn the tools of blaming because we’re not subject to it and are therefore rather blind. But maybe these can help aspiring male blamers.

    -A-

  7. smmo

    Some of my best friends …

    ELLIPSES baby.

  8. Rainbow Girl

    Oh let’s just admit it. We are all a bunch of hatas. I bet that burger Stingray ate was a man-burger.

  9. yankee transplant

    “…comforting revolutionary chick-centric fuck-patriarchy pseudo-Marxist anti-nuclear-family pro-choice anti-reproduction pro-liberation femininity-is-wack anti-religion anti-gender peak-oil anti-marriage impeach-Bush pro-skank ideology…”

    So THAT’S what this is! Excellent description! You ought to put it on a bumper sticker.

    I’ll ponder the FAQ, although I feel certain that others will have much more brilliant ideas than I. I await, with great anticipation, the contributions.

  10. Blamerella

    Now, what exactly does this have to do with feminism again?

    Shakes is acknowledging that feminism will be a tough sell to average white dudes. Or any other dudes, for that matter. He’s proposing that getting them to realize that not only will they not lose anything, but that they will probably gain in many respects, might act to break their deathgrip on the patriarchy and its illusory privileges.

  11. Cass

    We’re only psuedo-Marxists? How disappointing. I’m going over to that blog with all the puppies.

  12. Cass

    …where all the commenters know how to spell, and the ellipses run free.

  13. stekatz

    I wish I had some useful ideas, but I can’t get past the idea of the yacht party. I think you need to get Phil on the phone calling up yacht companies to see how much it would be to rent out a yacht. Plus how much taco catering would cost. Open bar is a good idea too.

    Well, I did come up with the, “But my boyfriend/husband/father/brother/boss is a really great guy and nothing like that.” I struggle with that one. I typically find it easier to debate issues of feminism with men I don’t know rather than my male loved ones. They always seem to defensively believe that any criticism of patriarchy on my part is a personal attack on them.

  14. Blamerella

    As for the What About Tha Menz FAQ, just please include a thorough smackdown of Evo Psych. I grow weary of debating the armchair sociobiologists as they attempt to school me in the Innate Differences Between Women And Men, and why they mean I should accomodate the disagreeable behavior of entitled asswipes. It sure would be nice to have a handy little link to cut and paste so that enlightened participants can move on with legitimate discussions.

  15. BubbasNightmare

    stekatz:
    I can’t remember the exact quote, but there was something back in the Firestone Theatre thread (I think) that ran something like this:

    “It’s much easier to think clearly about the issues when you take yourself out of the center of them. In other words, it’s not all about you.”

    I’m not sure why Mr. Shakes thinks that feminism is a tough sell to individual men. The entity known as feminism is based on a rational thought: men and women, as classes of people, are equal and morally entitled to be treated equally.

    All else follows.

  16. bigbalagan

    Thanks for the link to Shakes, I’ll have to reread it with some focus and comment over there. It suggests to me that there might be a use for a Patriarchy-blamers Running Dogs blog, where male blamer wannabes (like me!) can work it out without interrupting the genuine blamer discourse here. What’s going on here is tremendously compelling and resonant for me, but I can never escape the suspicion that I just oughta shut up my man’s trap. (The Silence of the Males might be a good place to start our own internal movement.)

    So as a potential target audience member (and what man can say he is not one?) I think the best format for a Menz! Can’t Live With ‘em, Can’t Live With ‘em FAQ would be to list in short form key typical challenged-male reactions (biased *away* from the obviously lunatic), with a Twisty-rhetoric response/context for each. This would give the thing maximum rhetorical punch. I’d hope for plenty of Twisty input, because that’s what helps to roll back the dull fog in my male cranium.

  17. Sasquatch's Sister

    Oh please, tell the librul menz how much we love it when they write things like this:
    http://tbogg.blogspot.com/2007/03/first-couplethe-thompson-family-fred.html
    And ooooh baby the comments the post inspired! Awe-sum! Makes a feminist chick feel like the blaming is all but over, coz we are so powerfully equal and shit.

  18. msxochitl

    Blamerella: “He’s proposing that getting them to realize that not only will they not lose anything, but that they will probably gain in many respects, might act to break their deathgrip on the patriarchy and its illusory privileges.”

    I don’t understand this claim that men won’t lose anything as women gain more freedom. Just as owners as a class benefit from capitalism, men as a class benefit from patriarchy. As women progress, men lose their power to rape us, kill us, buy us, sell us, consume us through prostitution and porn, tell us what to do, where to go, who to marry, how many kids to have, etc.

    Men know these privileges are real, and, regardless of how progressive their politics are, they don’t want to give them up.

  19. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    There is a part of me that wants to respond with “Boo Fucking Hoo” when the What About The Men question arises. But then I think about my youngest nephew. My brother-in-law who cared so tenderly for my sister through end-stage lupus. My significant other who, while being a massive pain the in ass at least part of the time, is also funny, decent, fair-minded, and not unskilled in the arts of the boudoir. And how thoughtful TP’s posts are. So I feel mean-spirited for not having any sympathy.

    But I like BubbasNightmare’s formula.

  20. MzNicky

    We’re only psuedo-Marxists? How disappointing. I’m going over to that blog with all the puppies. …where all the commenters know how to spell, and the ellipses run free.”

    Cass: That would be “psEUdo-Marxists.” Woe be unto those who disparage others’ spelling, for they their own selves shall surely misspell.

  21. LMYC

    All honesty, I don’t think it’s a FAQ we can write, women I mean. They have to talk to each other about this and write that FAQ themselves.

    I make no bets as to whether or not it will be worthwhile, though.

  22. Medbh

    msxochitl makes a good point about how many men deny any advantage or benefit in patriarchy. I run into this all the time.
    Bookstore dude: “how do I oppress women? I only make $8.00 an hour?”
    They think without money or a fancy job that they are blameless.

    I’m a vegetarian and that burger looks awfully tempting.

  23. Twisty

    msxochitl :

    I read the whole thing. He never acknowledges that men, as a class, benefit from the oppression of women. He claims that only rich men benefit from patriarchy–this is why he claims that the notion of male privilege is an illusion. [...] Now, what exactly does this have to do with feminism again?”

    Well, it ain’t about radical feminism, that’s for sure. It’s about opposition to patriarchy, which I own may be a useful place for the anti-feminist dude to begin his de-programming. I don’t personally subscribe to the gentle approach, mind you, but then again lard knows I’m no authority on convincing individual men to give up their asshole ways; there may be something in it.

  24. msxochitl

    Medbh,

    Or better yet, “I make $8 an hour and Oprah is a gazillionaire,” to prove that real oppresion is based on class, not gender or race.

  25. Twisty

    Oppression undoubtedly begins with sex (specifically, binary sex roles). But this sex-based model of dominance and submission is the basis for all other forms of oppression, and as a result oppression based on class, race, caste, sexual orientation, disability — they all intersect and collide and feed off of each other. It is not untrue to say that oppression is based on class. The wise among us know, however, that class oppression couldn’t exist without women’s oppression.

  26. hedonistic

    What msxochitl said: Even the bottom-of-the-totem-pole (straight) guys will lose the most important privilege of all. Sex.

    Deep down, men know they don’t have the “right” to sex. Unfortunately, most don’t even think forcing a cash-for-flesh paradimn on women is WRONG. As my (now ex-) boyfriend used to say: “Women have the pussy, but men have all the stuff.” In his mind this is a fair trade. This is one of the big reasons he’s an “ex.”

    He’s not alone, either. The liberation of women (worldwide) means there will no longer be desperate women willing to barter their bodies for safety, a handful of bills or a sandwich. The “price” of sex will go WAYYYYYY up, to an unacceptable level, i.e., men will actually have to make themselves sexually attractive, not to mention be considerate in and out of bed, to obtain what they consider a service commodity. No Fair!

  27. hedonistic

    Paradigm. Gah.

  28. Tpurplesage

    Naomi Wolf had a bit in her book “Fire with Fire” that I found very useful in talking with the menz (opinions about Ms. Wolf aside – and please excuse my bastardized remembrance from a decade ago). She said that Patriarchy is like a fun house mirror. Men have been looking at themselves and the mirror reflects back an image of men that twice real size, while to men, women look half of their size. Men need to acknowledge that in order to truly change the world, they must accept that they have to look away from the fun house mirror of Patriarchy and see themselves and women as their real sizes – equal. Men will have to accept a “decrease” in their power, as they have been granted an unequal level of power to begin with.
    But honestly, I take each man on his own, but would never trust them as a group. Just as I would never expect a person of color to accept me as a white person, unless they knew me personally. There is no reason for a person of color to trust a white person unequivocally, the same as there is no reason for a woman to trust a man unequivocally. The menz must learn to NOT take blaming personally (as stekatz so clearly stated). It is a reality, and denying it will not make it go away.

    Only honest, personal work towards change makes any difference in the world.

  29. thebewilderness

    “What can men do to help?”
    Pay attention, when the scales fall from your eyes stand up, speak up, listen up.
    “Men suffer too”
    This is true, but we are not talking about that right now. Get in line and wait your turn or go to Feminism 101 where they have the patience to put up with egocentric asshattery.
    “Not my Nigel”
    How nice for you. Are you comfy inside that bubble?

    just a start.

  30. Spicy

    Men have been looking at themselves and the mirror reflects back an image of men that twice real size, while to men, women look half of their size. Men need to acknowledge that in order to truly change the world, they must accept that they have to look away from the fun house mirror of Patriarchy and see themselves and women as their real sizes – equal.

    I think that´s Virginia Woolf – not Naomi.

  31. Cass

    MzNicky: That was the misspelling, and I was the misspeller that I was alluding to.

  32. stekatz

    I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before. I quote from Mary Poppins:

    “Though we adore men individually, we agree that as a group they’re rather stupid.”

    Sign along if you want.

  33. Antelope

    I admire what Mr. Shakes was trying to do, but I also agree with msxochitl that it overlooks the fact that dudes at every level have privilege and status that is, in fact, threatened by feminism. If we got what we wanted, a dude would have to have some interesting accomplishments, or a really terrific personality, to get what they get automatically in the present system. That’s scary stuff.

    What’s worse is I also agree with commenter Ted over there, who says that he finds a lot of the terminology condescending & therefore he’s not likely to embrace it.

    The condescending thing is not really a problem with Mr. Shakes post, insofar as he was just chatting with the converted about “this is what we need to do.” It’s a huge problem in writing a FAQ that would actually be effective though. I have a hard time thinking about this problem without getting pissed off, because of course when dudes are condescending to women we shrug off a fair amount of it as just the way things are. For me, after living in Alaska so long, it has to be really egregious before I even notice it.

    But if women take an attitude towards men that hints, ever so slightly, of, “okay honey, I’m trying to be understanding and wrap my mind around how you could manage to be so stupid,” well, that’s why the death threats come out, basically. And yet, what else can you possibly say to these people?

    How about something like this: Wake up and smell the coffee. You need to understand feminism for the same reason you need to understand China. There are more of us every day, and we’re catching up on every front. Even if you don’t work directly for us in the future, you are going to work for people who expect you to know how to work with us. We are already among the rule-makers, so it’s too late to keep us out by changing the rules. Get used to it. And if you’re too set in your ways to get used to it, then at least you’d darned well better teach your kids to get used to it if you expect them to amount to anything.

    To hell with telling these dudes not to be afraid. Let’s try telling them to be very afraid. In dude-world, telling someone to be afraid is seen as a form of respecting their intelligence. And if they believe you, it’s amazing how fast they will come up with reasons of their own to “independently” decide that they agree with the rest of your arguments.

  34. RobW

    What’s going on here is tremendously compelling and resonant for me, but I can never escape the suspicion that I just oughta shut up my man’s trap.

    Word.

  35. TP

    The desire to preserve their ability to exploit women in all the different categories of feminine roles is probably the main ingredient in any man’s resistance to radical feminism’s ideas. Exploiting women is a male privilege that is sugar-coated in countless cultural ways and usually proven by spurious and thoughtless appeals to a man’s ‘natural’ impulses or nature’s examples among the different instinctual behaviors of whatever beasts or lower orders man has found that appear to echo his sexist presumptions.

    Example: Body image and femininity.

    Men think that women enjoy their feminine roles and that it is natural for women to want to attract them by exhibiting feminine behaviors like dressing like a slut, using agreeable body language that signals submission like smiling, tilting the head, or simply suppressing their own voice in order to allow the privilege of male leadership in conversation and opinions.

    Men learn from patriarchal culture that it is natural for them to dress in ways that diminish their own bodies, either by slovenly inattention, or by draping voluminous sports jersey and baggy pants over their bodies like colorful body-burkhas. Since men regard themselves as the default human being, and women as a separate and distinct state of being human, one they wouldn’t want to be, they see the feminine state as a natural example of the exaggerated cultural differences between the sexes.

    Most men assume that women exist to please men through signaling sexual availability through clothing, body image and submissive demeanor, and men exist to please themselves by making themselves unattractive to each other, relieving themselves from the oppressive weight of the male sexual gaze that sees only scales of sexual arousal in appearances.

    Only by rejecting the hyper-sexualized world of the adolescent male can a man start to understand the weight of femininity. That isn’t easy for any man, no matter how sympathetic he may be to feminism. Most men will violently defend their privilege to live in a world where women exist to titillate men in their dress and demeanor. It’s the last stand of the feminist man every time: They love looking at women who are doing every thing they can to solicit male approval.

    Men feel, abstractly and without any overt emotional weight, that they too, are either attractive to women or not. A man who tries to dress himself and keep his body fit and signal sexual attractiveness to women feels a twinge of competitive despair as he ages, as he judges himself against other men. The fascination with big dicks comes in here; any man can understand the stress and anxiety of wondering if his dick is big enough.

    If a man examines these nascent and inchoate anxieties he will be able to start to understand the huge burden that femininity and body image is to women. Because he can be shown that if you add the oppression of male dominance to the equation the burden increases to the point of hysteria. Men shrug off feminist revelations of this burden as hysterical because they refuse to allow themselves to feel oppressed.

    Example: Reproduction and marriage.

    Reproduction is the foundation of sexism. Though we are all human, and so similar that we are fundamentally identical outside of the tiny portion of our bodies intended to reproduce ourselves like beasts, we take this one function and on it men have built an entire world-wide oppression of the subset of humans who are capable of this quotidian miracle.

    I can’t do better than Shulamith Firestone at explaining this. But we men have a set of issues with it that are based on the very sexist assumptions we cling to as if they didn’t harm us as often as they seemingly benefitted us.

    Men are taught that masculinity is a pathological need to fuck every woman they desire, and as many as possible. This is supposed to be success, and is believed to make men attractive to women and manly to each other. Being a man is being a dog, attracting and discarding women in great numbers, keeping score and winning self esteem through avoiding the love and affection that is the only natural expression of sexual interest I can think of.

    By accepting this idea, men have done themselves grave damage emotionally and intellectually. Some men have internalized this idea to the point of emotional retardation of tragic proportions. Is it any wonder that men like this are so angry? Women constantly wonder why men are so angry and depressed when men live in a self-made prison where love and affection can only lead to a diminishment of the essential selves, which they define as masculine according to the dictates of the culture as they understand it.

    The abstraction of sex into a sensory pleasure that is derived from exaggerating differences between the sexes; and diminishing love, affection and reproduction to the point where they are specifically denigrated as unmanly. This is central to the pathologies that make reproduction and marriage the crucible of friction in so many male-female relationships. We all experience and internalize this unresolvable problem if only through our parents.

    Men who decide to shake off the unattainable and untenable ideas of what is masculine and what is not can start to see women as fellow human beings exactly like them except for suffering oppression.

    Radical feminism brings out the vast majority of ways we are all essentially identical rather than the tiny minority of ways that we are slightly different. If we could take bearing babies out of the human experience and make it into a more perfect organic-mechanical process outside of the female body men could start to see women as even more identical, as Firestone says.

    Example: Sexual arousal and porn.

    Any reasonable sexist man will grow quickly angry and confused by any threats to his ability to consume it, and defensive and hostile to any evidence provided to suggest that porn is deeply offensive to women who haven’t been brain washed into accepting their own degradation.

    The radical feminist position that porn is overtly presented as glorifying women as abstractions and objects, as victims and as receptacles, as the objects of violence and existing outside of a normal human world of love and gentleness, is usually rebutted with the tired old idea that some women like being treated this way.

    Porn is demonstrably degrading to women in almost every single example that a defender could choose to exhibit. And in most of these examples, an impartial observer can easily detect clumsy tricks like overdubbing and editing to hide the discomfort of the woman acting out her arousal. But they choose to ignore it, because they haven’t yet become so degraded themselves as to lust after actual images – readily available and probably enjoyed in secret by even some who deny that porn degrades women – of women not enjoying their degradation.

    Men are understandably ashamed and defensive about their attraction to porn, and usually for unexamined reasons that they dismiss as residual prudery inflicted by our culture. They usually try porn-inspired sexual acts with women after much soul-searching and with the timidity of someone who desires something shameful. Underneath this shame is the repressed understanding that porn degrades women, and asking a woman to behave like a porn star is degrading.

    Men can understand why it is degrading to women only if they are able to look at women as human beings exactly like themselves who are having sex in an oppressive sexual environment wherein men are the aggressors and women the victims of male arousal. Men have a very hard time doing this because women have sexual needs that can almost always only be met by acting as if this system works for them. And after a certain amount of sexual conditioning, they mostly do make it work, however imperfectly for them; if work for them is limited to things like achieving orgasm or gaining companionship and intimacy with a man.

    The best tool for men to understanding the essential degradation of sex roles as they exist today is for a man to be raped by another man. I’m not sure how this works or if it would for a gay man, but for a straight man it is a powerful way to start to see how we are taught to pursue and coerce women into satisfying our arousal.

    Because men usually make the simple mistake of thinking that it would be fun to be oppressed and degraded like a woman, since they seem to get off on it and even go so far as to make statements that excuse and defend their own degradation. But men make the assumption that men would like to be oppressed by women, when women oppressing women is a completely different power struggle. A man must think: “How would I like to have to do this to make a man aroused in order to get off? Would I enjoy this role? Or would it be just a stupid fantasy that I would hate to actually act out, because once it becomes real, the feeling is being debased, not aroused?”

    Men avoid the male gaze directed at them and understand their own distaste for being subjected to male arousal if you make them understand that it is MALE arousal that oppresses, not female arousal. After this lesson, a man can start to see what colors the fundamental problems in a normal heterosexual relationship; the imbalance of arousal and desire.

    Men can understand further that porn degrades men when they consume it, too. Their shame in admitting to it, their actions in consuming it in secrecy and in private, their vehemence in denying it is harmful, all this tells more about how men really feel about porn than any reasonable argument can refute. The hold that porn has over men is so strong that women laugh at it.

    The state of porn today is so extreme and abstract, dealing with lust that has been exaggerated to the point of almost complete transgression, that it has desensitized men to normal sexual relations and inhibited their ability to enjoy the affection and love that sex was once thought to provide as a reward. Pornsick men, wanking almost uncontrollably for hours on end while watching women degraded in a hundred different ways, are training themselves through an almost hypnotic process into thinking of women as abstract creatures that exist to satisfy lust only. They defend their use of porn because they fear the loss of their hyper-exaggerated sexuality, as if it were natural and even enjoyable. Like any other addiction, it is only a waste of time, money and life.

    Porn degrades men precisely because it has this unbreakable hold over them, and they are all, every one of them, deeply ashamed of their inability to control the desire to degrade women sexually in return.

  36. TP

    I need to say right now that this is still and will always be a blog for and about what women think, not about what I think.

    What I hope for and expect is correction and amendment by all of the women here who have taught me all I know about feminism, which isn’t much. So don’t think I fear correction, think I welcome it instead.

    But I have to admit that as I embrace ever-more radical ideas of feminism, I find myself thinking of all the ways it has benefitted me, and what I would like to say to stupid men about it, from the perspective of a man who thinks feminism is just an oppressed class’s word for humanism. It’s humanism without sexism to me.

  37. octopod

    TP, fifth to last paragraph — I got confused by the sentence “But men make the assumption that men would like to be oppressed by women, when women oppressing women is a completely different power struggle.” Did I just totally fail to read this correctly or did you mix up genders somewhere?

    Otherwise — pretty nice clear summary of a lot of things I’ve read here, although possibly a bit long for a comment box!

  38. finnsmotel

    “Even the bottom-of-the-totem-pole (straight) guys will lose the most important privilege of all. Sex.”

    How about this one: men are granted a world where every single message delivered to us tells us that we are wanted and needed, sexually and otherwise, even when we’re not.

    To my way of thinking (which admittedly changes all the damned time), it’s the culture of male entitlement that is at the core of the problem. The sex component is a big part of it, but, I think it does often confuse the issue. The fact that there are tons of women who have come to not only accept, but relish the feminine role doesn’t mean that the culture of dominance and submission is somehow right or natural or whatever. It just means that many of us are used to it and can’t imagine a change making anything any better.

    I’m no anthropologist, so, I couldn’t begin to offer any history or reason for how we got to where we are now. And, I’m not sure how we get better, either, though I am listening as much as I am capable.

    I feel like a good first step for most of us blame-sympathetic males is to consider the times when we are given entitlements for no other accomplishment than being adult males. I would submit that this entitlement is so entrenched in our culture that it’s almost impossible to notice when it’s happening (not an excuse, just sayin).

    If a guy can make that distinction at all (and most simply cannot), he may be on his way to having other revelations fall into place. I believe most of these guys are able to leap the hurdle of accepting that they are not entitled to sex-on-demand. But, they, like me, will have a harder time with the realization that maybe they are less wanted and needed than they have been led to believe.

    -finn

  39. TP

    Dear octopod, I went so far overboard I hesitated to post it, but I did it anyway, since this is the first time there has been an invitation to look at how to convince men that feminism just makes sense.

    So I tried to compress the complicated idea of men assuming that women are as sexually privileged as men into that awkward sentence. White men have a hard time understanding what it’s like to be oppressed, especially if it challenges their assumptions, one of which is that women don’t feel oppressed by male desire.

    By a man putting himself in a woman’s place, he can start to understand the oppression if he has any empathy at all, which is rare. Most men PROJECT their male assumptions in women when they imagine themselves in their place, and assume that being oppressed is being desired, and that being desired, for a man, is a very nice thing.

    Mostly men imagine that being a woman is just like being a man, except men want to fuck you, which they, being men, think would be really great. “If I were a woman, I would love having everyone want to fuck me and I would use it to manipulate and control all the men around me,” they think. They think this because they are really projecting masculine desire into the woman they imagine themselves to be, and assuming that men would desire them in the submissive manner of an oppressed class.

    So really it becomes a woman who is desired by women that they are imagining. They have no inkling of the very real differences in the way men exhibit desire to women and women exhibit desire to men.

    I also have believed for quite some time that this is a reasonable explanation for men’s love of lipstick lesbian porn. Men easily project their desires into women and think it only natural that they should feel the same hyper-exagerrated lust that they have been taught to feel by our hyper-sexualized culture. The nicer ones who aren’t actually enjoying it because they have such contempt for women that the ultimate act of debasement is to make a woman submit to another woman, that is. That’s another reasonable belief about why men are so turned on by this kind of porn.

  40. Scratchy888

    In terms of “what about the men”, a lot of people might not realise that probably many men feel very insecure as human beings because of what they’re allowed to get away with. It’s like the old notion of little Johnny who transgresses in order to draw his parents’ attention to him and make them set some boundaries. He wants to know that there are moral boundaries to his behaviour — what he is or isn’t allowed to do — because that makes him feel human and as if he belongs. In accordance with this feature of human psychology, I’d suggest that a society which allows men to get away with abusing women is a society which doesn’t particularly love men, either. It hates them. If no moral boundaries are set with regard to men’s behaviour, then the men feel not safe, but insecure, vapid, as if their actions do not really matter, and as if they might be torn apart by the winds because of their own moral vacuums. This is probably a secondary cause of misogyny — the feeling that many men have that neither women nor men will set any limits on their behaviour.

  41. LCforevah

    I’m watching my father get re educated right now, and it’s better than any reality TV! After 52 years of marriage, my mother died from cancer and my father is courting someone after some 60 years of not dating–he was attached to my mother for a long time. He’s from a latin american country, and has an incredible sense of male privilege.

    He’s now going out with a woman fourteen years his junior, and although she’s latina, the relationship she had with her deceased husband is completely different from the kind my parents had. She has her own house, her own income, her own set of friends. There’s no dependency on him. She’s very quick witted, and when my father tries out some chauvinistic BS on her, she has an immediate response that’s for her own benefit. Oh, and she does it without yelling or screaming, so my father can’t even accuse her of bad behavior!

    It’s very amusing to see my father so discombobulated, because he simply can’t get one up on her! The old dog has to learn new tricks if he wants to be with her.

  42. Catherine Martell

    Seconding BubbasNightmare’s “it’s not all about you” point. Love that phrase.

    Seconding also Blamerella’s anti-Evo Psych policy, and Twisty’s mention of restrictive binary sex roles. Few things irk me more than smug scientists attempting to argue that I am naturally silly because of my ovaries. Especially if it’s “that” time of the month. Har har fucking har.

    I find that this is one of the most common things I have to argue with non-feminists: that it is the view of many scientists that women and men, though they are obviously different in some physical aspects, are not consistently different. There is infinite variety in nature and generalisations about how women will feel, behave or look, based on biological constructs, are baloney. Unfortunately the following article is subscription-only, but the arch-patriarch source is impeccable for pointing out to such goons that even their own beloved establishment is coming round:
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg17022905.000-the-gender-police.html

    Another thing I seem to have to defend rather too often is the idea that women are still the victims of discrimination, and that tables have not in fact turned so that we may merrily stomp all over the men. Usually, a quick sprint through some arresting statistics is enough to point this out, viz:
    - According to the United Nations, women do 2/3 of the world’s work, earn 1/10 of world incomes, and own less than 1/100 of the world’s property.
    - NOW has plenty of stats on violence against women in the US: http://www.now.org/issues/violence/stats.html Some putzes attempt to trot out the “Butbutbut 80% of the victims of violent crime are men” argument, to which the answers are, obviously, that violence against women is seriously underreported and tends to be domestic; and that almost all violent crime against men is perpetrated by other men. Marvel at the patriarchy: it does not flinch from spoiling a man’s day, either (especially if he be non-rich or non-white).
    - The only industries in which women consistently earn more than men (and this is, of course, at the level of worker rather than managerial) are modelling and porn.
    - I could go on. But maybe such things aren’t even the point here. It depends just how low down the education ladder you want to aim the FAQ. And, anyway, there’s already http://finallyfeminism101.blogspot.com/

    Speaking of which, I would also think it reasonable to point out in the DGWATM-FAQ, as I believe the existing FAQ does, that IBTP is not a primer. If the chap in question is unfamiliar with the classics of feminist literature and/or the basics of feminist thought, or he is only aware of such things through the medium of right-wing talk radio, his argument may appear, at best, charmlessly naif.

  43. Antelope

    I really agree with Scratchy888 about men looking for boundaries.

    Maybe this is also why it’s more common to meet women that are genuinely obsessed with freedom, rather than just with setting up a different kind of hierarchy with themselves a little higher up. Men feel somewhat oppressed by their freedom already as it is. Women are not in much danger of feeling like we have no limits. Not since we were toddlers anyway.

  44. josquin

    I appreciate TP’s comment, long though it was.
    I wonder what experiences led to this kind of introspection. perception, and subsequent understanding of a subtle, pervasive, and complex problem?

  45. Mel

    TP: Very interesting. Thank you.

    Finnsmotel said, “How about this one: men are granted a world where every single message delivered to us tells us that we are wanted and needed, sexually and otherwise, even when we’re not.”

    Yipes! As a married woman I can honestly say that men may be needed because of the situation in which marriage/nuclear family places a woman. But wanted? Unfortunately, the needing kind of cancels out the wanting. And it IS unfortunate, because I think I can remember a time when there was true wanting–before the needing. The oppression really revs up when the needing starts.

  46. mearl

    TP, my jaw hung open as I read your post. It made me realise so many things about the way guys think that I could NEVER have imagined on my own. I have said before that I don’t believe in cheerleading guys who work for feminism’s goals, since I feel that’s the way all guys ought to be, but I have to make the exception here and give you a virtual stomach high-five for this well-thought-out and insightful post.

    You said that “…The best tool for men to understanding the essential degradation of sex roles as they exist today is for a man to be raped by another man. I’m not sure how this works or if it would for a gay man, but for a straight man it is a powerful way to start to see how we are taught to pursue and coerce women into satisfying our arousal.”

    I never thought about this in-depth before, but after reading this I am beginning to see exactly WHY straight men are so homophobic. Underneath it all, they DO realise the massive extent to which they oppress women, but instead of even admitting it to themselves their brain coughs it out to their conscious minds as “Gay guys are scary/gross.” Call me dimwitted, but I used to think that the reason for widespread homophobia was just that hetero men were raised to be selfish and didn’t want anyone going near their precious rectal orfices. Now I realise it’s so much more than that. Gay men are the scariest thing to straight men because they are concrete, unavoidable physical examples of the oppressive straight male’s sexual behaviour. The existence of gay men forces straight men to think about what it could be like to be on the receiving end of male behaviour. SCAAAAARY!

    All I can say, TP, is “Word.”

  47. LMYC

    Mearl, I’ve said it before: their way of thinking about sex is, “If I get my dick in you, you lose.” Gay men threaten to turn them into losers, when nature already thoughtfully provided men with pre-fab instant losers — women. They truly do think that if they get their dicks in you, you lose. The “nice” guys believe it and feel guilty over it (and usually accuse us of making them feel guilty, or else they are truly nice and just torture themselves over enjoying women’s bodies, and I don’t have an answer for that sort of thing). The assholes believe it and enjoy it.

    “If I get my dick in you, you lose.” That’s sex, to their mind. Okay, 100%-epsilon, but once again I’m not interested in being told how enormous epsilon is, okay?

  48. TP

    Thank you, mearl. My introspection, shallow as it probably is, led me to some of the guesses I’ve made about men.

    I hesitate to admit what a tool I’ve been my whole life for fear of what you all would think of me. I know about homophobia because I was aggressively chased by gay men when I was a teenager in the 70s. When you’ve been whistled at by gay men, harassed and nearly raped, you have to use patriarchal privilege super-denial powers to refuse to understand what it feels like to be oppressed if you are a woman.

    Men hate the very idea of the male gaze turned on them. Then they turn right around and say women must like it, because lookit that stripper up there sweating on that pole, she’s smiling, isn’t she? She likes it she likes it! Delusional fools! Beneath contempt, the lot of them.

    I’ve got another insight about gay men seeing the right to collect alimony – also known as gay marriage – as an unacceptable infringement on their privilege to fuck poor young men and then kick their asses out in the street after finding a younger one to take their place. Male privilege serves gay men just as handily as straight men.

  49. LMYC

    Oh GAWD, evo-psych. Otherwise known as “Just So Stories.” Otherwise known as a bunch of middle-aged paunchy ugly old bastards rationalizing that, if we lived on the veldt as our distant ancestors did and as Mankind[tm] was meant to live, all thsoe hot fifteen year lds in the neighborhood would be climbing over each other to get at his dick, so there!

    Seriously. If one of those books says that evolution demands that fertile females naturally wish to attach themselves to up-and-coming males of the herd who challenge the established alpha hierarchy, it was written by a postdoc. If the book says that fertile females naturally wish to attach themselves to the older, established males who have builthierarchical status, it was written by a guy who got tenure. It’s so fucking transparent.

  50. TP

    Oops. I conflated josquin and mearl. My apologies!

  51. Scratchy888

    Few things irk me more than smug scientists attempting to argue that I am naturally silly because of my ovaries. Especially if it’s “that” time of the month. Har har fucking har.

    Yes– that is indeed a strange notion that some people have. I find that at “That” time of the month my thinking is much more rigorous — incredibly and cuttingly perceptive. I can cut through a lot of fluff to get to the crux of things particularly at this intensively aware time.

  52. Lisa

    TP-

    Do you really believe that “women are oppressed by male desire”?

    Or is it that women are oppressed by the way men in our culture express heterosexuality?

    God, I feel like a troll. But it took me a long time to understand the difference between a critique of male sexual desires and a critique of the way men express their sexual desires. They are, I believe two different things.

  53. the first born fish

    TP– I love you. I printed out your long and beautiful blame. I’m still in high school, so I see patriarchy at the gross transformation from childhood brainwashing to when opressive thoughts become opressive actions.

  54. JimmyDean'sFuckedUpCousinClyde

    I think it important to note that the inability to see one another—regardless the gender, age, race, intelligence, culture, or health— as fellow ‘beings of the human sort,’ travelers on the same journey is as much to fault as a societal system of entitlement or empowerment unfairly biased toward one gender.
    Not to diminish the need to right THAT listing ship—–it’s only 4000 years later than it should’ve been. IF women were given political power in America, (an amendment demanding 50 Male amd 50 Female Senators and 218 Female and 218 Male Representatives in a special election) we could begin to seriously return egalitarian parity to where it ought to be: EVENLY divided. (Better still: 51 Female and 49 Male, etc. —but one step at a time.)
    As long as the power remains in the hands of the men, the women will continue to be diminished by it, and our children exposed to it as “the prevailing order of things.”

  55. Jane Awake

    In my experience, it is difficult to discuss feminism with men for many, many reasons, a particularly annoying one being that they so often derail the conversation into a what-about-the-men fest. I’ve also had (I’m sure we’ve all had) even more annoying experiences trying to discuss feminism with women who do the same thing.

    Recently, on my blog, I wrote a post about being in situations in which I felt like I needed to explain feminist ideas to men and was frustrated because of it. I was specifically discussing doing so within a romantic relationship because my partner is a man. I’m sure other women currently dating, cohabitating with or married to men can relate to my particular frustration.

    My post was basically a request for advice, and I was surprised by the different directions the thread took. Some of the ideas might be helpful for this discussion, and some of the experiences are infuriating.

    As the thread developed, I was ranting to a friend of mine on gmail chat. I told her I was frustrated about one woman’s response, but more so that I felt like there wasn’t a good answer to the initial question I’d raised. I said, “I keep thinking that if I asked Twisty, for example, how to handle this, she would say, ‘this is why you shouldn’t date men.’” That might be a wrongheaded assumption (I hope not), but if any of you would like to check out the post/thread here’s a link.

  56. TP

    Hi, Lisa. You are making a distinction between male desire and how men express that desire that I find too vague to agree or disagree with.

    If you would be kind enough to expand on your ideas about this distinction it’s likely that I will find much to agree with, and certain that you will take me someplace that I would like to know more about.

    I can tell you that I feel that I have been a typical victim of the hyper-sexualization of male desire myself. I’ve felt keenly the pressure to aspire to a grossly exaggerated ideal of constant arousal and frustration over the inevitable stifling of that desire.

    My idea is basically that sex is not nearly as important to happiness throughout our entire lives as Freud and just about everyone in the world seems to think. I think it is rather a bottomless well of anxiety and mismatched expectations that fuel the friction between the sexes by exaggerating their differences by making these tiny differences central to their identities.

    When your first and highest definition of yourself is of your sex, be it man or woman, then you have a sexist problem waiting every time you act or think. Woman is always the Other to you, she becomes an abstraction that stands for the frustration of your endless desires, and love and affection become remote and meaningless barriers to your need to quench your fathomless lust on every woman you see who you desire.

    Twisty has been teaching me, in her offhand and entertaining way, for many years now, mostly on this blog, that this definition of yourself as a creature of unending desire is a burden rather than a pleasure. And age has conspired to prove her right.

  57. Loosely Twisted

    I am a natural lurker, it’s hard for me to get involved in the discussions because I feel so woefully inadequate. But I have to say to TP: You bring a welcomed and honest voice to the comment threads I read everyday. It’s great that you have seen the light and I enjoy reading your comments.

    Thank you.

  58. Lisa

    TP-

    What I meant was that if a man has a desire to have sex with a specific woman he can do nothing, or attempt to sleep with her. Doing nothing is not oppressive. He can go about attempting to have sex with her by attempting to talk to her and see if she would like to become friends or date and ask if she is interested in casual sex, and then continue to treat her with respect if she says yes OR no. I also don’t see how this is oppressive. Or he could be rude and agressive and make offensive remarks if she says no, etc. This is the problem.

    Since most people on this board are not asexual (although I know some people identify that way, and that’s fine) we have sexual desires. I do not think these desires are inherently bad but I do think that the way our sexist society teaches men to deal with those desires is. I also don’t like the messages women get about sex either.

    Bottom line – the erection a man gets from a wet dream about his secretary does not oppress her. The smack on the butt and harrassing comments do.

  59. Chialea

    On the subject of evo-psych:

    But the behaviours of men who oppress women are natural! Evolution makes men spread their seed/rape/etc!

    Even assuming that this is true, what you’re saying is that past evolutionary pressures encourage certain types of behaviour. If this were the case, we should all be adjusting selective pressures to wipe out this trait forthwith. By making an evolutionary psych argument for the existence of a trait, you are necessarily arguing that said trait can be changed.

    However, a great deal of evolutionary psych, especially as published in popular literature, is simply full of crap.

  60. Frigga's Own

    Jane Awake, I don’t think anyone here will tell you not to date men (though some of the nastier examples of abusive relationships have caused many of us to say DTMFA). We certianly won’t phrase it in a way that makes you seem at fault.

    What you seem to be having trouble with is getting him to unpack his privilege long enough to listen to what you’re trying to tell him. tekanji’s “Check my what?” On privilege and what we can do about it at Shrub.com, as well as every post with the tag ‘Privilege in Action’ is chock full of easy to approach concepts on privilege, links to more information, and demonstrations on what it means to have privilege. Also, once he’s heard about his privilege, you can show him that you have common ground with him by exposing your own privileges (race, class, education) to demonstrate that neither one of you is bad for having them. Let him know that when you enter a discussion with people who have less access to privilege than you do, you check yours at the door, and he’s expected to try to do the same when you’re speaking to him about women.

    Calm and reasonable usually works, at any rate. Hitting them with a rolled up newspaper tends to just make ‘em mean.

  61. Twisty

    “Even assuming that this is true, what you’re saying is that past evolutionary pressures encourage certain types of behaviour. If this were the case, we should all be adjusting selective pressures to wipe out this trait forthwith. By making an evolutionary psych argument for the existence of a trait, you are necessarily arguing that said trait can be changed.”

    Amen to that, sister.

  62. Twisty

    “Calm and reasonable usually works, at any rate. Hitting them with a rolled up newspaper tends to just make ‘em mean.”

    Or, you could dump them. Seriously. Why beat your head against a wall with a guy who won’t listen to you without a bunch of psychological manoevering, coddling, and cajoling? You don’t need a man. And even if you did, as the happily-paired-off straight girls around here are constantly pointing out, there are guys out there who already get it. Why not hold out for one of those?

  63. Tracey

    I imagine an FAQ for men on this site would be much more on the completely-serious-but-still-laugh-out-loud-funny-in-its-way-of-pointing-out-the-truth side, but the FAQs on the blog Feminism 101 lay it out there pretty plainly if you don’t feel like going to all the trouble:

    http://finallyfeminism101.blogspot.com/2007/03/faq-i-asked-some-feminists-question-and.html

    The author over there starts out:

    FAQ: I asked some feminists a question, and instead of answering they sent me here. Why?

