Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Why I am a feminist.

I self-identify as a feminist.I think human males in general should self-identify as feminists. If we want to live in a society that is as technologically and scientifically advanced as can be, we must support feminism.

By "feminist," I don't mean that someone who believes that males and females are identical. Obviously they aren't. And I don't mean that that there aren't innate biological differences, some of which will result in statistically significant differences in the general population. Such differences indeed exist.

By feminist I mean someone who supports identical rights for people regardless of gender. I also believe that we should encourage females to pursue whatever professions, occupations and hobbies that they want and of which they are capable and that we should discourage negative stereotyping about lack of ability.

I don't self-identify as a feminist out of some deep ideological grounding. I don't have any strong ideological affinity with most of the feminist movement. Sure, equality in the abstract is nice. However, it is clear that stereotypes about females negatively impact on everyone. And so, I support feminism, not out of some deep belief, but out of simple self-interest.

How many women have become housewives or secretaries who might otherwise have been the next Barbara McClintock or Emmy Noether but for the fact that they were mistreated and told that math and science were for men? I don't know. But I do know that, for each of the women who were discouraged, there is at least one more interesting theorem, one more cool biological fact, one more interesting astronomical phenomenon that society missed out on. And some of those would have gone on, not just make interesting discoveries but to make practical, helpful discoveries. I have trouble keeping count how many friends and relatives I've lost due to cancer and other illnesses. How many of them would still be alive today if the right little girl hadn't been told that she couldn't do math or that science was for the boys? I don't know, but I can guess that it is probably more than one.

I'm a feminist not because I'm a good person who cares about equality, but because I'm a self-interested person who wants to learn and benefit from everyone I can. I want to live in the best, most technologically advanced society that I can. Therefore, I am a feminist.

31 comments:

Ichabod Chrain said...

What you're describing isn't really what present day feminism is about. Oz Conservative has some posts this week that are more reflective of modern feminism: . One of the more interesting ones is:
http://ozconservative.blogspot.com/2011/06/feminists-cherishing-women-is-sexist.html
Feminism is also responsible for the new Dept of Education Office Civil Rights guidelines on sexual harassment.
http://thefire.org/article/13145.html

Chillingworth said...

I'm with Ichabod. Whatever discrimination or mistreatment women may have faced in past generations, today the pendulum has swung so far the other way that the dominant culture is instead one of stifling "political correctness", enforcing, among other things, exactly the dogma "that males and females are identical".

It's a culture in which an accomplished Harvard president can make reference to empirical evidence of some of those "statistically significant differences in the general population"---not that women are essentially or intrinsically unable to "do" science or math, obviously, but that if you plot ability on the x-axis and number of individuals at that level on the y-axis, at the top end of ability, the curve for women as a group is somewhat to the left of the curve for men as a group---and be forced to "apologize[] several times" for it, receive "a public vote of no confidence" from faculty, and be forced to resign as president.

A different kind of reply to your case for feminism is that time and other resources are finite; we're all given the same twenty-four hours every day, and culturally encouraging women to go into science doesn't magically grant them any extra hours. (As Thomas Sowell says in a different context, there are never any "solutions", only trade-offs.) I'm as glad as the next guy that Marie Curie (and her husband) discovered polonium and radium, but to some extent, women who put a high priority on their careers tend to delay having children, eventually having fewer than they otherwise would have had, or even having none. Intelligence is partly heritable. How much worse off are we as a society for being deprived of those children never born, disproportionately the (would-be) children of our smartest women? Suppose that one of those children, rather than his or her mother, would have been the one to develop a cure for cancer? Again, I'm not saying that it's better for a woman to spend her time bearing and raising children than working in a chemistry lab; I'm saying that they both have benefits, and we (as a society) can't have it all, any more than any individual woman can.

I get the impression that a larger number of women would find more enjoyment and fulfillment raising children than working in a chemistry lab (the vast majority of people, men or women, aren't as smart as the most brilliant chemists and physicists, after all), but I'm inclined to agree that each woman should be free to pursue whatever seems best to her. However, this leads to a third kind of reply: Cultural acceptance and encouragement (like the uses of one's time themselves) are a kind of zero-sum game. To the extent that we tell women that every one of them could be a great scientist, and that they shouldn't give in to any kind of pressure to stay at home and be a housewife, we give the impression (even if unintentionally) that scientist is a better choice, and that any who still choose to be housewives must be doing so because they gave in to pernicious social pressure.

See also the Thinking Housewife's thoughts on the subject.

Joshua said...

Ichabod, saying that the feminist movement is responsible for the modern sexual harassment guidelines is extremely unlikely to persuade me of much of anything. There may be implementational issues with those guidelines, but such rules are clearly necessary. Moreover, you are talking about a comparatively minor problem.

Chillingworth, similar remarks apply. Claims that the "pendulum" has swung so far are simply not persuasive.

In the particular case you bring up of Larry Summers, while there is some issue with how he was treated, he did so many different things to piss off the Harvard faculty- his remarks about differences in gender were only one of a variety of issues that caused the faculty to get sick of him. So the claim being made simply doesn't hold much water.

And yes, resources are obviously finite: That's a truism. However, let's compare a universe where people of any gender can focus on raising kids if they want, and others of any gender can do science if they want and have the skills, as opposed to a universe where they can't. The balance of those tradeoffs seems pretty clear.

Chillingworth said...

