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June 05, 2008

Getting Beyond the Real Men/Real Women Paradigm

This thread, via Glenn Reynolds, got the Princess thinking furiously about the relative advantages and disadvantages of being a man vs. being a woman:

Both genders face huge and distinct disadvantages. I'd be hard-pressed to say whether it's more unfortunate to be a man or a woman.

As a thought-experiment, you could imagine -- apologies to John Rawls and his veil of ignorance -- that you haven't been born yet and you get to choose which gender you want to live your life as. You get to be fully informed about what the world is like, but all you know about your future life is that you'll be a human being growing up in the United States. (Significantly, you don't know your race or sexual orientation.) Which gender would you choose to be? I think some people would choose to be a man, and others would choose to be a woman, and it's far from obvious what the wiser choice would be.

I want to focus on the male-disadvantages side of this question, which I find more interesting because it's not talked about as much.

I'm well aware that the person who suggests, at least in certain kinds of elite circles, that maybe there are some not-so-great things about being a man is likely not be heard. Civil discussion will end. You aren't allowed to talk about, or think about, the idea that while gender roles, norms, traditions, stereotypes, etc. have certainly been bad for women ... they might also be bad for men too.

It's odd: I would have thought that if that's true, then it would actually strengthen the case for feminism. If everyone is burdened by antiquated gender rules, isn't that twice as bad as if half the population were burdened?

I think that's a bit of an oversimplification. "Antiquated gender rules", as they are so often referred to, developed over time as the most efficient means of ensuring stable families and guaranteeing the survival of homo sapiens. Our relative affluence and political stability have allowed us to change the rules, or so we like to think. Unfortunately for us, we have yet to figure out how to repeal the law of cause and effect:

Most countries in the Western world have stopped breeding. For a civilization obsessed with sex, this is remarkable. Maintaining a steady population requires a birth rate of 2.1. In Western Europe, the birth rate currently stands at 1.5, or 30 percent below replacement. In 30 years there will be 70 to 80 million fewer Europeans than there are today. The current birth rate in Germany is 1.3. Italy and Spain are even lower at 1.2. At that rate, the working age population declines by 30 percent in 20 years, which has a huge impact on the economy.

When you don't have young workers to replace the older ones, you have to import them. The European countries are currently importing Moslems. Today, the Moslems comprise 10 percent of France and Germany, and the percentage is rising rapidly because they have higher birthrates. However, the Moslem populations are not being integrated into the cultures of their host countries, which is a political catastrophe. One reason Germany and France don't support the Iraq war is they fear their Moslem populations will explode on them. By 2020, more than half of all births in the Netherlands will be non-European.

The huge design flaw in the post-modern secular state is that you need a traditional religious society birth rate to sustain it. The Europeans simply don't wish to have children, so they are dying.

In Japan, the birthrate is 1.3. As a result, Japan will lose up to 60 million people over the next 30 years. Because Japan has a very different society than Europe, they refuse to import workers. Instead, they are just shutting down. Japan has already closed 2000 schools, and is closing them down at the rate of 300 per year. Japan is also aging very rapidly. By 2020, one out of every five Japanese will be at least 70 years old. Nobody has any idea about how to run an economy with those demographics.

Europe and Japan, which comprise two of the world's major economic engines, aren't merely in recession, they're shutting down. This will have a huge impact on the world economy, and it is already beginning to happen. Why are the birthrates so low? There is a direct correlation between abandonment of traditional religious society and a drop in birth rate, and Christianity in Europe is becoming irrelevant. The second reason is economic. When the birth rate drops below replacement, the population ages. With fewer working people to support more retired people, it puts a crushing tax burden on the smaller group of working age people. As a result, young people delay marriage and having a family. Once this trend starts, the downward spiral only gets worse. These countries have abandoned all the traditions they formerly held in regards to having families and raising children.

The U.S. birth rate is 2.0, just below replacement. We have an increase in population because of immigration. When broken down by ethnicity, the Anglo birth rate is 1.6 (same as France) while the Hispanic birth rate is 2.7. In the U.S., the baby boomers are starting to retire in massive numbers. This will push the "elder dependency" ratio from 19 to 38 over the next 10 to 15 years. This is not as bad as Europe, but still represents the same kind of trend.


Western civilization seems to have forgotten what every primitive society understands, you need kids to have a healthy society. Children are huge consumers. Then they grow up to become taxpayers. That's how a society works, but the post-modern secular state seems to have forgotten that. If U.S. birth rates of the past 20 to 30 years had been the same as post-World War II, there would be no Social Security or Medicare problems.

The world's most effective birth control device is money. As society creates a middle class and women move into the workforce, birth rates drop. Having large families is incompatible with middle class living. The quickest way to drop the birth rate is through rapid economic development.

It's odd; I think that the discourse on gender is heavily influenced by political orientation. The Left, taken as a whole, seems repulsed by traditional masculinity. A series of posts by Ezra Klein brought this into particularly stark relief. His analysis of Obama's candidacy is revealing:

Webb represents something of almost transcendent importance to some post-Bush liberals: The opportunity to out-tough the GOP. A candidate who's not only a liberal, but in no way a sissy. He is the daywalker, combining a progressive's positions with a southern militarist's affectations.

But this is not a sustainable approach to politics. Democrats can't out-tough the GOP. It's possible that James Webb can do it. But he's sui generis; a Democrat who can win at politics when played under Republican rules. Democrats love those candidates, because they think of presidential elections as an away game, and they're endlessly hunting for the candidate who plays best under those conditions.

But Democrats can't win at politics when played under Republican rules. Progressivism can't prosper when politics is played under Republican rules. It needs to make its own rules.

Barack Obama's effort to do exactly that has been, by far, the most exciting element of his campaign...

...though [Obama] has been confident and even aggressive in all of this, he has not been "tough." He has not pretended to go shooting, or driven on to Jay Leno's show on Harley. He's essentially been making his own rules.

It's crystal clear, given the choice between the 'hypermasculine' Webb and the 'exciting' but 'un-tough' Obama, which Klein prefers, even given his admission that Democrats have repeatedly lost contests against the GOP. Remembering their impotent fury over the girlie man taunt Klein's choice of words seems even more piquantly ironic here:

...this isn't a commentary on Webb. But the argument for his elevation to the national ticket -- which is to say, to become one of the faces of the party -- is about the electoral benefit of a hyper masculine, effortlessly tough, culturally conservative (seeming) candidate who can win back those Reagan Democrats and white males. As I wrote the other day, I don't think the Democratic Party should be orienting itself towards reknitting that particular coalition.

Apparently Jim Webb is not to be welcomed in the best progressive knitting circles. But Klein goes on to say something even more delicious in a subsequent post. Is it a Freudian slip, or just a moment of stunning intellectual honesty?

Earlier, I asked for a better term than "soft power".... Reading through all this, though, I'm not sure the term can be saved. The problem isn't just the "soft" part, it's the "power."

Grim comments:

I don't think we're going to do well against the evils of the world with that attitude.

But then that seems to be what the battle of the sexes comes down to, in the end: the maintenance of power. The Left hates the very idea of it and is seen as weak and femininized. The Right wants to preserve it and is seen as controlling and masculine. The fight, like many domestic battles, gets pretty nasty at times. And just as the Left can't seem to get past bashing men every chance they get, the Right seems to be on a never ending tear against women. Everything, it seems, is the fault of feminists. Even the most paradoxical and nonsensical arguments are laid at our door, even when men engage in (ostensibly) laudable activities for the distaff side, it is all our fault, our fault, our most grievous fault. Mea, mea culpa:

Do you guys think that by women entering the workforce, that women have had the same effect on the man's role as say welfare has?

I mean, a generation ago, a man wouldn't look down on his woman for not working outside the home. Taking care of the house; cooking, cleaning, caring for the children and basically being the center of the home was what a woman did. It was enough. No one would consider her to be slacking. In this generation, women suffer a vague, and sometimes, explicit, unease about doing that job. She is viewed as not pulling her weight because she's just a housewife.

And it's not just women judging women. Men, too, want their women to work to take the pressure off. A man is simply not interested in carrying all the financial weight and why should he have to? Women are equal now. Equal means doing the same thing--working and living like a man. Feminism means, and it's men that I've seen to be the biggest feminists, being a good man and bring home the bacon, frying it up in a pan and doing it again and again.

But it seems like an unintended consequence has been resentment. Women have excelled in the workplace. They can take care of themselves. They do leave their babies to work. Meanwhile, some men (not all, of course) have gone the other way. They no longer work as hard because they just don't have to. On the one hand, they don't have the financial pressure of their father's generation, but they also don't have the self-respect, work-ethic and noble purpose of their father's generation either.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. The clue train just went off the tracks, big time. I fully agree that, speaking in broad terms, men and women have different psychological needs.

I understand that men tend to value their role as providers and breadwinners; that they have a deep need to be admired, respected, and needed; that most men are more driven to compete and win than most women. I understand that most women are more comfortable in our role as nurturers, teachers and facilitators; that we have a deep need for communication and intimacy; that we are more driven to form bonds and build alliances. We prefer to foster cooperation rather than competition. These are, properly understood, complementary rather than clashing traits; both have value in society. This is why marriages work: in a good marriage both parties grow and learn from each other over time, absorbing and assimilating each other's strengths and compensating for each other's weaknesses. Marriage is a partnership.

