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January 10, 2014

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Pellegri

A tumblr argument generator. (Warning: Lots of f-bomb.)

The tumblr insult generator looks like it would be right at home among the Agonies of the Left. Might just put Ms. Penny, et. al., out of business.

carbon based lifeform

I can't believe this didn't make the list.

"A domestic dispute over space aliens escalated Saturday morning when a lingerie-clad New Mexico woman allegedly pointed a silver handgun at her boyfriend, a weapon she retrieved from her vagina, where it had been placed while the accused was performing a sex act, police allege."

http://ace.mu.nu/archives/346299.php

Mr_Eugenides

Somewhat O/T, but getting your kids to kiss their grandparents is dangerously blurring the lines of inappropriate sexual contact.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/08/shouldnt-force-child-kiss-grandparent-consent-sex-education

Sam

Apparently it’s a thing and it’s called "female masking."

I didn't think the 21st century was going to turn out like this. I wanted moon bases.

David

I didn’t think the 21st century was going to turn out like this. I wanted moon bases.

No moon bases as yet, as least none that I know of. But we do have burly black chaps squeezing into life-size rubber doll suits in order to amble about like even more burly white women. I, for one, hail our new latex overlords.

Arthur C Clarke didn’t see that one coming.

JuliaM

" Very cold rod meets soapy film."

Is it me, or are porn film ad-writers just not really trying any more?

David

Julia, I’m guessing abstract porn is quite a niche market.

Steve 2 - The Stevening

Hi David

The wife made me watch that female masking show, it was pretty sad. Now, I like ocassional crossdressing as much as the next man who's ever surreptitiously tried on his wife's underthings and pranced around in front of the mirror singing "I feel pretty" like a bigger, hairier Natalie Wood. But masks have always terrified me, possibly due to childhood viewings of Halloween and Friday the 13th and the Cybermen on Doctor Who.

So seeing grown and sometimes lizardy men squeeze into rubber lady suits and cover their faces with latex woman masks with less facial expression than Anne Robinson on diazepam made me feel uncomfortable.

Why do these men feel compelled to share their fetishes with the world? The poor girl whose friend insisted she see his creepy lady costume looked on the verge of tears for the rest of the programme. Say what you like about Aberdonians and the Welsh, but they don't boast about their quadrupedal canoodling any more than I'd tell the world about how I enjoy singing along to Kate Bush songs in the car.

Unbelievable.

Liessa

The Tumblr insult generator is the funniest thing ever. The sad thing is, the first (randomly-generated) argument that came up was literally indistinguishable from ones I've actually seen on Tumblr. For a moment I thought it was a genuine quote that had been copy-pasted.

What's really sad is that these people often seem quite intelligent and reasonable in other ways. I don't have a Tumblr account myself, but there are a few blogs that I read regularly because they share my interests and often have amusing, insightful things to say. But the moment the issue of sexual or racial politics comes up (and it always does, because of the Oppression Trump Card), they see that as a licence to start screaming at each other. I keep trying to convince myself that they're still very young (mostly in their late teens/early twenties) and will eventually grow out of it.

svh

One for your 'academia' file, David.

"When I enrolled in an advanced German for beginners class last fall at The College of New Jersey, I intended to improve my ability to speak and write in conversational German. What I did not expect to learn in German 103 was that the Affordable Care Act – a.k.a Obamacare – is the answer to our prayers, the Tea Party is made up of ‘old,’ ‘very moronic’ people, life is far better in Europe, and Occupy Wall Streeters were really on to something. Now that my grade is securely documented on my transcripts, I feel safe sharing my recent experiences inside the classroom, during which lessons on the German language frequently morphed into soliloquies on the benefits of universal health care."

http://www.thecollegefix.com/post/15812/

h/t Instapundit.

David

Steve 2,

The wife made me watch that female masking show,

And if that isn’t the opening scene of a future cult film, I don’t know what is.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Footballers would have been rolling on the ground for 30 minutes.

Karen M

how to select flour and other useful knowledge.

"Examine its adhesiveness... Throw a lump of dry flour against a dry, smooth, perpendicular surface; if it adheres in a lump, the flour has life in it, if it falls it is bad."

I don't think they'll let me do that in Sainsburys.

dicentra

I, for one, hail our new latex overlords.

Wasn't that the first episode of the Doctor Who reboot?

I think there must be a Twitter generator similar to the tumblr one, and I've had the misfortune to engage it, because I've spent the last two days hitting my tweet limit in a vain effort to persuade a swarm of snot-nosed punks that Bill Nye's "proof" that the Bible is a lie is the most egregious example of exegetical misprision possible.

Either that, or my nightmares are getting really, really vivid.

witwoud

"Arthur C Clarke didn’t see that one coming."