That's interesting. Would you say that your conceptual framework for thinking about this doesn't admit of the possibility of the pendulum swinging too far in the other direction, or would you say that you can imagine such a possibility but you don't think Ichabod and I have provided sufficient evidence that that's happened yet?

If it's the latter, I wonder what kind of evidence would be necessary, and whether it wouldn't be intrinsically impossible to provide it. I suppose that, when possible, we'd all prefer something empirical, but I'm not sure how this question could be answered empirically. Measure women's happiness over time and show that it declines as feminism rises? Measure the average IQ of the population and show that it's declining over time now that women have more freedom to delay having children? But I suppose there are potentially any number of confounding variables that render the data inconclusive, for anyone who's not inclined to be persuaded.

Barring that, anecdotal individual instances of political correctness destroying careers or otherwise run amok? I can think of other examples, but if your sense of the current culture is that the first example I gave was an exception rather than the rule, I don't suppose you'll find further examples any more persuasive.

Here's an idea: You're saying that Summers did a bunch of stuff (which is true), but do you think he should have had to apologize at all for stating (as far as I understand) statistical facts?

Regardless, here's an idea: If Summers is an exception, can you think of a counterexample in which anyone of similar or greater prominence made similar statements and was not forced to apologize, resign, etc.?

Joshua said...

Chillingworth,

It is remotely conceivable that as you put it the pendulum could swing in the opposite direction. And that's not to say that there aren't negative consequences due to the success of feminism. The most obvious would be public school teaching- seventy years ago the only jobs available for most talented women were as school teachers. Not surprisingly, now that they have other options, we see a decline in school quality. While the decline in the American public school system is due to a large variety of factors, this certainly looks like one side effect.

So what would convince me that the pendulum has gone in the other direction? The simplest and most obvious steps would be not to see this sort of crap - http://religionsetspolitics.blogspot.com/2009/06/perez-hilton-is-sexist-bigot-rant-on.html on a regular basis, and not when teaching and tutoring have to deal with all the time little girls who have massive confidence issues and are convinced that math and science is for the boys. That would be a start.

If you could show a decline in IQ that would be suggestive, although I'd be curious as to how you would demonstrate that your claimed form was the cause (I can think of a few possible methods but none of them are that great). In fact, the general trend has been if anything an increase in IQ- the so-called "Flynn effect".

Your examples of "political correctness run amok" are also deeply unpersuasive. While such examples may exist, they seem to be rare and generally close to irrelevant. The particular case of Greenfield is interesting in that while there may have been an overreaction it is also is very clear that the data he was citing ran into massive correlation v. causation issues among other issues. I do agree that making him resign from a large variety of posts seems like overkill. In that particular case there were other complicating factors as well, and I don't know how many of them ended up being widely publicized. (Essentially some of what happened occurred because he had made some enemies who used this as an opportunity.)

In any event, concerns about political correctness such as it were are not at all limited to the feminist movement, but out of a general set of problems that current society has, which go across the board. Blaming such issues on the feminist movement seems in that regard to be deeply problematic.

That's not to say that the feminist movement as it exists today doesn't have serious problems, including serious issues regarding anti-science attitudes. Greta Christina has for example written about this.

In the case of Summers, I don't think that the problem was really with his citing such statistics, but rather his privileging the hypothesis that the issue was due to innate differences. This was in context, an especially silly claim, given that the relevant statistical issues exist primarily in the US and don't exist in Europe. I agree that making him apologize in that sort of context was probably unhelpful. But to term it as an evidence of severe issues running amok specifically linked to feminism? That seems like an extreme stretch. This is more of a problem connected to people overly apologizing for saying offensive things. As a society we demand that quite frequently, and it isn't helpful. But I see very little reason to think this has anything to do uniquely with feminism (see for example the recent groveling NBC had to do over the Pledge of Allegiance).

So the upshot is that there are problems with the feminist movement, but the overall pattern and set of problems is so one-sided at this point that the movement is a clear positive.

unassumingpseudonym said...

Hi. I think my first response is that I'm not sure I want to live in a society that is as technologically and scientifically advanced as can be, partly because I can think of a lot of things that are more important than technological advances, and I wouldn't want to sacrifice those things. I don't think technological advancement is the highest good. If we are technologically advanced but we spend no time or effort or care raising children, what kind of scientists will we create? We have limited resources, so we can't do everything. You yourself say it is a zero-sum game. Fewer scientists means fewer discoveries. More scientists means fewer people doing other things. Fewer artists, fewer mothers with fewer children, fewer religious leaders, fewer ethicists.

Second, maybe the reason you don't perceive a pendulum swing in the social pressure exerted on women is that you are part of it. You say you think "we should encourage women to pursue whatever professions, hobbies and occupations that they want and of which they are capable," but then you go on to say that every woman who does not become a scientist is effectively depriving the world of a chance at a scientific discovery, and you want as many scientific discoveries to happen as possible.

Basically, you've told me I can do what I want, but you've also told me there's clearly a preferred profession, and you've implied that if I choose to stay home and raise children, I've taken something from society.

If you admit that your feminism is self-interested, then I suppose I can't change your mind by asking you to care about the damage that your rhetoric does to me and other women like me who don't want to be scientists. Some of us spend too much of our lives feeling confused about our ambivalence towards careerism, guilty about our lack of ambition, embarrassed by our desire to be wives and mothers.

