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[P]
S/he

By fraise in Op-Ed
Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 07:18:58 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

On being a grown-up tomboy stuck, even though contentedly so, between Men and Women. You could call it minor gender confusion, or growing up as a girl wanting to be considered a guy but knowing that you're a girl and accepting it, and the effect of this on how I view "gender issues."

Did that make sense? Not really, which is why I originally wrote a diary entry to try and hash out my own experience and thoughts, plus see if there are other grown-up tomboys -- and tomgirls -- who can share their insight. It started an interesting discussion that I'd like to expand to a larger audience.


Background
My first childhood playmate was a boy -- we met at 3 months old (he was born 5 days after me), and we're still close friends. In elementary school I made another very close friend, male again, and because of him made the choice to sit at the guys' lunch table and try to take part in the same sports they did. We were 12, and all played baseball, having just enough for a team. I wanted to play basketball with them, but was put on the girl's team and quit because of it. You see, being friends with the guys made me both a traitor and competitor for the girls in my class, so I learned pretty quickly to just stay out of it.

In middle school that got harder, since my parents didn't allow me to play on the baseball team, and well-meaning teachers constantly told me to stop eating lunch with guys and make friends with those of "my own kind," whatever that was supposed to mean. Luckily I found a girl who shared the same problem -- so we hung out at her place and played street football and baseball with all our guy friends. We'd also hang out at the mall after watching a horror movie just to see how many people would gasp at young girls hanging out with a half dozen guys. I remember someone telling my parents once, "Aren't you afraid she's going to be raped?!" Well, it never happened, not even close. As a matter of fact I wasn't asked out until I was 20.

Our guy friends didn't treat us any differently than other guys, except that they wouldn't hit us. They did talk to my girl friend and I as if we were guys, asking what we thought of the latest Blazers' basketball games and Duck football (American). They also made us laugh when they complained about how incomprehensible women are -- we agreed, and yet we were women, and we seemed to understand each other.

High school was where things got complicated. My elementary and middle school friends and I were separated because of different course levels, we had lunch at different times, and my one girl friend and I only saw each other during band practice. Thanks to band and the fact I played a "man's" instrument (baritone sax), I sat near a bunch of guys. Eventually they made up two groups of friends, one with the more popular American football players, and the other with less popular nerd types. I moved between both, in fact in this case I was positively discriminated against since neither of the two groups liked each other, but didn't mind me hanging out with the other. I was a girl, so I didn't quite fit into their male popularity equation.

What I didn't realize, until it was too late, was what being friends with the popular group meant to other girls, since I myself wasn't popular. Sometime during my second year of high school, a rumor was started that I was lesbian, since apparently they thought that only lesbians could hang out with popular guys and not want to date them. As any person having dealt with anti-homosexual crap can relate to, it was hell. Whenever I got an honest crush on a guy, girls would accuse me (publicly, out loud, at high volume) of inventing it to hide my supposed homosexuality. If I ever looked at a girl, inevitably someone would pick up on it and yell, "She's staring at so-and-so! My god how disgusting!" A couple of girls saw this as totally ridiculous, and we became friends, saving me from what could have turned into a serious case of anti-womanism.

Effects
As a result, I pondered over homo/heterosexuality for a long time, and figured out my position at 17: I didn't care what I was (just so happens I'm hetero), and I would remember for the rest of my life just how shitty and nonsensical it is to insult and bother people about something that's private and hurts noone.

Secondly, I came out of high school and university with a strong critical view of feminism. If I had made so few women friends, it was because most of them (most, not all) seemed to only want to complain about "evil men," especially if their last boyfriend had broken up with them, and talk about clothes. I didn't like hearing my dearest friends, men, being generalized about in such cruel ways, and to me, clothes were for getting dirty while playing outside. On the other hand, my guy friends would only complain about women rarely, to say something I and my women friends agreed with: "They're so freaking incomprehensible!"

Although I think feminism has had a good influence in several areas, and recognize that there are still a few men in the 'feminized' world who think women should "shut up and clean house," nowadays feminism is creating more problems than it's solving. Barriers are put up between Feminist Women, so-called Dominated Women, and everyone else: Men. Feminists simply don't want to admit to anything negative about women, whereas it's clear to me and other women that the female part of humanity seems to have innate backstabbing jealousy. Girls grow up being taught to fear men, when there's very little reason for it. Because of their fear, they don't get to know men as friends, and because of that, they're unable to judge the vast majority of nice guys from the jerks.

Then there are what feminists like to make people think are Dominated Women: the type who have children and stay at home to raise them. They're supposedly weak and dependent, whereas men, of course, well, we all know men are raging domineering animals and potential rapists with violent streaks... This outlook enrages me to no end. First because it flies in the face of everything I've experienced -- dozens upon dozens of great people, who just happened to be men. Second because it insults women (again, in the 'feminized' world) who nowadays have a true choice, and surprise surprise, several of them choose to be stay-at-home mothers of their own free wills! I know I want to be one, and I don't want anybody telling me I'm dominated because of it. Unfortunately it's already happening, my boyfriend's sister is an outspoken feminist and likes bringing over friends who gasp and shriek when my boyfriend asks, "When's dinner?" and I reply, "Oh, that's right! I'll start cooking." Hell, just as good a case of domination could be made against me for "forcing my male to do long commutes, work his way into carpal tunnel and only see his [future] children in the evenings and weekends." But we never hear that, do we?

Today
It probably won't come as a surprise that my boyfriend and I met while talking about sports, computers, and cracking stupid jokes. As he's French and a lifelong supporter of the Olympique Lyonnais , he introduced me to soccer (football...!), just in time for the 1998 World Cup, where I saw Iran-USA. Now that's generosity, people. A die-hard football fan giving a girl who barely knows a thing about football his ticket to a World Cup game. I was able to recognize its value thanks to my years of "sport appreciation" with men. (He had a ticket for another game, France-Denmark, so I didn't feel too guilty!)

He also has a noticeable feminine side, which seems to be more the norm here for men in southern Europe, at least regarding clothing. He actually likes to talk about clothes, shoes, and hairstyles, even if not to the extent that some of my women friends do. Thanks to him I don't look much like a tomboy any more -- two decades of t-shirts, sweatshirts and jeans had become a bit tiresome. It does, however, inspire odd looks from men to see a nicely-dressed woman jumping and shouting along with the Bad Gônes (my boyfriend's favorite group of OL supporters). This is the biggest reason I like sports, by the way: not so much for the sport itself, but for the loud fun and camaraderie that goes along with it.

One thing I'm infinitely thankful for is how my friendships with both genders helped form a solid base for life. I've been told by women that I have an uncanny understanding of men, but I honestly think it's much more simple: I don't have any reason to think that there are huge relational differences between the genders. Yes, men talk less, but they say what they think. Yes, women talk a lot, but that's because, um, we talk a lot.

But...
My favorite colors are pink and purple, I like to sew, quilt and embroider, and I'm a good cook. Go figure.

So I ask again, anyone else out there who can relate to this, be ye man or woman?

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Poll
What is Evil?
o Machine applique (vs. hand applique) 2%
o Calico cats 8%
o Men, dammit! 5%
o Women, dammit! 20%
o Duck football (aka Phil Knight) 10%
o All of the above 19%
o None of the above 32%

Votes: 73
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o diary entry
o Duck football
o innate backstabbing jealousy
o Bad Gônes
o Also by fraise


Display: Sort:
S/he | 119 comments (106 topical, 13 editorial, 0 hidden)
+1FP, an insightful piece. (4.35 / 14) (#7)
by Deus Horribilus on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 04:08:09 AM EST

Good article, I think it speaks for itself so I won't go dissecting it...

I don't know whether I would qualify myself as a 'tomgirl', but my experiences with women and some aspects of my own behaviour have taught me that I am not your run of the mill male stereotype.

For example, I like nice clothes and shoes, and I am an aesthetically minded person by nature. I enjoy poetry and I keep flowers in my room (red roses from the bush out front). The quote I hear most often from girls is "You are the kind of guy that my mother wants me to marry...". This is why I am still single.

I know this is a rant, and it makes digs at all sorts of stereotypes, but I would certainly argue that such things are not the traits of the majority of males. I would not consider myself wanting to be female, or overtly feminine in personality either.

Oh, and it is nice to see a female who denounces the feminist movement, I consider it to be a modern hypocrisy. It should be equality for all people.

_________________________________________
"Beliefs are never concrete, they change direction like autumn leaves in a windstorm..."

jerk! (2.08 / 24) (#34)
by adequate nathan on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 09:03:20 AM EST

Oh, and it is nice to see a female who denounces the feminist movement, I consider it to be a modern hypocrisy. It should be equality for all people.

You obviously know nothing about the feminist movement. Prove me wrong before disagreeing.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

oh and by the way (1.28 / 14) (#40)
by adequate nathan on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 09:42:39 AM EST

If you think that deserves a '1', maybe you don't actually realize how obnoxious the parent comment is.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Comment obnoxious! Poster a jerk! (4.50 / 2) (#81)
by DavidTC on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 11:24:17 PM EST

Ugh guh! Bad comment! Don't downrate me! Waaaah!

Here's a helpful hint for the future: You need to prove him wrong, or at least have something to support what you're saying, instead making baseless accusations that he doesn't know what he's talking about.

As an aside, he didn't even make any claims. He simply said that he considers it hypocritical, agreeing with the article, which did give a lot of reasons that modern feminism is hypocritical. If you have issues with those reasons, you have to respond to them.

This isn't some sort of popularity contest, or randomly rated site, you can't just point and say 'You know nothing!' and expect to get more than a 1, especially when the comment simply said it agreed with the article. You have to have actual reasons.

And said responses probably belong in a top posted comment, not a reply that's just saying 'Yeah, I agree with the article with regard to hypocrisy in modern feminism, and it's good to see a woman with the same opinions as me.'.

