Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Do Feminists Have A Point?

     Perhaps more precisely, do feminists have an agenda?

     It’s not a question one can answer with perfect certainty. However, there are signs and portents one must regard with due seriousness:

     These outcroppings of feminist activism and its consequences don’t all point in exactly the same direction. However, among their common effects is one that suggests fundamental significance: they all reduce men to second-class status:

  • Combat is the emblematic male undertaking.
  • The alternative to politeness in discourse was once pistols at dawn.
  • Male interest in a woman is “politically incorrect” and might be “triggering.”
  • Boys and young men were once expected to carry knives and to learn their many uses.
  • Even a hero(ine) of the “trans” migration is disallowed any divergence from feminist gospel.

     These are just the bits I could cull from my 4:30 AM news sweep. If I were to keep at it once I’m more awake, I’m sure I could find others – and I’m just as sure they’d be consistent with the ones above.

     The stronger, more innovative, generally more capable sex – that’s the male sex, just in case you were in any doubt – has always behaved in certain ways, preferred certain activities, and predominated in certain trades. Men have also been the conceivers and codifiers of all the laws and social customs that have historically protected women from male predators. Women have benefited from that aspect of the division of labor far more than they’ve ever admitted, whether publicly or to one another.

     Now and then, individual women have succeeded in rising to male levels of accomplishment and prestige. They’re noteworthy for being exceptions to the pattern of their sex. They don’t disprove anything about the larger pattern of men as the driving forces of economic and social progress, or as the defenders of civilized society.

     The arrant nonsense about women having been “oppressed” by that pattern is refuted merely by noting that even today, with the law and a huge social current in their favor, women continue in their old pattern:

  • Very few women become warriors, or seek out dangerous or physically exhausting trades;
  • Very few women become significant inventors, innovators, or serious scholars;
  • Very few women rise to the pinnacles of business success;
  • Very few women aspire to political elevation.

     All those male bastions remain so, despite the tailwind that law and social trends provide in women’s favor. Inasmuch as there are criminal penalties for just about anything one might do to discourage a young woman from entering the military, the dangerous trades, the sciences, the technologies, venture capitalism, or national politics, the only conclusion a rational man could draw is that they’re just not interested.

     And really, why should they be, as long as there are plenty of men to do all that painful, wearying, grotty stuff?

     The last sentence in the previous segment should serve as a reminder, and a warning. Women would be well advised to ponder it seriously.

     Any trend in law or prevailing thought that undermines men’s protective, supportive attitudes toward women will have its worst effects on women. It cannot be said more plainly...or too often. Moreover, women are learning this in the most direct of ways, from the hyper-patriarchal Muslim invaders of Europe.

     Though feminists seek to “have the cake” – male protectiveness, enterprise, and productivity – while “eating it too” – legal and social privileges for women at men’s expense – they’ll soon find themselves in the far less enviable condition of paying for cakes that others will eat. Already there are important trends that point in directions millions of women are lamenting, such as the “marriage strike.”

     Ironically, both feminist activism and the reactions against it are driven by an emotion: resentment. Women are being encouraged to resent men’s predominance in the traditionally male endeavors and fields. When feminists succeed in marshaling law, custom, or important institutions (e.g., the media and universities) behind their agenda, men affected by those things resent it sufficiently to cluster unto themselves, excluding women by personal decisions women cannot countervail. With one another, we have no need to concern ourselves with what goes on “outside.” Our resentments cease to trouble us. We can relax.

     The pity of this is that smart, sensible women – women who appreciate men and don’t regard femininity or the traditional division of labor between the sexes as “oppressive” – are as affected by the results as their feminist counterparts. Once again, the laws of reality prove indifferent to anyone’s preferences or opinions.

     If there’s an achievable goal in feminist activism, it can only be the only sort of dominance feminists can possibly obtain and hold for a while: dominance over women.

     Some of this is easy to spot. Much feminist cant is directed at controlling the opinions and decisions of non-activist women. Insults such as those hurled at Sarah Palin, Carly Fiorina, Joni Ernst, and Marsha Blackburn – “they’re not real women” – have no chance of affecting their overt targets. They’re made to constrain the opinions and behavior of women generally: to “keep ‘em toeing the party line.” And to some extent, they’re effective. For how long? No one can say...especially as men’s reactions to the perverse incentives feminism has produced will play a part as well.

     If I were a woman, I’d resent such attempts at mind control more greatly than any comment about my appearance from a man...but then, I am a man. And all propaganda to the contrary notwithstanding, that’s a difference that matters.

     How did it begin? With power-hungry feminists, of course. With the hijacking of the admirable drive for equality of the sexes before the law. It got its initial foothold with the emergence of motels, reliable contraception employed by the woman, and the gradual destigmatization of adultery, divorce, and the production of illegitimate children. It seeped further into our culture in seemingly innocuous ways, for example through fiction about men’s marginalization of women and men as an “evolutionary dead end.” It strutted publicly with “equal employment opportunity” laws and the use of quotas to bend employers to feminist demands. It reigns supreme in contemporary hysteria over “microaggressions” and “trigger warnings,” and the nonexistent “rape culture.”

