Feminism Schizm
March 30, 2004 5:13 PM   Subscribe

Women Lose When Feminists Bash "Men generally don't like to complain. A man will endure ridicule and abuse, and then move on with his life. But abuse him once too often, and he will vote with his feet. And one day, men woke up to the fact that marriage was a losing proposition. The math was hard to refute: Half of all marriages wind up in divorce. In 85% of cases, mothers gained custody of the children. And sometimes, bitter ex-wives would try to turn the children against their father, what psychologists call Parental Alienation Syndrome. In the face of such dismal odds, men decided to go on a Marriage Strike. "
posted by SpaceCadet (72 comments total)
 
"ifeminists"? Don't they mean "!feminists"?
posted by transona5 at 5:22 PM on March 30, 2004


Everyone knows all this but there's no use making an issue out of it. The generation that gave us these notions is just going to have to get old and die off (as Betty Frieden, bless 'er 'eart, is doing right now.)
posted by jfuller at 5:27 PM on March 30, 2004


The actual marriage strike website, BTW.
posted by shepd at 5:35 PM on March 30, 2004


i'm confused. how do women lose because men put off marriage? the article didn't say.
posted by lescour at 5:40 PM on March 30, 2004


We certainly know that men are not voting with their feet by leaving marriages. On the contrary, women are the ones that file for the majority of divorces. That oft-quoted claim that men's standard of living goes up after a divorce would seem that men prefer to be married because they are willing to bear a financial sacrifice by remaining married.

It is reasonable to argue that men find marriage less appealing, but the marriage rate is going down for women, as well. But what else is one supposed to think when a quick sampling of personal ads shows that the number of m4w ads dwarfs the number of w4m ads. It would seem that men are more interested in finding a mate than women are.

Danielle Crittenden blames feminists for the declining marriage rate because she claims that women are delaying marriage until their reach their late 20s and 30s. iFeminists blames feminists for the declining marriage rates because the author claims that feminists make men less interested in getting married. Which is it? I appreciate the sentiment that we should be worried that people have less interest in getting married, but could the anti-feminist peanut gallery please make up their mind about why?
posted by deanc at 5:43 PM on March 30, 2004


deanc: I have no idea what the real reason is (at most, I can very vaguely ascribe it to our changing social values, as I suspect the causes are many), but how are the two "anti-feminist" explanations you suggest mutually exclusive?
posted by Krrrlson at 5:50 PM on March 30, 2004


So all those divorces are because all women are feminists?

math was hard to refute: Half of all marriages wind up in divorce.

Which has absolutely no connection to the so-called 'bashing' of these so-called 'feminists'. People might be getting divorced because someone invested all their money in Enron and the financial difficulties put a strain on the relationship.

Must... stop.
posted by The God Complex at 5:50 PM on March 30, 2004


a quick sampling of personal ads shows that the number of m4w ads dwarfs the number of w4m ads. It would seem that men are more interested in finding a mate than women are.

No, it means women are less desperate than men.
posted by kindall at 5:55 PM on March 30, 2004


See also the Fox News iFeminists Archive. Not to imply anything in particular about iFeminists. I just report, you decide.
posted by 4easypayments at 6:00 PM on March 30, 2004


Oh you can find desperate women, you just gotta... Whoa. Never mind.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 6:01 PM on March 30, 2004


Shoddy research couched in a bizarre rant.
posted by squirrel at 6:03 PM on March 30, 2004


"ifeminists"? Don't they mean "!feminists"?

I got nothin'. I just wanted to say this was one of the more sublime renditions of mefi's "!=" meme.
posted by elwoodwiles at 6:32 PM on March 30, 2004


I'm all for ifeminism where it means real equality between men and women, but I find this article's contention that the right to abortion violates equal protection for men a bit hard to swallow:

History proves that when society scapegoats a group, curtailment of basic civil rights is likely to follow. And that's exactly what happened. Laws were passed that violated men's basic Constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection under the law.

In 1973, the Supreme Court granted women the sole legal right to abort an unborn child. . . ."


Last time I checked it wasn't men's bodies who were affected by pregnancy, but I will agree that any man who inserts the necessary reproductive stuff into his body and chooses to undergo a pregnancy should also have an equal right to abort that pregnancy.

SpaceCadet, your article quotes the same tired statistic that women get custody of their children 85% of the time following a divorce, while neglecting to note that this statistic is so high because men often don't contest custody. As the materials within this link show, when men do contest custody, they generally win around 50% of the time. The fact that this article cites the 85% without noting the reason why makes me wonder if it's slanted in other ways. And you also cite this 85% statistic in the excerpt you quote, which I find unsurprising, but misleading. Just sticking this in here for posterity -- I'm not going to give you the attention of arguing these statistics out with you for the fifteenth time and jacking up your thread comment count.
posted by onlyconnect at 6:39 PM on March 30, 2004


I wouldn't think of getting involved in any arguements on this subject--my ex wife would not allow that--but a lawyer explained to me that no matter what has changed over the years, we still cling to the silly old convention that a gentleman lets the woman file for divorce--it is the polite thing to do so that she does appear to have been discarded or rejected.
posted by Postroad at 6:55 PM on March 30, 2004


legal right to abort an unborn child

ah, that suspicious reluctance to use the word "fetus".
unless one of course thinks that these little guys are unborn children, too
posted by matteo at 7:07 PM on March 30, 2004


Last time I checked it wasn't men's bodies who were affected by pregnancy, but I will agree that any man who inserts the necessary reproductive stuff into his body and chooses to undergo a pregnancy should also have an equal right to abort that pregnancy.

Ok. So lets say a man and a woman build a house. As the man is strong and fit, he does almost all the work. As the woman is weak (not because she's a woman, she's just not strong) she just decorates the interior. They then live together in this house. One day the man gets angry at the woman and decides to burn the house to cinders. The woman runs out screaming and angry because now she has nowhere to live -- the man took away everything that was important in her life, and she had no say in the matter.