But, if you are at all interested in the possibility of cultural pendulum swings, I invite you to read these two entries on my own blog. It isn't much of a blog, but these entries link to two news stories that illustrate the "pendulum swing" I'm talking about.

http://farflungfancies.wordpress.com/2011/02/02/the-lady-doth-protest-too-much/

http://farflungfancies.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/any-mans-copy-cat/

I'm not saying women shouldn't be scientists. I am saying it is just as unhelpful at this point in history to tell women they should be scientists as it once was to tell them they shouldn't.

Ichabod Chrain said...

Chillingworth,
I recall that there were numerous reasons for Summers' resignation. The statement to which you refer was the tip of the iceberg.

On the same token, after the Nancy Hopkins incident (the MIT prof who swooned when she heard about what Summers had said, and made all the fuss) Summers was scheduled to be a guest speaker at an event of the Univ of California Board of Regents. The feminists complained and he was disinvited.

(BTW, I went to your blog for the first time today and will try to go more often. The blog you mentioned, Thinking Housewife, often has good posts. You might also want to look at Sofiastry.)

Joshua,
(I tried to provide links in my comments, but they didn't come out as links.)
The problem is not just with the feminists being responsible for modern sexual harassment guidelines, although that is its own problem.
The problem is that they're being responsible for the new guidelines, which impose a kangaroo court justice system. That's what I linked to in the FIRE article. It is not a minor problem for college students and faculty, especially when you get attitudes such as those represented in the OzConservative posts that I tried to link to, when you get people who experienced what David Schaer went through at Brandeis, and what the Duke lacrosse team experienced at Duke.

Joshua, your intentions might be good, but you sound like you've only looked at one aspect of the feminist movement. The feminist movement, by and large, is not what you've described. They are not your friends. The leadership consists of out and out Stalinists.

Joshua said...

unassuming,

I'm not asserting that people shouldn't do what they want. But is is very clear that their are many young girls who have the capability and skill to go into the sciences and don't because they are repeatedly told that girls don't have the skill or they female role models who can't do math, or the like. See e.g. prior discussion by me about the very interesting work by Sian Beilock on this subject: http://religionsetspolitics.blogspot.com/2010/02/math-anxiety-math-education-and-gender.html Personally, I've lost track of how many young girls I've taught or tutored who were good at math aside from self-confidence issues or peer pressure.

And no, not everything is a zero sum game. Fewer scientists does mean less science, but fewer scientists doesn't necessarily mean that parents will spend more time with their kids for example. In fact, people today have far more free time than people did a century or two centuries ago, and are much more likely to actually survive long enough to see their kids to adulthood.

As to the rest of your claims, if you are trying to make a pendulum claim, your blog entries are woefully lacking. The Wikipedia entry is lacking. Aside from the basic problem (arguing that the pendulum has swung too far for a 87/13 breakdown is at best extremely difficult), the entries in question make assumptions about what is female or "feminine" that have only existed in modern cultures. It seems pretty clear that people don't realize how much these vary from culture to culture and even within cultures from time to time. For example, in the early part of the 20th century, certain work in cataloging astronomical objects was done primarily by females because there was a belief that they could do painstaking, careful work for many hours (see discussion in Des Jardin's "The Marie Curie Complex"). That's almost the exact opposite of current stereotypes.

This whole situation is all the more emphasized by the difference in gender breakdowns in the sciences by country. Norther Europe has close to nothing encouraging women to go into the sciences, but in most of the sciences there are nearly 50/50 splits in all of them. This really is an American cultural thing more than anything more general. So your last claim requires massively more evidence than it has.


Ichabod,

Simply showing that on occasion people have been disinvited is deeply unhelpful. The sort of evidence you would need is something like showing that lots of capable males are not going into science. All you are giving are examples where politics was politics. The sexual harassment claim is similarly deeply unhelpful and is at most primarily an issue of implementational details.

As to the last line- Stalinists? Seriously? Last I checked, no one in the feminist movement of any form is either having people they don't like get shot or having them sent away to very cold, snowy climates. I would suggest that if one needs to call other people Stalinists one should question if one's claims are being based on rational behavior or rather having severe problems with the mindkilling nature of politics- http://lesswrong.com/lw/gw/politics_is_the_mindkiller/ .

Michael said...

Chillingworth, I just want to add one detail.

I join you in rejecting the label "feminist" to mean gender equality, while joining in on the general feel that equality is good and benefits us all.

What I disagree with is that feminism has swung to far, and needs to be pulled back.

Instead, rights to men need to be extended further to catch up. There is no golden age I wish to return to.

Ichabod Chrain said...

Joshua,
I can't understand why you're so vehement in your disagreement. I'm merely pointing some things out so that you don't get burned. It seems like you haven't looked at the articles I gave you the sites for.

Anyway, when I say Stalinism, I mean thought control. And yes quite a few are trying to lock men up. Just read up on the evidence of false rape claims, and what can happen to a man under the Violence Against Women's Act for things that no one would consider to be violent conduct.

As for homicidal feminists, they're out there: see http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/willheaven/100094875/meet-the-guardian-contributor-who-smiles-when-gap-year-travellers-are-killed/

You might also want to see this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCUM_Manifesto

Yeah, I know. They're the exceptions. But they're there.

unassumingpseudonym said...

To Joshua again,

This comes in two parts because I am about 1,000 characters over the limit. (Which officially makes me one of those obnoxious people on the internet who think they can have real conversations about anything in the comments section of a blog entry. Maybe it's a bad move, and I won't blame you if you don't read it.)