Hopefully it is a partnership of equals. As Shakespeare said, 'Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments'. Perhaps that is why I am so dismayed by the responses to Melissa's post. I don't understand the whole "real man/real woman" paradigm. Why would any sane person allow anyone else to tell them what a real man or real woman is supposed to look like?

Melissa seems to want "real men" to "butch up" (dear sweet Christ, what an idea):

I'm sick of men condemning women to superficiality when many women just want a strong, decent, hard-working man who is very good at what he does professionally and can man up personally. Some women limit themselves because they make good money and feel they need a man to make more than they do in order to respect him. That can be short-sighted. A confident man won't give a shit how much the woman makes. He won't feel small because she is successful. He will know who he is and what he's made of.

There are rich men and men of modest means who embody what it means to be a real man. And there are rich men and men of modest means who are insecure, wimpy, over-compensating assholes. In my experience money has had little to do with it.

Cassy Fiano, likewise, has had it up to here with "limp" men:

I've written before about how men need to freakin' MAN UP. My most notable post on this issue was my The Shortage of Real Men post.

It can't be said enough -- if there are any real men left out there, they need to come out of hiding. It's frustrating as hell, even as a woman, to see men becoming more and more pussified each year (yeah, I'm stealing Kim's phrase).

The run-down housewife and over-worked husband myth needs to cease. If a woman wants to work outside the home, then that's great. A real man would encourage her to, if that's what she chose to do. But a real man would also accept her role as housewife if that was what she wanted -- even if it meant taking on extra financial responsibility. A man's job is to provide for and protect his family, and no, it isn't because a woman is incapable of doing so. It's because that is his primary responsibility. It's one of the reasons real men like guns -- because they understand that having a gun is a crucial part of the "protect your family at any cost" mantra encoded into real-man DNA.

As I've said before, I think you see an overwhelming number of real men flocking to military or law enforcement lifestyles. And there's a reason -- the values I listed above are instrinsic to being a real man, and also to succeeding in the military. And, as I've said before, this is a large part of why so many women pine over having a military man for their own. There's a reason women swoon over An Officer and a Gentleman. Being in the military (or law enforcement) means you're signing up for so much more than just a job -- it's a lifestyle, a mindset.

Women, although feminists like to deny it, want and need men who can be a real man. This means they want and need a living, breathing embodiment of values like honor, courage, and integrity. They want someone who will be strong even in the toughest of situations. They need someone they can feel safe and protected with. And you know what? They aren't going to find those things in an emasculated, feminized, sissy-boy who still clings to his mommy's apron and whines about carrying his family's financial burden.

If you're that kind of man, there are only two words you need to hear: MAN UP. Don't whine that you have to pay for every date you take your wife or girlfriend on. Don't bitch that your hair got messed up or your clothes got dirty from doing some manly activity -- or worse, refuse to get involved for those reasons. If your shower and bathroom cabinet is lined and stocked with more haircare and body treatment products than your girlfriend or wife owns, reevaluate your male-ness. Real men have more important things to worry about.

Unfortunately, it seems too many men are willing to let feminists emasculate them. Too many men aren't willing to stand up for themselves, lest they be attacked by the PC Police. Real men have thick skin, and are more worried about doing what's right than what is popular, so who gives a crap what feminists like Amanda Marcotte & Co. have to say? I think all men know, deep down, what their priorities should be, and the values that they need to hold dear. But everything that real men stand for has been under attack for 20+ years, and men have seemingly given up.

Dr. Helen has a different take, but I don't really agree with her either:

I have a question for you, Dr. Melissa. "Why should men--in your words--butch up?" Certainly women don't seem to value manliness as they once did.

I have a different take on things. Say that a man works hard, and "acts like a man," rarely complaining and doing "man things." What is his reward? In your mind, it is self-worth. This is nonsense. Self-worth comes from working hard and being rewarded. Today, that man is regarded as a "chump." If a man works hard to get ahead, he puts it all at risk by having a family, in a society that says that his working means that he is now responsible for everything in a way that a woman will never be--if that man gets divorced. If he has kids, he is now responsible for their standard of living no matter what. No matter if he gets sick, no matter if his ex-wife is a spendthrift, no matter if his pay goes down, no matter what. The state puts him into indentured servitude to a family that no longer wants him as a member or wants him for four weekends a month. His life is toast, unless...he never "butches up" as you suggest. Your strategy can end in early death and a lifetime of servitude. "Soft and aimless" often ends with freedom. Which would you choose?

I find it interesting that all three of these women describe a universe in which men essentially have their maleness determined by the actions of women.

In Dr. Melissa's world, men are so demoralized by the ravages of feminism that they've lost their male 'mojo', somehow devolving from the wonderfully rewarding world of male work to the ignoble demi-existence of "women's work". Ironically, they resent the little woman for wanting to stay home. Men should not do this, because staying home is hard work for women but somehow lazy, demeaning, and dishonorable for men.

Uh-huh. Got it.

Cassy Fiano extols the virtues of macho, manly-men who like guns, eschew male grooming products, pay for dates and earn the lion's share of the take-home pay. There's just one problem with this handy-dandy formula: it seems like a rather simplistic and formulaic prescription for a phenomenon that is, in reality complex and poorly understood. People love to describe men as little better than Neanderthals, content with sex, food, and a never ending diet of Nintendo and cable porn. That these virtual knuckle-draggers somehow managed, despite their intellectual limitations, to design the world we live in today escapes those who continue to advance this paradoxical notion. In truth, masculinity is a complex equation, not a one-size-fits-all straightjacket and men come in an almost limitless number of permutations. The idea that there is some magical "real man" who is disappearing is something I find laughable. What do exist are people of greater and lesser willpower who sometimes allow their destiny to be shaped by social forces. This has always been the case throughout history and will no doubt continue to be the case long after I have shuffled off this mortal coil

Personally, I could give a rat's ass about many of the things Cassy Fiano talks about. I've been married to a Marine for nearly 30 years. We don't have a gun in the house and never have had. My husband does happen to keep himself in excellent shape. He has a very nice body that fits the definition of manliness by any yardstick one cares to name. If you like muscles, he's your huckleberry.

And yet in many ways, he sounds little like her definition of a "real man". He doesn't care about guns one way or another. He doesn't care much about cars either, or about many other traditionally male geegaws. He's the smartest man I know. He is also very quiet; there is no bluster about him. He is not a show off. I've known other men in my life whom I consider to be very masculine. I can't tell you why. Some are tall and thin. Some hate sports and guns. Some get choked up easily. Many have incredibly tender hearts. I consider this far and away their best quality, and it doesn't impinge on their masculinity in the least. In fact, when they let you see this side of them, it only makes me respect them more. Their willingness to be a bit vulnerable doesn't make them soft: one can tell that they are tough as steel inside. One can sense that in a pinch, they would die rather than let you down.

And it was my husband who, weeks ago, provided the answer to Dr. Helen's question. What kind of man is too stupid to look around him and see what would happen to the human race if every man refused to grow up, get a job, find a decent, responsible woman, and have children.

An selfish idiot, that's who. Certainly one for whom my husband had nothing but contempt. Going back to the piece cited at the beginning of this post, if only uneducated, irresponsible people have children, what implications does this have for the continuation of civilized society? The first duty of any human is to continue the species. This is not brain surgery.

In short, I don't believe in the whole "real man/real woman" paradigm.

I've seen successful marriages work along a whole spectrum of male/female role sharing. I don't believe either traditional conservatives or traditional liberals have it right on this score. Get the hell out of private marriages and let people work this out on their own.

The key is simple: mutual respect and support. If those two elements are present, everything else will fall into place. Despite my reluctance to reduce manliness or womanliness to a simplistic formula, if pressed, I found this comment consorted well with my overall notion of what I (personally) find manly and womanly:

On what a real man is... A real man is one who feels a sense of responsibility to care for, provide or protect something or someone, and then offers his strength (even when it is almost run out) to make their world a better place. Hence, the fight. It can be physical, it can be financial, it can be emotional, but masculinity is strength applied to the good of others. for contrast, I say femininity is gentleness applied for the good of others. It's simple enough, and it doesn't tie you down to guns and tattoos.

On a note about why women don't deserve it...
"Today's woman wants to be treated like a princess, yet she refuses to treat her man like a king."

You'll notice two things about this definition:

First, it is quite vague. A man is strong, but how he exercises that strength is a function of his unique personality. A woman's essence is more that she is gentle and loving, but again, she chooses the application. But also men and women, if they are wise, respect each other.

A while back on the 'real woman' post, Grim asked for a standard by which men could replace chivalry when dealing with women. I have always believed, and continue to believe, that respect is that standard. Using distainful language like "butch up", or man up, or limp men bothers me because it is, by its nature, disrespectful to men in the same way the rhetoric directed at Hillary Clinton has been disrespectful to women. I think it is sexist. Telling men what a "real man" is like seems beside the point, because I'm not sure an adult ought to care what anyone else thinks a real man or real woman is. An adult decides for him- or herself what kind of man or woman he or she wants to become.

And then he or she goes out and becomes that person. It's a voyage we all have to make, but sometimes, it really is that simple.

So..... that said, if you had it to do all over again, would you rather be born a man?

Or a woman? And why?

Posted by Cassandra at June 5, 2008 07:08 AM

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Comments

I like being a woman and thus have no problems with men. I worked as an engineer for twenty years, 8 in Japanese company, and never had a problem getting promoted nor with sexism.

