David Thompson
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February 25, 2014

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David

Steve,

My general comment about the tone of the debate… was addressed to you as host / chairman.

I take a fairly hands-off approach to comments. If I took issue with every overly broad comment or detail I don’t agree with, I’d never get anything done. I’m happy for readers to take these things up with each other.

dicentra

I knew he would have a shit beard even before I saw his picture. I KNEW IT.

This is the 21st century. They have cures for that now.

h/t Insty

Henry

"I agree. All the more reason to either re-label the haradons or find another description for those of us that believe in actual equality"

'Actual equality' is itself a bit tricky, though, isn't it? There are major philosophical problems with what 'equality' is and how it relates to 'fairness'. If equality means just 'equality of opportunity in job applications', then that's nice, but then you'll only have fairness in one area. There will still be more homeless men and male suicides, more men than women unable to build a really good relationship with their children (at multiple stages of the child's life), the list goes on a bit. So that can't be all there is to it.

Another issue no one thinks about, but actually quite important: what about the fact that a man doesn't really care if a woman pinches his bottom. This is hardly reciprocated, you'll agree, with the amount of fuss being made about DLT possibly doing so 40 years ago, for goodness sake! If you gave men equal rights to complain about all similar issues (which they currently don't) they just wouldn't care, or consider calling the police 99% of the time. Equality wouldn't be fairness, rather importantly.

There are likewise whole areas of social rules that apply differently to the sexes - very real and far more complex than feminism's simplistic political waffle about 'gender stereotypes'. We couldn't and shouldn't legislate for them, but there'd still be inequalities. David mentions that equality of opportunity and 1:1 parity in all areas are very different concepts.

Is equality in only some of these areas true equality? Surely not. The whole idea falls apart the momentyou start thinking about it. It's quite useless in rational debate.

Yet the word is thrown about with abandon, oddly, because I hope I've shown that there is no clear agreement on what is meant by it. People, and particularly feminists seem to avoid discussion of these issues - with only rare (and even more rarely adequate) exceptions.

They prefer to use the word vaguely to win the argument, or to scare or anger people to join their cause. They're about as dishonest with language as any politician. You know Orwell's quote on political language?

Steve

Henry,

See my first comment "...In that I wish for equal treatment and equal opportunities for my wife & daughter and expect them to be judged by their abilities rather than by their gender, I am a proud 'feminist'...". Any talk of quotas was introduced by others.

I agree 'equality' is a complex issue, that's why I think that loose labelling and generalizations of people who might be entirely reasonable is unhelpful. The lazy lobbing around of insults which, as an avowed 'feminist' lumps my wife in with all the she-devils of the left is just absurd and, as I stated above, just what the left does to shut people up.

dicentra

If you rail against 'feminism' per-se then you are in actuality throwing the baby out with the bath water. I don't want people resenting my daughter, who equally loves girly dressing-up and 'boys' toys like Lego, radio-controlled vehicles and spy gear, just because of some of the BS spouted by the likes of LP and my bra-burning mother-in-law.

Have you run into people who criticize tomboys because modern feminists are such absurd harridans? We're at the point where Equality Feminism is the default position in the Western world. Nobody uses the terms "lady doctor" or "lady lawyer" or "lady cop" as they did when women in those professions were rare.

IOW, we don't need a term for equality feminists, because there's no anti-feminist sentiment for it to stand in opposition to.*

If the moral authority and caché of the term "feminist" has been irretrievably degraded, lay the blame solely at the feet of the current crop of ostentatious pearl-clutching, smug, sanctimonious, irrational feminists that David rightly mocks.

*And there's Islam, whose misogyny must be vigorously denounced; we can use a term other than "feminist" to identify opposition to such misogyny. Maybe borrow something from Arabic that means "screw you, male chauvinist pig, and the goat you rode in on." That'll make 'em crazy.

Hal

Daaaaaaammn . . . .

David; Have any previous discussions spilled over onto a second page, or is this the first?

dicentra

My general comment about the tone of the debate and the apparently casual labelling of all feminists as raving lunatics…

Complaining about tone is usually not warranted in blog comment section, especially a blog where there's an established core of regulars in addition to casual lurkers and occasional drop-ins. Blog-specific schtick is best accepted in the spirit intended instead of applying external standards of taste and decorum.

Further, objections to "tone" sound to me like the hapless guy with Asperger Syndrome who struggles to interpret sarcasm and figures of speech; he hotly denounces the literal meaning instead of asking for an explanation.

Which, when given, may still be misunderstood.

David

Have any previous discussions spilled over onto a second page, or is this the first?

It’s happened before, maybe half a dozen times. This mammoth thread on male and female “privilege” was one of the first. Some of that thread may even be relevant.

[ Edited. ]

Hal

David,

(Not for the first time) I'm confused. In that I wish for equal treatment and equal opportunities for my wife & daughter and expect them to be judged by their abilities rather than by their gender,

Steven, and others;

I think an issue is of explaining processes vs instances, describing something occurring over time, rather than That One, This One, The Other.

At the source of my paycheck, where I'm a professional analyst and explainer, we don't do technical Stuff, but a lot of our clients have to do technical Stuff as a part of why they come to us. On a regular basis I get asked about the TechnicalSource company, and does my paycheck source do the overall process of TechnicalSource ParticularLabel.

My answer to my clients is that Oh, My, as we've all noticed, doesn't TechnicalSource just keep shuffling the cards about with its products, and there's no bloody way that I or my paycheck source are going to keep up with all that shuffling. Therefore, nevermind which of several examples of ParticularLabel is being cited, and let's all focus on the more important bit of what TechnicalSource actually does regarding my paycheck source, thus allowing the client to make decisions based on the actual action at one time of TechnicalSource and don't bother trying to notice what TechnicalSource is calling some wozzer this week.

Doing that nails down the process, and nevermind the applied label of the moment. Now as far as general labels, particularly when they're focusing on instances and get called stereotypes, that's a different issue.

As we've noted in this discussion, a recurring spasm with hipsters is the inability to try to figure out whether to grow a beard or not, combined with the expectation that everyone else shares in the fantasy that the hipster might someday get mistaken for looking like someone of quality, with testosterone and style and being the recipient of admiration. Out in reality, such surreality gets called the bathub ring, comb under, shit beard.

In another instance of deliberately misleading label and meaning, earlier versions of hipsters, back when they could scam apparently cheap credit and be called yuppys, started being fixated on the extremely tacky and tasteless and very revealing "upscale", in that by being "upscale" the hipster might someday get mistaken for looking like someone of quality, with testosterone---if male---and style and being the recipient of admiration. Out in reality, where adults emphatically do not claim or seek to be "upscale", there is a term for solid, elegant, reliable, tasteful, reputable, been working for centuries and still does, elegant, a proof from the book, we don't care who you are, we don't care what your background or gender or sexual practice is, we care that you have a clue, and demonstrate having that clue, and join us in practicing having that clue, and barring some other label to use, that term is quality.

All I have ever seen of upscale assures me to go the other way when it turns up, as all that happens in all instances of "upscale" is tasteless, tacky, grasping, frantic, ostentatiously shiny, shallow, insistently demanding approval for some label that only surfaced some moments ago, glitzy, petulant, guaranteed by definition to fail all claims of any positive or useful or helpful promise or result.

Soooo . . . as Dicentra has noted, We're at the point where Equality Feminism is the default position in the Western world. Nobody uses the terms "lady doctor" or "lady lawyer" or "lady cop" as they did when women in those professions were rare. And in the same sort of practice area are Marines---The University of Science, Music, and Culture, or Uncle Sam's Motorcycle Club in this instance---where in the Marines, one is A Marine. . . . . and one just happens by circumstance to be Reserve, or, female, or some combination. As far as what one does in the Marines, that's what the MOS is for, in general. And in specific instances, Every Marine Is A Rifle . . . .