I'm sorry if I've been repetitive, I have to confess that I didn't read all the comments before my own (notably, I guess, the one Chillingworth wrote making embarrassingly many of the same points).

Allow me for a moment to have a meta-conversation and discuss how we are discussing the issue.

You appear to be a mathematician. I am not, and further, my blog entries were written to a particular audience (we all have an invented audience when we write): a friend of mine with whom I have had many discussions about feminism. She is an ethicist who cares deeply about real people and their stories. I am not surprised you are unpersuaded.

Neither of the articles I referred you to should be convincing in themselves. They are pieces of evidence, single points of data. I don't think I ever claimed they were anything more than that. I could compile more, but I just don't have the time. And no number of individual pieces of evidence are likely to convince you anyway, because you are looking for grand shifts in measurable characteristics of the whole population. (Setting aside for now the difficulty in making causative links between any such shifts and "feminism.")

I really love it when economists talk about things other than economics. They have a useful way of studying society because they never, ever discuss anything but facts and demonstrated behavior, concrete and measurable actions. The humanities are awfully squishy by comparison, but they are by no means useless.

Feminism is a complex phenomenon. I won't argue that it is necessarily beyond the ability of statistics to describe and analyze it, but I'm not sure that's the easiest or best way.

You aren't either. You cite young girls you work with as evidence that feminism (of one brand or another) is needed. I cite girls I know as evidence that feminism is harmful. You require statistical evidence of shifts in things like IQ to dissuade you of a conclusion you've reached through anecdotal evidence. If those little girls matter to you, I hope that other girls, even if you don't know them, also matter. I took feminism for granted until I saw how it had hurt me. If that it what it takes to get anyone to understand what I'm talking about, then my fight is in vain.

I think ethnography has value as a way of investigating the effects (and causes) of something like feminism. It can't get you to the same kinds of conclusions as math, but it ought to do something toward getting you to understand the perspectives of people other than yourself. Collections of individual stories can indicate cultural trends very clearly. It isn't "proof." But, unfortunately, we live in a world where very little can be said, proof positive, about social change and the human spirit.

to be continued...

unassumingpseudonym said...

Part two.

Substantively, I think you may have misunderstood the Wikipedia thing. the 87/13 split is not evidence of a pendulum swing. The fact that _we are surprised by it_ is evidence that our societal narrative is out of sync with what people are naturally inclined to like doing.

Social norms certainly vary from culture to culture, but not so much that we can't grasp something distinctive about females or males through all the ages. To find healthy societies run by women, we have to peer deep into the mists of prehistory and apply thick layers of interpretation to scant archeology. Or we look to extant matriarchal hunter-gatherer societies. Sociologist speculate that agriculture and division of labor in society were what brought about male-dominated societies. If the differences between the sexes were as trivial as the feminists argue, you'd think that practical androgyny (or matriarchy) would have survived farming. But humans, it seems, respond to situations not just as humans, but as females or males.

You say you don't want to argue that females and males are the same: they have different aptitudes based on their sex. They have (as a generalization, I mean) different characters, too. I'm not talking about particular activities like astrology or doing the dishes or even doing science. I'm talking about inclinations to one lifestyle or another. If doing the dishes is part of a woman's chosen life, then we shouldn't make her feel bad about it, we should celebrate it as its own kind of contribution to society. (Dishes feels like a strange example, but you catch my drift, right?)

On the one hand, we're talking about the merits of a society filled with scientists versus one filled with a variety of people, including stay-at-home mothers. Our views on that are not objective. We value different things and we probably define good societies differently.

My cousin-in-law is a neuroscientist, a researcher. He's wanted to teach, but as it turns out, his new plan is to take his PhD and run. He was offered a post-doc at Dartmouth, and he is turning it down! Why? He wants to be a father to his children and a husband to his wife instead of spending so much time in the lab that he sometimes doesn't see his kids for days at a time. He wants to stay in Ohio near elderly (and other) relatives. He's going to take his PhD in neurobiology and become a PA. In my book, he's made a good decision. I value family over scientific discovery. My cousin won't end up solving schizophrenia after all. And I'm OK with that. But more importantly for this discussion, he makes it clear that being a researcher in his field means sacrificing helping raise his children. If "zero-sum" is too strong, then lets say only, as Chillingworth did above, that there are "trade-offs." Undeniable tradeoffs.

The second thing we're arguing about may be easier to talk about because although it is also about competing values, they are the object of discussion not something already assumed. I say, women should be able to do what they want. And if we really think that, we should stop pressuring women into careers they don't want just because we think that's what they ought to want, or because we perceive differences between the sexes as bad.

Yes, I know, I've just given you more anecdotal evidence. You make call it "deeply unpersuasive" if you like. It isn't math, but that doesn't mean it isn't still useful data, especially for this subject.

Joshua said...

Ichabod,

Your claims are both extremely weak and don't actually address the claimed issue about the pendulum.

The issue with the Guardian writer has nothing to do with feminism, but rather British class issues. Thus, the writer says nothing about gender but rather referred to the kids being on a gap year and having "double-barreled surnames".

As to the SCUM manifesto, seriously? The example we're going to give is of a document written by a paranoid schizophrenic forty years ago?

And this is to show what exactly? That there are some people who are feminists who have some bad ideas? I'm still confused about how this is relevant to the claims being made that "pendulum has swung" (made by Chillingworth) or your claim that what I'm describing "isn't really what present day feminism is about". (I didn't know that forty years ago was present day.)

