Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Response to a semi-reasonable feminist

Today, a (more reasonable than typical) feminist in a comment thread on YouTube asked me what I think of this article. My response is simply too long to relegate to a comment thread, so I'm putting it here.

So without further ado, let's get stuck into it:

1) "Women's integration in the workforce after World War II translated into massive macroeconomic gains. Given that ladies make up approximately half of the workforce, their integration had huge positive ripple effects in all industries. And we shouldn't stop there: Incorporating even more women in the workforce can help keep our economy vibrant."

Post WWII, women's wages began to steadily rise relative to men's, while men's wages in adjusted dollars stagnated or fell relative to what they had previously been. Housing prices increased, inflation went through the roof, and worst of all, the tax burden on individuals and families has gone up year by year. Personal consumer debt has also steadily increased, and most of that increase has been debt owing on depreciable assets (furniture, cars and even groceries--not houses or business loans). 

I see that the study linked discusses these "gains" in terms of raw GDP, rather than adjusted GDP. The raw GDP does not take into account the economic health of individuals or families, but rather the overall productivity of economies. Progressives have made much of the increasing gap between the very rich and everyone else in the US and elsewhere, and the emergence of a new oligarchy (think The 1%). Yet none of them seem able to grasp what doubling the available labor pool might have done to drive up competition for jobs, drive wages downward, and simultaneously inflate people's reliance on consumer goods and services (such as day care and fast food) provided by the very corporations that are paying workers less in adjusted wages than ever. 

To these types of bean counters, the poisonous, rotten beans are worth as much as the healthy, nutritious ones. Considering that every car accident, every diagnosis of cancer, every divorce, every war and every prison built and staffed to house a growing number of criminals boosts the GDP, increasing numbers of economists are starting to realize that GDP in isolation cannot be used as an indicator of economic prosperity. Every woman on WIC boosts the GDP. Every new layer of bureaucracy constructed to separate working people from their money boosts the GDP. Heck, I'm sure the "GDP" of the average cotton plantation in the 1820s was pretty healthy, but that doesn't mean the majority of its "citizens" were in a good place, does it?

It's called the "broken window fallacy". Google it.

Women's increased participation in the workforce has brought economic "gains". But gains for whom? For families? Is the average, working class family better off now than in 1950? Do they have less debt? Do they enjoy more leisure time? 

So how, exactly, has this state of affairs economically affected individual men? Other than driving their wages down, while increasing their reliance on consumer goods and services, and their tax burden, that is? 

And no, I'm not arguing that women should not have every right to work. Nor am I advocating a return to the "good old days". But idiots using the raw GDP to paint a rosy picture about women and work that seems WAY too easily swallowed by the very same people who most object to the ever-growing gap between the rich and the poor... well, that beggars belief. And lets not forget about the legions of poor women, many of them women of color, many of them easily exploitable foreign workers, who often work for less than minimum wage looking after the houses and children of those luckier, educated women who have "benefitted" from feminism. 

More than this, polls have shown that about 2/3 of working women would rather work less than more, and a large number wouldn't work at all if they had a choice. But many don't have that choice. In fact, the ones least likely to have that choice are the ones furthest removed from the experience of the ivory tower academics who write these studies and influence public policy. The reason these women often feel that way is because they don't have careers. They have jobs. They went from making sandwiches at home for people they love to making sandwiches at Subway for chump change and never seeing their families because 99% of working class people now need two incomes just to get by.

Well done, feminism!

2) It's a well-known fact that women highly respect a guy who's willing to do his share around the house. Judging by the number of gawk-worthy "porn for women" slideshows, ladies are turned on when their partners reveal a little more of their domestic side. But what about men? What do they stand to gain? 

It's a well-known fact that women SAY they highly respect a guy who's willing to do his share around the house, and that they're turned on by men who do the dishes.

Unfortunately, research reveals otherwise. Research also reveals that economically egalitarian marriages, even in highly egalitarian societies, have a higher rate of divorce. About 2/3 of divorces across the board, from Sweden to Iran, are initiated by women. 

Whether feminist women are better in bed, well, it's entirely likely that they are. But a sample size of less than 600 isn't anything conclusive, and there's no indication in the Science Daily article regarding response rates or margins of error (or even effect size). 

They found that having a feminist partner was linked to healthier heterosexual relationships for women.  Men with feminist partners also reported both more stable relationships and greater sexual satisfaction. According to these results, feminism does not predict poor romantic relationships, in fact quite the opposite.
How much healthier and more stable? How much greater satisfaction? How much the opposite? 2%? 50%? 200%? What was the feminist status of each couple as a whole? Was it more likely that either both partners were feminist, or both not? Because that might have a lot to do with relationship stability, no? What other variables were controlled for? Unfortunately, if a person wants to find out any of that, they have to fork over some cash...

I have read some hideous reports in the mainstream media regarding the "findings" of feminist advocacy researchers. Here's a criticism of a recent one that was all over the news, reported by people who hadn't even read it as if it was the final word on the subject.

3) In 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional to treat women and men differently under the law. The case, Craig v. Boren, was filled by a plaintiff in Oklahoma over its gender-specific drinking age policy, which prohibited men from drinking before age 21, but allowed women to drink when as young as 18. This implied that men are inherently more reckless and women are more responsible. After the law was struck down, the drinking age became 21 for all. According to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the ruling determined much more than just Oklahoma's drinking age. It determined that the "familiar stereotype: the active boy, aggressive and assertive; the passive girl, docile and submissive" was "not fit to be written into law." So the next time you're drinking, raise a glass in honor of RBG.