Therefore, to ascertain what one does as a practice over time, nevermind the label to describe some practice that is often shifting about, Ask and do what is done in the moment, and then the next moment, and then the next moment . . . .

Patrick Brown

Steve: "By that logic, given that the left seems to genuinely believe that this country, especially UKIP and the Tory party, is over-run with racists, you must think it is OK for them to scream 'Nazi' at everyone who, like me, thinks that there has been a bit too much immigration lately."

That is an interesting leap of logic. Nobody else brought up your opinions on immigration, and nobody else brought up Nazis. The fact is, your arguments are entirely emotional. It boils down to "if x were true, I would be sad. Therefore x is not true."

I feel like God must have felt when Abraham tried to persuade him to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if he could find ten righteous men there. If reasonable feminists exist, surely the movement can't be all bad? But. I have explained what I think of feminism as a movement, and which feminists I am judging that opinion on. If you want to completely ignore everything I've written and dismiss it as "blanket defamation", then I see no reason to repeat myself.

Henry

Steve,

I don't think the definition you gave clears up the issues I raised. It's still very vague. What is 'equal treatment'? As I said I don't think men and women have the same issues, so addressing one (carefully selected) issue for everyone may be very good for one sex and useless for the other. You could apply the same rule across the board but end up helping just one sex. Sort of equal but not very fair

Now when feminists use the word 'equality' they do seem to mean more than just career opportunities, though with perhaps a different idea for every person using the term..

If we can't clearly say what sort of equality feminism should stand for, if there's nothing else feminists have in common: then all that's left is the goal of getting more for women and less for men.

It dresses this up with noble words like "equality" and scare words like "oppression", but as I say those are politician's words. Indeed the language and argument I see from feminism is nearly always obfuscatory.

We've arrived at the idea that feminism is little more than doing men down and telling them to like it. Seen this way it's little wonder if I'm critical of it.

Sure, avoid insults and labels - people I've loved have subscribed to this ideology, but I still think it is pernicious.

Steve

Patrick,

You have, I suspect deliberately, totally mis-interpreted my comment. The reference I gave, the substance of which was unimportant, and as I'm fairly sure you know very well, was merely meant to illustrate the absurdity of labelling everybody with the traits of extremists. The example I gave was that of the lefts habit of calling those who have concerns about excessive immigration racists. That seems easy to comprehend. I've no idea where you think all that 'emotion' enters in to it.

I do find it troublesome (not the 'emotional sort of troublesome of your bizarre imagining, but the 'doesn't sound quite right' sort of troublesome that makes me want to type something) when general abuse is lavished on a concept which is, at it's core, somewhat noble, hence my suggestion that the extremists should be called out as extremists. Your conclusion that this somehow amounts to "if x were true, I would be sad. Therefore x is not true." is beyond my comprehension. For a start I don't think I stated that anything was not true, I merely suggested that the target of the comments, most of which have some validity, seemed rather broad.

Your earlier comment about most feminists hating men demonstrates the importance of defining the term. I'm pretty certain that every woman I know, most of whom are highly educated professional types would describe themselves as some sort of feminist. To my knowledge none of them hates men. Clearly the feminists of which you speak are of a particular type. It seems to me that it would do no harm to say so.

I'm glad you feel like God. That must be nice for you.

Q30

Steve: I probably should've followed every statement of mine with "But not all feminists are like that."

You know... if it is unfair for us to make generalized statements about feminism, then it is also unfair for us to say generalized PRAISE about feminism. Unless you want to take the position that generalized praise is okay while generalized criticism is not.

Steve

Dicentra,

"...Have you run into people who criticize tomboys because modern feminists are such absurd harridans?..."

I'm not sure why you are asking that. I referred to my daughter because I like the fact that she has the confidence, even at 7 years old, to like what she likes with no consideration for peer pressure or gender norms. It seems that might, in certain circles, be viewed as a somewhat 'feminist' trait. I do, however know plenty of men, particularly on my building sites, who will shout 'Lezza' at any woman wearing un-conventional attire. Does that count?

"...Nobody uses the terms "lady doctor" or "lady lawyer" or "lady cop" as they did when women in those professions were rare..."

Actually many people still do, entirely accurately, refer to policewomen but you are probably mostly right; I think my wife would punch me in the tenders if I called her a 'lady lawyer'. I may be old-fashioned but I do find it absurd when actresses express resentment at the feminisation of their work title and insist that they are actually actors, even whilst accepting their 'best actress' awards. I just can't see the harm in feminine nouns.

"...IOW, we don't need a term for equality feminists, because there's no anti-feminist sentiment for it to stand in opposition to..."

I would invite you to come to one of my building sites, or spend a night out with some of my West Country mates and see if that opinion still stands.

"...Complaining about tone is usually not warranted in blog comment section..."

I had no idea. Thanks for the education. And thanks for the accusation of aspergers, my lady lawyer wife may well agree.

Pellegri
What we are talking about here, however, is a perfectly noble movement, particularly in view of what we all know to be in our own history and in the present day experience of many women, which has been hi-jacked by extremists who are now being presented as 'the norm' through these generalizations.

Except "mainstream, moderate" feminism is not particularly interested in disowning the "extremists" who "hijacked it"--they're far more interested in disowning women like Camille Paglia who criticize those extremists.

Also, when you say "in the present day experience of many women," for whom are you speaking? I experience exactly 0 of the oppression I'm told repeatedly I labor under all the time by feminists, and I'm a woman with a degree in STEM.

ftumch

Having an Addams Family Values moment here.... clearly Steve 2: Steveageddon is a lot funnier than Steve. And @dicentra I am a casual lurker, I am in my comfy fake leather swivel chair wearing only a smoking jacket and pince nez.

Hal

Ah, David---and all--:

In the words of Prime Minister Perkins, I have a wee moan . . .

David, you state that Writing in Salon, Cintra Wilson said of Palin, “she ain’t no woman,” before describing her sneeringly as “fuckable” and “a hardcore pornographic centrefold.”

My immediate reaction when I finally noticed that statement was, basically: Oy, no, Cintra, did you really state that?!?!?!?!?!!!

And actually, no, David, you or your source are wrong, that is not what Cintra stated.

With a quick bit of Googlemancy, I find Sarah Palin may be a lady, but she ain’t no woman. , which somewhat resembles the words, but rather does deliver rather a different meaning . . .

I did a read through Cintra's essay, where what I see is What this Republican blowup doll does with her own insides in accord with her own faith is her business. But, like the worst and most terrifying of religious extremists, she seems very comfortable with the idea of imposing her own views on everyone else. . . . which I read as being exactly the sort of argument that is regularly made here in this venue, and by Cintra in her essay, regarding La Penny, Et Al . . . .

In short, Cintra actually is one of ours.

I'm not going to comment on any of the other names you cited given that, contrasting with Cintra, I don't know 'em. And that is quite literal.

Cintra and I haven't been in touch for quite a few years following when we were at Uni together. A regular shared hangout was the office of our occasional advisor, the late Kip Bacom. At one point she was putting together some class related project and wanted me doing something with it, but at that point at school I was totally swamped in much else and didn't have the spare resources.

And, in parallel, noting Harry Perkins, the issue there is again what is perceived vs what is. I disagree with the Very British Coup Wiki article where it states The final sequence, on the morning of the election, is deliberately ambiguous, but implies that a military coup has begun. because actually there is nothing of the sort . . . the Ray McAnally edition very clearly has totally benign radio announcements of nothing more unusual than---paraphrasing from memory--- . . . consultation with Buckingham Palace regarding the constitutional crisis . . . because the “crisis” is that after the PM has been accused of corruption, it is the PM himself who calls for the very emphatic investigation and hearing regarding his alleged corruption, at the same time that he also dissolves Parliament and calls for exactly the sort of election that he could lose if he has lost the public trust . . . .