    Your question probably covered ground they have gone over many times before, and they didn’t want to derail the interesting discussion they were already having.

    People find ignorant questions frustrating, and questioners find being ignored frustrating, and such mutual dissatisfaction can totally disrupt a discussion. By sending you here the feminists hope to avoid being interrupted, yet are also not completely ignoring your question(s).

    Maybe you didn’t ask a question at all, but stated an argument that denied the importance of the topic being discussed. Feminists naturally don’t care for the thought of trying to run you through reams of introductory material before you gain the grounding to realise the basis whereby they perceive an important problem where you may not.

    Either way, educating you on the basics would derail the discussion about the actual topic the feminists are interested in, just for you. That’s an awful lot to ask of people on the net who don’t even know you, isn’t it?

    This blog exists to give you a few pointers to places you can find more information to answer your question (although we’re only in early days yet, FAQs will continue to be added until the basics are covered). Once you are better informed you will be able to contribute to lively feminist discussions productively, armed with facts and theory, even if/when you don’t end up agreeing with all the theories.

  64. Mandos

    Even assuming that this is true, what you’re saying is that past evolutionary pressures encourage certain types of behaviour. If this were the case, we should all be adjusting selective pressures to wipe out this trait forthwith. By making an evolutionary psych argument for the existence of a trait, you are necessarily arguing that said trait can be changed.

    Yes, but not on a timescale that’s going to matter to you.

  65. BubbasNightmare

    Twisty:
    “And even if you did, as the happily-paired-off straight girls around here are constantly pointing out, there are guys out there who already get it. Why not hold out for one of those?”

    Preach, sister! How many guys-who-get-it out there stand and watch good female friends endlessly struggle with recalcitrant knuckle-draggers?

    Hedonistic:
    “The liberation of women (worldwide) means there will no longer be desperate women willing to barter their bodies for safety, a handful of bills or a sandwich. The “price” of sex will go WAYYYYYY up, to an unacceptable level, i.e., men will actually have to make themselves sexually attractive, not to mention be considerate in and out of bed, to obtain what they consider a service commodity.”

    Doubled, and redoubled!

    To think of all those years I wasted wandering in a testosterone fog. Wish I had known some of you during my formative years.

  66. Babs

    Actually, Lisa, I would disagree about your distinction between desire and the expression of desire. I think one of the problems with “the world” is the fact that it’s a sexually romanticized marketplace. Men feel a right that is reinforced by almost everyone besides radical feminists to subject every woman they see to the heterosexual male gaze. Men are told by everyone, everywhere, from as early as they can listen, that they “think about sex every 4 seconds” that “their natural desire is to spread their seed” and that “men naturally have to look.”

    I disagree with these statements that men will naturally evaluate women for f$#@!ability, and I resent it every time it happens to me. I think it is gross and creepy to be an image in some strange man’s head. I know it can’t be made illegal to look at people, but I think it’s possible to remove this learned behavior masquerading as a “natural compulsion.” The matrix of female submission and sexual availability makes it possible for men to feel a right to think sexual thoughts about any woman (or girl) they so choose. These constant sexual thoughts are unnecessary a hindrance to our species, as well as the possibility for extended life of any kind on Earth, at the rate humans are destryoing Her. There are too many humans in this world- period. All socialization of young humans should celebrate the individual, remove all encouragement toward heterosexually conjugal state-sanctioned unions resulting in a nuclear family unit, and begin to reinforce in everyone’s minds the non-priority that sexual intercourse is.

  67. V.

    To Jane:

    It’s not that hard to parse this behavior.

    If a dude doesn’t respect your point of view, he doesn’t respect your point of view.

    Straight up.

    Are these or aren’t these your core convictions in life?

    Do you want to be with someone who not only doesn’t get it, but only grudingly allows that some few of your convictions may be correct in a limited number of circumstances, and certainly don’t really involve him?

    Believe me, there are few more miserable experiences than tying your life to someone for whom reality isn’t real.

    Ultimately, you’re not real to him.

    And there’s that Patriarchy-raised part that keeps thinking,”But if he loved me, he’s really get it. I’m sure he loves me, so if I keep trying, I’m sure he’ll get it.”

    Which would be fine and good, except that you’re not real to him.

    That’s what you’re knocking your head against, and believe me, there’s no win there.

    BT, DT.
    IBTP.

  68. kcb

    The oppression really revs up when the needing starts.

    Word, honey. I know fellow SAHMs whose marriages have been corroded by the creeping spread of need into those marriages. Need does replace want — replaces it by way of fear, shame and resentment surrounding the dependence of one adult human on another. I’m not talking about the interdependence that’s normal in a healthy adult relationship. I’m talking about “he drinks too much but I couldn’t support the kids on my own,” or “he never does anything nice for me but I don’t have the job skills to get back into the workforce” or “our marriage is dead but I have nowhere else to go.” It’s great for the husbands in these scenarios — they act like selfish assholes and never face any consequences for it apart from the loss of love which, let’s face it, they probably never really cared about anyway.

    How to avoid such a dreadful fate if you’re inclined to pair off with a fellow? The first and most important step is, as Twisty says, hold out for a guy who gets it.

  69. finnsmotel

    “Yipes! As a married woman I can honestly say that men may be needed because of the situation in which marriage/nuclear family places a woman.”

    Chicken or the husband.

    I suppose if you are intent on having a nuclear family, you’re going to need a male daddy type.

    I am one. Not arguing against it. Just sayin’.

    What’s interesting, to me, lately, is the phenomenon of humans placing the value label of “purpose” on various types of behaviors. I would submit that a very large majority of the population is incapable of accepting the overwhelming possibility that everything we are or do is coincidental, accidental, incidental and has no purpose.

    It’s a drag, because if we could accept that inevitability, it seems like we’d relieve ourselves of so much collective anxiety. Who knows where we might go with that kind of freedom.

    -finn

  70. lawbitch

    kcb, preach, sister! Make sure that your guy gets it, and make sure that you know what’s in his heart. Even then, traditional marriage is a risk (in a no-fault divorce world), but you’ll have a better chance (and a more amicable divorce, if it comes to that).

  71. Mandos

    I think it is gross and creepy to be an image in some strange man’s head. I know it can’t be made illegal to look at people, but I think it’s possible to remove this learned behavior masquerading as a “natural compulsion.”

    Oh? So do you think that looking at and imagining other people, sexually or otherwise, serves no positive function either? And you think that the sight of people has no relation to sexual attraction except social conditioning? And you also think that sex drives are also environmentally determined?

  72. RadFemHedonist

    “All socialization of young humans should celebrate the individual.”

    Very true.

  73. Frigga's Own

    “You don’t need a man.”

    No, but I do need a place to live, someone to care for me financially because I can’t work, and someone who will wheel my body around when I can’t control it anymore. Once upon a time I could do for myself, now I need the financial protection of someone else’s health care and paycheck. Wouldn’tcha know it, the patriarchy has decided that I can’t get that by marrying one of my feminist sisters (which, given my druthers, I might have done). Revolution is great, but it doesn’t pay for the doctor’s bills, so I make do by educating the one I live with.

    But I’m not taking his frigging last name, if only as a small sign that I protest the entire system that makes me his dependant.

  74. TP

    There is a time in life when we are going to have sex as a central hormonal force, and feminism has to deal with that at some point. Not me, though.

    But I suspect we pretend that we are always the same age – post-pubescent hormone-rattled youngsters who have little choice but to wallow in lustful longing. I enjoyed not dealing with a hyper-sexualized world when I was a kid. Instantly after puberty I was filled with longing for the days of childhood when sex was a dirty joke, something to laugh about.

    Instead of assuming that sex is always this constant force in our lives, I think it has seasons and different intensities. What do we see in our culture that examines or reinforces this feeling? Nothing! The culture says we are all horny youngsters ready to drop everything and fuck like bunnies whenever we want.

    Men use porn to keep themselves in an artificially high state of arousal all the time, or else how could the porn industry be raking in 12 billion dollars a year? Not to mention all the other activities men engage in to keep themselves aroused, including looking at women with lust instead of love.

    Since men rule the world, male arousal goes unquestioned and unexamined. I think men will never admit to being tired of being manipulated by constant signals of desire in the media and wherever they look. They’re all rats in a cage, and every last one of them thinks it’s fine.

    Sure sex feels good. But it feels just as good without sexism. Whether women are oppressed by the male gaze is unquestionable to me. If you shave your legs, there’s a sign right there. Why any woman ‘needs’ to shave her legs is completely cultural. I’ve never shaved mine and I’m perfectly comfortable.

    But both men and women are oppressed by male desire. Men are only rendered somewhat uncomfortable and frustrated, whiney little whiners! while women are routinely beaten, raped and murdered all over the world.

    A man who is in love with a woman and desires her and never lets her know about it is oppressing himself in a way. We can’t help it, but the sad truth is that unrequited love is basically objectifying love. And loving someone who doesn’t love you is loving an image rather than a reality, a fantasy that will never come true.

    I should know. I’m the sad sack king of unrequited love. Or was. Not any more, thanks to my beloved best friend and wife.

  75. techne

    Amen, Mandos.

    There’s understandably a lot of animus here against “evo psych,” but as a working scientist in a complex and related field (behavioral/psychiatric genetics) I’m here to tell you that the simplifications and elisions and sexist conclusions you read in the media are just that: simplifications. They were necessary at some level to get the article out there. They do not represent how the topics are discussed within the fields. In fact they piss us off, big time. (While I am of course speaking in generalities, so is everyone else here when they speak of men and women’s essential natures in the patriarchy without reference to how these things are not necessarily true for individuals, so I think y’all can understand.)

    To point out that there are evolutionary constraints on our behavior is not to say that they are right and good and How It Should Be. The goal of the scientific method is to generate testable hypotheses, which the evolutionary perspective is capable of doing (indeed, the feminist perspective has been very useful in generating hypotheses as it opens up a whole new way of thinking which counters the limited perspective of white dudes: cf Hrdy’s work). Some people do the “natural means good and right” for their purposes, and likewise, WE can study the natural for OUR purposes: to combat the patriarchy. Even the white dudes acknowledge that natural is not necessarily good: physiological disease is natural too, and we seek to eradicate them through science–it’s up to feminists to do the same and try to eradicate the mental disease of patriarchy. When we berate journalists for making the error that natural is right, we are falling into their sensationalist trap.

    I’ve been reading this blog for a little while and I have been wondering: why is there so little interest in interrogating the origins of patriarchy? The explanations seem to stop at the cultural level, but culture comes from somewhere–-our brains/bodies, constrained by their evolutionary pasts, draw its outlines and set its limits. RadFems acknowledge this when they wistfully imagine a day when gestation can happen outside the female body. It’s understood at some level that this will make equality between the sexes more likely. Why?

    To put it in scientific terms, the fundamental imbalance that drives patriarchy is the plain fact that the burden of childbearing–that is, sustaining the species, every living thing’s biological imperative–falls on women disproportionately, and the related fact that human young take a very long time to grow up, so the investment does not end at childbirth. This constrains reproductive strategies (imagine species where the young need no care, and how differently their behavior is structured). Example: harems make brilliant sense for affluent men. All they have to do is pay for them and their genes are all over the place. But each baby is a massive investment for a woman, and the window they have to reproduce is shorter, so such a strategy (multiple men) is not too advantageous, and it’s harder to accumulate affluence (through hunting/gathering, war, etc.) when you are breastfeeding anyway. Being in a harem can even be a good idea for women, as your baby can get pretty good care which increases its chances of survival and therefore the number of babies you’ll have time to have. That’s where the traditional white scientist dude explanation ends: harems are the strategy. However, feminism has pointed out to these dudes that it’s not the only strategy that works: it can be shown that strong pair bonds and menopause also increase the likelihood of a child’s survival, and it’s a strategy available to a wider variety of men. Our clueful male breeder blamers use this strategy, instead of the “mate with a lotta women and hope some kids survive” strategy. I assume they do, anyway.

    Another example, the shoe debate. Oh, it sure is awful that high heels are painful to women and men don’t have to deal with it, *wring hands*. But why would women hurt their fitness by wearing heels (or binding their feet)? Foot problems and lifelong pain (or induced crippling) are not to their advantage in raising children. Millions of women WANT to wear high heels, endure the pain and risk–why? To blame it on patriarchal brainwashing is facile in that it goes no deeper than the culture and doesn’t ask why the culture formed in that particular way. It makes it impossible to craft a solution. Maybe that’s not the goal of this blog/radical feminism (I’ve been meaning to ask that, actually, what IS the goal here?) But that’s the way I think, and so that’s where I can look to reproductive strategies. There is a biological imperative to reproduce and heels make women look attractive to men for reasons that the evo devos are working out, as it generates testable hypotheses. Here’s how: if, by sticking out the booty, the waist-hip ratio appears larger, and if that ratio affects people’s perceptions of attractiveness, and if it does so because it implies a wider pelvis, and if a wider pelvis increases a woman’s likelihood to survive childbirth, then you have four testable hypotheses, not just white-dude conjectures–and these hypotheses have been and are being tested.

    There’s also a sense in which plain old nonsexual competition within sexes for money and power (it should be obvious how these increase reproductive success, in both sexes) shapes behavior. Look around an office with a lot of women at different social levels and note the lower heels of the white collar vs. pink collar women. Look around that same office and note the greater heights of the more successful men. More affluent women do not need the harem approach, they can support children themselves, thankyouverymuch. Shorter men earn less than taller men, and are seen as weaker. The patriarchy comes in at the heels-hurt-more-than-lifts and fewer-women-at-top-echelons level, but does not explain the desires on both sexes’ parts to change their appearances.

    Sorry for the length, but as I say I’ve been reading the blog for a while now and have been itching to make these points. I offer them in the spirit of discussion and not combativeness and hope that they are so received. It seems that it’d be considered rude to post this on my blog and try and move ppl over there, but if I’m wrong and that’s more appropriate, I hope to work with Twisty to do so by shortening this post and replacing it with a link or something such.

  76. Babs

    Mandos: I think sexual imagination can be positive within the contents of an egalitarian pre-existing sexual relationship. I do not think it should be assumed as perfectly allright to utilize one’s sexual imagination to conjure fantasies about whomever one chooses- I think it’s an infringement on the privacy of that person. Perhaps it’s a big hangup of mine, but I find no pleasure in fantasizing about someone with whom I’m not currently in a sexual relationship. I began to feel this way gradually, as I grew into my role as a member of the sex class. First I railed against the catcalls, then I raged against the men in public who seemed to feel like the fact that we were existing in the same physical space and time was enough of a reason to begin to initiate some sort of dialog with me (a dialog they would not initiate with just any human being because they are just friendly guys, these are dialogs attempted specifically because of my sex); then my rage snowballed and the very idea that it was somehow okay for some dude to pluck my image from the public sphere and tuck me into some fantasy in which I exist to provide him pleasure seemed to absurd to me, that I felt like an utter hypocrite fantasizing about anyone other than current partners. That feeling of hypocrisy quickly became a lack of sexual interest.

    Am I wrong? Is everyone totally fine with others picturing them doing things that they would never, in a zillion years, do? To put it in “guy” terms- Guy #1 says to Guy #2: “Hey fella! Last night I whacked off while thinking of your mom (insert latest pornographic male fantasy here).” Guy #2 proceeds to punch Guy #1. Somehow, those thoughts are not okay when about women forbidden from being objectified, i.e., Guy #2′s mom. So why are they okay to have about any other woman who is not currently enthusiastically participating in a sexual relationship with him?

  77. LMYC

    Frankly, my main beef with evo-psych (and it is a huge one) is that male drives and desires are seen as writ into our DNA, whereas women’s complaints about them are just PC pandering. What — we don’t have DNA as well? We’re not the inheritors of the ages, even when we are angry?

    So WHAT if men are genetically programmed to rape? I’m just as genetically programmed to try to kill the son of a bitch who tries — why is the “drive to resist rape” not considered the calibration drive in the human species? Why are there no books about how evo-psych jusdtifies and moreover celebrates the female drive to violently castrate any asshole who rapes her? no, all of the books that concentrate on women’s drive concentrate on our innate desire to be treated like shit.

    Evo-psych effectively was once used to justify slavery as well — they didn’t CALL it evo-psych because they had no strictly defined concept of evolution, but you read some of the pro-slavery tracts of the time and see if you can tell the difference. Evo-psych is simply not a science that is located anywhere but behind the curve in all circumstances. A lot of sciences — biology, chemistry, and physics as examples — are sometimes poorly used but the disciplines themselves are very often ahead of the curve and populated by entrenched liberals. It’s why scientists are often the first people lined up against the wall when totalitarian regimes get started. Evo-psych is almost uniformly reactionary, sorry. I have no respect for it. I’ve never seen it used as anything but justification for whatever the interlocutor wanted already.

    It also involves way the hell too much interpretation to be anything like a science. I once recall watching a TV show that interviewed guys with “Dr.” in front of their names who were talking about animal behavior; it was a laugh a minute. They were talking about horses — the youngest male of the herd often walks ahead of the older mares. If he finds a water source, he drinks it, then goes back and leads the mares there. Of course, the interpretation was that he was in charge, he drank his fill, and “only then does he lead the mares to drink theirs.” That was the exact wording. In charge? He was expendable. He was the food-taster. He was out in front because if he got eaten by a puma, he was replaceable.

    There were also three males dolphins sreaking along as fast as they could behind a female dolphin, also going as fast as possible. She led them the whole way. Two of the three finally tired and peeled off, and then she turned and mated with the last one. Of course, the Dee-R-Period they had explaining things said that they ran her down and tired her out, and also made a cute little chuckly rape joke in the bargain. The fact that she was going to keep up that speed until there was only one male left who was strong enough to be a good mate — that she was winnowing her prospects by turning around only when the two weakest males had given up — never occured to them.

    Sorry — evo-psych is Rudyard Kipling’s JSS with fancier language. And that’s all it is.

  78. techne

    LMYC, I wish you saw it as your imperative and obligation to stand up and offer your counter-interpretations to the field. Your concessions of the floor to the men look to me like giving up. Why not engage, or at the least support those who do?

    I highly recommend the the work of Sarah Blaffer Hrdy. It provides a wealth of alternative explanations such as you’ve done. She speaks and is heard both in the academy and in the wider culture as a lay popularizer.

  79. magickitty

    kcb says,

    How to avoid such a dreadful fate if you’re inclined to pair off with a fellow? The first and most important step is, as Twisty says, hold out for a guy who gets it.

    But alas, even if he gets it, it’s hard not to convince yourself that you’ve failed Feminism. (Send condolences to Magic Kitty, 123 Self-pity Lane, Loserville.)

  80. Jane Awake

    Frigga’s Own, Twisty and V., thanks for all of the advice. I think the biggest source of my partner’s particular defensiveness (and his more annoying comments come from defensiveness, for example “well, men are objectified, too”) is that he is afraid I either hate him or sort of hate him because he’s a man (and sometimes I DO). Understandably, he doesn’t want me to hate him. He wants me to love him unconditionally (I personally find the idea of unconditional love to be a naïve one).

    I actually read him all of TP’s comments on this blog last night and he was really digging them. Figures that he would have a better time learning about feminism from a man. Maybe universities should have a feminism-for-men class taught by a male professor. That way more men could take it without fear of emasculation. IBTP

  81. mearl

    techne: evo psych does make some points, but it has its flaws as well, when used by the culturally brainwashed who don’t examine their own brainwashing (by this I don’t mean you).

    I can’t contract all my thinking on evolution and feminism into one post, but I can make a couple of points. The harem idea developed and worked for men just fine and dandy because of circumstantial development of cultural ideas. Technology has facilitated feminism (as it has facilitated a lot of things), so now we have the realisations that men who have children at a later age ALSO contribute to possible problems with the fetus; it’s not just women over 35 (the “women-over-35-will-have-hideous–fetal-problems” belief is widely accepted, even though there is still a debate over whether older women are capable of having healthy kids). Men who are exposed to chemicals in factories are just as likely to have children with birth defects as women, but the birth defect argument used to be the one the patriarchs used to keep women from having jobs in factories. Men’s hormones respond to their own children when they hold and care for their new infants vs. somebody else’s new infant. This happens on a level that no one used to acknowledge, because it was assumed that only women had to care for children, and only women should be responsible for their child’s healthy development and emotional coddling. Oh, and heels used to be men’s riding shoes. A pale, white hand and restrictive, showy clothing were just as important in showing off one’s riches and non-working status for the male nobility as they were for the females. Take a look at sweatshops populated by the cheaply-paid female population, or the 20-hour days of Third World women, or the history of working-class and poor/disadvantaged women. Recall Germaine Greer’s statement that “the heaviness of work has never been a reason for women’s not doing it.” Men have corralled resources, which led women to clamouring for the men’s attention instead of working for the resources, but the result of this development is why people firmly believe that it is hormones, not culture, that leads women to dressing sexay. And height sure as hell doesn’t explain why toads like Colin Powell can become some of the most powerful and important men on the planet.

    I am no scientist, but I am aware that it is HOW you apply your research that will affect what results it will yield. I wonder how much of the historically developed bias affects evo psych. Feminism is what pointed out the problems with a scientific method that is applied by men with a bias.

  82. LMYC

    Um, Techne, how about because I already have a rather demanding full-time job and I’m so effing sorry I can engage every asshole I meet because I have to sleep 8hrs a day?

    Okay, I demand that YOU also devote your every waking hour to MY personal hotbutton interests or else I’ll accuse you of giving up — what are YOU doing to promote minority language use? Anything? Why are you conceding the field to cultural and linguistic oppressors? You up-giver, you.

    How about medical outreach for connective tissue disorders? How about education networking? Anything about that? Fixing the digital divide in rural counties in California?

    God, you’re such a wimp. You’re doing nothing for these crucial, vitally important issues! How COULD you?

    Wimp.

  83. mearl

    And I forgot to say, LMYC, that I love your “I get my dick in you, you lose” saying. So true. I’ve told my friends about your summary of the male outlook on sex, and they love it too.

  84. mearl

    Oh, yeah, and a wide pelvis doesn’t explain China’s population.

  85. Kali

    “why is there so little interest in interrogating the origins of patriarchy? The explanations seem to stop at the cultural level, but culture comes from somewhere”

    Are you kidding? You haven’t really understood anything that was discussed here if you think that. Evo-Psych adds zero to the question of origin of the patriarchy. The origin of the patriarchy is in the reproductive capacity of women. You don’t need Evo-Psych to recognize that. To put it simply:

    biology -> patriarchy

    Trying to force this into:

    biology -> evo-psych -> patriarchy

    is illogical and does not add any information. Now that women are not as constrained by biology as they were for millenia, this forced deviation is introduced to allow some people to argue for the inevitability of the patriarchy. Women may be able to better control their fertility now, but psychologically they are hard-wired to want to be in a rich man’s harem, wear uncomfortable stuff, and suck up to the big guys. See, the beloved patriarchy is not going anywhere. Or so goes the subtext of the evo-psych argument.

  86. BubbasNightmare

    Kali:
    “Now that women are not as constrained by biology as they were for millenia, this forced deviation is introduced to allow some people to argue for the inevitability of the patriarchy.

    “biology –> patriarchy”

    Not original, to be sure, but elegantly stated. Perhaps

    biology –> culture –> patriarchy

    is a bit more complete.

    Keep in mind that the biological aspects of a woman’s control of her fertility and childbearing are still years away. Contraceptive methods are not perfect, the various chemical regimens for hormone replacement are rough-hewn and also imperfect, childbirth can be life- and health-threatening, etc.

    Once those wrinkles are ironed out, we can creep up the chain and pound away at those elements of culture that are the underpinnings of patriarchy.

    The fastest way to destroy a structure is to destroy the foundation.

  87. smmo

    Wide hips are also not generally considered attractive. I speak from PEARSonal experience.

    So how does evo psych explain fake boobs, which attract men like flies to shit yet lessen a women’s ability to breastfeed? God I hate it when snotty scientists show up to explain it all to us.

    LMYC: “If I get my dick in you, you lose” says it so directly. This is how men are taught to think. No, they are not born that way. That is a cop-out.

    I’m fed up today. Some fuckwad killed a woman he’d stalked and beaten for 7 years yesterday in my town. She did what they told her to protect herself and he got her anyway. I guess her big mistake was being born a woman.

  88. maribelle

    There is a pattern I have seen so often on this blog; a woman responds about some oppressive aspect of her relationship, which invokes all manner of “why are you with this guy, sister?” posts*.

    The response to these comments from the OP then recites some version of the idea that it is the MALE partner who is in fact the real victim, or has some deep-seeded fear that trumps the female’s fear, complaint or frustration. Our latest example is below, from Jane Awake:

    for example “well, men are objectified, too”) is that he is afraid I either hate him or sort of hate him because he’s a man (and sometimes I DO). Understandably, he doesn’t want me to hate him.

    Jane–with respect, do you think that is a valid response to your on- going experience of oppression as a woman in society? Does this not make it “all about him”? Does this not mean that you are expected to dampen your own expression of your life experience as trumped by his “fear of you hating him”? Does this not strike you as manipulation of the most basic order?

    He wants me to love him unconditionally

    Of course he does. This would cement your oppression in stone.

    *I left my own version of such a post at Jane’s blog

  89. techne

    LMYC,

    Sorry you mistook my intent, and so personally. Please note the “I wish” part. It doesn’t say “you should,” and if it came off as offensive despite that, I apologize for my imprecision. Also please note that I never said anything about these issues being mine, vital, or even all that important overall. :)

    You have provided what I think are spot-on feminist critiques of traditional sociobiology, but novel they are not. What I was asking for was your (and others’) acknowledgment that the field is more than white jerkoff dudes, BECAUSE of feminism: that progress is being made, even by our standards. Hence my recommendation of Hrdy. I’d hope you would have done the same to educate me had I oversimplified your field.

    I’ve kept an open mind on connective tissue disorders to the point that I use my limited power as a scientist to educate laymen on all sorts of misconceptions (such as them being psychosomatic/hysterical in origin), but can do so only as far as I have myself been educated. I’m not sure about the other stuff you mention, indeed I barely know what they mean or how I have power to do anything about them. Care to educate me, from your professional perspective, as I sought to do in my post for something I have some professional expertise on? (I don’t buy your “8 hrs of sleep” excuse, as we both seem to have plenty of time to read and post to this blog.)

  90. Kali

    BTW, the waist-to-hip ratio study was totally debunked. It claimed to be cross-cultural but only considered people who grew up in USA and Europe in the 20th century. And the anorexic ideal pursued nowadays is associated with lowered fertility, even cessation of periods.

  91. finnsmotel

    “Does this not mean that you are expected to dampen your own expression of your life experience as trumped by his “fear of you hating him”? Does this not strike you as manipulation of the most basic order?”

    The most accurate description of LOVE that I’ve read in a while.

    ;-)

  92. techne

    Kali says:

    The origin of the patriarchy is in the reproductive capacity of women.

    And the origin of the reproductive capacity of women is evolutionary pressure. The “psychology” part of evolutionary psychology refers to the techniques used to do the research. These days we could call it evolutionary anthropology, evolutionary epidemiology, even evolutionary biology. Whatever. The name doesn’t matter, only the hypotheses do.

    See, the beloved patriarchy is not going anywhere. Or so goes the subtext…

    Then we change the freaking subtext. Isn’t that the idea? Maybe I DON’T understand this blog.

    smmo says:

    Wide hips are also not generally considered attractive. I speak from PEARSonal experience.

    AIUI the research points to the attractiveness being about a ratio that falls within a particular range. And the attractiveness is not measured by how many dates pear-shaped women get but less conscious reactions elicited from men by photos in laboratories.

    So how does evo psych explain fake boobs, which attract men like flies to shit yet lessen a women’s ability to breastfeed?

    Uh, you answered your own question. They attract men like flies to shit. A fake-boobed women’s strategy is to get attention. Testable-hypothesis-wise, it suggests that fake-boobed women are not that interested in having kids or don’t know the risks of implants. But in an age of formula as a viable alternative in feeding children, fake boobs, a product of that same age, aren’t really a drawback.

    God I hate it when snotty scientists show up to explain it all to us.

    Sorry. Getting over a cold, plus seasonal allergies, does make me snotty, it’s true.

    Is my perspective not welcome here? Is the point of a comment section only to vent or to come up with clever insults of the patriarchy? If that’s so, my bad, and I’ll go back to lurkdom.

  93. lawbitch

    I’m not feeling very generous about dudely explanations today. A man murders a woman in the CNN complex and its “domestic situation.” WTF?

  94. techne

    Kali says:

    BTW, the waist-to-hip ratio study was totally debunked. It claimed to be cross-cultural but only considered people who grew up in USA and Europe in the 20th century.

    I’ve seen reference (can’t track down the primary source for some reason) to cross-cultural studies using African populations. The cultural bias was in the frontal vs profile view: in the african population the effect of the ratio was seen when the women were presented in profile.

    Debunking/development of hypotheses is the point of science, and showing that an effect is limited to a particular culture doesn’t necessarily debunk the finding. It DOES limits its utility.

    ok, back to my snotnosed occupation.

  95. Sylvanite

    No need to go away, techne. I, for one, am appreciating the exchange that you’ve brought to the surface.

    Human behavior is complex, as befits an intelligent, social animal. Clearly the fact that women resent their roles in the patriarchy seems to make a lie of the idea that their roles are predetermined and “natural.” Does a male honeybee resent his role in the hive? Oh, but how to tease the arbitrary cultural detritus from the biological fundaments? In Stephen Jay Gould’s view, how much of what we see are spandrels?

    If only we could see us from outside ourselves.

  96. Shabnam

    I conjecture that there is probably a baby in the bathwater of Evolutionary Psychology, but at the moment whenever I try to look for it, I mostly find just a putrid mire. As a mathematician, who also dabbles in theoretical physics, I just find the whole field far too fuzzy and lacking in rigour.
    /
    Whenever I read about it, I often come up with dozens of alternative explanations for the phenomena being described and new conjectures. For example, Techne brought up the oft-described case of the harem: surely there is an evolutionary counter pressure against large harems? Several women have mixed up their DNA with those of one man, however, for any particular woman the genes of the children of the other women in the harem are of no interest (they are completelly genetically disimilar to her). She would want to get rid of the other women and children because they are taking away resources which would otherwise be reserved for the sole use of HER children. Perhaps only weaker women would want to endure such indignities for the hope of propagating their genes? So these purportedly “alpha males” with their harems might be “diluting” their good genes by breeding with such pathetic female specimens. The possibilities seem endless.

    /
    Evolutionary psychology seems so highly dependent on the scientists’ own cultural background. I sincerely hope it cleans up it’s act, and behaves more responsibly for the often false popular ideas it generates which often have negative implications for certain segments of the population, and this segment seems so often to “happen to be” the half of humanity which has been so inhumanely treated for what appears to be most of recorded history. Indeed, the inhumanity and vigorous suppression of women, whilst it overwhelmingly makes me extremely angry and depressed, has just one silver lining: there has always been active, fierce resistance from women, and hence oppression has never been “natural”.

  97. Jane Awake

    Maribelle, I definitely don’t think my partner is the real victim. I’m not sure what I said that made you think so. I said that when we discuss feminism, his most annoying responses come from a place of defensiveness (I think TP touched on this). I’m sure he (and some other men) feels intense guilt about his participation in the dehumanization of women, especially when he’s being actively confronted with it. He is also afraid that there are things about him that I hate, and do hate them. I don’t think that makes him a victim. I think it makes him a man. But even men don’t want to be hated by their partners.

    His fear of my hating him does not trump my need to be known, to be respected, to be real. His fear of my hating him does have to be addressed, however, for the discussion of feminism to continue. It’s just a roadblock. He can’t move toward understanding if he’s oversimplifying the discussion into “well, this is just about you hating men.”

    A lot of my frustration comes from my having to explain everything to him several times and in depth in order for him to understand. Providing example is especially tiring. Why doesn’t he already know? I always wonder. But IBTP.

    In reference to his wanting to be loved unconditionally, you said, “Of course he does. This would cement your oppression in stone.” I agree. Luckily, I don’t believe in unconditional love in the first place. But that doesn’t mean I don’t also have an irrational desire to experience it.

  98. Twisty

    techne:”It seems that it’d be considered rude to post this on my blog and try and move ppl over there, but if I’m wrong and that’s more appropriate, I hope to work with Twisty to do so by shortening this post and replacing it with a link or something such.”

    There’s more than enough internet to go around. Post it here, post it there, post it post it everywhere. I’m enjoying the heck out of this discussion.

  99. TP

    Jane Awake says;

    Maybe universities should have a feminism-for-men class taught by a male professor. That way more men could take it without fear of emasculation.

    Doesn’t that make you want to scream? I learned what little I know about feminism from women. I wouldn’t believe or trust a man, though I do my best to keep it real with my clueless male friends.

    Men who won’t listen to women are all worthless.

  100. Jane Awake

    TP, I do scream.

    It is especially frustrating when it seems like a man is listening (especially in the university), but actually he is just humoring me. Oh, I think, I forgot I’m not a real person.

    I’ve actually had intelligent, educated men refer to “girl power” when I talk about feminism. Others make jokes like “score one for the patriarchy” in otherwise normal conversation.

    Sometimes I have to actively remind myself not to, as Li-Young Lee put it, “look at the world through a lens of rage.” Especially not all the time.

  101. kcb

    But alas, even if he gets it, it’s hard not to convince yourself that you’ve failed Feminism. (Send condolences to Magic Kitty, 123 Self-pity Lane, Loserville.)

    I used to think I’d failed feminism, especially around the time the Linda Hirschman crap hit the media fan. Since then I’ve come to suspect that I in fact failed free-market capitalism, which doesn’t bother me quite so much, capitalism being an outgrowth of the you-know-what.

    Techne, I’m enjoying your perspective quite a bit, even though I am not a devotee of evo psych.

    And TP, I want “men who won’t listen to women are all worthless” cross-stitched and hung on my wall, where all the home-repair and renovation contractors I interview and select can see it right off the bat. I think it would save everyone a lot of time.

  102. Mandos

    Mandos: I think sexual imagination can be positive within the contents of an egalitarian pre-existing sexual relationship.

    [snip]

    Am I wrong? Is everyone totally fine with others picturing them doing things that they would never, in a zillion years, do? To put it in “guy” terms- Guy #1 says to Guy #2: “Hey fella! Last night I whacked off while thinking of your mom (insert latest pornographic male fantasy here).” Guy #2 proceeds to punch Guy #1. Somehow, those thoughts are not okay when about women forbidden from being objectified, i.e., Guy #2’s mom. So why are they okay to have about any other woman who is not currently enthusiastically participating in a sexual relationship with him?

    So, how does that sexual relationship come to pre-exist, then? Strictly though an intellectual and emotional level of personality matching that must be perfectly satisfied before the sexual imagination begins? A kind of higher mental [long pause] purity of intentions?

    Your example with the guys and the mother has more to do with not *saying* it to the wrong people than not *thinking* it.

  103. LCforevah

    You know, the problem really started when men realized that semen was what got women pregnant. Before that, the feminine principle in god worship and family status reigned, because the male was in awe of the creation process. Once a group or tribe realized how babies were really made, Patriarchy became necessary in order for the father to control that his children were his–making sure that the woman didn’t stray to another lover.

    When seen this way, patriarchy is enforced and unnatural.

  104. Catherine Martell

    techne says:

    Is my perspective not welcome here? Is the point of a comment section only to vent or to come up with clever insults of the patriarchy?

    Oh, hon. Don’t get frit. You’re making an interesting argument, but IBTP’s comments section is always a bit knockabout. Most of us here have come in for it at some point. Nothing personal: it’s all good robust intellectual debate.

    That said, I’m going to knock you about a bit. But please take it as read that I would happily buy you a taco, in blog-appropriate tradition, any old time.

    There’s understandably a lot of animus here against “evo psych,” but as a working scientist in a complex and related field (behavioral/psychiatric genetics) I’m here to tell you that the simplifications and elisions and sexist conclusions you read in the media are just that: simplifications.

    Sure thing. We’re all used to our fields being misrepresented. And I can’t pretend to be intimate with evopsych on an academic level. However, I am inherently suspicious of a field whose approach seems to be: take a thing, then presume wildly on why it might be so. I agree with you about science being testing of hypotheses etc, but how may one test an evopsych hypothesis in a controlled scientific manner? Particularly bearing in mind the observer effect and its disastrous history in anthropology?

    I’ve been reading this blog for a little while and I have been wondering: why is there so little interest in interrogating the origins of patriarchy? … To put it in scientific terms, the fundamental imbalance that drives patriarchy is the plain fact that the burden of childbearing–that is, sustaining the species, every living thing’s biological imperative–falls on women disproportionately…

    This is discussed quite extensively, though, as you acknowledge by noting that radfems have an interest in gestational liberation. Simone de Beauvoir looks extensively at the biological origins of patriarchy, and Shulamith Firestone moves the discussion on to how we can change the situation. A lot of feminist discussion revolves around the body and biology: whether sex, like gender, is socially determined is one subject that comes up a lot for hearty debate.

    Millions of women WANT to wear high heels, endure the pain and risk–why? To blame it on patriarchal brainwashing is facile in that it goes no deeper than the culture and doesn’t ask why the culture formed in that particular way.

    I’m really not sure that wanting to wear high heels does go deeper than the culture. Many cultures have traditions of body modification/self-mutilation of one form or another, but surely the facile thing is to suggest that all of these are about making oneself more sexually attractive. While I do not, for a second, question evolution, I do question the idea that there is a logical inherent basis for all societal and cultural phenomena. I may be oversimplifying, but it seems to me that you are in danger of assuming that people behave rationally.

    It is true that, in evolutionary/economic terms, it makes sense for each human to maximise his/her advantages in terms of power, money, looks, etc. But a glance around your local high street will demonstrate immediately that most people do not devote much of their lives to maximising any of these things, and in fact large numbers of them behave in ways that are entirely contrary to their evolutionary advantages. People are sometimes altruistic, generous, self-effacing or lazy. Some of them choose to make themselves ugly – not “alternatively beautiful”, but deliberately un-beautiful. Some of them choose not to have kids even though they could. The whole “I must pass on my genes” motive just doesn’t seem to be borne out by large swathes of humanity.

    I don’t know if you saw the recent documentary series by Adam Curtis, “The Trap”, but it examines a lot of modern economic and behavioural theory in just this context. One quote that really struck me from one of the eminent talking heads went something like this: “The only people who behave like economists think people behave are economists – and psychopaths.” I know you’re arguing for evopsych, not economics. But both disciplines do, I think, assume a rationality in human behaviour that isn’t borne out by reality. And I find it hilarious when some autistic twunt like Gary Becker devises a quadratic to explain marriage, just as I find it hilarious when someone tries to argue that women who wear high heels are acting on a logical impulse to have themselves impregnated.