Michael, who commented on this post wrote a very worthwhile piece on a related issue. See http://www.younghipandconservative.com/2011/03/idiot-hunting.html

Michael said...

Well put Josh, SCUM manifesto is pure idiot hunting, and I'm a little embarrassed I didn't think to say that myself.

Joshua said...

unassuming, you've said a lot and some of your points are good. However, most of it has issues.

Regarding, data v. anecdotes, the suggested claim that feminism would cause an IQ drop was proposed by Chillingworth. In that context, that would be a claim that requires stats.

And if one does want stats in general, then it is important to note that many other countries have much higher percentages of female scientists. Some of those in Western Europe have less in the way of organized feminist movements. This strongly suggests that differing rates of scientists are not due to any intrinsic male/female difference but rather due to cultural elements.

Joshua said...

One last relevant point: The 87/13 example is actually a good example of the cultural issues in action: That's the ratio for the English language Wikipedia. Other languages have different ratios, some more and some less.

pornalysis said...

I can't fully agree with your premise here because it is sexist, and avoids discussion of kyriarchal power relationships.

Meanwhile, I replied to you over at ERV in regards to Tripoli, and the bogus corporate revolution there.

Joshua said...

I'm sorry, could you expand on that? What is that you find sexist? And kyriarchy is relevant in this context how?

pornalysis said...

Hi Josh. I stumbled across this again, and noticed that you replied.

Do you really want me to expand? O.k., here is part A.

Well: how to disagree with your sexism--if you can't see the inherent sexist position in statements that herald mystical qualities of one sex over or against another? For instance, your adherence to many of the same myths about women that some feminists disavow--for in your paradigm, enabling 'women' is a universal good--because it stereotypes women as a universal good.

We could go to the dictionary if you'd like to. One simple way to say it is 'favoritism' of one sex over another. The very same favoritism that would and does lead to great female scientists can also lead to--and provably has led to--negative stereotypes about boys, such as Greg Laden et al perpetuate.

But the real question is really simple: which type of feminism are you identifying with? There are soooo many these days, but the net effect is always a boys versus girls gender war, led by women who are sworn to hate men--not just one kind of man over another, or one human against another--men, in total.

That's where the sexism comes in--it is institutional, and a matter of ethics. Think Nazi brown shirts and Nazi black shirts. Obviously the guy on the street has his opinion about National Socialism too, but he took his orders from the SS, et al, after the Night of the Long Knives. Fascists of all stripes just love those 'mobilising titles' and ironically named events.

Josh: were there some good Nazi's? Were some Nazi's ultimately NOT guided by a larger anti-semitism? I don't know--I wasn't there--so why should I care, right?

Because the past is the best predictor of the future--and I call bullshit on polarizing "Us/Them" fascist movements anywhere. Hitler notably gave honors, and awarded medals to mothers just on the merits of giving birth. We are no different.

For instance, "Take Back the Night," is, on its face, a noble cause. But the net effect of the event is actually perpetuating stereotypes of men that do affect ALL men: men are rapists, murderers, pedophiles, creeps lurking on corners, and criminals.

pornalysis said...

B:
Also on it's surface is that women are always victims, and these events form alliances between police and women--to perpetuate images of men as criminals--even in their own homes.

Good men versus bad men. Nice idea--but a better idea? A truly feminist idea? Recognizing that women are criminals too, and that feminist criminology, and profiling of female deviance has taken a back seat to the lucrative Prison Industrial Complex based on the good/bad MEN paradigm, its tautology, and its adherents, because it is forbidden to discuss women as perpetrators and true collaborators.

So, instead of lurking around every corner, they are often right there at home--protected by the stereotypes, the law, and you.

Sexism prefers one sex over the other, and feeds on polarizing stereotypes. Equality--which you touch on up there, requires full examination of all privilege, not just one half of it.


Josh: "I think human males in general should self-identify as feminists. If we want to live in a society that is as technologically and scientifically advanced as can be, we must support feminism."

Josh, have you read much of what these women call for at their extremist ends, or the near eugenic intentions they have for men?

Their net effect is not to take out men in power--it is to incarcerate, kill, and victimize non-powerful men. This is also where kyriarchy becomes a more apt paradigm of dissection of the tautolog: it is why every time there is a high profile rape case, it is some woman on the left, going after another leftist--not a rightist.

pornalysis said...

C:

Josh: "By feminist I mean someone who supports identical rights for people regardless of gender. I also believe that we should encourage females to pursue whatever professions,"

This is where kyriarchy comes in Josh--because you brought it here. While I am an equalist, and a human being, and beileve as you do that women should not only be allowed (who is stopping them?) but encouraged.

But I do not believe that boys should be discouraged by the same stance.Kyriarchy recognizes the inherent submissive stance of promoting a sex( your argument, which is also an appeal to authority). I recognize the net effect of the dialectic space wherein this discussion takes place, and how discouraged equalist men are in that discussion.

Kyriarchy, from wikipedia:"describe[s] interconnected, interacting, and multiplicative systems of domination and submission, within which a person oppressed in one context might be privileged in another"

Josh, your admission into the ranks by adopting the label is itself a submission to an idea, if nothing else, but also, a submission to a huge range of ideas, a body of literature, an set of ideologies, and tautology that expressly takes the form and methodologically biased basis that 'men are in power' everywhere, while women in power are never in power, even when they are.

This 'feminist' paradigm gives us the impression that a crippled man in prison is more well endowed with male privilege than a crack prostitute on the street, and in so doing sets up a whole range of fallacies that we have to pick through to sort it all out.