If you do all that, then you can complain about being rated 1.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

the movement versus the adherents.... (4.50 / 2) (#66)
by Maniac_Dervish on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 11:15:54 AM EST

the feminist "movement" as an ideology can only be seen as a good thing. equality for all, etc etc.

the movement *as often practiced*, however, can sort of suck ass... "KILL ALL MEN" and similar sentiments are just Evil, not "feminist". Period.

~Dervish

[ Parent ]

Really? (none / 0) (#76)
by rantweasel on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:42:25 PM EST

The same feminist movement that includes people who suggest that all men are rapists because they are male? The same feminist movement that includes people who chase men away from Take Back the Night rallies because "they simply can't understand the issues involved in rape", despite the fact that men get raped? There are a lot of good people who put themselves under the heading of "feminist", but there are a lot of completely wrongheaded people who preach equality but practice nothing but inequality and prejudice.

mathias

Having said that, you didn't deserve any of those 1 ratings.

[ Parent ]
dworkin (4.50 / 2) (#82)
by persimmon on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 11:29:35 PM EST

Is a nut. I belive she's been stricken from the ranks in Ms Magazine, which is about as mainstream as it gets.

IME men are generally welcome at TBTN marches as allies, but are asked to march in back in support, because the circumstances surrounding men being raped are generally different than those of women. It's not feminists' job to raise consciousness about everything. You want to raise consciousness, you can do it the same way they did.

And don't mistake the trees for the forest.
--
So There.
[ Parent ]

Does that mean... (3.50 / 2) (#115)
by verb on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 10:32:25 AM EST

...that only likely victims are allowed to march against rape? I can understand if that's the case, but wouldn't a gender-neutral protest against sexual violence have just as much, if not more impact, than a 'gender-partisan' march?

It's a bit like saying that straight friends can't march in a GLB rights event.

Then again, there's always going to be some twit who decides to go because feminist events are "a great place to pick up chicks..."

Sigh. OK, Sometimes I *DO* hate other members of my gender..

--the verb

[ Parent ]
A right to reply, regardless of gender. (4.20 / 5) (#85)
by Deus Horribilus on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 12:57:57 AM EST

Due to my ISP cutting my connection, I lost the original reply comment, so this is a little abridged and hence a little less detailed than I would like it to be...

Nathan, don't ever jump to conclusions about people, that's when mistakes happen.

I would like to begin by quoting something I read in a feminist guidebook distributed at my university:

(regarding a 'women's only' room at my university)
"The Rapunzel Room is a male-free area where girls can be safe from the advances of men, and it is a place where we can plan counter-attacks to their schemes..."

To me, the implication that all men exist to wage war on females and to harass them is not only offensive, but sexist. This is the feminism I have to deal with every day. This is the product of Western feminism, the altering of the balance from male dominance to female dominance of society. I know it isn't even close to being what it sounds like, but the groundwork is there.

Let me give you an example. A girl can sleep with a guy consensually, and under U.S. (and possibly other western) laws, she can have the man charged with rape. No amount of protests by the male party will stop it, since the perception of the male rapist is a conniving liar anyway. But what scares me more, is that this situation is a complete analogue to the fundamentalist adultery laws of some countries that oppress women to this day. This is the hypocrisy of feminism, that the very movement designed to rid oppression has caused oppression.

I have no problem in standing up for the rights of women, as long as they acknowledge my rights as a male. I believe in equality, no person or group should recieve less or more rights in our society. Femininsm for many years help achieved this, but I firmly believe that it has now reached the point where it has gone too far. To achieve the equality we dream of, we should adopt more positivist tactics, that embrace both genders and allow them to both achieve their potentials as human beings. Once this attitude is in place, we will see more women in politics and in management, because it be their behaviour and skill that got them there, not their gender.

I was raised in a reasonably feminist environment, in a military family. My mother is one of the few high-ranking officers in the Australian Navy, but her pioneering work has allowed many more women to enter service and achieve great things. They achieved them though as officers, not as women.

To top this, I am good friends with the very notable and internationally famous feminist, Elizabeth Reid. I know that from her work, that parts of the world still require a feminist-oriented movement, which I support. From my discussions with her I have learnt a lot about the feminist movement, and the opinions I put here are a result of these influences.

You see Nathan, I know quite a bit about the feminist movement, and this only scratches the surface of my knowledge. By the way, I am giving you a '4' for your original comment, it has provoked some interesting discussion which is nice to see. I would have preferred it to have been about the earlier paragraphs, which are more relevant to the story, but I shouldn't be picky...

_________________________________________
"Beliefs are never concrete, they change direction like autumn leaves in a windstorm..."
[ Parent ]

A few bad apples? (5.00 / 1) (#96)
by jenlane on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 01:14:35 PM EST

I think that in any movement there have been people who take it to the extreme and spoil the name for the rest of the group. There are no exceptions - every group is susceptable to bad apples from Catholics to the Free Speech Movement. Throughout history, Feminism has done great things for women and people in general all over the world. And whether you choose to acknowledge it there is still a need for the movement today.

[ Parent ]
Heh. (5.00 / 1) (#61)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:49:58 AM EST

And here, I thought emotional castrates like me were the outcasts these days.

All through the new age era I told people "I am in touch with my feelings. They send me postcards. From prison."


--
I'm not a sexist pig!
I'm a plain-old-everyday pig!


[ Parent ]
My story (3.50 / 20) (#9)
by qpt on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 04:47:35 AM EST

When young, I never felt right about myself. It is a difficult feeling to describe - discomfort with one's gender. I had so little in common with the other girls, I suppose. They enjoyed wearing pretty dresses, playing with dolls, and socializing. Personally, I preferred exploring the woods around the creek or playing with toy guns. Thus, most of my friends were boys, since they tended to share my interests.

As I mentioned, I was not as socially precocious as other girls my age, and did not do as well in school, either. Much of my childhood was spent getting into and out of various scrapes; I seemed perpetually in trouble. Thankfully, the other girls deigned not to torment me, preferring to merely ignore me. I was always accepted by boys, though, even at ages when most boys cannot stand the presence of a girl.

Sexually, I was always attracted exclusively to girls, as far back as I can remember. Despite the risk of stigma attached to same-sex relationships, I had several girlfriends throughout Junior High and High School. Physically, I was also unlike the other girls. I tended to be taller, larger, and more awkward than the other girls my age, as well as more physically resilient.

I was fortunate that I encountered so little hardship or discrimination while growing up. Indeed, most of my difficulties were internal, born out of my acute sense of gender dysmorphia. Also, being the only girl I knew who had a penis was a bit odd.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.

hmmm (4.00 / 1) (#42)
by zephc on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 09:57:12 AM EST

was that meant to be humorous? If so, it did it's job well; Bravo!

nowhere in there did you actually *state* that you were female ("the other girls" is an ambiguous statement here, if you think about it)

[ Parent ]
Stigma (none / 0) (#68)
by CokeBear on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 12:30:50 PM EST

also, the comment about "Stigma attached to same-sex relationships" strongly implies...

[ Parent ]
The problem you face is not universal.. (3.60 / 5) (#12)
by StephenThompson on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 05:08:15 AM EST

The culture you grew up in determines how your behavior is judged. The reactions and difficulties you encountered sound very redneck hick to me. Did your grow up in a hick town? Ah Springfield Oregon. Nuff said.

Eugene (5.00 / 4) (#14)
by fraise on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 05:17:49 AM EST

Is right next door. Nuff said. I agree that Springfield is hick and had a lot to do with how my behavior was judged, as in the specific ways, but in general, this seems to be something you can see most anywhere. At least, I know people who've experienced it from several parts of the US, Canada, France, and Finland. Also might be a good idea to read some of the replies to my diary entry (linked in the second paragraph of the story).

[ Parent ]
I grew up in Atlanta... (4.00 / 1) (#57)
by webwench on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:39:46 AM EST

I grew up in Atlanta and I can definitely relate. I suspect it is very common throughout the US (I can't speak for other countries), and not at all relegated to 'redneck' areas.

[ Parent ]
Women are responsible for the oppression of Women (3.53 / 26) (#13)
by bc on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 05:08:33 AM EST

These days, at least. Where Men are honest and direct in their relationships, women are fond of the cloak and dagger attack.

It is not men that women fear, but their own kind. It is their own kind that holds them back and shamelessly attacks any nonconformists.

Women, weak and vulnerable to the ministrations of strong men, are vicious with each other for such attentions, as this story demonstrates.

I think the problem is that women have only entered society in the last 50 years. Before that, they were trapped at home and kept isolated from each other.

Men, on the other hand, have been social animals in a wider, political and public sense than women since the dawn of time. At first, they were pretty bad and self destructive, but eventually, as the millenia passed, they deeloped cultural tenets and techniques to avoid conflict, or deal with opposition swiftly. The result is that, nowadays, Men are attuned by thousands of years of cultural experience unconsciously learned and inherent to our western society to live harmoniously together.

Women, however, do not have these advantages and must learn what they can as quickly as possible. They have been surprisingly good in only 50 years, but still tend towards self-destruction and primitive patterns of social interaction.

The irony is that poor, weak women are by far the most brutal in their social lifes, with each other, and yet are still easily defeated by a strong Man. Some patterns are hard to break, but I hope women manage. We need strong women, for a strong society, strong women who do not destroy each other.

Women just now are too weak, too animistic and instinctual. They must break free!

♥, bc.

Fantastic, but too controversial for these louts (4.55 / 18) (#15)
by Demiurge on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 05:21:49 AM EST

No doubt your stunning insights into the woman psyche will be drowned out by a swarm of yammering groupthink apes accusing you of misogyny simply because you had the courage to speak the truth.