So as we keep arguing all along, there's really no point in anyone waving labels around in the hopes that one or all will be impressed. Bring us the facts so that we may deliberate for ourselves. No one saves us but ourselves, no one can and no one may.

I've tried to find a source for Benjamin Disraeli as the author of The principle of . . . democracy is that all government exists solely for the good of the governed . . . It is democratic because the welfare of the people is its supreme end . . . but in the same manner of nailing down the actual statements, everything keeps pointing to Disraeli's long time associate John Eldon Gorst . . . .

ftumch

My boy is aspergers, but not high-functioning like steve here; he would never get a degree, even an arts degree.... but yeah, steve does come across a bit. No offence intended Steve

ftumch

Hal, nice research, but hey man, Ive met feminists who have denied that Margaret Thatcher was a woman. Are these outliers? Not back in the 80s it wasn't.

Look we're looking at fascism here: it's Us against Them. It's how it works... and the feminists are Us, which makes us males, Them. All is needed is a Narrative... and once you build the Narrative you have a black/white situation where all women are oppressed by Them. Aye, right.

Steve: I want your daughter to be free to be herself, but then I'm a libertarian type. What would you do if you had a son?

Pellegri

Oh, okay, so calling someone a "blow-up doll" is less objectionable than calling them a Playboy centerfold. Gotcha.

Pellegri

Or to be less snide, I think the objection's more one of tone, not of content. A certain set of feminist writers demonize women they object to by using exceedingly vile analogies and declaring them "not women". I don't see how calling her a blow-up doll isn't doing that.

Further Cintra's still got the burden of proof as to whether or not Palin's actual desires (as opposed to desires the entire left-wing feminist opposition ascribed to her) actually amount to "imposing her will on everyone else". Our host has provided ample evidence of that in the people he criticizes via statements they've actually made.

Hal

Oh, between ftumch and Ive met feminists who have denied that Margaret Thatcher was a woman. and Pellegri with A certain set of feminist writers demonize women they object to by using exceedingly vile analogies and declaring them "not women", Oh, yes, I quite agree that there're rather a lot of idiots out there . . . . and Yes, David does provide an excellent platform that regularly points to InsertLoudNoiseOfTheMoment, where David regularly does an excellent job of allowing InsertLoudNoiseOfTheMoment to use InsertLoudNoiseOfTheMoment's own words and action to merrily shove both feet into the mouth up to the knees. And again, where the usual form is to point to the actual statement that was made or the action performed, in extreme cases that remind me of people I've had to deal with in person, we occasionally even see InsertLoudNoiseOfTheMoment managing to shove the feet in while the head is very firmly and permanently planted up InsertLoudNoiseOfTheMoment's own ass.

The catch in this case is that of that one person in that list who I happen to have known personally, the statement made of Cintra just did not seem to ring true . . . . and sure enough that was not exactly what she wrote. To say of Palin only that “she ain’t no woman,” would have been rather idiotic, and Cintra is extremely intelligent. Therefore with a statement which was not really the usual attribution that David does, that is why I note to David that he . . . or your source are wrong.

Thank you for the credit for researching, but actually I just dropped terms in and the article popped up immediately.

Now of Palin . . . Oy.

One handiest observation---noting that blow-up doll comment and implications---is to note that the very vehement claim during that election was of Qualified And Commendable Candidate For High Office, One Heartbeat Away, Etc . . . .

. . . and a bit of time, and that election, passed . . .

and then a very telling summation finally occurred.

I'll state that if there was ever an actual interest in actual quality of government and leadership, the term as governor would have been finished out, would only have been interrupted if she and McCain had won the election . . . .

Pellegri

and then a very telling summation finally occurred.

Given the fact she underwent intense media scrutiny up to and including attacks on her family and the crowdsourcing of her subpoena'd e-mails (which then frustratingly failed to yield any HORRIFYING GOTCHA MOMENTS), I'm kind of not surprised she did resign as governor.

Do you really think anything she did after that point would have been treating with anything approaching rationality or objectivity, not that the media has either?

And even if it were 100% true that she were a completely unqualified blonde ditz (which I highly doubt), is it STILL okay to call her a blow-up doll to make one's point? If I were to say as much about Amanda Marcotte, and if I had Cintra's reach, I'd be murdered on Twitter by feminists. Possibly also IRL. ...Okay probably not IRL, but still, the level of outraged shrieking would be huge.

Also, even if it 100% proves she's a blonde ditz, it still doesn't show Cintra's original point, which is she wanted to impose her will on others, not that she was dumb.

Col. Milquetoast

Egalitarian is still a word isn't it?

Discussing the label and who is and who should not to be described by it is less interesting than skipping the pigeonholing and just discussing the issues. Ideas are not a team sport so I'm not that concerned about what team someone thinks they're on.

dicentra

I'm not sure why you are asking that.

Quick recap.

STEVE:

I don't want people resenting my daughter, who equally loves girly dressing-up and 'boys' toys like Lego, radio-controlled vehicles and spy gear, just because of some of the BS spouted by the likes of LP and my bra-burning mother-in-law.
Stripped to its core, the sentence says, "I don't want people resenting my daughter because of some of the [feminist] BS." The bolded term represents an assertion of causality, i.e., conflating extreme feminist behavior with "regular" feminism may cause people to react negatively to a girl who isn't always girly.

DICENTRA:

Have you run into people who criticize tomboys because modern feminists are such absurd harridans?
I ask if you've actually encountered someone whose [potential] attitude toward your daughter has or will be caused by mockery of absurd harridans on this blog and elsewhere.

In other words, I am expressing doubt that your assertion of causality is accurate. It's a perfectly logical and natural response to your comment.

I like the fact that she has the confidence, even at 7 years old, to like what she likes with no consideration for peer pressure or gender norms.

Here's a secret the feminists have suppressed: ALL CHILDREN DO THAT. There is not a child on the planet whose behavior is even slightly informed by gender-norm expectations. CHILDREN PLAY AT WHATEVER INTERESTS THEM. They are impervious to the adult expectations that feminists insist have been pushing children into these vile gendered behavior for so long.

Example: My mom was a girly girl growing up. Every Christmas she wanted a new doll. So when I was little, she asked me "What kind of dolly do you want this year?" I had gotten a doll the year before and so I saw no need for another and said so. Her implied expectation had exactly ZERO effect on me. I was more interested in blocks and books than dolls (though I played with dolls, too). I played with dolls only when I felt like it, not because I wanted to conform to expectations.

Turn a bunch of kids loose in a toy store and they'll gravitate according to what they LIKE, not to what other people think they should like. That kind of vulnerability to peers shaming doesn't develop until adolescence.

I watched my nephews become fascinated by construction equipment before they could even talk — long before their parents thought that such an interest would develop. Likewise, my nieces would be thrilled to see a doll or a baby beginning at an extremely young age. Their parents wouldn't have done ANYTHING to encourage it: it just happens.

I do, however know plenty of men, particularly on my building sites, who will shout 'Lezza' at any woman wearing un-conventional attire. Does that count?

No. The behavior of construction workers has exactly jack squat to do with feminism, regardless of the flavor of feminism or whether feminism even exists. They wolf-whistle at women they find to be sexy and mock those who don't turn them on. They're behaving as pigs because they're in a pack, playing off each other, and having a grand old time.

It's who they are; it's what they do. Lads being lads, in other words. Ten thousand feminists couldn't stop them if they tried.

And thanks for the accusation of Aspergers.