     All of those things are still with us. Yet others are with us as well. Mankind – Oops! Sorry! I meant to type “huperoffspringkind” – is a single house, more so than any nation. It will not long stand divided against itself. As with so many other things: We shall see.


Amy Bowersox said...

You might be surprised how many of us trans people actually agree with many things said by erstwhile "conservatives." However, as long as the "conservative" side deliberately misgenders us, deadnames us, disrespects our very identity, most trans people will refuse to go "off the reservation."

Heavens, Mr. Porretto, you've just done it yourself, by referring to Caitlyn Jenner as "Bruce 'Caitlyn' Jenner." Her name is Caitlyn, and she is a woman. As long as you refer to her, or other trans people, by their former name or with the "wrong" pronouns, you give ammunition to the people who would continue discrimination against us in employment and housing. Who would shut us out of public restrooms. Who would see us murdered or maimed for no other reason than because of who and what we are!

It distresses me how many bloggers and writers out there, whose opinions on other subjects I consider worthwhile, are "tetched in the head" on the subject of transgender. I personally don't ask very much of people. All I ask is that you treat me as you would any other woman. Is that too much to ask?

- Amy Gale Ruth Tapie
Member, Board of Trustees, Gender Identity Center of Colorado (http://gic-colorado.org)

Francis W. Porretto said...

Sorry, "Amy." There are two sexes, and the one you are is the one you're born into. Discrimination is never the responsibility of anyone but the discriminator -- and before you get any incorrect ideas about that subject, I support complete freedom of association. That includes the freedom to discriminate against anyone you please, for any reason you please, in any context you please: personal, romantic, social, commercial, religious, or other.

You can call yourself whatever you like. You can wear whatever you like. You can associate with whomever you like. But you cannot change your DNA, and it's your DNA which determines which sex you are.

Bruce a.k.a. "Caitlyn" Jenner is a man, regardless of how he dresses, what cosmetics he uses, or what operations have been performed on him. While I consider him mentally disordered for thinking otherwise, I have nothing else to say against him. In fact, his decathlon prowess back when made him one of my heroes, as I've always admired anyone who can "do it all."

Tim Turner said...

Fran, if this is too off-topic, by all means don't post it. But I'm dismayed and mad that taxpayers paid over $412 thouand for this:

"Glaciers, gender, and science
A feminist glaciology framework for global environmental change research


"Glaciers are key icons of climate change and global environmental change. However, the relationships among gender, science, and glaciers – particularly related to epistemological questions about the production of glaciological knowledge – remain understudied. This paper thus proposes a feminist glaciology framework with four key components: 1) knowledge producers; (2) gendered science and knowledge; (3) systems of scientific domination; and (4) alternative representations of glaciers. Merging feminist postcolonial science studies and feminist political ecology, the feminist glaciology framework generates robust analysis of gender, power, and epistemologies in dynamic social-ecological systems, thereby leading to more just and equitable science and human-ice interactions."

I know it sounds like someone just threw a bunch of word together, but I'm not making this up. The full paper (and it is FILLED with laughable - or stroke-inducing - quotes) is available here:

Francis W. Porretto said...

I read that yesterday, Tim. It got me laughing so hard that I had trouble breathing.

Perhaps tomorrow's piece will be on delusions, the deluded, and those who defend them.

Tim Turner said...

Gah. I just got over to PJM and saw that Moran posted on this yesterday. Sorry!

Still, how many adults were in the room when it was proposed to give taxpayer dollars to the author of this?:

"Through a review and synthesis of a multi-disciplinary and wide-ranging literature on human-ice relations, this paper proposes a feminist glaciology framework to analyze human-glacier dynamics, glacier narratives and discourse, and claims to credibility and authority of glaciological knowledge through the lens of feminist studies."

Tim Turner said...

Sorry, a post-script:

Ferom the abstract, spend a minute or two contemplating the author's reference to "just and equitable science."

Amy Bowersox said...

Are we, as humans, not more than just our DNA? I believe that we are. Otherwise, if everything about us is set when our DNA is congealed, and forever unchangeable thereafter, where is there room for free will? Where is there room for the soul, if you will?

In any event, you've made the error of conflating biological sex with gender identity. This is quite common, as is the error of conflating gender identity with sexual orientation. An illustration of a more modern view of these concepts may be found here. All four characteristics--biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation--exist on independent spectra between a "male" extreme and a "female" extreme. (Yes, even biological sex, as the existence of intersex individuals shows us.) Think of them as being mutually perpendicular axes defining a four-dimensional space.

Biological sex, yes, is set by the DNA, as well as by whatever accidents of biology cause intersex development, and that cannot be changed. But gender identity is a different matter. There are cases of children as young as three years old that realize that their gender identity does not match their biological sex. You can see about one such case here, in a video narrated by the mother of the child in question...who was herself resistant to the idea at first, but ultimately put the happiness of her daughter ahead of her own preconceived notions.