I must assume you're ok with this, since the man put 95% of the work into the job. However, the law would say this was wrong. Now do you see where men are getting with this? If a woman can take away all that is precious from a man, why can't the man do the same to the woman? That's where the lack of fairness comes in.

Now, unless the woman in question, when it comes to a pregnancy, is suffering from mental problems, or was forcably impregnated, she definately knew the contract she was signing up for (months of hard work and a responsibility to the father of the child), just as the man who built the house for himself and the woman knew.

Don't make this out to be a "I'm just a container and therefore can do whatever I like with my contents" issue. Otherwise, we'd just stick unwanted children in tupperware and throw them away.
posted by shepd at 8:02 PM on March 30, 2004


In the face of such dismal odds, men decided to go on a Marriage Strike. "

Why not? "Men" have always been on a "Housework Strike."
posted by soyjoy at 8:03 PM on March 30, 2004


I find this article's contention that the right to abortion violates equal protection for men a bit hard to swallow

I think the article is just pointing out the descent of feminist law-making, from a good decision that achieved equality, to laws that actually were unfair to men. It's not saying that Roe v. Wade was a bad thing. That would be a not-so-feminist argument.
posted by Dasein at 8:04 PM on March 30, 2004


unless one of course thinks that these little guys are unborn children, too

Sure, if you want to argue from extremes, I'd just say they're dead children, being that they're missing most of their genes.

It's always been pretty legal to do just about anything to dead people if they don't have a will and you're family, otherwise people wouldn't get far doing cremation. I don't see anyone arguing any different.
posted by shepd at 8:04 PM on March 30, 2004


"that all-purpose epithet "male chauvinist pig" made its first appearance right around that time. .....From there it only got worse. By the 1970s, feminists had lapsed into an orgy of male-bashing.......

But it was husbands and fathers who were targeted for the vilest attacks."
- Whatwhatwhat? Is an essay submitted to a shit shovelling competition? A propaganda-fest?

If the author's case be true, I must have slipped, quite recently, through a random wormhole, from my own reality, into this, a parallel universe to mine which is both eerily similar and very different as well.

I say this for the fact that - in the "liberal" reality I grew up in, in my family and the families of my friends - those supposedly poor, abused, maligned fathers who were ostensibly the subject of such utterly vile attacks by feminists were (to my current knowledge) :

Sexually abusing their children ( one, maybe 2 households I now know of )

Beating their wives and children......several cases of this.

Going off on journeys of personal self discovery ( wife and children notwithstanding ).

Having an affair with the church secretary and divorcing the wife to remarry the newer, younger woman. ( two cases )

Drinking heavily ( hard liquor ) to alleviate the stress of the professional world's job demands......like the nuclear targeting of cities in the ex-Soviet Union (hey, the reds were targeting the US as well).


I'm sure I can come up with a LOT more if I ponder it for a bit...

Oh yeah. There was that teacher at my high school who had invented an entire fake military career for himself, as a Green Beret in Vietnam. He got busted with a backpack of pornographic pictures of children while trying to lure pre-teen boys into his car so that they could "meet the pumpkin man" ( a true story, look it up .....)

Hmmm. I'll have to ponder some more -

I'm racking my brains for some recollection of those poor louts whose lives were devastated by the vilest attacks of feminism.

Oh yeah. There was the guy who had worked with the CIA in 'Nam. He was not proud of what his country did there, nor did he victimize the helpless and powerless - a good man. Agent Orange really screwed him up. Damn! - Nothing to do with feminism there.

None of these men were criminals - at the time in the eyes of the law, that is - and some of them did a considerable amount of good in there lives as well.

Also, here and there, were good, upstanding, hardworking men who did well by their loved ones and families.

But I would hesitate to call all but a handful of these men victims, and many, if anything, were clearly victimizers.

____________________________________________

Now - a word from our sponsors, then back to your scheduled Fox agitprop channel.






posted by troutfishing at 8:29 PM on March 30, 2004


"What women perceive as a "fear of commitment" is really nothing more than a pragmatic assessment of the odds facing men in the prospect of a marriage. "

Guilty as charged.

Why not? "Men" have always been on a "Housework Strike."

This comment, if even half-serious, is as lame as the Dodge billboards in my neighborhood that advertise a minivan that "does more work than most husbands".
posted by vito90 at 8:33 PM on March 30, 2004


While I am very, very pro-choice, I do think there is something fundamentally unfair when it comes to the abortion decision. The best solution I have heard to the issue is the idea of providing a legal (as in de juris) abortion option to men. That would give a man the option to (irrevocably) give up all his custody rights, as well as his child support obligations. The woman could then decide whether or not to have the baby.

In the current situation if the woman wants the child and the man does not - he will be forced to give up about 4.5 years of salary. If the man wants the child and the woman does not, the man has no recourse at all. With the option above, neither side can coerce the other into giving up part of their life.

This is a playing field in need of levelling, whether or not you can equate 9 months of pregnancy to 4 and a half years of labor.
posted by bashos_frog at 8:46 PM on March 30, 2004


troutfishing: So, does being a feminist of the female variety mean you are fundamentally incapable of cheating on your spouse, walking away from your family, or being an alcoholic?

Or did you just never hear of a woman doing any of those things? And if women do those things too, then what is your point? As far as physical and sexual abuse goes, there are definitely more men than women guilty of that, but I fail to see how that is related to their gender rather than their psychological make-up. I have never laid a hand on my wife in anger, but she hit me with a frying pan once. I'm pretty sure she was trying to do damage, but I am a man with a hard head, and she is rather lacking in upper body strength. If I had hit her with a proportional blow, I would have most likely killed her. My point is the only thing holding a lot of women back from being just as bad abusers as men is the lack of physical strength - the attitudes are all there already.