The only reliable guide to the future is Futurama.

Pellegri

I keep trying to convince myself that they're still very young (mostly in their late teens/early twenties) and will eventually grow out of it.

Sadly, no. I'm nearing my third decade and a lot of these people are my peers, if not older.

At least, many of those I've had the misfortune of getting to know well enough to know their ages.

Hal

Pointless diagrams

The all time, hands down, definitive example which reminds that powerpoint is a pointless presentation tool.

http://isotropic.org/papers/chicken.pdf is the accompanying original paper.

Joan

But we do have burly black chaps squeezing into life-size rubber doll suits in order to amble about like even more burly white women. I, for one, hail our new latex overlords.

Somewhere an identity politics muppet is trying to work out an angle on that one.

Nik White
    what is surprising is that a mainstream publishing house such as Bloomsbury Publishing did not see fit to suggest to Penny that she would come across not as a provocative thinker and powerful writer but simply as a potty mouth if she overdid things obscenity-wise. It is not edgy or hip to say “fucking” so much. It is merely vulgar.

    And the use of the f-word only weakens Penny’s argument, which is that women are beaten into blobs of jelly by hate-filled attacks on social media sites by women-hating men. Penny does not seem particularly cowed — except in passages when she talks melodramatically about being frightened — which usually occur after passages boasting of her fearlessness.

Just one part of a highly entertaining review of an extended essay by Laurie Penny. The full review is here (apologies if - as often happens to me - I'm the last one to have seen this and you've all seen it already).

David

Nik,

“A polemicist who makes assertions that don’t stand up to much scrutiny.” The key line, I think. And one that’s been demonstrated, here and elsewhere, more times than I can count.

Nik White

I found myself highlighting quite a few choice bits, though as you say that one probably gets to the heart of the matter most directly. Some other lines I thought were quite apt (and again, very similar to things you have been pointing out in these pages for quite some time now):

    There is a lot of psychobabble …
    Penny is a problematic figure as an analyst of cybersexism because she is so prone to perceive women as oppressed generally and treated as subhuman as a general rule. She sees slights everywhere she looks
    however much Penny protests that she is not overdramatizing her own situation, the fact is that she has almost certainly never been in as much personal peril in her world of British journalism and commentary as Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been at various periods in her life
    it is not quite clear what specifically Penny is advocating
    Penny argues that criticizing her for attention seeking means one is a tool of the patriarchy. But as an American, I find her prescriptions for censorship in the name of freedom of speech for women not something that would fly in the U.S., and who would want it to?
David

Penny is a problematic figure…

Problematic as in incompetent, narcissistic and casually dishonest. I suppose she’s useful, though, as a measure of the culture, or the part of it she inhabits. What with her preference for attitudinising over evidence, hyperbole over logic, the urge to self-dramatize and the relentless dogmatism. That she has such a following and is apparently on speed-dial at the BBC and Channel 4, tells us something.

Nik White

That she has such a following and is apparently on speed-dial at the BBC and Channel 4, tells us something.

Well, I guess at least one thing it tells me is that she has something of the Katie Hopkins / Anjem Choudary / Russell Brand etc. factor.

The competent, the temperate, the reasonable and rational tend to get less attention and for having precisely those qualities.

David

she has something of the Katie Hopkins / Anjem Choudary / Russell Brand etc. factor.

Heh. On the upside, I’m sure Laurie can be counted on to dash across town at short notice and say something that fits an expected line, which I suppose is an asset of a sort. Along with an ability to suddenly conjure a vehement opinion on whatever the subject is, including those about which she knows sweet bugger all. And her output is prodigious, in that there’s an awful lot of it.

I do like to be fair about these things.

AC1

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/10551618/Nick-Robinson-BBC-made-a-terrible-mistake-over-immigration-debate.html

Didn't have a even handed approach to global tax redistribution (AKA global warming scam) either
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/9684775/The-BBCs-dirty-little-secret-lands-it-in-a-new-scandal.html

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/12/scandal-bbcs-six-year-cover-up-of-secret-green-propaganda-training-for-top-executives/

dicentra

If Laurie Penny were to analyze herself and her doings even a little, that would destroy her livelihood.

If her fans were to see how shallow and dishonest she is, there goes her livelihood, too.

There's no upside to self-reflection, or to encouraging such, so it won't happen.

Very, very sad that such people are sitting at the fulcrums.

Pellegri

While it's an interesting critique of Ms. Penny, I can't really get on board with the author of that review basically handing her the "oh yeah but there really is intense misogyny everywhere all the time" point. Yes, the internet is often a toxic and hostile place--but I've seen just as many of my male peers get threats of (death, assault, whatever) as I have. Women aren't treated with more hostility, it's just the language used in the hostility changes if the opposition happens to know you're female. (Or black. Or anything else that means they can use a targeted insult.)