Meanwhile, some female 'social scientist'--from your own paradigm is making money off of book sales and teaching classes about how all men have power because patriarchy benefits all men.

Does that make sense to you? In simple terms, in the analogy above, you have a machine with three parts: the crippled prisoner, the female drug addict, and the feminist professor. In order for her machine to work, and any benefit derived is the proof of that machine working, which component of the system is most useless, has the least social value, and is a broken component?

I will leave that to you to figure out, and if you want to we can discuss it.

Aw, hell, I can't wait: the crippled guy in prison has less than 0 power, because in the feminist paradigm, he must have done something to himself to cause his own imprisonment. Victim blaming? Sure, but he is a male victim, and, because he isn't in a position of power to speak for himself, much less declare that he is a feminist ally, less than useless for making the machine run effectively, and sell that professors books.

Never mind what power differentials caused his imprisonment--in the patriarchy paradigm, all faults are the faults of men; all victims the victims of men, even when they are not. How convenient--never mind the women who derive direct benefit from the imprisonment of men.

pornalysis said...

D:

Kyriarchy recognizes the feminist professors power, and also recognizes your submission to it. The crack hooker? There are entire social services safety networks and a whole 'women as victims' side-industry to take care of her, and 'keep her out of trouble.'


Josh, you also said "it is clear that stereotypes about females negatively impact on everyone."

and:

"How many women have become housewives or secretaries who might otherwise have been the next Barbara McClintock or Emmy Noether but for the fact that they were mistreated and told that math and science were for men"

Did it ever occur to you that many if not all men are directly harmed by similar stereotypes? How many men never became scientists because they were taught false narratives like " men are the protectors of women," and " men should learn parenting skills," and men are naturally this way or that, etc, etc.

Not all men want anything at all to do with those narratives--but they sure do affect men--many of whom march off to war, or find themselves in prison, or driving trucks with bleeding hemorrhoids and no medical care just to pay child support, after the confusion of hierarchical narratives that is inevitable collides with reality.

Josh:"I have trouble keeping count how many friends and relatives I've lost due to cancer and other illnesses. How many of them would still be alive today if the right little girl hadn't been told that she couldn't do math or that science was for the boys"

Condolences--I lost my Grandfather to cancer too. It started in his liver. He was a merchant seaman in WW2 and used to wash motors with raw benzine, and methyl ethyl chloride and so forth, because he had a family to feed, and a Nation that demanded and conscripted his efforts in wartime because he was engendered male. That is a recipe for cancer if I ever saw one. It is also how much of science is directed at men, specifically, by the MIC.

So, your core belief is that women would have saved you from that pain? Aside from the sexism of that belief, let me ask you: have you lost any relatives to prostate cancer? Have you seen how 'feminism' promotes pink ribbons for breast cancer, but does NOT promote blue ribbons for prostate cancer? Have you ever brought that up to a f3eminist ally--and noted how quickly you are labeled an "MRA"?

Not only is that kyriarchy in action, but it is sexist and NOT egalitarian on it's face.

And no matter how much one can beat around the bush of these two cancers, in the end? Guess what? BIG SURPRISE: the discrepancy between them is the fault of the cancer victim--not social constructs or feminist tautology which perpetuate negative images of men. Women as purely victims never quite addresses women as responsible does it? They are always "chattel," never part or parcel to the whole deal of the feminist utopia.

So how do you explain Barak and Hilly waging war in Libya? Oh, right: they are trapped in patriachal systems of control--forever.They couldn't make choices.

Here's a link from one resource on cancer :http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/80165/the_great_dichotomy_breast_cancer_versus_pg2.html?cat=5

Note all the statistics, but especially note that it starts with an appeal to women(like claiming the label of feminism--again, an appeal to authority) by citing stats of women 'succumbing' at such and such rates. Even issues that affect men are prefaced with feminist victim tautology.

We only get to the fact that 1 of six men gets cancer A while 1 of 8 women get cancer B after the appeal to authority.

pornalysis said...

D:
And here is the real meat of the issue, the centerpiece of all sexism that negatively affects men: "Part of the fault lies with men, who need to be more vocal about their health concerns. Men often don't like to think about their health problems, let alone discuss them."

Blame the victim, or eugenic social policy? I don't know, but there you go. Cancer is your fault, because you are male. How's that bullshit sit with you?

I know it's sitting 6 feet under for my grampa, while grandma outlived him by four decades.

Joshua said...

I have trouble understanding much of what you wrote.

if you can't see the inherent sexist position in statements that herald mystical qualities of one sex over or against another?

I don't need to think that women are better than men or have some mystical quality to think that there are females not going into science who could do well in it.

which type of feminism are you identifying with?

Nowhere in this post did I identify with kth wave feminism for some k or anything else. I gave in the post a definition of what I meant.


Sexism prefers one sex over the other, and feeds on polarizing stereotypes. Equality--which you touch on up there, requires full examination of all privilege, not just one half of it.


I'd grant that equality might require that. And I'd grant that there are imbalances in some ways that in some cases favor females over males (custody disputes in some jurisdictions are an example). But reread my post. I'm a selfish prick so I won't be that worked up from inequality that doesn't impact me. Even if I am worked up that doesn't make me not a feminist.

I'm not sure what point you are trying to make about Nazis other than further Godwinning the thread. I don't follow how an anti-rape rally is akin to genocide.