And no, I did not report it (nor even think of doing so), I don't remember what I did to deserve it (something trivial probably), and our relationship has improved immeasurably since then.
posted by bashos_frog at 8:58 PM on March 30, 2004


Also - I've spent my time hanging out with those hordes of feminist male-bashers, the feminists who - I guess - must have had, secretly, something like at least part time jobs..........launching fusillades of the vilest attacks against long-suffering American fatherhood.

Funny thing though - since I am a man : I never noticed these vile volleys, and such were never flung my way.

No, in fact the feminists I knew/know tended to be soft spoken and mild. They tended to see the demonization of whole societal groups as ugly and counterproductive - and those of them (many of them, in fact) who have been on the shit end of the life's stick tend to be much more tolerant and compassionate for their experiences.

Sure, there were - and still are in many places - excesses of feminist ideologues ( mostly at universities ) carried in feminism's name but these amount to, mostly, an irritating sideshow to the larger struggles of most American feminists who - unlike doctrinal campaigns waged from academia which pronounce penises to be the root of all human evil - are concerned, instead, with bread-and butter issues - equal wages for equal work, career advancement despite still pervsasive "boy's clubs", access to birth control, the wellbeing of the poor, especially poor children.......

_____________________________________________

This straw feminazi of Carey Roberts' - it's falling to pieces. Infested with termites which eat those grassy ballbusting sinews and blunt angular hips of of hay and excrete noxiously smelly gasses, it topples over and rots in it's own stinking rhetoric.
posted by troutfishing at 9:04 PM on March 30, 2004


I consider myself a feminist, but when I was working with a woman who unironically relabelled her portable music player a "Walkperson" (with labelling tape), I got to know what some of these guys on the other side are talking about.
She also delighted in displaying her unshaved armpits at meetings with staff and clients (sleeveless tops were OK at our company). She told me she liked the psychological reaction she got when she clasped her hands behind her head and leaned back. So, while the majority of feminists (I hope) are reasonable people, there is much stridency out there which turns off people like me who basically start out with 100% agreement on principles.
posted by bashos_frog at 9:18 PM on March 30, 2004


For the record, I've not heard much husband or father bashing either.
________________________________________________________

But I do like Chris Rock's joke where he talks about how Dad and the kids often thank Mom for making a nice dinner, but nobody ever seems to thank Dad for working to pay the rent, or keep the lights on.

As the sole breadwinner in my house (until recently when my wife started a part time job) I can relate.
posted by bashos_frog at 9:26 PM on March 30, 2004


"So, does being a feminist of the female variety mean you are fundamentally incapable of cheating on your spouse, walking away from your family, or being an alcoholic? .....Or did you just never hear of a woman doing any of those things?" -

Of course not. Don't be silly. Women can be nasty and violent too. I'm not trying here to put 50% of humanity on a pedestal although - I'd have to say - women do seem less predisposed towards violent, atavistic approaches than are men. Women tend to prefer to mediate conflicts through language rather than by recourse to violence. Men prefer to chop one another up into bits or - at least - to pummel each other with their fists. It's a question merely of tactics, I suppose : still, I think I'd sooner entrust a female than a male with the launch sequence code for a nuclear strike force.

But my point there in my last comment - at least - was that very few of the men and fathers I knew in the '70s were either obviously wincing under, or withstanding those "vilest attacks" of feminists.

I grew up, I suppose, in the very bosom of American liberalism - so I should have seen this vile attack on men and fathers from close up.

Not.

The men tended, indeed, to be in the driver's seat. Women of the period, as far as I could see, "acted out" and victimized others far less than did men and fathers - who, even in my small field of vision, exhibited an awful lot of willful and sometimes hair-raising behavior.

Roberts - in contrast - paints men and fathers as long suffering victims.

Of course it's not all that simple, and this picture of mine may now have been changing for several decades - with women growing bolder and more accustomed to acting as aggressors.
posted by troutfishing at 9:35 PM on March 30, 2004


For an interesting look at women's aggression (and why it is not as visible as men's), this book is good.
posted by bashos_frog at 9:44 PM on March 30, 2004


Apparently an "iFeminist" is what normal folks refer to as a "man." Carey Roberts, the author, is a 2,000 year-old dude.
posted by subgenius at 9:47 PM on March 30, 2004


I think I'd sooner entrust a female than a male with the launch sequence code for a nuclear strike force.

A non-pedestal way of putting it would echo what Robert McNamara says in Fog of War. He said that power shouldn't be given to one man - say, the president, or a leader of any particular country, for that matter. I'd say it shouldn't be solely granted to any individual, gender be damned.
posted by raysmj at 9:51 PM on March 30, 2004


But I do like Chris Rock's joke where he talks about how Dad and the kids often thank Mom for making a nice dinner, but nobody ever seems to thank Dad for working to pay the rent, or keep the lights on.

Earning money as a sign of power and prestige is valued as fundamentally more important than the typical "female" role in society, which is probably why it's nice to show your respect and make it known that you appreciate both sides of the spectrum equally and don't simply think your mother/girlfriend/wife made dinner because it's what women do.

Note: I'm in no way suggesting that women should be relegated to the kitchen, only that it's traditionally been their role and they haven't received the proper respect for the hard work they do.
posted by The God Complex at 9:51 PM on March 30, 2004


bashos_frog - I'd say that we all (all us humans, that is) took a wrong turn when we abandoned the tribal way of life - which allowed for dramatically more flexible child rearing methods.

The male/breadwinner female/wife-mother model can be unfair to men, sure. But it can be unfair to women as well or - more likely - to both sexes and to the kids as well.

Both my parents worked, except.........my mom worked, tended to the kids AND cooked dinner!

My wife's parents both worked too. Neither cooked. All they did was serve frozen dinners or KFC. Until my wife's father got laid off from his engineering job at Pratt and Whitney, that is (replaced by A computer). Then, he was a stay-at-home dad until he got a brain tumor and died.

Few families conform to the old male/breadwinner female/wife-mother model any more.
____________________________________________

Meanwhile - it's a good thing that frying pan didn't dent your head too much. Only as much as necessary, maybe?