Henry

I can't really get on board with the author of that review basically handing her the "oh yeah but there really is intense misogyny everywhere all the time" point

This 'misogyny everywhere' stuff is purely political, designed to cultivate - amongst young women - a reflex use (or pretence) of victimhood.

The Graun feminists always talk in the passive about how women are "being silenced" or "brutalised" girls are "being sexualised". They make a point of not saying who is doing all this.

(It's hard to say who or what is being "pornified", or what it means, let alone who's doing it)

Likewise you might think misogyny is a state where one man hates women for being women. But the way the word is used in our favourite publication, you'd think it was this mysterious evil cloud floating about. Noone is doing the hating, the hatred is just there - and don't you dare suggest it's not there.

Pellegri

Yeah. I just make a habit of protesting it when I see it on the grounds of it really does not exist, at least not to the extent the leftward sorts make it out to exist.

Also the sexualization of young girls emerges from the same cultural force that decided twelve-year-olds were going to be having sex anyway, so no one should stop them, just make sure they're doing it safely!! I'm not really sure why they didn't make the link between "let's make sex consequence-free for everyone!" and intense sexualization of increasingly younger women (and men, for that matter).

WTP

re dicentra:
There's no upside to self-reflection, or to encouraging such, so it won't happen.

Very, very sad that such people are sitting at the fulcrums.

I have a theory that one could bring about the total collapse of a civilization through some as yet to be designed mechanism (hint-hint Guild of Evil) that would impose self-reflection/self-awareness on that civilization's total population. From that point, the society would simply freeze up of its own accord.

David

dicentra,

If Laurie Penny were to analyze herself and her doings even a little, that would destroy her livelihood… There’s no upside to self-reflection, or to encouraging such, so it won’t happen.

As noted in the comments following this comedic episode, some worldviews are antithetical to realistic introspection, or realism of any kind. And so Laurie tells us that she and her fellow poseurs are entitled to half a million pounds of taxpayers’ money so they can relocate random dirt while “imagining a culture beyond the control of capital and the nation state.” And, says Laurie, unless taxpayers continue bankrolling such things - so that pretentious leftists can piss about and feel important - “we have no business speaking of social progress.” The complaints from taxpayers who had to foot the bill for this parasitic, self-indulgent farce were, Laurie said, “anodyne” and “inconsequential.”

A mind like that is unlikely to encourage, or permit, self-awareness. As you say, what would there be to gain from it? The whole thing might come unravelled.

Anon

some as yet to be designed mechanism (hint-hint Guild of Evil) that would impose self-reflection/self-awareness on that civilization's total population

Total Perspective Vortex (Douglas got there first).

D

the internet is often a toxic and hostile place... Women aren't treated with more hostility, it's just the language used in the hostility changes if the opposition happens to know you're female. (Or black. Or anything else that means they can use a targeted insult.)

I think there's a very dangerous and damaging way of dealing with things nowadays that says that any time someone says something mean to another person about some aspect of themselves, that that person must hate all people who share that trait.

For example, Alec Baldwin's comments toward that gay tabloid guy or whatever he was, which were far nastier than what other people said that got them the full reeducation package -- he wasn't really excoriated by GLAAD because they knew he didn't really mean it. He was lucky, because for most people they would've required the whole groveling package. It's something everyone does when they're really angry; they take any obvious element of the person they're mad at and they throw it at them. If they're gay it'll be their gayness, if they're black it might be their blackness, if they've got stupid hair it'll be that. If someone calls Laurie a "stupid bint" or what have you, that's not misogyny. That's a person expressing annoyance or frustration in a very typical way. People have been known to throw the n-word around when are angry at a black person, but it doesn't imply that they are prejudiced against all black people. Generally, an insult is just an insult. Maybe "in vino veritas" is true, but I don't think people are usually more truthful when they're angry.

On the other end of the spectrum you have leftists who routinely say bigoted things about whole groups of people, such as hating all Christians or the "bitter clingers," and they don't have the excuse of being enraged at the time. I find that sort of calculated prejudice to be far more of a problem, and far more likely to point to a general dislike of a group of people.

I also think that Laurie assumes that because feminists complain about the "hateful" and "scary" messages they get more than other people do, that they get more of those messages than other people do. I think the actual situation is that most people who voice a strong opinion online get vicious, angry, hateful, even violent responses, and most people just write it off as how things are on the internet and don't think about it much. But then if a woman gets that kind of message it seems like some kind of especially mean attack on a weak person. Much like if you hear a guy yelling at another guy, "I should just kill you, you piece of crap" you wouldn't think much of it, just male posturing, but if he said the same thing to a woman people would worry that he's some violent psycho who's actually going to kill her. But on the internet, you're not in physical proximity. A man's aggression is scary to a woman who actually is near enough to him that she could be hurt, but it's rather hysterical to act as though saying things like that from other continents is supposed to be just as intimidating.