    I know that’s something of a parody of your point. But, really, not all fashion is about making oneself attractive or maximising the waist-to-hip ratio. Explain grunge? Explain flappers? Explain the empire line? Explain the Arnolfini marriage portrait? Explain the current feminine silhouette of belted boobs, puffy waist, belted hips? Come to think of it, explain homosexuality? Ever seen a lesbian wearing high heels? I can show you a whole club full of them on the first Thursday of every month. Why would they do that? Is it that they all really just want boyfriends, or is the biological imperative perhaps inadequate to explain this phenomenon? It doesn’t seem to me that the biological imperative is really all that imperative for a lot of people; and, if it isn’t, then I don’t see why we’re trying to make generalisations based on it.

    To echo LMYC above, there is a nagging feeling in my mind that evopsych is a continuation of the eugenic and racist pseudoscience that for a long time characterised Aryans as “virile”, Sikhs as “martial”, Bengalis as “effeminate”, black Africans as “suited to slavery”, etc; and devised criminal subtypes from photographs of the miscreant working classes. Were you to attempt evopsych in the fields of race or class these days, you would be shot down in flames, and rightly so. Kind of makes me wonder why it’s still OK to apply it to sex.

    (I’ve been meaning to ask that, actually, what IS the goal here?)

    Well, as I’ve argued, not all behaviour has a logical goal. Mine, insofar as I’m here, is for women to be recognised as human beings. Your basic feminist revolution. But on a day-to-day basis, I think it’s just for kicks.

  105. LMYC

    Millions of women WANT to wear high heels, endure the pain and risk–why? To blame it on patriarchal brainwashing is facile in that it goes no deeper than the culture and doesn’t ask why the culture formed in that particular way.

    I can say the same thing about women who push their shoulders down with rings around their necks until their necks are a foot long. Why is it that I never hear an evo-psych type making an argument on the supposed biological inherentness of a practice that they consider personally weird? They always seem to bring up the practices of their own culture — the ones that feel natural to them. For that reason alone I would find evo-psych instantly suspicious. They simply have no appreciation for how something arbitrary can FEEL incredibly natural, surpassingly so. They just can’t get past the fact that driving on a freeway, using a cellphone, or speaking English feels normal and natural to them, so it must be woven into the fabric of the universe.

    Besides, to say that something goes “no deeper” than the culture says that it goes pretty damned deep. The drive for “culture” is very similar to the drive for language, and while we have a hardwired drive to grammaticize things, that single hardwired drive still results in many instantiations of language that are mutually incomprehensible and goddamned weird to speakers of a specific language.

  106. LMYC

    Also, simply consider this — in many cultures, fatness is prized. In ours, thinness. In Regency-era Europe, men wore heels. Today, women wear heels.

    If you can simultaneously explain to me how our genetic inheritance makes both men and women do, and exclusively to one another, the same thing in different eras, then I’ll listen.

    Not to mention the fact that evo-psychs simply ideologically jerrymander what they consider male and female behavior. They use women’s fascination for bad-boy movie and TV characters as “proof” that we evolved to kowtow to violent men, while simultaneously ignoring the drooling male fascination for the bad-girl hot chicks in leather with uzis in James Bond movies.

    They point to the beautiful women on the covers of male and female magazines as “proof” that women are destined to be natural ornaments while simultaneously ignoring the oceans of muscular men in tights and makeup in the professional wrestling circuit beloved by teenaged boys (and no, they’re not all closeted — these are straight men ogling men in makeup and tights), the teenaged male fascination with superheros with bulging muscles and spandex suits, and their adoration of videogames with guys with huge muscles and ripped shirts all over the covers. Wh is it goes to watch Jean Claude Van Damme movies — men or women? Who made Arnold Schwarzenegger a zillionaire — men or women? and no, don’t play the tokenism game with me. We all know the statistics — it’s MEN.

    Evo-psychs use cosmetics and heels as “proof” that (alone among ALL ANIMAL SPECIES) female humans are display-oriented while simultaneously ignoring the button, ribbon, and braid-festooned military and sports uniforms that are almost exclusively the bailiwick of the male. They used to drum one another out of the military by ripping their pretty bits and bobs off of each other’s uniforms! Ever seen a military base on parade day? You’ve never seen to many nubile males parading their plumage before in your life.

    They say that men are “more visually oriented” by simply defining “visually oriented” as “staring at what men like.” Gape like a fool at a pair of enormous tits, and you’re visually oriented. Ogle a good-looking male cyclist’s calves, and you’re just a silly moon-eyed girl.

    When young males drool over pictures of hairless, neotenic softcore porn images of women, they’re called dominating and active. When girls do it (what else would YOU call any given issue of “Tiger Beat?”) they’re told that they are timid and prefer “unthreatening” men, and are maternal because they ogle men who look like children. In the most grotesque example of ideological jerrymandering, they claim that these things are signs of immaturity in the girl (instead of signs of a burgeoning adult sex drive) and that she will grow out of it!

    The exact same behavior is classified as revealing a man’s dominant, maturing sex drive, and a woman’s timidty and maternalism. Whew, that was close. We almost were forced to conclude that girls grew into a sex drive and objectified pretty men there for a second. Thank gawd we had evo-psych around to inform us that what we thought was a sex drive in women was actually the far less threatening and more acceptable timidity and baby-mania.

    Ideological jerrymandering. In every case I’ve ever SEEN. When males and females evince precisely same behavior, the conclusion is that they are inescapably different, and moreover in precisely the way that the reactionary powers that be want us to believe. Why should I give it the slightest bit of credibility?

  107. Mandos

    You know, the problem really started when men realized that semen was what got women pregnant.

    I’m not convinced that there was a time at least since the Event that generated human language when humans were so stupid as not to realize that penetrative sex caused pregnancy.

  108. RadFemHedonist

    Please don’t blame science for men’s unscrupulous behaviour, I for one much prefer knowing about sperm and eggs than some looney creation rubbish, plus science and logic and objectivity make clear that women are the ones who put in all the effort with regards to pregnancy, that they are the ones objectively with the right to abortion, no sentimental arguing about the meaningfulness of some abstract concept or another, you start arguing against scientific knowledge and you’ve lost my attention, because I have no interest in lying.

    I doubt that a few lies stopped men from acting like dumbasses until “evil” science TM came along and ruined it all, that seems ridiculous to me, and rather cynical, to presume you will see more misogyny from atheist men.

    when people make these kinds of arguments I think of this:

    swings… swings can be used for the carefree enjoyment of children, swings…

    but swings can also be used to hide drugs in – dirty swings

    that’s from Harry Hill, imagine him saying it and you get the idea.

  109. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Wow.

    I want to marry Catherine Martell AND LMYC.

    Wait, not I don’t. NO.

    Maybe I’d TOTALLY make out with them.

    Wait.

    What I really mean to say is, “Where are their blogs?”

  110. E

    I just want to say I’m loving the hell out of this thread.

  111. pisaquari

    “Your example with the guys and the mother has more to do with not *saying* it to the wrong people than not *thinking* it.”

    Jumping in here (don’t mind if I do): Mandos I dont think Babs’ point can be reduced to keep-your-mouth-shut. (Most) People don’t fart words, they *say* them, they have a conscious awareness of them and that involves some mental recycling. Even if Guy 1 didnt actually think of the mom in that way Guy 2 still sees Guy 1′s *supposed* behavior as wrong. The thoughts are what remains problematic (i.e. Guy 2 would not be mad if Guy 1 said “I whacked off to this really hot porn star last night”).
    And I have to second Babs’ opinion. Aside from a general icky feeling, I don’t like the idea that men I have no interest in are sexualizing me. And I dont do it (this isnt hard PS–it doesnt cross my mind. Most of the time we deal with people in nonsexual arenas and it’s much easier to intellectualize/stupify them). I would totally, without research or stats, assert some of our gravest sexual inequalities (trafficking, rape, etc…) exist because we’ve taken an act (sex) that, by nature, requires consent from another, and made it completely accpetable to think in terms of only one person’s interests: our own.

  112. Mandos

    Jumping in here (don’t mind if I do): Mandos I dont think Babs’ point can be reduced to keep-your-mouth-shut. (Most) People don’t fart words, they *say* them, they have a conscious awareness of them and that involves some mental recycling. Even if Guy 1 didnt actually think of the mom in that way Guy 2 still sees Guy 1’s *supposed* behavior as wrong. The thoughts are what remains problematic (i.e. Guy 2 would not be mad if Guy 1 said “I whacked off to this really hot porn star last night”).

    You missed my point, or maybe I wasn’t clear (probably the latter, since I just zinged off a one-liner there). The point is that Guy 2 doesn’t want to *know* Guy 1′s thought about Guy 2′s mother. Just like I don’t want to *know* the opinions of one group of my friends about another group, and so on. That’s because Guy 2 doesn’t want to envision Guy 1′s thoughts. Not necessarily because Guy 2 cares what Guy 1 thinks until it leaves Guy 1′s mouth. So I happen to *know* that not all of my friends get along with each other, I just don’t want to hear certain things being said in my presence.

    But I don’t think you can make a general statement about the legitimacy of thoughts outside of what specific relationships people have with the thinker and the thinkee. It’s perfectly natural and even good and necessary that people compartmentalize.

    And I have to second Babs’ opinion. Aside from a general icky feeling, I don’t like the idea that men I have no interest in are sexualizing me.

    I have to point you to my question. How do you exactly decide which people you’re attracted to so that they’re licensed to think sexual thoughts about you? Is it pure spiritual compatibility, with much eye-gazing and soul-searching, and possible to achieve while wearing a blindfold? Being, selon moi at least, no physical prize myself, I’d be very happy with a “yes” answer to this question, but full of skepticism.

  113. Luckynkl

    “What can men do to help?”

    Get out of the way.

  114. LMYC

    Hm, still thinking here. You know what I can’t stop thinking about regarding Mr. Shakes’s comment about how only rich white males benefit from the patriarchy?

    I remember reading something by Harlan Ellison (okay, he’s an utter fuckwad, but this is simply something he’s reporting, and you cannot argue with it) about going down south to work toward registering black people to vote in the days before overt civil rights. He remembered listening to one white guy — dirt fucking poor, never owned a pair of shoes until he got into the Army, couldn’t even read. What you’d call “white trash.”

    This guy told him (paraphrased), “I know I’m white trash, and I know I’m poor, and I know I can’t even read. But there’s one thing I got — I’m better’n a n*gger. And I aim to keep it that way.”

    ANYONE who can make the argument that class is the “real” enemy, and that poor white men do not benefit in a patriarchy, and that capitalism is the real enemy after reading that — and after pondering the thousand ways we’ve all heard it said in our own lives — is fucking lying to themselves and everyone else.

    ANYONE who can read that and argue at me that class is the problem and not race or gender can please go fuck themselves and stop wasting my time and everyone else’s, because I don’t have the time to waste arguing with someone who’s delusional and brick-stupid besides.

    I call utter and complete bullshit on this “only rich white men have power in the patriarchy” CRAP. Don’t you give me that shit. Poor men in a patriarchy have no power over anything but one — women. And as it’s the only power they have, they aim to keep it, and they will rape, rob, and murder to do so.

  115. LMYC

    How do you exactly decide which people you’re attracted to so that they’re licensed to think sexual thoughts about you?

    Hey, I’ll jump in. I don’t the thought of ANY man looking at me and having sexual thoughts, no matter what he looks like, because in my experience — and don’t play the “we’re not all like that” game with me — the minute a man sees me in a sexual way, he makes an obstacle of himself in my daily life. In his eyes (and he may be a coworker, a police officer, or someone in a more significant position of power over me, or even just some fuck on the street who can force me to step in a psychic turd by screaming obscenities at me apropos of nothing), because HE sees ME in a sexual light, I somehow become degraded, brainless filth.

    Because HE can visualize his dick in me, I am a loser as I have said above. “If I get my dick in you, you lose.” And even, “If I want to get my dick in you, you lose.”

    Suddenly, I’m stupid. My IQ plummets by a few tends of points, not his. I’m the bimbo. Failing that, I’m the stuck up bitch who won’t give him the time of day. In worse cases, I’m that motherfucking stuck-up cunt who’s gonna get fucked up when I step outside because he sees me in a sexual way and I don’t return the “favor.” And I don’t pick these fights — as I’ve said before, I’m disabled and can’t afford to. But if you get mistaken for a runway model when you dress up, you learn right fuckin fast that men truly loathe and despise women they find sexually attractive. What lunatic would want to be looked at like that by anyone?

    So no, I don’t want ANY man to look at me and think sexual thoughts. Not a goddamned one of you. I don’t care to be roundfiled as a bimbo, golddigger, stuck-up frigid cunt, or any of the other lovely accusations that have been levelled at me by men who were my coworkers, bosses, fellow students, or simply men on the street that I’ve passed in my time who felt like hurling psychological feces at me for the few seconds they impress their miserable existences upon my awareness, because they want my cunt and they ain’t never gonna get it and that makes them murderous with rage.

    And once again, don’t give me that shit about we’re not all like that. I live on the same frigging planet as the rest of you, and I just wonder how all of these bejillions of wonderful not-my-Nigels magically tunnel into another dimension when I’m around. Oh is it my “attitude?” Gosh, you mean those shits in pickup trucks who scream things at me when I’m dressed up sense my attitude while they’re zooming past at 40mph? How, telepathy?

  116. smmo

    The only thing I would add to your righteous truth-telling, LMYC, is that women deemed unattractive are hated as well. As in, how dare you take up oxygen and not be decorative. Same song, different verse.

  117. Mandos

    I call utter and complete bullshit on this “only rich white men have power in the patriarchy” CRAP. Don’t you give me that shit. Poor men in a patriarchy have no power over anything but one — women. And as it’s the only power they have, they aim to keep it, and they will rape, rob, and murder to do so.

    And they have only that power because?

  118. legallyblondeez

    Wow to everyone so far.
    re: Men Who Get It, mine appears to get it in the way he treats me and other women around him about 85% of the time, but has a lot of trouble with my more strident feminist diatribes because he has trouble understanding that it’s not about him, and because sometimes it *is* about him (or, more accurately, something he did or said in that remaining 15% of the time). Maybe my standards are too low, but I’ll accept a man who treats me well and listens to me. Men Who Really Get It are not common unless they’ve already had some intense relationships with smart women, so I’ve decided to educate my own rather than wait for some other hardworking feminist to do it for me.[1]
    I think unconditional love is an aspirational concept–something that humans are not capable of reaching without extreme personal cost, and therefore deserving of a “don’t try this at home” label. In my churchy days, a wise pastor explained that only God is capable of unconditional love, and though we should try to forgive and love our imperfect neighbors in the abstract, we need not and should not tolerate treatment that does not recognize us as equally created by and imbued with the divine.
    A more workable relationship is based on mutual admiration, respect, and love despite occasional stupid or hurtful moments. Forgive, but don’t welcome oppression with open arms and a smile.
    [1] This is not the same as changing a man into what I want him to be. That is a self-defeating and hurtful process for everyone involved, as far as I can tell. I think he’s already there, he just doesn’t have the vocabulary or awareness in all parts of his life yet. Neither do I, to be honest. Can’t begrudge a person some sort of learning curve.

  119. Mandos

    And once again, don’t give me that shit about we’re not all like that. I live on the same frigging planet as the rest of you, and I just wonder how all of these bejillions of wonderful not-my-Nigels magically tunnel into another dimension when I’m around. Oh is it my “attitude?” Gosh, you mean those shits in pickup trucks who scream things at me when I’m dressed up sense my attitude while they’re zooming past at 40mph? How, telepathy?

    This is kind of not the point of that discussion. The point was, someone mentioned that *she* wouldn’t think sexual thoughts about other people *and* that she expected them not to think sexual thoughts about her, unless it’s someone she actually wanted to have sex with. I found it a little difficult to understand how the escape clause could ever get invoked, considering that she felt it necessary to provide that escape clause.

    If you have no interest in *any* man *ever* thinking sexual thoughts about you (I presume in this case that you would not be straight), then that’s another thing entirely. How you would coexist with women who *do* want, at some point in time, *some* men to think sexual thoughts about *them* becomes the actual question, considering that this necessarily leaves open the risk that you may also be sexually thought about.

    The considering that the number of women who post to IBTP and like sites is still a small subset of the women on this continent, and they are a self-selected group, it’s perhaps unsurprising that you haven’t met the non-my-Nigels. You may see them mentioned on blogs, but perhaps this suggest that they still are very few.

    Also, most people are compartmentalized, as are most relationships. Nothing’s perfect.

  120. techne

    Sure thing. We’re all used to our fields being misrepresented. And I can’t pretend to be intimate with evopsych on an academic level. However, I am inherently suspicious of a field whose approach seems to be: take a thing, then presume wildly on why it might be so. I agree with you about science being testing of hypotheses etc, but how may one test an evopsych hypothesis in a controlled scientific manner? Particularly bearing in mind the observer effect and its disastrous history in anthropology?

    But but, if you agree about testable hypotheses being central to science, aren’t you then cool with taking a thing and presuming wildly why it might be so? That’s what hypothesis generation is. Even when scientists think they are merely observing, they are imposing their guesses on things (as feminism, among other isms, has pointed out). Is this all just about the wildness of the guessing?

    [Interrogating the origins of the patriarchy] is discussed quite extensively, though, as you acknowledge by noting that radfems have an interest in gestational liberation. Simone de Beauvoir looks extensively at the biological origins of patriarchy, and Shulamith Firestone moves the discussion on to how we can change the situation. A lot of feminist discussion revolves around the body and biology: whether sex, like gender, is socially determined is one subject that comes up a lot for hearty debate.

    I’ll take your word for it that it’s extensively discussed here. I’ve seen precious little, but have perhaps been reading the wrong threads (the comment threads are way, way too much for me to keep up with).

    Millions of women WANT to wear high heels, endure the pain and risk–why? To blame it on patriarchal brainwashing is facile in that it goes no deeper than the culture and doesn’t ask why the culture formed in that particular way.

    I’m really not sure that wanting to wear high heels does go deeper than the culture. Many cultures have traditions of body modification/self-mutilation of one form or another, but surely the facile thing is to suggest that all of these are about making oneself more sexually attractive. While I do not, for a second, question evolution, I do question the idea that there is a logical inherent basis for all societal and cultural phenomena. I may be oversimplifying, but it seems to me that you are in danger of assuming that people behave rationally.

    I don’t know what you mean here by “rational.” There is nothing at all rational about evolution in my view! A random generation of variation and an idiosyncratic selection for or against that variation…it’s not a word I’d use, it makes me think of ID, but clearly I have a narrower definition than you do.

    I’ll admit that my high heels statement oversimplified the situation.
    About “facile”: I am not a genetic determinist. Not in the slightest. I do not believe that biology determines culture, and so I wasn’t trying to say that all manifestations of culture trace back to a particular bit of biology, but that it’s one of the paths one can take in understanding culture (as are history, economics, etc.) Can we agree that the facile thing is sticking to just one explanation of a complex phenomenon?

    most people do not devote much of their lives to maximising any of these things
    large numbers of them behave in ways that are entirely contrary to their evolutionary advantages.
    “I must pass on my genes” motive just doesn’t seem to be borne out by large swathes of humanity.

    Most? Large numbers/swathes? These are judgment calls and I judge differently. The existence of 6 foot tall women does not disprove that men as a group are taller than women as a group. Likewise, the existence of ppl with no desire to reproduce doesn’t mean that people have no desire to reproduce–and neither of us know how many of those people there are.

    (musing alert)
    Culture really gets into it big-time here. In an affluent culture like ours one can afford to bum around. But as any blamer knows, in the poorest parts of the world, women’s options (and men’s) are far more limited. Are those women having kids because they have a biological imperative to reproduce or because of patriarchy? I say both and that culture tangles these up beyond recognition.

    I don’t know if you saw the recent documentary series by Adam Curtis, “The Trap”, but it examines a lot of modern economic and behavioural theory in just this context. One quote that really struck me from one of the eminent talking heads went something like this: “The only people who behave like economists think people behave are economists – and psychopaths.” I know you’re arguing for evopsych, not economics. But both disciplines do, I think, assume a rationality in human behaviour that isn’t borne out by reality. And I find it hilarious when some autistic twunt like Gary Becker devises a quadratic to explain marriage, just as I find it hilarious when someone tries to argue that women who wear high heels are acting on a logical impulse to have themselves impregnated.

    Twunt! Great word.

    I haven’t seen the series but I’m familiar with some of the arguments. As I said up there, I disagree that the rationality in econ and the rationality you perceive in evolutionary studies are the same. IIRC I’ve seen recent research on this exact issue: the gulf between the logic of economics and the “logic” of evolution/maximizing fitness; people do not behave as economists expect, but do various “irrational” things that nevertheless make sense in a societal context. I’d be surprised if that work wasn’t in the series somewhere, or was that the topic?

    I know that’s something of a parody of your point. But, really, not all fashion is about making oneself attractive or maximising the waist-to-hip ratio. Explain grunge? …

    My explanation of fashion: we are clever monkeys and come up with many ways to entertain ourselves. Subcultures arise that have their particular norms, and while they may seem weird to us, plenty of grunge dudes got laid by adopting the look/culture. Deleting the other examples for space/time, but I’d bet a good deal were considered attractive in their day. Lesbians in bars are trying to attract sexual partners too.

    Homosexuality, however, is a kettle of fish so slippery I’d rather not get into it at the moment. Suffice it for now to say that IME, male and female homosexuality do not follow the same patterns, and therefore may be outgrowths of the different priorities of the sexes. I have some testable hypotheses there, but it’s beyond our scope. One of my favorite topics though.

    To echo LMYC above, there is a nagging feeling in my mind that evopsych is a continuation of the eugenic and racist pseudoscience that for a long time characterised Aryans as “virile”, Sikhs as “martial”, Bengalis as “effeminate”, black Africans as “suited to slavery”, etc; and devised criminal subtypes from photographs of the miscreant working classes. Were you to attempt evopsych in the fields of race or class these days, you would be shot down in flames, and rightly so. Kind of makes me wonder why it’s still OK to apply it to sex.

    I hear ya. My field has its origins in eugenics; the nagging feeling is strong in my day-to-day work. What do we do about that, though? This is what I was saying, too harshly apparently, to LMYC. It’s not my style to express suspicion and conclude “therefore I am gonna ignore it cause they’re all fuckwads anyway.”

    Race is actually a good example here. A burgeoning field of genetics analyzes the differences between “populations” (as they are more accurately called these days). The lessons of the past are fresh in people’s minds, and it’s handled more carefully than it once was, both because of our cultural moment AND because many nonwhite people within the field push back against the worst bits. The study of gender is also shifting. Demonize current sociobiologists however you like, but nobody is saying anymore that education will cause a woman’s uterus to float around her body and strangle her.

    Thanks for the props in general. I do not fully get the taco reference, but I do enjoy all the possible interpretations!

  121. Mandos

    That last bit is full of typos and probably made less sense than intended, but I am too lazy to rewrite it.

  122. Mandos

    “Get out of the way.”

    Of what, specifically?

  123. pisaquari

    I understand your point Mandos but I don’t think the crux lies in simply knowledge or even envision of another’s thoughts–it must be reversed further: content. While Guy 2 may not want to envision his friend masturbating or even his mother having sex, is the punch simply a result that it was said and that he had to think about it? Does the fact the thought involved Guy 2′s mother carry no weight?
    “So I happen to *know* that not all of my friends get along with each other, I just don’t want to hear certain things being said in my presence.”
    Yes but this is apples to legumes. The interactions of “friendship” vs. sexual relations have much different ramifications. If one of my friends said “I really want to invade X’s house and tear all their shit up,” I would be way more concerned with the direction of their thought than the fact they said it and/or thinking about them actually doing it.

    “I have to point you to my question. How do you exactly decide which people you’re attracted to so that they’re licensed to think sexual thoughts about you?”

    I have no finite time on this and I’ve never said to someone “Commence sexual thoughts.” But typically I see it as something that starts around the time of sexual discussions where both people have revealed a sexual interest in the other. If you want my very utilitarian thinking on it: I really think those thoughts should extend only to the point both people have said they are comfortable with (i.e. the guy wants to wait till marriage, he remains virgin in my head, etc…) I get called a prude for this thinking: WTF-ever to those people.
    My main problem with “it’s just a thought” is this: so is feminism, the words on IBTP, my textbooks, magazines, patriarchal “views”–these are not exclusive, isolated events. Feminism changed my thoughts and, thus, my behavior. To assert that sexual thoughts deserve no scrutiny (or better yet: a makeover) is to reduce their meaning. What’s more if a *thought* can arouse us it seems even more far-fetched to me that we would call this “no big deal.” Hormones are extremely powerful components in our bodies and how we achieve their use, even if by a non-occurring event, is grand evidence of our thinking patterns.

    And so, no, if Guy 1 wants to get off to thoughts of my mother, he will not be passed off as just some idiot who opened his mouth. He will also not be contender for boyfriend, best guy buddy, casual acquaintance or general patriarchy-blaming coolster.
    And not just because he said it, because he *thought* it.

  124. Mandos

    But typically I see it as something that starts around the time of sexual discussions where both people have revealed a sexual interest in the other. If you want my very utilitarian thinking on it: I really think those thoughts should extend only to the point both people have said they are comfortable with (i.e. the guy wants to wait till marriage, he remains virgin in my head, etc…)

    OK, fair enough. I guess my difficulty in understanding this happens well, at the “revealed a sexual interest in the other” part. How did you develop the sexual interest in the first place…without having some form of sexual or otherwise objectifying thought? “The guy wants to wait till marriage, he remains virgin in my head,” is a kind of an odd statement, because “wait till marriage” presupposes that you’ve considered having sex with him after some future event.

    So are there gradations of sexual thoughts you’re allowed to have? ie, you think about a future sexual event without actually picturing it in your mind?

    I understand your point Mandos but I don’t think the crux lies in simply knowledge or even envision of another’s thoughts–it must be reversed further: content. While Guy 2 may not want to envision his friend masturbating or even his mother having sex, is the punch simply a result that it was said and that he had to think about it? Does the fact the thought involved Guy 2’s mother carry no weight?

    If it carries weight, then what we’re talking about here is a regime of fairly rigorous mental purity in all matters. Even though you say,

    Yes but this is apples to legumes. The interactions of “friendship” vs. sexual relations have much different ramifications. If one of my friends said “I really want to invade X’s house and tear all their shit up,” I would be way more concerned with the direction of their thought than the fact they said it and/or thinking about them actually doing it.

    I would venture to say that all kinds of otherwise nice people have (nonsexual) violent and murderous thoughts and fantasies all the time, and I would even go so far as to say that you yourself are more likely to than not, and I would go even further and say that it has never been otherwise and never will be otherwise as long as we are this species, amen. For instance, a single incident of acted-out road rage suggests several thousand instances of simultaneous violent anger unexpressed.

    Consequently, I am uninterested in the contents of the thoughts that other people have, insofar as they are not expressed. The problem though, as LMYC pointed out, is that sexual thoughts from men often result in detectible behavioural changes in men towards the objectified women, as though Guy 1 had just told Guy 2.

    So no, I don’t think it’s apples to legumes, but at best a matter of degree. Apple ripeness.

  125. Mandos

    Thanks for the props in general. I do not fully get the taco reference, but I do enjoy all the possible interpretations!

    Our host Twisty is an Austinite and enthusiastic consumer of various kinds of Austin tacos. Offering a taco is a sign of extreme appreciation here.

  126. Luckynkl

    Lucky: “Get out of the way.”

    Mandos: Of what, specifically?

    Women.

    Isn’t that what you’re here for, Mandos? To get in women’s way?

  127. Luckynkl

    What-about-the-men?

    Feminism is the theory. Lesbianism is the practice. — Ti-Grace Atkinson

  128. Mandos

    Women.

    That’s awfully general.

    Isn’t that what you’re here for, Mandos? To get in women’s way?

    Am I? Do go on.

  129. pisaquari

    “How did you develop the sexual interest in the first place…without having some form of sexual or otherwise objectifying thought?”

    Mandos, I want to first redirect your attention to the comment posted above and ask you, do you think your queries could have direct connections to the hyper-sexualized world we all live in?

    Now I will answer: people can acknolwegde the occurence of future thoughts *without* having had them. People can understand things in theory without visualizing them. I think your questions preconceive sexual interests can only come from other sexual interests–are there no other origins? Can I not inquiry a guy’s sexual goals I am dating because I think he is incredibly caring and funny with whom I want to continue dating and because I understand, theoretically, sexuality eventually makes its way into most relationships? And not because I’ve been thinking about taking off his clothes?

    ““The guy wants to wait till marriage, he remains virgin in my head,” is a kind of an odd statement, because “wait till marriage” presupposes that you’ve considered having sex with him after some future event.”
    How does “wait till marriage” presuppose anything? Who says *I* want to have sex before marriage? Who says he is the one I want to marry and thus there is even possibility of such a future event? Please clarify.

    “I would venture to say that all kinds of otherwise nice people have (nonsexual) violent and murderous thoughts and fantasies all the time”
    While I am not one of them (do you really assume I am having violent, murderous thoughts all the time?) I understand the position that, yes, our minds wander. But it’s an incomplete *thought* to say the content is event-by-species. I think about checking my e-mail a good bit throughout the day–surely none of the Napoleons ever thought about this (although: the 17th one probably fantasized about murder quite a bit). Women showing their ankles used to be *thought* of as slutty, but a woman in a dress that comes just above her ankles will probably not sell a Playboy.
    So the question becomes: what does the mind wonder about and why? My suggestion is that, when this is deconstructed, we find many ghouls of patriarchy have slimed our brains. I understand people are big objectifiers but under whose/what wand?

    “The problem though, as LMYC pointed out, is that sexual thoughts from men often result in detectible behavioral changes in men towards the objectified women”
    I agree–and that was my point at the end of my last post–that these thoughts are not mind puff–but reinforcers of future behavior.

  130. pisaquari

    *** correction: Can I not inquiry a guy’s sexual goals I am dating because I think he is an incredibly caring and funny person, with whom I want to continue dating, and because I understand, theoretically, sexuality eventually makes its way into most relationships?

  131. Antelope

    I have had numerous chances to be on both sides of the ol’ one-sided sexual interest scenario.

    In general, I was not at all comfortable with being aware that a male friend or acquaintance was fantasizing about me. Insofar as I can stand to think about it, I figure the fantasy-antelope is probably sounding and acting like a woman in a porno, and that’s so far from anything that could happen it feels like the worst kind of character defamation.

    My male friends that grew on me in that way, though, have generally seemed quite comfortable, and in some cases more than a little pleased, with the idea that I must be fantasizing about them (which I was). Maybe this goes all the way back up to TP’s comments, and they think I’m fantasizing about pleasing them (sometimes, a little, but that’s just a lead-in to the reciprocation, which takes a lot longer, of course.)

    I can think of a few cases where I had a crush for a while, and eventually I grew out of it, thank heaven, and the friendship has continued. I think the reason this has worked out for me & the guys in question is because I’m very aware that my fantasy-lover is just that, a fantasy. He might look and sound a lot like my friend, but I don’t think about him while I’m hanging out with the actual person, he’s just a pastime. I wish that I fantasized about movie actors or characters from novels instead, but for some reason it tends to be people I know. I don’t do a perfect job of maintaining that distinction between the fantasy-guy and the real-guy, but a pretty good one. It’s not a problem of having sexual thoughts while around the real-guy, just the usual crush problems of trying a bit too hard to be funny & likeable – knowing it’s coming off as forced before you even finish the damn sentence.

    When a male friend is interested in me, though, I can always feel fantasy-antelope lurking very, very nearby when I try to deal with him. I have tried like hell not to hold this against certain guys, on the grounds that I have some idea what it’s like to be in their shoes. No dice. You can see it in their eyes and hear it in their voice. They don’t listen very well anymore. You’ve disappeared behind the projection, if you were ever really there at all.

    As for co-workers and random guys on the street – eewwww. There’s just this inescapable sense that the more people are thinking degrading thoughts about you, and the more degrading those thoughts are, the more degraded you actually are. The less they know you, the more likely that the fantasies are scenarios where you would really, really not want to be. The general feeling is that the power someone’s thoughts have over me is probably about 1/100,000th the power that they have over fantasy-antelope, but those fractions add up over time.

  132. al

    What lunatic would *want* to be looked at like that by anyone?

    Someone who got called “fugly toad” too many times in high school? Someone like me? :-P

    I think there’s a difference between appreciative looking and objectification. And look, I occasionally like it when men and women look at me “like that”, because when I was a teenager (I’m a relatively young blamer), when someone looked at me twice it usually meant they thought I wasn’t fit to spit on, or that they were going to make a cruel joke that usually involved my head and a brown paper bag. So I like the fact that I’m now getting attention for something other than being a fugly toad. To paraphrase Mae West, I think it’s (sometimes) better to be looked over than overlooked.

    I venture that many formerly geeky straight boys would feel similarly.

    And I’ll admit to being completely chuffed when a couple of young straight women mistook me for a young man (it happens), and yelled out “hey sexy!” in the middle of the street. Well, I did have short spiky hair and I was riding my kid brother’s BMX.

    So while I enjoy it sometimes (sometimes being the operative word), I certainly don’t base my self-worth on it.

    This isn’t to say that every woman has to feel the same–the thoughts of LMYC, pisaquari and antelope were borne from a different set of experiences to mine. And that’s ok. I definitely think explicit, not-fit-for-public-consumption sexual thoughts about some of the good-looking men and women I see in the street–not everyone does. And it’s perfectly alright for those who are uncomfortable with the thought of men looking at them a certain way to feel the way they do–we don’t know what past experiences precipitated their feelings. They could’ve been sexually abused, had men treat them like good-looking imbeciles, or simply have a different set of boundaries to mine. No-one has the right to lecture them about what they should and shouldn’t feel or think in these matters. To each her own.

    That said, I hate sleazes, wolf-whistlers and catcallers, and if any one of the foregoing so much as lays a fucking finger on me, I’ll snap it right off, along with his head. And I’m not talking about the one on his shoulders, either.

  133. Catherine Martell

    techne, thanks for your replies. To continue:

    But but, if you agree about testable hypotheses being central to science, aren’t you then cool with taking a thing and presuming wildly why it might be so?

    Aye, but within the wildness of guessing are revealed many unconscious presumptions, and it’s all too easy for said wild guessing to take the form of prove-what-I-would-like-to-be-true. All too commonly have we seen agenda-pushing hypotheses tested and “proven”. For example, last, week, as ruminated upon in many feminist blogs: “Is working bad for women’s health?” Easy enough to provide proof for such a hypothesis if you want to, and these researchers did. Lies, damn lies and statistics. Similarly, if you start with a hypothesis like “Waist-hip ratio is attractive”, it’s easy to find a lot of examples to back it up. But that doesn’t prove much in the real world.

    I don’t really believe that the wild guess is the best way of generating a hypothesis. The best hypotheses, I think, come up after a great deal of empirical observation has been collected and analysed. Otherwise, you end up linking global warming to the decline in pirate numbers, and then you’re really in the soup.

    I don’t know what you mean here by “rational.” There is nothing at all rational about evolution in my view!

    Mine neither. My point was not that evolution is rational. My point was that evopsych assumes that humans have an innnate desire to reproduce with the best possible candidates. This implies a rationality on the part of humankind that is far from being true in practice.

    Can we agree that the facile thing is sticking to just one explanation of a complex phenomenon?

    We can certainly agree that a plurality of approaches is likely to yield a far better answer. However, surely we can also agree that not all approaches are valid.

    Most? Large numbers/swathes? These are judgment calls and I judge differently. The existence of 6 foot tall women does not disprove that men as a group are taller than women as a group. Likewise, the existence of ppl with no desire to reproduce doesn’t mean that people have no desire to reproduce–and neither of us know how many of those people there are.

    No, but stats (I know, damn lies, but for the sake of argument) like 1 in 10 people is gay are a bit of a problem, aren’t they? And that doesn’t even count the number of hets who don’t want kids for reasons of religion, environmentalism, personal vanity, personal self-loathing, not really liking kids, preferring their career, etc. This minority, unlike 6ft women, is actually a little too significant to gloss over. And it’s unstable: the enormous growth of childlessness in the UK, for instance, appears to be a response to socio-cultural factors. The desire to reproduce appears to be non-uniform and responsive to its environment. So to say “well, people as a group still want to reproduce” ignores the fact that most of them might not if the situation was different – we just don’t know.

    IIRC I’ve seen recent research on this exact issue: the gulf between the logic of economics and the “logic” of evolution/maximizing fitness; people do not behave as economists expect, but do various “irrational” things that nevertheless make sense in a societal context. I’d be surprised if that work wasn’t in the series somewhere, or was that the topic?

    Pretty much the topic. Do get the first episode off bittorrent or something if you get the chance – it’s ever such fun. And yes, I’ve heard economists etc attempt to rationalise irrational behaviour by arguing that “Individuals will sometimes behave in ways that are of no benefit to them but do benefit their society.” An explanation I find glib and inadequate, and that doesn’t examine the fact that loads of things people do – such as being lazy – benefit neither themselves nor society.

    My explanation of fashion: we are clever monkeys and come up with many ways to entertain ourselves. Subcultures arise that have their particular norms, and while they may seem weird to us, plenty of grunge dudes got laid by adopting the look/culture. Deleting the other examples for space/time, but I’d bet a good deal were considered attractive in their day. Lesbians in bars are trying to attract sexual partners too.

    Absolutely. But there is no evolutionary advantage to doing so, and the problem here for me is that the evopsych explanation immediately changes tack from “waist-to-hip ratio is all” to “Oh, OK, it’s demonstrably untrue in loads of cases, but in those cases the fashion was otherwise, and being up with fashion signifies high social position, hence making the subject a desirable mate”. Which effectively is having one’s cake and eating it, and simultaneously capitulates to a socio-cultural explanation: fashion is social signifier, and social signifiers are completely capable of eradicating all possible biological imperatives for dressing a certain way.

    So yes, you’re right, grunge dudes do sometimes get laid in part because they adopt the look – I may even have laid a few myself back in the day, because apparently I was unable to resist straggly hair, stripy knitwear and clumsy eyeliner. But none of this could be said to maximise their evolutionary advantage, for it would not allow them to attract the best mate – one who is physically strong, intelligent, agile, ambitious, etc – but rather someone who is quite possibly the opposite of all those things, whom they irrationally desire.

    Homosexuality, however, is a kettle of fish so slippery I’d rather not get into it at the moment.

    Now, you may have good reasons for doing this. Certainly I agree that the possibly differing nature of male/female homosexuality is a fascinating question, but not really something to get into here. However, the fact that homosexuality of either type exists is something we do need to bring up in the face of evopsych, because it’s a massive tripwire across the entire field. Whenever I’ve seen evopsychs try to explain it, the explanations boil down to one of the following:

    - Evolution produces variety, and homosexuals are just a part of that variety. Their existence does not challenge the relevance of evopsych to heterosexual behaviour. (Fine, but you’ve just fenced 1/10 of people outside the field you want to examine, and are you going to do that with all the exceptions or are you going to admit that your model doesn’t work?)

    - Nature, in her infinite wisdom, produces more homosexuals as a response to overpopulation. (Well done, you’ve just made the argument for Intelligent Design.)

    Race is actually a good example here. A burgeoning field of genetics analyzes the differences between “populations” (as they are more accurately called these days). The lessons of the past are fresh in people’s minds, and it’s handled more carefully than it once was, both because of our cultural moment AND because many nonwhite people within the field push back against the worst bits.