Did the law lower the drinking age for men? Nope. It raised it for women, as having a different drinking age for men and women violated equal treatment under the constitution. So no, this decision did nothing to counter the idea that men are inherently reckless. It could be argued that the decision might have enshrined in law that women are equally as reckless as men, but only a decision to lower the male drinking age to 18 would have been an assertion that men are not reckless.

More than this, it's altogether possible that at that time, in the context of a culture like that in Oklahoma, young women WERE more socially responsible, on average, than young men, at least regarding certain harmful or dangerous behaviors, in part due to the enculturation of gender roles. 

It might also interest you to know that the average age of onset of puberty has historically been measured in terms of average age of menarche in girls, and the average age of a notable spike in injuries in boys. While testosterone does not promote aggression (a once-commonly accepted correlation that has been quite thoroughly been debunked), it does correlate with a decreased aversion to risk. Given that testosterone spikes during puberty, and young men enter a phase of their lives when they hurt themselves plenty without adding in booze, and that boys both enter and finish this phase later than girls on average... well, it seems to me that different drinking ages (and driving ages) might make a certain sense. 

Insurance companies are fully aware that young men present the highest liability when it comes to insuring drivers (which is why they pay more than any other class of people). Some of this will be due to culture, and some to biology. It seems clear to me that Oklahoma wasn't willing to bet the farm on the idea that 18 year old boys with driver's licenses were responsible enough to drink alcohol, so no, it didn't really change society's view of men one iota. 

While I would call the decision fair and egalitarian, I can't argue that it benefitted males. And if a legal precedent that changed absolutely nothing for males, and that in the provided link doesn't even hint that said case was pursued by a feminist man or a feminist attorney, is the best this article can come up with as far as helping men in the legal sense, well...

A better example of an actual self-identified feminist, who actually headed the National Organization for Women at one time, who has actively pursued the equal rights of men under the law, would be Karen Decrow. She actually won a case of paternal responsibility on behalf of a defendant who claimed the woman intentionally went off birth control and got pregnant against his express wishes. She won her case on the argument that women making unilateral reproductive decisions should not expect men to finance those unilateral decisions. The decision was overturned on appeal, and the dude got stuck with child support.

I will take a single Karen Decrow, even though she ultimately failed, over 1000 Craig v. Borens any day. 

4) Over the course of their lengthy legal careers, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her husband joined forces only once, to advocate for single men. The case, Moritz v. Commissioner, challenged the fact that not all men could request dependent care deductions. Although tax deductions were given to women, widowers and divorced men, single males slipped through the cracks. Ending this discriminatory policy was one of Ginsburg's many victories using the 14th Amendment to end the enshrinement of gender discrimination into law.

Amazing. A law that was enshrined by feminists to protect women was actually exploited by a feminist to help men. It's like finding a unicorn. 

Although the following might have something to do with Ginsburg's decision to take on the case:

The taxpayer, Charles E. Moritz, appeals from a decision of the Tax Court holding that he was not entitled to a deduction for expenses in 1968 for the care of his dependent invalid mother. [emphasis mine]

Helping Moritz directly benefitted his dependent invalid mother. Helping this man helped a woman, and a particularly vulnerable one who was entirely dependent on him, at that...

I have challenged feminists in the past to show me a single advocacy effort on the part of feminists to not only advocate for the rights or liberties of men, but to do so within a context where such advocacy doesn't just not benefit women, but actually disadvantages them relative to their current status.

That is, don't show me a feminist who lobbies against male circumcision, because a world of intact men doesn't change one thing for women (other than making their sex lives better and causing Astroglide's quarterly profits to plummet). Show me a sincere effort toward fairness and equity that actually hits women right where it hurts--in their privilege.

Karen Decrow, who does not appear in your Mic article, would be one such feminist, who at least tried to advocate a concept of justice for men that didn't amount to, "well, okay, but only if it also benefits women, or at least doesn't actually harm them." 

5) Last time I checked, men enjoy sex, and many of them enjoy having sex with women. The sexual revolution affected women as well as men: It gave women the ability to pursue sexual activities much more freely, which naturally altered sexual dynamics in this country.

Of course it altered the sexual dynamics in the country. It essentially ended the association of marriage (you know, long term monogamy) and access to sex. What most feminists don't seem to realize is that this has indeed been a boon (at least in the short term) for women, and for the most attractive 20% or so of men, but for the average man, sex (at least outside of marriage) didn't become that much easier to come by than it was 70 years ago. 

Being a slut is still easy, and being a stud is still about as difficult as it ever was. 

On online dating sites, women still receive many more initial messages than men do, and women have some seriously high standards as to what kind of men they consider datable and fuckable. Unrealistically high standards, considering they deem 80% of men as "below average".

On the other hand, feminist lobbyists, organizations and groups have turned attempting to get sex into a veritable minefield for men. Groups like Hollaback have redefined "good morning" and "have a nice evening" as "street harassment" (at least when such sentiments are made by minority unattractive men). Campus feminists and powerful women such as Russlyn Ali and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand have helped eliminate due process and reverse burden of proof in sexual misconduct cases on campuses so booze-soaked that it's likely huge numbers of both women and men who engage in sex have little to no memory of what happened, and when research shows that across the board, women are twice as likely as men to describe their experiences of casual sex as negative. At some universities now, sexual misconduct policies regarding consent lie in direct conflict with policies on harassment--that is, men must obtain verbal consent for sex in order to avoid a misconduct charge, but even asking for consent can qualify as sexual harassment, based entirely on the woman's level of internal reciprocity. 