"She also delighted in displaying her unshaved armpits at meetings with staff and clients (sleeveless tops were OK at our company). She told me she liked the psychological reaction she got when she clasped her hands behind her head and leaned back." - I find this funny - and different, maybe, from the "WalkPerson" linguistic PC* - I've been with a number of women who didn't shave their legs or armpits. It didn't bother me at all! They were still very women, very much so.

*Do aboriginal peoples listen to WalkaboutPersons?
posted by troutfishing at 9:52 PM on March 30, 2004


It was a bash. It was a feminist bash.

ballbusting bash.

They burned their bras in a flash.

It was a bash

God's teeth on high then did gnash.

while smoking hash

Abortion, on demand, for cash!

A great big bash

[ Our Christian values they would smash. ]

Awooooo!........ (apologies in advance to the offended)
posted by troutfishing at 10:14 PM on March 30, 2004


If men like the author of this screed don't want to get married, all the better, I say... they are muddying up the gene pool.

I fail to see how this equates to women losing anything.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:09 PM on March 30, 2004


I'm not sure the author of this screed is physically capable of muddying up the gene pool, although I've heard the modern science does wonderful things for incredibly decrepid, embittered old folks. If he's going to end his "marriage strike" any time soon, he'd better consult with a physician, to ensure his ticker will survive the experience.
posted by subgenius at 11:41 PM on March 30, 2004


For an interesting look at women's aggression (and why it is not as visible as men's), this book is good.

i haven't read the book mind you, but i do have some feelings on the topic.

i am a woman and i do know about the kinds of interactions that Chesler discusses. yes, some women are particularly cruel to one another (at times) and yes, it is much harder (for most men) to see.

however - i don't think that because those symptoms can be seen and written about that it automatically becomes any sort of indicator of women’s "true nature". considering the long and excruciating tale of the role of women within the patriarchal framework - and the relatively short period of time that we've been "liberated" - there is bound to be a bit of a learning curve. women haven’t had very many examples from the world of males to use as good models of power sharing. and we’ve significantly disconnected much of our earlier connectedness, like troutfishing said, as we’ve abandoned our tribal or communal ways of life for more isolation and competition – which leads to all sorts of weird mutations. it’s like unlearning everything you’ve been impressed with for your entire life and remembering new/old ways of relating to one another.

as to the larger question at hand - i think subgenius has it all figured out. the writer is as ancient in his years as he is his thinking, and check out his list of hobbies: In his spare time he admires Norman Rockwell paintings, collects antiques, and is an avid soccer fan. It also says he was a professor of psychology.

now, i'm no professor of psychology – and i have no idea how soccer fits into this whole thing - but he seems like an open and shut case to me from the brief bit we've just come to know about him from his article and his bio. 1. he thinks feminism is a raw deal for men. 2. he admires Norman Rockwell paintings and antiques.

what this says to me and my armchair psychologizing is that he is extremely egocentric and capable only of seeing his (or the male) loss or gain. he doesn't have the capacity to have empathy or sensitivity to process the complexity of things not stemming directly from his own body or agenda. he longs for the past, the way things used to be, before women got to talk back and got to thinking that they could do what men could do "or better" as he would say. this threatens his sense of power and agency in his world. therefore, any behavior by a woman that he does not particularly feel benefits him or his way of life is immediately attacked and likened to monsters or demons.

if you need a perfectly good contemporary explanation of the fact that those who have power and have had it for a long long time and won't easily concede it - see GWB and team. these purportedly victimized men are feeling the pains of change. it is hard. it doesn't feel good to give up power. it makes you feel vulnerable and imperfect and extremely out of control.

the biggest part of the equation that he's missing is that feminism, when practiced and lived from an egalitarian, sustainable, and non-violent position, doesn't have any need for "power". more or less power is completely irrelevant.
posted by nyoki at 11:50 PM on March 30, 2004


troutfishing, you make lovin' fun.
posted by squirrel at 11:54 PM on March 30, 2004


The source material for the claims in this screed --
State Of Our Unions 2002
-- is actually pretty well reasoned. If young men rationally judge marriage along the lines discussed in that post, and older men rationally judge marriage economically, there ain't many left to get married.

Anyone here watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? (No spoilers.) My original reaction was how amazing it was that it took a sci-fi concept to allow a romantic comedy to star fundamentally flawed people. Over time, I'm sort of realizing -- what an astonishing dependence on desperate denial of rationality characterizes the American model of romance...

Still a beautiful movie.

--Dan
posted by effugas at 12:01 AM on March 31, 2004


nyoki--

Your qualified form of feminism -- "egalitarian, sustainable, and non-violent" -- does sort of bode badly for anything not so peacefully described...
posted by effugas at 12:58 AM on March 31, 2004


Instead, pass on those women's magazines that pound the constant drumbeat of domestic violence. [...] And skip the local presentation of that awful play, The Vagina Monologues.
Uhm, well, any girl that's going to marry me should probably be, I dunno, against domestic violence, you know, because it's evil and stuff. And uh, it'd be nice if you weren't shy with your vagina. I'm jus' sayin'.
posted by Skwirl at 1:03 AM on March 31, 2004


nyoki:i don't think that because those symptoms can be seen and written about that it automatically becomes any sort of indicator of women’s "true nature". considering the long and excruciating tale of the role of women within the patriarchal framework - and the relatively short period of time that we've been "liberated"

Men had to to hunt and kill and war for thousands of years, to provide for and preserve and protect their tribes and families. We've only been 'civilized' (in the modern sense) for a brief time. So any symptoms of aggression and violence in men are also not any indicator of our true nature.

Right?