WTP

re Anon,
Damn that Douglas Adams. Between him, Yogi Berra, and the Paulicians (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paulicianism#Doctrines), I never seem to have an original thought. I presume the Guild of Evil is already hard at work on this. Assuming they are "of the present visible world", that is...though one should never assume.

been lurking for ages

half a million pounds of taxpayers’ money so they can relocate random dirt while “imagining a culture beyond the control of capital and the nation state.”

They're just openly taking the piss now, aren't they?

David

I presume the Guild of Evil is already hard at work on this.

The boys in the lab are working tirelessly. Despite the odd minor mishap.

WTP

Yeah...had that happen to me once after messing in the Windows Registry and then accidentally hitting shift-alt-delete instead of ctrl-alt-delete. Might want to pass that one on to the boys in the lab. Glad I could help.

Pellegri

But then if a woman gets that kind of message it seems like some kind of especially mean attack on a weak person.

Because, psychologically, we're wired to treat threats to women differently from threats to men. Ditto women in distress--it triggers something visceral in us, whether or not the woman in question is perfectly capable of taking care of herself. Our basic social assumption is that women need help while men are left to handle themselves.

Feminism, of course, isn't interested in disowning this particular piece of inequality because it benefits women immensely. At least not mainstream feminism; you have to leave it far enough to get to the gender egalitarians to find people who talk routinely about dumping it.

Personally I don't see that as a necessarily bad thing (except where it excludes empathy for men who are struggling), but I do wish that women (myself included sometimes) would be more aware of it and so not fall back on "oh help I am a fragile little girl in a cruel world" whenever things don't go their way.

Henry

pellegri

I just make a habit of protesting it when I see it on the grounds of it really does not exist, at least not to the extent the leftward sorts make it out to exist.

You're right to point out that the crappy online behaviour does exist, but myself I'm not sure if misogyny & misandry are useful concepts. There might for all I know be a few psychopaths who really do seethe with hatred when they see a member of the opposite sex. But how many, really?

More likely there are numerous (generally straight, I imagine) people whose recent relationships have gone badly, and who temporarily blame the opposite sex generally for 'faults' they supposedly share.

Supportive friends may encourage this in, for example a relationship post-mortem. But in terms of actually encouraging resentment of the opposite sex, I'd say the all-time undisputed champion has to be any political ideology that makes us think that our gender makes us part of one oppressed social group or other.

Here's another example of twitter oversensitivity

dicentra

Alec Baldwin's comments toward that gay tabloid guy or whatever he was,

If a flamboyantly gay man spreads catty, mean-spirited little items of gossip, then he actually is a "toxic little queen." If woman does the same thing, she's a "toxic little c---." A straight man who gets catty and gossipy is a "toxic little bastard" or whatever.

Are we going to return to the dueling culture, wherein these things are settled with rapiers and first-drawn blood?

Come to think of it, that would be preferable to what we've got now. It might cut down on all this aggressive offense-taking.

It would certainly cut down on the noise.

D

dicentra, you nailed what I was trying to say. For some reason we accept pulling traits of the person we're angry at into our insults most of the time (being short, ugly, fat, etc.), and everyone knows you don't hate all people that share that trait. But oh man, bring in race (well, certain races) or "orientation" in exactly the same way and it's a big thing.

I think this all stems from the idea that any mention of differences in any area, except to celebrate them, is inherently derogatory. Why can't we make jokes about our differences anymore? Why can't we have movie characters that embody common tendencies among certain groups without it being offensive? Old movies did this all the time and we still watch them, and it's not a big deal. We can feel more comfortable with differences when we talk about them, and aren't forced to studiously avoid mentioning them for fear of being accused of the evil of noticing someone everyone sees.

dicentra

Good-natured ribbing about differences is a good way to foment friendship. It punctures any apprehensions you might have about how the other peeps feel about your difference. If your friends don't make fun of you, they're not your friends.

How do you reach out to someone across a minefield?

Of course, that's not the bug but the feature — a society divided into insular zones that cannot be crossed without loud howling and gnashing of teeth is a society that can easily be manipulated into blaming Those Guys for whatever ails them.

Hal

Are we going to return to the dueling culture, wherein these things are settled with rapiers and first-drawn blood? . . . . It would certainly cut down on the noise.

Well, no. .45s at thirty paces are Loud.