And further:

And birth control is not just about sex: It's also about reproductive control. Most men enjoy determining the spacing of each child.
Dash certainly does. "I've been able to make smarter, more thoughtful decisions about how to time my career, my being a parent and my other obligations because of the flexibility and freedom afforded to me by having easy access to birth control," he said. "It let me hold off on becoming a dad until I had gotten closer to being a man worthy of being one."
Birth control is exactly that. It's not birth prevention, it's birth control. And it is largely in women's hands. In fact, the sole non-permanent means of birth control at men's disposal is one that's been around since the 1800s. And, incidentally, one which feminists of the day actively attempted to keep OUT of the hands of men.

Dash is living at the mercy of his partner. It is not he who gets to choose how to space his children--that is entirely up to his partner and her many, many invisible options regarding contraception. Options that he not only cannot see with his own eyes to determine she's using them properly, but which he has no legal right to confirm through other means (such as asking her doctor) that she is using at all. A man cannot prevent himself from being fertile. He can prevent himself from impregnating a woman ONLY if he insists on using a condom and spermicide every single time he has sex (and even then, it's no guarantee, as condoms are one of the least effective forms of birth control of all).

Since women gained access to contraception and abortion, and men began to be held financially accountable for illegitimate children, the rate of "accidental" pregnancy and out of wedlock birth has only increased. Hmmm....

So, women have over 20 different ways to control their own fertility. Men have abstinence, condoms and trust. 

And if you're going to chastise me for suggesting women can't be trusted with this, I'll direct you here. Because women can't be trusted with this.

6) Although the burdens of pregnancy and childbirth biologically fall on women, men bear the consequences of children too. Because the expansion of reproductive rights affects their personal lives, they are a central part of the conversation. Anil Dash believes that liberating women ultimately gives men more freedom.
Really? Dash can insist his wife get an abortion, if she wants the baby and he doesn't? Dash can insist his wife bring the pregnancy to term, if he wants the baby and she doesn't?

No? So how does abortion make Dash more liberated? How does abortion give Dash more choices?

How about this. Can Dash, if he doesn't want the child and his wife does... can he say, "well, I didn't want or agree to have this baby, so I shouldn't be held financially responsible for it"?

No? Then how does the right of a woman to choose or not choose motherhood increase a man's rights or choices regarding the burdens of parenthood. Whatever her decision is, he is forced to, in the words of Nathaniel from Last of the Mohicans, "live by another's leave." Living by another's leave is not freedom.

I'm pro choice. But I'm pro choice for everyone, and like Karen Decrow, I do not believe men should be held financially responsible for decisions only women have any right to make.

Choice for women only "liberates" the men who would have made the same choice as the woman. 

7) Did you know that until recently, the FBI's definition of rape was as old-fashioned as the horse and buggy? That is, until feminist activists decided to change that. Thanks to the "Rape Is Rape" campaign launched by the Feminist Majority Foundation and Ms. magazine, more than 160,000 emails were sent to the FBI pressuring it to change its archaic definition of rape. The old definition, "carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will," hadn't been changed since 1921. It meant that many types of sexual assaults, including the rape of men, weren't counted as part of the bureau's annual Uniform Crime Report.

The vast majority of feminists seem to believe rape is almost entirely male perpetrated, and that male victims outside of prison are few and far between. 

The old definition of rape pertained only to forcible penetration of a vagina with a penis. It did not apply to penetration with objects, or oral or anal penetration of women. I can very much see why the old definition is inadequate. But this does not mean that feminists pushing for these changes intended them to include the largest cohort of male victims outside of prison--male victims of female perpetrators. After all, most feminists don't seem to think such victims are remotely common. Look at their poster campaigns.

Very inclusive to male victims... of male perpetrators. No mention of the approximately 20% of college aged men who report they've been forced or coerced into unwanted sexual intercourse by a woman.


No depiction of the 15-40% of women who have self-reported having engaged in sexual aggression to get sex from an unwilling man.


And don't even get me started on feminist Mary P Koss, who consulted on the definitions for the CDC's National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, and who says this:

We acknowledge the inappropriateness of female verbal coercion and the legitimacy of male perceptions that they have had unwanted sex. Although men may sometimes sexually penetrate women when ambivalent about their own desires [emphasis mine], these acts fail to meet legal definitions of rape that are based on penetration of the body of the victim....
...We worked diligently to develop item wording that captured men’s sense of pressure to have sex and draw their responses into an appropriate category of coercion instead of to rape items. 

This feminist works for the CDC. She is responsible for helping to conceal millions of male victims of rape, and millions of female perpetrators, each year.

The wording of the new FBI definition is ambiguous enough that it is unclear from a straight reading whether male victims who were forced to penetrate female perpetrators are included. In fact, a colleague of mine wrote repeated emails for months asking for confirmation as to whether the definition did include such situations before finally receiving a response that yes it does, but perhaps, given the ambiguity, there needs to be some outreach to police organizations in order to make it clearer to them that yes, a man being "made to penetrate" counts as rape. My suspicion is that the question didn't really occur to them until it was asked, and that's why it took so long for them to answer it.

One thing the new definition DOES do, unambiguously, is classify a metric shit-ton of things that didn't used to be considered rape as rape. Picture two inexperienced teenagers getting hot and heavy, and the guy tries to round third base. The tip of his finger penetrates her vagina for just a moment, before she tells him she's not ready to go that far. Within nanoseconds, he backs off and apologizes, but it's too late. He's technically a rapist under the new FBI definition. 

Now you might think that feminists really were interested in including male victims of the most common form of rape outside of prison--men raped by women. But given Koss's assertions, and given the standard feminist claim that nearly all rapes are committed by men, and given the CDC's response as outlined here (which amounts to "but it's just different"), I highly doubt that the intentions of feminists were to help the majority of sexually assaulted men.