Basically, I believe that human beings are mostly savages under the skin, and that any pretense we have to enlightenment will quickly vanish when the resources get scarce. This goes equally for both sexes. For every Hannibal, or Attila, there is a Boudicca, or a
posted by bashos_frog at 1:39 AM on March 31, 2004


Margaret Thatcher?
posted by Grangousier at 1:42 AM on March 31, 2004


oops.
I meant to google for the name of that Chinese empress who had her husband's concubines' arms and legs amputated and then had them sealed to the neck in large clay jars, to rot in their own filth. But she is in no way indicative of the lengths some women will go to in besting a rival.
posted by bashos_frog at 1:43 AM on March 31, 2004


But Thatcher is a good example, too.
posted by bashos_frog at 1:43 AM on March 31, 2004


Meanwhile - it's a good thing that frying pan didn't dent your head too much. Only as much as necessary, maybe? [emph. added]
Darn tootin', troutfishing. He was asking for it!
posted by rocketpup at 1:48 AM on March 31, 2004


Feminism is alot like Christianity. The kooks have convinced everyone that kooks know best what Feminism and Christianity stand for.

Feminism is not about killing unborn children. Feminism is not about denying rights to men. Feminism is not about labeling men "victimizers" even when they commit crimes against women. Criminals are not having a good time. Being a criminal is not cool, and is largely a result of nurture, not nature.

Now, I could just be another kook, but hey, Feminism and Christianity are big enough for everyone.
posted by ewkpates at 5:51 AM on March 31, 2004


People are getting married less, and later when they do, not because of aversion to marriage, but because of the increasing acceptability of cohabitation.

Cohabitation without children has been normalized up and down the social ladder. Marriage is still required to have children if you aspire to respectability, but many people are delaying children, or don't care about respectability anyway.

As for divorce, women are the filers more often than men because wives depend far more on husbands support, and are far more vulnerably to husbandly neglect or abuse, than husbands are of their wives. A wife with a bad husband needs to cut her losses as quickly as possible. A husband with a bad wife can string out the situation without nearly as much risk or cost.

I don't see any of the foregoing factors as being primary results of feminism.
posted by MattD at 5:54 AM on March 31, 2004


"....Men had to to hunt and kill and war for thousands of years, to provide for and preserve and protect their tribes and families. We've only been 'civilized' (in the modern sense) for a brief time" Are we civilized now? Bashos_Frog - Have you ever read any Rianne Eisler? (The Chalice and the Blade) Hunting - for meat - and local conflicts are very different from organized warfare - this seems to have come about, in known human history, from a specific cultural innovation which arose when nomadic peoples from the Asian steppe regions learned to domesticate horses and turned metallurgical techniques (learned from the mostly peaceable, semi-matriarchal farming cultures of Old Europe) towards the development of weaponry - superior swords, and axes. ( Warfare certainly arose, independently and for the same reasons, in other regions isolated from the Eurasian landmass. - such developments may have been driven, in part, by naturally occurring climate change which displaced human populations. )

What a cultural "innovation" ! So obvious ! and so inevitable, maybe : making a living by the sword, robbery, through violence... The waves of raiding and invasion which radiated out from Asia, some seven or eight thousand years ago, gradually forced once mostly peaceable cultures into adaptive, reactive militarization and this, in turn, set off an arms race which has continued mostly unabated up to our present day.

Crete - the last holdout of the sexually cooperative, semi-matriarchal cultures of Old Europe, was overrun - by those warring cultures which worshipped sky Gods and practiced warfare as a vocation - nearly 2,000 years before the birth of Christ.

"....I believe that human beings are mostly savages under the skin, and that any pretense we have to enlightenment will quickly vanish when the resources get scarce." - Well, most creatures tend to resort to desperate measures in desperate times but does this make them "savage"? I suppose it does. But desperate times such as the current population "overgrowth" the human species is undergoing* don't happen very often.

Yet, from what I've read, it can be strongly inferred (if it hasn't been proven already) that humans have a balance of both aggressive and altruistic instincts. We can be violent, and we can be cooperative - in close to equal measures.

But - with our development of "Weapons of Mass Destruction" - I say that we'd better learn to sublimate our aggressive instincts and elevate our cooperative ones.......SOON.

*That's how a population biologist would describe it - the current human population spike resembles the sort population bulge in animal species which occurs from a temporary predator/prey imbalance and results, inevitably, in a population crash as food resources are depleted. 'Course, we have these damn big brains. We oughta' be able to think our way out of this this one...
posted by troutfishing at 5:54 AM on March 31, 2004


rocketpup - I think that frying pan, as wielded by Bashos_Frog's enraged honey, is a good example of an equalizer.
posted by troutfishing at 5:57 AM on March 31, 2004


As a victim of PAS, and as a man who's survived a divorce, I thought some of the tone was rather strident, but the points were well taken. What ARE the incentives for a man to get married in this day and age?
posted by darren at 6:40 AM on March 31, 2004


Like, uh, love? Like, you know, liking someone more than you like money or something?
posted by ewkpates at 6:45 AM on March 31, 2004


"'m not trying here to put 50% of humanity on a pedestal although - I'd have to say - women do seem less predisposed towards violent, atavistic approaches than are men. Women tend to prefer to mediate conflicts through language rather than by recourse to violence."

According to the Department of Justice, 1999 statistics, mothers are responsible for 65% of the child abuse that occurs - more than fathers, step-fathers, and boyfriends (and everyone else, grandma, brothers, sisters, and strangers, etc. for that matter) combined. But they're not violent. Same statistics point out that while apprx. 1.4 million women experienced domestic assault by their male partners, so did almost 900,000 men - by their wives. But women aren't violent.

If that were true, DV rates in lesbian relationships would be ZERO! And golly, they're about equal with the rest of society. But don't worry. I'm sure someone can find a way to blame this on men.
posted by hurkle at 7:12 AM on March 31, 2004


troutfishing - Equalizer? I don't recall bashos_frog stating that he had been physically assaulting his enraged honey.

Why is it that swinging frying pans or chucking crockery seems 'cute?' It's all violence, no matter who's attacking and who's being attacked. The smallest woman could kill the largest man through either technique if she hits him just so.
posted by rocketpup at 7:16 AM on March 31, 2004


The issue can be explained in the biological needs of marriage, which are different for males and females.