I don't understand your point about criminal behavior. Are you claiming that there's a major part of the mainstream modern feminist movement that claims that all men are violent criminals (note difference between "all" "a lot" and "way too many") ? I'd be curious to see examples.

he was a merchant seaman in WW2 and used to wash motors with raw benzine... because he was engendered male... It is also how much of science is directed at men, specifically, by the MIC.

Is this an argument against a draft or is this an argument that the draft should target everyone? Why does it matter in this context?Are you claiming that I can't be a feminist and support a general draft?

Did it ever occur to you that many if not all men are directly harmed by similar stereotypes? How many men never became scientists because they were taught false narratives like " men are the protectors of women," and " men should learn parenting skills," and men are naturally this way or that

There's no question that there are lots of harmful stereotypes out there and that some are harmful to males (although I have to think that the set of guys who didn't become scientists because they were told to learn parenting skills is probably tiny). Did I say that the only unfortunate stereotypes have to do with women?

I have no idea what you are trying to say in the rest of your comment with the 7:11 PM timestamp. Obama and Hillary have what to do with cancer rates and feminism?

Aside from the sexism of that belief, let me ask you: have you lost any relatives to prostate cancer? Have you seen how 'feminism' promotes pink ribbons for breast cancer, but does NOT promote blue ribbons for prostate cancer?

Is there something wrong with people focusing on curing one disease? Is there something wrong with a race-for-the-cure for cancer if none of the money goes to dealing with heart disease? If not, what's the difference here? One can make an argument that focused on the marginal return rate of research into specific diseases but you don't seem to be trying that so I'm not sure what you're arguing.

Joshua said...

The quote you give from the linked article is accurate. This isn't a blame the victim issue but a social problem. Males in the US are less willing to go to doctors about things that are worrying them than females and are less likely to join organizations for people who have specific diseases or are survivors.

As to the the difference in lifespans between your grandparents: in almost all societies female humans have a longer lifespan than human males. That's due primarily to genetic factors. Some people get unlucky and get diseases. Your grandpa's cancer forty years ago doesn't say much. But if some housewife fifty years ago had become a doctor, maybe he'd be alive today.

pornalysis said...

Response A: argument um ad absurd um.

Josh, I guess I stepped into one of those dialogues that is like talking to a creationist. Dogma gets in the way of communication "I am a feminist, so you are wrong, because I am a feminist."

Yikes.

Josh, I don't think you really wanted me to elaborate, which is why I started my elaboration with "do you really want me to expand?"

And while it is understandable that you might not get what I am saying on cursory analysis, you might actually try reading what I wrote. But your dismissal is rather disingenuous, or naive.

So, I will go slow, and use as few and as simple words and concepts as possible. Would that help?

First, you are dead wrong about women outliving men in 'most' cultures'. Dead wrong. That's only true in western 'democracies' and so forth. Chivalry kills men. You can look it up, or ask one of your scientist buddies.

Second, here is a good series nof feminist generalizing quotes about men that make men look like they are all rapists and deviant sex criminals:

"All men are rapists and that's all they are."
Marilyn French, Author; (later, advisor to Al Gore's Presidential Campaign.)

Did that make the point?

How about this one: "All sex, even consensual sex between a married couple, is an act of violence perpetrated against a woman."
Catherine MacKinnon

Here is a great one, blaming male victims of false rape allegations:

"Men who are unjustly accused of rape can sometimes gain from the experience."
Catherine Comin, Vassar College. Assistant Dean of Students.

'To call a man an animal is to flatter him; he's a machine, a walking dildo."
Scum Manifesto. (Valerie Solanas)

"I feel that 'man-hating' is an honorable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them."
Robin Morgan, Ms. Magazine Editor.

pornalysis said...

Part B: In light of the quotes above, I will preempt the usual minimization of the impact of those quotes: these quotes are from the founding mothers of feminism.This mindset permeates every law enacted since that time that demonizes men, and male sexuality.

The tie-in and clear connection is the doubling of the prison system in the last 2.5 decades.(Democrats like John Edwards, et al were and are financially invested in the Prison Corporation of America)

Josh "I have trouble understanding much of what you wrote."

Well ask for clarification then. That's what dialogue is about.

Josh "This isn't a blame the victim issue but a social problem. Males in the US are less willing to go to doctors about things"

Oh, really? You're kidding right?

Then let's rephrase the point from that article " sure women get raped more often, but it's partly their own fault for walking outside at night."

Or: " Sure, women get breast cancer, but it's partly them to blame because they wear underwire bras around power lines," and so forth.

Yes--men are strong silent types aren't they? Willing to face death, even if it means not going to the doctor.

Or is there something deeper? Maybe they have a "death wish" or they "don't trust them there high falutin' types'?

All the encouraged social stereotypes apply to men not seeking help: social disapproval of male 'weakness', or male 'virility,'challenges; or maybe, because:

"Men, as a group, tend to be abusive, either verbally, sexually or emotionally"
Message on FEMISA, responding to a request for arguments that men are unnecessary for a child to grow into mature adulthood

And, because all men are abusive, they also abuse themselves?

But the bottom line is a challenge for you: find anywhere in your avowed feminism where men are NOT blamed for their 'own' troubles.

pornalysis said...

Part C: Before I go and put my foot fully in my mouth, I must say that I mis-spoke(out my ass) up there about death rates, and women outliving men. Forgive me or not.