For clarification, this was their argument in large part:

To explain, in NISVS we define rape as “any completed or attempted unwanted vaginal (for women), oral, or anal penetration through the use of physical force (such as being pinned or held down, or by the use of violence) or threats to physically harm and includes times when the victim was drunk, high, drugged, or passed out and unable to consent.”We defined sexual violence other than rape to include being made to penetrate someone else, sexual coercion, unwanted sexual contact, and non-contact unwanted sexual experiences.

Made to penetrate is defined as including “times when the victim was made to, or there was an attempt to make them, sexually penetrate someone without the victim’s consent because the victim was physically forced (such as being pinned or held down, or by the use of violence) or threatened with physical harm, or when the victim was drunk, high, drugged, or passed out and unable to consent.”

The difference between “rape” and “being made to penetrate” is that in the definition of rape the victim is penetrated; “made to penetrate” by definition refers to cases where the victim penetrated someone else.

While there are multiple definitions of rape and sexual violence used in the field, CDC, with the help of experts in the field, has developed these specific definitions of rape and other forms of sexual violence (such as made to penetrate, sexual coercion, unwanted sexual contact, and non-contact unwanted sexual experiences). We use these definitions to help guide our analytical decisions.

In other words, people can't assert that men are raped by women nearly as frequently as women are raped by men because we decided to call someone forcing a woman into sexual intercourse rape and someone forcing a man into sexual intercourse something other than rape. See? It all makes perfect sense!

There are other issues with the math used to attempt to estimate the percentage of perpetrators that are female--the primary one being that the CDC declined to reveal the gender of the perpetrator for any of the previous-year stats. They claimed it is inappropriate to combine the previous year numbers of male victims with the lifetime data on perpetrator gender, and I agree. I agree because all available evidence on the psychology of male victims of sexual abuse indicates the percentage of female perpetrators reported would be much higher over the prior 12 months than over a lifetime.

I'll leave it up to others to see if they can't wrestle that particular bit of information out of the CDC.

Now I'm going to bring your attention to Murray Straus. He's the first researcher to ask the same questions of both men and women on a domestic violence survey in the US (and hence the first researcher to find gender symmetry in domestic violence). When asked why he performed that study, he claimed that at the time he was a feminist. He believed in the "patriarchal terrorism" or Duluth model of domestic violence--you know. The feminist model. When people raised questions about his previous research, that had asked women only about their victimization and men only about their perpetration, he took up the challenge. He says that at the time, he believed it would be a slam dunk for "patriarchal terrorism". He was fully confident his findings would remain the same. He believed wholeheartedly that he would find, as before, that men hit women and women only ever hit in self defence. 

Of course, what he discovered was something entirely different, and he has made it a mission to change attitudes toward domestic violence treatment and prevention based on those findings.

Feminists also have a model regarding rape culture and sexual violence. As evidenced by those poster campaigns, it is a model based on male sexual aggression. Every feminist I have spoken to has reacted with incredulity and extreme resistance to the idea that women are just as capable of sexual aggression and coercion as men, and at similar rates of prevalence. 

Basically, what I'm saying is, what is the purpose of the feminist push to change the definition? As far as I can tell, it was to further protect women and, to a lesser degree, men who are victims of male perpetrators by expanding the definition of what is considered rape. They have never really been capable of acknowledging the vast numbers of men victimized by women (and who will be on the hook for child support even if they were raped at age 14 by an adult woman!), or the significant portion of the female population who admit not to thinking they might just maybe do it if the situation presented itself and no one would know (like that bogus 1 in 3 study), but to having actually engaged in the behavior.

In other words, I'm guessing that, like Straus, it never occurred to them that what they were doing might result in helping male victims of female perpetrators, because, like Straus did, they don't really believe male victims of female perpetrators exist. 

Anyway, I'll probably get to the next 7 or 8 items in a week or so. This post is long enough already.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

An open letter to the Two Scotts | on Nerds and Entitlement

Not too long ago, in response to a murky sexual harassment scandal involving a professor at MIT, Scott Aaronson penned a blog post. In his post, he expressed a desire that MIT not penalize the thousands of online students who depend on that professor's uploaded lectures by pulling them down (perfectly reasonable), as well as some dissatisfaction as to the lack of transparency regarding what had actually transpired that was bad enough to see MIT strip a noted professor of his emeritus status. 

This is not an unreasonable request. Sexual harassment policies in universities and colleges are consistently vague as to what behaviors are in violation and where the line is between interacting with women and expulsion. Many such policies rely heavily words like "unwanted" or "unwelcome":

The definition of sexual harassment may differ slightly among educational institutions. The types of behavior constituting sexual harassment may vary in degree of severity. Its
definition always has one key element -- the behavior is uninvited, unwanted, and unwelcome.

His concern, which he went on to explain in the comments, and unlike that of a typical observing public, was not so much that he longed to enjoy the titillating and salacious nitty-gritties of the case, but that for many men, particularly nerdy ones, life is already fraught with the, to them, arbitrary, ephemeral and capricious rules of social and sexual interaction, and for those already living in constant anxiety about offending women, not KNOWING what offences had actually earned this man the complete annihilation being meted out... well, nerds across the globe were probably rushing to pharmacies to refill their anxiety meds. 