[ Parent ]
Not Exactly... (3.50 / 2) (#94)
by jenlane on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 12:45:57 PM EST

It's not exactly misogyny, just making grossly uninformed generalizations that the "yammering apes" will accuse her of. Way to take away from your argument by insulting everyone with a different (perhaps informed?) opinion. You people should study up on true feminism before you bash it.

[ Parent ]
When will the scales fall from your eyes? (3.00 / 2) (#114)
by Demiurge on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 04:34:42 AM EST

God is on our side.

[ Parent ]
Hu? (2.00 / 2) (#117)
by jenlane on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:04:05 AM EST

Scales? God? What do those things have to do with this?

[ Parent ]
Yeah, the men are winning. (4.33 / 6) (#16)
by StephenThompson on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 05:32:55 AM EST

No comments from the girls yet because they have to write a novel about it :P

[ Parent ]
are you trolling or (3.57 / 7) (#26)
by turmeric on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 07:45:26 AM EST

just fucked up? it is strange to say that men are 'honest and direct' in their relationships when you yourself in your comments on this board have said repeatedly that you think it is 'fun and naughty' to force women to have sex if they have a 'certain look in their eye that makes it clear that they want it'. they say no, and you force them anyways.. and you only worry if they really did want it until after the fact, and you consider this an 'acceptable risk', as though one day you might 'guess wrong' but that is worth it to you. now, you call this 'honest and direct'? if you were honest and direct, why not just ask them if they want to have sex in the first place? eliminate all risk? damn.

[ Parent ]
Read the headers (3.80 / 5) (#29)
by Sanityman on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 08:01:30 AM EST

(bc@adequacy.NOSPAMorg) http://adequacy.org

That, plus all the worthwhile content was from a link given in the original article.

Sanityman



--
If you don't see the fnords, they can't eat you.
"You can't spray cheese whiz™ on the body of Christ!"


[ Parent ]
Not this again (3.80 / 5) (#36)
by bc on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 09:26:46 AM EST

I did say that dealings between men tend to be direct, and that dealings between women tend not to be. I didn't say anything at all about men&women; that is an entirely different issue.

I'd appreciate it if you didn't (badly) paraphrase and distort what I said during the kerfuffle the other day. I am honest and direct with women, more so than most. The only difference is that I have a different means of determining consent, but, I still consider consent to be crucial.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

OT: err? (3.00 / 1) (#106)
by FieryTaco on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 05:47:04 PM EST

This is so completely off topic, and I'm a relative newbie here, but having a "different means of determing consent" is bullshit. A person may be interested, may be wildly sexually attracted to you, may be all over you, but if they won't answer a direct question with a clear answer, then they have reservations and aren't up for it. Whatever you interpret as being consent is irrelevant, the only interpretation that matters is that of your prospective partner. You figuring they "want it" is a good way of getting seriously fucked up (in the bleeding, broken bones, won't ever piss or walk straight again, sense of "fucked up").

(And yes I went back and read what you posted previously. And no, you don't have a more accurate way of telling if a partner is consenting. They know, you are guessing.)

[ Parent ]

Umm... no. (3.66 / 3) (#45)
by catseye on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:03:29 AM EST

RE:"I think the problem is that women have only entered society in the last 50 years. Before that, they were trapped at home and kept isolated from each other."

There are plenty of societies in the world where women may not have direct power over men, but they are certainly parts of society and have their own groups, separate from male groups.

Women are social creatures, perhaps even more than men. Yes, men tend to be direct, as you said, but that's because men tend to have the political power. Women find other ways to wield power, in many cultures through social and behind the scenes ways. In rural Taiwan, for example, if a woman feels she is being mistreated by her husband, she has no real legal recourse (unless being severely abused), however she can go to the other women of the village who then start a whispering campaign and influence their men to punish or speak badly of the offending man.

In the United States, women were "trapped at home and kept isolated from each other" only recently in our history, when we became an industrial society. Before heavy industry, extended families, not nuclear families, were the norm and women worked and gathered socially with the other females in their households and in the town/village. With the advent of industry came the highly mobile nuclear family which did isolate women to an extent, but the women in the neighborhood interacted with each other socially, as did the wives of husbands that worked together.

Women are and always have been social creatures. What women are having to learn now is to put aside traditional ways of wielding power -- gossip, manipulation, stealth, whispering campaigns, influencing others -- and embrace traditional male ways of wielding power -- direct confrontation, aggressiveness, speaking bluntly, direct competition, etc.



----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
[ Parent ]
Nurture over nature? (4.66 / 3) (#59)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:43:10 AM EST

Yes, men tend to be direct, as you said, but that's because men tend to have the political power.

Why is it that gender differences in animals are inevitably chalked up to biology, but gender differences in people are inevitablye blamed on culture?

The stuff I've read shows gender differences in behavior long before baby boys have had a chance to wield political power. You could argue (and many do) that this is because of the differences in the ways that society treats boys and girls, but my personal (anecdotal) evidence is otherwise - I've tried very hard to treat my son and daughter the same but my daughter continues to confound me by being the girliest girl I have known in years.

I'm sure that culture does play a big role in how people relate with each other and that role can weaken or redirect our natural behaviors. But I can't believe that anyone who thinks biology has no role at all has actually had children.


--
I'm not a sexist pig!
I'm a plain-old-everyday pig!


[ Parent ]
Culture (2.50 / 2) (#63)
by catseye on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:56:19 AM EST

I said that because it's not that way in all cultures. Also, not all men are direct by nature and not all women are subdued and manipulative. Typically, if little boys don't stand up for themselves and exhibit "manly" traits, they are encouraged to do so. If little girls are loud and boistrous, defend themselves physically, etc., they are told to calm down, be quiet, and act like "little ladies". That's culture reinforcing biological stereotypes, even when those biological stereotypes may no longer be the norm.

You don't see that quite so much any more, but I do occasionally see it at my child's day care -- not from the teachers, but from the parents.

----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
[ Parent ]
Correct (none / 0) (#100)
by epepke on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 02:54:30 PM EST

Before about 1950, the word "society" was pretty much defined as something that includes women. A "society gathering" is a bunch of women.

What women have done is entered the labor force in large numbers. However, the most significant factor for this change was World War II, and that was a time when feminism was in a slump. Recall that there were several waves of feminism, including the enlightenment feminism that self-destructed at the Seneca Falls convention in 1851, the later movement that grew out of the Christian Women's Temperance Movement and gave rise to Susan B. Anthony, and the change to the liberal feminism of Stanton et. al. However, by the thirties, there wasn't much talk about feminism, and it wasn't to be resurrected until the 1950's with Simone de Beavoir. By the 1960's there was a movement called Women's Liberation which tried to co-opt the feminist impulse with only limited success; I date its failure to 1973. I've obviously spent way too much time in University libraries.

Women are and always have been social creatures. What women are having to learn now is to put aside traditional ways of wielding power -- gossip, manipulation, stealth, whispering campaigns, influencing others -- and embrace traditional male ways of wielding power -- direct confrontation, aggressiveness, speaking bluntly, direct competition, etc.

I see a lot of women talking about doing this, but I see far fewer actually doing it. Seriously, go to any high school in the United States and listen to a group of girls talk for five minutes. There's no difference from my experience in high school 25 years ago. Every other day it seems I hear some women's organization release an edict to the effect that the correct way to succeed in IT and elsewhere is just to use those same old traditionally womanly wiles. Of course, it's called "networking."


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Yes and No. (3.25 / 4) (#64)
by bodrius on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:59:04 AM EST

Yes, they are, because the main repressive force for women is and has been for a long time: other women.

From what I have seen, male authority figures in most families tend to be surprisingly liberal compared to female authority figures.

Similarly, men are not as threatened by nor as hostile against women who show independence and intelligence as other women who don't. Just slip an ambitious female into any workplace (or high-school, for that matter) and watch who's the first (and second, and third, and fourth) person to use the b-word to describe her.

But this has nothing to do with the time when they entered society (they have been part of different societies for a long time).

It's rather because the current plumbing of society encourages certain personality types in both women and men, and since these types have success pretty much guaranteed, they will defend themselves against other types and against changes in the status quo.

For an insightful analysis on the origin of this, check out <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0200718754/qid=1018363459/sr=1-17/ref=sr_1_17/104-9787947-8776704">this book</a> if you can find it. A bit extremist, but worth reading.
Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
[ Parent ]
Japan (none / 0) (#86)
by SnicklesTheElf on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 01:42:12 AM EST

That's an interesting theory.

Some food for thought, in Feudal Japan and earlier women were quite integral parts of society yet their nature, or perceived nature can be seen in a couple Kanji.

The Kanji for Noisy/Immoral (same kanji) is three women. (kashimashii)

The kanji for Ridicule is Two women with a man in the middle. (naburu)

-Snickles

[ Parent ]
It is Good. (3.85 / 7) (#17)
by snowlion on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 05:51:37 AM EST

Your observations are all correct, and, yes, I can relate.

How can I reply? What can I say? How can I say it? I have many images in my mind, but I can't write about them.

Females can write about being males, but not vice versa. People are cruel to each other. Progress is slow, if there is progress at all. We may never figure this out.


--
Map Your Thoughts
Whats that operation where a female becomes male? (4.00 / 2) (#18)
by StephenThompson on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 06:02:46 AM EST

I think its called an adadictomy?

[ Parent ]
QED =^_^= (4.00 / 2) (#19)
by snowlion on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 06:13:08 AM EST

Quod erat demonstrandum.


--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]
I agree (4.50 / 4) (#33)
by rodoke3 on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 08:29:28 AM EST

Females can write about being males, but not vice versa.
Thats what sucks about being considered the majority. In the US at least, its politically correct for black people to joke about white people, but not vice versa.

I take umbrage with such statments and am induced to pull out archaic and over pompous words to refute such insipid vitriol. -- kerinsky


[ Parent ]
Can certainly relate (5.00 / 4) (#21)
by Phage on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 06:43:52 AM EST

Having been raised in an all female household, I was ~12 before I even understood why other households I visited had these men wandering around in them. Heh, many of my female friends feel free to talk things over with me, and when I asked why this was, I was told that I was "Just one of the girls..." !