Males want a female that will have his genetic offspring. For a male, marriage is a "monogamy agreement"--for which the concept of "adultery", and punishment for adultery OF THE FEMALE is essential. If marriage cannot help guarantee that his offspring are HIS, then it has little value to HIM.

But females have two different prerogatives: the first is to have offspring with the most desirable male DNA. The second is to have a male to help provide for the raising of offspring. In the majority of cases, with a large available supply of males about, the two are unlikely to be the same male.
In addition, marriage for a female is a "monogamy agreement" ONLY so far as insuring the greatest provision for her offspring. For her, the concept of "adultery" in marriage is to prevent dilution of marital assets, so THE MALE should be punished by losing his assets.

If you look at these two axioms first, you can project how other factors, mostly social factors, branch out from them.
posted by kablam at 7:18 AM on March 31, 2004


"2. he admires Norman Rockwell paintings and antiques."

What's wrong with Norman Rockwell? Just wondering...

And rocketpup and troutfishing...

I'm sure that if I slapped my wife, it would just as amusing for me to say "She deserved it!" Right? And you'd be all happy and laughing along with me, because after all, if women hitting men is okay, men hitting women must be okay with you as well.

Funny how your phrase "He was asking for it" sounds an AWFUL lot like rape justification: "She was asking for it".

But what do I know? I'm a man.
posted by hurkle at 7:21 AM on March 31, 2004


hurkle - Thanks for making my exact point without the use of sarcasm. Glad you noted the similarity with rape justification. Shows I haven't lost my touch.
posted by rocketpup at 7:25 AM on March 31, 2004


According to the Department of Justice, 1999 statistics, mothers are responsible for 65% of the child abuse that occurs - more than fathers, step-fathers, and boyfriends (and everyone else, grandma, brothers, sisters, and strangers, etc. for that matter) combined. But they're not violent. Same statistics point out that while apprx. 1.4 million women experienced domestic assault by their male partners, so did almost 900,000 men - by their wives. But women aren't violent.

Feel free to ignore what I am about to say because I can't be bothered right now to google for back-up.

Once every decade or so I hear a story where a woman has killed all her children. Once a month, at least, there is a story in the local papers where a man has killed his wife/ex-wife/girlfriend and all the children. Why do men do this!??!! It happens all the time around here.

And that analogy about man and woman building the house and it burning down is pretty crappy. A closer analogy would be more like a man and a woman pool their resources and get enough scrap material together to start a house. But the man has to come up with the rest of the building material and do all the building himself AND carry the house around on his back for 9 months which interferes with his job AND after the house is put on the ground he asks the woman to help maintain the house, but he is responsible for about 85% of the feeding and care of the house because after all he doesn't have a job right now and the woman has to get up and go to her job in the morning leaving the man home alone with the house. After a while, the man does go back to work, but when the house develops a problem with leaky plumbing, the man has to take off from work to let the plumber in. And soon he has used up all his sick time so when he comes down with the flu he has to drag himself into work. And this goes on for 18 years, long after the woman has decided to go build a house with a younger, prettier man.

So you can imagine that sometimes, thinking of the future and not really sure if the woman will even be around to help out at all, the man decides to burn down the house right in the beginning.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:43 AM on March 31, 2004


"Once every decade or so I hear a story where a woman has killed all her children. Once a month, at least, there is a story in the local papers where a man has killed his wife/ex-wife/girlfriend and all the children. Why do men do this!??!! It happens all the time around here."

It's a good thing your personal experience is way more meaningful than statistical data collected by the government, otherwise we might believe that both men and women are violent at times.

Try searching right now for mother's killing their children; it's easy...

One

Two

Three (despite rocks has no relation to the "Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them" controversy)

Four
posted by hurkle at 9:12 AM on March 31, 2004


I know lots of men who like to complain.
posted by Hildegarde at 10:01 AM on March 31, 2004


According to the Department of Justice, 1999 statistics, mothers are responsible for 65% of the child abuse that occurs - more than fathers, step-fathers, and boyfriends (and everyone else, grandma, brothers, sisters, and strangers, etc. for that matter) combined. But they're not violent. Same statistics point out that while apprx. 1.4 million women experienced domestic assault by their male partners, so did almost 900,000 men - by their wives. But women aren't violent.

well - i think it would be better said that this indicated that "people" under our current cultural situation are violent. i am not arguing that women are above cultural influences just because they are women and somehow exempt from violent behavior. men are just as prone. it's an equal opportunity symptom of a larger more complicated problem with our CULTURE and not a specific gender.

"2. he admires Norman Rockwell paintings and antiques."
What's wrong with Norman Rockwell? Just wondering...


there is nothing inherently wrong with Norman Rockwell or his paintings. they are something he obviously feels strongly about because he listed only three things as his interests and they were the first thing on the list. that coupled with his ideology from the article presents a possible framework for his innerworld.

normal rockwell paintings evoke an idealized "this is the way life should be" sort of happiness of the white picket fence variety. they're very happy and positive - but they are extremely nostalgic for the good old days where families were "traditional".
posted by nyoki at 10:10 AM on March 31, 2004


But what do I know? I'm a man.

hurkle - this is an interesting position. why do you feel it necessary to throw up your hands like this during a discussion? it's a divisive tactic that lots of men use when engaged in debate about gender. it's as if any, and i mean any, criticism is being somehow personally leveled at you. you do know things. you are a human being with opinions and that's what we're here talking about. i don't think it helps further understanding to fall back on such old stereotypes.
posted by nyoki at 10:20 AM on March 31, 2004


nyoki: I think it's because a grand total of 2 people, rocketpup and hurkle himself, bothered to call troutfishing on his sexism and lauding of domestic violence. If Bashos_Frog was a woman, talking about being hit with a heavy object by her husband and not being permanently hurt based on luck alone, or hell, even if he was a someone of unspecified gender being hit by a stranger, would people be ignoring someone who was essentially saying, "Good thing she didn't have to tell you twice!" and "'Course she had to use a frying pan! Wouldn't get through his skull otherwise?"