For a group of people high in IQ and low in social expertise, who were likely bullied in high school, who are frequently not conventionally physically attractive and know it (because they heard it, constantly, possibly amid the sound of flushing water while being held upside down, often by people who WERE conventionally attractive), the vagueness of these definitions, combined with the dubious competence of adjudication, the erosion of due process and the sometimes draconian punishments that accompany a finding of violation on a typical university campus, well, Aaronson's now famous Comment #171, posted under his blog post delves into the very heart of that particular darkness. 

And after exposing his vulnerability, fear and pain from a place and time where he has now worked past much of it, the response of the usual feminist suspects was typically brutal. 

The establishment feminists dubbed him privileged and misogynistic, accused him of viewing women as subhuman sex objects, and asserted that his entire heartfelt and heartbreaking post was merely an expression of thwarted male sexual entitlement to women's bodies, a projection of his bitterness at the women who rejected him (though he mentioned none) onto all women everywhere. He told them that feminism--an ideology he still mostly supports!--convinced him to loathe his own sexuality and consider himself simultaneously sexually unworthy and sexually privileged, convinced him that the mere biologically intractable fact of his desire for women posed a harm to women that he wanted to avoid at any cost to himself (even chemical castration), and they responded by saying, "it wasn't feminism that told you that, you entitled, unworthy, predacious, privileged, rapey oppressor, and daring to say it sucks to be male and shy and socially awkward and alone makes you even more of every one of those things feminism never told you about yourself. Signed - a feminist."

The level of overt cruelty displayed by bigots like Amanda Marcotte is breathtaking. And as this blog post (long but well worth the read) by another Scott demonstrates, even the most reasonable of all the feminist responses to Aaronson's pain is rife with plausible deniability and victim-blaming. "It wasn't feminism that told you you're a privileged, entitled, rapey creep, it was patriarchy. Also, women have it worse, so stop complaining, privileged man-baby. Also, your complaining oppresses women, so it's no wonder they don't like you, creep. Signed - a feminist."

As Scott Alexander points out in his delightfully extensive blog post:

The problem is that nerds are scared and confused and feel lonely and have no idea how to approach women. From this root problem blossoms both Aaronson’s problem – that sometimes all you can do is go to a psychiatrist and ask to be castrated – and Penny’s problem – that other times people go read pickup artistry books that promise to tell them how the secret is “negging” people.
But Aaronson’s solution to the problem is to talk about it. And feminism’s solution to the problem is to swarm anyone who talks about it, beat them into submission, and tell them, in the words of Marcotte, that they are “yalping entitlement combined with an aggressive unwillingness to accept that women are human beings just like men”
And while Alexander goes to extreme lengths to deconstruct and discredit virtually every feminist assertion on this particular issue (with links to research and studies and all kinds of goodies for people who operate on facts rather than emotion), and while he accurately identifies much of the problem to be binary zero-sum thinking on the part of feminists (that is, one class is privileged and the other oppressed, therefore the suffering of one is by default less bad than the suffering of the other, even when we are forced to acknowledge it), he does not seem to see Marcotte's final quoted sentence for the projection it is.

I mean, this proposition--that men do not consider women human--is the primary axiom of the feminist definition of "patriarchy", which has been the dominant social system for as long as anyone can confidently determine. According to feminists, the entirety of history is one where men arbitrarily, capriciously and unjustly oppressed and subjugated women, treated them as nothing more than objects of sexual enslavement and domestic drudgery, for the privilege and benefit of all men.

So let's unpack this. Men, all through history, were nursed by women as infants, had their boo-boos kissed by women, were cuddled to sleep by women, had their illnesses tended by women, formed their very first and most important (most important because an infant is entirely dependent on the woman who feeds and nurtures it) emotional attachments with women. And yet the men so overwhelmingly influenced by the care and nurturing of women for their formative years, indeed, the men who were molded in the cradle of female love, affection, care and forbearance, created a society that subjugates and oppresses all women for men's privilege and benefit. 

That is the real assertion Marcotte and other feminists have consistently been making since the Declaration of Sentiments of 1848: that men are so sociopathic and subhuman that they would, collectively, oppress and subjugate the very people they formed their most intimate and important emotional bonds with. That men are so universally beyond the pale that they consider the person who brought them into the world and was their sole tether to life for their formative years, and all others like her, as less than human, as a slave class, as undeserving of the smallest human decency or respect.

This is what feminism tells men about themselves (it's what feminism told you about you, Scott Aaronson), and it's what it tells women about men. Feminists like Amanda Marcotte (and the #yesallwomen and #notallmen hashtags, among others) just come right out and say it, and then pretend to be victims when men say, "we're not like that." And feminists like Laurie Penny, say, "well, men, you're kinda sorta almost human at this point, unlike all the other men throughout history, but you could still do better," all while portraying men as a class as uniquely capable of subhuman behavior and uniquely deserving of derision and scorn.

Alexander closes his blog post with this:

Once I see anyone, anywhere, publish an article that not only recognizes our pain, but doesn’t derail it into an explanation of why we’re definitely still terrible and there is no need whatsoever for them to change, then I will be more optimistic that progress is at hand.

This is one such article, but tellingly, it was written by an anti-feminist woman. And there lies the rub, and the kernel of the message I want you to hear.

You said that male nerds are not only more likely to be feminist than other men, but that the average nerdy man is more likely to be feminist than the average non-nerdy woman. The reason for this is not because non-nerdy women are less likely to consider themselves or other women human--it's because they are more likely than feminists to consider YOU to be human, and therefore capable of seeing your mothers, sisters, daughters and wives as human beings.