    Indeed so. It is perfectly obvious that different populations have distinctive physical characteristics. It has not, however, been observed yet that they have different behavioural characteristics, except insofar as they are culturally conditioned to have them. In fact, all empirical observation seems to demonstrate that behavioural characteristics are entirely culturally determined, for second-generation immigrants tend to adopt the behaviour common to their new culture.

    So we have learnt that race does not determine behaviour. And yet there still seems to be this presumption that sex does, even though we may observe a wealth of examples which seem to indicate that gender behaviour and sexual desire, like the different behaviour of different populations, are vast, complicated and changeable oceans rather than things that are strictly determined by our biology. Antonia Young’s new book on Albanian “sworn virgins” (women who opt to live as men), and Serena Nanda’s book on the hijras (third sex) of India, are particularly interesting if you feel like reading around.

    Demonize current sociobiologists however you like, but nobody is saying anymore that education will cause a woman’s uterus to float around her body and strangle her.

    Come now, I’m not demonising anyone: just discussing. Anyway, what with all this thinkifying, my womb has broken loose from its moorings and wandered off to somewhere around my ears, so I’d probably better go and embroider a sampler or two before I grow a big hairy cock.

  134. hedonistic

    Some quick data points because I’m in a rush:

    I wear me some FIERCE high heels but have absolutely NO intention of reproducing again, EVER. I do, however, intend to have sex with a GOOD man at least one more time before I die. I wear my femmy drag specifically to elicit the sexualized response in straight men. I deliberately elicit the Gaze in social situations I deliberately select. Then I pick and choose from all the hormonally hopped-up volunteers, and approach THEM. They’re usually astounded that I don’t choose the usual suspects (“Who, me?”).

    Like LMYC I have the kind of face and body that (literally) cause accidents when I dress myself up. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I’m one of those psychic weirdos who can tell when a man’s Gaze is degrading, even when he doesn’t say a word. As LYMC stated upthread, being extraordinarily purty is NOT the joyride you might imagine, as most male attention is not appreciative at ALL. The majority of it is downright HOSTILE, enough to give a psychic girl a total complex.

    (For the longest time after my divorce I only left the house to go to work or buy food, and even today I do NOT wear makeup, dresses or heels unless I’m deliberatly trolling for male companionship).

    Fortunately for the straight women I have good news: There ARE good men, a lot of them. Their Gaze is appreciative, almost abstract in nature. The ratio of appreciative to degrading varies wildly with the setting, and unfortunately if I knew where the best ratio WAS I’d be getting laid more often. If I ever figure it out I’ll announce it on my blog for the sake of straight single women everywhere. For the time being though, I CAN say that your local convenience store, the one where the daily commuters go for their caffeine fix, the on that caters to YOUR social class (whatever it is), is one of the better places to troll for appreciative male attention. Maybe it’s because they’re tired and not caffeinated and therfore off-guard? I have no clue.

    Wow, this wasn’t short at all. OOOKAY. One more thing: There is so that is quotable in this thread I almost can’t stand it. BLAME ON!

  135. Babs

    Pisaquari, LMYC- thanks for helping out one of the less eloquent types. I ain’t as well read as ya’ll.

    Here’s the thing, Mandos- it seems like you’re thinking about your sexual interactions, due to your position in the matrix, as thus: Person A has seuxal thought about Person B, person A then initiates a relationship with Person B. In my world, where the individual is celebrated, we have a group of humans happily living their lives, seeking out fulfilling work and play to the benefit of all in the peaceful society. Person A and Person B meet in the course of happily living their lives, working for the betterment of themselves and society, and develop a mutual friendship and respect. Sexual thoughts begin to ensue. In the first scenario, sexual thoughts are the impetus for initiation attempts of an interaction or relationship. In the second scneario, a human relationship happens first, which leads to sexual thoughts. The sexual thoughts in the first scenario are probably along the lines of Person B acting as an object to provide pleasure for Person A. The thoughts in the second scenario are fantasies of mutually pleasureable erotic experiences in which both partners give of themselves to the benefit of their partner. Ah, utopia. It’s a wonderful place.

    Perhaps I wouldn’t be such a border patrol when it comes to boundaries if we WEREN’T existing in a time when most people- men and women- accept the male dominance/female submission sexual paradigm. I don’t believe in a distinction between “appreciative looking” and “objectification.” Back when I used to dress in girl drag with the shaving and the makeup and the cute outfits- I was doing it to attract a man (and, incidentally, to remain competitive in the workforce, be accepted in life, etc.). I was out to attract a man specifically from my sphere of existence- i.e., not a stranger. However, in our world, I was treated as if I was dolling myself up for the benefit of any man who decided to notice me. I wanted to appear physically attractive to A (one) man, but men seemed to think that I wanted to appear attractive to men, in general, as a group. Which isn’t itself, necessarily, a problem. If thinking a woman was attractive led to thoughts about what a great person she must be, or you wonder what her hobbies are. Instead, thinking a woman is attractive leads to staring at isolated parts of her body and thinking of how they could be used to provide pleasure to whomever happens to be doing the looking. Which, as LMYC put it, makes the looker now an obstacle in the life of the woman who is the object of the gaze.

    Girl drag update: I have never been a pussycat doll feminist, but I did used to do the whole shaving, makeup, cute clothes bit “for myself.” I felt like a more powerful person in the world when I maximized my outward appearance. As my mind expanded, and I was continually subject to objectification, I decided I didn’t want any advantages brought to me by my f$@!ability. I started to see makeup as paint designed to make women look sexually aroused- how is that necessary for business? Why is it required for women? (yes I have resigned from a job waiting tables in a tuxedo uniform- i.e., not exactly Hooters- because I wouldn’t wear makeup) I started to feel sick shaving my legs- why am I doing this? Why are women supposed to remove the hair from their legs? What purpose does that serve? I mean, my husband shaves his chest for his own reasons, so I’ll believe any woman who says she likes the feel of shaved body parts and does it for her own reasons, but we all know it’s a requirement to be socially acceptable as a female.

  136. Luckynkl

    Evolutionary, smevolutionary. There is nothing evolutionary or natural about patriarchy.

    Human beings do not live by instincts. Human beings live by belief systems. IOWs, we’re all as conditioned as Pavlov’s dog. Right from the cradle. Sex and who and what we are attracted to as well as the act itself and our attitudes towards the opposite sex, included. I dare say that if a human male was raised on a deserted island by a flock of seagulls, it wouldn’t even occur to him to try and stick his dick into anyone or anything. What’s more, he’d probably find cockatoos more attractive than women.

  137. josquin

    I throw armfulls of wild and fervent thanks at Twisty for gathering together such interesting people as y’all!
    I read, I learn, I ponder, I laugh, I disagree, I snicker, I re-examine my own life, I develop fleeting but enjoyable internet crushes, I look at the world with eyes wider open.
    As Hedonistic says, there is so much of note in this thread that I can hardly stand it.
    All manner of tacos to Legallyblondeez for a depiction of compassion without wimpiness, to LYMC for her high, blazing, sharply wrought indignation, to Catherine Martell and Techne for bringing rigor and clear thought to the table, and to Mandos for floating serenely in his own sphere, never being pushed by the prevailing winds.
    To mention but a few.
    Thanks all. Most of all to Twisty.

  138. Tigs

    I’m part of a transnational feminist discussion group that has disallowed self-deprecation and qualifying statements, but it’s hard to let old habits die hard–
    damn, I wish I had the words to say what Catherine Martell did. Huzzah!

    And while I’m late to that party, to go back to men and feminism:

    I think we can all agree that in a world that does not falsely exaggerate difference, in which we all (women and men) can simply live as human and express ourselves would be fabulous– and clearly a benefit to men as well as women.

    But it also does remove material power from men. As LMYC recalls the Ellison anecdote, men have a real material interest in maintaining power over others. Status confers quite a few things, not just feelings of superiority. I would argue that the reason that patriarchy continues to flourish is not because men are all too stupid to realize that they are mistakenly oppressing themselves as well as women, but rather that they aren’t sure they’re willing to make the trade of material power for a different kind of existence– no matter how utopian it sounds.

    Radical feminists are engaged in the project of revolution, which (and I am currently a Kautsky devotee on this point) is definitively a wresting of power from the powerful. So that the powerful don’t have it anymore. 50 women Senators means 33 men out of a job. Sucks to their asthmar.

  139. Mandos

    From Babs:

    Here’s the thing, Mandos- it seems like you’re thinking about your sexual interactions, due to your position in the matrix, as thus: Person A has seuxal thought about Person B, person A then initiates a relationship with Person B. In my world, where the individual is celebrated, we have a group of humans happily living their lives, seeking out fulfilling work and play to the benefit of all in the peaceful society. Person A and Person B meet in the course of happily living their lives, working for the betterment of themselves and society, and develop a mutual friendship and respect. Sexual thoughts begin to ensue. In the first scenario, sexual thoughts are the impetus for initiation attempts of an interaction or relationship. In the second scneario, a human relationship happens first, which leads to sexual thoughts. The sexual thoughts in the first scenario are probably along the lines of Person B acting as an object to provide pleasure for Person A. The thoughts in the second scenario are fantasies of mutually pleasureable erotic experiences in which both partners give of themselves to the benefit of their partner. Ah, utopia. It’s a wonderful place.

    Alright, this is the clearest statement yet. It suggests that there is, as I suggested before, a gradient or hierarchy of sexual interactions—that a connection must be made first abstracted away from the sensations of the body, a connection of mind, personality, or some other “elevated” characteristic that should, in your world, precede a carnal attraction. In your world, therefore, there is no place for carnality on its own, because that is oppressive: it must be accompanied/preceded by more elevated, mind-level connections.

    Is that a fair paraphrase of your position on the matter?

    The step between the emotional connection and the subsequent non/less-objectifying (by dint of being subsequent) carnal imagination is still a part that I’m having difficulty understanding. For a sexual relationship to come into existence under these conditions, at some point, one or the other partner, even after all the mutual higher-level connection, must decide/imagine/believe that sexual activity would be desirable to take place between the partners. Would they do so perhaps without actually considering the form of sexual encounter, and would that dampen the objectifying effects?

    Perhaps I wouldn’t be such a border patrol when it comes to boundaries if we WEREN’T existing in a time when most people- men and women- accept the male dominance/female submission sexual paradigm. I don’t believe in a distinction between “appreciative looking” and “objectification.”

    Alright, so, this is less clear. You are saying that the objectification issue only exists *now* with carnal imagination because of oppression, but in some hypothetical utopia lacking gender oppression, you wouldn’t “border patrol” sexual imagination that *precedes* emotional connection?

  140. vera

    [...] many ghouls of patriarchy have slimed our brains

    I’m going to put that on my whiteboard today.

  141. Mandos

    50 women Senators means 33 men out of a job. Sucks to their asthmar.

    Arguably, if you do this by attrition, it doesn’t really mean unemploying men.

  142. Babs

    Oh, and another thing! (raises right index finger in the air) I think a nice bit for the “what about the menz?” section would be a brief treatment on the subject of language as evidence of the patriarchy matrix they might be able to easily comprehend. For instance- why do people use the phrase “men and women” or “ladies and gentlemen” instead of just “people”? What abou the F$@! word- here is a word that is slang for many negative things: “I’m f$@!ed”= I’m in really big trouble”; “I really f$@!ed up”= I did a really bag thing; “I’m going to f$@! you up”= I’m going to hurt you very badly. Interestingly enough, it happens to be the most popular way of expressing thoughts of having intercourse: “I really want to f$@! her” Even when used as some sort of mutual action verb: “We totally f$@!ed last night”- it doesn’t sound exactly positive. To me, I don’t get how one could be presented with the facts of language they hear every day, and not realize how negatively such language affects the forced-members of the sex class.

  143. Tigs

    “Arguably, if you do this by attrition, it doesn’t really mean unemploying men.”

    Mmm, waiting around for men to give up power has worked so well in the past.
    Further, with records like Robert Byrd’s, it definitely makes sense to the RadFem to wait around for attrition. You know, while I try to get a job in a male-dominated, traditionally conservative discipline, decide whether to have kids, live my life, mundane things like that.

    Also, where is this magical institutional structure that replaces men with women come from if not from a structure that takes away power from men?

    Did I misunderstand you?

  144. Jane Awake

    Tigs, Ha! Lord of the Flies.

  145. TP

    Luckynl said:

    “What can men do to help?”

    Get out of the way

    That might be good for a quick chuckle, but let’s face one inescapable fact: Men must change drastically in many ways or else everything is going to either take a lot longer or else never even happen.

    I say the larger burden is on men. Men are the ones making assumptions of privilege and inventing their own codes of conduct that lead to behavior they themselves hate. It might look easy to a woman to think that men, after a lifetime of intense and relentless brainwashing by both sexes in every way, can simply flip a fucking switch and understand what feminist know as obvious truth: Women are human beings just like them, only distinct in the sexual degradation forced on them by men.

    First you have to get across that women are human beings like you. Then you have to get across the idea that if they are like a man, maybe treating them sexually in ways you would find horrifying is evil.

    Don’t pity or excuse the poor men for not getting these simple ideas. Just remember that the universe they live in is culturally biased to assume that the opposite is true, and hearing it is like hearing black is white for a man.

    Women routinely disregard how incredibly deluded men are. It’s the only way they can walk upright in this world. IBTP

  146. techne

    Just a few quick points Ms C, I so don’t have yesterday’s kind of time!

    –If it’s not clear, I’m somewhat devil’s advocating here against the foil of this particular blog’s dominant paradigm. A system where men seek to control women is very much in the interests of men who wish to control women’s reproduction, so that’s the link between evolution/the reproductive imperative and the patriarchy, and it’s not some kind of novel idea of mine as you point out in citing feminist texts on the topic. But. As I think I implied somewhere, I don’t think that biology directly determines much if any about what particular shape that type of dominance will take in a given time and place. Heels’ meaning has clearly changed over the years, and not always in patriarchal directions.

    –Laziness feels good, as do drugs and other self-destructive things. That’s a whole different evolutionary drive than reproduction, and there is more attention being paid to it lately, cf the documentary you saw (I will try to track it down). Perhaps that’s the origin of the blaming of sociobiology here; I’m not a scholar of the movement’s history but I’d assume that it either focused early on reproductive drive, (rightly) attracting feminist ire, or that feminists of the time just picked that bit cause it was most relevant to their issues.

    To restate somewhat, there are other drives than reproduction, and other systems of social control than patriarchy. To illustrate: I can imagine a parallel blog to this one that points to race and other forms of general subjugation of the Other as the root cause of subjugation everywhere, which might make the counter-claim that it’s patriarchy that’s secondary to the generalized drive to dominate and control the unfamiliar. Who is to say who’d be right? Back on the savannah (oh, that sociobiological chestnut; go ahead and mock me for using it), control of the other through conflict might well have predated control of women. I recall reading an argument years ago (probably familiar to someone here) that argued that the patriarchy arose from how agriculture altered the social order. Stimulating stuff.

    –These economic sorts of analyses are pretty far removed from reproduction, I agree. Those aren’t of as much interest to us here because of the blog’s topic: linking heels to societal systems of reward and punishment and group membership is a stretch even for a master handwaver/bullshitter like me.

    –What are the similarities, do you think, between the purported sociobiological attempt to shoehorn data to link everything to reproduction, and the ways in which this blog blames so many modern ills on patriarchy? I find them similar, and both demonstrate that the human desire to make sense of the world through our particular lens is very strong. Biology, through the sub-field of neuroscience, has a WHOLE LOT of rigorously investigated things to say about that mental habit, and has since the time of William James. Heck, it’s even a popular idea in political science now.

    –Along those lines, I think my view of science is much more cynical than yours. The most careful observation is STILL subject to our preexisting frames. Eugenicists, for example, were wrong because their frames at the time led them to ask particular questions while limited their answers, but they weren’t un-rigorous in coming up with those questions, by your standards. Even exploration and attempts to merely describe are incredibly filtered through the paradigms of the day. Think of the dudes who did “natural philosophy” before there were microscopes and how unintentionally wrong they were. All we can really do is try and change them.

    Fuck, I can’t be quick to save my LIFE.

    Any way we can fix the comment preview to show line breaks?

  147. justicewalks

    Women routinely disregard how incredibly deluded men are. It’s the only way they can walk upright in this world.

    No, we don’t disregard men’s “delusions.” Most women know deep down, as LMYC so aptly demonstrated, that most men are not, in fact, “deluded.” They actively, not delusionally, oppose any attempt at illuminating women’s personhood because women’s degradation benefits them. And even though you give lip-service to the notion that men need not be pitied or excused for their bigotry, by calling their bigotry “delusion,” as if their bigotry is only advantageous in their heads, the poor sick dears, you have effectively done just that.

  148. TP

    Hedonistic wrote:

    Their Gaze is appreciative, almost abstract in nature

    …in the midst of an entire post where she brings up the whole issue of how a feminist uses male assumptions to signal sexual attractiveness to get the sex she desires. How else can a woman who wants sex approach the whole thing? When you know what you’re doing, and you know more about what the men you’re dealing with are thinking, you’re going to get what you want with more of your authentic character intact, right?

    But the point about the male gaze not always being a deadly poison requiring drastic measures of protection such as burkhas or late-nineties grunge rock attire (ha!)reminded me of myself as a child.

    Feminism was in the air big time as I went through puberty, and then, as now, I found it simple and common sense in every way I could understand.

    Puberty was a drastic change for me, and the rush of sexual arousal and the thoughts that went along with it was completely unexpected by a child who had never been abused but who had always had a fascination with girls in a sexual yet detached way.

    I remember keenly desiring to see little girls naked when I was as little as two or three years old. Not adult women so much, though breasts are always fascinating just as much as noses or feet. But at the point when I realized this I already had, as a part of the realization, the distinct impression that I’d felt that way for a longer time than I could even remember.

    But it wasn’t the same kind of arousal-fascination that Freudians and other deluded hyper-sexualizers like to think. It was completely detached from genital arousal and more in the line of looking at anything beautiful, like flowers.

    So in puberty, when looking at girls changed from looking at detached sexual beauty to aroused by beauty, I freaked out completely. I thought I had gone insane, it was so strong, so horrible, so omnipresent. Before this I had really liked the idea of sex, and was looking forward to it intensely, even though I shied away from it because I thought I was so young any girl would laugh at me if I tried it.

    Add to this a small dollop of feminism. Though compared to today’s anti-feminist world it was probably better than an entire required course in Women’s Studies these days.

    I spent a good deal of my early adolescence avoiding looking at pretty girls because I felt so guilty to be aroused by them because it wasn’t fair, I thought. Imagine for a minute if my experience is somewhat similar to most men, and the different reactions they might have compared to mine.

    Would anger and frustration be a more common reaction perhaps? And all because boys go through puberty with absolutely no direction on how to deal with the changes they are going through except a premature invitation to lust after a hyper-sexual world that they are told exists through assumption and which is proved to exist by the media in general and pornography in particular.

    When I was about 20 I wrote a song called “Pubic Rites”. It had a core insight that I am still drawn to: Civilized society is sadly lacking in pubic rites.

    Well, I’ve been struggling with my own gaze, believe it or not, ever since, even going to far as to completely give in to the pleasure of looking at beautiful women with far less fear and anxiety. But as I grew as a human being and started to shed some of my sexism,
    or lose some of the self-imposed masculinist behaviors that never really fit me anyway, I noticed I still felt drawn to look at girls as beautiful things.

    So I thought, is this sexual, if I have no sexual thought in mind? Or is this like looking at a flower, a tree, or another beautiful man? Is there some evil subconscious sexual motive or is this just fucking enjoying life? Mind you, I’m NOT talking about looking at strippers, porn stars, or other blatantly manipulative sights; I’m talking about looking around me in normal life and noticing beauty wherever I see it.

    So this is where Mandos and I might agree or understand each other at least: He seemed confused by the idea of sexual attractiveness preexisting more literal fantasies of actual physical sexual contact. It seems to me that beauty can include sexual attractiveness without sexual arousal or intent.

    And hedonistic seems to be able to feel that from a man. I imagine it’s pretty simple – if you have amazing eyes, is he looking more at your breasts?

    The younger the man the more arousal he’ll display, I bet. I can’t even conceive of being young and not being easily aroused- it felt very chemical at the time.

  149. LMYC

    al, you make assumptions that I wasn’t also called fugly in high school. I didn’t look like this until I was about 25 and moved out to California where tall, thin, and gracile was preferred over busty and bleach-blonde. It’s given me a very, very pointed perspective on just what it is that men “appreciate” when they call a woman beautiful and what sorts of men do it.

    I can tell that pretty much the same men who, as boys, used to make me walk on the other side of the street in elementary school and high school, and who called me Rake and Morticia and other unsavory names are now the ones who think their with-it attitudes, platinum cards, and hot cars will turn my head. Having been on the shit end of the stick in school up until I moved, I know better than to find it a compliment or to think that guys like that are “nice.” My youth has enabled me to sniff out of a son of a bitch in seconds.

  150. LMYC

    smmo — absolutely. Abso-fucking-LUTELY. There is no acceptable way to inhabit a female body in this culture. ITA.

    If you’re unattractive, you’re dismissed as worthless. If you’re attractive, you’re fuckable and therefore ausomatically worthless. Except your pussy, which is useful.

    Either way, YOU are nothing. Ugly/pretty — whatever. We’re all prisoners of their eyes.

  151. LMYC

    JW, I think the word “delusion” is a good one … as far as it goes. It is a delusion that they’re raised with from the word go — that they will all be JR Ewing by the time they’re twenty-five with Hottt Chixxx all over them, when they make their first million. (None of them have the slightest idea how hard it is to actually MAKE a million dollars as opposed to inheriting it.) Then, when they don’t get it what they werer aised to expect as their birthright, they blame us for it.

    They ARE deluded. The problem I have is that they hold onto the delusion, in the face of massive effort to clear them of it. They defend, with fists and weapons sometimes, their right to remain deluded. At that point, it’s not mere passive delusion. It’s the active clinging to something wrong — that’s when another word has to be used, I think.

  152. LMYC

    Babs, your story makes me think of why I won’t take advantage of what I look like, and why I think that the only answer to the following qusetion:

    “Can’t I wear short skirts to work to get a promotion and still be a feminist?”

    is NO.

    Once you take sexism and the male “birthright” to classify women by fuckability and make it work in your favor, you have a vested interest in keeping it around. Period. Full stop. You are selling arms to the occupiers. If (don’t laugh out loud but bear with me here) men ever stop using sexist standards to measure a woman’s human worth, your standard of living will drop and you’ll have to work a little harder — real work, actually intellectually distinguishing yourself — to get ahead. You might have to show real ROI figures to your boss, you might have to work harder on your accounts, perform your work better, if you can’t just flash a little leg and get ahead.

    That means that you will begin to regard feminism, equality, and other women as your enemies. You will begin to work against the opposition to sexism. You’re a Vichy Frenchman, someone who, like I said, sells arms to the occupiers.

    So no — it is not possible to take advantage of your looks to get shit from men and still be a feminist, anymore than it’s possible to sell food and arms to the Germans and still be a member of la resistance. Once you have turned their evil into money in your pocket, you are suspect and you will work against the resisters, subtly at first, and then in more overt ways. Once the evil of the occupiers turns into food on your table and in your children’s mouths, you are one of them.

  153. pisaquarica

    Sing it LMYC!

    And also, to further this discussion of “attractive vs non-attractive” and our decisions to harmlessly *gaze*; I cannot even begin to quantify the number of male friends throughout my life who’ve complained of stuck up, “good looking” women and then turned around and drooled and gawked at her every move. I cannot even begin to quantify the number of male friends who’ve made blanket statements like “Celebrity B is the hottest girl in the world” and then next month, when Celebrity B is in rehab, not wearing makeup or short skirts or any other form of patriarchal chain links, the same guy will say “Celebrity C is the hottest thing in the world.”

    “Attractiveness” can be such a fleeting notion The attention I get in one pair of jeans vs. another is quite unbeleivable. Or mascara vs. no mascara. It’s like the more I layer myself in the patriarchal goo the more I am *seen*! HUH?!
    Public displays of attention may seem harmless but they also reward behavior that is comprised of ZERO substance and is, in most cases I have found, a result of much vanity.

    Do I think its harmless to just peak? Well: I think it feels harmless. But when I back up and stop thinking about ME, I realize this minor, daily exchange has far reaching consequences that do become QUITE harmful.
    (I think I just reiterated what a lot of people have already said–but these days I’m trying to align myself with those I respect,so please excuse the echo!)

  154. pisaquarica

    Oh wowza-typo!(and punctuation and grammmer)! That last post was not edit-worthy of IBTP. My apologies. Flagrant-Misuse-Blame-Button-Pushing will now cease!

  155. LMYC

    It’s like the more I layer myself in the patriarchal goo the more I am *seen*!

    The goo is seen; that registers on their visual field. You are invisible always.

  156. hedonistic

    Oh wow. I was just going to write a blathery comment about why I even bother dressing for the male gaze, but LMYC Explains All in a two-liner.

  157. pisaquari

    As I have come to realize: sadly.
    What I should have said was “noticed”–but like you said, they only see elements that remind them of their patriarchal teachings: black-lined eyes, boobs of a certain size, asses of a certain pooch. If they can meld my disguise close enough to the disguised woman in their head they decide I should stick around.

    But as of late, I havent been sitcking around.

  158. LCforevah

    Mandos, please read some older anthropological works. Up until the last century, there were still tribes in existence that didn’t acknowledge that semen was good for something. The amusing thing in reading those papers, was the shocked and horrified reaction of the white male anthropologists who had studied the groups. THEY DIDN’T WANT TO BELIEVE what they had unearthed.

    Knowing that semen produces children doesn’t necessarily mean that a patriarchy then develops. There are some matrifocal societies still in existence. Read up on the Navajo. Though fatherhood is acknowledged, the family line is done through the maternal ancestors. When visiting relatives, one stays with the maternal relatives. A father does not participate in the upbringing of his children, he raises his sisters’ children, just as his children will depend on their mother’s brothers.

  159. thebewilderness

    Mandos x3,
    Do you find yourself fantasizing about indulging in a game of chess, baseball, or scrabble, with a new acquaintance before you inquire if they play?

  160. LCforevah

    My point is that Patriarchy is not necessarily natural and certainly needs to be enforced in order to continue to exist. Only groups of men who decided to choose and control who their progeny were went on to develop a version of patriarchy. In order to do that, the bodies of women had to come under their control. Inventing father centered religions and thereby inventing the power of life and death over women through their male relationships was really good for this.

  161. smmo

    So no — it is not possible to take advantage of your looks to get shit from men and still be a feminist, anymore than it’s possible to sell food and arms to the Germans and still be a member of la resistance. Once you have turned their evil into money in your pocket, you are suspect and you will work against the resisters, subtly at first, and then in more overt ways. Once the evil of the occupiers turns into food on your table and in your children’s mouths, you are one of them.

    LMYC is blaming at a high level today. Go!

  162. Frumious B

    You know, the problem really started when men realized that semen was what got women pregnant. Before that, the feminine principle in god worship and family status reigned, because the male was in awe of the creation process.

    Chocolate Jesus Christ on a motorcycle. Do you think humans were so stupid as to not notice that only women who had sex with men got pregnant?

  163. Babs

    I’m no anthropologist or anything, but I think the idea is yes, at some point humans were unaware of the male contribution to creating new humans. I think even patriarchists know this, as I learned it in Fine Arts Survey AP while studying The Venus of Willendorf and all of her goddess-image cronies.

  164. LCforevah

    Frumious B, it’s not about stupidity. A woman doesn’t show for a couple of months, and some women will not show until what seems like the last minute. It’s difficult to pinpoint conception of you have no idea that you should need to. If the couple is having relations before and after the woman starts to show, correlation isn’t made–and please remember, i don’t “think” this. This was a discovery made by various anthropological teams around the world, not just in one isolated instance.

  165. Sam

    Joining the LMYC appreciation.

    “Once the evil of the occupiers turns into food on your table and in your children’s mouths, you are one of them.

    Since we’re talking about perpetuating patriarchal evil by capitalizing on it, I’ll add that I’m much more forgiving of women who exploit their own male-defined bodyworth to get by than I am of women who exploit other women’s bodyworth. There’s no excuse for a woman using another woman as currency like that.

  166. Pony

    Puking your guts out comes long before showing, and so does breast tenderness and sensitive nipples. So I don’t know. Do Bonobos get morning sickness?

  167. RadFemHedonist

    “The goo is seen; that registers on their visual field. You are invisible always.”

    That’s really insightful (I’m being serious).

  168. zofia

    Once the evil of the occupiers turns into food on your table and in your children’s mouths, you are one of them.

    There are a lot of uneducated, single mothers out there in working class jobs that require a certain level of gender specific attire and behavior just to survive week to week and they’ll do all kinds of things to put food in their children’s mouths. If it means using their looks or flashing a smile to get more hours or to get a half day off to take their kid to the dentist, they will. They don’t have time for theorizing and don’t have the luxury of dissent. I don’t think that makes them “one of them”. I’m not sure how a waitress can “intellectually distinguishing” herself. I know my tough single mother begrudgingly put on lipstick so that she’d get better tips and that made the difference between eating plain rice or getting some day old meat, beans or greens. She kicked my abusive dad to the curb and never had anything to do with another man. She pushed me in school in science and math and made my brother do half of all the chores to teach him that a woman wasn’t a maid. She never allowed him to show ANY disrespect to women. She raised me to be a feminist who now works in what was once considered a ‘man’s field’ and my brother to be a truly decent man. She also put herself into a grave at 56 because people like her work too hard and long, do not get adequate medical care and suffer under a misogynistic and racist society. And she’s not a feminist because she may have used her looks to survive? Maybe, the real answer is that only white, college educated women can be feminists.

  169. Alecto

    While I appreciate LMYC’s analogy in the abstract, I find it doesn’t hold up in the real world. I’m going to be objectified regardless of what I wear (and, due to my body-type — long legs and big breasts — what may be “decent” on other women is absolutely not on me), so how do I keep from taking advantage of men’s “appreciation” for me? Do I have to question every grad school interviewer, every manager, every boss as to why I was accepted, promoted, rewarded? Can I help it that the Germans are taking arms from me without my permission?
    Not that I don’t think LMYC as taco-worthy as the rest of y’all, but it sounds a bit like I have to police my appearance to keep the menz in line. And we all know that doesn’t make a damn bit of difference.

  170. Alecto

    And zofia has a much better rebuttal than my whiny post.

  171. B. Dagger Lee

    I’m always so grateful to be a nine-foot-tall slippery kettle of fish! I stop traffic too–it’s my smell and my size!

    Way upthread:

    TP, I’m sorry you were sexually harassed by gay men, and I do like your contributions. However, I have to say, I know at least one gay man who was gang-raped by a group of straight men, and quite a number who just had the shit beaten out of them for being faggoty or girly. Rape isn’t about sex or sexual orientation, it’s about power and sadism. It’s not a tool for empathy or learning, and I wish you’d untangle the two ideas from each other, at least in your sentences.

    What I remember from my schooling, my little brother’s schooling, and from having been a part-time observer in New York City schools, is that from the age of five through college, all males are subject to a relentless, brutal sexual harassment/hazing from other males: Don’t be a girl, pussy, faggot, baby, etc. It’s just endless, and enforced by verbal bullying and physical brutality.

    And then they fold that experience up and bundle it into the black hole of amnesia along with the rest of their emotional experiences they weren’t allowed to admit or express.

    It’s a rare man who escapes from the other end of the hazing and isn’t emotionally insane, or a dickhead, or what we have the most of–insane dickheads.

    That’s my contribution to the What About the Menz FAQ.

    yrs, B. Dagger Lee

  172. Shira

    LMYC said: Ideological jerrymandering. In every case I’ve ever SEEN. When males and females evince precisely same behavior, the conclusion is that they are inescapably different, and moreover in precisely the way that the reactionary powers that be want us to believe. Why should I give it the slightest bit of credibility?

    A friend of mine was explaining some concept she learned about in one of her Linguistics classes, about how men and women have oh-so-different reactions to hearing about the problems of others.
    When a woman shares a personal anecdote with a friend who is going through something, it’s because she understands that the other person came to her for personal support.
    When a man shares a personal anecdote with a friend who is going through something, it’s because the person going through something loses Male Status by having the problem, and so the other man shares his personal problem so that the first man can feel better about his own problem, and not feel like he’s fallen down a peg in the male hierarchy.
    Of course, I immediately pointed that there’s no actual difference between those two situations, but she insisted that they were still VERY VERY DIFFERENT somehow.

    You know who I blame.
    God forbid we acknowledge that men need emotional support sometimes – that would turn them into women! We must construct a manly motivation for empathy!

  173. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Alecto, exactly. I mused about this very dilemma on some other blog, some other place: How, exactly, am I allowed to exist in the public sphere again?

    Come again?

    What?

    Opinions abound: Put on a Burkha so I don’t entice the Male Gaze. Dress to the nines because I OWE THE MALE GAZE it’s eye candy! Do it just so: Not to much of this, and more of that. No. Not that way. You’ve got it all wrong. Dress like a man because men are the default humans and you want to be treated like a human. Don’t wear those shoes, dear goddess are you INSANE?

    Do any of these “solutions” solve the objectification problem? NO, and I don’t think the real problem is with objectification anyway since objectification is part of the very nature of seeing: We are humans AND objects. The REAL problem? Men degrade us by ignoring or denying the human part. No radfem-approved costume (and they’re ALL costumes, sorry) will change that.

  174. mearl

    I can’t tell you all how happy I am reading all this. LMYC, Catherine Martell, and BDL, you are all hot today. Smoke is rising from my computer screen, you are so hot. Maybe someone spiked my coffee, but I can’t stop snorting with laughter, especially at comments like this one: “I’d probably better go and embroider a sampler or two before I grow a big hairy cock.”

    Ha!I just burst into laughter again. Twisty, I love your blog and all who attend.

    I have to address Alecto and Hedonistic’s comments, however, possibly because they smack of “Man, I’m so hawt that not even wearing a potato sack will help me fend off the drooling hordes.” I can tell you that I’m Oh So Suuuuuuuuperhawt as well, (well, sort of) but my attitude and dress don’t encourage the drooling hordes, and those things are key. Men see the signals, not what’s underneath. Guys barely register a hawt female if she’s got a buzzcut and no makeup and is dressed in baggy sweats and sits with her arms on the seat back and legs not primly crossed, and shouts like a gorilla. Guys will drool over “average” women who would never have the misfortune of gracing a Maxim cover, but who are tarted up and acting appropriately “feminine.” A lot of what you experience as a female, hot or not, is how you present yourself. How about trying NOT to be objectified for a change and see how men react? It’s really not all that hard.

  175. mearl

    Maybe try the Twisty Butt Dance.

  176. LMYC

    Guys barely register a hawt female if she’s got a buzzcut and no makeup and is dressed in baggy sweats and sits with her arms on the seat back and legs not primly crossed, and shouts like a gorilla. Guys will drool over “average” women who would never have the misfortune of gracing a Maxim cover, but who are tarted up and acting appropriately “feminine.”

    Yup — which is why it’s easy to skate along unnoticed if you’re not dressed up, and which is why it’s frustrating to not even be able to wear a nice dress every now and then. But yes — the clothes and makeup are read as signs by them that this one will do as she’s told, this one is ready to play by the rules.

  177. LMYC

    Shira, that sort fo thing is precisely what pisses me off. When I read your story, the first thing I thought was, “Once again, I’m on the male side of the fence.” When someone comes to me with a difficult problem, I will often share one from my past as well, for exactly that reason. Sharing something painful often makes people feel vulnerable, and I dislike vulnerability very much myself, so I often view my own sharing as letting the person know subtly that I’ll put myself in a similar position so they have nothing to fear. I want to make sure the other person knows that I’m not judging them poorly for having a problem.

    But again we’ll throw a coat of pink paint over it and say that it’s my girly-ass Compassion ‘n’ Sympathy that makes me view the problem in that “make sure the other person doesn’t feel they’ve lost status” way. Even when I behave in a male way, there’s still a way to jerrymander it into GirlyWorld.

    I’ve found that, unless we’re talking about theoretical linguistics, which is just another super-dry structural science performed by distracted geeks, linguists are often people who view the complex of human interaction as a grand mystery that they can’t fathom that deserves graduate study, whereas to the rest of us it’s just common sense. I’m probably going to offend people here, but I think that of social linguists and psychologists both. They tnd to view all of human interaction the way an English tourist views going into an Irish pub. They swear that no one was talking their incomprehensible, scary alien tongue before they got there, and they’re just doing it to make them feel excluded and confused.

    That’s how these people view all human interaction — they can’t fathom it and are illiterate at it, so they view it with tremendous suspicion, and rely uber alles on their personality tests and tables in their theses, because when push comes to shove, they haven’t the slightest natural feel for how humans interact. If they were musicians, they’d be called “fine technical performers,” but utterly incapable of picking anything up by ear.

  178. LMYC

    Can I help it that the Germans are taking arms from me without my permission?

    I don’t know. Believe me, I’ve asked myself that so many times I’ve lost count. I just do not know. And it bothers the hell out of me. I try not to do it consciously. If they’re going to do it, I’ll at least be god-fucking-damned if I’ll help.

  179. LMYC

    And she’s not a feminist because she may have used her looks to survive?

    It doesn’t make her one, either. It isn’t excused or justified, but it exists. That’s why they make damned swure they pay us as little as they can get away with, so they force us to make these choices.

    Maybe, the real answer is that only white, college educated women can be feminists.

    You are making one hell of a lot of assumptions about my past and my origins, you realize that.

  180. Scratchy888

    But yes — the clothes and makeup are read as signs by them that this one will do as she’s told, this one is ready to play by the rules.

    That is such an interesting analysis. I found something I totally did not expect about appearance. Ever since I have cut the front part of my hair in a rather severe style, I have found a tendency for those I encounter to treat me as a person that they have to negotiate with, rather than a person who has to be told what to do. I’m very surprised since I had not expected that I could do anything with regard to my appearance that would alter people’s attitudes so much. But there it is. I have generally had a fierce and assertive attitude, which hasn’t counted for anything. It’s all in the hair, it seems.

  181. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Oh, GEEZ. Sisters, I WISH what y’all just said were true.

    I don’t know how many of y’all read my blog or, if so, for how long, but dig this: Last October I cut off all my fingernails, SHAVED MY HEAD, packed a small kit bag with tarot cards, a spare black turtleneck, a pair of hiking boots, a sleeping bag good to thirty degrees below zero, and some toothpaste and headed up to the very top of a mountain to spend a weekend studying intensely with a few hundred witches associated with a New England clan.

    Sexay was the very last thing on my mind. I meant business. I think I bathed ONCE in four days, but you know what? No less than FIVE MEN approached me and said, “I think bald chicks are HAWT.”

    EVERYTHING IS A SIGNAL. Even putting off the signal that you don’t “play by the rules” makes you a target, just for a different brand of dude.