----many years back I was at a Boy Scout camp with a .22 rifle firing range that went pop . . . pop . . popop . . pop . . BOOM---One of the scoutmasters had brought his very large calibre black powder pistol, so that showed that even resorting to formal dueling pistols won't help either.

dicentra

Well, no. .45s at thirty paces are Loud.

Louder than all the shrieking harpies on Twitter?

I think not.

Hal

Louder than all the shrieking harpies on Twitter?

Ehhhhhhhn, On Twitter.

I've run across twitter. Occasionally I'll go to a particular feed and catch up.

Occasionally.

---I rather recommend Sherman Alexie, and find the twitter feed to be entertaining as well.---

Some people have their shows, on TV or so, mine are The State Of The Union address and the Oscars telecast, which tells you how often I actually pay attention to a TV.

And I, or anyone else, should bother paying attention to twitter?

Yes, the occasional actual gunshot will continue to be louder.

Pellegri

There might for all I know be a few psychopaths who really do seethe with hatred when they see a member of the opposite sex. But how many, really?

Not a lot. But the people who champion the ideas of misandry/misogyny as being culturally pervasive are trying to take a cue from champions of racism being culturally pervasive--and while there is cultural wariness/differential treatment of the minority "other" all over the place (because again, that's how people are wired), I don't think it's typically racism any longer. At least not racism unmixed with many, many other cultural factors.

But I think--and I'm armchair philosophizing here, so my words have exactly zero weight beyond supposition--that while a culture that's wary of outside races quite easily survives and often thrives, a culture where men and women actively hate each other would self-destruct pretty quickly due to lack of breeding. Granted some of the cultures where more abhorrent treatment of women has gone on for a long time and does go on to this day seem to put the lie to that, but that's more--treatment of women as breeding objects than outright hatred. As Girl Writes What says, she'd much rather be "objectified" in the sense women are--as an object to be valued and possessed and kept alive to reproduce--than the sense men are, as objects that can be destroyed.

idk. I'm rambling at this point and not sure I'm making a lot of sense. Bottom line is outside of most aggressively backward cultures, "institutional misogyny" isn't a thing; that's a needlessly incendiary term feminists and the like use for "things that I don't like about the status quo".

Anon

even resorting to formal dueling pistols won't help either

Well yes. Pistols are so gauche. The suggestion was rapiers, which are a gentleman's weapon.

Anon

I would quite like to be a feminist. I mean, I think that women and men should be treated equally. I really do.

The problem is that that doesn't seem to be all feminism is about these days. These days it seems like all feminist philosophy rests on a foundation of hardcore social constructionism, and indeed sometimes it seems like the actual equality of men and women is a secondary goal to the promotion of this kind of social constructivism -- to trying to get everybody to accept that everything is merely social conditioning, there is no right and no wrong, no duties, no obligations, no facts, just social constructs.

Which I cannot accept, mostly because... well...

'A supporter of women's ordination said that the only difference between her and the Archbishop of Canterbury was that he had a penis and she did not. Even from the purely biological standpoint, this argument is bollocks.' -- Auberon Waugh

But if there was a way to be a feminist, and advocate for equal treatment of men and women, without abandoning all ideas of objective reality (which is the logical endpoint of this kind of social constructivism) then I would love to be one.

Anon

For instance, it used to be that feminists writers would point out double standards -- where men and women were treated differently, by the law and by society. And this was useful and such double standards are bad and to the extent they have been reduced that's good and it would be nice to reduce them further.

But reading some 'feminists' now, one often gets the sense that they are not so much against men and women being held to different standards, as they are against the idea that anyone should be held to different standards whatsoever.

It becomes a race to the bottom. Whoever abandons more of the duties and standards of civilised behaviour in order to embrace the more feckless hedonism, wins.

I can't help thinking that real feminists, like Mary Wollstoncraft or the Sufferagists, would be appalled, having fought to show that women are just as good as men, to discover that their legacy has been perverted into trying to prove that in fact nobody should bother trying to be 'good' at all.

Anon

Sorry -- read 'against the idea that anyone should be held to any standards whatsoever'.

Patrick Brown

"But reading some 'feminists' now, one often gets the sense that they are not so much against men and women being held to different standards, as they are against the idea that anyone should be held to [any] standards whatsoever."

I don't agree. Henry's link shows they advocate men being held to standards of speech and behaviour that they define.

I had an epiphany while walking home the other night. Nothing's changed. The old stereotype was that men were strong and rational, while women were weak and emotional. The current stereotype is that men are cold and violent, while women are intuitive and oppressed. We haven't replaced one set of stereotypes with another set - they're the same stereotypes, just spun slightly differently. Hence feminism's main concern these days seems to be ensuring that men watch their mouths when speaking to a lady, just like they did in Victorian times.