Feminism's most basic premises sees men and women as tribal adversaries when they never have been, not even prior to the emergence of homo sapiens sapiens, and they see men as the oppressors of women and women the slaves of men all through history when this has never remotely been the case. It is not men who see women as less than human--it is [female] feminists who see men as less than human, incapable of even the most rudimentary compassion for the very people in their lives they are closest to, and [male] feminists who are convinced to internalize this message not because it's true, but because it is the opposite of true. It is because you see women as human, even more human than yourselves and more deserving of human dignity and consideration, that you have always felt you could never treat them as human enough.

They are using your compassion for women to convince you that all men (including you) hate women and so much they designed an entire form of social organization that dehumanizes women. It is because you have so much compassion for women, and so little for men, or even yourselves, that you are able to believe it.

You have seen these feminists retreat to their motte when such allegations are levied against them, but they live their lives in the bailey, Scott(s). In the bailey, men are universally privileged subhuman monsters who oppress, exploit and subjugate the very people they love, on a macroscale. And because you are so incredibly compassionate toward women, in your own minds, you could never consider women to be as human as they deserve, you could never treat women compassionately enough, while in the mind of a feminist, you, as a male, are entirely undeserving of anyone's compassion because you're a subhuman monster, as was every man who came before you all the way back to the cave.

So my message to you Scotts and all the other shy, nerdy males out there, just let it go. Not your pain. Not your suffering. Not your anger. Not the injury you feel when your disclosure of your most deep and intimate pain earns you little more than a more vicious public ass-kicking by the very people you have begged for understanding, feminists like Marcotte.

Let FEMINISM go. In its entirety. There's nothing just or compassionate in it, and there never has been when it comes to mainstream feminism, not even as far back as the 1850s. There's nothing real in it, only boogeymen designed to terrorize women and teach them to live in a state of heightened fear and learned helplessness, and the encouragement of scab-picking and the nursing and expanding of female grudges until they contaminate every facet of the relationship between men and women, and to whip men into guilt, shame and submission as the subhuman beasts they are.

Yes, sexism is real (against both men and women), and yes, gender roles are too rigid (for both men and women), but feminism provides no insight into the actual causes of any of it, and can therefore never provide an effective cure. All it provides for women is a sense of perpetual victimization and undeserved entitlement, neither of which will ever help women succeed, and all it provides for men is shame and self-loathing.

This is an intervention, gentlemen. I'm a bisexual, gender-queer, divorced mother of two sons and a daughter. I want them to inherit a world where the humanity of all people is respected and where all people's pain can find a compassionate ear and some form of redress. Where even men are considered to be human beings, and where the content of a woman's character rather than her pants defines what she is and can be.

An ideology that sees men and women as warring tribes, with men cast as the bourgeoisie and women as the proletariat, cannot and will not bring that world into reality. An ideology that sees men as subhuman and women as beyond human cannot and will not bring that world into reality.

So please, I beg of you, and of all the sensitive, wonderful, sweet, considerate, compassionate yet awkward men like you:

Let it go.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Merry Christmas, all!

Well, the orgy of unbridled avarice known in our house as The Grand Unwrapping is done, the kids are at each other's throats downstairs in "kid-zone" playing MarioKart on the Wii U my oldest purchased for the family, I've almost recovered from a Christmas Eve spent with my mother in law drinking wine and enjoying a Planet of the Apes marathon (Rise of, and Dawn of), and all the tags, packaging and assorted nonsense has been trashed with the wrapping paper and all the new clothes are in a big pile to be washed.

It's not quite time to put the Christmas curry on (we're having turkey tomorrow at my mom's), so I have a tiny window of opportunity to write a post thanking all of you for your support over the last year, wishing you all a Merry Christmas, and sending out a special thank you to "Kris Kringle", who managed to get this incredible gift to me:

...with only my name and phone number to go by. I picked it up at the florist's myself, and when I went in, the owner was on the phone, so her assistant helped me carry it out to the car. She said whoever it was who'd ordered the flowers was so effusive in his appreciation for what I do, the owner decided to make the arrangement herself, and the assistant asked me who it is that I help with my advocacy. I told her I help people that most people don't think need much help--that I talk about father's rights and male victims of domestic violence and things like that. She said that was awesome, and that her boyfriend had been in an abusive relationship, and everyone he tried to talk to about it told him it was his fault, or that he was the abuser. 

As I was about to get into my car, the owner came running out in her shirtsleeves and gave me a hug, telling me that whatever it was I do, from what Mr. Kringle told her on the phone, I am obviously helping a lot of people, and...well, yeah. Mr. Kringle's real name remains a mystery, but I wanted to thank him for the wonderful gift, and for the almost more wonderful experience of picking them up and being hugged by the shop owner in the December cold of Edmonton because Mr. Kringle's words touched her so deeply.

So Kris Kringle, whoever you are, thank you. And thank you to the rest of you all for helping to keep me motivated and for all you do, in whatever way, to help turn things around for boys and men, and the women and girls who love them. 

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Saturday, 22 November 2014

False allegations are "rare"

Okay, so let's (as Bane666_au says) get stuck into it.

Feminists claim that false allegations in general, and of sexual violence in particular, are rare. Unfortunately, feminists (and other activists) have a long history of falsifying or exaggerating claims to promote an agenda. 

There is the hoax that Superbowl Sunday is the day of the year with the highest rate of domestic violence. 

There is the ongoing hoax that major sports events are hotbeds of sex trafficking (when there is no firm statistical evidence to show that). 

There is the hoax of the "Rule of Thumb", which was a carpenter's colloquialism until some judge over a hundred years ago was reported to have joked that it should apply to a man's right to correct his wife (for which he was lambasted in the press and ridiculed in political cartoons), which then snowballed into a false claim by feminists that it was an actual law in the UK and the rest of Europe.