  182. Bonnie

    Babs -

    In my world, where the individual is celebrated, we have a group of humans happily living their lives, seeking out fulfilling work and play to the benefit of all in the peaceful society. Person A and Person B meet in the course of happily living their lives, working for the betterment of themselves and society, and develop a mutual friendship and respect. Sexual thoughts begin to ensue. [snip] In the second scneario, a human relationship happens first, which leads to sexual thoughts. [snip] Ah, utopia. It’s a wonderful place.

    I live your utopia. Maybe because I’m in a same-sex relationship with a woman.

    We met in grad school. We worked on school and professional projects together. We slowly began to spend free time together. We were compatible psychologically and emotionally.

    The sexual thoughts definitely came last instead of first. She was with a man when we met. I’d been too many straight girls’ “experiment” and was not wantin’ to do that ever again.

    It was not until she realized she felt empty without me that I could even entertain the idea of dating. But I’m convinced that any sexual thoughts she had early on about the two of us together were sketchy and uninformed at best. So I’d have to fall on the side of “some people” do not imagine sexual acts with others before engaging in them.

    Approaching 15 years together.

    BLAME ON! Tacos to all!

  183. Babs

    As a college educated person who has never been employed in a job where being a perky and attractive person wasn’t a requirement (I’ve been a waiter, a bartender, and a receptionist- B.F.A. in film- go figure), I think it is possible to be a feminist and find oneself in a situation where a feminine appearance is mandated, only because such situations are the rule rather than the exception. A woman is not considered fully dressed in the professional world without some sort of paint on her face, let alone the women in service professions who actually have to go the extra mile of presenting themselves as sex objects.

    Perhaps I might submit a bid for the “I changed myself because the menz behavior was so bad” award. I actually legally changed my name, because my birth name was too suggestive. I had to literally listen to men try to reference the sexiest “Brandi” character from tv or films they could remember when I introduced myself, as if the name itself automatically made me sexually interested and available. I’m pretty sure I broke my mother’s heart, and she still doesn’t understand why I would have a problem with being perceived as attractive and “fun” to men.

  184. Bonnie

    In re: “What about the menz??!!?!!!1!!?”

    I was discussing with my mother a falling out with my father-out-law. She mentioned “his ego” and I went into high blame in an email I sent to her.

    The gist was this – I am NOT in the business of protecting the male ego. If he’s going to come to my house and behave like an ass to me and to his daughter, then he damn well better expect to get called on it. And further, he damn well better start learning how to take responsibility for his asshatish behavior; otherwise, there is nowhere to go.

    Haven’t heard from the jerk in exactly one year. He pulled this crap visiting us for our birthdays last year. Partner’s done with him.

    Dickhead.

  185. al

    I can tell that pretty much the same men who, as boys, used to make me walk on the other side of the street in elementary school and high school, and who called me Rake and Morticia and other unsavory names are now the ones who think their with-it attitudes, platinum cards, and hot cars will turn my head.

    True. Maybe that guy who did a double-take when I walked past was the same one who called me a fug in high school. Maybe I just had something in my teeth. Maybe he’s gay and mistook me for another fella. Why should I care?

    When I check out a good-looking guy and he notices me checking him out, how does he know that I’m not just like the snooty girl who laughed at him as a teenager? He doesn’t, and he doesn’t care. Neither do I.

    As long as they aren’t going to be employing me, passing legislation, beating me up, raping me, verbally harrassing me, touching me without my consent or otherwise denying me my rights, why should I care what men think?

    And yes, I am aware that women do need to care about these things in a way men don’t because of all of the above in a sexist society, the same way black guys might not wear a hooded sweatshirt in the night due to the risk of being mistaken as a criminal in a racist society. But I think it was j who pointed out in an earlier thread that we accord the male gaze way too much power—I’m all for analysing behaviour and I practice presentational non-conformity myself, but I’m not going to pull a contortionist act for the purposes of pleasing/not pleasing men. Does the threat of violent retaliation by a racist stop Chris Rock from making white person jokes? Nope, and the threat of rape isn’t going to deter me from venturing out at night in whatever the fuck I like. Life’s too short.

    As to looking, I wasn’t talking about the exploitative kind that LMYC and others are subject to. I was referring to private thoughts and the appreciative kind, not the sleazy visual autopsy that knuckle-draggers seem to get their kicks from. I hate that.

    And since someone may’ve mentioned it, I don’t believe “pretty power” is a threatening kind of power. I’m not saying it isn’t power—when it’s all some women have, it can feel like power, so I won’t take that away from them—but it’s certainly not a power will change anything beyond an individual level. Aside from being undemocratic, it’s just not comparable to the huge-ass structural and institutional power men have, which they get regardless of whether women find them horny or not. And that’s the point.

    I have to address Alecto and Hedonistic’s comments, however, possibly because they smack of “Man, I’m so hawt that not even wearing a potato sack will help me fend off the drooling hordes.”

    And because not all straight men think or lust alike. Not saying that we can’t generalise, because that would deny the cultural conditioning aspect, but when people say that all men will “naturally” objectify a woman who looks like a super/porno model, they deny the fact that there are men whose desires aren’t so caricatured. Not to mention the women whose desires look nothing like Mills and Boon.

  186. LMYC

    HP, you’re right of course. It’s all just a different brand of turn-on, but there is often a way to skate under the radar to an extent. I do however, resent having to do it. It’s still a way they control you, either way. And yes, even if you go entirely in the other direction, you’re just a target for a different category of creep, and they’re still choosing your fucking wardrobe for you. Like Twisty says, there are no value-neutral choices in a patriarchy, and you can’t escape it.

    And either way, it all does ultimately boil down to something Antelope said about, when they begin to see you sexually, you disappear. You can see in their eyes that they aren’t listening. That’s probably the most depressing thing about sharing a planet with them, and the one thing that has killed any vague interest I might have had in het sex stone-dead. The second they become sexually interested, the wall goes up.

    It’s really ironic — sex is supposed to be a time when you are as close to another person as you can conceivably be (no pun intended, but now that I see it there, it’s too fun and silly to remove). And instead, it’s the one time when you are placed in separate galaxies from the other person — often, BY the other person, at the same time as he’s bitching that he just doesn’t see what the problem is!!!1!!11 Sex is seen as making men more male and women more female, and of course those two categories are in separate galaxies, right?

    Sex is the one time when you want to be seen as another person most fully. And yet it’s the one time when you’re least likely to get that. The one time you’re as close as you can be — or should be — to another person, and that’s the one time the impenetrable plexiglass wall of their hormones and privilege goes up, and real communication becomes impossible.

    Not only that, but in the cases I’ve known, the men are uniformly unaware that the wall is there, think you’re imagining it, or just don’t listen (because they of course can’t hear you through the wall). The wall of seeing the woman as a complete fantasy object prevents any real communication from happening, and they don’t even seem to feel the lack. In the face of that, het sex is simply to dissatisfying to bother with when perfectly wonderful women are around.

    Ramblin’ ramblin’ …

  187. Scratchy888

    EVERYTHING IS A SIGNAL. Even putting off the signal that you don’t “play by the rules” makes you a target, just for a different brand of dude.

    I am inclined to differ on the idea that everything is a signal, in the way that Madam implies. I think, really, you exchanged one recognisable social signal or social category for another. While it is surprising that you can go to the extremes you did and still send out signals of attractiveness, it is possible that having a category by which to be identified implies some level of social conformity. On the other hand, cutting my hair in the way I did does not mark me as belonging to any recognisable tribe. Therefore, there is little recognisable social conformity in it. I find some males still ask me, “What is that martial art you’re doing?” when they see me doing some of my techniques on the nude beach. Yet, if they approach me and see me scowling, they back off very quickly.

  188. mearl

    It’s attitude, homie, not looks. It’s also the way you stand, sit, walk, move, and survey them as they approach. Guys approach me too, but after one comment or look from me, or sometimes – if they’re either very brave or very confused – a few minutes of verbal exchange, they run like hell. Or become “friends” with me.

  189. Alecto

    Whee! This thread, it moves so fast! I want to give it a hug, it makes me so happy. mearl:
    I have to address Alecto and Hedonistic’s comments, however, possibly because they smack of “Man, I’m so hawt that not even wearing a potato sack will help me fend off the drooling hordes.” … Guys barely register a hawt female if she’s got a buzzcut and no makeup and is dressed in baggy sweats and sits with her arms on the seat back and legs not primly crossed, and shouts like a gorilla.
    Not so much. In fact, just after I posted originally, I walked down to the store in a sweatshirt and jeans and flipflops and no make up and a scowl. Within five minutes, I recieved two separate drive-by harrassments. Now, I’m not particularly “hawt” (and what good would it do to brag about that on a blog like this to a bunch of faceless people I’ll never meet, anyway?), I just have the characteristics that make clothing a landmine when it comes to decency. Whoever’s definition of decency. Shorts are shorter, skirts are well above my thumbs, tops are lower cut. And it gets hot where I live, so asking me to wear more causes me actual discomfort, thanks.
    EVERYTHING IS A SIGNAL. Even putting off the signal that you don’t “play by the rules” makes you a target, just for a different brand of dude. (hedonistic)
    there is often a way to skate under the radar to an extent. I do however, resent having to do it. It’s still a way they control you, either way. And yes, even if you go entirely in the other direction, you’re just a target for a different category of creep, and they’re still choosing your fucking wardrobe for you. (LMYC)
    Agreed with both. I sometimes despair, though, outside the haven that is Twisty’s, over how my appearance is judged. Since I’m gunna get catcalled whatever I wear, can’t I wear my comfy tanktops and be comfortable? Should I also have to worry that someone else will condemn me for being a fembot in thrall to the patriarchy by my exposed cleavage?
    And don’t get me started on the gendered disparity of appropriate office attire. I’ll be doing job and grad school interviews soon, and it grates my cheese how a man in my sitch could skate by unnoticed with a single suit, shirt, and pair of shoes, yet were I to wear the same? Not unallowed, certainly, but decidedly odd in a way I don’t want to contest at this stage of the game.
    How’s this for threaddrift? We can’t even have a post specifically for teh menz without these harpies coming in and bitching about how this one time, they were totally oppressed and the patriarchy hurts women too! (I kid because I love. Seriously, this thread must be inducted into the Twisty hall o’ blame because you all are on fiyah.)

  190. Alecto

    Why do my linebreaks hate me? Apologies for the eyestrain, y’all.

  191. mearl

    True, that guys heckle you no matter what you do if they recognise you as female. You’re either worth sexually harrassing or unattractive enough to put down. I’ve had guys scream out of cars at me when I was wearing my dad’s parka (maybe they think my dad’s parka is hawt?). But this is no reason to throw up your hands and gussy yourself up to be as gurly as possible because it’s “useless to do otherwise.” I fiercely contend the idea that women CHOOSE their uncomfortable, frilly, decorative and nonfuntional clothes. What can I say: like many men, I’m a fan of functionalism. I like theatre as well, but I’m more liable to dress up as the Jerrys from that Kids in the Hall skit than as a burlesque performer.

    Try dressing up and acting like THIS and see how many guys want your ass:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-_rh3WgnW4

  192. TP

    b dagger lee wrote:

    TP, I’m sorry you were sexually harassed by gay men, and I do like your contributions. However, I have to say, I know at least one gay man who was gang-raped by a group of straight men, and quite a number who just had the shit beaten out of them for being faggoty or girly. Rape isn’t about sex or sexual orientation, it’s about power and sadism. It’s not a tool for empathy or learning, and I wish you’d untangle the two ideas from each other, at least in your sentences.

    Thanks for the correction, b. I understand exactly what you are saying, and I’m always against ideas that seem to diminish the harsh and brutal nature of rape in any way.

    I hope I don’t seem like I support raping men from sadism or as a great way to teach men what women fear and face every day. But I do think that a man can more easily understand what women face by using violent and highly-charged metaphors that make sense to them in a way that unambiguously distinguishes their learning to identify with how a woman feels in a world of male oppression versus their tendency to simply project their world view of privilege into a woman’s body.

    Because rape is also one of, if not the most, extreme examples of oppression expressed in an overt form that nobody can deny.

    What I was saying about the male gaze directed at men is the same strategy. The problem is that men will tend to simply assume that women are just like men, because men think that they are the default human beings of the world, and feminists are always telling them that we are supposed to be all human beings. Instead of trying to understand how women think, men will just assume they think like men but act differently just to be difficult.

    What do you think of this? Have I made a point that makes sense to you? It’s hard to be clear about these feelings, because, you know, I’m talking about the essential divide between the sexes in a patriarchal world, and talking to a woman about a man’s viewpoint that is perhaps alien enough to be incomprehensible. Plus, it’s pretty inchoate, this guess of mine about men.

    By the way, thanks for your kind words, but I don’t regret being harassed by gay men. I came out of the seventies feeling very good about gay men because of all that harassment. I can love a gay man as much as I love anyone who I don’t care to have sex with. After all the opportunities – if you want to call them that – I was given to fuck gay men, I realized that despite being called a little fag all through high school that I was not at all inclined to enjoy sex with other men, and it was a very liberating feeling to be sure of my sexuality.

    It was nice, I noticed later on, that some of the most gay men I knew, never bothered me, and treated me with love and protected me because they knew, just as well as they knew they were gay themselves, that I was not gay.

    I try to always throw a little “I don’t know if this would be the same for a gay man” disclaimer into statements that would not apply if you were gay into my comments, but I must have missed that one. Though I think I have a pretty high degree of empathy for gay men, I still would rather assume that I can’t speak for them, any more than I should (ideally I don’t, but…) speak for a woman.

  193. LMYC

    …and what good would it do to brag about that on a blog like this to a bunch of faceless people I’ll never meet, anyway?

    Actually, it’s rather nice to have this blog here as a place where I can talk about it without it being seen as bragging. Where I can talk honestly about the damned problems associated with it, the annoyances.

  194. mearl

    I say “hot” nowadays to mean “intellectually hot,” since that’s what I care about. Hawt is somethin else.

    Twisty is always hot!

  195. Mandos

    Also, where is this magical institutional structure that replaces men with women come from if not from a structure that takes away power from men?

    Did I misunderstand you?

    Well, we (meaning YOU, since I can’t vote in the USA, being strictly Canuckistani) could just have more Senators. Goodness knows, 1 to 3 million is not a great ratio for a representative system.

    Or, for that matter, you could have systems whereby NEW, nonincumbent senatorial candidates have to be women until 50% is reached. The only problem with this is that you’re likely to get a lot of wingnut women—but you’ll have that problem in any 50% goal anyway. These are all reasonable policies that don’t threaten existing seats—resistance to which is always exponentially greater.

  196. Mandos

    Mandos x3,
    Do you find yourself fantasizing about indulging in a game of chess, baseball, or scrabble, with a new acquaintance before you inquire if they play?

    I’m not much of a board game player, but I understand the point of your question, and well, I’m extremely extroverted, so I do, in fact, imagine myself in interesting activities (going to a museum, etc) with someone who I might only have recently met who seems like a fun person to do that kind of thing with.

    Of course, to know that, I have to know them at least a little bit by talking to them.

    However, sex is a physical act, and does it not make sense that thus some of the “fun person to do that kind of thing with” may have a physical component, which may thus have a component of physical appearance and physical imagination?

    See, here’s the thing: your question kind of surprised me a little. I just assume that people imagine themselves doing enjoyable things with/among people who seem like they may be enjoyable to do that with. So I was approaching this whole issue from a position of attempting to determine how much sex was different from every other enjoyable activity in this regard. But now I realize, to a certain amount of astonishment, that there are people who don’t fantasize or daydream about other people in any context. So I’ve learned something, but it’s still perplexing.

  197. mearl

    Shit, I meant “contest.” I am tired.

  198. Mandos

    In fact, I suspect that the lack of female senators can’t easily be explained by the reluctance of powerful men. Powerful men don’t *really* have a lot to lose from more female politicians. There are ample women who love to play The Game, and play it on the side of the powerful. The system itself may have sexist inertia, but that doesn’t mean it means all that much in actual material terms to have more women senators. Does it?

    The real resistance comes from men who *aren’t* all that powerful and know it, and blame women for risking their economic survival.

  199. Mandos

    Mandos, please read some older anthropological works. Up until the last century, there were still tribes in existence that didn’t acknowledge that semen was good for something. The amusing thing in reading those papers, was the shocked and horrified reaction of the white male anthropologists who had studied the groups. THEY DIDN’T WANT TO BELIEVE what they had unearthed.

    1. Whenever this sort of question comes up, we often see this form of argument being invoked: the Argument From Exception. It’s not enough to point out exceptions. Everything from physical phenomena to human societies has all kinds of little curlicues and caveats and side-circumstances and occurrences. It does not follow that there is no systematicity and that no general statements can be made. For instance, take the Not My Nigel arguments. It may well be that an unrepresentative sample of women partnered with feministically higher-quality males may exist on feminist blogs. It doesn’t mean by dint of that alone that patriarchy doesn’t exist. A similar problem exists with Arguments From Exception wielded against Evpsych.

    I’m aware of the existence of matrifocal societies, but it doesn’t necessarily affect my arguments just by their existence.

    2. Is semen unimportant to reproduction or is sex in the eyes of these specific peoples you mention? I can easily imagine people being confused by seminal fluid and instead saying that sex invoked divine providence in the production of children.

    3. Despite the existence of these peoples, awareness of the importance of sex to reproduction has a long long and very widespread history and probably precedes written history. I can easily, however, contemplate groups becoming isolated and losing this understanding.

    Knowing that semen produces children doesn’t necessarily mean that a patriarchy then develops. There are some matrifocal societies still in existence. Read up on the Navajo. Though fatherhood is acknowledged, the family line is done through the maternal ancestors. When visiting relatives, one stays with the maternal relatives. A father does not participate in the upbringing of his children, he raises his sisters’ children, just as his children will depend on their mother’s brothers.

    This is a lot more interesting to me. Again, I feel the need to point out (1) above an extra time for good measure.

    3. Well, we are now no longer “innocent” of a socially relevant concept of biological male parenthood. Do you think that we could actually return to a matrifocal, matrilineal lifestyle as such? En masse, not just specific minority subcultures affected by very specific conditions. For example: even as the media present an image, for instance, of a “fatherless” black American society, the WaPo did a feature a few months ago on black fatherhood which suggested that that even though black men are less likely to live with the mothers of their children, it doesn’t mean black men don’t invest more in their own children than in other children.

    4. I actually doubt that a matrifocal, matrilineal society could survive the development of an industrial society anything as complicated as the current one, but that’s just speculation on my part.

  200. Scratchy888

    Knowing that semen produces children doesn’t necessarily mean that a patriarchy then develops.

    I would think not. Actually, maybe it does imply that patriarchy has a better chance of developing. Only, it develops upon a foundation of half knowledge. In other words, the seeds for the destruction of patriarchy are in the patriarchal logic itself. First it is assumed that women give birth out of their goddesslike spontaneity. Then it is throught that men plough the fertile earth with their seed, in order to produce offsrpring. Finally, it is discovered — at long last — that women are not “earth” but volitional human beings who have their own seed, stored internally, with which they can choose to play or not play.

    The age of enlightenment then dawns.

  201. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Mearl, yes AND no because here’s the kicker: I’m actually approached LESS OFTEN while in my femmy drag because when I’m dolled up I SCARE PEOPLE. Men and women alike: Both genders just assume I’m a stuck up bitch who wants nothing to do with them. Now that I’m (ahem) older and wiser when I put on my drag I try to lose the DON’T FUCK WITH ME OR I’LL CUT YOU face I usually wear in favor of a more cheerful, friendly, socially-aggressive persona (being a low-serotonin schizoid recluse this is a major accomplishment, and yes the SSRI helps). The benefits are two-fold: Women think, “Oh, she’s nice! Wow that’s weird.” (um, why?) and men think “Who, me?”

    I’m more likely to be approached by a man for a date if I’m unfussed. Men make cost/benefit decisions all the time and the regular moi is just more approachable. The “don’t fuck with me” face does work in fending off ardent men, but only at close range.So does the “I exist in another realm entirely and don’t see you” face. Sadly, it won’t prevent harrassing behavior because the point of harrassment is not to get a date; rather, it’s to put us in our place.

    LMYC: Agreed. Even if you’re dressing to avoid the Gaze THEY ARE CHOOSING YOUR WARDROBE. To which I say: Fuck them.

  202. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Mandos: Absolutely. Real “Alphas” have nothing to lose. The kindest, most solicitous and respectful man ever to approach me with romantic intent was a (self-made) billionaire Swiss financier who’s private jet was bigger than Warren Buffet’s. He’d been (literally) everyplace, passed through nine lives and lived to tell the tale, and won the pecker contest hands down. There was (literally) NOPLACE ELSE FOR HIM TO GO, so what was the point?

    The one thing in the world for him that was not a “sure thing” was to find a woman who loved him for him. He was good in bed, too. I would have continued to date him, but he was unwilling to relocate for my sake (child custody situation) so I took the hint right quick and moved on. GOD I miss that guy. Sigh.

  203. Mandos

    Well, so, it’s cheap and easy for him to be that way. And doesn’t solve much. If more economically downstream males didn’t have to look over their economic shoulders so much, they’d probably be less hostile to women’s advancement too. Just like if economic disadvantaged white people didn’t have to look over their shoulders so much, they’d be less fertile white supremacist recruiting grounds. And so on.

    So maybe Mr. Shakes has a point after all.

  204. Antelope

    TP’s comments are making me think of the time I read this interview about an FTM learning to deal with having more testosterone:

    http://www.bordersstores.com/features/feature.jsp?file=grrrltalk52

    If you want to jump to the part that relates to The Gaze, search on “subway”, though the whole interview is very interesting.

    This, in turn, makes me think of my favorite quote about gender differences, which is from some brain book that came out recently: “It’s utterly ridiculous to say that men and women are from different planets, but it’s pretty accurate to say that they’re on very different drugs.”

    The gaze is about privilege, absolutely, but it’s also about hormonal differences, and what on earth is to be done about that?

  205. Catherine Martell

    Howdy, techne:

    Back on the savannah (oh, that sociobiological chestnut; go ahead and mock me for using it), control of the other through conflict might well have predated control of women.

    Mock! Mock! Mock! Just kidding. I’ve seen both argued. If you believe that women’s oppression stems from their incubational role, it’s a question of what came first, babies or people who looked different? Chicken or egg? It isn’t possible to say, though Simone de B has a valiant go at investigating it. As far as sex vs race for the root of all oppression goes, I think that’s kind of a false dichotomy anyway. I see it a bit like that Alien vs Predator tagline: “Whoever wins, we lose.”

    What are the similarities, do you think, between the purported sociobiological attempt to shoehorn data to link everything to reproduction, and the ways in which this blog blames so many modern ills on patriarchy?

    Ah ha ha, trump card! But this is an unfair comparison. Just because one form of analysis is flawed in a certain way, doesn’t mean that all others are flawed in the same way. Otherwise we’re having the argument where the creationist says: “But science is just another form of religion.”

    However, I would add that I don’t necessarily write off the entirety of sociobiology as a discipline; I just find certain aspects of it problematic. Moreover, I don’t necessarily assume that patriarchy alone is responsible for absolutely all modern ills. Most of the issues addressed on this blog pertain to pornography, gender, violence against women, etc, and patriarchy is relevant to them, just as sociobiology is relevant to why we have evolved as we have.

    It is true that lots of us see patriarchy everywhere. But that’s because, for us, it is. Excuse me pulling rank on you for a second, but I’m a human, in a reasonably successful professional career and what I guess counts as an elite and intellectual social circle, who happens to inhabit a visibly female body. I consider myself extremely privileged in many ways, and yet every single day I come up against something that reminds me that I’m Not Like The Men: at work, in the street, in my personal life. I could give examples, but there are so many here already. Look at the number of women who have joined in the discussion on this thread about dress and the male gaze: the fact of our Otherhood is constantly demonstrated to us and we’re forced to be conscious of it. So to say, “Aren’t you making everything about the patriarchy?” to one of us, would be a bit like saying “Aren’t you making everything about slavery?” to Frederick Douglass. The answer is “Duh, yes“, though I expect Mr Douglass might have put it a bit more eloquently than that.

    We’re obsessed with the patriarchy because it’s obsessed with us – or, more accurately, with our bodies. We can’t turn it off, however much some of us might try by pushing our intellectual selves forward or adopting sartorial disguises. I don’t claim that it explains everything, but it does help me to understand an awful lot about my life. Perhaps, were I desperate to have children, evopsych might have a similar resonance for me.

  206. Kali

    “In the face of that, het sex is simply to dissatisfying to bother with when perfectly wonderful women are around.”

    My choice is celibacy since I am straight. I have completely lost the ability to get interested in any man since I understood the male gaze. Even if I meet an interesting guy, the image of him jacking off to porn pops up in my head and I completely lose interest in him. I have to be completely sure that the guy is not like the typical man with an objectifying gaze before I can even be interested in him. And that’s not the kind of thing that is written on anyone’s forehead.

  207. Kali

    “It doesn’t mean by dint of that alone that patriarchy doesn’t exist. A similar problem exists with Arguments From Exception wielded against Evpsych.”

    The argument that Evpsych is making is not analogous to “patriarchy exists”. It is analogous to “patriarchy is in the human genome”. Pointing to culture-wide exceptions does undermine the EvPsych argument. If one is arguing that humans evolved for xyz, one has to explain why humans in some culture did not evolve for xyz.

    Also, exceptions are not the only problem that EvPsych has. It has far more fundamental problems than that, as has already been pointed out here and elsewhere. The field has no scientific basis whatsoever.

  208. LCforevah

    Scratchy, thank you for understanding the gist of my observation, and not turning it into Class A gobbledygook.

    In some groups of people, when it was found that semen caused pregnancy, it was then assumed that only the semen counted. It was thought the semen carried a homunculus, “a little man”, a complete being, and that the woman merely nourished it. These were the cultures that ended up creating some pretty virulent forms of patriarchy. It was thought that it started as a male, and only became female by being “tainted” inside the mother’s womb. Women hatred, anyone?

    Everywhere there are patriarchal cultures there is violence against women, children, and lower status males. I simply can’t believe that anyone else would conceive of this as the natural order of things–that just shows how far into it most of us are.

    Anthropologists found a few cultures that didn’t value semen early in the last century, showing that patriarchy wasn’t an infallible universal concept. Archaeologists have found even more such cultures when they dug past the first patriarchal religions to find the feminine based religions that preceded them. I do believe, that there is not one place on this planet where a father-based religion sprung up all by itself–male based religions have always been preceded by a female based religion which then had to be destroyed in order to put biology in male hands.

  209. LCforevah

    “The argument that Evpsych is making is not analogous to “patriarchy exists”. It is analogous to “patriarchy is in the human genome”. Pointing to culture-wide exceptions does undermine the EvPsych argument. If one is arguing that humans evolved for xyz, one has to explain why humans in some culture did not evolve for xyz.”

    Kali, best explanation yet.

    Good to know someone else is celibate for the same reasons. I thought I was all alone out here.

  210. Heart

    Mandos: Your example with the guys and the mother has more to do with not *saying* it to the wrong people than not *thinking* it.

    See, this is why it makes no sense for women to think egalitarian or happy or mutual satisfactory relationships/sex with men are possible, this right here with all of the implications. Truth: men think all sorts of horrifying shit about you and other women all of the time– your mom, your daughter, your granddaughter, your daughter’s friends, the neighbor girl, the woman on the nightly news, while they are having sex with you, and they think if they don’t say anything about it, it doesn’t matter, when, in fact, what they are doing amounts to is them having sex with themselves and their own imaginations while using your orifices as a “warm dark place to stick it”, in the words of the immortal Nedra Johnson. Worse than that, men, as Mandos illustrates so well, don’t really see what’s wrong with that. I mean, really. What’s wrong with using one another as masturbatory devices, isn’t that what human bodies are FOR?!

    Then the shock and awe over the fact that many women somehow manage great relationships/great sex lives without walking around continually — or EVER — imagining or envisioning sex acts with everyone and her sister/brother, with dogs, cats, horses tree-trunks, shoes, holes in the ground, slabs of meat, whatever.

    No. It isn’t possible, at this time in history, to have an egalitarian, respectful sexual relationship with a man. You are going to be objectified, exploited and used as a fuck hole. Guaranteed.

    But thanks for getting the dismal truth right out there and available for quoting, Mandos. Sheesh.

    And I’m marrying LYMC.

    Heart

  211. LMYC

    I should take some of you up on these marriage proposals.

    Oddly, I’ve run into a blog called “waiter rant” lately that is absolutely astonishing me with its rank stupidity, and it’s so closely related to what we’ve swerved onto here that I’m stunned.

    Story: a large, angry man the size of a Clydesdale is at a gym, hits on a very pretty redheaded woman there, and becomes violently angry and curses, calling her all sorts of foul names when she doesn’t instantaneously cough up her pussy.

    Blogger is present, listens to the crazed would-be rapist, sympathizes with him, muses on the “power” women have to make violent, enormous men furious by not immediately agreeing to sex, and concludes “there’s no understanding women.”

    This poor woman was just at the fucking gym, and because she didn’t instantly fork over her pussy to a large, angry man the size fo a small draft horse who demanded it, she’s mysterious? Our desire to not fuork over our cunts out of fear to large, violent men is a mystery?

    Holy god. Holy motherfucking god on a pogo stick.

    The older I get, the more I conclude without apology that men should be in zoos. Their either this huge, musclebound mammoth who wants pussy or else (sounds a lot like rape to me, and I don’t think men can tell the difference anymore), or the little beta-boy who wants to sympathizae with the rapist quarterback of the footbal team, concluding that women are impossible to understand because we don’t crack our thighs on demand, or Mandos-like nimrods who think that it’s perfectly reasonable for a man to fantasize raping a woman who won’t cough up, it’s just in bad taste to act on it.

    You people are all out of your minds. Just stay the fuck clear of me, okay? I should get pepper spray or something. Reading this shit, I’m becoming powerfully convinced it would be a good idea. Men are fucking NUTS.

  212. Mandos

    But thanks for getting the dismal truth right out there and available for quoting, Mandos. Sheesh.

    It’s funny because I didn’t actually give the example and I didn’t actually say anything that implied:

    nimrods who think that it’s perfectly reasonable for a man to fantasize raping a woman who won’t cough up, it’s just in bad taste to act on it.

    I instead hypothesized about the motivation for the second man’s reaction in someone else’s scenario. I didn’t actually imply judgements either way.

    Please read what I actually write, not what you want to see in what I write. Heart’s misreading I can understand, Heart being Heart and eager to jump the gun make that reading, but LMYC until that point was doing well.

  213. TP

    Antelope wrote:

    The gaze is about privilege, absolutely, but it’s also about hormonal differences, and what on earth is to be done about that?

    This is a great insight for the “what about the men?” FAQ, since men are always pretending that they are utterly helpless to fight off the overwhelming majesty of their massive hormonal secretions.

    Except for in puberty, men don’t really have to be overwhelmed by their hormones! Are we not human beings? Aren’t we hopefully aspiring to be better than animals, rather than far, far worse?

    Men want to be attractive to and a good mates for women when they are straight men. What cues and signals do they get to tell them how to be attractive and a good mate? Mixed, confusing, self-cancelling chaos.

    The best answer most men will tell you is they have to be manly. The last answer you’ll usually get is that they think they should be a good person.

    As an aside, I think it’s too bad that some of my favorite commentators have taken their hatred of men to the area of complete stereotyping and denial that any humanity at all exists in men.

    Much as I hate men, I still think that plenty of men exist who are genuinely good under all their evil training, and who don’t sit around thinking about raping mothers and grand daughters and holes in trees and shit like that. I mean it’s funny, but it’s way too scary to be even slightly real.

  214. DeadMan

    “As women progress, men lose their power to rape us, kill us, buy us, sell us, consume us through prostitution and porn, tell us what to do, where to go, who to marry, how many kids to have, etc.”

    Very true, but (and god I hope I’m right) those are all powers any sane man would WANT to lose. As a feminist man I see no downside at all to feminism. We don’t live in a vacuum, anything that is good for my friends and loved ones I consider good for me. There isn’t one privilege I get as a white dude that I actually want (well that’s sort of a lie since a lot of my privileges are basically a list of horrible things that happen to other people but don’t happen to me. I’d rather those horrible things just not happen to anybody ever … but I digress).

    Also when looking for a partner in life I want, well a partner … somebody to share life with in an equal way, not a doormat or sexbot. And we all know what causes women to become doormats or sexbots. If that isn’t enough incentive to make a man take a serious look at how the patriarchy screws everything up then … I don’t know … punch him in the neck a few times?

  215. Kali

    “But thanks for getting the dismal truth right out there and available for quoting, Mandos. Sheesh.”

    That’s true. I understood objectification at an abstract, cognitive level until the internet opened up this window into the minds of men. That’s when I truly understood what objectification is, and just how pernicious it is. So, thanks Mandos and all predecessors to Mandos.

  216. Heart

    As an aside, I think it’s too bad that some of my favorite commentators have taken their hatred of men to the area of complete stereotyping and denial that any humanity at all exists in men.

    TP, I beg of you, please tell me we really do NOT have to go to the “you are manhaters” place in this thread devoted to men? I’m going to tell myself that’s not what you meant so I can quickly get beyond the kneejerk response that STILL overtakes me to defend myself and other honest, non-male-apologist, willing-to-speak-the-truth feminists against that most horrid of accusations, that we are manhaters (when, in fact, as Twisty says, it’s men who actually hate US and demonstrate that all of the time.)

    Much as I hate men, I still think that plenty of men exist who are genuinely good under all their evil training, and who don’t sit around thinking about raping mothers and grand daughters and holes in trees and shit like that. I mean it’s funny, but it’s way too scary to be even slightly real.

    I didn’t say, and don’t think, that men sit around thinking about raping mothers, granddaughters and holes in trees (although some do). My comment went to Mandos’s seeming obsession with proving that objectification (not rape, objectification) is the human condition, a-okay and everybody does it, and if he just strings words together enough times, creatively enough, he will be able to get us to agree. When, in fact, objectification is neither “normal” nor “a-okay.” Human beings are human beings, not objects, and objectifying human beings is *dehumanizing*. I wasn’t talking about rape, again, and iow, but about objectification and the way it results in men having sex with themselves and calling that “sex” and “intimacy” with their female partners because they used our orifices, and then (in Mandos case) arguing that women do it, too — because he can’t imagine a non-objectifying thought life — so that makes it dandy or biological or chemical or hormonal or something like that.

    Heart

  217. Antelope

    I’m not going to try to speak for Mandos here, though it’s awfully tempting.

    What I meant when writing about male friends who start to have sexual thoughts about me, and what I assumed Mandos was talking about as well, were not rape fantasies. They’re fantasies where someone is happy to be with you, even though you know that’s very, very unlikely to ever be the case.

    It’s not altogether right when I pretend some guy would be happy to be with me if he wouldn’t, but I think it’s a minor offense. Would they feel threatened if they knew that I’ve imagined them as someone who actually spends a reasonable amount of time on foreplay? Probably not, although of course I’m setting myself up for disappointment with the real thing as badly as any guy does.

    The reason I still find it disgusting when men fantasize about me is because I would bet it’s influenced by the type of porn where the woman pleads for it, strikes strange & uncomfortable poses, carries on about how much she loves that enormous cock, and uses a squeaky or breathless voice that makes her sound more childish and naive than any actual child I’ve ever met.

    I think those patterns are plenty gross enough without having to assume that all men mean rape fantasy when they use the word fantasy. If you imagine that you have to rape someone, doesn’t that imply that they find you repulsive? A hell of a lot of men obviously think that they’re repulsive, or that their penises are, but I’m sure some would rather pretend they can get a warm reception. Even, or perhaps especially, the ones that almost never do.

  218. LMYC

    I mean it’s funny, but it’s way too scary to be even slightly real.

    And you say I’m in denial?

    that 1-in-3 statistics is also scary as shit, and no, it’s unfortunately not way too scary to be even slightly real.

    “Too scary to be real” is the definition of denial, TP.

  219. thebewilderness

    So I’m guessing that women are not by nature obedient. No wonder it takes an entire cultural structure of patriarchy to train us into semi, pseudo, quasi obedience. This explains the shock with witch men respond to our refusal to obey. It may also explain why the level of obedience demanded by the patriarchy is so extrordinary.
    A stranger in a gym for criminy sakes?

  220. LMYC

    A stranger in a gym. And moreover one that probably exuded the stink of “I want you now but will flip to hating your stuck-up cunt guts in seven milliseconds when you refuse me” that that poor woman was probably very sensitive to, by necessity.

    If it’s hormones or whatever, I don’t care. That whole interaction reeks of a jumpy crack addict who is faking being casually friendly but betraying a whole host of nervous tics and shakes while he tries to sidle up to you and borrow $5. Just as anyone can tell the psycho-vibes in a heartbeat, so can she.

    “Hey buddy *jittery neck scratch* how you doin?” turns into “Come on MAN! Just five bucks! Just FIVE FUCKIN BUCKS, MAN! FUCK YOU MAN!” real fast.

  221. Babs

    I read the watier rant comments until they made me sick and had to stop. I stopped reading at NB’s comment of :

    “And frankly, godbless the folks at porn for demystifying beautiful women.”

    So that’s what they’re doing…

  222. Sam

    Demystifying? Is that what’s going on when public speakers are asked to imagine the audience naked before speaking if they’re nervous?

    I thought it was about tricking yourself into believing the people whose admiration you seek are nothing more than a bunch of undignified naked animals and not the social, academic, and political peers you fear won’t like or respect you.

  223. B. Dagger Lee

    TP, thanks for the clarification. –BDL

  224. thebewilderness

    Holy banana boats Batman, I put a witch in which. I will never reread a comment again.

  225. Mandos

    If it’s hormones or whatever, I don’t care. That whole interaction reeks of a jumpy crack addict who is faking being casually friendly but betraying a whole host of nervous tics and shakes while he tries to sidle up to you and borrow $5. Just as anyone can tell the psycho-vibes in a heartbeat, so can she.

    “Hey buddy *jittery neck scratch* how you doin?” turns into “Come on MAN! Just five bucks! Just FIVE FUCKIN BUCKS, MAN! FUCK YOU MAN!” real fast.

    Actually, some of them are on artifical testosterone and probably exactly like that crack addict.

    My current computer and browser does not like this preview thing. It’s not a happy camper everywhere. Maybe that will make me do actual work, at least until I get home.

  226. Frumious B

    I’ve run into a blog called “waiter rant”

    That guy is a fucking tool. I’d fuck Robert Heinlein and Garrison Keillor both before I fucked him. For true comic joy, skim all the way back, way way back, to the post where he prints an e-mail from a feminist blogger who refused to link to him due to his toolry. you’ll have to pick yourself up off the floor after reading the “Leftovers” post which he puts forth as evidence of his pro-feminist nature. Gold, I tell you, gold, an MF if ever there was one.

  227. Frumious B

    The gaze is about privilege, absolutely, but it’s also about hormonal differences, and what on earth is to be done about that?

    Hormonal differences, my ass. The Gaze is about entitlement. There was just some tooleriffic study out which examined why men look women up and down, but women don’t do the same to men. You know what they concluded? Get this – it’s because women have better peripheral vision and don’t need to look men up and down. Nothing about how men are raised hearing how visually oriented they are, or how women’s bodies are public property that men use to bond over, nothing about how women are raised hearing how they are turned on by romantic gestures and are taught to be the observed and never the observer, no, it’s all peripheral vision.