Caitlyn Jenner's biological sex is male; this is true. But her gender identity and her gender expression are both female. Now, your biological sex is male, as is your gender identity and gender expression. (This is referred to as "cisgender" or "cis," which is not a slur, but is merely the term for someone whose gender identity matches their biological sex, the opposite of "transgender" or "trans.") Would not the Golden Rule dictate that we should refer to Caitlyn Jenner as her gender identity and expression indicate, much as we would refer to you as your gender identity and expression indicate?

Denial of the difference between gender identity and gender expression leads to cases like that of Leelah Alcorn, who committed suicide by walking onto a freeway and being run over by a truck, because her parents not only refused to accept her gender identity, but put her into active therapy to try and convince her that her gender identity should match her biological sex. In Leelah's last message she posted online before her death, she told the world, "Fix society. Please." That's what I, and others like me, are trying to help accomplish.

I'm quite fortunate; I live in a state where my rights as a transwoman are protected. Many of my sisters and brothers are not so fortunate, and it's those on the "right," particularly social conservatives, who are attempting to marginalize us further on a daily basis. And this marginalization comes with a body count. We hold a solemn ceremony each year in November, "Transgender Day of Remembrance," where we remember the transwomen and transmen who have been killed because of who and what they are over the course of the year. If you were to attend one of these observations, it would drive home the human cost of our marginalization. It certainly has for me.

I'm not asking you to change what you believe about us. You can believe anything you like. You can stick pins into a Caitlyn Jenner voodoo doll in the privacy of your home, if it makes you feel better. All I would ask is that you extend to us the common courtesy of letting us be who we are, treating us as who we are (in terms of our gender identity and expression), and letting us live our lives.

Francis W. Porretto said...

Sorry, "Amy." "Gender" is a concept that applies to nouns and connectors. It's inapplicable to human beings. You don't have a gender. You have a sex. “Gender identity” is a nonsense phrase, and will remain so.

Who's not letting you live your life? I don't think I can be justly accused of that. I don't advocate confining you, forcing you into treatment, or anything else coercive. I believe in freedom. However, I also believe in objective reality and respect for it.

What “rights” as a “transwoman” are you currently denied? What legal initiatives might be in progress to deprive you of any genuine right? I don’t know of any such, and I’m a very active conservative. Are you demanding the “right” to use the ladies’ room? All I can say to that is that I hope you have the appropriate equipment, rather than what you were born with. But even if you don’t, I’d say that as long as you “dress the part,” you’ll probably get away with it. The same would be true of your decision to marry a(nother) man. Priests and ministers don’t demand that you drop your drawers before they agree to officiate at the ceremony.

Your real problem -- and it is a problem -- is that you want to coerce me into approving of and ratifying your delusion. But you can't, any more than Rachel Dolezal can coerce me into agreeing that she's "black." You can get angry about it. You can rally your similarly deluded friends and supporters to harass me about it. But none of that will work on me. So what's next? Do you plan to lobby Congress for a law that would deprive my disagreement with your delusion of First Amendment protection?

The homosexual-activist community is a comparable case. They demand not merely to be left alone, but to be approved of. They demand that churches modify their doctrines and policies, and that believers depart from their consciences, to accommodate them. Remember Sweet Cakes by Melissa? Remember that Christian-owned Indiana pizzeria a half-clever New York reporter thought she could sandbag by asking the owners if they’d be willing to cater a homosexual wedding? Fortunately, those of us who still use our minds have caught on, and we’re rallying in defense of others’ freedom to do and think as they please with what’s rightfully theirs.

In summary: Do as you please, subject to the constraints of the law. I wish you all the best. But don't expect me -- or anyone else who respects reality -- to hear a visibly biological man say "I'm female" or "I identify as a woman" and do anything but laugh, shake our heads, and turn away bemused by the scope of human delusions.

Francis W. Porretto said...

By the way, "Amy," just to prove that I really do wish you all the best, if you'll provide me with a mailing address I'll send you a free short story. I expect you'd enjoy it very much.

CGHill said...

As for that much-maligned word "No," the lovely and talented Meghan "All About That Bass" Trainor is doing her part to bring it back: "No" is the title of her new single, and it's specifically intended to deter pesky guys.

Linda Fox said...

Ah, it's "Mean Girls" - all grown up and ready to dig the shivs into non-worshipping women.

Funnily enough, it's seldom the truly elite - smart, beautiful, good character - girls that lash out at the improperly unimpressed. It's the 2nd tier women who get the claws out - usually at a Could-Be Elite who doesn't want to play the game.

I mean, think of it - Fiorina is FAR less invested in the one-upmanship of Feminists than Hillary - who is FAR less gifted in looks, charm, and ability to think on her feet than Carly.

Linda Fox said...

While I agree with Francis that Bruce is a man, IF he would be willing to convert his Outie to an Innie, I would, at least, accept that he has EARNED the right to call himself whatever the Hell he wants to.

Until then, He is a He.

Bailey said...

Forgive me, Mr Poretto,

..but I cannot believe that, with everything else going on, this is worthy of media attention and public dollars.
We have nothing else to command our attention? Really? The trans- feminist-crazies are really deserving of all this attention? Not on your site, but in general?

Appalling. Diddling while Rome burns.

Mike In Canada