Strangely, this has had a deletrious effect on my own relationships. It seems that most women I meet still would rather have a relationship with a "Man's man". Then they are surprised when it doesn't work out...


I don't find Heathens to be sexy, as a general rule.
Canthros

An evolution thing (4.00 / 2) (#41)
by GhostfacedFiddlah on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 09:48:53 AM EST

Unfortunately, we're still animals in many ways. This includes the idea of a "Man's Man". Who better to go out and kill wild goat while you sit in your cave and make babies? And when you're talking about exclusive sexual relationships, you can't ignore your baser instincts. Even if they happen to be centuries obsolete.

[ Parent ]
God I hope not... (none / 0) (#43)
by Phage on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:00:41 AM EST

But that would explain why the nice guys always finish last !


I don't find Heathens to be sexy, as a general rule.
Canthros
[ Parent ]

Yep, that's it! (4.00 / 1) (#60)
by GhostfacedFiddlah on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:43:51 AM EST

But I've found they tend to finish first in the long run. Don't confuse "Man's Man" with "asshole" though - they're surprisingly different. You can watch football, drink beer, belch and fart - but still be a nice guy. I've known a lot of women with what I'll call an "asshole fetish". They'll choose someone terribly wrong, and after a year of horrible relationship, will still stay with them because "I love him!". In the end, though, my nice guy friends tend to end up with the best relationships, and are happiest.

[ Parent ]
I could be guilty of this myself (4.00 / 2) (#51)
by webwench on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:29:44 AM EST

RE "most women I meet still would rather have a relationship with a 'Man's man'."

I am probably guilty of this myself. But the fact is that, in a marriage or cohabitation arrangement, *someone* has to do the 'guy stuff'. Some of us can do some of the guy stuff, and some of us would rather remain in the realm of the 'girly', but the fact remains that there are some occasional things that we would have great difficulty doing simply because we are smaller and generally upper-body weaker, no matter how much we'd like to deny it.

(For example, this past weekend, I tried to help my stepdad split wood. It didn't work out -- my upper body lacks the required muscle to hoist the ax for long, so I was relegated to toting around the split wood. Had there been no 'manly guys' around to do the splitting, the wood would have gone unsplit and wasted -- unless we paid someone else to split it.)

Also, with some modern guys my age (sometimes I'd amend that to 'most' rather than 'some'), not only are they unwilling or unable (don't know how) to do the 'guy stuff', they still feel that the traditional feminine areas of responsibility (cooking, cleaning, watching the children) are 'womens' work' and so avoid that, too. Maybe it's male peer pressure that causes some of that, I'm really not sure. I've been there -- I was married to a guy who didn't care to do the manly stuff. Unfortunately, he wasn't interested in doing the womanly stuff either, which left me exhausted after working full-time at work, then again full-time at home. I wouldn't marry that again, period, so I sift out people who I think may fit that mold.

The fact is, in general, women are dating and getting into relationships with an eye towards a permanent relationship, and they're 'throwing back' guys who they may perceive won't be willing or able to contribute to the household. This I think is why so many women (myself included) find competence so attractive. It makes both evolutionary and practical sense to find a competent mate.

It could be that women are consciously or unconsciously perceiving you this way, fair or not, because you're not acting stereotypically 'manly'. In which case, I'd say the best thing you can do is exhibit competence in something that could be useful in general life, which might push that idea right out of womens' minds.

This could also not apply to you at all :)

[ Parent ]

Guys work vs Womens Work (5.00 / 1) (#74)
by sasseriansection on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:30:28 PM EST

Also, with some modern guys my age (sometimes I'd amend that to 'most' rather than 'some'), not only are they unwilling or unable (don't know how) to do the 'guy stuff', they still feel that the traditional feminine areas of responsibility (cooking, cleaning, watching the children) are 'womens' work' and so avoid that, too.

Unfortunately, as most modern men don't know how to fix the car or run plumbing, most women don't know how to cook or clean properly. It's a quandry that Home Ec and Shop Classes have failed to address, and frankly, I'm scared for the nation.
------------ ------------
[ Parent ]

Tit for tat (none / 0) (#84)
by webwench on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 12:54:41 AM EST

If I was a guy, I'd apply the same test to postential female mates: does she have something concrete to contribute to our partnership, or is she just along for the ride? After all, just as a man can learn how to do some things if he puts in the effort, so can a woman, obviously.

[ Parent ]
I can relate to parts of it (4.60 / 10) (#25)
by boxed on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 07:42:29 AM EST

My girlfriend is more "manly" than most girls I've met. With "manly" I mean, she's not the kind of insidious backstabber without personality that seems to dominate the female population. She has a strong personality and a good sense of humor, unfortunately she still retains, to a large degree, the one single thing that makes women bad at relationships: they have this idea that their partner has to read their minds! I can't express how much frustration I feel over this. I have one single advice to give to women: TALK TO US! And I don't mean talk about the weather, I mean say what you want, when you want it. Want to go out for dinner? Say it when it's time to go, not 5 hours earlier so I get the impression you've changed your mind, and don't be silent and then when it's too late get sad. Just tell me when I can do something about it.

Heh. Learn to listen. (5.00 / 1) (#52)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:30:04 AM EST

Seriously. If you think women in general don't talk about what they want, check out Deborah Tannen's work. She's a linguist who has written a couple of books on the differences between male and female conversational techniques. In all seriousness, it saved my marriage by helping my wife and I understand why we kept having arguments about the stupidest things imaginable.


--
I'm not a sexist pig!
I'm a plain-old-everyday pig!


[ Parent ]
Good for you (none / 0) (#77)
by MicroBerto on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:44:06 PM EST

While I'm happy that this saved your marriage and that you now know how to read your wife, I have to disagree with the whole idea.

I don't want to read a book in order to ATTEMPT to figure out what a girl is saying. If she can't talk to me on a normal 50/50 level and say what she wants, then I'm going to quickly lose patience and end it. I don't have time to "read between the lines".

Berto
- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
[ Parent ]

what is normal? (none / 0) (#83)
by f00b4r on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 12:23:36 AM EST

Before you can say "I wont be bothered talking to a woman that wont talk to me on a normal 50/50 level and say what she wants" you need to define what normal is...

Is normal the logical way in which men talk? Is normal the emotional way that women talk? First you need to understand that men and women communicate differently. Then you may be able to realize:

1) a book that explains these differences may not be such a bad read if you plan on ever being with a women in your life.
2) a woman that can somewhat express herself, say 50% of the time in a logical way, is a real keeper!

[ Parent ]
So, (none / 0) (#98)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 01:42:09 PM EST

If the job requires programming in Perl, do you refuse because you only program in C?

Or do you use the language that gets the job done?


--
I'm not a sexist pig!
I'm a plain-old-everyday pig!


[ Parent ]
hold up (none / 0) (#101)
by MicroBerto on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 02:58:33 PM EST

That depends. I wouldn't mind learning Perl (I already know it but we're being hypothetical)... but if I absolutely hate it because, say.. it was really picky and didn't let me know what errors I was performing -- then yes, I would try to find some other type of work.

And don't worry, I like the way perl is NOT picky and gives good errors, but it's a very good analogy to the question at hand.

Berto
- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
[ Parent ]

you misunderstood what I said (none / 0) (#87)
by boxed on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 05:56:27 AM EST

She says nothing. As in being completely silent.

[ Parent ]
I think... (3.50 / 2) (#89)
by rootz on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 09:09:03 AM EST

His point does apply, in general, to your situation. If I remember the theory correctly, females communicate in terms of feelings - males communicate actions. Not only that, but females want to achieve an emotional rapport - men want to be given a clear indication of what to do. Both styles are valid forms of communication, but are relatively exclusive.

So, to give an illustration (not implying that this is your case), a girl might say: "Wouldn't it be nice to go to out?" - an expression of her desires at that moment, and an attempt to find out what her partner feels.

The man would respond: "What do you want to do?". He's asking what goals she wants to achieve?

To the woman, this is a break in communication. She's trying to find out if the man feels the same way about going out. The woman says "I don't know.", because she genuinely doesn't know - she didn't get the emotional feedback she wanted, and she can't want to go out if she doesn't know whether he wants to or not.

The man is confused - she said she wanted to go to out, then she gave a non-committal statement. "OK then, let me know when you do.", he says, thinking, when she knows what she wants, she'll tell me.

The woman leaves it there as well - she's expressed her desire - if he feels the same, then it will happen. And then the evening ends in frustration for her and confusion for him - she feels a lack of emotional rapport with him, so it's not even about the fact that they didn't go out - he didn't receive from her a clear indication of what she wanted to do, so he's surprised at why she's angry.

If we appreciated the different styles of communication, we'd be able to understand more of the message our partners give us, and their priorities in communication.

--
R.O.O.T.Z: Robotic Organism Optimized for Troubleshooting and Zoology
[ Parent ]

well.. (none / 0) (#91)
by boxed on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 11:18:49 AM EST

I've watched operah-episodes about this thing too much when I was a kid to fall into that trap. I always give a straight answer when recieving a question. Unfortunately I seldom have strong feelings either way and my girlfriend can't seem to understand that when I mean I'll gladly go out or stay at home, that the decision is hers. Instead she assumes that I am not telling the truth and decides that I really mean I want to stay at home and then she becomes unhappy because we didn't go out. This is very frustrating for me because sometimes she does actually want to stay at home and I have no way in hell to find out when those cases are.

[ Parent ]
Respectfully suggest... (none / 0) (#97)
by rootz on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 01:16:45 PM EST

That you've just described some symptoms of the different styles. As a female friend said to me "women are looking for validation of their feelings and their thoughts". So if you're looking at it only in terms of "giving straight answers" to questions, instead of "what is she trying to tell me", you're missing half the things she's trying to communicate.