 There is the "UN statistic" that 70% of the world's impoverished are women--a statistic with no source which appeared in a report in the 1980s, and has been repeated ever since. 

There is the claim that the majority of deformities at birth are caused by men who beat their wives during pregnancy, another statistic with no source, where the attributed source (March of Dimes) denies ever even conducting the research attributed to it, and which is disconfirmed by the CDC and other reputable sources. 

There is Eric Holder's blatantly false claim that domestic violence is the leading cause of death for young black women (even ALL homicides of young black women put together don't add up to the leading cause of their deaths). Incidentally, even though this claim has NEVER been true, after years of being called on it, the US government posted a clarification not that the claim was false, but that it was "outdated". 

There is the false claim that 98% (or whatever giant proportion they feel like using today) of all rapists are men, when more and more evidence is piling up that this is really not the case at all, at least according to the CDC. 

There is the false claim that domestic violence is almost entirely perpetrated by men on women, in the service of dominance and coercive control, when that type of domestic violence is the most rare form of all, half as common as the reverse. 

There is Charlie Rogers, a lesbian activist who carved up her own body and made a false report to police that three white men broke into her house, tortured her, and carved Christian and homophobic symbols in her skin. 

There is Meg Lanker Simons (a feminist activist with a previous history of gun violence) who was found to have sent rape threats to herself, something police discovered only after her university held rallies protesting the threats she received as evidence of a systemic "rape culture". 

Feminism is riddled with false claims. Almost all of them false claims indicting or vilifying men either individually, or as a group. 

Look at Anita Sarkeesian's claims about the game Hitman: Absolution:

The Lie - "the player" (you know, the everyplayer who is almost always male) is "invited" to kill female bystanders and sexualize their dead bodies

The Truth - the player, in the service of realism, CAN kill female bystanders just as they can kill male ones, but is actively discouraged from doing so through point penalties

The Lie - "the player" (again, the everyplayer who is almost always male) "can't help but" accept the invitation to kill female bystanders and sexualize their dead bodies

The Truth - the vast majority of playthroughs posted online show players avoiding all interaction with the female bystanders

The Lie - "the game" (developed and published mostly by men within a male-dominated industry) "carefully concocted" the scenario to compel "the player" (again, virtually always male) to kill the female bystanders and sexualize their dead bodies

The Truth - "the game" does not require the player to even interact with the female bystanders, actively discourages the killing of them, and the decision to do so earns the player nothing but a point penalty and grief

The Lie: "the game" dehumanizes the female characters as sex objects available for exploitation and violation on the part of the "everyplayer"

The Truth: during gameplay, the player hears the female characters discussing their struggles and problems in a way evokes sympathy for their plight. The women talk about their mean boss, their difficult lives, their vulnerabilities, etc, which the player hears whether he interacts with them or not 

In the service of these lies, it's almost certain that Anita actually, for the first time ever, used her own let's play footage in one of her videos, because the vast majority of players simply do not play the game in the way she needs them to to suit her agenda.

She's not only lying, but she lying in such a way as to lead people to believe the average gamer is a violent misogynist prone to necrophiliac fetishization of women's dead bodies, and that the game industry itself reinforces those attitudes about women or, worse, creates them. The parallels between her agenda and that pushed by wartime propagandists to demonize the enemy are astounding. And it's no different from what feminists have been telling us about all men since the Declaration of Sentiments. 

After 4 years of research into not just typical feminist claims and their utter lack of empirical veracity, but human psychology, neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, group psychology, mob psychology, etc, I have learned to be skeptical of ANY claim coming from a self-identified feminist. While I will certainly concede that women have problems specific to their gender, any feminist claim of causation will be heavily investigated by me, because so many such claims in the past have proven false.

A self-identified feminist could tell me her morning dump floated in the toilet instead of sinking, and I'd demand time-stamped pictures. That's exactly how trustworthy they are. 

Violence against women in any form has been a HUGE cash cow for feminism. The more they inflate their claims regarding its pervasiveness in society, the more money pours in, and the more power they have to tinker with legislation and policy. Because it is such an emotionally charged subject, any rational skepticism of these claims (as to whether they are true in the first place, or whether feminists are accurate in their estimates of pervasiveness), is easily deflected by attacking the skeptic.

Feminist: "1 in 5 women are raped on college campuses."

Skeptic: "Actually, that number doesn't represent rapes, but all sexual assaults, including forced kissing and attempted forced kissing. And there are reasons to believe that the research methodology is flawed in the direction of skewing the numbers higher than they actually are."

Feminist: "Rape apologist! Don't you CARE about rape victims? Do you hate women or something?" 

Very few people seem to notice that none of those accusations apply to the mere questioning of a claim. 

You can demonstrate until the cows come home just how much certain feminists are profiting from generating an inflated fear of violence against women among the public (the average [almost always feminist] director of a battered women's shelter here in Alberta rakes in over $100k/year, and in the US, that number can be significantly higher), and people won't care, because ending violence against women is THAT important. They won't see the people who claim to be working to end it as the exploitative con-artists or ideologically driven religious inquisitors that they are.

If you point out that a very lucrative industry has formed around these issues, and that like any organic entity, this industry will work to sustain and grow itself rather than the other way around, you get called a conspiracy theorist. Even though none of these claims require a conspiracy to be valid--all they require is human nature. 