I'm sure if I had been born a man I would have embraced that too... probably would have been a Marine.

Posted by: Samantha at June 5, 2008 10:42 AM

Short answer, I'd normally go with woman, simply because I think it'd be more fun to look in the mirror, but that's the Neanderthal in me. But honestly, I don't know. Both have advantages, and both have disadvantages.

Hold a gun to my head, I'd pick woman.

Posted by: MikeD at June 5, 2008 10:54 AM

I think that if I got to remember everything I have done in this life, I'd like to be a man next time.

It has bothered me, all the times I've been told, "No, you can't do that because you're female" in my life. And there are absolutely things I've wanted to do that I can't do, either by biology or operation of law. So there is that. But I would not want to give up many of the experiences I've had as a woman. I think in many ways women have richer lives emotionally, and I'd hate to lose that.

On the other hand, I have felt constrained ever since I was a little girl by being female.

I HATED when I was a little girl and I wanted to go somewhere the boys went and I was told, "No, that's not safe for girls", or "Let the boys look out for you". What crap. I lied, more than a few times, in order to go places and do things I wanted to do, but I found that incredibly demeaning and to this day I hate lying worse than anything for that reason. I will tell the truth even when it hurts me because it hurts my pride worse to lie.

It made me angry when I was a girl when I was just as good as the boys as neighborhood sports (better than many of them, really, except for baseball which I unrepentantly sucked at). And most were glad to have me on their team because I got picked before many of the boys. But there were always boys who were mean just because I was a girl and would hit harder or play dirty just to try to get you to cry or quit. And that pissed me off. The only fistfight I ever got into was with an Italian boy who always picked on me for being a girl and wanting to play with the group of boys in our neighborhood. He was so mean and he was bigger than I was and I hated his guts. And he picked on my little brother, too.

And it bothers me when people attribute things that are (to me) just self respect to feminism. I think men are particularly prone to that. They will label the very same actions they applaud in a man as "feminism" in a woman. Yet they would never respect a man for not standing up for himself.

I think I will go to my grave not understanding this. Women have to walk such a fine line in life.

I respect a woman's traditional role. I lived it for most of my adult life. But I truly am glad women have some choices now, too. I wish I had had some of those choices. I don't think I would have chosen differently. But I love that young women don't have to push so hard to have a career or an education. I also think they need to be honest with themselves about what they DO want in life, just as men do.

There are always trade-offs. Always. For men, and for women. Men give up a lot to support their families, and so do women if they choose to stay home and raise their kids. Society should honor both choices and the ones in between, too to the extent that people live up to their responsibilities. In the end, that's all that truly matters. Anything else is really none of anyone's business.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 11:01 AM

Long response:

Ok, you brought up a LOT of stuff that touched on my life, so I figured I'd contribute. I never had any problem with the idea of being a stay at home husband... until I had no choice. After my wife and I were first married, I left the Army, finished college and got my first job. Within a year I was out of work (the company was losing money and IT was an expendable resource). For nine months my life consisted of house work, yard work, and looking for a job. And I hated every minute of it. What I thought being a house-husband meant bore no relation to reality. I wouldn't do it again for anything.

But then later, the roles were reversed. Shortly after taking the job I currently hold, my wife's health took a nose-dive and she's been unable to work since. I'm now the bread-winner for the family, and I must say I could take or leave it. My masculinity was not threatened when my wife out-earned me, nor do I feel muy macho now that I earn all the income. Sure, more income would be nice, but it's not an option right now.

And I think it goes to what you mentioned specifically Cass. Respect. My wife respected me when she was the sole earner, and she respects me now that I am. Our self worth is NOT based upon our income. Nor is the worth I have for her, and vice versa, based upon our income.

The really unfortunate thing is we wanted to have kids, and medically, that's not really possible anymore. Adoption is too expensive, and that pretty much is the only two ways (legal ways at least) I'm aware of having children. So sadly, we're not upholding our end of the reproduction deal. Sorry. :(

Posted by: MikeD at June 5, 2008 11:06 AM

I don't think I could stay home unless there were kids to take care of, Mike. Just taking care of the house was never enough to keep me occupied. Even when the kids were around, I always had other projects: I took in extra work, I did volunteer work, I had other interests. My husband and I have discussed my quitting work now, but if I ever did that, I'd have to do something. I couldn't just do housework.

I'd go mad :p I always sort of assume that is combined with other things, but then that's just me.

When I was a housewife and mother, I never watched soap operas. I was very busy 24/7.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 11:15 AM

On the other hand, I have felt constrained ever since I was a little girl by being female.

See, now that's interesting to me, Cass. I mean obviously I'm aware that discrimination was more rampant and blatant the further back you go (and NO that is NOT a snide comment on your age, or anyone elses :P ), but I figured you were closer to my sister's generation (you're certainly too young to have been in my mother's). And my sister has never (to my knowledge) had problems with gender based discrimination. She's a pretty high muckty-muck in the State Department, which thrilled our grandmother to no end. Shortly before she died, she told my sister how very proud she was that my sister was a diplomat. Our grandmother had wanted to be in the State Department when she was a young woman, but that simply was not done in the 1930's. She could be a secretary or some such, but never an actual diplomat.

But times are vastly different. And were even for my mother. She had the option to be an officer in the Army when my father was a 2nd LT. She had just finished her degree in Occupational Therapy and the Army had a shortage. They offered to commision her as a Captain (and would then outrank my dad). And remember, she was born before WWII.

So I guess what I am saying is that it suprises me that you faced those attitudes as a little girl, but honestly, I do believe times have changed. Oh sure, kids may still be mean, but actual discrimination and "you can't do that because you're a girl"? I doubt there's too much of that around any more.

Posted by: MikeD at June 5, 2008 11:17 AM

I don't think I could stay home unless there were kids to take care of, Mike. Just taking care of the house was never enough to keep me occupied. Even when the kids were around, I always had other projects: I took in extra work, I did volunteer work, I had other interests. My husband and I have discussed my quitting work now, but if I ever did that, I'd have to do something. I couldn't just do housework.

I'd go mad :p I always sort of assume that is combined with other things, but then that's just me.

When I was a housewife and mother, I never watched soap operas. I was very busy 24/7.

It wasn't boredom per se. I mean there WERE occasions (few and far between) when I didn't have housework, and I had exhausted all my avenues for job hunting for that day/week. Generally speaking, I read or went online. Boredom wasn't a problem. It was the endless repetition of housework that never seemed to accomplish anything that drove me mad.

I'd sweep and mop the kitchen, and it'd need to be done again within a few days. I'd was the dishes, and they'd just need to be washed again the next night. I'd mow the lawn, and the grass just kept coming back. I'd clean the bathrooms, a week later you'd never have known I'd cleaned them. It was the constant losing fight with entropy I couldn't stomach.

Posted by: MikeD at June 5, 2008 11:25 AM

I can't imagine wanting to be a woman. I love women, and enjoy them as friends and companions, but I am what I am and I like it that way. I think if I were given ten thousand more lives, I would choose to be a man every time.

Of course, the example posits a kind of soul that is neither male nor female, but has the potential to be both. It's just choosing a body to ride in. That makes the example questionable to me; I see no reason to believe that our souls are sexless, and can opt to be male this time, and female the next.

That position is sound for a Hindu, or a Theosophist, but it doesn't work well for most of Christianity. 'God created them male and female,' not both or neither; and when we die and are raised for judgment, we are taught that it will be in a perfect form of our body, not as some sexless, disembodied being.

Good point about the demographics issue. It's clear that is the real nut of the whole problem. We've achieved a society where everyone, male or female, can do what they want... but we haven't figured out how to achieve a society where what they want is to make the sacrifices involved in having children.

That's a problem, and it's a very big problem.

Posted by: Grim at June 5, 2008 11:40 AM

Yep :)

re: 'discrimination'. Everyone faces discrimination. FWIW, I have faced little of it other than when we were first married, when I was *always* asked on job interviews who was going to watch my baby while I worked (Illegal, but what are you going to do about it? Funny...my husband was never asked who was watching the baby). I had to move out of the apartment I lived in with my husband, sublet our home, and move in with my parents in another state to get hired, just so I could answer an illegal question to the satisfaction of these jerks. Nice. I've never forgotten that, though conservatives like to gloss that sort of thing over now that it doesn't happen so often.

Anyway, that's a strange word. I don't mean that in the sense of being a victim. But I do think that it still exists (often for good public policy reasons) even now, though to a far lesser degree.

For instance, say I wanted to become an artillery officer in the Marines. Can't do it. Period. I'm a woman. I can't be an infantry officer either. By law. So there you have it. That is de facto employment discrimination even if I happen to agree with it 100%.

Years ago when my husband went overseas for a year, there was a job on base I wanted to apply for. It was running the base alcohol rehab center. I could have done that job. You would have thought that I had said I wanted to take off my clothes and run naked down Broadway. What I found interesting wasn't the argument, "Hey there are better jobs."

No, the argument was, "Your husband is overseas, if you take that job the mean sailors will pick on you."

*Sigh*

Likewise, I wanted to be a Va. State trooper when we were first married. Again, the argument was (and keep in mind that I have been married to a Marine for 29 years): If you are killed in the line of duty, your children will be traumatized.