If the (valid) critiques of the article and ifemenist website are coupled with things like "Of course men are more violent then women, my anecdotal evidence proves it!" and the intellectual equivalent of "Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them," then I don't think getting frustrated at the discourse is a "divisive tactic." (It might be in some cases, but not this one.)
posted by Snyder at 11:18 AM on March 31, 2004


The issue can be explained in the biological needs of marriage...

If the species was still scraping away a living in the desert and on the verge of extinction, you argument might have some relevance.
posted by badstone at 11:27 AM on March 31, 2004


If remaining single is supposed to be some kind of punishment for possesing a brain and a spine and for using both, then bring it on.

Meh. *stretches out luxuriously in nice big bed*
posted by jokeefe at 12:13 PM on March 31, 2004


Norman Rockwell wasn't Mr. Anti-Change, necessarily. I find his stuff mostly overdone and kitschy, but ... Also, he was said to have held very liberal political beliefs.
posted by raysmj at 1:19 PM on March 31, 2004


Oh - this one's probably more relevant to the discussion at hand.
posted by raysmj at 1:36 PM on March 31, 2004


then I don't think getting frustrated at the discourse is a "divisive tactic."

well - i agree with most of what you said Snyder - but i still think it's a silly thing to have said. they were both arguing with anecdotal evidence coming from different positions and it's the oldest cheapest conversation stopper in the book.

the thing that i have the hardest time with is that, while it isn't perhaps the most flattering or even the best example, the frying pan situation is one that can describe the absolute difficulty in holding discussions about gender and issues of power, especially between two men who disagree about two totally separate things.

troutfishing, and i'm only going to interpret from my opinion, was making light of situation in that perhaps hurkle needs to have a realignment of his thinking - which might have been accelerated by a reshaping of his skull. kidding! i feel if you go back and re-read what troutfishing said, he's coming from a very balanced and non-judgemental position.

hurkles position can be summed up with his own sentence "But don't worry. I'm sure someone can find a way to blame this on men." a debate about feminism is NOT about BLAMING men. it's understanding the structure of relationships between men and women and going about correcting them and the greater social structure at large. if he feels that criticisms or changes equal constantly blaming men, he's approaching the problem from a very ego-centric position - which i believe we have to get away from.

HURKLE - I'm pretty sure she was trying to do damage, but I am a man with a hard head, and she is rather lacking in upper body strength. If I had hit her with a proportional blow, I would have most likely killed her.

TROUTFISHING - rocketpup - I think that frying pan, as wielded by Bashos_Frog's enraged honey, is a good example of an equalizer.

now i'm not advocating violence here - but hurkles admission that his wife has no means of seriously physically harming him in any serious way in hand to hand or skillet to head combat is something to keep in mind. most women are in this position. our current culture supports and even encourages violent retribution in working out differences. and like i said before, women are not automatically exempt from this message. when you're pushed to a certain point, and don't feel there is any other way to fight back and you've gone way past the ability to have a conversation - the frying pan may not be the best solution but it's one that will give some umph without serious harm. i don't think this is right - but if he himself acknowledges that she couldn't harm him seriously in that way - he still "technically" holds the upper hand in the situation. he still "technically" is in control.

him getting all bent out of shape based on one slight jab at his misguided thinking underlines the point that he's too tied up from an ego perspective.
posted by nyoki at 2:13 PM on March 31, 2004


Ok, held off for 12 hours on commenting on this crap, but fuck it.

I would like to say that I for one am quite grateful to the 3rd wave, however duff some of their opinions may be. I am grateful that I have the choices and the responsibility that 50 years ago would have been denied to me.

Because the sole responsibility of breadwinning not longer rests on the man it is also a lot easier for him to make the choice to stay home and take care of his children. I dunno if SpaceCadet would see that as a good thing, or another example of how those bitches are out to emasculate him.

I really don't think that the reason so many marriages fail is because either party is hard done by by the other. Blaming either women for being "too demanding and manipulative" or men for being "aggressive and unsupportive" is simply bullshit. Very few people on both sides of the gender divide are willing to make the sacrifices and effort that a relationship demands. We are all equally selfish, really, its just hard to take responsibility for it.

Its a lot easier to blame social forces "out of my control" for personal failure, so I guess its all because of women with armpit hair (bashos_frog, unless she was forcibly shoving your face in it, grow up).

Ok, back in my box.
posted by arha at 3:03 PM on March 31, 2004


Hurkle wrote: It's a good thing your personal experience is way more meaningful than statistical data collected by the government, otherwise we might believe that both men and women are violent at times.

Try searching right now for mother's killing their children; it's easy...


One: Mother kills self, two kids

Two: a woman to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the torture-slaying of her 2-year-old stepdaughter.


Three: A mother who bashed her sons' heads with heavy rocks, killing two of the boys,

Four: 34-year-old KwaNdebele woman was sentenced to 15-years imprisonment by the Pretoria High Court today for attempting to murder her stepdaughter

Ok, so you went internationally to find stories of women murdering or attempting to murder their kids. Which does not disprove my point. I said that while women murder their kids, it is much more common to read stories about men picking up a gun and shooting their partner, the kids, and them sometimes themselves.

Women tend to kill their children and themselves, but not their intimate partners. Men, on the other hand, tend to kill their children, themselves, and their intimate partners as well.

The most common type of murder-suicide was between two intimate partners, with the man killing his wife or girlfriend because of a breakdown in their relationship. In this study, 73.7 percent of all murder-suicides involved an intimate partner. Of these, 93.5 percent were females killed by their intimate partners. In comparison, for all murders (where the relationship could be determined) 17.2 percent of murder victims were killed by an intimate partner. Of these, 61.7 percent were females killed by their intimate partners.12

Representing one half to three fourths of all murder-suicides in the United States, this type of murder-suicide typically involves a man between the ages of 18 and 60 years old who develops suspicions of his girlfriend's or wife's infidelity, becomes enraged, murders her, and then commits suicide—usually using a firearm.13 Often, he will also kill the children of himself and the intimate partner.