The quasi-religious nature of feminism regarding how people psychologically identify with and attach to it, makes it such that those who believe will be VERY reluctant to ever concede that the goals have been achieved. To concede that means letting go of the religion. It is at this point that you see feminists claiming that universities that report many rapes through the Clery Act are hotbeds of rape and misogyny, while universities that report few or no rapes are hotbeds of rape, misogyny and underreporting. Rape is there, and rampant, just like sin--they KNOW it. And when they've all but stamped it out, it's still there and still rampant, because they KNOW it. 

When the inquisition runs out of real witches and sinners and heretics, it will begin to invent them to justify its own zealotry and its continued reason to exist. Just as the world will always be filled with sinners and heretics, it will always be filled with misogynists and rape apologists, even if it isn't. 

This is the one reason I see religion as in some ways less dangerous than secular utopian ideologies like feminism. Religion promises that the utopia will come when you're dead. The utopia is guaranteed to the chosen, no matter how imperfect the corporeal world is. Feminism desires a utopia on earth, where it is utterly unattainable even if it is (heck, even if it already exists!), due to the very nature of religious thinking. They could bring about perfect equality, but to justify their continued ideological zealotry, they will still perceive it as "a hell of inequality on earth". 

"The comments on any article about feminism justify feminism." All this translates to is, "The more people disagree with me, the more righteous I am. The more people claim women are already equal, the more I know they are not."

Feminists, in my opinion, are currently in the process of "doubling down". Their hand's been essentially empty for decades (women have better than equal rights and opportunities at the moment, as well as a massive, government funded advocacy machine in every western country) and people are beginning to call their bluff. Their response seems to be to constantly up the ante, claim feminism is more necessary than ever, and exaggerate every possible difficulty or obstacle in a woman's life, claim it's systemic oppression and screech injustice.

An interesting psychological mechanism is at play, I think.


"When in doubt, shout!: A seminal case study by Festinger found, paradoxically, that evidence that disconfirmed religious beliefs increased individuals’ tendency to proselytize to others."

There are numerous parallels between feminism and theism, not least of which is that its adherents integrate it into their individual personal identities. It possesses an orthodoxy, a set of doctrines, an etherial malicious force (Patriarchy), a way to "salvation" (feminist ideals), a definition of "sin" (sexism), aspects of the confessional ("I'm a straight, white male, and I acknowledge my privilege..."), and a utopian (yet ever-shifting) set of goals.

The more evidence you put in front of them that women are not oppressed, the more they will scream women are as oppressed as ever, maybe even more so. An example:

Only a few years ago, Gloria Steinem gave an interview where she asserted that women today are more oppressed than they were in the 1950s! And the kicker is, the greater oppression of women today, according to her, stems from the very things feminists of the 60s and 70s demanded--access to education, careers, and full opportunity for participation in the workforce! And of course, the proper response to this greater oppression that has resulted from 50+ years of feminism is more feminism, because reasons.

In addition, there's a thing people do when they become heavily emotionally and psychologically invested in a concept, cause, principle, course of action or what have you. They will continue to throw good money after bad.


"More recently the term sunk cost fallacy has been used to describe the phenomenon where people justify increased investment in a decision, based on the cumulative prior investment, despite new evidence suggesting that the cost, starting today, of continuing the decision outweighs the expected benefit."

Many feminists--the most dedicated and passionate in particular--have built academic and political careers on the dubious foundation of the Patriarchy hypothesis. They have built an entire academic (un)discipline out of it, constructed complex, convoluted and amorphous philosophical "tools" and "lenses" such as "problematization" in order to justify ignoring or dismissing evidence that contraindicates their grand unifying theory, and have devoted their entire lives to this belief system.

They're simply not going to declare all that investment worthless, are they? Like the gambler who justifies another gamble because he's already lost so much money, they are addicted to their past investment in what I can only describe as a psychological con on an epic scale.

The OECD's "Better Life Index" clearly indicates that in nearly every country in the west, women live longer, healthier, happier, safer lives than men. They have better access to health services, safety, education, work/life balance and housing, among other things.

http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/ (click on the "gender differences" button)

Strange, when you think about it. According to feminism, the oppressed live longer, healthier, happier, safer lives than their oppressors.

Yet the feminist machine churns away, heaping guilt and shame on men all while screaming that the most privileged class of people in the history of humanity (western women of nearly any race or socioeconomic class) are systemically oppressed in every facet of their lives. Show them evidence to the contrary, and all they'll do is scream louder, because they've integrated a false belief system into their identities, and because they don't want to admit they've wasted their lives on bullshit.

As Gloria Steinem said in that interview, women in western countries are "more oppressed than ever" (a false accusation if ever there was one). And if you point out that she's objectively wrong in that claim, you're just part of the problem. And a misogynist, to boot.

I find it highly ironic that a group of people who claim that false allegations of violence and sexual violence are "rare" so frequently engage in making such allegations and others--not necessarily against individual men, but against all men, or against a "male-dominated system" that has always viewed male violence against women as socially and morally problematic, but which is constantly (falsely) accused of normalizing and condoning it.

According to Anita Sarkeesian, people should "listen and believe" when women disclose their experiences. Yet I have the feeling that she doesn't want people to "listen and believe" when I disclose my own experiences--that my life is a pain in the ass at times, but not unjust or oppressive, that I don't feel discriminated against or persecuted in every facet of my life (or any of them, really), that I think describing men as poisoned M&Ms is bigotry, that I think forms of entertainment that appeal to straight men are not inherently evil, and that most of her claims about tropes in video games are elaborate and convoluted lies requiring the internalization of anti-male biases and some serious mental gymnastics to validate. 

Which leads me to wonder why on earth do so many people, men and women, take these feminists seriously? When did the statement "never question a claim, no matter what" become a vaunted and desirable secular value, just because the claim is made by a [right-thinking] woman?