OK. So children are not traumatized when their Dads are killed in the line of duty? Oh, but you see children are closer to their mothers and it would be all my fault and why would I take such a risk? To be clear, I am not laying this on my husband. There were many people in my life making this argument, and I was very young (and arguably foolish).

Again, *sigh*

All right. I bought off on that one because when you love your kids, even unborn ones, you don't take a chance with their welfare. But if I had a dime for everything I have not done in my life merely because I am female on that type of argument, I'd be independently wealthy. That is biology talking, and it is a difficult force to argue with if you have kids. But as I said before life is full of tradeoffs and I made my decision.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 11:46 AM

I can't imagine wanting to be a woman. I love women, and enjoy them as friends and companions, but I am what I am and I like it that way. I think if I were given ten thousand more lives, I would choose to be a man every time.

Well of course you do! :) That is not surprising in the least, Grim, because in the world you write about, women will never have any kind of freedom or independent scope for their actions free of men. So why would anyone WANT to be a woman?

This is what I often think, reading your descriptions of what you call chivalry. In the world you describe, women are dependent on men. Why would you want to give up your freedom for a life in which your very security depends upon the goodwill of someone else? I wouldn't.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 11:50 AM

We've achieved a society where everyone, male or female, can do what they want... but we haven't figured out how to achieve a society where what they want is to make the sacrifices involved in having children.

That's a problem, and it's a very big problem.

I couldn't agree more, Grim. You've nailed it.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 11:52 AM

I would elaborate upon that:

We've achieved a society where everyone, male or female, can do what they want... but we haven't figured out how to they can do what they want and still raise children responsibly.

That's a problem, and it's a very big problem.

And it's still, by virtue of biology, a bigger problem for women than it is for men.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 11:54 AM

I'm sorry if you've interpreted anything -- let alone everything -- I've written in that way. I've never opposed women having freedom or independent scope of action.

And I'm less discriminatory than you are yourself, if you indeed oppose women being artillery officers as you say above. I used to feel that way, but observing women soldiers in Iraq, I've decided that was wrong.

In no way am I against women being free or independent. I like the ones who are far better than the ones who want to be dependent. Hey, judge me by the company I keep. ;)

I do believe that men are genuinely different from women, down to the bone -- and even deeper, to the soul. I think that men will want to protect women they love, and that this is normal and natural.

I never meant to suggest that women shouldn't also be able to protect themselves, however; and I've taught more than one how to use a gun, to be sure she could. I've also taught some to drive, who had previously been too scared to learn, so they could get out and experience things the world had to offer.

Sovay, for instance; she was 26 at the time, and too scared to drive. So I taught her how, and the next thing I know she's going off to Ohio to work for Presidential campaigns for idiot liberal candidates. Not what I'd have wanted, but am I sorry I taught her? Not at all -- I'd much rather she be free to follow her heart than bound up by fear.

Posted by: Grim at June 5, 2008 11:58 AM

By the way, men do occasionally make sacrifices for their families, too -- even in the job sphere. I had an offer to got to Africa this month. I really wanted to go, but it was a three-month contract, and I'd just walked back in the door from a six-month contract in Iraq; and I'd been home a week from the Philippines before I went to Iraq. I felt like my wife and son deserved a bit more of me than to have me leave them again right away, so I turned down a job I really wanted.

I had another offer last week, for something I wanted to do that would have put me back in Iraq for a year. Again, I turned it down to be with my family, because I know they need me right now.

I've got regular offers to do things if I'm willing to move back to DC, but I don't do that either. I want to give my parents the chance to be with their grandson while they're still around to do it, and I want to give him the chance too. That means being in Georgia. So I've taken far-less paying positions that allow telecommuting, or done without work and lived off what savings I've had and what I could scrape up locally, in order to keep the family together.

There's a lot of stuff I could be doing out there, if it weren't for the family and the need to be tied down. But the family is what matters most. Even for a man like me.

I'll go again, someday, on one of these jobs. I have duties to my country as well as my family. But don't think this is quite as one sided as it may appear. Men do make sacrifices, in their careers and otherwise, for their wives and children. At least good men do.

Posted by: Grim at June 5, 2008 12:17 PM

An interesting discussion and one where, as you say, there are pros and cons with either choice. Of course, the original premise, that you would be born in the US (or other western country for that matter) makes the decision more difficult. Having lived in Africa and Asia, I would never choose to be a woman, or at least a poor woman, in either of those continents. They live difficult, backbreaking lives full of heartache and abuse. A woman I knew in Africa worked day and night and endured the loss of two of her children to illness (my guess to AIDS, but no one did an autopsy). Her husband was an unemployed, drunken lout who routinely beat her and wasted her money. How she made it through the day amazed me.



But back to the premise being born in the US, the pros to being a man are more freedom (I think nothing of going out late at night alone, or eating out alone, etc) and a self autonomy that can perhaps called selfish -- e.g. I can think of myself first and not feel immediately guilty. Lastly, I'm guessing living through the menstrual cycle must be a real drag. Not having to go through that for 40-50 years is a real advantage. A disadvantage of being a man is the constant testing -- grades in school, sports prowess, which university you go/went to, sexual conquests, better job, better lawnmower, it goes on and on. And if you don't measure up to male and female expectations you're considered weak, useless, less than masculine. Once you hit 18 you can't hide behind mommy/daddy/husband like women can. Also, you really don't have a choice, you have to work -- as Tim Allen said, women today have loads of choices as far as work or home is concerned. A man's choice is work or prison.



Now weighing the pros and cons, if I had to choose, I would choose, in order: attractive woman, attractive man, plain man, plain woman. While it's no picnic being a plain man, it must be doubly difficult being a plain woman. I've always envied pretty women who were able to pick and choose who they wanted to be with and as a man I find being the sexual pursuer to be difficult. Again, I've never experienced it (being a leaning to plain man), but it must be amazing to walk into a room and have every member of the opposite sex be attracted to you. Is that the case Cassandra?



Putting aside sex, there is much to be said about a woman's emotional advantage over men -- being able to express and feel emotions and not bottle them up until they explode. I also envy the closeness my wife and her best friend has. While I've and many male friends, they just acquaintances in comparison. (On the other hand, there is much to be said for male bonding. Some of my best memories are of the intense closeness I felt being in an all male unit in the military. But, only if you "pulled your weight." One slip up or show of weakness and you found yourself outside looking in.)



So, to answer the question, I would chose to be a middle to upper middle class, attractive (but not too attractive) American woman in my next life, more out of curiosity than any conviction of which is best/worst.

Posted by: ed joyce at June 5, 2008 12:19 PM

Grim, The Hammer. Nails the problem.

Actually, as individuals, we have figured out "how", it's just that many people narcissistically resist making choices that don't maximize their own supposed immediate gratification.

Immediate gratification vs. postponed gratification.

But raising my sons never quite seemed like some kind of deferred gratification, to me or my wife.

Every age of their lives has brought some new wonder, something new to see, and a different pleasure in watching them grow.

Sure, I kinda wish they were still the little guys that ran around the beach on Lake Michigan those years ago at the foot of Little Sable Lighthouse. That was a golden day that will never come back. But we enjoy the NOW. It's here, and won't come again.

So I think it is self-centered (inward looking)vs. outward looking.
Wretchard at the Belmont Club was writing something similar about this, in the context of Good and Evil a few days ago. In an introductin to a version of "Paradise Lost", C.S. Lewis wrote about the difference between Man (Adam) and Satan (Lucifer).
Adam wanted to know things, explore the world, look at the heavens. Even as a fallen creature, he looked outside himself to understand and apprehend the world.
Lucifer only was concerned about all the "wrongs" done to him, how he should have ruled in Heaven; he had seen Heaven, and the universe, the world and now Hell. But it was all about him.
We all struggle with the notion of how much of our lives "belong to us", and how much we owe 'others'. As a parent, you owe EVERYTHING to your child, until they can take care of themselves in the world. Implicit in that is your growth as a mature human being. Which might explain the falling birthrate in some cultures, and the philosophy of self-absorbtion that it implies.

But I couldn't see myself as a woman. I guess I just too self-centered to think THAT far out of the box. :D

Viva la difference!

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at June 5, 2008 12:21 PM

I guess I over did it on the line breaks. But it didn't look like that when I previewed it...

Posted by: ed joyce at June 5, 2008 12:24 PM

Everyone faces discrimination. FWIW, I have faced little of it other than when we were first married, when I was *always* asked on job interviews who was going to watch my baby while I worked (Illegal, but what are you going to do about it? Funny...my husband was never asked who was watching the baby). I had to move out of the apartment I lived in with my husband, sublet our home, and move in with my parents in another state to get hired, just so I could answer an illegal question to the satisfaction of these jerks. Nice. I've never forgotten that, though conservatives like to gloss that sort of thing over now that it doesn't happen so often.

Frankly, I'm horrified at this. First of all, that you (knowing what I know of you from this blog) did not rise up indignantly and rightfully call them on their rudeness and breach of law. And secondly that you stated the standard response "Illegal, but what are you going to do about it?" Now please do not misunderstand. I am not berating you, I am merely shocked. And to answer the question, "what are you going to do about it?" I'd have to go with my gut and say 'report em'.