If she asked "Does my bum look big in this?" would you really say "Yes", if it did? Or would you reassure her that no matter what she looks like, you still feel the same about her?

Not sure about the Oprah crack. Anyone who gets Alicia Keys to the top of the album charts must be right, right? ;-)

--
R.O.O.T.Z: Robotic Organism Optimized for Troubleshooting and Zoology
[ Parent ]

Actual quote... (3.00 / 1) (#72)
by Mzilikazi on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:22:05 PM EST

...from my significant other a couple of weeks ago. She looked me dead in the eye and said, "I'm hungry, but I don't want food" and then demanded that I come up with a solution for that problem (I tend to do a lot of the cooking and grocery shopping).

I couldn't help but laugh... It was either that or collapse with little lightning bolts flying around me like an old sci-fi robot caught in a paradox.

Cheers,
Mzilikazi

[ Parent ]

OT: nick (none / 0) (#90)
by rootz on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 09:10:38 AM EST

Where did you get your nick? Would you be from Zim, by any chance?

--
R.O.O.T.Z: Robotic Organism Optimized for Troubleshooting and Zoology
[ Parent ]
Nope, just like the name... (none / 0) (#111)
by Mzilikazi on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 09:15:22 PM EST

As I stated a few months ago when someone asked me:

For the record, I'm not South African by nationality or ethnicity. I am deeply interested in the history of the entire African continent, as well as it's future. I first came across Mzilikazi in a Wilbur Smith novel, though I don't recall which one. I did a bit of outside reading on the individual to help separate fact from fiction. He's certainly an interesting historical figure, and if nothing else I admire him for breaking free from Shaka.

Also, it's a name that almost no one in the US knows, recognizes, or uses, so it tends to be usually available for websites, mailing lists, e-mail addresses, etc. (I tend to use various foreign names online--I've got a pretty diverse family history, all of which has resulted in an incredibly dull and common real name that was already taken by a million other people by the time I got online in 1994.) And hey, any name that begins with "Mz" is just inherently cool. :)

Cheers,
Mzilikazi

[ Parent ]

defence of feminism (3.90 / 10) (#27)
by turmeric on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 07:59:24 AM EST

feminism is not just empty man-hating bigotry, although alot of feminists partake in it. but there are a large swath of feminists who believe in equality... but the thing is, like,.. i mean without feminism would there be any womens shelters, would there be rape-awareness programs, would there be any sexual harassment laws, and would the glass ceiling really be coming down? would the strippers in no. california have been unionized? when are womens and mens wages going to become the same for the same work? when is maternity leave going to be accepted as the norm in offices? when will it be acceptable for women to breastfeed infants in public places? its just like if you go to any meeting to 'change society' likely alot of the people will be bigoted and hateful, but alot of them wont be. just look at all the bigoted microsoft bashers in 'open sourcism'. that doesnt make all of open source somehow worthless or stupid.

On having babies (4.75 / 4) (#37)
by GhostfacedFiddlah on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 09:32:15 AM EST

when is maternity leave going to be accepted as the norm in offices? when will it be acceptable for women to breastfeed infants in public places?

It may be "accepted", but I don't think the world feeling comfortable about it is in the cards. Just because women who are still in the breastfeeding/maternity leave stage of having children are in the minority. Probably no more than a few percent. Why should that few percent get the option to bare nipples in public and have extended leave? And anyway, for some reason, in this society we have a view that if someone is sucking someone else's nipples it should be done in private.

But if I were to suggest a solution to the "comfortable factor", I'd start by legalizing toplessness in women as it is in men. It's already legal here (Ontario, Canada) and it hasn't caused mass panic yet. And it's just another of the tiny ways in which women are discriminated against.

[ Parent ]
On breastfeeding (3.33 / 3) (#69)
by driptray on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 09:25:59 PM EST

It may be "accepted", but I don't think the world feeling comfortable about it is in the cards. Just because women who are still in the breastfeeding/maternity leave stage of having children are in the minority. Probably no more than a few percent.

Red-headed people are in the minority too, and most people are pretty comfortable with them.

Why should that few percent get the option to bare nipples in public and have extended leave?

Because their situation is different, and requires these special concessions?

And anyway, for some reason, in this society we have a view that if someone is sucking someone else's nipples it should be done in private.

You've alluded to the real reason why some people are uncomfortable with breast-feeding, ie, the sexualisation of women's breasts. Just ignore that boner, and get over it.


--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]

On boners... (none / 0) (#73)
by sasseriansection on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:25:21 PM EST

Just ignore that boner, and get over it.

But.. it's sooo difficult to ignore something that is so 'there' and demands that its presence be known:).
------------ ------------
[ Parent ]

Intrresting questions. (4.40 / 5) (#46)
by MKalus on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:15:36 AM EST

And I must say: Yes, you got all that through feminism, and yes, there is still a way to go.

BUT (you knew there was one): My impression is that now the whole thing starts to turn into a Gender Battle. Talking (as a guy) with women who claim by themselves to be feminists and getting a "we girls rock" thrown at me at every second sentence I start to wonder if some of them failed to realize that we are all in the same boat.

Don't get me wrong, awarness, equality.. I am all for that, but I am not willing to surrender my own needs for that (and that is something those women don't seem to get).

The whole situation sometimes reminds me of the way the relationship between Israel and Germany is. As long as Germany does whatever Israel wants, we're good friends, but once Germany decides to critize Israel the WW2 thing is brought up again.

Yes, in the past Germany did bad, but it has changed. Yes, in the past man did bad, but they have changed too.

Women who forget that, and turn hateful and "me me me me" now don't really help anybody, not themselves nor men.

Just my 2 cents.

[ Parent ]
Speaking of Maternity Leave.... (3.66 / 6) (#47)
by dasunt on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:18:18 AM EST

When is paternity leave going to be accepted as the norm?



[ Parent ]
Some companies do it. (4.00 / 3) (#50)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:24:24 AM EST

Lotus/IBM had "parental" leave for fathers and adopting parents - it was only and extra two weeks but you could cut it up. I used it by taking one day off each week for 10 weeks and using the day to give my wife a day off. I'd take the kids and she'd disappear for the day (or else I'd take them and disappear and she stayed home and caught up on her life).


--
I'm not a sexist pig!
I'm a plain-old-everyday pig!


[ Parent ]
What I've read... (3.33 / 6) (#54)
by webwench on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:33:43 AM EST

What I've read is that most large companies in the US offer some form of paternity leave, but men won't take it for fear their careers will suffer.

[ Parent ]
It is in some countries (4.00 / 4) (#55)
by fraise on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:36:10 AM EST

Fathers have 2 weeks paid paternal leave after the birth of their child here in France. It was legislated at the beginning of this year. I also think there's a similar law in Finland, probably Sweden and Norway too.

[ Parent ]
re: defense of feminism (4.83 / 6) (#58)
by bodrius on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:39:46 AM EST

Sure, Feminism is not just reactionary bigotry. It has given much to society, and it still has much more to give.

But if feminism is to accomplish those goals it has to distance itself from said bigotry, otherwise the term will be permanently appropiated by a hate-movement that is only temporarily protected by political correctness.

By tying feminism to the hate, and to the erroneous conclusion that somehow the male gender is inherently more evil and is responsible for almost everything that's wrong, the movement alienates most rational people, including, go figure, a lot of women. By not stopping self-appointed feminists from tying those concepts together, the movement is implicitely accepting that relation as a fact.
Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
[ Parent ]
The future of feminism (4.81 / 11) (#28)
by Skwirl on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 08:01:00 AM EST

Wow. Now I know I've been spending too much time reading diaries, because this jumped right out of the queue on to the Front Page and I was still commenting on the diary incarnation...

Anyways, I dug up this link, an interview with Susan Faludi talking about Stiffed and I think it's really important.

In a nutshell, the future of feminism isn't about women. It's about creating fair gender roles for everybody. Men should be free to choose to stay at home, women should be free to choose to go to work and vice versa.



--
"Nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself." -- Herman Hesse
Name-change (4.00 / 4) (#30)
by PigleT on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 08:17:58 AM EST

"In a nutshell, the future of feminism isn't about women."

If that's the case, can some enterprising soul please come up with another name for it? I'd hate to get all confuddled over again...
~Tim -- We stood in the moonlight and the river flowed
[ Parent ]
Humanism (nt) (4.50 / 4) (#32)
by fraise on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 08:27:26 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Humanism (4.66 / 3) (#49)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:20:18 AM EST

I'm afraid that name has already been taken - by an entire branch of philosophy.


--
I'm not a sexist pig!
I'm a plain-old-everyday pig!


[ Parent ]
You illustrate my point (2.66 / 3) (#53)
by fraise on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:32:07 AM EST

in choosing that term. Thank you. :)

[ Parent ]
ok, it should specifically be (4.66 / 3) (#70)
by persimmon on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 09:54:08 PM EST

liberation from sex-based behavioral sterotypes, right? Akin to modern gender studies departments that grew out of women's studies departments.

If we call it behavioural liberation that sounds like a free license to hit old ladies and puppies. Sexual liberation is taken. Masculism exists, but seems to consist of a bunch of old boys trying to poke holes in feminism, the way creationists try to poke holes in evolution. Whenever I've encountered it it's been called the men's branch of the feminist movement, as if its goals were different than those of female feminists.

But I can see how continuing to call it feminism would eventually feel exclusive. I suggest gender liberation, which lends itself to all sorts of easy rainbow alliances.
--
So There.
[ Parent ]

Extremism (4.28 / 7) (#31)
by Alias on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 08:18:16 AM EST

It seems that the problem with feminism is that, by becoming an "-ism", it has also drawn quite a few extremists.