D

@Anon

You're actually giving the feminists far too much credit. For one thing, what they call "double standards" are often just different standards. The big example being promiscuity -- if we wanted to end promiscuity, shaming men for it wouldn't be effective. Only shaming women for it would work. If you shame the men, and get 50% of them to quit somehow, now the remaining 50% just sleep with twice as many women, who have to be even sluttier to get the smaller group of men. It doesn't work. It only works if you shame the women; if there are 50% as many slutty women, then the men will have to work harder for them, possibly requiring commitment to get sex, thus reducing the sluttiness of the remaining 50%. In this case and many (if not most) others, the difference in the standard for men and women is not hypocritical, it's just different.

Also, your reverence for the sufferagists should be tempered a little bit. Did you know that, at the time they were pushing for all women to have the vote, not all men could vote? The voting age was 21, while the draft age was 18. So men could be drafted to die for their country without even having the vote. There were also various property requirements scattered around the country, so even some men over the age of 21 who were in the draft still couldn't vote. It was a difficult struggle to remove the property requirements to voting, which had been there pretty much from the country's founding, but most of those requirements had been abolished leading up to the 20s. The sufferagists wanted the vote for all women, but didn't want the responsibility of the draft, and didn't care about the men who couldn't vote. They weren't for universal suffrage, only suffrage for all women, and only on the condition that they get the benefits men got without their responsibilities. Makes me a little less enthusiastic about them, myself.

Anon

If you shame the men, and get 50% of them to quit somehow, now the remaining 50% just sleep with twice as many women, who have to be even sluttier to get the smaller group of men. It doesn't work. It only works if you shame the women; if there are 50% as many slutty women, then the men will have to work harder for them, possibly requiring commitment to get sex, thus reducing the sluttiness of the remaining 50%.

Hang on, how on Earth does that work? Surely if there are 50% as many slutty women then they will just each sleep with twice as many men, and you're back in the same situation as with the men?

I didn't realise that the suffragists wanted (when they began campaigning) universal suffrage for women; I assumed that they wanted suffrage to be extended to women on the same basis as for men, ie, with things like property requirements in place (of course, by the time they succeeded, there was universal male suffrage, so the goalposts had moved in that respect). I must confess it's not a period I am an expert in, though (and I still think they would be appalled at what their cause has ended up as).

D

Surely if there are 50% as many slutty women then they will just each sleep with twice as many men

Sex is, to some extent, a supply and demand equation. Women have the supply, men the demand -- very few women desire sex for its own sake to the extent that men do. If you reduce the supply by 50%, the price goes up. If you decrease the demand by 50%, the price goes down.

I still think they would be appalled at what their cause has ended up as

Even the earliest feminists would, I hope, by horrified by what happened after their time. Many of them were ardently pro-life. Now, Wendy Davis is a feminist hero for filibustering a bill that would've made sure abortion mills at least have rudimentary health standards. But that's how it goes on the left, you see the same with the environmental movement. When you start a movement without a solid philosophical underpinning, and without a legitimate end goal in mind, you tend to create a cult that focuses on perpetuating itself. Even when you do have those things, it still happens sometimes (see the current "civil rights" movement).

Nik White

@ D:

Women have the supply, men the demand -- very few women desire sex for its own sake to the extent that men do.

Are you communicating with this blog via a wormhole in time from the late 19th century or is there some other explanation for this rather eccentric statement? Or is it an allusion to a line from a character in the popular TV show Mad Men?

Excuse the sarcasm (lowest form of wit, etc.) but do you sincerely believe then line excised above? I'm genuinely surprised if so.

D

I would consider a "supplier" to be the one who has something desired by another party. They may desire to trade or sell it, but it is currently in their hands. The "demand" side would be the party willing to part with something to get the "supply."

The generally accepted female commodity is sex, while the male commodity is commitment and resources. Thus, a man buys a woman a drink, dinner, drives her places, makes a commitment forsaking other women, etc., and in exchange for this commitment of time and money expects to get sex with her. Except in extremely rare instances, women do not spend anything in order to get sex. They generally don't approach men, generally don't buy them drinks, pay for dinner, men don't expect commitment from them in order to be willing to have sex with them, etc. Men are the supply for money and commitment, while women are the supply for sex in this particular marketplace.

It's obvious that women have an expectation that they will get something in return for sex. They feel cheated when that doesn't happen (see the many, many studies showing women feel bad about themselves after a casual hookup, and every female-centric show wherein the slutty woman always ends up getting commitment from men she ostensibly was having a casual fling with). For men, sex is reason enough for itself. The difference is obvious from the fact that men are willing to pay for sex while women are not. You can also see this in the fact that an attractive man going up to women and offering sex will get no takers, whereas an attractive woman going to up men and offering sex will get many takers (there are studies on this too). And the fact that, if she's willing to act slutty enough, any given woman has a nearly 100% chance of being able to go to a bar and get sex on any given day, while a significant number of men cannot get sex, no matter how badly they desire it, without paying.