If some employer were stupid enough to ask me my religious beliefs, ethnic background, or similar off limits question, I'd report their behinds to the EEOC in a heartbeat. I don't need a job so badly as to condone unlawful behavior. Mind you, I have no children. So clearly the pressures are not nearly so great on me as they were for you. Which is why I specified I was not judging you specifically, Cass. Circumstances make fools of us all. But yeah. That's revolting that they did that to you.

RE: Women in combat arms. Personally, I have no problem with it as long as they can shoulder the same burden as a male soldier. And this is where I see the biggest problem. I've known male soldiers who could pass the PT test who probably were poorly suited to combat arms. Air Assault qualification required a 12 mile ruck march with a mere 25 lbs in your pack and weapon. The modern infantryman carries over 85 lbs of gear. If a man or woman can shoulder that burden and operate in that environment, I don't care what their plumbing is. But the problem as I see it is that the pressure would be to allow female soldiers to live up to different standards to qualify. Don't believe me? Look at the current PT test requirements. Women have to do less than half the push-ups, fewer sit-ups, and can pass the 2 mile run with times that I could complete at a speed walk. That is as of 1997 at least. If things have changed, I am unaware.

So first, they'd need a unified standard that both men and women would need to meet to qualify for combat arms. Yes I know women are physiologically different than men, but some men would fail to meet those requirements, and some women would pass just fine. Physiology is not universal anymore than any generalization is always accurate. Second, allow no waivers. Either you qualify according to those standards, or you don't. If those two elements are adhered to, I don't give a rat's patootie about any other distinction between the genders.

Posted by: MikeD at June 5, 2008 12:50 PM

"...less than half the push-ups..."

This has to do with upper body strength (UBS). If I remember the numbers correctly, the 90th percentile for women on UBS is the same as the 50th percentile for men. Thus, only the top 10% of women can compete with men who are average. Average men rarely become paratroopers, so...

One might reasonably offer a standard that was calibrated to the job -- the 85 pounds and heat, etc. It wouldn't necessarily have to be a push-up standard, or UBS-linked.

Now, understand that an "artillery" officer these days is highly likely to be doing something other than artillery. There is far less need for artillery on a COIN battlefield than in a major combat operation.

As a result, artillery has been folded into a larger context of what is called "Fires & Effects," which can include things like information operations, foreign internal defense (i.e., training foreign police and military for their missions), public affairs, and other things. For example, the 215th Fires Brigade -- formally an artillery unit -- controls FOB Delta in al Kut, Iraq. Their mission is not to provide fire support to anyone, but to support the development of Iraqi security forces and governance in the area.

Women offer a lot of advantages in such units, especially in Muslim countries where there are hard gender roles. It's not a question of whether or not they can do the job; often, it's a job that can't be done without them.

Posted by: Grim at June 5, 2008 12:58 PM

"Why would any sane person allow anyone else to tell them what a real man or real woman is supposed to look like?"

Yes! There's the answer I like to the 'Real Man/Woman' question. If you have to let other people define that, then it's time to do some soul searching.

In regards to being a man or a woman in another life -- I must admit curiosity. But quite frankly, I like who I am and am pretty confident that I'd like whoever I'd be if I were someone else elsewhere.

Having said that, though... I will emphasize I really DO like being a man. There are an amazing amount of benefits that are impossible to list completely here -- somewhere in the middle being able to write my name in snow, and another being able to open jars, and up towards the top the general thrill and love of women.

Posted by: Kevin L at June 5, 2008 01:13 PM

I did object, Mike. The first time that happened, I was so surprised that I just sat there for a few seconds, and then said, "My husband will be taking care of the baby... and oh by the way, would you ask him this question if he were sitting here?" The interviewer didn't even bat an eye.

But I think you have to understand this was 1979, I was 19 years old in a semi-rural area with a saturated job market and I was applying for minimum wage jobs. What are you going to do? Get a lawyer and sue when you are living below the poverty level? (and we were). Employers know you can do the math. There is no use rolling a rock uphill. I thought it over and went somewhere where I was more competitive.

You can be horrified about all you want, but that sort of thing went on all the time. It wasn't a big deal. I didn't get my butt up on my shoulder, but at the same time it definitely colors my view of how conservatives in general talk about feminism. I was just lucky I had parents who were willing to help me out for a year.

Sure, now that a lot of laws have been passed that put employers on notice that this kind of BS won't fly conservatives love to rail against feminists, and it's definitely true the pendulum has swung too far the other way. But they forget how things used to be.

I am always a bit distrustful of extremists arguments, whether they are found on the far left or far right. I know that doesn't always make me too popular around here, but on the other hand I pay the light bill :p

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 01:24 PM

Well...frankly, I couldn't plow through the entire entry, nor the many lengthy responses which, on skimming, brim with thoughtful insight.

I, as a man, would certainly choose to be a woman next time, as long as I had a killer bod. Then I'd spend all my time looking at myself and (EXPLETIVE DELETED) repeatedly until I was exhausted. Then I'd do it again. It's grrreat to be a girl!

Posted by: sean at June 5, 2008 01:25 PM

Kevin, I agree,

I think I'd probably *like* the experience of being a woman better than being a man.

It's just that if I had it to do over again, I would want some variety and the chance to do things I haven't had a chance to do. I get bored easily and don't see why I'd want to do the same thing twice - that's all :)

I also think it's really interesting that few men want to try being women. I really think that despite what a lot of men say, it's because you all do realize you'd have less freedom to do what you want. I think being a woman, while more rewarding (IMO) in some ways, is a more limited kind of life for biological and societal reasons.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 01:28 PM

Grim once again hits the nail squarely when he says that some men pass on career opportunities for the sake of something more important, that of family.

During the first three years of my marriage to my dearest Walkin' Boss, I lived out of a suitcase in hotel rooms boarding flights easily 60-80%+ of the time. I sought relief by changing employers and spent the next 8 years as the district's will-not-say-no guy. Finally I decided that my oldest daughter, six by then, ought to know her dad and so I opted to turn down career advancement opportunities 3 times, which was equal to 3 strikes in that particular advancement opportunity pool. The long/short of it was that more 15+ hour days, 6 days a week did not fit into the family model I had in my head and wanted for my little tribe.

Do I feel that I sacrificed anything meaningful? Not at all. We have a hit this point in space with a good deal more fulfillment than we ever would have imagined when Walkin' Boss and I wed. So I would say that it is quite the opposite.

"We all struggle with the notion of how much of our lives "belong to us", and how much we owe 'others'. As a parent, you owe EVERYTHING to your child, until they can take care of themselves in the world. Implicit in that is your growth as a mature human being. Which might explain the falling birthrate in some cultures, and the philosophy of self-absorbtion that it implies."
and Mr. Brouhaha scores another direct hit, IMHO.

Now if I were forced to make a prenatal choice of sex, I would have to go with male... It's all that I can claim to know, and I am quite content with my knuckle-dragging lot in life. And after seeing what Walkin' Boss has endured, giving birth to children, making the spot where we live a home, making so many sacrifices of her own for all of us among so many other wonders of her nature, I think I would have to admit that I do not believe I am man enough to be a woman. Of course, at my age I can admit that without compunction, not feeling compelled to convince anyone of the rightness of my views or shoulder any guilt not of my own making. =8^}

Posted by: bt_just-a-good-ole-boy_hun at June 5, 2008 01:32 PM

Grim,

as I said, I recognize that women (in general) do not have the upper body strength that men (in general) have. I also am aware of the exceptions to that (men who don't and women who do). And that's exactly my point. I do not object to allowing the women who do have the upper body strength to perform AS WELL AS a qualified man to perform the same job. But if they do not have the UBS to perform to the same standard, then they are not qualified to perform the same job. That's not sexist or discriminatory (except in the positive sense), it's just simple logic. If a man who lacked the UBS to load 155mm artillery shells is placed in that position, he will be a drag on the unit. Yes, he CAN perform other jobs that do not require that UBS, and my point is, that he should be doing one of those jobs rather than the one that requires it. As should a woman. Plumbing and general physiology should not be a factor. If you can lift the shells all day then you're qualified. If you can't, you're not. And that's all I'm asking for.

I am completely aware that especially in the Middle East there are jobs that our men cannot do specifically because of their gender (searching female suspects being among the most common). And I also have zero problems with women performing those roles. But again, that's not really the job of an artilleryman or infantry soldier. I know that they do it anyway, but that's properly an MP job. What I AM against is the idea that because an infantryman (or woman) might be pressed into a duty they're not trained for but have to do anyway that you'd allow a man or woman normally unqualified for the primary job (i.e. being an infantryman) to be in that role. To put it more simply, you don't put someone into a job they're unqualified for simply because they're qualified for a duty that job MIGHT have to perform. It's not the infantry's primary mission, so all I ask is that the soldiers placed into the infantry are identically qualified for that mission.

As for the fact that they're there anyway, that's the same reason I don't have a problem with women being in combat arms. Not currently being allowed in combat arms hasn't kept women out of combat, so the distinction is moot. But I still think that only the most physically qualified (regardless of gender) should be in the most physically demanding roles the military has. Mind you, I think several 'combat arms' professions could be completely exempt from physical requirements. And you've already seen some of that with female Apache pilots and Blackhawk pilots. An Abrams driver or commander probably doesn't require a whole lot of UBS (though a loader probably does). A Bradley or Stryker crewman probably doesn't need a lot of UBS (but an infantryman/cav scout probably does). An arty fire-control officer isn't a strength intensive role, but a mortar crewmember would be. It just depends.