Asperger's is an explanation, not an accusation. My nephew is a full-blown Aspie and I've got a few of the characteristics myself.

Missing the humorous intent of a comment thread, however, is not one of them.

dicentra

And @dicentra I am a casual lurker, I am in my comfy fake leather swivel chair wearing only a smoking jacket and pince nez.

Oh, for the love of Pete, put on some PANTS.

dicentra

if there was ever an actual interest in actual quality of government and leadership, the term as governor would have been finished out

Yet another lie that got around the world several times before the truth got its shoes on.

What Pelligri says did indeed happen, but the proximate cause of her resignation was that she was being pelted incessantly by one nuisance lawsuit after another, all from the same well-funded parties, all of them unfounded so they were ultimately dismissed, but all of them had to be dealt with, USING HER OWN PERSONAL MONEY TO PAY LEGAL FEES, and taking an inordinate amount of time and energy away from her duties as governor.

A full-metal-jacket strategy by her enemies, in other words. The process is the punishment.

We don't have Loser Pays in the U.S., so anyone with enough funding and enough malice can ruin the target of their opprobrium. Legally. Her family's bank account was running dry from the legal fees, and there wasn't Thing One she could do to stop the vile little trolls from filing more and more suits, accusing her of breaking the very ethics laws she fought to pass.

You know what laws those were?

The ones that broke up the little game of footsie that the Republicans in Alaska were playing with Big Oil. She took them on herself and won. That woman has magnificent vision and incredible tenacity.

So she had two options: stay put and go bankrupt defending herself from malicious lawsuits (while neglecting her duties) or put a stop to their shenanigans by quitting.

THEY. DROVE. HER. OUT.

But make sure you give more weight to the idea that she's a fluff-headed, tacky little snowbilly who wants to Occupy Your Naughty Bits.

Also, "she's not a real woman" was indeed uttered more than once. Maybe not by your friend, not in that article, but it was sneered from on high by the usual suspects at regular intervals.

Further, Ms. Cintra is most definitely NOT "one of us." That entire article was saturated with some of the most egregiously vile, degrading, mendacious sewage I've read in a long time.

Not a word of it came within shouting distance of accurate, because its purpose was to dehumanize Palin (NO! A REPUBLICAN WOMAN CANNOT GET INTO THE WHITE HOUSE BEFORE HILLARY!) and to signal to the fatuous "sisterhood" that Cintra is as far away from being a Bible-thumpin, cousin-humpin, knuckle-dragging redneck as is humanly possible.

FLASH those gang signs!

Sickening.

Patrick Brown

Steve: "You have, I suspect deliberately, totally mis-interpreted my comment... Your earlier comment about most feminists hating men"

Offered without comment.

Patrick Brown

dicentra - that's interesting about the lawsuits against Palin. That wasn't reported particularly prominently on this side of the Atlantic, at least that I can remember. The media seemed fixated on a "she's the female Dan Quayle" narrative, and the feminists seemed fixated on her views on abortion.

David

[ Wades through beer cans and abandoned shot glasses. ]

Morning all. I’m glad you’ve been busy.

Regarding Palin’s candidacy (and whatever one makes of her politics), the reactions to her from leftists, and noted feminists in particular, were often extraordinary. And, I think, telling. When feminists and self-declared Good Guys suddenly find it okay to mock a woman’s disabled child with jokes about abortion, or to fantasise about seeing this woman gang raped - and this is applauded by an audience of supposedly hip and right-on people – then there’s something odd going on. The veneer of sisterly solidarity is apparently rather thin and very much conditional, and when it cracks apart something quite nasty oozes out. What was interesting at the time was how the ugliness and crudity seemed roughly in proportion with the speaker’s own professions of progressive and feminist piety.

And so quite a few right-on types suddenly found the subject of, say, women being punched perfectly okay, indeed admirable and funny, provided the woman being punched isn’t leftwing. Punching women’s teeth out, gang rape, mockery of disabled children, shitting in women’s mouths, all suddenly okay among the self-defined righteous. For those who want to revisit the surrealism and hypocrisy, a selection of our betters’ best behaviour can be found here. And note that the author of the compilation is hardly a Palin groupie.

[ Edited. ]

splotchy

A word which is largely missing from this debate on equality is 'choice'.

I'm female and have had various opportunities which would have made me better paid, more important etc. However they would have also made me busier, more stressed and lacking 'me'- time, or the time I wanted with my children when young. So I chose what I wanted, rather selfishly imo, as I am undoubtedly happy with my life.

So it rather irks me when 'feminists' such as Harman get ratty about the greater numbers of high-flying men in my profession, blame the patriarchy and witter on about quotas, as I'd really prefer them to mind their own business and leave happy people like me alone.

It irks me even more when I hear a new generation of anguished whingers berating 'lad culture' as a root of campus evil and either having a go at the men or co-opting them as castrated sidekicks. Because what they define as 'lad culture', I see as borish, coarse and crude behaviour, which is displayed just as much by young women as men - a sort of 'equality' if you like, but again, entirely down to individual choice. A bit like the uproar some months ago about abusive misogynist tweeting - a cursory Google on those who were protesting the loudest showed that these defiant wimmin were themselves invariably guilty of abusive hostile tweeting.

People do not behave badly because they are male or female or because of 'society'. They are bad because they choose to be. Merryweather is a rather naive and foolish distraction.

Steve

Patrick,

"...Offered without comment..."

Paraphrased, badly, at the end of a long exhausting day.

My apologies.

Steve

So, amid the umbrage, surprising, in particular because I initially quetioned the generalization of some comments, without singling anyone out and without disputing the substance of the comments, I have learned the following (as always para-phrased simplistically for easy consumption):

1. It is impolite, or something, to question the tone of a debate on a site like this.

2. In spite of it's international reach and free access, the tone of this site is well known to all of its users/readers so generalizations can be made with abandon and no caveats should be offered or requested because everybody knows what everybody else really means. Always.

3. 'Feminism' is a done deal in the West so the only people who are now allowed to refer to themselves as 'feminists' are harridans and harpys.

4. If you are called Steve you will be shamed by comparison with your similaraly named betters.

All of which I can accept. Or not.

Still no explanation, however, of how generalizations made by Thompson disciples are in any way different from those made by leftists who can generalize that all Conservatives are closet racists because some might be, or suggest that all bankers are greedy criminals because some have been found to be or, for that matter, those that ganeralize about 'Muslims' when they are actually referring to The Taliban, Al Shabaab or Islam.

It seems such a simple thing.

Steve

Splotchy,

My lawyer-lady wife chose to stop working full time when our daughter was born too. She still, however, considers herself to be a feminist of what, I suppose, might be viewed as the old-school. As such, she is as apalled by the antics of the modern feminists as I am. Oddly though (well, I think it's odd) she has no time at all for Thomas Sowell and refuses to accept any of the points made here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_sGn6PdmIo

She did study politics & economics at the LSE so that might explain it.

Anna

3. 'Feminism' is a done deal in the West so the only people who are now allowed to refer to themselves as 'feminists' are harridans and harpys.

Number 3 sounds about right, Steve. But it's not about being "allowed" anything. None of the women I work with, none of the women I know, none of my female relatives call themselves feminists. I think there's a reason for that. Or do you think women in the UK still need something called "feminism" and people called "feminists" to stand a chance of being happy, successful, etc.?

WTP

--is to note that the very vehement claim during that election was of Qualified And Commendable Candidate For High Office, One Heartbeat Away, Etc

Of course we then ended up with Joe Biden in that position. Not that this is relevant regarding Palin quitting governorship of Alaska, but bejesus! The man's a bumbling idiot. He makes Al Gore look like a Harvard graduate. He makes John Kerry look like a Yale man. Relative to Biden, Obama's some sort of professor of constitutional law. God help us.