TEXAS: In January, Lucio Franco, Sr., 24, shot his wife and family with a shotgun before killing himself with the same weapon. Each of the family members, wife Maria, 21, and the children Lucio, Jr., five, Diana, four, Juana, two, and Isaac, nine months, had been shot at close range and had been found on a bed. Investigators believe that domestic discord and economic problems played a role in the incident.

COLORADO: In April, John Bishop, 41, shot his 38-year-old wife Sherrill, their nine-year-old son Andy, and their twin six-year-old daughters Kelley and Meghan, with a low-caliber rifle, before turning the gun on himself. Everyone in the family had been shot in the head. The police believe that money pressures were linked to the murder-suicide, yet the family was reportedly well-off financially, with both parents having master's degrees.


So why do men do this? I think it is because some men still view their wives and children as property.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:42 PM on March 31, 2004


Eh... I think the article had some good points, particularly in terms of one of the biggest offenses against men today, which is the prejudice against them in custody hearings (and this is coming from a female).

I don't think women are any nicer on average than men. Maybe of the one percent of people who are totally nuts, men are more violent, but on average, based on people I know, I'd rather annoy a male than a female, because the females have a tendency of ruining peoples' reputations for basically nothing.
posted by dagnyscott at 4:37 PM on March 31, 2004


Oh boy, the "Frying Pan War" !

I don't blame Bashos_Frog though. He just got whacked in the head with a frying pan! - "I have never laid a hand on my wife in anger, but she hit me with a frying pan once. I'm pretty sure she was trying to do damage, but I am a man with a hard head, and she is rather lacking in upper body strength. If I had hit her with a proportional blow, I would have most likely killed her. My point is the only thing holding a lot of women back from being just as bad abusers as men is the lack of physical strength - the attitudes are all there already." - Fortunately, the frying pan blow did not kill Bashos_Frog. I wouldn't joke about this if it had but, that said, I think some on this thread might benefit from a little unclenching. Beg pardon, but I find the imagery of a small wife smashing her gentle husband over the head with a frying pan to be blackly funny, murderous intent and all - partly for the means of the "equalization" via frying pan. It's funny on a number of levels. Shall i spell them out ? - 1) Woman assaults man with object stereotypically symbolic of female servitude (cooking). 2) Woman reverses typical dynamic of spousal violence (usually husbands assaulting wives)......I could go on for a few more points, but I think that's enough.

I guess there aren't many gun owners on this post, or many acquainted with the slang meaning of "equalizer". The term does NOT imply anything nice or gentle. An equalizer is a weapon which evens out a power imbalance or an arms race.

Humor tends not to be PC... anybody got any good "PC jokes" to tell? Do tell......

___________________________________________

"rocketpup - I think that frying pan, as wielded by Bashos_Frog's enraged honey, is a good example of an equalizer." (troutfishing)

"troutfishing - Equalizer? I don't recall bashos_frog stating that he had been physically assaulting his enraged honey. very true. He didn't.

Why is it that swinging frying pans or chucking crockery seems 'cute?' I didn't call it cute, although I did find it funny It's all violence, no matter who's attacking and who's being attacked. Of course The smallest woman could kill the largest man through either technique if she hits him just so. Very true" ( rocketpup, troutfishing italicized)

"I'm sure that if I slapped my wife, it would just as amusing for me to say "She deserved it!" Did I say that Bashos_Frog deserved getting clobbered with a frying pan? No - but I'd bet that it sure changed his opinion of his wife (and what she's capable of). One lesson quickly drawn - this sort of temper does not mix well with firearms lying around the house. Right? And you'd be all happy and laughing along with me, because after all, if women hitting men is okay, men hitting women must be okay with you as well. I didn't say that either type of violence is OK, although I suppose I AM guilty of laughing at some forms of violence. I guess I'd be safer to cluck my toungue and chide, in scolding tones, "That's terrible. Just awful.......terrible. Violence. Bad......."

Funny how your phrase "He was asking for it" My phrase? What phrase? Please, stick to the text, and stop making things up. It's ridiculous, and lazy - all you need to do is scroll up a bit to reread my comment. sounds an AWFUL lot like rape justification: "She was asking for it".Hmmmm.....you've got rape justification at the tip of your thoughts now, don't you? Do you think of this "rape justification" a lot? (sorry, couldn't resist)

But what do I know? I'm a man. Yes, I believe you on that. (hurtle, troutfishing italicized)

____________________________________________


".....According to the Department of Justice, 1999 statistics, mothers are responsible for 65% of the child abuse that occurs" (hurtle) - And what percentage of primary caregivers are women? If woman are doing the majority of the childcare - above 2/3, that is - it would follow that men are abusing children at higher rates than are women.

____________________________________________


"The issue can be explained in the biological needs of marriage...(Kablam)

If the species was still scraping away a living in the desert and on the verge of extinction, you argument might have some relevance. (badstone)

Three cheers for kablam's point on the very different and instinctually driven mating strategies of men and women.

Evolutionary pressures that shaped the human species have changed (for the moment, anyway) but this does not mean that evolution has stopped. More to the point though - humans have instincts. These do not just slough off with the first waves of civilization or industrialization. They remain, for the most part, unchanged from the instincts of our ancestors 50,000 years in the past......

Like the "manly" murderous instincts of men or the "ladylike" murderous instincts expressed as women wield frying pans or pull the triggers of their "ladylike" handguns to blast "cute" small caliber bullets into their victims.
posted by troutfishing at 9:44 PM on March 31, 2004


Oops - I mispelled "Hurkle" as "Hurtle". I apologize. It's late, and I'm too tired to be doing this, tapping away. Tap tapata tap.....taptap.....a little Dr. Suess crept in with the fatigue, I think.
posted by troutfishing at 9:48 PM on March 31, 2004


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