  228. TP

    Oh my god, heart, I totally misread you and I’m sorry. I find it very difficult to follow Mandos’ threads of logic and then I, of course, find it even harder to follow the rebuttals.

    In this particular thread, where the subject is about what should we tell the men about feminism so they won’t freak out at the thought of losing their illusory but oh-so-essential male asshole privileges, it caught me off guard to read blanket dismissals of all men, which is usually just fine with me. I forgot where I was and found myself thinking:

    “All men do these evil things? Not me!”

    It won’t happen again.

    This is a place where women can say things like that without men – especially a man who usually knows better – thinking it is personal.

  229. Phoenix

    I, through personal experience have to agree with Frumious B that the Gaze is hormnal, is utter bullshit. I am a female to male transsexual and have been on testosterone for six years and have never felt the need to Gaze at anyone. I usually am only paying attention to the person, or persons I am with and if by myself I keep it that way.
    Up on the thread I used a link to read an interview with a female to male transsexual and I am calling bullshit on almost the entire answer about how hormones made him react to a knee on the subway. He also implied that if he had had a girlfriend at the time he would have tried to “coerce” her into sex or force himself upon her. Hormones do not make a rapist. When I first started t my sex drive did go up , but not to anything that was prevalent in his interview answers. Maybe his thoughts of “coercion,” or rape as I see it were due to his predilection for porn before his transition and after. He also states that he watched porn before his transition because it was masculine and this is where I stopped reading due to the bile rising.

  230. witchy-woo

    Gods. What a thread!

    I have nothing sensible to contribute at the moment but I would like to tell TP and LMYC that I have really appreciated your comments.

    Blamers will change the entire world!

  231. LMYC

    http://www.waiterrant.net/

    Here you go — have fun.

    (Why do I feel as if I’ve just waved a sweatsock under the noses of a pack of rabid police dogs?)

  232. LMYC

    About the rape fantasy comment — I’m not backing off of it. I’ve taken part in too many of these arguments to know that it’s not sitting there, lurking and waiting to be brought up. Mandos is one of a type; if it’s brought up by another man, he’ll find a way to justify it. I just whacked the mole before it stuck its head up. I am utterly convinced that it was there, and that he WAS counting “force it on her until she starts to like it” as one of his example fantasies.

  233. LMYC

    Actually, some of them are on artifical testosterone and probably exactly like that crack addict.

    A statistically significant number of men who try to make eye contact with a beautiful woman and walk off thinking, “God damned stuck up cunt, probably waiting for a zillionaire, fuck her, man … ”

    Really?

  234. LMYC

    “All men do these evil things? Not me!”

    I know the thing that made me blink was when you said, “Now I hate men too, but — ” And the only thing that the rest of your sentence seemed to say was: ” — but you guys can’t, or at least you have to make sure that you make it absolutely clear that you don’t mean me.”

    You seem interested, smart, and sincere. I’m sure you can figure out for yourself whether you’ve ever done anything like this and hence are included in my anger.

    I’m also sure that you can see how, without overwhelming necessity, I simply find the task of separating the wheat from the chaff to be exhausting, dangerous, and not promising any real returns. I don’t want a prince badly enough to kiss all thsoe damned toads, and I’m not convinced a prince even exists after all this time. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

  235. LMYC

    Frumious B, I actually do look over well-built men. Their bodies look nice from time to time. But I do not do it overtly because that’s rude, and besides, if eye contact is read by men as agreement to fork over my vagina for their uses, what’s an overt look-see gonna be interpreted as? He’s just a guy who likes to look, but merely looking him over will brand me as a slut or someone who had it coming.

    It’s not mental brainwashing that makes me not look men over overtly. It’s fear of being immediately transformed into a degraded slut who wants it any way the guy wants to give it. It’s fear of them that keeps me from doing it, and I don’t believe this is an irrational fear. This is not a problem with my self-esteem or having to be told that “sex is natural!” or anything like that. This is not wanting to get felt up, punched, harassed, or raped. Men have used far more insignificant things as excuses.

    As that woman at waiter rant at the gym learned, very large angry men can brand you a horrific blight upon the landscape who deserves to get run down by a tank for NOT making eye contact, and a slut who legally signed over ownership of her vagina in a binding agreement for making eye contact. Our goddamned lives can depend on where our gaze falls.

    Problem is, our goddamned lives can also depend on where their gaze falls.

    What say we just blindfold the motherfuckers? Sort of like a reverse burqa.

  236. Bird

    LMYC, I read your comments on the waiter blog. Damn, I love you sometimes.

  237. thebewilderness

    I would like for this to be a misunderstanding, but I suspect it is not. Mandos seems to be saying that he spends some time speculating and fantasizing about a new acquaintance rather than interacting with them. The waiter guy seems to think that the woman he was zeroed in on is responsible for his surge of lust while he was ogling her while at the drinking fountain. Not surprisingly they consider this ‘normal’ behavior. In reality this behavior is taught as natural entitlement. If it were natural it wouldn’t take a consistent, persistent training regimen to get there, nor an entire patriarchial construct to maintain the pretense.
    The great mystery of women seems to be that when they are going around minding their own business, they expect you to do the same.

  238. LMYC

    Phoenix, I have to say that I really enjoyed your comment. I’ve heard more than a few FTMs talk about how suddenly, they understood the insane male drive to screw anything you saw as a result of the testosterone, whether it wanted to be screwed or not — not to mention men and MTFs who talk about “being unchained from a wild beast” when they finally did without it … it’s nice to read someone who calls bullshit on it. I suppose it all depends on the person, but it’s nice to hear that the stuff isn’t always the blanket excuse for rape that most men want it to be.

    I remember one fellow (can’t recall his name, but I think he wrote for Planet Out) who talked about how he got calmer, more relaxed, and a lot less confrontational and demanding when he began using his prescribed testosterone. It felt so wonderful for him to feel right finally that he was able to be much gentler and sweeter, because he felt as if he was at last at home in his body. Testosterone made him kinder, sweeter, and more patient. If it hadn’t been for your comment, I’d probably have forgotten that.

  239. Mandos

    I’m not going to try to speak for Mandos here, though it’s awfully tempting.

    What I meant when writing about male friends who start to have sexual thoughts about me, and what I assumed Mandos was talking about as well, were not rape fantasies.

    Thank you, antelope. Thebewilderness asked me if I fantasize about doing certain non-sex-related activities with acquaintances, mostly benign and innocuous ones. I said: yes I did. So the response I expected was more like thebewilderness more recent:

    I would like for this to be a misunderstanding, but I suspect it is not. Mandos seems to be saying that he spends some time speculating and fantasizing about a new acquaintance rather than interacting with them.

    To which I say, if I’m in a great restaurant, and eating something I like (which I sometimes do alone because I had the whim to walk into a restaurant I might have been passing), I do, in fact, sometimes think “Ah, I just met so and so, he seems like the kind of guy that likes this kind of stuff. What would he like on this menu? Maybe it might be fun to invite him to eat it.” And lo and behold, my mental monologue, which includes images of delicious food and eating it with friends, sometimes results in me actually inviting that person to that restaurant with me, and we even have a good time!

    I think that perhaps we’ve reached a serious discontinuity of experience if people here think that such a thing is somehow a violation of my acquaintance’s personhood (of both genders, but I used male pronouns to shed the insinuation of a sexually-interested date).

    I was assuming that it was something specifically about sex that was at issue. Which is not surprising, considering that this is IBTP. Am I wrong about this?

    Like I said, I meant something close to what antelope wrote.

  240. Mandos

    A statistically significant number of men who try to make eye contact with a beautiful woman and walk off thinking, “God damned stuck up cunt, probably waiting for a zillionaire, fuck her, man … ”

    Really?

    I made no general statement, only about that specific huge man in the gym. And only from the comments of FTMs and steroid-consuming bodybuilders that I’ve read from time to time. I wouldn’t be surprised, however, if testosterone has different behavioural effects on different people; and that some of them will be negative.

  241. Mandos

    So I was actually getting interested in the evpsych discussion when LMYC took a very interesting intellectual turn when she wrote (in accusation):

    Mandos-like nimrods who think that it’s perfectly reasonable for a man to fantasize raping a woman who won’t cough up, it’s just in bad taste to act on it.

    There’s a very fascinating presupposition behind this. LMYC, do you actually think that negative thoughts (in general, not just about sex) are subject to judgement even in the absence of conditions that reveal that thought? How did you know about the thought in order to judge it? Or is it specifically rape fantasies for which you have this judgement? (I am not accusing you of inconsistency if you say yes to that last question, by the way.)

    And then Heart said:

    My comment went to Mandos’s seeming obsession with proving that objectification (not rape, objectification) is the human condition, a-okay and everybody does it, and if he just strings words together enough times, creatively enough, he will be able to get us to agree. When, in fact, objectification is neither “normal” nor “a-okay.” Human beings are human beings, not objects, and objectifying human beings is *dehumanizing*.

    So, first of all, I would like to thank Heart for making the correct clarification that I am not attempting to prove that rape is “the human condition.” That would be the most pointless thing I could possibly try to do here for any number of reasons.

    However, let’s unpack what it means that “objectifying…is *dehumanizing*.” It seems a curiously metaphysical concept. If sentient being A imagines itself and sentient being B being in pleasant, positive situation X, what, exactly, is taken away from B? How is “humanity”, for lack of a better word, taken away from B, especially if B doesn’t know? I’m assuming that I’ve pinned down the prototype case of objectification without real or imagined violence.

  242. Phoenix

    LMYC,

    I became a lot calmer, nicer, empathetic, and a whole lot of other things that have been noticed by people I knew before I started transition and after. I no longer have to be what society wants me to be and I for one strive for this to be true for everyone. I honestly believe that those FTMs that have a new understanding for the male sex drive as being overwhelming, as well as MTFs that are glad to be rid of the beast are to a very large extent playing out psychosomatic episodes. These are my own thoughts on the matter and I will try to explain in as few words as possible. I have no research to back this up as I do not know of any that has been done in regards to my personal thoughts and opinions.

    In the U.S. the media, social rules of interaction, clothing, and toys for children have in my mind for transsexuals enabled these specific psychosomatic episodes, and for non-transsexuals given excuses for bad behavior. A FTM growing up sees the images of men in action movies, sees boys playing with toy guns and G.I. Joe dolls, not to mention that due to the social interaction rules boys and girls dress differently, behave differently, and get treated differently. So when a FTM finally gets the testosterone flowing through the veins at normal male levels I believe there is a tendency to over think how they should be reacting to this change. The same is true for MTF that see women portrayed by the media as hyper feminine, brainless, vapid, and incapable of sexual thought or deed without men. When these MTF receive the estrogen they over think that life was horrible with testosterone and at normal male level I am sure it was, but every person has levels of both and taking one or the other hormone neither negates or truly replaces the other. I am sorry for hijacking the thread.

  243. LMYC

    Phoenix, the way you’re describing it, it just sounds like some FTMs, like any other guys, drive big truck to overcompensate. :-) and some MTFs go overboard on the hairspray for the same reason, like any other women. And maybe they feel they have more to prove.

  244. Mar Iguana

    As a feminist man…” DeadMan

    SNORT!!

  245. Phoenix

    LMYC,

    I guess simply put it could be overcompensation, but I just do not understand it.

  246. redhead

    In general, this comment thread is incredibly compelling; specifically, Phoenix, thanks for your view on the ‘Testosterone problem.’ It’s good to hear from someone who says that the common view of “It’s the hormones, silly” is bunk.

    I have a friend who never hit puberty due to a genetic problem; he started getting testosterone injections at the age of 17, and has had to adjust them since then. One such adjustment was the same level of hormones overall, but given with less time in between. He has not changed from a woman-ogling, sexually aggressive beast into a pacified kitten; in fact, he has become less likely to become emotional. And we all know that emotional = female (in our culture’s view.) So basically, when his testosterone did not spike so high (i.e., when it was given less frequently), he was less ‘female’ (in stereotypical interpretations of the word). Ha!

    I have another friend, a schoolmate, who is transitioning FTM currently, and is post-hormone therapy, pre-surgery stage, who is sweet as pie and gracious as hell, much more so than I – being in a grad program that is overwhelmingly masculine and sexist, I sometimes feel the need to rage against the machine, and have been labelled as bitchy.

    See, for every example you can come up with of testosterone making people more likely to ‘gaze’ and subjugate, there is one that shows that it does not. This proves that either 1) levels of testosterone affect different people differently, or 2) people tend to assume that a difference in behavior = difference in hormones. I, as a patriarchy-blamer, tend to believe the latter. It’s too hard to untangle what is natural and what is taught to come up with a hypothesis that is not highly questionable.

  247. LMYC

    Antelope, I should also state that, while I stand behind my admitted assumption that “force her until she starts to like it” was an unstated inclusion, I totally agree with you about how I am also revolted at the “ooh ooh your dick is so huge harder *yawn*” bullshit picture I’m being cast in. Just as you say, the whole thing is composed of the guy and his favorite three-dimensional woman-shaped blank that just happens to have a photocopy of my face taped to the front. To pretend that this:

    1) isn’t going to influence how he behaves around me (and it sure as shit ain’t gonna make him pay me MORE respect, now is it?), and
    2) has fuckall to do with ME as a human being

    is pathetic.

  248. Mandos

    To pretend that this:

    1) isn’t going to influence how he behaves around me (and it sure as shit ain’t gonna make him pay me MORE respect, now is it?), and
    2) has fuckall to do with ME as a human being

    is pathetic.

    Who exactly did either of these things, and how?

  249. Zonk

    “Story: a large, angry man the size of a Clydesdale is at a gym, hits on a very pretty redheaded woman there, and becomes violently angry and curses, calling her all sorts of foul names when she doesn’t instantaneously cough up her pussy.

    Blogger is present, listens to the crazed would-be rapist, sympathizes with him, muses on the “power” women have to make violent, enormous men furious by not immediately agreeing to sex, and concludes “there’s no understanding women.”

    Are you sure you actually read that? cause that’s not at all what he was getting at.

  250. msxochitl

    Dead Man: “Very true, but (and god I hope I’m right) those are all powers any sane man would WANT to lose.”

    You’re right, and I think that’s where feminist men come from. They are men that, for whatever strange reason, seem to view women as human beings. I’m not sure why, but they just get it.

    Last year I taught English writing to class of 17-19 year-old men. Most of them sexually harassed me constantly. If I was talking about similes and asked students for examples, they’d say stuff like “you are as sexy as movie star.” When I complained to the director he just laughed and said, “That’s the way Indian men are.”

    However, there were a few men in the class who were genuinely interested in the subject matter. They looked really uncomfortable when their classmates made those comments about me. They spoke to me like a human being. I didn’t have to explain feminism to them. They just got it. They understood that what their classmates was doing was shitty. So yes, there were a few sane men in the class who did not view sexual harassment as a privilege.

    But here’s the thing: if these good guys wanted to harass me they could. That’s what privilege means. You can use it or not, but it’s there. And (this is what concerns me about Shakes’ post) you can’t get rid of those powers by refusing to admit those powers exist.

  251. Antelope

    I’m really glad that Phoenix & others have chipped in some different points of view on the FTM thing. Here in Alaska I don’t think there’s anyone at all who’s FTM and out about it, so that one article and a few bits of 2nd-hand gossip were all I had to go on in guesstimating what it might be like.

    In case anybody thought I was being at all unclear, I was only blaming testosterone for having a tendency to stare a bit too long, not for rape or thoughts of rape. Not even for making asshole comments – all of those are learned behavior.

  252. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Oh CHEEZ, does this mean I have to GO to the waiter thread to read LMYC’s awesome comment? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  253. Kali

    “I do, in fact, sometimes think “Ah, I just met so and so, he seems like the kind of guy that likes this kind of stuff. What would he like on this menu? Maybe it might be fun to invite him to eat it.” And lo and behold, my mental monologue, which includes images of delicious food and eating it with friends, sometimes results in me actually inviting that person to that restaurant with me, and we even have a good time!”

    That is not analogous to sexual objectification. If you see some guy with a nice fat ass and fantasise about using that as a footrest, that is more analogous. If you see someone with lots of muscles and fantasise about making him your personal baggage carrier, that is analogous. We are not talking about fantasising about human interactions of friendship & sharing, we are talking about fantasising about using another person’s body as an object to satisfy oneself. I think you know the difference, so stop pretending otherwise.

    And yes, hateful and/or objectifying thoughts of others are wrong even if no one knows about it. And you cannot honestly claim that having those thoughts does not influence the way you treat people, even if those people do not or cannot make that connection.

  254. Mandos

    We are not talking about fantasising about human interactions of friendship & sharing, we are talking about fantasising about using another person’s body as an object to satisfy oneself. I think you know the difference, so stop pretending otherwise.

    I did, in fact, know the difference. I was only confused by thebewilderness’ question and its followup, which suggested that she might think that there wasn’t a difference. How do I interpret, “I would like for this to be a misunderstanding, but I suspect it is not. Mandos seems to be saying that he spends some time speculating and fantasizing about a new acquaintance rather than interacting with them” in the context in which it was written?

    So I do still suspect that there are people who feel that imagining pleasure with others, mutual or otherwise, can still be taking something from someone without their permission: still a form of objectification. Otherwise there would never have been an argument on this point.

    And yes, hateful and/or objectifying thoughts of others are wrong even if no one knows about it. And you cannot honestly claim that having those thoughts does not influence the way you treat people, even if those people do not or cannot make that connection.

    Clearly thoughts affect action, but I do not think that they always affect action, and they do not always affect action in predictable ways. Consequently, I don’t think that such a clear-cut, blanket moral judgement can be made, even if it may assist in the development of useful theories.

  255. TinaH

    I’m back several hours, and sorry I can’t pay too close attention to this whilst I’m working for the paycheck, but I did want to note a couple of things about pregnancy and the evolution (do I dare use that word?) of humanity’s knowledge about the part that the wee spermies play in making babies:

    You don’t always know when you’re pregnant in historical times (whatever those are), menses could delay for whatever good reason they wanted to, nausea could be explained by bad food, and not everyone gets sore breasts.
    Pregnancy was, even recently as the US colonial period, not recognized as beginning until quickening, when the first fluttering of the fetus was felt.
    Besides, even now, when we know so much, don’t we see a story or 2 on the news about some woman who goes to the ER with indigestion and and ends up with an infant?

    I guess my point is, (I know, hurry up!) it has not been easy from a historical perspective to know when one has gotten pregnant. It’s not a far leap from not knowing when to not knowing how, if you’re trying to reverse engineer the development of human knowledge in this area as a way to figure out the origins of patriarchy.

  256. Frumious B

    LYMC:

    But I do not do it overtly because that’s rude …

    It’s not mental brainwashing that makes me not look men over overtly. It’s fear of being immediately transformed into a degraded slut who wants it any way the guy wants to give it. It’s fear of them that keeps me from doing it … This is not wanting to get felt up, punched, harassed, or raped.

    (note legitimate use of ellipses to indicate missing material)

    How is what you describe different from mental brainwashing? Why do you think that you get the message that looking people over is rude but men do not? Men get positive reinforcement from each other when they check women out. Women get negative reinforcement from men when they check men out*. The negative reinforcement is a form of conditioning.

    The real point here is that the reason women do not check men out overtly has nothing to do with their hormones. LYMC illustrated that quite well, even though she thought she was disagreeing with me.

    Anyway, population studies cannot be disproved by single data points. There are absolutely women who check men out overtly and men who do not check women out overtly. If there were more of each, we would be discussing the Female Gaze.

    *Unless they are totally hawt and willing to put out. Women who are neither learn quickly to keep their eyes on their heart rate monitor.

  257. Frumious B

    And I totally spelled LMYC’s name wrong. Sorry about that.

  258. Kali

    “Clearly thoughts affect action, but I do not think that they always affect action, and they do not always affect action in predictable ways. Consequently, I don’t think that such a clear-cut, blanket moral judgement can be made, even if it may assist in the development of useful theories.”

    So, you don’t think there is anything wrong with fantasising about raping/torturing other people as long as you don’t act on it? Thanks for clearing that up. So, the following is not really accurate:

    “I didn’t actually say anything that implied:

    nimrods who think that it’s perfectly reasonable for a man to fantasize raping a woman who won’t cough up, it’s just in bad taste to act on it.”

  259. Kali

    “imagining pleasure with others, mutual or otherwise,”

    Generally men use this kind of language to defend their sexual objectification of women, and “mutual pleasure” is code for “she really does want whatever it is I want to do to her”, analogous to fantasising that “the guy really does want me to use him as a footrest” in the example that I gave.

  260. Heart

    TP,no problem! How easy might it be to misunderstand something in this thread. (!)

    One of the really nasty flies in your ointment, Mandos, is, one way your “unspoken” thoughts have affected women is, doh, you’ve freaking posted them here in this goddamn feminist thread so that we all are aware — not that some of us weren’t before — that the way you write here, all apparently rational and courteous and respectful, is just so much pretentious, dishonest, disingenuous bullshit. What would be going on in your mind if you saw some of us will be some version of the tawdry sentiments of the waiter and the guy the size of a horse and all the men we all have met who smile in our faces, look us up and down, talk to our boobs, try to hit on us, then when they are told to fuck off, walk away saying, or thinking, some version of, “Stupid stuck up bitch,” if we aren’t going there.

    That’s the whole POINT. That shit NEVER stays in men’s minds only. It works itself out in relationships with women (including nonsexual relationships) everywhere: on the job, in the media, in art, in movies, in school, EVERYWHERE. The end result is called PATRIARCHY.

    Heart

  261. Mandos

    So, you don’t think there is anything wrong with fantasising about raping/torturing other people as long as you don’t act on it? Thanks for clearing that up. So, the following is not really accurate:
    [snip]

    It Does Not Follow that because there’s no obvious procedure to form moral judgements over thoughts that I think that something is “Perfectly Reasonable.” It’s more correct to say that if I don’t observe evidence of the thought, then it’s not possible for me to judge it as reasonable or otherwise.

  262. LMYC

    Frumious, everyone gets it wrong, I don’t mind. Yizawl just don’t know what it stands for. O:-)

    I should hold a contest.

  263. Kali

    “I was only blaming testosterone for having a tendency to stare a bit too long”

    Do you think there is any difference between simple staring, as in a child would stare, and the kind of sexually objectifying staring that men subject women to? Or do you think it’s all the same?

  264. Mandos

    It’s interesting, because we keep coming back to this salient point as though I actually disagreed with it: that thoughts often have an effect on action. I don’t disagree with it at all. Obviously, they do. I only suggest that they may not have be an obvious and deterministic effect on action, and consequently they can’t be judged until the effect has been observed.

    Some people clearly believe that, at least for some thoughts, there is an obvious interaction. For instance, Heart concludes that, because I question this interaction, I must be sexually harassing women in real life. That’s an interesting assertion. I mean:

    What would be going on in your mind if you saw some of us will be some version of the tawdry sentiments of the waiter and the guy the size of a horse and all the men we all have met who smile in our faces, look us up and down, talk to our boobs, try to hit on us, then when they are told to fuck off, walk away saying, or thinking, some version of, “Stupid stuck up bitch,” if we aren’t going there.

    Heart being Heart, I can’t imagine that she didn’t already think that. It’s fascinating, because nothing I’ve said so far actually implies that I think that anyone (including myself) should be excused for doing any of that.

    Also, FYI, long ago and more than once on IBTP I suggested that objectification as such (not only sexual) may be unavoidable in some sense. I don’t know why my arguments here are exactly big news, except that this thread has offered some opportunities to clarify them in an appropriate context.

  265. LMYC

    Uh, Zonk, gosh yes, and that was what he was getting at. Large man becomes incredibyl angry and classifies pretty woman at gym for being a stuck-up cunt for not responding to his come-on. Blogger goes and eyes her up as well and thinks, “Gosh, women have no idea how much power they have to make us hate their guts if they don’t respond to or come-ons, women have all the power.”

    “Gosh, women are so mysterious.”

    Yes, that was what he was getting at, you nitwit.

  266. Eurosabra

    As a white het Euro-Mediterranean man who has spent lots of time thinking through our society’s mating practices, I have to back up Waiter Rant with a twist: Men are so entitled we don’t see our entitlement to overstep boundaries as a problem. Het men (at least young men, shortly after puberty insert subculture-specific caveats here) experience their sexuality as continual frustration, because male het desire and female het desire seem (maybe are?) incommensurate. It takes YEARS of experience, perspective, distance, and empathy to lose enough anger at rejection to feel, “Okay, nice human being here doesn’t want to play, sexually” rather than “Stuck-up bitch is waiting for a zillionaire” when your role is that of the pursuer, initiator, etc. in a heterosexual world. The weird flip side of that is that attractive men with a personal history of easy success with women from puberty onwards often have NONE of the hostility…how could you, towards people who have always treated you well? Warren Farrell’s _Why Men Are The Way They Are_ discusses this at length.

    You asked about the gym thing. I know a little about that sort of thing. I’m just sayin’

  267. LCforevah

    Mandos, having been raised Roman Catholic, where I was taught that even your thoughts in and of themselves can get you into Hell, I’m very sensitive to the idea that my thoughts are completely private and belong only to me. The Church and its minions can go fark themselves.

    Once you share them, however, they become subject to other peoples’ judgments. Many women on this thread are telling you that we can tell what men are thinking when they look at us, and it affects the exchange, not usually for good. So no, you can’t say it’s harmless or hidden, and now that you’ve aired them, many are going to tell you why you and other men need to evolve your fantasies.

    I was subjected to a really creepy situation a few months ago at my job. A good customer, a south asian who is respectful in his dealings with me, brought along his younger cousin, who he told me, was freshly arrived in the U S. Without uttering a word, that young man proceeded to give me the once-over, accompanied with the sickest leer I’ve ever seen. I am old enough to be that little putz’s mother. It was obvious he considered me a piece of meat. Needless to say, I ended the interchange as soon as possible and had them out the door. I felt like I needed to take a shower.

    Our thoughts are our own, but we need to take responsibility when they affect our behavior, and learn to alter them when necessary.

  268. LMYC

    Um, excuse me but — WARREN FARRELL? Before we called it date rape, we called it a good time? You’re kidding, right?

    Honey, no one on this threads said that we don’t understand men. I understand you just fine. Yall aren’t that complex. I just have no respect for you.

    And I suppose that goodlooking men never rape, either?

    *microwaves some popcorn and pulls up a chair*

    This is gonna be good.

  269. LMYC

    Kali, that crap is why I despise the old hipie-pagan saying of “All acts of love adn pleasure are her rituals.” I had a male pagan try to justify prostitution with that saying to me.

    They REALLY have no clue what the word “love” means.

  270. LCforevah

    Eurosabra, it’s not necessarily about looks either. A high school classmate of mine, was short and plain-faced, but always ended up with the girl that he wanted. He was humorous, light-hearted, and always knew what to say,–looked at you straight in the face when he said it.

    It was all about the charm. About seeing appreciation instead of objectification in someone’s eyes. His better looking best friend didn’t have as much success.

  271. LMYC

    So if what one thinks privately can’t really be held against one, then I suppose all those klansmen can’t be assumed to be a priori racist because of what they think about black people. I’m sure they’re perfectly fair and unbiased toward any black people who apply to work for them, even!

    You know what? It’s probably true that fantasizing about doing shit to black people (oh, but I don’t mean rape) even causes them to behave better toward black people than they otherwise would! Because they get to work out those issues, they get to fantasize harmlessly about lynching people or throwing out job applications from black applicants (oh, but not rape, I never said rape, gosh wollickers you people are putting words in my mouth).

    In fact, I’ll bet that the consumers of racist klan literature are the BEST people around toward black people because of that! I think it makes people LESS racist to act out racist fantasties in the constitutionally-protected sanctuary of one’s own mind! (BTW, that phrase is greatly helped if you imagine hearing a John Philip Sousa march playing in the background while reading it).

    It’s just FANTASY anyway! You people! I can tell pretend from real, thank you.

    Any takers?

  272. Kali

    “It’s more correct to say that if I don’t observe evidence of the thought, then it’s not possible for me to judge it as reasonable or otherwise.”

    So, it’s OK to fantasise about rape/torture as long as no one knows that you are doing it? Is that the point you are trying to make?

  273. LMYC

    Kali, he’s trying to state that he can fantasize raping and torturing and have it not even touch his normal daily life or the women he interacts with. After all, it’s never touched his!

    Just like the klan example I used, I’d submit that a black person is a hell of a lot better judge as to whether your average white guy’s behavior has been influenced by his taste for lynching fantasies.

    He doesn’t agree. He says that as long as HE thinks he’s a real prince and a gentleman, he can just say that those last 17 job applications he got from cullids just got thrown int he trash because they were less qualified, and he’s not being biased at all. Nope, nosiree.

  274. Zonk

    ” “Gosh, women have no idea how much power they have to make us hate their guts if they don’t respond to or come-ons, women have all the power.”

    “Gosh, women are so mysterious.”

    Yes, that was what he was getting at, you nitwit. ”

    No, he was talking about how such a small woman was able to make an enormous musclebound man feel inadequate and rejected just by not acknowledging him. This huge person obviously intimidates the writer, yet someone much smaller than him was able to disturb this man so easily.

    He doesn’t say that it’s a good power, or that it could ever be used for anything constructive, he’s just musing about how much men can be affected by attractive women, even men that are several times their size.

  275. Pony

    When you smile at them, they assume it’s a go for whatever is going on in their heads.

  276. LCforevah

    Zonk, the small woman did no such thing. She was just present, she wasn’t able to make the big man do or feel anything. Big man’s reaction happened entirely inside his own head, and he is 100% responsible for it and his public behavior. What makes big man and waiter rant both wrong, is they place the responsibility on the woman. This is completely juvenile and ends up being dangerous to any woman being blamed in such a way.
    This is how traditional Arab cultures work–blaming the victim for her own rape, even if it’s by a stranger.

  277. Eurosabra

    I never said Farrell was right, just that he’s articulated the whole anger/entitlement pathology. And I am intrigued by LMYC’s contributions. I don’t much like a lot of what she has to say, and as she has amply demonstrated contempt for het men due to the prevalence of really nasty interpersonal behavioral pathologies, I’m just saying that the entitlement is so ingrained that the anger is reflexive, and that it takes years of experience for even self-aware men to grow out of it. I’ll state that my knowledge of feminism is limited, so here I can only address the behavioral pathologies that are part of my experience. Which means that it’s all rather a non-sequitur.

    And now I know enough to stay out of even a “Menz” thread here at Blamer Central. I advise any men stumbling over here from WR not to bother, although I think TP’s take on masculine fucked-up-ed-ness is the sort of thing that might make it worthwhile, because he seems to have the staying power to deal with the local snark.

  278. LMYC

    Yeah, like a steak can have such power of a starving dog.

    Of course, the steak gets chewed up and eaten, but hey, that’s what the steak gets for making the dog hungry, right?

    And by the way, the whole “women just don’t understand this” horseshit is just that — every goddamned woman alive knows precisely what you lunatics are capable of when either your hormones or your entitlement cause you to fry a fuse upstairs. When was the last time you saw one of those “don’t wear a short skirt, lock your doors, don’t flash your lights at another driver, don’t drink in public, don’t drink in private” 113 step spam e-mails that tell women readers all the things that we have to do to avoid your fucking insanity tripwires?

    We fucking drown in this stupid-ass advice that tells us that you are all out of your goddamned minds and the best we can do is to spend our lives trying not to set you freakbots off.

    Here’s a 1-step spam e-mail for MEN who fear being rejected and rendered homicidally enraged because that fucking stuck-up bitch-ass cunt cocksucker in the gym didn’t return your eyecontact: DEAL WITH IT.

  279. thebewilderness

    Mandos, Mandos, Mandos,
    You are so busted.
    I said: Mandos seems to be saying that he spends some time speculating and fantasizing about a new acquaintance rather than interacting with them”
    The key to my question is that the person is right in front of you and instead of interacting you are fantasizing. This is fairly common behavior among ill-mannered men.
    You responded with remarks about fantasizing while you were alone.
    Extremely disingenuous bullshit.

  280. LMYC

    … he seems to have the staying power to deal with the local snark.

    Because he values the “snark” as significant data instead of you, who simlpy roundfiles it as “snark.” That’s why TP is considered a valuable contributor, and not you. He listens, he contributes, and he doesn’t fucking sail in here on his first visit and act like he’s gifting us with the Incredibly Rare And Never-Before-Heard Male Perspetive, which of course, being girls, we simply cannot fathom.

  281. LCforevah

    “So, it’s OK to fantasise about rape/torture as long as no one knows that you are doing it? Is that the point you are trying to make?”

    Kali, unfortunately, yes it is. Until the thought becomes speech, whether verbal or print, there is not a thing anyone can do about it. This planet doesn’t yet have the technology to read thoughts and make a person responsible for them. Thank goodness! Minority Report, anyone?

    The great thing about all human beings, is that we are incapable of hiding our thoughts for long. Our body language, attitudes, oblique verbal references to related topics, give us away eventually. At that point, and only when confronted, can the person with the inappropriate thought be held responsible.

  282. Eurosabra

    [Jawdrop]

    Um, yeah, men need to deal. Not everyone has the emotional maturity to make it effortless. But it’s possible. ‘Scuse me for cluttering your potential “What About the Menz?” thread with, you know, a reflection on male experience of the world. Blame away!

    **headdesk**

  283. LCforevah

    Eurosabra, act like a grownup for heaven’s sake! Cut through to the message, and forget the attitudes. There are women here willing to interact with you in way some couldn’t possibly do face to face because of their own perceptions of fear. Listen to that.

    “Not everyone has the emotional maturity to make it effortless.”

    Effortless? I’ve got news for you, very little that’s worth attempting is effortless. Emotional maturity is only achieved by staying in uncomfortable conversations and situations. Stick around–I get told off occasionally wherever I comment–doesn’t make me want to leave if I consider the blog worthwhile.

  284. LMYC

    Dude, reading Warrenn Farrell to understand men is like reading “Mein Kampf” to understand Germans.

    And you tell me I hate men?

  285. LMYC

    At that point, and only when confronted, can the
    person with the inappropriate thought be held responsible.

    Because gawd knowz they ain’t gonna do it themselves.

    Besides, which is being said — that it’s unavoidable, or that it’s peachy-keen? “Okay” is a lot closer to “peachy-keen,” you do realize that. Were you agreeing that it’s not okay but unavoidable, or were you agreeing that it’s perfectly fine and lovely and not only unavoidable, but that it shouldn’t be held against someone once it comes out that they do it?

    If the “legally unprosecutable” side what was you were saying, I’ll agree. If “so you have no business holding it against your hubby if you find out that he’s been fantasizing raping your sister for the past fifteen years,” then sorry. No. I’m allowed to classify him as a fuckwad and divorce him, or at the very least, kick his ass out of the bedroom.

    This whole thing reminds me of something a friend of mine told me about — a little parable that she ran into where an old teacher said to a group of children, “Go steal something frmo the market so that no one sees you.” All of the kids came back and reported success except for one. When confronted by the teacher, the kid said he couldn’t steal so that no one would see. The teacher said, “You are telling me that there was no way for you to shoplift without being seen?” The kid said, “I would have seen.”

    And if your reaction to this (I’ve switched “you” at the moment and am talking about the Outraged Male Reader Who Is Up-in-Arms About My Manhating) is to purse your lips, smirk, and say, “well, the real world doesn’t work like that,” you are pretty much saying, “Well, expecting men to not act like fuckwads is unrealistic, dearie!”

    You’re revealing yourself as despising men as much as I do — except you think that men are fuckwads and thus we need to not hold them responsible, shut up, stop having high expectations of yall, and just fucking open our thighs. I’m saying that yall are fuckwads and I’m not going to tolerate it. However, it’s quite accurate to say that, when it comes to the “men — fuckwads” part of the argument, we’re in perfect agreement with one another. You just don’t like my reaction to this revelation. If I’d said, “Men are fuckwads and they’re just like that! *perky smile!* So we just have to live with it and fuck them anyway and not hold their fuckwadedness against them!” you would have been perfectly content to sit back, and say, “Yeah! *chuckle* We are! And so you gotta fuck us anyway!”

    Instead, I’m saying, “Yall are fuckwads, and I have signed no piece of paper anywhere that requires me to let yall into my cunt despite this. So get lost.”

    Your argument runs: “Men = fuckwads, so women must put up with it.”

    Mine runs: “Men = fuckwads, so buzz off.”

    It’s only the second part of our respective arguments that men are disagreeing with. They don’t care if we consider them scum of the earth, they just still want to get into our cunts. *shrug* Ain’t gonna happen.

  286. thebewilderness

    Eurosabra, you are priceless: ‘Scuse me for cluttering your potential “What About the Menz?” thread with, you know, a reflection on male experience of the world. Blame away!

    **headdesk**
    This is a thread that considers what Twisty can put in the FAQ so asshats like you don’t clutter up and derail the thread.
    headdesk, indeed!

  287. Zonk

    “Zonk, the small woman did no such thing. She was just present, she wasn’t able to make the big man do or feel anything. Big man’s reaction happened entirely inside his own head, and he is 100% responsible for it and his public behavior. What makes big man and waiter rant both wrong, is they place the responsibility on the woman.”

    While it was certainly not in any way the womans fault, there is a cause and effect relationship: The man saw the woman, and through a series of bad decisions, ended up angry at her, and visibly upset. The author was simply musing how somone so small could affect someone so big.

    “Mine runs: “Men = fuckwads, so buzz off.”

    It’s only the second part of our respective arguments that men are disagreeing with. They don’t care if we consider them scum of the earth, they just still want to get into our cunts. ”

    No, I’m almost positive that I’m quite happy to not have a misandrist like you involved in my life, regardless of how attractive you are.

  288. LMYC

    … through a series of bad decisions …

    *bzzt!* you don’t get to weasel out of that, pal. Those “bad decisions” WERE THE PROBLEM> Man sees woman, (then a miracle occurs), man hates woman. I call utter fucking bullshit.

    Define those bad decisions — who did what that you disagree with. You either define that term or you get the fuck out of my face. That is such a fucknig classic weasel term, like Richard Nixon going, “Mistakes were made.” Fucking BULLSHIT.

    DEFINE THAT TERM OR GET LOST.

    Aren’t you glad I asked rudely, so now you have the excuse to whine that I’m impolite so you aren’t going to stay and make your totally, like, lo9gical argument that you doubtless can guarantee would convince everyone, and that you’d be happy to make if that rude LMYC wren’t so snippy with you?

    Thank god for my tota fucking lack of patience with you, or else you’d have to stick around and define that term instead of using my temper as an excuse to flounce.

    Or maybe my bringing it up has forestalled that particular asswipe tactic. I guess we’ll never know. O:-)

  289. Kali

    “While it was certainly not in any way the womans fault, there is a cause and effect relationship: The man saw the woman, and through a series of bad decisions, ended up angry at her, and visibly upset. The author was simply musing how somone so small could affect someone so big.”