Col. Milquetoast

Perhaps you have a different label for a father that wants the best for his daughter?
Steve,
argument over labels is a distraction from the argument of ideas. If you still looking for a less charged or chauvinistic label there is egalitarian. Or simply saying I support idea a,b, & c or are opposed to x.y, & z. While many people do associate feminism with anti-intellectual harridans and censorious harpies many also object to the suggestion that anyone who does not label themselves a feminist is opposed to egalitarianism.

David

If anyone’s having trouble with comments not appearing, email me and I’ll give the spam filter a good hard thrashing.

Steve

Anna,

"...Or do you think women in the UK still need something called "feminism" and people called "feminists" to stand a chance of being happy, successful, etc.?..."

I don't know. Some people like 'labels' others don't, I wouldn't presume to speak for them. My original point was that attacking all 'feminists' as man haters etc. seemed somewhat crude to me and would necessarily include many women that I know. I didn't expect the Spanish inquisition.

As far as it (feminism) being a done deal, I don't entirely agree. I can only assume, perhaps wrongly, that my council estate - crap Comprehensive school - 2nd rate poly - low payed profession leading to residence in un-fashionable / poor inner London area life experience means that the people around me are not as sophisticated as some contributors here. It is, however, relatively 'normal' and from this relatively 'normal' perspective it seems that old-fashioned attitudes have far from disappeared. In addition, some of the recent 'cultural enrichment' seems to be exerting a backwards trend.

Earlier I referred to attitudes prevelant on my building sites and that was batted away with a stereotypical assumption that that it's just builders that behave that way. That is not my experience. Factory workers, call centre workers, even bankers and lawyers, particularly when in large same sex groups, don't seem vastly different from the ones that I knew growing up (my father was a factory worker, then a bus conductor, then an oil rig worker, then did some plumbing so my main exposure to British male adults when growing up was mostly dominated by the burly working type). I certainly agree that the laws are all in place and things like wage gaps and quotas are more likely to be explained by career choices etc. made by women but I'm not sure that anyone can say the job is entirely done. As is often the case, it seems to me that, the assumptions of the middle and media classes don't remotely mach the experiences of ordinary people.

On the other hand you may live in Peckham, have no university educated friends and totally disagree. It's perfectly possible that it is my experiences that are the aberrant ones.

Steve

Col. Milquetoast,

"...argument over labels is a distraction from the argument of ideas..."

I agree, although the original point, and it was really my only point, was that when criticizing, quite vehemently by some, a particular group of people, the decent thing might be to accurately identify that group. It was not me who introduced the label 'feminist' I merely suggested that it was somewhat imprecise. Apparently that was terrible of me.

Steve

Anna,

By way of illustation that the job is not done...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10666129/Muslim-boys-school-bans-women-from-applying-for-job-as-science-teacher.html

That's multi-culturalism!

David

Steve,

I certainly agree that the laws are all in place and things like wage gaps and quotas are more likely to be explained by career choices etc. made by women but I’m not sure that anyone can say the job is entirely done.

I’m with Anna and dicentra on this. The expectations I have regarding women’s options in life are normative, institutionalised and enforced by law. In short, here in the developed world (outside of certain, unmentionable immigrant groups which reject those normative values), there doesn’t seem to be much of a mountain left to climb. Unless of course one favours ever more intrusive and authoritarian measures to purge whatever WrongThought™ remains in the minds of men. Sensitivity classes for oafish labourers working on building sites, maybe. Or compulsory gender quotas in every vocational and cultural sphere.

It’s hardly coincidental that so much of modern Western feminism (and identity politics generally) is entranced by “unconscious biases,” “phantom knapsacks of privilege” and a never-ending array of trivial, subjective or intangible concerns. The horror of cupcakes, the gendered barbecue, the feminist politics of toddler excrement. A couple of years ago I was told that a man’s surprised expression - seen once, years in the past - was damning evidence of The Patriarchy and therefore proof that “more must be done.”

Concerns of this kind, as illustrated here time and again, either can’t be policed, shouldn’t be policed, or could only be policed by the most egregious and overbearing measures. And so, as so often, the question is this: How much money, privacy and freedom do we sacrifice – or have taken from us - in order to fix whatever the latest issue, or imagined issue, is? How much is that elusive purity worth?

On the subject of which, this, by Theodore Dalrymple, seems relevant.

Steve

David,

My accountant, or rather his young book-keeper, was in here last week. She is a sweet white, fairly pretty girl in, I guess, her late twenties who comes from one of the areas of SE London that is believed to be inhabited almost exclusively by white knuckle-dragging racists. Last year she got married to her child-hood sweetheart.

Last week she seemed noticeably more cheerful than usual. We asked her why. It turned out that she recently left her childhood sweetheart, apparently a well-payed banker of some sort, having discovered that he had a secret second life involving copious amounts of drugs, booze and loose women. Apparently she had been tolerating his behaviour, absences extending to several days, late nights, drunken tantrums etc., under the impression that this behaviour was fairly normal. She, of course, was discouraged from going out, treated with constant suspicion and usually found herself home alone, literally fearful of the consequences of having her own life. As if that was not bad enough, her parents apparently are angry with her for 'giving up' on her marriage and still think he is wonderful. We have known her for about 3 years and had no clue that there was anything up until last week.

As far as I know she (my book-keeper) did not experience physical violence; it was all more about psychological domination, and I know her case is likely to be rare but I suspect it is more typical than many of us imagine.

With that in mind, this recently caught my eye http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-26340281

"...It says each year at least 1.2 million women and 784,000 men in Wales and England experience domestic violence..."

1.2 million possible reasons to disagree with Anna & Dicentra.

BTW I agree with all the other stuff. Did I not make that clear enough?

David

Steve,

1.2 million possible reasons to disagree with Anna & Dicentra.

Yes, thugs and morons walk among us, as they always will, and domestic violence still happens, in some places more than others, despite every man I know regarding it as brutish, cowardly and unacceptable. As, I imagine, does everyone here. There are also plenty of louts, philanderers and verminous scumbags. Such is the wonder of the human species.

Presumably you think more must be done beyond the laws and social censures that already exist. But what, exactly? If every man I know finds it appalling, and presumably most of the men known by most of the people here do too, what else would you suggest? What will feminist badge-wearing - by people who generally aren’t in favour of beating women anyway - do to change this?

dicentra

the feminists seemed fixated on her views on abortion.

She had the temerity to NOT abort a Down Syndrome baby, instead carrying him to term and calling him a blessing. That enraged them more than any other pro-life statement or position she could have taken.

As for the serial lawsuits, they weren't reported very prominently on this side of the pond, either. I still run into conservatives who think she was a quitter without knowing what drove her decision.

1.2 million possible reasons to disagree with Anna & Dicentra.

Steve, Steve, Steve.

Domestic violence isn't motivated by misogyny or sexism or any other "-ism" that is or may be identified. It has exactly zero to do with politics or "awareness" or Teh Patriarchy or anything like unto it. Domestic violence occurs because family relationships tap into the core of one's being and therefore are intense, intimate, personal, and wrenching even at their best. All of the emotional baggage that one may have acquired throughout life becomes manifest; the constant proximity of family means that all the frustrations escalate and often become physical. The desire to dominate is primal; the ability to compromise must be learned.

You can tout feminism all you want, but your understanding of what it can and cannot address strikes me as superficial and naive.

Steve

David,

"...Presumably you think more must be done beyond the laws and social censures that already exist..."

No I don't. Why would you think so? I was merely illustrating that, in spite of what you or anyone else might believe, there remain huge challenges for some women. I'm pretty sure that some violence is due to plain thuggery and equally sure that some comes out of misoginistic attitudes, either way if women want to identify as feminists because it gives them strength, or whatever, I can't see the harm.

dicentra

My original point was that attacking all 'feminists' as man haters etc. seemed somewhat crude to me and would necessarily include many women that I know.