Women do desire sex to some extent, and there is a relatively small contingent that may desire it to the same extent as men, but to suggest it's the same amount for all women is absurd. Again, the whole field of prostitution would be far different if this were actually the case. It's feminist nonsense meant to minimize the differences between the sexes.

Nik White

Dear D,

I feel compelled to respond to your claims, not least because the crux of what you are saying here is not so very different – hardly different at all in fact – from claims that we are living in a 'capitalist white supremacist patriarchy'.

While I concede that culture is to a considerable degree shaped by biological and evolutionary pressures – and certainly to extent much greater than that which social constructivists are willing to allow – the inductive approach that you have taken here is based on such a narrow slice of observable experience that you have come to completely the wrong conclusions.

It seems to be clear from what you have written that the examples you choose are not so much illustrative of your point(s) but the foundation on which you have based them. For instance, you say:

The generally accepted female commodity is sex, while the male commodity is commitment and resources … [Women] generally don't approach men, generally don't buy them drinks, pay for dinner … women are the supply for sex in this particular marketplace.

Unlike much of the current wave of western feminists, I don't believe that society at large objectifies women, though you certainly are doing so here. I do not say that this is willfully misogynist – though there are certainly many who would – but nevertheless what you have presented here is a specifically male perspective (and from a specific type of male).
If you truly believe that women (on the whole) do not feel physical desire but primarily seek the promise of loyalty and material gain, how on earth do you explain the following phenomena:

    The exuberant and overwhelming passion adolescent women have for Hollywood heart throbs (Leo Di Caprio etc.) and/or models and singers in boy bands – are you absolutely sure they are driven only by desire for these men's material wealth?
    The usually more mature women (40s-50s) from rich western countries who form relationships with much younger men (20s-30s) from the developing countries, the so-called 'beach boys' of West African coastal resorts and elsewhere. Although relatively few in number, how do these women fit into the economically rationalist scheme you outline above?
    Affairs in which a single woman pursues, sometimes over many years, a married man – a relationship in which she may be unlikely to gain much in the way of material resources and in which, by definition, there is no real offer of commitment. You could argue here that mistresses do ultimately seek commitment but the onus is still on you to explain what would make an already married man desirable according to the motivations you have attributed to women.
    Attraction to criminals – I'm afraid I don't have to hand specific examples of this, but needless to say it is very well known that many (not all, but many) women are powerfully attracted to men who are known or believed to have committed violent crimes and/or have served prison sentences. Murderers – including murderers of women – are apparently bombarded with marriage proposals from women on the outside. Obviously, you could just write these women off as insane but I think you will find that this is just an extreme form of the attraction to the 'bad boy'.
    Related to the two previous points, why do known serial philanderers often find themselves the object of attention to a significant number of women? I could mention the example of Russell Brand, though you may repudiate that example due to his celebrity. But in British newspapers, the tabloid press often tell stories of non-celebrities which involve a male 'Love Rat' who has been having casual affairs and/or who is involved in multiple relationships simultaneously.
    It should be needless to say – though apparently not in this case – that women are also known to cheat on steady partners. Given what you have written above, I suppose you would simply brush that off (and no doubt applying the term 'slutty' as you did above in the process). But there are multiple reasons why (some) women cheat. A particularly interesting one is what could be called 'cuckoo cheating' – by which I mean a woman in a steady relationship but who has been unable to conceive with her committed partner/husband, who takes matters into her own hands by getting pregnant to another man. Again, I don't have the references readily to hand but women cheating on their partners for this purpose is far, far more common than is generally allowed. Put it this way, if you see someone who looks markedly different from the other members of his/her family – it is entirely plausible that there is a good reason for that being so.

Furthermore, because you have not considered women's internal motivation – you have described them from the outside as objects only – you have completely overlooked the possibility of female-female competition for the single, desirable so-called 'alpha' male.
Such men really do exist and they are very much pursued by women, sometimes quite overtly. This being the case, your proposal that men alone are somehow suffering from a limited supply of women is completely reversed – from the female perspective. Men are, after all, quite literally 'suppliers' as you put it and not all men can offer the same quality of 'supply'.

The fact that, as you put it, women 'generally don't approach men, generally don't buy them drinks, pay for dinner' simply means that you have misunderstood the particular courtship rituals associated with men as being the only type of courtship ritual there can be – which is nonsense. Perhaps it is generally the case that women in western culture don't woo men buy offering to buy them dinner or a drink but that is quite wrong to assume that they therefore do not woo men at all – they most certainly do.