    Where to even begin. The framing whereby the woman is the cause and the man’s asinine behaviour is the effect. He simply made some “bad decisions” and “ended up” angry and “visibly upset”. Like he has no control over his behaviour. She “affects” him by her very existence. Whatever he *chooses* to do in response to her existence is just the effect she caused. This is exactly the kind of logic that rape apologists use.

    “No, I’m almost positive that I’m quite happy to not have a misandrist like you involved in my life, regardless of how attractive you are.”

    Yeah, I’m sure you prefer someone who’ll passively go along with your crappy, responsibility-evading logic. What a moron.

  290. Zonk

    “DEFINE THAT TERM OR GET LOST.”

    What, “bad decisions”? The body builder was a moron. He decided that the woman was stuck up simply because she wasn’t interested in him. That was a stupid decision. Stupid choice, stupid logic. He’s an asshat and completely in the wrong. Calm the fuck down.

    “Like he has no control over his behaviour.”

    No, i didn’t even hint at that. He saw her, he reacted in an entirely ridiuclous way, end result he got angry. Again, no responsibility is on her.

    “He simply made some “bad decisions” and “ended up” angry and “visibly upset”. ”

    Are you bracketing the “visibly upset” part because you disagree with it or something? He was visibly upset. I’m not sure what you’re getting at.

    And yes he made some bad decisions. Those decisions are likely the result of him being an idiot, it really doesn’t matter.

  291. Zonk

    “Yeah, I’m sure you prefer someone who’ll passively go along with your crappy, responsibility-evading logic. What a moron.”

    or, you know, someone that isn’t spewing hate speech against my gender.

  292. Radalan

    LMYC, your posts are hilarious. If such a fell day comes that Twisty has to relinquish the Exalted Taco of Blaming, I hope you’re the one to pick it up in her stead.

  293. LMYC

    Zonk, fuck off. You have twisted yourself in knots to avoid putting the cause where it began — with that man’s behavior and not that woman’s existence, and you managed to choose one of the most classic nixonesque weasel-terms (“a series of bad decisions,” “mistakes were made”) to completely avoid talking about his culpability.

    “A series of bad decisions.” That’s the most bland, fudgy way I’bve ever seen of describing, “Then the man becamse incensed that the woman did not return his eye contact, assumed she was a stuck-up bitch cunt, and … ”

    Christ. “A seris of bad decisions.” Like they just droppde on Mr. Clydesdale’s head from out of the sky without his active participation. You should be a Republican speechwriter.

  294. LMYC

    Radalan, foolish as it is to say this, I can’t. On my own blog, I get too angry and can’t get enough distance to focus my flamethrower sharply enough.

    Also, I’d have to welcome comments, and I don’t have the time or the inclination to winnow through the crap and make sure that fuckwit trolls didn’t derail everything. Patrolling coments on a blog as incendiary as my hypothetical one would be a fulltime job, and I’ve got one of those already. :-) And it pays better than Comment Monitor.

  295. Spit The Dummy

    Zonk said:

    While it was certainly not in any way the womans fault, there is a cause and effect relationship: The man saw the woman, and through a series of bad decisions, ended up angry at her, and visibly upset. The author was simply musing how somone so small could affect someone so big.

    You really haven’t read much of this blog, have you, Zonk? Or if you have, it hasn’t really altered your consciousness in any significnt way, since you still have a LONG way to go before you “get it”. I’d really advise a course of Feminism 101 and a significant period of lurking here before posting again, because right now it’s a little bit like shooting fish in a barrell. After you’ve done all that, come back and read your comments here again and try not to cringe.

    LYMC said:

    They don’t care if we consider them scum of the earth, they just still want to get into our cunts.

    Zonk replied (with this little gem):

    No, I’m almost positive that I’m quite happy to not have a misandrist like you involved in my life, regardless of how attractive you are.

    I’m sure that’s meant to be a zinger, Zonk, but you’ll find, if you hang around here long enough, that the people here don’t consider you withdrawing either your company or your penis from us any sort of hardship. This blog exists primarily because we have too many arseholes who consider that their ownership of a penis gives them some sort of magic right to do whatever the hell they like to us. One less man bothering any of us is not something that we’ll even notice, so you might want process that one, sometime, and get over that sense of entitlement that you’re not even aware you’re dragging around with you.

    My less-than-polite response to your comment was to think: since when does it bother some men what the woman thinks as long as he gets access to her cunt? Hence, you know, prostitution, rape statistics etc etc.

    And my reaction to the waiter thread is that what is bothering all these guys, including Zonk, is that this “little woman” had any sort of power at all over any man. How dare she? Hence the rage and hate.

  296. Zonk

    “Zonk, fuck off. You have twisted yourself in knots to avoid putting the cause where it began — with that man’s behavior and not that woman’s existence, and you managed to choose one of the most classic nixonesque weasel-terms (”a series of bad decisions,” “mistakes were made”) to completely avoid talking about his culpability.”

    Are you even reading? Never mind, you’re hopeless. I’ve said maybe twice now that the man is fully to blame for his actions, the woman is not.

  297. Inverarity

    Are you even reading? Never mind, you’re hopeless. I’ve said maybe twice now that the man is fully to blame for his actions, the woman is not.

    Yeah, but you keep framing it as “He’s just a poor dumb guy who let the hot chick drive him crazy.” You don’t excuse him or blame the woman, but you do make him sound like, say, a teenager who hasn’t yet learned how to control his raging hormones. I.e., mild but somewhat sympathetic criticism mixed with pity, like we should understand him if not approve of his “overreaction.”

    Your mistake is you are starting at his reaction to being rejected, and not at the point where he felt entitled to hit on some random woman. He’s not some immature kid whose ego got bruised because he asked the girl next to him in homeroom to the dance and she said no. He’s a violent pig who hates women who maliciously withhold pussy from him.

  298. mearl

    “…spewing hate speech against my gender…”

    Zonk(and Eurosabra – wherever you-all came from), go and spend some time in the FAQ section before bringing your ‘authority’ on gender relations to the discussion. This ain’t a blog for the ill-read novice and his indignant posturing on behalf of the menz. Body builders have the same cognitive capacity that even three-year-olds have: the ability to make meaning out of cultural signifiers in relation to gender. This particular bodybuilder was not just stupid, he was puffing out his enraged sense of male privilege; as LcForevah pointed out, his exchange with the woman and the conclusions he came to were all in his own head. The blog’s author extended that sense of privilege with his musings on how GORGEOUS this woman is, making lame attempts at a poetic paean on the body of some poor unsuspecting woman who was likely just trying to do her own thing.

    As for hate speech, darling, it’s amazing how much hatred crops up when a couple of silly feminists pop in and ask men why they can’t just leave women alone and mind their own business. Feminism is a reaction to male hatred, harrassment, rape, killing, and all-around disrespect towards women, not an offensive.

    Sing it, LMYC. I’ve wasted enough space on a troll.

  299. cassy

    Zonk, Take the gym scenario and enlarge the perspective. Why did the big guy feel entitled to the women’s attention. Women are supposed to smile and accept threatening behavior as a gift. The big guy felt she violated proper etiquette.

    Society doesn’t punish men for that bad behavior but it certainly punishes women. The punishment comes in the form of burquas, chaperones, beatings and rape. How that interaction was framed by observers shows the path of blaming the women’s power for her fate. When in reality, she had no power except to hope it wouldn’t get physical. Women are punished all the damn time for just existing while men don’t have any idea what that costs our humanity as a society.

    Do you suppose that anyone stood up to that big guy and told him that he was out of line? Or did everyone watch and leave her to her fate? Since she was so powerful was she going to knock his ass over with her female gaze. Did anyone offer her a safe escort out of a dangerous and volatile situation? Does waiter guy know if she got home without a violent incident and does he realize he had choices?

    I know, I know waiter guy is just one guy and he would have been at risk if he spoke up. But what did it cost him and the rest of the people who witness something like that to not speak up?

    Society/culture lets the big guy and waiter guy behave like that with no consequence to them and a daily battering of abuse to her. What are you doing about that Zonk?

  300. Scratchy888

    Some men have internalized this idea [that they are like dogs] to the point of emotional retardation of tragic proportions. Is it any wonder that men like this are so angry?

    I thoroughly agree. Also there are various levels of philosophical sophistry to maintaining the sexist status quo.

    Here is one thematic variation of a dynamic, of which I have reversed the direction. I’m sure you will all recognise it, even through I’ve changed its superficial form. In its normative form, it is the tune that many a misogynist sings:

    The reason men are angry at women (misogynistic) is that they just haven’t met the woman who is capable of being a true woman yet. In fact, that true woman is Lorena Bobbitt. The answer to the question, “What do men really want?” is clear to women. However, men repress this answer as they are too weak to face it (just as most women –except for a very few — are too weak to give them what they secretly crave). Men want castration. It is only because most women balk from this reality that men are largely the misogynists they are to day. They are angry at women because women will not be Lorena Bobbitt — which is what they secretly desire. They will continue to be angry, and behave like dogs until we give them what they really want but won’t admit to wanting (because they are too weak for this kind of honesty). It is the true woman who bears the knife which puts an end to all male longing. When women become real women, then men will experience the bliss they really crave (but which is not available to them in their present state.)

  301. cassy

    As a white het Euro-Mediterranean man – Eurosabra

    You must understand the white male entitlement rules of engagement or you would not identify yourself this way. Women are supposed to be happy your here and be respectful of you. We should meet your condescending words of wisdom with warm thanks. You followed a link to the wrong neighborhood. You might get called out here for quoting a date rape apologist or identifying yourself as a racist.

    Before you go away mad at those mean feminists think about trying something new, as an experiment. Go back to one of your blogs where you feel more comfortable posting as a ‘white male Euro’ and try posting with a female name or a ‘what about the female perspective’. I am sure that those communities will be kind and support your view. Please post about if after your done so you can prove me wrong.

  302. antonia

    that’s a really good ‘enlightenment’ link too:

    http://www.unfogged.com/archives/week_2006_09_03.html#005405

  303. cassy

    ‘you are here’ contraction vs. possessive, no edit button.

  304. WanderingScapegoat

    Ideological movements are generally movements of the gullible led by the manipulative, and feminism is no exception. The feminist movement can be regarded as a taxpayer-funded religious social club run by lesbians, where women are encouraged to gather in secret for the purpose of hating men.

  305. LMYC

    I especially love the kind, tolerant, and patient statement that we just “don’t understand” men (and that in order to do so we need to read a book by a guy who said that before we called it date rape, we called it a good time).

    Believe me pal, we understand yall just fine. That woman in that gym understood — she knew quite well that if she so much as acknowledged that freak’s existence, she was in deep shit. and that if she didn’t, sbhe was also in deep shit. She knew quite thoroughly that the second freakboy showed up, deep shittedness was assured. I’ll let you know what was going through her head — “Oh Christ, not another one.”

    Not: “I like beige!”

    Not: “Puppies are fuzzy!”

    Not: “I want a millionaire!”

    Not: “I love making men hate me. Here comes one now! Watch now as I cruelly withhold eye contact from him and make his little pee-pee explode from lust!”

    “Oh Christ, not another one.” That’s what was going through her head, you fool.

    She knew absolutely and thoroughly that if she so much as made eye contact with him, he was going to want her pussy, so she avoided even looking at him, and then just probably sat there and listened to him railing and freaking and swearing in the next room and wondered if she was going to get out of the gym safely that night. Do you think he kept his voice down out of a desire not to frighten her? I suppose he was a thoughtful gentleman.

    Or do you think it was more likely that she sat there and just closed her eyes and prayed that she wouldn’t end up being met by freakboy in the parking lot while she could hear him going off on STUCK UP CUNT and MOTHERFUCKING BITCHES elsewhere in the gym?

    Do you think that, after that happens to you a few dozen times, you don’t understand very, very well — perfectly, with utter clarity — that MEN BECOME ENRAGED IF YOU DON’T HAND OVER YOUR PUSSY? How the hell can that woman fail to understand how men behave? How the hell can she have failed to know precisely what was on that guy’smind the second he sauntered up all fake-casual and tried to meet here eyes?

    And then what happens — Waiter Fuckwad turns into a looky-lou and has to go over there and gawp at her a little. The “motherfucking cunts” and “stuck up bitch” just washes right off him. What’s his reaction?

    “Ooh, there’s a Hawt Babe over dere? Doh, lemme go see!”

    He walks over, trying to act casual — fifteen seconds after this man’s rage is probably overheard by every ear in the building. This woman is sitting there listening to this behemouth spewing absolutely rage over her refusal to crack her thighs instantly — and then Waiter Gawker saunters over, looks her up and down, and she’s supposed to not know why he’s doing it. Oh, it’s just coincidence that immediately after that enraged leviathan dissapears in that direction ranting, some fucking gawking loser shows up and tries to gawk casually.

    Fucking hell.

    And after all that — and it’s probably not the first time it’s happened to that woman — you and Waiter Fuckwad imagine that she doesn’t understand men.

    So, let’s see — one asshole got it into his head for no reason whatsoever that he deserved her cunt. When the cruel and hideous punishment of withheld eye contact was inflicted upon him, he became enraged and wandered off ranting, which I have doubt she overheard. What, do you think she was just sitting there thinking about puppies and pink butterflies and nail polish while “STUCK UP CUNT” and “MOTHERFUCKING BITCHES” was floating back at her on the air?

    Then, Gawker Moron shows up less than a minute later to go gape at the Babe with his finger up his nose. And the BITCH still doesn’t SMILE! Who does she think she is?!

    Then, yall act like she’s “mysterious” for not liking this, because after listening to freakbot mammoth-boy rant and scream, she wasn’t sitting there ready to gaze adoringly and smile her prettiest girly-smile at Waiter Shithead when he came gawking around the corner. Gosh, I know that listening to someone the size of a bus ranting about STUCK UP CUNTS and MOTHERFUCKING BITCHES always makes me giggle and smile like a cheerleader!

    It would be a mystery if she DID smile after all that. You do realize that not feeling like smiling is normal, sane human behavior at this point, don’t you?

    Seems to me that she — and we — understand men just fine. We have to. We’re perfectly schooled in the fact that you turn into rabid gorillas if you don’t get the pussy you want, instantly. Frankly, it’s not that complicated.

    PUSSY OR KILL! Is that all that’s going to be on the exam?

  306. LMYC

    … which I have NO doubt she overheard. Typo.

  307. LMYC

    Scratchy888 — brilliant.

  308. Mandos

    I was originally going to respond to LCforevah but then I saw that thebewilderness had posted this:

    Mandos, Mandos, Mandos,
    You are so busted.
    I said: Mandos seems to be saying that he spends some time speculating and fantasizing about a new acquaintance rather than interacting with them”
    The key to my question is that the person is right in front of you and instead of interacting you are fantasizing. This is fairly common behavior among ill-mannered men.
    You responded with remarks about fantasizing while you were alone.
    Extremely disingenuous bullshit.

    OK, so, I think you caught me outsmarting myself there, but in a sense it’s a relief that you caught me on something that I actually wrote, rather than something that you think I might have written/done if I actually were the Supreme High Avatar of the Patriarchy.

    So yeah, I didn’t home in on the fact that you were talking about people in front of me, as opposed to merely people I’ve met and their representations in my head.

    But then: I still think I may not have made a mistake after all. Considering that, for instance, the cornerstone of radical feminist anti-porn politics (just to give an example) is a concept of objectification that applies especially when the fantasized person is NOT in the room. If so, my example, I think, remains salient to your question.

    Unless, of course, you are not concerned about what nonsexual thoughts I might think when the thinkees are not around. If you’re not, then do you agree with the general characterization of the relationship between thought and action that other participants here hold?

    Remember that Heart et al. have been implying that I am a “nimrod” and a real-life sexual harasser because I don’t accept that clear relationship. And that relationship is a cornerstone of a certain brand of radical feminist theorizing.

  309. mearl

    LMYC, this is why I come here. Now THAT there is some good writing! Clear, concise, cuts to the meat of the matter, and is humourous as hell. You should give the Waiter Shithead some lessons. It might put a stopper in his fountain of sexism posing as bad poetry.

  310. TP

    I’m glad some clueless men ended up here, since they reveal far more effectively exactly what kind of FAQ is needed than I could ever provide.

  311. LMYC

    Believe me, any lessons I’d give that dipshit would involve me getting arrested and him getting carted off in 17 ziploc bags.

  312. LMYC

    TP, I think at this point, they’d just treat you the way the court treated Galileo.

  313. thebewilderness

    Mandos said: I think that perhaps we’ve reached a serious discontinuity of experience if people here think that such a thing is somehow a violation of my acquaintance’s personhood (of both genders, but I used male pronouns to shed the insinuation of a sexually-interested date).

    Bingo.
    We are trying to tell you that it is a violation of personhood to speculate and/or fantasize about how you might use another person. You have reduced them to a thing you intend to use for your own entertainment. You further fantasize and speculate about their willingness to be used.

    This reminds me of druggies back in the seventies who were so sure they were maintaining while everyone could clearly see that they were stoned out of their minds.

  314. LMYC

    Personally, I’m trying to tell you that no matter how much, as bewilderness says, you think you’re holding it together when you’re actually stumbling around like a total stoner, your “innocent” fantasy behavior prevents you from seeing these people. You have indeed reduced them to a thing you intend to use for your own entertainment.

    The problem is what this does to your own behavior. The problem is that as much as you insist that it doesn’t affect how you behave around that person, you are just full of shit and lying to yourself and us.

    Again, do you think that a person who fantasizes lynching black people is going to be:

    1) more
    2) less

    worth being around if you happen to be black? Will this person act like:

    1) more
    2) less

    of an asshole around black people, do you think?

    Sorry, but if you fantasize about three-dimensional people-shaped blanks wearing the real faces of thsoe around you, this will demolish your ability to see and hear their actual faces and voices, and this will come out in your behavior, because it always does. It’s basic to humans, like bending your legs back at the knee. Trust me, Mandos. You will not be the one to break this trend.

  315. niki

    I don’t know about that last comment….I’m seeing someone right now and we’re still in the no-touch romantic stage (which may or may not become less platonic, who is to say?) and of COURSE I am having sexual fantasies about him. And he about me, I can only hope. I don’t think that this harmless daydreaming causes detriment or violation to either of our persons. I think it’s part of the fun of this stage of our courtship.

    I’ll be very disappointed if I find out later that he was fantasizing about me with violent sexual overtones, but somehow I kinda doubt it.

    As for men on the street and other strangers…yes it’s creepy when Joe Schmoe fantasizes about me in a sexual manner, but it’s also creepy when the guy I prevent from cutting me off on the freeway fantasizes about killing me violently, as I’m sure he does (especially as he drives by and sees a woman at the wheel, OH NOES!). However, the era of the Thought Police is not yet upon us (thankfully!) so I don’t give it too much cause for concern. Heck, even I have offensive, violent thoughts about people now and then in less-than-satisfactory social situations and I’m a hippie pacifist. I don’t feel good about them, but I also don’t act on them either. I consider fantasy-based gut reactions a pretty normal part of human existence. I don’t believe that there are people out there who are free of interpersonal daydreams. But hey, if there are, please to be donating yourself to Scienzzz because maybe we could use your genetic superiority to isolate the path between thought and action to find out why some people actually do act on these dreams!

  316. Yeny

    Mandos, when you’ve had a stranger masturbate on you in a park on a sunny day when you just wanted to read a fucking book, suddenly you realise that this is what men are doing to you daily. Except somehow it’s supposed to be ok for them to use you, to rape you, to humiliate you, because it’s all in their minds. Well, it was all in that guy’s mind until he got out his dick and came on me.

    It disgusts me that men like you think there is nothing wrong with seeing another human being as an object that exists for your sexual gratification. To me there is little difference between the man who actually came on me and the rest who imagine doing the same thing.

  317. RadFemHedonist

    I wouldn’t say that sexual fantasies are a violation of personhood per-se, rape fantasies are appalling, and so are “I’m doe eyed, childlike and want your dick inside …” O.K. I can’t even finish typing that without feeling sick. However all of my sexual fantasies involve doing things like giving cunningilus and generally pleasuring the other person, I always treat people with respect and have become, I’ve discovered, increasingly sensitive to violent thoughts, I have never in my whole life gotten pleasure from them, but I’m starting to flinch as I think of rights violations, am I truly violating others personhood by desiring to give them pleasure, I could never rape someone, I could never want to rape someone, I have never expected sex, company, attention beyond the professional level of not ignoring people asking you legitimate questions in the capacity of your work, or “look out you are about to trip over that banana” type warnings. I have never thought of using anyone, ever, never viewed another woman or a man or an intersexed person as less than a full person, I dunno if it’s the aspergers or what but I can’t think like that, I seriously don’t think I’m a violating person. I don’t give a crap what people look like, I think of body = pleasure for person who is and owns said body (so I own my body, Twisty owns her body, Richard Dawkins owns his body, Biting Beaver owns her body and so on) and am turned on.

    To go on, I don’t think I’ve ever been harrassed in the way described above, that man’s behaviour is despicable.

  318. Mandos

    Do note that the scenario to which thebewilderness’ quote of me referred was this:

    To which I say, if I’m in a great restaurant, and eating something I like (which I sometimes do alone because I had the whim to walk into a restaurant I might have been passing), I do, in fact, sometimes think “Ah, I just met so and so, he seems like the kind of guy that likes this kind of stuff. What would he like on this menu? Maybe it might be fun to invite him to eat it.” And lo and behold, my mental monologue, which includes images of delicious food and eating it with friends, sometimes results in me actually inviting that person to that restaurant with me, and we even have a good time!

    Now, thebewilderness appears to think that this kind of fantasizing is actually an instance of this:

    We are trying to tell you that it is a violation of personhood to speculate and/or fantasize about how you might use another person. You have reduced them to a thing you intend to use for your own entertainment. You further fantasize and speculate about their willingness to be used.

    Alright, so I now get that thebewilderness is willing to go all the way, so to speak, and abstract this notion of objectification away from only sexual objectification to all aspects of human life, even ones not charged with matters of patriarchy. Is it fair for me to say this?

    Assuming yes, well, clear enough. And fair enough. So now, when I started posting to this thread, I wondered (WRT sexual objectification), how people entered sexual relationships with other people without one partner actually contemplating, in some manner, having sex with the other prior to expressing the thought. Call it the Logical Problem of Nonobjectifying Sexual Initiation. I didn’t really get an answer, except something mumbled about mutual interests and acquaintance. I, personally, was hoping for telepathy.

    But I assume that was because sex is such a loaded issue, as we keep seeing in this thread.

    Now thebewilderness has allowed us to abstract away from sex as such. Which makes it a lot easier to ask the question. So now, since people appear to have agreed to take on this task: enlighten me. How do I invite someone to a restaurant I liked without having first, without their knowledge (assuming no telepathy), contemplated eating at that restaurant with them?

    Call it the Logical Problem of Nonobjectifying Restaurant Invitations.

  319. RadFemHedonist

    I think another thing is I never, ever want a relationship, I always intend to make friends, so never approach people with any goal. I have sexual thoughts constantly, but I talk to people in the interests of friendship, I may have sex someday, I may not, who cares? I can get myself off (if I couldn’t that wouldn’t be an excuse for violative behaviour, nothing is an excuse but it’s awesome to be able to do that) and I have lots of friends.

    I heard someone say something about how men actually voted against their interests as workers during the rise of unions in order to keep their power over women, not only do men not want to give up the advantages of patriarchy, they will actually vote against their rights to keep their privilege and power, that is awful.

  320. thebewilderness

    Mandos,
    You are mistaken.

  321. Mandos

    In what particular?

  322. Inverarity

    Mandos, might I suggest there is a difference between knowing and liking a person and thus, in your mind, contemplating the possibility of asking him or her out to dinner, or asking him or her to bed, depending on how far your relationship has progressed, and actually playing out an entire scenario in your mind complete with dialog and exchanges of bodily fluids?

    ‘Cause I think you are talking about the former (though it’s hard to tell, you seem to delight in deliberately meandering and obfuscating prose), but some of the peeps here are hearing “What’s wrong with casting you and me in a little porno video in my head?”

    (And as an aside, I am not liking the preview feature — it causes all my keystrokes to appear with an annoying lag and makes me type slooooowly. Is it just me?)

  323. Mandos

    Mandos, might I suggest there is a difference between knowing and liking a person and thus, in your mind, contemplating the possibility of asking him or her out to dinner, or asking him or her to bed, depending on how far your relationship has progressed, and actually playing out an entire scenario in your mind complete with dialog and exchanges of bodily fluids?

    I’m sure there is a difference, but I’m not sure that the difference is as obvious a one as people have been suggesting here. Also: I’m not convinced that everyone here actually believes that there is a clear-cut difference, given that some people hold a particular theory of objectification that has odd-sounding consequences if appied more generally.

    ‘Cause I think you are talking about the former (though it’s hard to tell, you seem to delight in deliberately meandering and obfuscating prose), but some of the peeps here are hearing “What’s wrong with casting you and me in a little porno video in my head?”

    I’m aware that some people are assuming and reading in the strongest version of sexual objectification they can into my writing, in that historically, some people here are predisposed to do so for whatever reason. I cannot police thought and prevent such misreadings, unfortunately. (Or rather, fortunately!)

    It also seems to me that some people who hew to that theory of objectification also believe that mental acts of a lesser objectifying character necessarily lead to acts of a greater objectifying character and thence unavoidably into predictable forms of behaviour. A “logical consequence” sort of thing.

    (And as an aside, I am not liking the preview feature — it causes all my keystrokes to appear with an annoying lag and makes me type slooooowly. Is it just me?)

    Throughout the day, I may use up to five or six different computer systems, and some of them also have trouble with the preview feature (not the one I’m using now). All of them, Firefox browsers. I never liked this sort of web script tomfoolery, it rarely works consistently well.

  324. TP

    My last thoughts on his FAQ idea.

    I have a few suggestions that could easily be bested by Twisty, and I hope they are. They could also need considerable correcting, so fire away.

    I think men need to know first that this is a radical feminist blog by a women for women. It’s a place where women can work out their own issues and problems that are created by men and are about male behavior that is cultural or personal, irredeemably vile or simply unconscious of privilege. These problems include pathologies that are instilled in women by virtue of having been born female in a patriarchal society, and may be beyond your ability to understand. Questioning the suffering or belittling the sexism encountered by women in these comments will get you slammed and insulted bitterly. And you will, even if your feelings get hurt, deserve it.

    Next follows the obvious truth that women and men are both human beings with remarkably identical chemical/biological systems. Sexual differences are physically rather minute if you use a little perspective, such as considering small children and babies. Men can never be reminded of this simple fact often enough, since men tend to exaggerate the differences between men and women much more than women, especially radical feminist women.

    Then a quick reminder that feminism does not entail or imply women becoming more like oppressive male assholes or men becoming more like feminine submissive victims. But rather, it is about liberating these sexes from rigid categories that exist only to create a culture based on one category oppressing and victimizing the other category. Flipping the script is not liberation from the Patriarchy; the establishment of a Matriarchy is not the goal.

    If men are welcome at all at this blog, my guess is that Twisty (and I myself for sure) would prefer that the men who participate do so as human beings first, and never as male apologists, making excuses for and defending in any way male privilege or oppressive male behavior of any kind, from misogyny to tactlessness and everything in between. There is a whole world of blogs out there where men can write reams of words defending their indefensible actions, but not here.

    Some common mistakes I have seen:

    Oppression through debate. This one is the first kneejerk response of the man wishing to post a comment on this blog. A man will see a post that challenges his assumptions about being a man, usually along the lines of “But I’m not like that” or “Not all men are that ” or “Men in general aren’t like that”. Women don’t come to this blog to be contradicted about their feelings about male oppression, they come here to understand and try to cast off the oppression they feel that you can’t feel. Telling them they are feeling something that isn’t real isn’t helping them liberate themselves from an oppression that is very difficult to lose.

    Seeing women as just like men. As a man, your idea of being a man is identical to your idea of what it is to be a human being. Naturally, you think that all women have to do is see things the same way a man does and they are instantly liberated from oppression. You probably tend to see sex as a simple matter of lusting after a female image that is desirable and assume that women simply lust after male images that are desirable, too. Actually, here you will find women groping to define and understand themselves as oppressed people who are acutely aware of your status as the oppressor. Projecting yourself in place of and empathizing with women is almost impossible for you to do, you will find. If you read what these women say, you will find yourself slowly starting to realize the huge difficulty of sexual power that women face each day as women, and you might be able to see through more and more of your assumptions of what women want and need from you as a person.

    Being oppressed is different than being privileged. Women do not enjoy the same privileges you do, and do not enjoy the privileges you assume they have. Women aren’t allowed a universe of male privileges that are so taken for granted by you that they are as invisible as air, and the privileges you think they enjoy are actually often onerous burdens they find demeaning or at least confining. Men often think that women enjoy and use to their advantage the privilege of being objects of desire, for example. Men never stop to think that being an object of desire is a reduction of your humanity, not some extra attribute to be manipulated and turned off at will. Male privilege is so vast and full of examples I can’t even begin to address it here, except that by saying that anything you assume that has anything to do with being a man will be instantly tagged and called out as male privilege. Learn to benefit from these lessons, and try not to argue about whether they are privileges or not. As a man, you are in the worst possible position to know whether you benefit from a privilege you don’t even recognize as existing – only someone who can never have that privilege can see it clearly.

    There could be a lot more on these lines.

    Last, but essential, is the personal versus the political, always a tempting trap for anyone.

    The Patriarchy is not you, personally. It is a system of dominance and submission that infuses every aspect of our culture and sexual politics, including many things you hold dear and are probably unknowingly addicted to, such as sexual roles and pornographic fantasies. Despite the undeniable fact that you live in, benefit from, and think you can’t live without these privileges and ways of thinking, you aren’t personally obliged to apologize or defend them because you do.

    Participating in this oppression should be something you find distasteful or distressing, at the very least. If you love oppressing women and exalting men, get out.

    Realize that the male voice in a blog like this will always be heard as an oppressive, condescending, authoritative voice. There is nothing you can do about this except avoid being a know-it-all jerk and try listening and understanding instead of correcting and defending. Solicit criticism instead of exchanging snipes. This blog is a place for human beings who desire to improve themselves by examining and deactivating the sexist assumptions that divide us. Use it for instruction and it will serve you as a tool to liberating yourself from your own unexamined assumptions. It’s amazing how, over time, with patience and perseverance, how much of what these women say will reveal itself as obvious common sense and you will see the idiocy of your fellow men grow more transparent and ridiculous.

    I’m a little astonished at my own presumption to have taken up so much of the comments of this thread, but as I’ve said upthread, this was an invitation I just couldn’t ignore. I’ve learned so much here at IBTP, and I can’t describe how much better I feel as a result, though I’m as far from perfect as the next guy when it comes to so many things I would rather not enumerate.

    Even men who are predisposed to feminism have so much to unlearn and so much that is ingrained I sometimes get a little overwhelmed to think of it all. And I know that I will be the first one to break my own rules, time and time again. But I’m not here to argue, I’m here to learn. And I’m really really thankful for all the lessons.

  325. Eurosabra

    LMYC,

    I am a Euro-Israeli of German descent. I am fluent in German and have worked in the past for Jewish communal organisations in Berlin, Munich, and Frankfurt. I prefer Mitscherlich’s “Unfähigkeit zu Trauern” as a guide to understanding Germans, but Kogon’s _Der SS-Staat_, in English as _Theory and Practice of Hell_ is a good reference as well. I’m also familiar with Holocaust literature in Hebrew and *particularly* the problematics of portrayal of Nazi abuse of Jewish women in works such as KaTzetnik’s _The Doll’s House_. Ever run across Israeli Holocaust porn, written by Jewish men about Jewish women? It’s a cesspool of the soul. And Israel is one of the worst nations on the globe in terms of trafficking, sexual harassment, etc. etc. So I know how bad everything is or can be, and I don’t know whether your “Mein Kampf” reference is something at which I take should take umbrage at or just boggle.

    As far as feminism goes, I’ve read Brownmiller, skimmed Greer, Dworkin, and Firestone, and I’ve held my tongue on the topic of rape as it has surfaced in this thread because I know the best thing I can do on THAT topic is STFU. I’ve also avoided the “Hey, *I* don’t do that!” response. I realize my intervention was superfluous, and I’m being laconic for a reason–I suspect anything I say is going to get a “Same $#^!, Different Day” from you. But the “Mein Kampf” thing rankles a bit because of my, well, perspective.

  326. Eurosabra

    I’m just waiting to see what more venom gets sent my way. I am willing to admit that I’m sufficently clueless that it’s largely justified.

    Wow. Just wow. Waiter dude gets all Whitmanesque over a really scary episode of harassment. Not “Large psycho scary man may need to be physically stopped, and needs a reprimand at the least.”

    Gotta bounce back over to Rant to see if anything indicates that anyone there saw her as a real human being.

    So scary.

    /back to lurking.

  327. Scratchy888

    Wandering scapegoat –what is wrong with being a scapegoat if that is what society wants you to be? You are Sooooooooooooo sensitive! Where is your backbone which will enable you to accept your role in life?

  328. Flamethorn

    Mandos, will you go on a date with me?

  329. RadFemHedonist

    Already appalled by porn, but Israeli Holocaust porn? Is there any response to that that will adequately express my horror. They might as well have lynching porn to be consumed by… well anyone actually, this is horrible.

  330. justicewalks

    I’ve learned so much here at IBTP, and I can’t describe how much better I feel as a result…

    Yes, yes, radical feminism is a worthy cause because it makes men feel better. I can’t remember who it was who commented that the whole world is porn for men, but she was right on the money. At the time, I thought to myself, now, that’s a catchy soundbite, but, surely, if there’s one thing in the world that isn’t porn for men, that wouldn’t be enjoyed by them, it’s radical feminism.

    Now I know. Just as all things black can be co-opted by white “culture” – I mean, they took rap for god’s sake, the theme of which started out as something along the lines of “Fuck Whitey” – all things woman-centered can and will be contorted into boons for men.

  331. justicewalks

    How do I invite someone to a restaurant I liked without having first, without their knowledge (assuming no telepathy), contemplated eating at that restaurant with them?

    Jeez, are you really that fucking stupid???

    The problem isn’t that you’re contemplating a nice meal with someone. Read that again. I’ll give you a hint: the operative word is “with.”

    If you’re contemplating having dinner with someone, most likely, they get to choose their own beverage, entree, and dessert in the fantasy. You might wonder exactly what it is they’ll order and if they’ll enjoy it. There might be holes in the fantasy as you’re unable to fathom all of this person’s complexities. You might be excited about the prospect of learning which real-life likes and dislikes fill those holes.

    If, on the other hand, you’re contemplating taking a woman, about whom you know nothing, to a restaurant of your choosing, force-feeding a meal of your liking down her throat, and dousing her with a glass of wine to the face, with no consideration of how a real person would react to such boorishness, in fact, fantasizing that her only reaction is to flush pink, breathe heavily, and moan appreciatively, you’re a fucking asshole. You’ve reduced her to a blow-up date and both of you are likely to be disappointed (she, injured at worst) by any actual interaction. Now, you’d be a covert asshole if you managed to keep your forced-feeding “date” in your head (and, really, how many people are able to keep their bigotries entirely in their heads?), but you’d still be an asshole either way.

  332. Mar Iguana

    Mandos,

    “…you seem to delight in deliberately meandering and obfuscating prose)…” Inverarity

    Precisely. You obviously imagine you are dazzling with brilliance when you are merely baffling with bullshit. Clue: A good writer is considerate of the reader, striving to be clear, concise and to the point. You, on the other hand, are only concerned with how impressive are your convoluted reasoning and $25 words. Your credo: Why use two words when 25 will do?

    Which is why I don’t bother to read any post of yours that is more than two or three lines. I have neither the time nor the patience for your brilliant bullshit. Stupid questions remain stupid questions even when posed using four syllable words.

  333. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Could someone gold plate this thread for posterity?

    Mandos, Mandos, Mandos, precious Vulcan that you are: Could you at least acknowledge what the women here are trying to explain to you as VALID before wafting back into Theoryland? You’d be much less irritating if you did.

    We shall never know this for sure as most of us cannot escape our brains long enough to observe ourselves objectively (I can, but that’s a story for a different day), but I’d lay money down on this bet:

    When a woman fantasizes about sex she’s doing usually something sexy WITH someone. Necessarily the exercise will be filled with gaps and wondering. There can be no end goal due to these gaps, so these fantasies usually trail off mid-activity.

    When the (typical) man fantasizes about sex he’s doing something TO someone, or someone is doing something TO him. It will be a tightly written script designed specifically to bring gratifictation to his dick and his ego.

    If you cannot see this basic difference, or understand how the way men interact with the world HURTS PEOPLE, you’ve got a problem.

    Come on, Mandos: Spock it out and report back. It’s easy.

  334. Hortensia

    Interesting…

  335. niki

    I don’t agree with that one either – when I fantasize about men, there are a handful of scenarios to choose from, all with a finish. Sometimes they’re doing stuff ‘to’ me, sometimes I’m doing stuff ‘to’ them. Both work if I like the person enough. Either way, I’m getting off on a fantasy that hasn’t happened with whomever I’m dreaming about at the time. No harm, no foul.

    I understand your points about the male perspective and how damaging it can be, especially when the distinction between fantasy and reality is so obfuscated in today’s strange times (hello sci-fi geeks!) but I just can’t buy this whole daydreams-r-violating party line. I would be a big ol’ hypocrite now, wouldn’t I?

    Curious: You other straight girls, do you really not dream about having sexual things done ‘to’ your body by the men you enjoy? I realize the element of ‘with’ may be more prevalent in your mind than in the minds of our male cohorts, yet considering we’re talking about fantasy (i.e. a selfish, singular perspective), it’s more a matter of semantics than anything, isn’t it?

    I would also like to personally thank the spellcheck feature for assisting me with ‘prevalent’, which never looks quite right to me, especially before noon.

  336. thebewilderness

    Niki,
    How long do you find a new acquaintance or date is willing to wait for you to get back to interacting with them while you are busy ogling their body parts and fantasizing about them?

  337. LMYC

    Eurosabra, WHY does it rankle? I’m serious — Warren Farrell is a hideous individual, with a disgusting view of male and female relations — a horrific view of women, and an equally horrific (though far more privileged) view of men. Reading him to get an idea of what men are like is like reading “Mein Kampf” to get an idea of what Germans are like.

  338. niki

    TheBewilderness,

    I’ll assume from your question that you think I masturbate during dates, in public areas. Classy!

    Typically that kind of action happens on the homestead. Solo. It need not interrupt dinner or conversation whatsoever. And honestly, the only time I’ve been on a date that was noticeably interrupted by fantasy, it was because there was a football game behind me. Maybe I’m just lucky.

    Again, you don’t fantasize about potentiates? I find this incredibly hard to believe.

  339. thebewilderness

    Niki, I was ribbing you because the subject under discussion was the ogling and fantasizing men frequently do when first we meet them. Mandos repeated attempts to shift the context notwithstanding.
    Of course I don’t think you behave like that. The question is, why the hell do men think they are entitled to behave like that.

  340. niki

    I could be on a wild goose tangent here, but perhaps the blur between fantasy and acting on fantasy is where the real problem lies. With a million ways to transcend one’s ordinary life floating about the stratosphere (i.e. live action role playing games, online interactive games, virtual reality, the freakin’ internet) perhaps we need to address the fact that there are a lot of people having a hard time distinguishing between the two.