You're getting hammered because nobody HAS BEEN attacking all feminists as man-haters. Not even by implication. And yet you keep arguing against an assertion that hasn't been made.

Over and over and over. You keep going back to the same thing, unable to shift gears, unable to say, "Oh, I guess I misunderstood what you guys were doing," unable to stop reasserting the false assumption on your part, unable to give it a rest.

David did not post a diatribe condemning the term "feminist" or saying that all feminists are man-haters. AS WITH ALL HIS POSTS he selected a specific instance of pretentious bollocks and tore it to shreds with his rapier wit. The rest of us followed suit. That's all.

Why did you take such a narrow, specific criticism of a specific instance of stupidity as an indictment against an incredibly broad concept?

I'll tell you why: your Aspie brain tends to fixate on a particular idea and its trajectory; when faced with the need to let go of it and take another tack, the Aspie brain balks.

There's nothing wrong with being an Aspie; just recognize that sometimes it gets the best of you. This is one of those times.

David

Steve,

Why would you think so?

Because it’s the implication of your comments. Your own words:

As far as it (feminism) being a done deal, I don’t entirely agree.

1.2 million possible reasons to disagree with Anna & Dicentra.

And again:

I certainly agree that the laws are all in place and things like wage gaps and quotas are more likely to be explained by career choices etc. made by women but I’m not sure that anyone can say the job is entirely done.

So… what job? What job is it that card-carrying feminists have yet to finish?

Henry

"...It says each year at least 1.2 million women and 784,000 men in Wales and England experience domestic violence..."

Steve, do you believe everything you read in the BBC? Or everything NICE says*? I wouldn't do either. You need to be very careful with these figures. Specifically, you need to:

1) look at how the counting is done (see points 2 & 3)
2) watch out for the definitions of domestic violence used in any research. Different definitions give very different figures.
3) read Murray Straus on how keen feminist are to get the 'right' figures. (or a PDF here if that link doesn't work)
4) read different views about how many men are affected by DV, and ask why these figures are rarely mentioned. Often they drop out of the story altogether.
5) See Erin Pizzey (the founder of the first DV shelter) talking about feminism and it's take on DV.
6) read a bit more about Pizzey's story. As much as you can. I think it's worth it. She comes across as an extraordinary person.
7) More along the same lines. From the Graun, I'm happy to say. It's short but, again, worth your time.

I'm a bit surprised that you've just accepted these figures as definitive and used them as a slogan. I mean these are statistics.

There is a huge amount of suppression of evidence and argument going on. A measure of DV that gives different results is the Conflict Tactics Scale. I don't know if it's better than the alternatives, but I do note that there has been, for example, a massive edit of the wiki article on CTS, leaving only criticisms of it, and deleting Straus' answers to them (also I think it falsely claims he never answered them). This is actually quite common on wiki.

Beware the figures. Beware the message.

Steve

David,

Oh I get it. Those comments can ONLY mean that I am for legislation as opposed to, for instance women being strong, proud, successful etc. on their own terms and demonstrating to the neanderthals, of which there are still plenty (not actual neanderthals, do I have to explain that too?), that it is possible to advocate for women without being a mental case.

Dicentra,

So expressing an opinion, spending an hour explaining and failing to cave to the first challenge is evidence of aspergers? Thanks Doc, I'll bear that in mind too.

Henry,

Thanks, I will certainly look into some of your suggestions, though I didn't mean to give the impression that I was presenting a set of irrefutable statistics. In the form of a slogan. My thinking, shallow and naive though it inevitably was, was that a figure as large as 1.2 M was big enough to have meaning even if it was 50% or 80% hogwash. I will read up on Erin Pizzey, thank you for the recommendation though I am already quite aware that men can also suffer domestic abuse. As an 18 year old I very nearly witnessed my father stab my mother with a kitchen knife when years of taunting by my her finally caused him to snap. For a moment I really thought he would do it and retain some residual shame that I watched from a safe distance and didn't instinctively throw myself in the way. Somewhat ironically the taunting started when my already fairly self-loathing father was fully emasculated by the guilt of hospitalizing my mother in a drunken rage. Gender aggression is indeed a two way street.

David

Steve,

Oh I get it. Those comments can ONLY mean that I am for legislation as opposed to, for instance women being strong, proud, successful etc. on their own terms

Well, I hope you’ll see how one might read what you’ve written and be unclear as to what it is you mean. We were talking about professing feminism, publicly, which generally implies some kind of urging and activism, which in turn tends to imply demands and reform. Something more than simply being in favour of “women being strong, proud, successful etc.,” which are sentiments shared by plenty of people who don’t regard themselves as feminists. Advocating for women, as you put it. Hence my question. I was asking what such demands and reform might be, given existing laws.

To return to an earlier point. Like Anna, I can’t think of any female friends or relatives who’ve used the word “feminist” as a serious self-description, as something they’d be happy to identify with. And the women I’m thinking of are hardly downtrodden flowers. One or two have used the term in an ironic or mocking way, either to acknowledge how quaint the word sounds to them or to denote the kinds of people mentioned here over the years – people who rail against the “patriarchy of capitalism,” or who demand gender quotas as unassailably just and essential for human progress. Or, as seen recently, people who are “shocked” to discover that some of their peers don’t find the “feminism” label either necessary or appealing. And maybe the reason the label seems quaint and unappealing has something to do with the kinds of personalities so often drawn to it.

Hal

"...It says each year at least 1.2 million women and 784,000 men in Wales and England experience domestic violence..."

Soo, and while noting Henry's comments on counting, we've got a statement claiming nearly two million reasons to address domestic violence . . .

Yes, there is a stated difference between the genders of some 460,000. Then again there are noted differences in genders, like size and resulting advantages on many occasions, among some possibilities, where the most important note is that the count of one gender ain't cancelling out the other.

While noting that the numbers are rather likely to have a degree of error, the total count is nearly two million . . . .

ftumch

@dicentra

"Oh, for the love of Pete, put on some PANTS."

I have followed your fashion advice, it works! I had to tie a couple of knots in them, otherwise they slip over my eyes, but hey.

Re: 1.2 million wimmins etc... Henry makes a very valid point, particularly as the British Crime Survey rules were changed after 1997... My argument goes like this: 1.2 million a year victims of DV, yet only two women a week are killed because of it; and that is the standard feminist response. 104 women a year, out of 1.2 million. That's 0.000087 %. Surely, if violence and hatred of women was so endemic, the numbers would be higher? What do you think? Bullshit or not?

@spoltchy
"In an interview with Betty Friedan, [Simone de] Beauvoir said: No, we don’t believe that any woman should have this choice. No woman should be authorised to stay at home to bring up her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one. It is a way of forcing women in a certain direction."

Feminists, like all left wing types, like all fascists... they don't do choice.

ftumch

I've been coming here for at least 5 years. It's the best, maybe. I do like Tim Worstall too.... anyways, I am feeling flush, I dropped you a donation to the Volcano Re-development Fund. May The Guild of Evil prosper!

Hal

. . . No woman should be authorised to stay at home to bring up her children. . . .

Heh!!!!!!!!!

Lesseee . . . . let's have a look a couple of different ways of seeing about getting things done, or not, as the circumstances call for. Let's cite one . . . someone not too hypothetical---the behavior is absolutely bloody familiar, but an actual person just isn't popping into mind at the moment---, and quite by contrast let's look at one fellow who immediately came to mind when I read that . . .