We've seen it before: an exploited party launches a campaign to get its rights recognized. Then the campaign becomes a soapbox for people who don't want recognition, but vengeance. Or, more simply, power.

I wholeheartedly agree with your view on the future of feminism. The same goes for many such movements.

Stéphane "Alias" Gallay -- Damn! My .sig is too lon
[ Parent ]
Yes... and then again, not entirely (4.81 / 11) (#35)
by kaiidth on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 09:11:52 AM EST

Interesting; and I relate to parts of it. However, I think that your comments on feminism, particularly 'Feminist Women, Dominated Women, and everyone else' are perhaps a little incomplete.

There certainly are feminists who take it all too seriously - the 'you're either with me, or against me' mentality - but I think that there are also feminists who have a point. Perhaps, as somebody already suggested in another comment, they should be relabelled 'humanists'.

I say this from personal experience. I'm female, and a postgraduate in computing, and I do find that many people suffer from an inability to go beyond traditional 'gender programming'. Female friends of mine tend to tell me they grew out of any interest in traditionally male-dominated subjects (even the fun sides of them, like artificial intelligence or starships...), whilst male friends are much happier with this sort of subject.

In the workplace, particularly with male co-workers, there seems to be a need to prove oneself - to show one's ability. Sometimes this is extreme. In the past I've had to give my work to a male co-worker and have them sign it for me in order to ensure that management give it a fair assessment. No, I'm not dreaming - Yes, it might be to do with my lousy communication skills, but the strangest thing is that I tend to have the highest success rate when presenting my own work, mislabeled as somebody else's. Maybe I don't inspire trust - but then...

Of course, attributing blame in that sort of event is a difficult issue. One could easily say that my personality is at fault; or one could say that the author of this piece has a bias against women. Better to avoid accusation entirely, and draw one's own conclusions...

In any case, the answer isn't to attack all women - or all men. Like the nick says,'What is, is' ;-)

Humanism sounds like a vastly fairer way of dealing with the issue than aligning oneself with any particular group. Which, if you will excuse my presumption, you - the author of this piece - are somewhat doing by, in effect, explaining that all women display innate backstabbing jealousy.

Literature (or people) that describe discrimination between genders may be providing useful information - even if they have a feminist perspective, although that makes them somewhat inadequate as detached observers. Take for example Susan Herring's work on gender discrimination in computer-mediated communication. You may disagree with her conclusions, but it's useful to read this literature even inasmuch as such information is likely to help identify possible/probable situations in which gender bias in any direction may occur.

To a great extent, though, I agree with your stance. Most of my friends are male, probably because my interests tend to coincide with theirs. It enrages me no end that the general habit is to try and turn every male-female relationship into something exclusive and sexual. Comments like 'Do you think he fancies me? How can I find out?' from my female friends amuse me no end - I usually tell them to ask. In my view, if you're not a close enough friend to ask a guy how he feels about you (or already know) then you probably ought to address the friends part of it first...

I, author and humanism remarker (5.00 / 6) (#39)
by fraise on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 09:34:31 AM EST

Your comment is excellent, the only thing I disagree with is your presumption of my intent. I happen to be the same person who remarked feminism should be rennamed humanism, and I am critical of some characteristics of modern feminism, not anti. I am thankful and aware that it is because of feminism that I felt comfortable enough to write my article, study Calculus and computer programming at university, etc. etc.

But women do, in general (can I harp on "in general as in most, not all" enough?) display innate backstabbing jealousy - read the linked article, and please don't ignore your own experience. Men have their own weaknesses too, which are sufficiently pointed out by the outspoken anti-men feminists. Again, not all feminists are "anti-men", but enough are to create problems where there shouldn't be any. Also, I point out probably the most well-known of female weaknesses and already someone presumes it means I'm biased against women?

[ Parent ]
Proving yourself - the "macho" viewpoint (4.83 / 6) (#48)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:18:59 AM EST

Having read Deborah Tannen's book on gender linguistics, You Just Don't Understand, I hereby pronounce myself an expert on this subject. (in otherwords, this is just my opinion, please don't take it too seriously!)

Anyway, I mention Tannen's book because it helped me understand some gender related issues I was having. One of the major points in the book is that the stereotype of men demanding that women prove themselves is true - because men also demand that other men prove themselves. This sort of (hopefully friendly) competition and comparison goes on so continuously between men that we are often not even aware of it. It's like the air - it's just there, whether it's on the football field or in a board meeting. Especially in the workplace.

Whenever I show up at a new job, I walk in assuming that I'm going to have to do something flashy to show that I can do the job well. Once I've found the opportunity, and established my "rep" I don't have to worry about it anymore.

Let me give you an extreme example. I worked for a company whose flagship product had five million lines of code and huge quality problems. To deal with both issues, a weekly peer-review process was established. You were not permitted to add your code to CVS until it had been approved by your peers at the weekly meeting.

My first year at these meetings was brutal. I take great pride in writing very tight efficient code, and I would bring in patches that were only a third as long as the code they were replacing. And the peer-review meeting would reject them. Week after week. It was incredibly frustrating. The running joke was that my check-in comments all read "Fools! I'll Kill You All!". But, after about a year, a strange thing happened. I realized that all my changes had started going through without even (much) discussion, while I had become one of the hardest critics of newcomers proposed changes. I had proved myself to the rest of the team, and had finally learned enough of the rest of the code to understand where the likely problems would occur. By the second year, people were coming to me before the review meeting to discuss their proposed changes and to ask for advice about likely pitfalls.

During this same period, a woman who had joined the company at the same time as me began complaining that she wasn't receiving the kind of respect I was. When I thought about this, I realized that one of the biggest differences between us was that I fought for my changes but she always accepted the criticism without putting up a struggle.

Going back to Tannen's book - I read it for more personal reasons, but it did also give me insight into office behavior. It helped me recognize that a difference in tactics does not imply a difference in intelligence or skill. But it is frustrating when I hear a woman complain that men who do not behave like them are "unprofessional". I'm sorry, but my instinct is that if you don't care enough to fight for yourself, why should I fight for you? Yeah, I know. Women don't fight. BS. I have three sisters, and I know that's not true. Women fight as much as men do - they just do it indirectly.

I know the counter-argument - that when women behave like men, men call them "bitches". Well, men have been known to call other men names too, when they lose. Just remember that that's why their calling names - they fear/respect you. That's a good thing. Being called names is infinitely better than being ignored.


--
I'm not a sexist pig!
I'm a plain-old-everyday pig!


[ Parent ]
Assumtions about girls who hang with the guys (4.75 / 4) (#38)
by Karmakaze on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 09:34:07 AM EST

Sometime during my second year of high school, a rumor was started that I was lesbian, since apparently they thought that only lesbians could hang out with popular guys and not want to date them.
Funny, I hung out with the guys in high school too (not exclusively, I admit). The rumour I drew from the rumour mill was that (a) I was sleeping with all of them (separately) and (b) I had, by some Machiavellian manipulation, convinced each one I was only with him.

I found the whole thing terribly funny (I suppose "sluts" draw less flak than "lesbians"), and the boys had no idea I had a "reputation".


--
Karmakaze

Hmm (3.50 / 6) (#44)
by zephc on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:00:58 AM EST

I've always liked the quote (as seen on t-shirts): "I'm a lesbian trapped in a man's body"

Source of this quote (4.00 / 3) (#62)
by sien on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:52:45 AM EST

This quote is in Generation X by Douglas Coupland. I think it may go back further but I don't know. Just thought I'd add that.

[ Parent ]
Which is trivializing (2.00 / 1) (#75)
by fluffy grue on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:36:45 PM EST

Gender identity and sexual attraction have very little to do with each other.
--
"...but who knows, perhaps [stories about] technology and hardware will come to be [unpopular]." -- rusty the p
[
Parent ]
it always annoyed me (3.50 / 2) (#78)
by persimmon on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:49:01 PM EST

Lesbians are women, whether they're in women's bodies or men's. Vel might be an actual example of a lesbian in a man's body.

For straight men who were born and stayed men to claim they're "lesbians" insults and trivialises the real discrimination and identity issues that lesbians face, as well as those of transsexuals. It reminds me of calling girl-on-girl porn "lesbian".
--
So There.
[ Parent ]

Exactly my point (4.00 / 1) (#79)
by fluffy grue on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:52:43 PM EST

Thanks for explaining it in case someone else missed it. :)
--
"...but who knows, perhaps [stories about] technology and hardware will come to be [unpopular]." -- rusty the p
[
Parent ]
ticket giving (3.80 / 5) (#56)
by chbm on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:38:27 AM EST

I'm not surprised someone gave you a ticked for USA-Iran while holding a France-Denmark ticket. After all, USA-Iran would only be good for comedy sake ;)

Anyway, my wife played basketball in a guy team till she was like 12 and then moved to a girls team. She was hated by all the girls on that league cause she played like a guy :) Most of her friends were guys and as she had short hair and wore baggy clothes girls hit on her not believing she's a girl till she was 16 or something (i forget).
My 2 closest friends are girls, who mostly have guy friends. Maybe it's a messed up world after all ;)

-- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --
Duck Football... Civil War (3.00 / 2) (#65)
by cione on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 11:04:21 AM EST

Only someone from the Pacific NW would know about the Ducks. Only a "Duck" fan knows what I mean by Civil War.


Nuke a gay whale for Jesus Christ--- That should piss just about every body off.
pfeh, not even fans (4.00 / 1) (#71)
by persimmon on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 10:04:39 PM EST

Everybody who grew up in Phil Knight University town and PKUT logging annex knows what it means :P
--
So There.
[ Parent ]

Gees (none / 0) (#105)
by linca on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 05:31:25 PM EST

I'm living in FRANCE and I know about this.

Now I'd better sleep during the night rather than watch American football on cable TV....

[ Parent ]
The reverse. (4.50 / 6) (#67)
by Kasreyn on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 12:04:13 PM EST

I suppose I can identify because I'm kind of the opposite; a guy with more than his share of feminine traits.