What I intended to say is that women's longer life spans are indicative of the the simple fact that quality of life for women in all societies, and especially in western democracies, is just above that of men--for whatever reason. Men from especially brutal societies suffer especially brutal conditions.

Josh, I have no idea how to reply to your query about my post "with a 7:11 time stamp." I can't see the time stamp from where I am replying to you.

Now, in regards to Godwinning, I must note that this isn't a long thread, a requirement for Godwinning to take effect. Abbies Smith at ERV has long threads--2000 plus posts.

However, I want to point out exactly why a comparison to Hitler is not only appropriate here, but crucial to your understanding of the issue, and not a Godwin at all.

And I make that comparison at the BEGINNING of the dialogue--it is not an absolute analogy, but an accurate comparison.

And does it occur to you that the exact 'takeaway' that a fascist might want you to leave with is that any and all comparisons to Nazi's are inappropriate and insufficient? Classic disinformation technique.

Yet in order to discuss that connection we both must have some awareness of the propaganda techniques that were employed by Goebbels, fascists, feminists, and other nationalistic movements of police state populism.

But even then I am certain you will dispute the connection, so before I go all research crazy just to prove the point, maybe you can tell me if you are at all familiar with 'collectivized femininity' as a fascist construct?

But here, straight out of Wikipedia we have Nazi's using women as 'spiritual mothers' who speak for all:

"The first way that this ideal was created was through the construction of spiritual motherhood in Nazi propaganda. German women who were not able to have children were encouraged, through propaganda, to participate in spiritual, rather than physical, maternity by doing womanly work. Their contributions to the war came in the form of mothering German society.[273] Spiritual maternity allowed all women to fulfill their most important duty as caregivers"

Feminism occupies that similar cultural space here, too. I am not saying it is identical, but I am saying it is the post-modernized version of it.

You have adopted feminism as your own ideal[ised]representative of a universal, unassailable morality.

pornalysis said...

Lastly, re: "Is this an argument against a draft or is this an argument that the draft should target everyone? Why does it matter in this context?Are you claiming that I can't be a feminist and support a general draft?"

The draft is a side issue, and I won't even call it a straw man, because it applies here too--it is one where women have always had special privileges.

What I was saying is, here is my grandfather, who died of cancer because, engendered male, he was put at special risk for special cancer by the US government like a lab rat. Many soldiers are lab rats--syphillis, typhoid, cancer, agent orange, and the current issue is depleted uranium exposure.

The compounds and substances that he was exposed to were chemical experiments, or just sloppy science not protecting men's lives.And being Ukrainian, he had one of the lowest life expectancies anywhere, anyways--just above the Africans in the heirarchy of early death.

As I am sure you are aware from your time on sciblogs,discussing men's health is taboo, and to even bring the topic up gets you labeled as crazy. How DARE YOU CARE ABOUT MENS HEALTH!? MRA! Troll! And all the other ad himinems.

[ ad himinems, re, franc hoggle http://greylining.wordpress.com/2011/07/24/our-dynamic-and-expanding-vernacular-thanks-becky/ ]

So, yes, in a small way, adding to discussion about curing one form of cancer does indeed minimize and undermine research of another cancer. But that is by design as well, because each male voice that directs its attention at female causes is one less male voice speaking for true equality--as you know women's issues are endless, and always 'worse' than men's.

Or, I couldn't have said it any better than this below( I wonder what stereotype you are applying to yourself here...?)

Josh: "I'm a selfish prick so I won't be that worked up from inequality that doesn't impact me. Even if I am worked up that doesn't make me not a feminist."

Nope, it makes you a very fat,willing, delectable, chunk of chivalrous cannon fodder; a worthy feminist ally for sure. A 100% feminist man.

Guys are either too lazy, too selfish or too stupid to realize how important their own health is--but wag a vagina or a roomful of them in front of any guy, and voila! Instant feminist with pink ribbon attached...not that there's anything wrong with wearing pink...is there?

Unless it's a triangle...

Aadada said...

I very much like it :)

Ichabod Chrain said...

Scum manifesto, seriously? I came across this a few days ago and thought you might be interested. The SCUM manifesto is going strong in Sweden and at RadFemHub This from 12/21/11:
http://www.avoiceformen.com/feminism/scum-manifested/:

"The next generation of misandrists is already here. These are women like Sharon Osborne and the other women of “The Talk” who joked on national television when Catherine Becker sexually mutilated her husband after drugging him. They are the gender feminists of Sweden who open state-sponsored schools that portend to teach equality by emphasizing homosexual relationships and nearly excluding heteronormative relationships from the curriculum. They are the Swedish members of SCUM who produce videos depicting the brutal and senseless murder of men, then call upon women to “do their part.” They are Swedish feminists such as Ireen von Wachenfeldt, chairwomen of the National Organization for Women’s Shelters who have professed adherence to the SCUM Manifesto as have other prominent Swedish government officials such as former Minister of Gender Equality Margareta Winberg, and Professor Eva Lungren. Wachenfeldt publically stated “‘All men are animals…All men are emotional parasites… The male of the species is a biological disaster… To call a man an animal is to pay him a compliment.” They are the women of RadFemHub; Danielle Pynnonen, Kat Pinder, Isabelle Moreira, Mary Syrett, Julie LeComte, Lorraine Allen, Laila Namdarkhan, Pam O’Shaughnesey who are authors, teachers, childcare workers, and government officials from around the globe plotting and planning the destruction of the male sex via eugenics, murder, selective abortion, etc."