It's obvious that women have an expectation that they will get something in return for sex. They feel cheated when that doesn't happen (see the many, many studies …

Please send me the links to these studies – I would be very intrigued to see when they were written, who commissioned them, what methods were used and who was in the cohorts.

For men, sex is reason enough for itself.

This is simply untrue – many men are just as interested in settling down with a long-term partner as women are. Perhaps not all the time, or at all ages/stages of their lives, but nonetheless the overwhelming majority do sooner or later look for something more than just sex.
Equally, there are plenty of women for whom, at one point or another in their lives, 'sex is reason enough for itself'

The difference is obvious from the fact that men are willing to pay for sex while women are not … prostitution would be far different … [if women desired sex to the same extent as men]

Even allowing for that fact that you (and I) are painting in broad brushstrokes here, you have again considering the question from a very narrowly male perspective. To conclude that women do not feel physical sexual desire as strongly as men do on the grounds that they very rarely visit male prostitutes is completely absurd. In fact, it is as absurd as a claim that men do not experience desire as intensely as women do on the grounds that men are far less likely to own a dildo than women are.

As was the case with courtship involving dinner, you have again arrived at a false conclusion by judging women's behavior according to how similar or different it is from that of men.

feminist nonsense meant to minimize the differences between the sexes

There is quite a lot of nonsense coming out of contemporary feminism and I also agree that there are differences between the sexes, though nothing like to the extent that you appear to do.

I apologise if I appear to have been hectoring you (assuming of course that you haven't given up reading this long ago that is!).
But I feel quite strongly that to a very considerable degree homo sapiens have a great deal in common with another, regardless of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and physical and cognitive abilities. This is at least one reason why I find the divisiveness of identity politics so corrosive and why I object to it.

As I think I mentioned above, the statements you made share the same divisive perspective on the world as those who think we live in a 'capitalist white supremacist patriarchy' and thereby give it credibility.

N

Hal

The suggestion was rapiers, which are a gentleman's weapon.

I'm in favor of the theory, and entirely too bloody aware of the likelihood that, actually, shotguns followed by mortars would be the more likely result.

Twitter and its ilk remain much easier to continue to ignore . . . .

Pellegri

Nik, D's expounding what is known as sexual economy theory. While it has some relevance to the counterexamples you mentioned, it's not a discussion of women's sexual desire as much as it is their patterns of sexuality and why social control structures for sex (like "slut shaming") exist. There's no doubt at all that a considerable portion of the female sex have sex drives on par with those of their male peers--but their strategies for satisfying that sex drive are very different, and entwined with the differences in female and male courtship and mating strategies. Male courtship strategies are designed to demonstrate their abilities as a provider; female courtship strategies often rely on their availability for romantic engagement and willingness to commit to a single man. Women woo men just as men woo women, but their strategies--as you rightly observe--are different because what they offer in a committed relationship differs. This article about sexualization by Jesse Marczyk gives a very good introduction to this idea, I think.

Of course, as the social world changes at an increasing pace, and more women become self-sufficient without a male partner, courtship strategies will undoubtedly change--but for a very long time in the history of human evolution, it was the case that men provided and women bore children, and that's what our cognitive modules that deal with social signalling are primed for.

That said, I don't think saying, "women and men have fundamentally different mating strategies" is in fact divisive in the way identity politics is; it's as much an acknowledgement of biological reality as "women are on average smaller and lighter than men". It contains no ethical statements about how we should treat men and women relative to each other, just information about how they are in the world. In fact, in many ways, identity politics try to collapse or deny those differences except for the most trivial ones that permit its proponents to mark groups out and isolate them--because it's easy to understand why women aren't often soldiers if you know that they're not typically as strong as their male peers (or as primed to fight without being immediately threatened), but it's difficult to call it unfair discrimination unless you say those differences don't matter in a profession that requires strength and a willingness to fight (or worse, that they don't exist, we've just been making them up!). Once we know what those differences are, though, we don't need to be wedded to them as saying anything about the morality of letting women be soldiers--just that there's reasons why they're less likely to succeed.

And so on and so forth for any other potential difference in the sexes, or between races, or whatever you can name. Acknowledging the existence of those differences allows us to decide when differential treatment on their basis might be valid or justified, and when differential treatment is just discrimination and should be done away with.

Nik White

Pellegri,

Thanks for the Jesse Marczyk link, which I found quite amusing – as it invariably is when " assumptions made by the authors stacked the deck in favor of them finding what they thought they would."

I didn't mean to give D a hard time, though I was taken aback at his unambiguous statement that women's sexual desire was not as strong as men's – though yes, I did recognize that he was working from a rationalist economic view of relations between sexes (sexual economy theory as you explained to me).

And finding the differences that matter matters, as I think you say.

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