Posted by: MikeD at June 5, 2008 01:35 PM

FWIW, I oppose women being in the combat arms because I have not seen any evidence that women (by and large, and we don't make decisions like this based on individual cases) can hack it physically.

A woman needs to be able to lift very heavy things over her head to be on a gun line. In infantry, few women can carry the gear needed. My husband was in recruit training for 3 years. I watched women get stress fractures. Before that I was an unabashed believer that women could do these jobs. Now, I'm not.

How does a combat unit deal with privacy issues when they're out in the field for months on end? Showers? Menstruation in the field? (sorry, you asked for it) Pregnancy? With fraternization? This is introducing a whole new burden that isn't needed.

Sorry Grim. While I definitely have seen individual women who can do the job, I don't think the benefit to the service outweighs the hassles of accommodating women in the combat arms.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 01:36 PM

But I think you have to understand this was 1979, I was 19 years old in a semi-rural area with a saturated job market and I was applying for minimum wage jobs. What are you going to do? Get a lawyer and sue when you are living below the poverty level? (and we were). Employers know you can do the math. There is no use rolling a rock uphill. I thought it over and went somewhere where I was more competitive.

I REALLY was trying to avoid making you think you needed to explain Cass. I DO certainly understand that circumstances are different now than then and I even pointed out that you had different pressures then than I have now. PLEASE please please understand that my being horrified is because this happened and that the Cass of 2008 would probably take none of this nonsense. But because you were Cass of 1979 it was different. Gawd. Now I feel terrible. :(

Posted by: MikeD at June 5, 2008 01:40 PM

You're entitled to a different opinion, Cass; no need to apologize. I only mention it because it's emblematic of a broad misunderstanding that exists in our society. I've often written in defense of men, and their natures; but never against women.

Yet our society holds this to be a zero-sum game, and a power struggle. A man who defends men is presumed to be opposed to womens' independence or freedom; yet in this case, I am in fact in favor of greater independence and freedom than you are. I've often encouraged women to develop greater independence and freedom, and to overcome fears.

I don't believe that the reason that men don't want to be women is that they 'believe it would restrict their freedom.' I believe they don't want to be women because they are men. Down to the soul.

That's the way it's supposed to be. There's nothing at all in that fact that should be anti-woman; the best sort of man is very pro-woman. But he's also very much a man, and couldn't be anything else.

Posted by: Grim at June 5, 2008 01:48 PM

But I never suggested men don't make sacrifices, Grim. In fact, if you go back and read what I did say, you'll find that I specifically said men DO make sacrifices :p

There are always trade-offs. Always. For men, and for women. Men give up a lot to support their families, and so do women if they choose to stay home and raise their kids.

I didn't say you want to limit women, Grim. But you seem unable to see that the practical consequence of your world view *does* limit them. If men are unable and/or unwilling to deal with women for whatever reason (it doesn't really matter what their reasoning is, even if it springs from the best motives) in the same way they would deal with another man (i.e., as full and equal business partners) the practical implication of that is that women will not be trusted by men and men in general, regardless of what you may do in particular, will avoid dealing with them.

If men believe a woman will go running to her brothers and father at the first sign of trouble, who would ever want to deal with a woman? This is little different from the tribalism of the Middle East - a man, in dealing with a woman, is always dealing with unseen 'silent partners' who may be treacherous, dishonest, or violent. No one in his right mind would contract on that basis.

My husband pointed that out the first time I brought that up to him, and I did not even have to say it. And he does not even completely agree with me on this topic, yet he saw the practical implications of the argument, all the same.

*******

Ed, I agree with you 100%. I can't say I know what it's like to have every man in the room attracted to me :p

I was lucky enough to be attractive enough to get the men I wanted, but not so good looking that I had to constantly fighting off too much unwanted attention or feel that guys only wanted to date me for my looks. When I was very young I wished to be beautiful.

By the time I was about 15, I realized it was better not to be beautiful. Shallow men pursued you only for your looks but didn't care about you as a person. It was better not to be quite as pretty because that forced you to develop something that might keep a guy interested later in life. Looks don't last and not all men are shallow :) Guys, I've found actually, are really pretty nice people. They want a woman who makes them feel happy and aren't as picky as women seem to think about looks.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 01:50 PM

How does a combat unit deal with privacy issues when they're out in the field for months on end? Showers? Menstruation in the field? (sorry, you asked for it) Pregnancy? With fraternization? This is introducing a whole new burden that isn't needed.

Privacy would be the first to go. Currently there is none anyway. At basic training I shared six showerheads with 29 other guys. Not a whole lot of privacy available. They'd either have to get over it or get out.

Menstruation in the field is also (please forgive me) a red herring. Women deal with it currently, and I really hope our big, strong, brave men could get over the fact that their battle buddy might be unwounded but still bleeding. It's an inconvenience for the woman, sure. It shouldn't be any more of a burden than it currently is.

Pregnancy. Same same. I'd have to believe it'd put you in an undeployable status, and really it probably might need to be a requirement that the female soldier be on Depro-Provera or some similar long term birth control to maintain her MOS. But that's honestly the trickiest one of the bunch, merely because you're talking about making individual soldiers able to pull themselves out of combat by getting pregnant. But that could be addressed as another form of self-inflicted wound and thereby disciplined (sorry for the comparison, but it's what I got to work with).

Fraternization. Well, it happens currently anyway. I don't see how putting women in a combat arms unit would be any different than putting her in an MI unit. It's a violation of the UCMJ either way. So I don't see why it should be any different there.

And again I disagree that it's a new burden. It's just a burden that currently exists everywhere else in the military. I dunno. The Air Force and Navy seem to have a pretty good handle on it.

Posted by: MikeD at June 5, 2008 01:52 PM

Antiquated gender rules

Very kind of you, but we are *not* PC. You have our permission to refer to us as an "ol' man"...

Posted by: BillT at June 5, 2008 01:53 PM

How does a combat unit deal with privacy issues when they're out in the field for months on end? Showers? Menstruation in the field? (sorry, you asked for it) Pregnancy? With fraternization? This is introducing a whole new burden that isn't needed.



I strongly agree with Cassandra on women in combat arms for all the reasons she listed; and I think a man's innate nature to protect a woman would interfere, at least some of the time, with the kind of thinking that is required in combat.



I mean, how does a guy feel when the enemy holds a female soldier as a hostage? Some might say no different than if it were a male hostage, and perhaps that would be true some of the time. But what about the few times it would interfere with one's judgement?



Women have many things to offer in every part of life, including combat. However, that doesn't mean that our roles have to be identical to the roles of men in order to make important contributions.

Posted by: Samantha at June 5, 2008 02:01 PM

Cass:

You are misremembering what I said. What I said was not that I would not deal with women; it was that I would not deal with bad women. I think I was very clear that one could "fully engage" good women, such as yourself.

Even as regards bad women, you convinced me that I might sometimes have to do so, the last time around; I've been trying to understand how I could reasonably correct bad women without running afoul of my own deeply held principles.

I am reasonably sure that there is no woman anywhere who has had to deal with me, who would say that my worldview limited her life. I have been told by many just the opposite: that they appreciated the encouragement, support and friendship that has let them do things they might have been afraid to try otherwise.

Now, it's true that I wouldn't trust a bad woman to be a fully equal business partner. But I wouldn't trust a bad man in that role, either. My reaction to the two might be different -- I might be combative towards the man, and merely distant (but polite) toward the woman -- but I'm not going to try to do business with either of them.

Posted by: Grim at June 5, 2008 02:07 PM

FWIW, I have faced little of it other than when we were first married, when I was *always* asked on job interviews who was going to watch my baby while I worked (Illegal, but what are you going to do about it? Funny...my husband was never asked who was watching the baby). I had to move out of the apartment I lived in with my husband, sublet our home, and move in with my parents in another state to get hired, just so I could answer an illegal question to the satisfaction of these jerks.

I'm aghast. Firstly, that you were asked, and secondly, that you moved in with your parents and sublet your apartment to get the job!?! Where the heck were you trying to get work? A nunnery?

I don't know how old you are but I'm 51 years old. I've worked since I graduated college, including through two pregnancies, and NO ONE (across three states) ever asked me who was going to watch my kids during an interview. I doubt it even crossed their minds: That was my *problem* to handle.

Once an interviewer kinda wondered aloud whether I planned on having more babies but the question was open enough to dance through (yes I got the job, and yes, I had my second baby working there). Honestly, sometimes, I would have liked it if my employers expressed more concern about who was going to watch my daughters when they asked me to work late but that's a different pickle we working moms face.

Posted by: Felicia at June 5, 2008 02:15 PM

Grim, where did I ever say that not wanting to be female was "anti-woman"? Also, where did I suggest men should be anything but men? Or that you have written anything that is "against women"? I have no idea where you are getting this.

You are reading something into my words that is not there. Anywhere. I have no problem understanding what you have written.

What I think you don't understand is that if the world were the way you seem to want it to be, women wouldn't be free to do as they pleased because they would always have to act by proxy as they do in the Middle East. In a world where men don't feel free to deal with a woman honestly and openly, or to reprove her if she deals badly with them, women aren't prime movers. No one will deal with them. They will simply move around them and seek the person with the real power. A woman whose husband is deployed will not be able to contract business. They will just wait for her husband to come home. When he dies, they will freeze her bank accounts and wait for her father or brothers to step in as it was when I got married and women used to have to worry about this nonsense all the time.