    I’m not excusing anyone (men) but I would certainly be willing to bet that many MANY people suffer from personal delusions about who they are and what they are entitled to do in the real world due to this outstanding level of disconnect that is occurring.

    Of course, couple this with a sense of manly entitlement to women’s bodies, and you’ve got an enormous can of worms.

  341. LMYC

    Iguana, it’s not even good bullshit. He presumes that he’s going to come in here and be The Rational One. He has no idea what the educational and professional background of anyone else here is — and I wager that if he were to guess what I did for a living, and my own education (unless I’ve mentioned it here and forgotten), he’d get it utterly, utterly wrong.

    I’ve given failing grades to wannabe-Spocks like him before in grad school. Big words don’t impress me — I’ve used bigger. In the professional-jargon penis-contest, I’m frankly uncut and hung to the floor, and it’s always a source of amusement to witness the incompetent blather of men who pride themselves on having taken two semesters of calculus twenty years ago coming in here and gifting the girlies with some rational language.

  342. ceezee

    Niki,

    As another straight girl, I’m answering your question: No, unequivocally NO, I do not dream about having sexual things things done ‘to’ by body by the men whose company I enjoy (I assume that’s what you were trying to say).

    I’ll ashamedly admit, sure, I used to. Violent rape fantasies, whatever. But this was before I became a feminist and realized that the way I was viewing myself in my fantasies affected the way I was seeing myself in the rest of my life. If it can affect the way I see myself, how can it not affect the way that other people see me?

    Also, I’m not going to dig through all 340-odd comments here to find it (and it may even have been a different thread) but someone said something about how we have no concept of unfettered female sexuality because we are so hard-wired to consider sex as a performance for HIS enjoyment. I think that’s the root of the violent fantasies, is that because I know (and how could I not be aware, shy little virgin though I am?) men like them, and so when I’m pleasing myself, it’s only partially for me, but mostly (and how’s this for fucked up?) for the benefit of whatever imaginary man I am…uh…not with?

    Also also, as far as the men whose company I enjoy, I try to leave them out of it, because honestly, it feels like I’m violating them. Maybe it’s just because I fancy myself a writer and am too in love with the idea of intellectual property rights, but if he’s not there to consent to the ways in which I would use his body, even just the image of it in my head, I feel as though I’m violating him and it ruins the fantasy. Instead, I go for people I invent. That way I know that I’m not tweaking my mental image of anyone I’m actually ever going to meet, ever.

    Because the way you think about people DOES change the way you treat them, regardless of what Mandos is trying to say. I’m going to try and take the middle ground and say that imagining a dinner with someone won’t alter your behavior toward them significantly. Noticing in passing that someone has well-formed ass/breasts/legs/whatever HOPEFULLY won’t alter your behavior toward them enough to be noticed, and equally hopefully, whoever is doing the noticing isn’t enough of a jerk that he/she is unable to overcome his/her own programming about objectifying others. But dwelling on the well-formed body part long enough to make a comment or have a vivid sexual fantasy about it, that will show up, and that’s where the harm spreads from the person who’s having the fantasy to the person who is the object of it.

    I hope that made sense. Had a lot of this conversation last night with the boyfriend (he’s one of those ones who mostly Gets It) and I’m still sort of teetering between theory and practice and still not sure what’s what.

  343. TP

    After thinking about it a long while, I have to admit that I personally never enter into my sexual fantasies. I just don’t turn myself on at all, sad to say. The introduction of me into a fantasy brings it to a screeching halt. Then it’s all, would she like me? Am I good enough? Maybe if I lost ten pounds?

    My fantasies are fundamentally about women who want sex as badly as I do at that moment, lost in that moment of desire, and enjoy it with men who are much better than me. I can’t put women I know into these fantasies because they would be absurd. The whole process is completely divorced from reality.

    Sex in my head: The more abstract, the better. Sex in reality: More about touch and love than sight. Sex in general: Less is more.

    That’s just me.

  344. LMYC

    TP, I agree with you, and with ceezee’s comment one up. Having written a raft of slash, I can see the appeal of fantasy, but the thing that makes them possible is that they are fake people who do not exist. Turn that instead into a real, live human being who belches, farts, and has a right to his own privacy, and it all goes cold.

    So no. I do not fantasize about random strangers or even friends. Fake people? Fictional characters? Sure — and probably with one another, as TP alludes to. But no one real, not even past partners. Do I fantasize about any other bodily appetites but that one?

    No.

    If I WANT a chocolate cake, I go get a slice of one. If I WANT a green curry, I go eat one. I don’t sit there and spend ten minutes fantasizing about the perfect cake or the perfect curry. I may recall a very good one fondly, but no. I don’t fantasize about a real person any more than I’ll fantasize about a meal — you just recall it well, or you go up and eat it.

    I doubt that Mandos or anyone else fantasizes about a great meal, either. The ONLY difference between that and sex is that sex involves another human being’s consent. It’s not just the value-free imagining of meeting a body appetite, or else people would fantasize taking really healthy dumps or eating burgers.

    It’s the fact that it’s another person’s body being marked like a fire hydrant that the whole point. Violating is the point.

  345. Eurosabra

    It doesn’t rankle for Farrell’s sake. I fully acknowledge the asshattery. I was miffed at the accusation of being someone likely to take “Mein Kampf” as a guide to Germans.

    One theory about holo porn is that the unquestioning inscription of patriarchal sex roles in standard Israeli Hebrew social realism for so long has left the society with an especially yucky collective unconscious. Cf. Nitsa Ben-Ari, _The Suppression of the Erotic in Modern Hebrew Literature_.p.163-173. The chapbooks appeared in the early 1960s and are collectively known to literary historians as “Stalags.”

  346. LMYC

    I should clarify that I think that the many of us here recognize that this “casting a stranger in the imaginary porno in my head” thing is a violation, and that that’s why it’s dissatisfying as fantasy.

  347. Phoenix

    ceezee and TP,

    Glad to find out that I am not the only person that has fantasies about someone I make up in my head. I do not even have fantasies, sexual or not about my partner of ten years. It to me does not seem right to cast a real, unwilling person into a role of my choosing and not have their input. I even change myself in my own fantasies because my fantasies are just that, fantasies.

  348. Scratchy888

    I’m with Mandos. When I fantasise I have complete control over the remote button, commanding my robots to do things just so.

  349. LMYC

    You know what part of it is for me, I think — I’m springboarding off of Phoenix’s and Scratchy’s comments:

    It to me does not seem right to cast a real, unwilling person into a role of my choosing and not have their input.

    When I fantasise I have complete control over the remote button, commanding my robots to do things just so.

    For me, an almost extreme extrovert, devoted to languages and communication to the point where it’s almost an obsession for me, the whole point of dealing with another person is to deal with the other person. I willingly spend hours and hours of my life every week trying to absorb new languages; since 2004, I have devoted uncountable hours to absorbing Welsh and still look forward to every morning commute as the time I pop the CD in the car and listen to the latest podcast with every single atom of my linguistic brain working its ass off to making that connection.

    I’m going to spend next weekend up in the boonies with a deaf friend of mine at an ASL weekend (silent, no talking or else you get a nickel fine; they tell you to bring a roll). She’s sick of going “huh?” all the time so she’s decided to learn it, and I a) want to keep talking to her, and b) love ASL anyhow and have studied it in the past, so what the hell? Win-win.

    I am someone who will crawl on her knees over broken glass to learn how to connect with another human with as little distortion as possible.

    So for me, what the hell is the POINT of fantasizing sex with someone if they aren’t there? Being with the other person is the whole fucking point of the act. Having the fantasy without the real live presence of the other person, who you need to learn about and interact with, is like eating a chocolate cake with no taste buds, or plugging your ears up before going to a concert. Sexual fantasy takes away the entire kernel of the whole thing — the chewy chocolatey center of the lollipop: the other person’s presence. Without that, who gives a shit?

    The physical sensations are worthless to me without the presence of another living being to figure out and connect with. For a lot of men who in their heart of hearts don’t really count women as people (or as worth interacting with in the first place), women’s actual real, live presence is an annoyance — something they have to put up with in order to get pussy.

    Sexual fantasies and porn like that are perfect for them, and probably their preferred method of gratification with some jacking off thrown in. That way, they get what they want — the hawt sexxx, without any of the irksome having to figure someone else out getting in the way.

    For me, sexual activity without that figuring out of the other person, without their presence, is like eating the best meal you’ve ever had with a stuffed up nose. Why the hell would I want that? Why would anyone want that who isn’t, deep in their heart of hearts, either sociopathic or incapable of seeing women as humans?

    And I mean that first word — there are people in this world who dislike other people, can’t connect with them, resent their existence, and feel that making room for others in their lives ins like, SO UNFAIR! WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO CARE ABOUT ANYONE ELSE? is their rallying cry, said very petulantly. “IT’S NOT FAIR!” Me-me-me. They alone are real in this universe, and all those other eerie meatpuppets out there aren’t.

    Failing that, only the ones with tits aren’t.

    For those people, casting fantasies in their heads starring unwitting strangers and themselves is fine. They’re getting what they want: sexual gratification with no tedious, tiresome having to talk to a rela, live person.

    For a lot of the people here, they see fantasy as, “Why bother?” Sexual gratification without the presence of the other person is pointless, so … who would imagine it anyway?

    And again, I’m talking about fantasies where YOU are cast as part of it. If the other person is live … game over, I want reality. If they’re fake, who cares and I’m not casting myself in it anyhow but probably two fake people.

    But if they are real, then that means there is an actual human out there who I can potentially talk to (not have sex with, I mean learn about and interact with, not fuck). That trumps fantasy for me — compared to really talking with anyone, learning about them, connecting with them … sexual fantasy is sawdust in the mouth.

    It reminds me of those creepy loser guys who buy those silicone gel women’s bodies to keep in bed with them. They say they’re doing it so they don’t have to be alone.

    Buddy, if you’re sleeping with a bag of silicone, you are alone.

  350. LMYC

    More clarification, because I think people are missing something:

    Instead of “It to me does not seem right to cast a real, unwilling person into a role of my choosing and not have their input,” perhaps a better way to put it is:

    “It to me is repulsive to cast a real, unwilling person into a role of my choosing and not have their input.”

    And I’m not talking the sex-poz male-apologist definition of repulsive, I’m talking about mine. When the word “repulsive” exits my mouth, it means “like eating catshit or puking on your own shoes on a rocky channel crossing.”

    Somehow, on the way through the admittedly thick and somewhat gel-like skull and brain of your average sex-pozzer and male apologist, this meaning gets replaced by, “Ooh, I’m secretly turned on by it and get a widdle tingle-wingle in my widdle hoo-hoo but I’m not honest enough to admit it because I’m trying too hard to be moral.”

    Sorry. When I say “gross” I mean “like that time I ate some bad meat at a British-style pub in Santa Monica, emptied my stomach in the restroom toilet, and wound up sweating and convulsively puking green bile for the next few hours.” Can’t sexxx that one up, canya? Public-toilet-plus-puke stank ain’t on the Cosmo sex quiz.

    Between two other fake people (aka slash or other fic), it can be fine. Starring myself, though? Sorry. I’m in my deaf friend’s kitchen cleaning up the puke she induced one time in one of her dogs when they ate one of her heading aids and she wanted to make sure they didn’t digest the battery. Ever clean up copious amounts of dog puke without coming damn close to puking yourself?

    Neither have I.

    That’s what “repulsive” means. Dog-puke-smell. Bad meat. I have a strong suspicion that this is what it means for quite a few of us, but we are subconsciously locked into defining it as a moral issue, so we’re not saying the other part of it: it’s not “moral” to avoid doing something that make you want to ralph. The thing may also be immoral, but frankly, like fucking children, it’s also just plain nauseating.

    I talk too much. I wish I had the time to get a blog instead of just serially invading Twisty’s like this.

  351. Yeny

    Keep on talking LMYC. I love your posts and you have a way with words so don’t hold back.

  352. Twisty

    “I doubt that Mandos or anyone else fantasizes about a great meal, either.”

    I fantasize about food constantly. I really missed my calling. I should have been a food blogger.

  353. Frumious B

    They might as well have lynching porn

    Well, there’s plantation porn. Not sure who the intended audience is.

  354. Yeny

    “I fantasize about food constantly. I really missed my calling. I should have been a food blogger.”

    God, I fantasise about food all the time. I don’t refer to people as ‘buff’ or ‘hawt’, but food, mmmm food. My adoration and language when it comes to food has always perplexed my mates.

  355. Scratchy888

    in reply to LMYC, I will say that reality generally tends to disappoint one with as lively an imagination as I have.

  356. Frumious B

    But the “Mein Kampf” thing rankles a bit because of my, well, perspective.

    Rankles, huh? Is that b/c you can’t conceive of using Hitler as an example of a typical German b/c of the whole psychopath thing? Now why do you think LMYC would have made that analogy when discussing Warrenn Farrell? Think hard, you’ll get it.

  357. Frumious B

    A woman doesn’t show for a couple of months, and some women will not show until what seems like the last minute.

    And since prehistoric people only had sex every 9 months, they naturally forgot all about it by the time the baby was born. Give me a break. They may not have known specifically what the sticky white stuff did, but they sure knew sex between men and women produced babies. Even if they did only have sex every 9 months, they all knew that only the women who had sex with men ever produced babies. Time for you to cough up some of these references you keep hinting at.

  358. LMYC

    Scratchy, I’d come back with the quite true old saw that truth is always stranger than fiction. :-) And it is.

  359. LMYC

    How are we defining fantasizing about food? I think about it, certainly, and sometimes I’m thinking to myself, “If I don’t get one fo those nuclear green curries from the Thai place up north, I’m going to die RIGHT NOW,” but I don’t generally call that fantasy. I also think to myself while I’m cooking, “Hm. Would this go with cloves? Let me stop and think … ” *imagines tastes mixed together* “Naah. Where’s the cinnamon, though?”

    But it’s simply not a complete thing in itself. It’s something I do on the way to the Thai restaurant or something I do to imagine what goes together while I’m cooking. I won’t sit, have a “food fantasy,” and consider it done.

  360. LMYC

    Frum, I recall hearing about societies that considered male activity to be necessary, but not that they made any contribution beyond “stirring” the preexisting babymaking potential of the uterus. (Unsurprisingly in some of these societies, dildos were not uncommon.) So while some male activity was thought to be part of what went on, the baby was believed to be entirely of the woman. It’s a very, very long way from “push-pull” to realizing that the male makes any contribution — and honestly, some societies took a while to realize this. *shrug*

    It’s a long way from “stirring the pot” to “depositing a tiny but complete homunculus into the otherwise nonparticipating soil of the uterus.”

  361. Phoenix

    LMYC,

    Exchanging “does not seem right” for repulsive is a better word choice and thank you for the clarification. I am new to feminism so smack me down if need be I welcome it because how else am I to learn (this is not sarcastic and I really do well with criticism).

  362. niki

    Ceezee,

    When I said I daydreamed of men doing sexual things ‘to’ my body I was in no way referring to rape fantasies or anything remotely violent. How sad that the word ‘to’ would automatically conotate a forced act of anything. I’m sorry you tortured yourself in this manner, but I never did.

    Certainly the man I dream about may or may not engage in sexual congress with me (past, present, or future) and certainly my dreams may be quite different from a real life sexual experience with said man (geez, I hope so) but I like having a familiar face to my daydreams – it feels far more comfortable to me than imagining strangers screwing, or imagining a man that doesn’t really exist touching me intimately (how do you do this without feeling seriously violated???).

    What about teenagers who dream about humping the latest Ricky Schroeder/Rock Hudson/whoever today’s heartthrob is? Are they violating that heartthrob’s privacy/person? Is it ‘repulsive’ that they have these thoughts?

    Jeebus, I typically feel right at home here but I’ve never met so many fans of the Thought Police. Education is one thing, and a good thing at that, but beyond that how do you propose to put an end to interpersonal daydreaming?

  363. LMYC

    No smackdown required, Phoenix — it’s jsut that your comment made me envision myself, and really think about the heart of what I found objectionable about it.

    niki, no one said that feminism wasn’t about analyzing the shit out of everything in existence. We’re pretty thinky here.

  364. niki

    For the record, I love it here at Chez Faster. Even though I might not agree with everything (i.e. the dream police) I have learned so much and strengthened my resolve in so many issues. I am so unbelievably happy to have found a blog where women from all backgrounds, of all ages, can agree, disagree and discuss in frank, assertive and opinionated language. You guys rock. /gush

    So seriously, I’m the only woman in here that daydreams about having sex with people I actually know? I feel like a sociopath.

  365. Flamethorn

    Niki, you’re not. :-p

  366. Mandos

    Mandos, will you go on a date with me?

    Bingo! *wink*

  367. Scratchy888

    Scratchy, I’d come back with the quite true old saw that truth is always stranger than fiction. :-) And it is.

    LMYC, it gladdens my heart to know that truth can be stranger than fiction, but nontheless the line between necessity and fiction is not as strongly defined for me as it is for you, so I do not mind that I often fall short in bringing some of my more extreme imaginary notions into reality.

  368. redhead

    Niki, you are certainly not, and I’m disagreeing with the same things.

    Although, the people that I am really attracted to, I am so attracted to that I really can’t get beyond the point of ‘oh dear god, s/he is so hot, I can’t stand it, oh my, s/he is coming to talk to me, be cool, be cool, oh god, hold it together.’ I don’t get beyond that to think about specific acts, I’m too busy thinking about how pretty I think they are, in a very abstract way.

  369. Artemis

    You bring up an interesting issue, niki.

    Women consume porn (often because they are encouraged to do so by their male sex partners). We live in an era when, for some, it’s very important to be considered “sex positive” in a range of liberal circles. Women are told in a variety of ways that it is perfectly fine to go right ahead and objectify people right along with the menz. We are all continually soaking in the body-objectifying patriarchy.

    I can’t speak for you, niki, but given this social milieu it’s not hard to imagine the woman who is perfectly capable of having objectifying sexual fantasies about people they encounter.

    Blamers more sophisticated than I will have to say whether and how that practice is different when women do it as opposed to when men do it.

  370. mearl

    I’m straight, and if I like someone, I’ll fantasise about a good experience we’ve already HAD, or I’ll end up having inadvertent sex dreams about them. I don’t usually ACTIVELY fantasise about a person with no raw material behind the fantasy.

    On the other side of the coin, what guys fantasise about worries the HELL out of me. I’ve discussed things with exes (at the time when we were together and having sex)and found out that one guy described his “base instincts” caused him to get turned on at the thought of my body being something he could “hold down and put his dick into and I couldn’t get away.” This was shortly before I dumped him. He was a very intelligent, pro-feminist guy with very little experience with women. He practically wanted to be my slave and wanted to marry me and do ANYTHING for me. Right. Another otherwise loving, thoughtful boyfriend, when exceedingly drunk, was dirty-talking to me and let it slip that he got turned on by the idea of “ramming into my body, splitting me in half,” as he put it. I was drunk too, but I fucking well remembered THAT one. These guys were of the “nice, progressive, pacifist, harmless, intellectual, pro-feminist” tribe. These instances were anomalies in a sea of good, mutuality-based sexual experiences, but I shudder to think what nastier assholes might be thinking when they look at me. Last year I dumped the guy I was seeing because after one of his band’s shows where I was in attendance, he came up to me after 6 beers and said I looked so hot that he would “DIE to be able to violate me right now.” That’s right, he said “violate.” He won himself a half-hour lecture and then got dumped.

    I NEVER get turned on by the idea of hurting someone. I can fantasise about beating the shit out of a rapist, but it doesn’t get a sexual reaction in my mind. It’s more of a feeling of pleasant justice. And it’s ALWAYS a scenario that is in response to a violation of women’s integrity.

    It’s the violence of male fantasies and their connection to lust that makes me wonder what the hell is wrong with men, and especially the fact that they seem to get turned ON instead of OFF, by doing things TO a woman, not WITH a woman. They don’t see the need for consent, if not in real life, then in their minds. And if not all the time, at least SOME of the time. It’s freakish to think that if laws and social mores are in place to keep men from raping or hurting women, they create a huge industry of images that satisfies their need to FANTASISE about hurting women. In this context, I’d say fantasy is a worry for a lot of women. Although not every thought results in action, every action is preceded by a thought.

    AGH! Does anyone know what to do about the lag? I have Firefox and this lag is making me crazy!

  371. niki

    I still think the real problem lies with the psychosis of not being able to distinguish reality from fantasy. Unfortunately, it’s a common phenomenon that is becoming more so.

    I’ve talked to men about the language they use (Mearl, great examples) and how, sadly enough, it’s perpetuated by even the most benign men. I think even the nice guys get their interpersonal cues from the media, which is a vile, sordid teacher. It’s that age-old question on how to raise boys with a healthy view of both genders (or all genders for that matter) in a society that craps out stereotypes and lies constantly. It’s hard.

    The thing that gets my goat is how ‘sex-positive’ has become synonymous (I’ve used this word exactly 234908 times today) with ‘porn-friendly’. I consider myself very sex positive, yet detest porn and all of its cousins and permutations. I don’t think this makes me an objectifier (outside the realm of my sordid non-consensual sex fantasies about men, that is).

  372. ceezee

    Niki–Whoops, good catch. Yes, my mind went there first, simply because, well, when we’re talking about fantasy being a form of violation, my mind continues with the violation theme and I blame without realizing what I make myself sound like. Simply because that’s the first place my mind went, don’t assume it’s the only place.

    As far as how I don’t feel violated with Nameless Faceless Imaginary Person, that’s beside the point. I don’t use others as fantasy-fodder because I think it’s degrading to THEM, not because it’s degrading to ME. Plus, if it’s a person you’ve created, how is that a stranger?

    I think I’m with LMYC on this one: fantasies with people I know are disappointing because I’d rather have the real thing.

    But I’m also with you on this one niki–Thought Police indeed. But there’s a difference between saying “People shouldn’t think these thoughts about me because I am very very uncomfortable with my image being used like that!” and starting to develop technology to make sure they’re not doing it. Pointing out the need/desire for a behavior change is not the same as forcing one.

  373. Lauredhel

    [blockquote]The thing that gets my goat is how ’sex-positive’ has become synonymous (I’ve used this word exactly 234908 times today) with ‘porn-friendly’.[/blockquote]

    Nothing accidental about it. The word has been deliberately chosen by porn fans to set up the “sex-negative” strawman and demonise antiporners. It functions in exactly the same way as “pro-life”.

  374. Lauredhel

    That “Edit” button really is purely ornamental, isn’t it? Sorry.

  375. Yeny

    I don’t think the problem is necessarily that someone would fantasise about me, although it does make me feel physically sick when I think about it. What truly bothers me is the way I am seen and therefore treated by men. I despise being seen as a vagina. And that is exactly what is happening when a man who doesn’t know you masturbates to the thought of you.
    Perhaps (although not likely) I wouldn’t be so disgusted by this if this view of woman as walking and talking vagina’s was limited to the fuckwads who catcall, grope and all the rest of it. It’s not. Every single guy I’ve ever come into contact with has sized me up as pussy first and then maybe he bothers to get to know me. Even then, however, I’m still pussy.

    So when I bothered to strike up friendships with guys, I always had the disconcerting feeling that they didn’t see me as a mate, that they treated me completely differently to their guy mates. Then at some later date it would come out that they fancied me even though we had spent enough time to know that we were totally incompatible, i.e. I think women are human beings rather than sex organs.

    Also, what is it with this Thought Police paranoia? Nobody is controlling you, we are just trying to explain that many people feel uncomfortable being used in someone else’s mind as a sexual aid, because it does colour the interactions you have with that person, but also, as mearl’s examples showed, even progressive males view women as sexual creatures to be raped and abused.

  376. TinaH

    And since prehistoric people only had sex every 9 months, they naturally forgot all about it by the time the baby was born. Give me a break. They may not have known specifically what the sticky white stuff did, but they sure knew sex between men and women produced babies.

    Err, um, perhaps not. We have not idea how often or how regularly that prehistoric people had sex, but we know enough now to know that sex does not produce a pregnancy every time. We also know that the lactational amenorrhea affecting many women who breastfeed causes a significant reduction in fertility. So prehistoric peoples could have quite a bit of sex without resulting in pregnancies. It seems logical to me that the connection would elude them for a while. After all, wasn’t it our much vaunted powers of observation that led us to determine that the Sun spun round the Earth, that all matter was composed of Earth, Air, Fire or Water, illness was the fault of ill-balanced bodily humors, and that toads are born spontaneously of mud?

  377. TinaH

    Bah.

    We have no idea how.

    Typist error. I claim a lack o’ caffeine.

  378. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    I offer my input as a psychic: THOUGHTS ARE THINGS. These THINGS you allow to ricochet against the interior walls of your brain absolutely do matter to the material world, if not immediately then eventually.

    As someone upthread noted, everything that exists, existed as a thought first, even the tree you presume you had no role in creating. This is due to the way we process data in our minds.

    We “create” the world anew, moment by moment, with our thoughts. The material world doesn’t look EXACTLY the way it does in our minds because there are too many of us thinking differently and we need to come up with a consensus reality. However, the Universe somehow manages to hold up a mirror to every single one of us, individually. Unfortunately this mirror-world doesn’t protect us from the frequent negative drive-bys generated by other people’s thought processes.

    Funny how it works. Seriously.

    I’m one of those weirdos who really COULD act as the Thought Police of the people around me if I wanted to. Unfortunately if I took on that role I’d probably blow my brains out. (obscure Dr. Seuss reference) Oh, the noise, the noise, the NOISE NOISE NOISE!!!! Human thought processes make me think of toddlers running around screaming with their hair on fire.

    Mystics (not godbags!)of EVERY faith beg us to do the same things: Be still and at peace in your mind. Meditate (or pray). Take care with your thoughts because thoughts matter. Whether or not you’re actually religious, don’t you think that if ALL the most spiritual/mystical adherents of every religion are telling us the same thing they might be on to something?

  379. Mar Iguana

    “Although not every thought results in action, every action is preceded by a thought.” mearl

    Yes it is. But, I believe that every thought does result in action, somewhere, sometime you may not be aware of. I believe that it is not so much “mind over matter” as that “mind IS matter” in that everything that is manifested originates from Mind. Everything. This makes me very conscious of what floats around in my head because, since I believe in the tight integrity of karma, I think no thoughts about others I’m not willing to have boomerang right back to myself.

    If some thought comes into my mind that is violent or hateful, I do not ignore it. I think about it, ask myself where in hell did THAT come from and do my process to neutralize that ignorant thought I just sent out there into the universe. Cosmic. The only thing anybody has any actual control over is the thoughts in their own head.

    If someone has royally pissed me off, I dare not build any mental pictures about terrible scenarios starring that person. Rather, I use a five-step process taught to me by minds far more brilliant than my own (recognition, unity, demonstration, thanks, release) wherein I only point out to the universe this person and their violating behavior (knowing I am also opening myself to inspection by doing so). It’s not long before that person is gone from my life, even from my vicinity, under circumstances that are so perfectly appropriate, even eloquent, sometimes terrible, I would have never had the imagination to think it up. And, best of all, clean karma.

    You are your own thought police. Know that what goes around is guaranteed to come around, right back to bite you in your own butt. You are perfectly free to think horrible, violent thoughts. Just know that you have opened yourself up to be on the receiving end of horrible, violent action.

    Those boys who are so tickled with themselves by allowing any kind a vile thoughts about women to run amok in their minds, gleefully thinking “Haaa, if they only knew what I was really thinking” will have a very rude awakening some time, some life and they have nothing but time for it all to catch up with them in the eternal validity of their soul. I wouldn’t be in their karmic mocassins for nada.

  380. Twisty

    Hedonistic: “don’t you think that if ALL the most spiritual/mystical adherents of every religion are telling us the same thing they might be on to something?”

    No. Everybody in the world tells us to oppress women, and I don’t buy that, either.

  381. niki

    Oh man, I wish I wasn’t such a big ol’ athiest on all fronts, because then maybe I could police my thoughts on the back of the belief that ‘bad things happen to the bad people’, either here on earth (!) or in some esoteric afterlife. Unfortunately, I just ain’t as cool as all the people in here who can dismiss all of their no-good-very-bad thoughts with a wave of their spiritual conscience.

    I don’t know any such pure intentionalists in Real Life (TM) but it’s good to know there are people out there with spotless minds and well governed daydreams. You people are superheroines. Thank heavens my gym happy ass will never suffer the wrath of your (non) violent fantasy lives.

    I, too, (for the record) hate knowing that just by being born into the female body I am guaranteed a lifetime of disrespect and a starring role in some choad’s violent sexual fantasy, but I still don’t see how you’re going to solve the dream problem.

  382. TP

    Mar Iguana:

    You are your own thought police.

    So true. This is where you aspire to be, not where you fall to. When you try to regulate and improve your own thoughts, you get happier.

    Men fail to even try to regulate their own sexual thoughts because they assume that their sexual thoughts are natural, healthy and shared by women. Even after they start trying, they often fail. A lifetime of conditioning is a powerful thing.

  383. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Nooooo noooo noo Twisty, as I said upthread, NOT THE GODBAGS! They are the exact opposite of spiritual/mystical.

    No true mystic has ever advocated the oppression of anyone. Quite the opposite, actually. That’s why godbags like to kill them.

  384. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Niki, even in the Otherworld or “Etherworld,” hahahah, we are subject to negative drive-by abuse due to the damaging thought processes of other beings. That’s why the “bad things never happen to people with happy thoughts” bullshit is just that, BULLSHIT.

    New-agey white-light foofy-fluffy thinking is irritating as godbaggy thinking. Karma, on the other hand, is some heavy shit. Karma can’t really advocate a “blame the victim” mentality due to this drive-by phenomenon. These drive-bys are not really “random” occurrences, since the thought processes behind them are usually pretty deliberate.

    It starts to make more sense when one starts to think of Humanitity as an organic, multifacted and interdependent entity instead of a collection of isolated individuals acting in isolation.

    Anyhoo I can’t fog on like this any more without causing my brain to explode. Not without drugs, at least.

  385. RadFemHedonist

    Twisty, I was under the impression you are a strict materialist atheist, so you wouldn’t believe in mysticism, right?

  386. RadFemHedonist

    “It starts to make more sense when one starts to think of Humanitity as an organic, multifacted and interdependent entity instead of a collection of isolated individuals acting in isolation.”

    I recognise this is an abbreviated argument but:

    Hooray for science and Dawkins and James Randi

    You’re talking arse.

    This is not a personal attack.

    also please read this:

    [url]http://cogprints.org/400/00/Amnesty.htm[/url]

    simply because frankly everyone ought to read it.

    also I would like to post something that horrified me and demonstrates that unfortunately some people simply don’t seem to care even if they claim to be rational and not religious.

    [url]http://richarddawkins.net/forum/viewforum.php?f=18[/url]

  387. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Really, if you pay attention to whom the Patriarchy is trying to take the fuck OUT, it’s usually the folks low-down on the totem pole holding the Clue Sticks.

    Wise women and Wise Men alike. Mystical or just plain smart. It doesn’t matter.

  388. Twisty

    What I’m saying, Hedonistic, is that just because a bunch of people believe something, it doesn’t make it true. A bunch of people believe Jesus arranges for the home team to win the football game. A bunch of people believe reproduction is a human right. A bunch of people believe that women are “naturally” feminine.

    RadFemHedonist: if I’m not mistaken, this is not the first time you have expressed an interest in quantifying my worldview. It might be easier not to think of me as a “strict” anything, but yes, I remain wholly unconvinced that there exists a magical entity concerning itself with the everyday affairs of H. sapiens, whether it manifests as a humanoid ghost floating among the clouds, or as “the love inside each and every one of us!” or as some sort of intangible 6th-dimension “energy.”

  389. LCforevah

    Wow! I go away Friday noon for the weekend, and it’s gotten pretty heavy and angry–good!

  390. RadFemHedonist

    Thanks Twisty, I thought I’d ask since we were discussing this sort of thing, I know strict is an interesting choice of word, I might call myself meticulous. I apologize if it offends you.

  391. LCforevah

    Frum B, I first came across the fact that there were cultures that didn’t not understand that semen had something to do with pregnancy in a general anthropology class for non-majors–many decades ago. I don’t think the professor who gave the class was making things up. In fact, he found it amusing that his predecessors in anthropology were horrified at the idea, much like you are right now.

  392. LCforevah

    Talking out your arse? Please supply verifiable proof of karma, dharma, or Jenna Elfman’s xenu. Without physical proof, there is nothing to debate.

  393. Mandos

    I doubt that FB is horrified at the idea.

    I’m not either, just skeptical as to whether it really means much given the overall ubiquity of cultures that *did* easily make the connection.

  394. al

    I think even the nice guys get their interpersonal cues from the media, which is a vile, sordid teacher

    Not always. It did bring us Buffy, Xena, Golden Girls, Commander In Chief and Roseanne, to name a few feminist crowd-pleasers.

    I always grit my teeth whenever I hear leftists demonise the media. It just reminds me of right-wing luddites who argue that everything to do with television is corrupt, evil and somehow able to magically strip people of accountability for their actions.

    I love my box and I love my books, and when someone tries to blame either for a heinous crime they committed, I call bullshit on that crappy defence every time.

  395. al

    Note: not calling anyone a luddite. Just expressing my frustration at these kind of arguments.

  396. Kristina

    So now, when I started posting to this thread, I wondered (WRT sexual objectification), how people entered sexual relationships with other people without one partner actually contemplating, in some manner, having sex with the other prior to expressing the thought. Call it the Logical Problem of Nonobjectifying Sexual Initiation.
    [edit]
    So now, since people appear to have agreed to take on this task: enlighten me. How do I invite someone to a restaurant I liked without having first, without their knowledge (assuming no telepathy), contemplated eating at that restaurant with them?
    Call it the Logical Problem of Nonobjectifying Restaurant Invitations.

    Ah ha! I am so excited! I think I actually understand what Mandos is saying for once!

    There are two definitions of “objectify” going on here, yes?

    1) to make external: “To which I say, if I’m in a great restaurant, and eating something I like (which I sometimes do alone because I had the whim to walk into a restaurant I might have been passing), I do, in fact, sometimes think “Ah, I just met so and so, he seems like the kind of guy that likes this kind of stuff. What would he like on this menu? Maybe it might be fun to invite him to eat it.” And lo and behold, my mental monologue, which includes images of delicious food and eating it with friends, sometimes results in me actually inviting that person to that restaurant with me, and we even have a good time!”

    You have taken thoughts and made them objective, real. You have ‘objectified’ your fantasy.

    2) To dehumanize: “To which I say, if I’m in a great restaurant, and eating something I like (which I sometimes do alone because I had the whim to walk into a restaurant I might have been passing), I do, in fact, sometimes think, ‘John would love it here. Mmm, I can just imagine John eating the food. Food in John’s mouth. John’s mouth. Food.’ Then later, I am talking to John, and all I can see is John’s mouth. I know he is speaking to me, but my brain barely registers. All I see is his mouth. I fantasize that there is food in it. JOHN’S MOUTH! FOOD! FOOD IN JOHN’S MOUTH!”

    John has been reduced to a mouth. John is no longer human. John has been objectified without his consent.

    Rather than the Logical Problem of Nonobjectifying Restaurant Invitations, I see this as the problem of ambiguous meaning. It is possible to fantasize about a person without reducing them to their body parts, i.e. objectifying them. Mandos, are you sure you are not conflating fantasizing with objectifying?

    Too bad I couldn’t figure this out sooner.

  397. Flamethorn

    >No true mystic

    I call No True Scotsman fallacy!

  398. Mandos

    I find it very amusing that this thread actually eventually *did* turn into one about telepathy. I eagerly wait the eventual cyborg rebellion that is sure to come 100 posts later.

  399. mearl

    On the subject of Thought Police, I’m sorry that I didn’t elaborate on the statement that “not every thought results in action, every action is preceded by a thought.” I could add that I don’t disagree with the idea of having sex fantasies about another person, just the same way that I don’t disagree with a visual expression of sex (erotica in film, etc). It’s when the fantasies take on a violent bent or become less about sexual connection and consideration of the other person than about hurting and humiliation of the other person that it’s a concern. In our case, men’s fantasies about women are a concern because, as they manifest themselves in pornography, it seems that men are not interested in fantasising about a sexual interaction with women that most women would agree with. Given that women avoid porn (and don’t give me any horseshit about the rise of female interest in porn; it’s still a minority of women who accept it)or are outright ENRAGED by it shows that men are not interested in a sort of sex as females define it, one where the woman figures as an AGENT, a decision-maker, on the same level as the man. This is a result of men’s inability to see women as humans, not objects that exist to satisfy their every whim. Possibly a lack of empathy in the male gender? I’d say it’s also a result of the society’s acceptance of sex as an experience that is only physical and not one that enables a CONNECTION of the minds attached to the bodies. The definition of sex is getting further away from the people inhabiting the bodies and their ability to connect with each other, and moving towards a stark individualism that makes no pretense of its selfish agenda. Either way, you are in a large part made up of your experiences. Everything around an individual is an educational tool. As much as everyone likes to go on about “making the distinctions” in “interpreting” the media’s messages, the messages are a reflection of what the culture values, and in turn they help form your “individual” opinions more than you will ever know. The more men see and reproduce these hateful images in porn, the more it replaces any potential for real interaction with a real woman. And on it goes. The Great Germaine opens “The Whole Woman” with a survey of our culture that recognises it as “far more masculinist than it was 30 years ago,” and states that “while women are fighting for real rights in the real world, men are retreating further and further into a world of masculinised fantasy.” (not a direct quote: she puts it far better).

    Even erotica and porn and movies and films don’t do justice to an act of sex between two real people, with its closeness, intense engagement, dialogue, considerations, hesitations, fumblings, mistakes, tense moments; its COMMUNICATION.
    I have yet to see a visual representation of something like a real hetero couple’s sexual interaction. One of the only ones I can think of that comes close is a scene between Christian Bale’s and Kate Beckinsale’s characters at the opening of “Laurel Canyon.”

  400. Antelope

    One time, I went to talk to my contractor about something, and he was in the middle of straining to move something large, maybe a bathtub. I don’t remember, because my whole world narrowed down to just his left bicep for several seconds. It was so embarrassing that I left the room without saying a word.

    Another time, I had to live with a roommate’s boyfriend hanging around all the time, taking up space in a very arrogant way, turning a former friend against me, and just generally being a pain in the ass. I had a recurring fantasy about knocking him down, pinning him down, and before he knew what was happening, spitting in his eye. I knew this had something to do with the fact that he made me feel invaded and I wanted to return the favor, but it didn’t cross my mind until years later that this was somewhat like a rape fantasy.

    Both of these are types of thoughts that happened only with that one person, in that one context, but it’s enough that I can’t pretend these types of thoughts are exclusive to men, or to people who are trying to be like men. They just zap up from nowhere. The more enlightened I get, the faster I can recognize these thoughts as not a part of who I want to be and the better I am at distracting myself with something more acceptable. But I can’t un-think them, and I can’t pretend that they’re not a part of me.

    I tend to agree with