A)
Some . . . alleged adult, where a right wing extremist will say a union member, but this sort of crap is the individual choice and occurs in many situations and not merely among some union members . . .:

I'm not gonna do that, I'm not licensed for that, I don't have the wallpaper claiming a Uni degree from some diploma mill, that's not in my culture/race as perceived by someone else, that's not in my job description.

B)
Robert Heinlein:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

dicentra

So expressing an opinion, spending an hour explaining and failing to cave to the first challenge is evidence of aspergers? Thanks Doc, I'll bear that in mind too.

Yes, Steve. That's exactly what I meant. [/sarcasm]

Let's try this analogy:

I cannot play chess. My brain just does not go there. Any game that requires me to strategize — Freecell, Minesweeper, checkers — is a game that I will lose and lose spectacularly. If I win at all it's by accident, because I only look for the next obvious move. It's essentially a Kamikaze "strategy": make moves until I'm dead but make no effort to plan out moves to prolong my lifespan. Worse, if I'm dealing with someone else's strategy, I cannot anticipate what that other person might try beyond the next move, if that.

Let's imagine that you and I play chess and you easily win without losing a man. We reset the board, you make exactly the same moves as before, and I show no indication of having learned to defend myself. In fact, I don't seem to be taking your moves into account at all. As far as you can tell, I'm just making random moves without any evident strategy or plan. And again you win without losing a man.

Reset the board. Again you make the same moves and again I don't seem to be paying attention to what you're doing. Over and over we reset the board, over and over you make the same moves, and over and over I lose because I am not taking your moves into account nor am I employing any discernible strategy.

When you observe that I don't seem to understand chess, I protest, "So correctly moving chess pieces around the board all this time isn't playing chess? Gee, thanks Mr. Kasparov."

Would you or would you not conclude that I was missing the point by a country mile?

David

Maybe we’ll get further if we make this less, um, personal. Having re-read Steve’s comments, my impression is that, although he doesn’t want additional laws reflecting current feminist ambitions, he would, I think, like to see an end to the “old fashioned attitudes” he mentioned earlier. Attitudes found on some building sites and in “unfashionable inner city areas,” and among “factory workers, call centre workers… particularly when in large same-sex groups.”

Well, some attitudes change with the generations; some are pretty much eternal. Steve mentions “drunken tantrums,” boorish husbands and marriages that are, to say the least, disappointing. But the question remains. How would those “old-fashioned attitudes” be changed – by more than the passing of time or shifting demographics - without some kind of external force being exerted? How does one spare anyone else a disappointing marriage to a disloyal, drunken arsehole? And what might such measures entail? How might society ‘correct’ these personal shortcomings, and should it – we - even try? If, as Steve says, “the laws are all in place and things like wage gaps… are more likely to be explained by career choices etc., made by women,” which they are, what would someone calling themselves a feminist have us do? Or am I missing something?


ftumch,

I dropped you a donation to the Volcano Re-development Fund

Cheers, matey. And to all who’ve chipped in recently.

the future

David "Regarding Palin’s candidacy (and whatever one makes of her politics), the reactions to her from leftists, and noted feminists in particular, were often extraordinary. And, I think, telling."

Only one quibble: I don't think what they did was literally "extraordinary". It was in fact entirely normal for leftists. What they did was just one more step in persuading me that there not only is no decent left but cannot be a decent left.

pst314

"No, we don’t believe that any woman should have this choice. No woman should be authorised to stay at home to bring up her children."
--Simone de Beauvoir

She should have been reviled for advocating totalitarian tyranny, but instead she was virtually universally praised and admired by so-described feminists.

pst314

More on Simone de Beauvoir from Wikipedia:

"Beauvoir was known to have a number of female lovers. The nature of some of these relationships, some of which she began while working as a professor, later led to a biographical controversy. A former student, Bianca Lamblin (originally Bianca Bienenfeld), in her book, Mémoires d'une jeune fille dérangée, wrote that, while she was a student, she had been exploited by her teacher Beauvoir, who was in her thirties at the time. In 1943, Beauvoir was suspended from her teaching job, due to an accusation that she had, in 1939, seduced her 17-year-old lycee pupil Nathalie Sorokine. Sorokine's parents laid formal charges against Beauvoir for abducting a minor and as a result she had her licence to teach in France permanently revoked. She and Jean-Paul Sartre developed a pattern, which they called the “trio,” in which Beauvoir would seduce her students and then pass them on to Sartre."

Funny how so many "progressives", while claiming to be fighting for a better more humane world, turn out to be thoroughly vile, even monsters.

dicentra

Maybe we’ll get further if we make this less, um, personal.

It would seem that my particular brain defects got the best of me (though mine tend to be biochemical rather than structural). To the extent that my chess analogy was too aggressive or personal, I apologize.

As a humanities puke (technical writer) who works at a software firm, I run up against brain differences all day, only I'm the one who fundamentally misunderstands what's going on. I am continually told, "no, that's not it," and I have to stop, change gears, and try to grasp the conceptual paradigm that I totally missed the first time around. I also have to remember that my inability to think in their terms is not a failing on my part but just a difference. In fact, that difference pays the bills: I have to translate engineering stuff into a coherent narrative, something most engineers struggle with.

Likewise, Steve dropped into this thread and fundamentally misunderstood what was going on. His misunderstanding doesn't owe to malice or hubris but merely to a different way of thinking that is consistent with Asperger Syndrome.

I was HOPING to point out that whatever conflict that emerged wasn't that Steve disagreed, it was that he misinterpreted the intent of the thread, which would then lead to Steve stopping and rereading the thread in that light.

Having different brain structure isn't a character flaw, but it is useful to recognize it as the source of misunderstandings. Tends to defuse any rancor that builds up.

David

dicentra,

To the extent that my chess analogy was too aggressive or personal, I apologize.

Oh, there’s no need to apologise to me. I’m just wondering how best to get to the nub of the issue. I’m just not sure what it is a declaration of feminism is meant to achieve - practically, here, today - beyond the usual vanities and peer-group positioning.

Steve

David,

"...We were talking about professing feminism, publicly..."

You were initially, others seemed more broad in their condemnations. I gave you some examples earlier.

"...I can’t think of any female friends or relatives who’ve used the word “feminist”..."

I can't think of any friends or relatives that like to wear rubber or participate in military re-enactments but I have no trouble believing that there are people that do both.

With regard to the reasons for people identifyng themselves as femininst, or anything else for that matter, publicly or privately, there are many. Some that spring immediately to mind would include giving meaning, or, at least, the illusion of meaning to a sad, unfulfilled life, reaction to actual or perceived injustice, identification with a group, a cause or just another human being (I believe there's this thing called empathy) I could go on and I'm sure there are many more reasons that I couldn't think of if I sat here half the night.

I'm not sure of the precise reason why my wife identifies herself as a feminist but, as I mentioned earlier, I do know that, in spite of the fact that she is precisely one of those highly qualified women who chose to stop her career and become a mother, she is bizarrely unconvinced that the gender pay gap is caused, amongst other things, by women like her and still believes that there is a glass ceiling to be breached. (The LSE taught her well). She is not a feminist in any active way it's just a personal thing. In her defense, if she needs one, I don't think she does, you appear to think she does, her mother was/is a senior 'educationalist' and crazy old-school bra-burning feminist, her father was very senior at the CRE (commission for racial equality), her step-mother was a senior lecturer at a supposedly prestigious journalism school and her step-father is an environmental scientist. So that's a bloody lot of baggage to shake off. Perhaps it's just nostalgia?