A woman isn't being treated as an equal if a man does an end-run around her when she screws up; if he goes to her father or her brother as if she's a little girl who needs to be disciplined by proxy. She will never be seen as an equal if she runs to someone else every time she gets in trouble, or is seen to have done so.

My problem with so many of your examples is that you don't really deal with the negative cases, but those are often the ones that drive public policy. It isn't the contracts that go off without a hitch that make law, but the ones that are breached, where there is fraud or deception. You HAVE to deal with those cases, and women have to be dealt with equally under the law (and equally harshly) or injustice results to the detriment of all. And not to put too fine a point on it, but women themselves are often hardest hit (heh...) when the law shields them from their own misdeeds because then men view us as irresponsible malingerers who can't be trusted.

Surely you must see this? We can argue reasons all day long, but this is the practical consequence of your philosophy. I don't see it as anti-anything.

I just see it as the way it is.


Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 02:16 PM

Felicia, I've seen this happen in several states.

In California in the 1980's I saw another lovely situation: in an all female office, three women and a man were interviewed for a supervisor's position. All three women had kids. The man was single.

All three women currently worked in the department and had experience. The man did not and was younger to boot, so he had to be trained.

Guess who got the job? The man.

After he was hired, my direct boss told me that the deciding factor was that he did not have kids and it was felt that he would be "willing to work long hours because, you know, men do that while women are always asking for time off when their kids get sick".

Never having asked for a single sick day (yes, I was one of the applicants) I was floored.

After he started work, we noticed that every Friday he disappeared at 1 pm.

He was playing golf. Every Wednesday he took off early. No one knew why. No woman in that department EVER did that.

Whatever.

Just as a coda, about a month later some stomach bug was going around the office. I was so ill I left my desk and went to the lav where I spent about 15 minutes throwing up. I returned to my desk. An hour later, I was throwing up again. I never left work. The next day, I called in sick b/c I was still throwing up. I had my full 2 weeks of sick leave on the books.

Guess who called me into the office and warned me severely that I was "skating on thin ice" and that though he was not going to write it up because it wasn't breaking any official rules, my absence was not looked on kindly?

Prince Charming. Yeah.

The thing is, I don't attribute this to his being a man. I attribute it to his being a jerk. I've known men I couldn't stand and women I couldn't stand. People will use whatever lever they can find if they are of that type. That's why I don't buy into the whole sexism, woe-is-me argument. It's just another lever.

There are so many, though. Still doesn't make it right. But I get aggravated when people say it doesn't happen, because it does. I've seen women do it to men, too.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 02:29 PM

Cass:

A woman who isn't trustworthy isn't anyone's equal. She isn't supposed to be a 'prime mover.' She's untrustworthy.

I'm not talking about doing an end-run around her to discipline her. I'm not talking about going to her father or brother or husband. I'm saying, if she can't be trusted, I won't deal with her.

That's the only kind of woman I'm talking about not dealing with. You say I should reprove her; well, it may be that I'm reproving her by refusing to do business with her. In the market, in fact, that is the usual way to reprove someone.

I can understand your contention that a man in a corporate or military structure, who inherits a bad female subordinate, must do more. That doesn't apply to me, however; I do my business as an independent actor. I have neither bosses nor employees, and want neither.

For me, if you're a good person, we can deal. If you're a bad person, we won't. If you're a man, I might insult you if you betray your word in a contract; if you're a woman, I'll tip my hat on the way out the door. Either way, however, you've seen the last of my business.

That seems to me to honor the two principles I want to honor: equality of opportunity, but also genuine chivalry. Women have an equal chance at my business, but I am never rude to them.

Now, you say I should also sue them; but I sue equally, which is to say, never. I've been around the courts and the law too much to trust them. I cut my losses and do business with the honorable, only. A man (or a woman) may take advantage of me once, but only once; so I hope they got what they wanted the first time.

Posted by: Grim at June 5, 2008 02:36 PM

Cass, I lean towards Dr. Helen's perspective. You cannot overemphasize how much changes in the law have affected mens' behavior. When you can be deprived of life, liberty, and property by the force of the govt., this becomes more than merely a "social" change in behavior.

Having gone through a divorce a few years back, and having many friends and professional colleagues who have done so as well, the law does indeed play a man for a "chump" for getting married. Any other type of contract which imposes the type of one-sided penalties and obligations on a party would be deemed unenforceable on the grounds of unconscionability under normal business law or commercial law principles.

A wife nowadays can call a marriage quits anytime and for any reason she wants. Perhaps she likes nailing the pool boy, is tired of caring for a family, or simply needs to "find herself". She is instantly rewarded with at least half, and oftentimes far more, of the marital property. She also gets rewarded by all manner of "mommy welfare" which women's groups have been able to pass through the legislature.

First, she gets alimony so that she can "maintain the lifestyle to which she has grown accustomed". Oftentimes, this can equal or exceed the mortgage payment on the family home. She is not, however, required to provide any services to former husband to which HE may have grown accustomed (i.e. cooking, cleaning, etc.). Despite explicit statutory language saying there are to be no gender preferences in awarding child custody, the courts nevertheless routinely give mommy the kids. Usually, the rationale is something along the lines that daddy is such a good and successful earner, that he cannot devote sufficient time to proper childcare.

Then comes the child support. The state child support guidelines are so ridiculously inflated that daddy must provide 2 to 3 times the amount, per child, that even the most spendthrift families would provide a child in an intact marriage. Naturally, mommy has no obligation or responsibility to ensure that the money actually is USED for the child's benefit. This is just another backdoor way for mommy to have more party money, to buy a new wardrobe, or feed her coke habit.

So, let's recap. A "traditional" man who devotes himself to a successful career and family not only suffers all the traditional health consequences of stress, etc. associated with successful career men, but stands to lose most of his accumulated financial wealth, his family, his kids, and become a personal guarantor, perhaps for the rest of his life for the well-being of his former family. Indentured servitude indeed!

If, on the other hand, he is a "feminized" man then these negatives are reversed. With less work responsibilities and effort, he presumably has less pressure and stress, and can boost his health. Furthermore, because he has a non-demanding job flipping burgers, he might actually stand a chance at getting custody because of his copious free time (which presumably could be spent devoted to the children). Because he makes so little, alimony is litle to non-existent. Ditto child support. He never had much to begin with so losing the K-mart blue light special couch to his ex-wife is not a great loss.

Similar scenarios exist in the workplace where lack of feminization may force a "traditional" man to be subject to the Bataan Death March of sensitivity training by the PC Kommissars.

Conservatives have always been strong believers in Mills' "invisible hand" of the marketplace, as well as the unforeseen consequences of govt. intervention. For example, most conservatives would agree that raising taxes to confiscatory rates will negatively impact govt. revenues and the economy by causing massive tax avoidance and tax evasion by the public. Similar instances of public reaction are well-documented such as the rise of cigarette smuggling as cigarette taxes increase, etc. Why should social changes or reactions be any different? The changes in the law by the govt. making men indentured servants of women if they are foolish enough to get married has caused a similar reaction. Naturally, different men react in different ways, some give up and become feminized, others, like me, simply will not enter that trap a second time. None of this bodes well for the institution of marriage.

Posted by: a former european at June 5, 2008 02:47 PM

Well, if the same standard is applied I don't have a problem with that Grim.

I got the brother/father thing from something you said on the prior post about not feeling comfortable correcting a woman but feeling more comfortable saying something to a male relative. My point was (and remains) that I felt you were mixing the social mores with business ones.

While I completely understood the feeling, I also thought that it didn't make sense from a broader societal standpoint.

Women feel that way all the time in dealing with men at the office. It's just that we can't let that get in our way. We have to learn to set the personal feelings aside and work in a business context vs. a social context.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 02:49 PM

Cassandra, Wonderful post, but I hope the real "diamond" in this post doesn't get lost in all the other gems the post contains! I found this quote that really says everything that needs to be said:


The key is simple: mutual respect and support. If those two elements are present, everything else will fall into place.

Posted by: lela at June 5, 2008 02:51 PM

I think that was Mike who said that, Cass. I'm sure I've never gone to any woman's brother to complain about her. :)

Posted by: Grim at June 5, 2008 02:53 PM

One of the disadvantages of being a man is that you don't get to wear pretty shoes.

Well, most of us, at least.

I always wonder why women get to wear outrageous clothes - things in reds and yellows, and things that require 3 handmaidens to get in and out of.

Women can wear skirts or pants, but not men. Unless you're a Scot, and even then, you'd better demonstrate an authentic brougue and have some skills with bagpipe and caber.

Posted by: ZZMike at June 5, 2008 02:57 PM

ONE OF YOU EEEEEEEVIL MEN SAID IT :P

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 02:57 PM

"So..... that said, if you had it to do all over again, would you rather be born a man?

Or a woman? And why?"

If I go with woman, then I would also have to be a lesbian, preferably a Lindsey Lohan type lesbian, not an Ellen DeGeneres type!!! ;P

Posted by: Frodo at June 5, 2008 03:00 PM

I always wonder why women get to wear outrageous clothes - things in reds and yellows, and things that require 3 handmaidens to get in and out of.