It's not about sexual preference, though people think it is. Even though I have long hair, and I don't like sports or most of the things guys are supposed to like, and am a pacifist, I'm still hetero. As far as I can tell, sexual orientation and gender-associated behaviors are completely unrelated to each other (this makes me give more credence than I otherwise would to the notion that sexual orientation is genetically, not environmentally, determined).

Like you, I was rumored to be gay all through H.S. and college because I was different and I didn't pant over bimbo cheerleaders like I was supposed to, and as a result none of the girls except (you guessed it!) tomboys would go near me. So that's probably why every woman I've ever loved has been a tomboy. =P Somehow I find myself more comfortable with men, or manlike women. Men are more genuine; women are fakes. Women are too full of expectations of how I should behave; they won't accept me as what I am, and guys will. Guys treat me like a gay man, but women don't even treat me like a human being, I'm so different from their expectations. And it hurts, but I don't think there's any other way I'd rather be.

And I agree with you about the modern feminist movement; it's causing more problems than it solves. Modern feminists are in my opinion petty hypocrites intent on creating divisions and raising themselves on a pedestal above men, instead of working towards true equality. I find myself more sympathetic towards gays, because I know what it's like to be treated the way they're treated by people with narrow stereotypes of gender. Women don't know how good they've got it.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Preconceptions... (4.50 / 4) (#80)
by dissonant on Tue Apr 09, 2002 at 11:03:18 PM EST

I never fail to be irrated by people's preconceptions. I have yet to meet someone who has actually taken the time to get to know me here in the South before assuming that I'm straight and xtian.

A good part of why this is so irritating is that I don't like to have to make an issue of my sexuality or religious beliefs or wear either on my sleeve, especially before actually getting to know someone. Religion and sexuality, though very important, are just parts of an individual, not the definition. It also doesn't help that though I seem both straight and 'masculine' I am by nature somewhat feminine and most of my friends are\have been female...

The thing that irritates me is that I'm far too often privy to 'faggot' jokes (because I'm supposed to be a straight white xtian male, not one of 'them', right?) which gets very uncomfortable. Not that I'd rather have people walking on eggshells...

You just can't win; if you be yourself, and not put on an act to help them label you, you hurt yourself. If you don't be yourself, so that you don't get 'mislabelled', you also hurt yourself.

Oh well, contradiction is the essence of life I suppose...

[ Parent ]
So true... (none / 0) (#110)
by verb on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 09:13:58 PM EST

First post on kuro5hin... interesting to find this topic brought up. I just had a conversation with an acquaintance who explained, quite patiently, that I was in the closet.

Startled that she would know more than me about my orientation, I asked her why. She explained that I was a 'sissy' -- I don't hit on women, but hang out with them. I don't go out and watch football with the guys -- I take architectural photographs and read Umberto Eco novels. Thus, I'm a sissy. And since gay men are sissies...

It's boggling how many offensive stereotypes were crammed into a short conversation, but it's the kind of thing that happens a lot these days. Sadly, acceptance of broader sexual preferences hasn't reduced stereotyping and discrimination -- it's just given people more categories for the people who don't fit in.

--the verb

[ Parent ]
hrm, perhaps that's my problem (none / 0) (#112)
by BlueOregon on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 09:42:03 PM EST

Let's see --

  • Umberto Eco novels? check
  • Architectural photographs? check
  • Don't hit on, but hang out with women? check
  • Don't go out and watch football with the guys? check

    (add to that, a gay former roommate labeled me the 'gayest straight man he knew' because of a) my cooking skills and b) my sense of humor) ... perhaps that's why I'm damned to be perpetually repulsive to most women. Thing is, though -- I don't think I'd ever label the traits above as "sissy traits" at all [ ... though, as you point out, many 'offensive stereotypes were crammed into a short conversation.']

    [ Parent ]

  • Welcome! (none / 0) (#118)
    by Kasreyn on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:02:12 PM EST

    First off, welcome to K5. I'm not any sort of official welcomer, I just noticed you said it was your first post. ^_^

    As to your post: I've had the same sort of conversation. In fact, I've had that sort of conversation with a tomboy girl who is easily bright enough to see past gender stereotypes, but simply can't. She's able to see all the problems of social and racial stereotypes, but she has the same rigid ideas about gender as everyone else. Because I'm a pacifist who'd rather read, hack, and listen to music than fight, compete, and play sports, she calls me a "pussy" (and trust me, she means it in a derogatory sense ;-). To her, I'm a contemptible non-entity because of my failure to "be a man".

    I just find it intriguing how a person can be openminded in so many ways, but totally close-minded on issues of stereotyped gender behavior. It leads me to suspect that gender stereotypes are by far the deepest buried, and strongest, form of prejudice, and that basically everyone is saddled with them. And the stereotypes are the same regardless of gender; both genders have a pretty identical view of the "correct" behavior you're supposed to display, depending on your genitalia. Everyone has the same early training, pretty much regardless of culture.

    Even I have it. I find myself very conflicted at times, as my upbringing and social training tells me "a man is supposed to behave THIS way", but it feels alien and unwanted to me. I wind up behaving kind of halfway between how I want to behave, and how I've been taught to. Even though I'm aware of the preconceptions I've been taught, it's very hard to escape them. It requires a conscious effort to even notice they're there. Most people never do.

    So, like I say, I really sympathize with gay people; inner conflict is no fun. I have a lot of respect for gays who are able to come completely out of the closet and be wildly, happily gay without shame. It's probably a tougher thing to do than anything I've ever done.


    -Kasreyn


    "Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
    We never asked to be born in the first place."

    R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
    [ Parent ]
    Guys perspective (4.00 / 1) (#88)
    by snowgoon on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 08:36:04 AM EST

    Hmmm, I've always found it easier to get along with woman/girls, and all my closest male friends are not beer swilling, louts (ohhh you know which stereotype I mean!). I've never had a problem with it, but it has caused some friction. Live and let live. If only more people could be more tolerant life would be sooo much easier. And I wouldn't have grown up being teased cos I walked home with the girls (or alone).

    other side of the fence (4.33 / 3) (#92)
    by plusran on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 12:00:17 PM EST

    i can relate, i grew up on the other side of the issue. i grew up with three female role models (all strong minded and independent) and few male ones (but for my dead beat dad and grampa) so my view of men was a bitter one. growing up was hard because all i saw of boys were "i want to prove i'm better than everybody else" and games were it seemed the only goal was to make people feel bad. i grew up to dispise those that only thought with their smaller head. yes yes i know, not all men are self serving and afraid of their emotions, i'm trying my hardest to not be that. so from the other side of the fence, i understand what you mean, in the opposite direction. i knew the reverse was true, i just didn't want to face it. in the end i'd say men and women are just as bad, just as good, as the other.
    +++
    I don't think it is that uncommon anymore (4.50 / 2) (#95)
    by hatshepsut on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 12:55:32 PM EST

    I am another female who hung around (and still hangs around) mostly male friends. When I was little, I was a "tomboy" though I stopped thinking of myself that way before I hit double-digit ages.

    I made three good female friends (pre-puberty), but the rest of my friends are still guys. In high school the rumour-mill ground away on this supposed "oddity", but I always managed to consider the source, and ended up not caring what THOSE people thought.

    In university, I entered a male-dominated field (physical sciences), prompting my grandmother to worry that I would be considered "singular" as a female in this field. Note: to her credit, upon being reassured that this was what I really wanted, she threw her full support behind me, and never brought up the matter again.

    My last two employers have had more females at the junior and intermediate levels (all engineers or scientists) than males. Yes, the upper levels have been dominated by men, but they are also a generation ahead of me.

    I have met many others like me (male and female, who didn't go for the "traditional" gender roles or circle of friends) and I don't think it is that uncommon anymore - which I see as a great thing.

    just last night... (4.66 / 3) (#99)
    by jcw2112 on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 02:49:10 PM EST

    ...my wife and i were discussing something very much like what you are describing.

    i grew up with both male and female friends. i tended to be around more and more women as time progressed (in my conservatory class i was one of 5 men). i know that all of this colors how i deal with people of both sexes.

    for instance, another poster mentions "guy stuff." in my house that is another word for "bullshit." i love to cook, so i do. i also deal with lawn care and vehicle maintenance, which i hate but in which i am proficient. my wife and i both hate to clean so no one does...but i suppose that that's another story... i work to my strengths and what i enjoy and so does she.

    the long and the short of it is that i see very little difference in men and women as to what their roles should be. we are certainly not socialized this way. my wife was brought up believe that to be a woman meant being somewhat inferior. she heard her father say "we'll keep having kids until we have a boy" from the day her younger sister was born until her brother showed up. her father loves his girls, but obviously a different message was being delivered.

    needless to say, my wife is a bit of a tomboy. which is handy because i can't talk sports to save my life (so she translates for me), i despise talking to car salesmen (but love the looks on their faces when she talk torque), and i usually hate doing any kind of manual labor (but she will jump right in).

    nothing insightful here, it just seems odd that i noticed this story today and had the discussion last night.



    ____________________
    suck. on. it.

    wow talk about relating (4.00 / 1) (#102)
    by quelrod on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 03:05:22 PM EST

    I had several close female friends from even elementary...and people ridiculed me from the start. In high school most of my friends were female, why? b/c I happend to meet people that I enjoyed spending time with so I was friends with them. I think the issue is no different than racism when it comes to making friends. You become friends with a person for how well you relate to them, period. Ah a world of tolerance such a dream :-)

    Explaining Male Feminization (3.50 / 6) (#103)
    by Baldrson on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 03:36:45 PM EST

    Female reproductive viability is far more robust than is male reproductive viability. For example, highly valued sperm from donors is in the hundreds of dollars. A highly valued egg donor combined with the use of a healthy young woman's body running for full gestation period can easily run $100,000 -- cash on the barrel head.