People that you will probably know, most of whom, I imagine, you would, at least up to a point, respect & admire, and who happily label themselves feminists and / or women's rights campaigners include Joan Bakewell, Nonie Darwish, Raheel Raza (author of "Their Jihad... Not My Jihad"), Aung San Suu Kyi (recipient in, I think 2011, of The Feminist Majority Foundation's Eleanor Roosevelt Awards for Global Women's Rights), Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Nazanin Afshin-Jam, Alanis Morisette - this could go on a while too and I think I know which of those is likely not to meet your approval but, whatever else she may or may not have said or done 'you oughta know' is one of the finest slices of rage ever publicly aired and she deserves much respect for that alone). I can imagine young women wanting to identify with any one of those women. Can't you?

Dicentra,

Your chess comment didn't bother me at all. The fact that you think there is a strategy involved in minesweeper is so pitiful I just ended up wanting to hug you. The comment before was the nasty one. That whole 'noone here agrees with you so just shut up you look stupid' line of attack was indistinguishable from one of Laurie Penny's put downs. The thing is, when she does it she does at least usually have a fundamental philosophical disagreement with her 'opponent'. The whole idea of two professional writers piling into a casual commenter seems a bit rich too - I mostly do drawings for a living and am quite aware of my clumsy writing style and general inarticulacy. It really doesn't need mentioning. Your whole 'aspergers' obsession is total BS. I have a reasonably good friend with aspergers and he would laugh in your face at the suggestion (he is a very good litigation lawyer who works for a large firm but works from home because he can't stand to be around people and has very few friends.) My step father-in-law, the environmental scientist, is also aspie and actually has no friends. What you see that you think is aspergers would more accurately be described, in my totally unqualified opinion, as a form of torrettes which frequently prevents me from shutting the hell up, combined with a stubbornness which is sometimes really annoying to other people but has been vital to every bit of personal & professional progress that I have mustered, along with an almost complete lack of interest in the acceptance of strangers. Especially internet strangers. I'm not so stubborn that I can't change my mind when presented with facts though, and noone has still offered even the feeblest explanation of why generalizations made here about feminists are any different from... Asking the same question over & over is, believe me, as boring as reading it.

BTW people think Sarah Palin is stupud because she sounds stupid ("...The Dutch—they are known, and the Norwegians—they are known for dikes...") and most people can't be bothered, or just can't, look beyond that. Funny how you can see through her ridiculous baby-speak and still see an intelligent woman but assume, because I write badly I must be stupid. Perhaps you are a feminist after all.

David

Steve,

I can’t think of any friends or relatives that like to wear rubber or participate in military re-enactments but I have no trouble believing that there are people that do both.

Heh. I wasn’t doubting the existence of people who call themselves feminists here in the UK. I was trying to tease out what their reasons might be for calling themselves that, and what it is they might want to see changed in light of existing laws. You’ve now offered some possible explanations as to why some people might choose to define themselves in that way. Thanks.

I can imagine young women wanting to identify with any one of those women. Can’t you?

Possibly. Though I notice that most of the examples you mention, some of whom I do indeed regard as brave, aren’t particularly concerned with the travails of the typical woman here. I mean, women as a whole, not just members of certain immigrant groups, among which the normative values of the host culture are patchy at best. Four of those you mention are largely concerned with Islam and related depravities from the developing world. Which is sort of what I was getting at.

In parts of the world, including those that concern some of the people you mentioned, the term “patriarchy” can refer to obvious and objectionable things. However, when used closer to home, say, by leftist commentators and student activists, the term “patriarchy” is often used in ways that are wildly tendentious or simply laughable. In my experience, British feminists tend to be middle-class, university educated women with leftist inclinations – women whose concerns are often quite removed from those of women I know, who rarely fret about the gender ratios of academic gatherings, or whether toy trucks are sometimes shelved as “boy’s toys,” or the patriarchal something-or-other of celebrity tattle magazines. And what we’ve seen here many times is a tendency to inflate fairly trivial or made-up issues as if competing for victimhood with women in other countries whose basis for grievance may be rather more substantial.

I think this is now officially the longest thread we’ve ever had here. So. Cake for everyone.

[ Edited. ]

Steve

David,

I was going to leave that as the last word but, oh that bloody torrettes!

"...You’ve now offered some possible explanations..."

Since the level of insight in those 'explanations' was practically zero, I'm finding it hard to believe that someone as intelligent as you could consider any of it to be news. I'm still waiting for the hammer blow.

And on self-labelling, surely it can't be news to you either that some people, actually many, many people, do not have particularly high self-regard and, unable to fall back on identification as 'that guy who's a great writer', 'that bloke who designs beautiful homes' or 'that girl who thinks she's a geranium' attach labels to themselves to provide themselves with an off-the-shelf 'identity'. Feminist is one of those labels. (For me, it used to be 'punk', then 'indie-kid', then 'surfer').

"...I think this is now officially the longest thread..."

Yes, amazing how a question about whether the use of some different language could help reduce collateral damage and avoid scaring away uncertain newcomers could blow up into such a thing.

On a different, happier note, it seems Sarah Palin is a foreign policy genius after all...

http://order-order.com/2014/03/03/guy-news-palin-and-romney-were-right/

David

Steve,

I’m still waiting for the hammer blow.

It wasn’t a set-up. I was just curious.

Some people… attach labels to themselves to provide themselves with an off-the-shelf ‘identity’. Feminist is one of those labels. (For me, it used to be ‘punk’, then ‘indie-kid’, then ‘surfer’).

Heh. It’s funny you should say that. I briefly wondered whether to suggest that some people may self-identify as feminists in much the same way that some young people become goths. It’s not just me then?

Steve

"...It’s not just me then?..."

It rarely is.

Hal

It’s not just me then?

Oh, Hell no . . . . . not even close . .

Consider the masses of people who operate with the reasoning of I have or declare item X, therefore I am Clearly Description Y and to be seen by others as being as Description Y.

---I have a particular car, therefore I'm upper class. I'm a member of the NRA, therefore I shall be considered as something additional to someone who pays the dues and gets the magazine. I call myself cultured and sophisticated, therefore someone else is to think that too. I have clothing with some particular brand name on it so someone is to think and acknowledge some particular meaning. . . . Etc. As has been being noted this covers; I declare myself to be a feminist---or several other declarations---, and what this means to others is automatically known to all others, and they support me at all times regardless of probably having never met me or having any idea of what random thought wandered through my head this morning . . .

And then contrast that with I do/practice/believe that/Etc . . . and I see where that gets me . . .

---I read, therefore, after reading, I have read. I have some not so particular car, which I make use of, and am not particularly concerned with what someone else thinks of it. I ride a bike, because I find it convenient for me and am not concerned with those belonging to the evident faith of bike riders . . and so on . . .

Henry

And another thing....

Only joking. Actually my other half agrees with Steve about the baby and the bathwater. She may have babies, rather than bathwater, on her mind at present.

(or indeed, if I may say so, in her tummy)

Steve

Henry,

"...or indeed, if I may say so, in her tummy..."

Congratulations (I think) and thanks for that small voice of support.

Some words by people considerably wiser than me which seem appropriate:

"...Eternal vigilance is required and there have to be people who step up to the plate, who believe in liberty, and who are willing to fight for it." -- Milton Friedman

"Freedom is never an achieved state; like electricity, we've got to keep generating it or the lights go out." -- Wayne LaPierre

""... in every generation the idea of liberty must be reasserted by those with the vision to see through the fog, and rediscovered by the young and courageous." -- Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

And here's Ezra Levant speaking this weekend about his latest free speach trial http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WG9flxlWqxM . A few short years ago who would have seriously thought that this could happen in Canada in the 21st Century? If we can't take freedom from blasphemy laws for granted I'm not sure that we can take anything for granted.

Henry

Thanks, Steve. Yes that was an inebriated, perhaps inappropriately placed, and certainly very late mention of the thing that's filling up my thoughts at the mo.

Nice quotes. And yeah, it's been you vs several others in this thread, I noticed ;)

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