Monday, January 25, 2016

The Gender War: An Outcropping Of Significance

     You wouldn’t expect the more arcane scholastic pursuits to be (or become) hotbeds of male-female strife, but then, you wouldn’t have expected Donald Trump to lap the Republican field, either. It happens:

     A months-old blog post written by a respected medieval scholar, Allen J. Frantzen, has gained a second life on social media — and whipped the discipline into a frenzy.

     The post, entitled [sic] "How to Fight Your Way Out of the Feminist Fog" and published on Mr. Frantzen’s personal website, attacks feminism, alluding repeatedly to "anti-male" propaganda, paints men as victims, and offers advice on how they should "clear the fog." Mr. Frantzen retired in 2014, after more than 35 years at Loyola University Chicago.

     The post borrows terminology often associated with men’s-rights activism, including encouragement for men to take the "red pill" of reality, not the "blue pill" of illusion, and to break away from the feminist fog. The fog, Mr. Frantzen explains, represents how feminism hangs over society — in a "sour mix of victimization and privilege" — and intimidates men into accepting its perspective.

     Medieval scholars have widely condemned the post online as misogynistic, under the hashtag #femfog.

     Aha! Heretic against the Politically Correct wisdom sighted! General quarters! Prime the guns! Give no quarter! The Narrative must be defended and advanced at all costs!

     But what is that sacred Narrative? What, exactly, are we all required to believe?

  • That men are inherently oppressors of women;
  • That women desire and deserve “equality” with men in all things;
  • That legal and social measures that award privileges to women, though they infringe on men’s rights, are steps toward “gender equality.”

     Not one word of this is true:

  • It has been the essential, indispensable protectiveness of men toward women that has allowed our race to flourish.
  • Most women do not desire “equality” with men as feminists define it.
  • You cannot equalize what is inherently unequal:
    • Men’s willingness and women’s reluctance to do the dirty, dangerous jobs;
    • The willingness of every advanced society to sacrifice its men for the protection and convenience of its women;
    • Women’s inability to compete as equals with men in the very fields from which they claim to have been most oppressively excluded.

     Professor Frantzen notes how these facts can drive a feminist activist into screaming hysterics:

     Ask the feminist what he or she thinks of the idea of “disposable men.” Does he or she know how many men died building the Panama Canal (75,000), or that by some estimates four times that many died building the Panama Railway? (See Warren Farrell's book [in Reviews, above] for similar data.) About 6700 people have died in the war on terror since 2001; 161 of them were women. That's about 2.5%. Does he or she think that's a fair distribution of the burden of protecting the country? Does he or she see a fair distribution of combat deaths (50/50) a goal for feminism? Why not?

     Remind your friend that men are expected to die for women. Men are expected to give up safe places for women in emergencies, for example. Why? The survival rate for wealthy men on the Titanic (which sank in 1912) was 34%. The survival rate for the poorest women was 46%. Lifeboats left the ship with empty seats because men would not take them. The men who died, as Baumeister says, "were the patriarchs" (p. 163). These were the same kinds of men who would vote to extend voting rights to women (or did you think that women did that for themselves?). Whose lives were worth more, and less, on that ship? For all women, the survival was 74%. For all men, the survival rate was 16%. [ 3 ]

     Your point, all along, is that men have always been expendable and disposable, always expected to give up life and happiness for women. She probably thinks of all men as patriarchs (see essay on patriarchy), but you have already shown here 1) that most men are not patriarchs but workers and 2) that women have benefited with longer lives because men live shorter lives. The chances are good that the feminist will now be ready to end the conversation because he or she can see that you are armed with data and he or she is not.

     Excellently well put. I would add another point that I find critical though rarely cited: The institution of marriage, which has always confined men more straitly than women and today actually endangers the marriage-minded man, arose specifically to protect women and their minor children. Yet it is that institution against which feminists rail most stridently as “patriarchal oppression.”

     Feminist mouthpieces are tireless in instructing women confronted by such facts to reply with vitriol: “Misogynist! Sexist! You want to make women your property!” This is as common as hydrogen and only slightly less common than stupidity. It’s common because it works rather often; it intimidates and raises the implication of unpleasant consequences. But it is a well observed bit of wisdom that no one will resort to name-calling when he has adequate facts and reasoning at his command.

     The facts are in no way hidden from view; today everyone with access to the Internet can get them. That doesn’t mean they’re universally respected, of course. But if you respect them, and stand your ground when challenged by a feminist, you have demonstrated your conversance with the Facts Recognition Act, and need have no fear of the aftermath.

     What’s that you say? “I might have to spend my night on the couch?” I’m reminded of an old joke:

     “Just suppose,” she said, “we women decided to go on strike. What would you do then?”
     A mischievous smile slowly formed on his face. “You go ahead and strike,” he said. “I’ve got a peach of a strikebreaker in mind.”

     It shouldn’t take an essay from a medieval studies scholar to remind us of the above.

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