    All that needs to happen to explain a rise in "tomboys" or masculinized females is to explain the feminization of males, because females can far more easily retain their evolutionary viabilty while switching gender roles than can males.

    UK Independent reports that Studies around the world have shown that average sperm counts in men have dropped by more than half over the past 50 years - from about 160 million per millilitre of semen to 66 million. One has to wonder why they don't look at the men whose fertility hasn't been affected for clues as to what is going on? It always seems that when human reproduction is at stake, the superstitious rule.

    For example, another study shows "British Fertility Rate Has Improved Since 1961 " whereas in the UK Independent article we see "The Medical Research Council reports that the fertility of Scottish men born since 1970 was 25 per cent less than those born in the 1950s, with sperm counts continuing to drop by two per cent a year." If these "scientists" can't get it together within one island, why would anyone believe them when they say the trend is "around the world" let alone being due to anything from pesticides to disposable diapers to hormone-treated beef to, as the UK Independent article speculates, birth control pill in urine.

    Even given all this speculation in a vacuum of observation -- it should still be possible to find some rural Catholic villages somewhere that sperm counts have been measured before and do the taboo thing: measure them again.

    Failing that, a broad spectrum of longitudinal data could be gathered without any presuppositions about what sort of patterns might emerge.

    Why not?

    There is a reason.

    In "Sperm Wars: The Science of Sex" by Robin Baker, Ph.D., Baker has some bad arithmetic that he uses to claim bisexuality is an evolved strategy -- probably indicating Baker himself is bisexual and attempting to rationalize it even if it means he shows he can't do math when it comes to his own sexuality. However, beyond that understandable flaw, major though it is, there is some pertinent information such as chapter "Men Are All the Same", in which he makes statements such as,

    "Some men, though, have testes that are relatively large for the body size; others have testes that are relatively small. This difference is genetic and heritable. As long as there are no associated clinical problems, even the smallest of testes can produce enough sperm for fertilization in the absence of sperm warfare. Moreover, small testes are less vulnerable and less likely to be damaged than larger ones. So why don't all men have small testes? The answer is that when sperm warfare is likely, small testes are a major handicap. The sexual strategy that a man does best to pursue, therefore is dictated to a large extent by the size of his testes.

    Men with larger testes manufacture more sperm per day, ejaculate more often, and introduce more sperm at each intercourse. Interestingly, they don't ejaculate more sperm during masturbation. They spend less time with their partners, and are more likely to be unfaithful and to choose a partner who will also be unfaithful. The converse is true, in all these respects, for men with smaller testes."

    Can you imagine the uproar that would occur if someone actually went around publishing studies on demographic variation of testicle size? Keeping in mind that some chimps have the largest testicle to body size ratio of any primates -- there is little chance of such studies being published.

    Additional hypotheses are abundantly available but never mentioned. For example, were we to observe a higher drop in sperm count among some "white" heterosexual males, we might reasonably suspect it to be related to their loss of social status during the last 30 or 40 years due to the fact that similar drops in gonadal fuction occur in other primate hierarchies. For example:

    "Work with maques suggests that, when animals meet with defeat, physiological changes ensue which persist well beyond the immediate response to the incidents which produce the response (Rose et al. 1972, 1975). Specifically, defeat has been associated with increased adrenocortical activity and suppression of gonadal activity."

    From "Primate Social Conflict", edited by William A. Mason & Sally P. Mendoza, p102.

    refs

    Rose, R.M.; Bernstein, I.S.; Gordon, T.P. (1975) Consequences of social conflict on plasma testosterone levels in rhesus monkeys. Psychomatic Medicine 37:50-61

    Rose, R.M.; Gordon, T.P.; Bernstein, I.S. (1972) Plasma testosterone levels in the male rhesus: Influences of sexual and social stimuli. "Science" 178:643-645

    This would be mediated, I would guess, by the same sort of amygdala mechanisms that I hypothesize in "Parasitic Castration and the GOD Hypothesis".

    Will these, quite obvious, hypotheses be investigated with anything like the resources invested in the plethora of other speculations put forth by main stream media and academia?

    No, we will not see much real science about reduction in sperm counts. We will get little aside from trash science and yellow journalism in an area of vital concern so long as recessive and dominant populations are intimately mixed. Such is so common where the science of human genetics and reproduction is concerned that one hardly need be a cynic or a prophet to predict it.

    -------- Empty the Cities --------


    tomgirl? (3.50 / 2) (#104)
    by hashashin on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 05:24:54 PM EST

    I think the correct schoolyard term for a boy who acts like a girl is "Nancy boy."

    correct? (none / 0) (#107)
    by plusran on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 06:27:54 PM EST

    oh please, is this really necessary?
    +++
    [ Parent ]
    necessary? (none / 0) (#109)
    by hashashin on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 08:07:12 PM EST

    A sense of humor is necessary. :)

    [ Parent ]
    i agree but (none / 0) (#113)
    by plusran on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 12:22:39 AM EST

    i agree but at who's expence? ... *change of heart* mine, and i can laugh at me. hahahah =)
    +++
    [ Parent ]
    Hear, hear! (3.00 / 1) (#108)
    by gblues on Wed Apr 10, 2002 at 07:14:26 PM EST

    I empathize with your situation, and I'm glad you see the truly negative side of the feminist movement.

    I never developed a female-phobia or the stereotypical domineering-male attitude. Women are people too, and neither gender should put the other on a pedestal (or put themseleves on a pedestal).

    I hear lots of people say that women are hard to understand, but I just don't experience it. It's not hard, just different. It's akin to C programmers slamming Perl for being hard to understand.

    Of course, years spent as a technical support jockey have taught me that people never describe problems, only symptoms. Gender conflicts are not the problem, merely a symptom of a lack of trust. Therefore, feminism is not a solution to gender conflicts because it does not address the trust issue--it merely pushes it back on the male.

    Nathan
    ... although in retrospect, having sex to the news was probably doomed to fail from the get-go. --squinky
    Women are chattel... (none / 0) (#116)
    by taiwanjohn on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 04:25:36 PM EST

    Or rather, they have been considered "chattel" for most of human history...

    That's why we have all this gender-role confusion today. Traditionally, women are allowed only three possible roles in society: virgin, wife/mother, and whore. All of these are "chattel" in one way or another.

    Because of this, women (and girls) are conditioned and trained by our culture to accept and expect these roles, and to eschew alternatives. Just being a "normal, independent, self-sufficient person" has never been a terribly easy path for women in most major cultures in our history.

    The role of the Dominated Woman is a natural extension of this trend, and it pervades our whole "dating" culture.

    Everybody knows the standard scenario in which women trade sex for love, and men trade love for sex, right? Well, where does that come from? Why do women feel such an overwhelming need for "security" in a relationship? Could it be because that's the only kind of security they've ever been offered, in all of human history? Hmmm...

    From a male perspective -- from the POV of an average guy trying to score -- we really have only ourselves to blame when she gives a cold shoulder because we called too soon or too late (or whatever...).

    As "chattel", she has no "will" of her own... no responsibility. So, if you call too late, it's YOUR FAULT!! Forget the fact that she's got a phone too, and could just as easily have dialed YOUR number if she was feeling lonely. Fsck that shite! "You're a man... I'm just a girl!" (Gag!)

    Now, just because I accept the established fact of this bias, doesn't mean I agree with it... nor that I think of women as "victims" who need more protection/consideration/etc than men... On the contrary, I think this points to the conclusion that women should bear more responsibility for their own well-being.

    And I think this is very-much in line with the thrust of the above article.

    Yes, it's true, women have historically been victimized by male-dominated society (just as "people of color" have suffered domination from whites), but nowadays I think the barriers to most women are in their own minds.

    I don't deny that there are myriad examples to the contrary, but even the most rabid/radical feminist must agree that women are generally much better off now than they were 20 or 30 years ago...

    Women have real opportunities now. They don't "need" men in the way they did 100 years ago. So we men ought to do our part to nurture self-confidence and self-reliance in ALL the women we meet. It's to our own advantage... ;-)

    Gawd, there's so much more to say! But I'm so tired at the moment...

    We'll leave it there for now,

    --jrd

    PS: If you haven't seen it before, check out ifeminists.com... It's sort-of a Libertarian twist on feminism, which you might enjoy...

    I can relate (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by disco leviathan on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 12:17:50 AM EST

    I was also ostracized as a kid for liking "boy's stuff."

    Regarding the feminist issue in this thread, I consider myself a feminist, but I too am often dismayed by some behaviour I see undertaken in the name of feminism. Like most feminists, my personal version of feminism includes securing women's rights. The thing that some people seem to forget is that with rights come responsibilities. I gain access to the things that were once arbitrarily denied women, but I also have to give up the privileges that were once arbitrarily bestowed on women, as well take on responsibilities that were traditionally left to men. How could one reasonably lay claim to a high paying job in a traditionally male field with equal pay for equal work and still expect a man to pay for her dinner? I think this is one of the larger hurdles women will have to jump over before reaching full gender parity.

    Another thing I wish some self-proclaimed feminists would keep in mind is that men are not the enemy and labelling them as such does not aid the feminist cause. Men may have had a better position in terms of power and freedom in the past, but they were also deeply constrained by gender roles and suffered for it. We need to accept that both men and women play a role in perpetuating patriarchy. Hopefully the end result of feminism will be that men are not expected to acquire carpel tunnel syndrome from slaving away in a cube to support the family simply because they are male, just as women aren't expected to do so in the kitchen. Ideally people will be free to make personal decisions about how to conduct their lives without having to worry about what is expected of their gender. People will be valued for their inherent worth as human beings and not for their ability to conform to some unnecessary role.

    Sigh. Well a girl can dream, can't she?

    S/he | 119 comments (106 topical, 13 editorial, 0 hidden)
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