Oh, that is so true :p

I love clothes. And *pretty, high-heeled shoes*! And earrings! And make-up. And wispy, lacy little, to-die-for lingerie items! And ball gowns. And doing my hair.

Most of the time, of course, I can't be bothered with any of this stuff. But when I want to get dressed up, I want to get dressed up and I WANT MY HUSBAND TO LOOK AT ME!

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 03:00 PM

I like being a man. I can't honestly seen where it has given me any advantages. I like women who are women. Unfortunately that hasn't given me any advantages either. Frankly either way I am sh*t out of luck.

Posted by: Dr. Harden Stuhl at June 5, 2008 03:03 PM

I think there are probably as many advantages as disadvantages to being either male or female :p

I'm not sure either one is preferable, all in all.

As I said, if I had to chose one and only one, I'd want to be female.

If I could remember this life as a woman but had a chance to have another life, I'd want to try being a man. But that may well be because I see no reason to do the same thing twice!

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 03:18 PM

Cass,

It was me, but to be fair, I was NOT advocating going to the woman's father/brother/husband. I was saying that was the OLD way of dealing with a badly behaving woman. Since a spouse/child/sibling was (and still is, let's admit it) a reflection on the other spouse/parent/other sibling, shaming that person into correcting the badly behaving woman's behavior was the acceptable means of correcting her (but really is no longer acceptable).

Posted by: MikeD at June 5, 2008 04:06 PM

The major downside to being a woman as I see it is you'd have to date and marry men. We're hairy, lumpy, uncouth and gross. Women are soft, curvy, and nice to touch. I have NO clue why y'all are attracted to us, but thank god you are!

Posted by: MikeD at June 5, 2008 04:08 PM

If I could choose, I'd be a man. I barely have to think twice. Some of the benefits would be:

No breasts. Sure, they're pretty, but really limiting if you have to haul them around 24/7. I can't run without a 30% lycra sports bra on top of a regular bra. It pretty much keeps me from doing anything that is really active.

No bras. Bras are better than no bras, but see above.

No menstruation. I think this should not need any explanation.

Angry response vs. Crying response. I really hate it that my first response to anger is tears. I am not a girly girl, and yet, I can't shake this. A guy gets mad, and he's an just seen as an asshole. A gal like me gets mad and starts trembling and blinking back tears, and she is seen as weak and unstable.

It's not like it's all bad being female. I have turned a room full of heads once in a while, and enjoyed that.

But I like man-type of work better than woman-type of work. I've worked in male-dominated fields for 25 years. Men, in my general experience, are more straightforward and less backstabbing (this perception is null with men in offices, btw).

I would have liked to work with my dad in excavation. Instead, when my brother went to college, he quit that work because he didn't want to do it by himself anymore. I wish I had spoken louder and told him I really did want to learn to run the bulldozer.

Posted by: April at June 5, 2008 04:46 PM

Amen, April. Amen :)

I enjoy the attention sometimes. Well OK. Lots of the time, though it can be annoying too. I don't like not being able to go into a bar and just sit and have a beer.

Just as guys don't like having the pressure to make the first move, there is nothing worse than that feeling of going all nervous FOR them when you have to find a way to turn an advance down without hurting someone's pride. Or worse, when someone won't take a polite hint and you don't want to be rude and they think you are playing hard to get, but you are not. You sympathize, because they don't know you and it's not always easy to read clues. But you wish people would just take you at face value.

And I really do not like it when some other woman's date or husband pays attention to you. That is rude and embarrassing, for you and for her, and there is no easy way to handle that except walking away as fast as possible. I have never understood why anyone would do that.

But most of all, this:

I really hate it that my first response to anger is tears. I am not a girly girl, and yet, I can't shake this. A guy gets mad, and he's an just seen as an asshole. A gal like me gets mad and starts trembling and blinking back tears, and she is seen as weak and unstable.

Is spot on.

Mike, we like men because you all are big and hairy and adorable and mostly confusicating. That is why we women worship men, and rightly so.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 05:08 PM

I find it interesting that all three of these women describe a universe in which men essentially have their maleness determined by the actions of women.

Of course they do. What's so interesting about that? Women do determine maleness, just not exclusively. But nothing you've quoted suggests any of the three posit such a position.

Men determine maleness for other men through standard Skinnerian processes of reward (respect, admiration) and punishment (insults, exclusion, physical force). But women reward and punish as well. And jokes to the contrary, the mating aspect (not just the sexual part) is one helk of a reward. Guys will generally try to be what women want them to be. I think ya'll have a lot more power in this than ya'll realize.

But to think that the actions of women have almost no consequences to the definition of maleness is, quite frankly, unsupportable.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at June 5, 2008 05:48 PM

I don't think they should have *no* consequences. But neither do I think they should (and I guess I disagree with you here, because I thought Melissa was advancing the notion that feminism had demoralized men to the point where they had essentially thrown their hands up and turned into women.

Not only do I not see any evidence of that, but I think that's kind of nonsense even if it were true. What kind of adult allows his whole motivation to come from other people?

Carrie and I were talking about this several weeks ago, Yu-ain. We hear the same crap come out of Family Services in the military. To hear these jokers, we're all delicate flowers who didn't have any freaking lives before our husbands came along and rescued us!

And when they deploy! Lawsie me! We just fall apart! We need psychological help to get through the day, because heaven forbid that we fix a washing machine (we can't dial up a repair man on our own! When our husbands are home, they come RIGHT HOME FROM WORK AND DO THIS FOR US!!!)

Yeah. Right :p

Come on. Adults need to take responsibility for their own happiness, first and foremost. Your wife does not determine your maleness. Yes, she is important to you. But if you "get" your self-esteem from her, there is something seriously wrong. We have *influence*, not control.

And that is all I ever want with my husband. And all any woman or man should ever seek.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 06:02 PM

What I find attractive (personally, and I cannot speak for other women) in a man is that he is not sitting around to see whether I approve of him. He is himself, and though he is always considerate and polite, he will do what he thinks is right because he has to look at his big hairy mug every morning in the mirror.

My husband really cares what I think of him, but he's not at all afraid to cross me when he thinks I'm full of beans. And I wouldn't have it any other way. I love him and trust his judgment implicitly. I admire his intelligence. And he grants me the same liberty of action.

I argue and fuss with Grim because I respect his intelligence and wit and I like sparring with him. He's a big old bear, and I hope he won't get mad at me when I sass him, but he seems to take it all in stride :p

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 06:08 PM

Guys will generally try to be what women want them to be. I think ya'll have a lot more power in this than ya'll realize.

Actually Yu-ain, I'd tend to say any woman who doesn't realize she has this power isn't playing with a full deck :)

Women are *born* knowing this. Baby girls know it in their bones. They start practicin' on you all when they're about 8 months old. The really quick ones start at 6 months :p

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 06:11 PM

Hi, I just wanted to say thanks so much for the link. I don't have the time to read this post and comments right now, but I can see just from skimming it that this is something I'll definitely be reading in the future when I do later posts on the same theme. It's great to see that my post has sparked so much discussion. Thanks again.

Posted by: Jac at June 5, 2008 06:41 PM

"I also think it's really interesting that few men want to try being women. I really think that despite what a lot of men say, it's because you all do realize you'd have less freedom to do what you want. I think being a woman, while more rewarding (IMO) in some ways, is a more limited kind of life for biological and societal reasons."

That may be the case, although I'm not sure how to really support that theory. I myself am merely curious -- sort of like I wonder what it would be like to own a Ferrari and drive it full speed on a lonely stretch of desert road. Frankly, the lack of freedom is only a minor issue however. The biggest one being...

... well... that it's just a bit too weird to fathom properly. But then, I'd be used to it if I was born that way I suppose.

Posted by: Kevin L at June 5, 2008 06:41 PM

I don't mean to be trite, but it sure would be nice to go out in the boat fishing, have a few beers and not have to go all the way back to shore to pee! (And no, the water is still to cold up here to jump in....it's all about being able to stand up and pee!)

Posted by: UpNorthLurkin at June 5, 2008 06:59 PM

I don't think it's fair to exclude race as well as gender. I'm not sure I'd want to be a woman (I know about being a man) but I do know that I would not want to be a black woman -- the current social system does not favor them being rational, behaving rational, or being treated rationally. The number of college-educated, intelligent males open to them is becoming seriously problematic, and, while there is social status for black-men-white-women, there isn't really much social status to encourage the other way -- white-men-black-women. So their options with regards to men are seriously bad.

OTOH, if you were going to be an oriental female (sorry, I refuse to use the idiotically wrong term "asian" -- I'm talking anyone whose ancestry is the region once called "The Orient" -- don't like it, then bite me), I'd say you're probably better off. I think that there is social status for white-male-oriental-female -- there is a certain "exotic" element there which black women don't get "in" on. So you would have more than your "standard" set of options as a female.

So race isn't something I'd want to be in the dark on if making the choice. If I can't pick race, then a male, by all means -- if nothing else, the plumbing is a lot simpler. If I could be aware of the race, I might consider being female.

I think, for females, the first 25 years is much easier. Then you have to deal with aging and the loss of desirability which applies. The time in which your place and position in society is most confusing, most problematic, is when you have it easiest.

Males, on the other hand, have a distinct advantage when 25-50, as that is their most desirable years. But that first 25 is a bitch. Even good looking guys still have to figure out how to "play the game", and that's not trivial.

Posted by: OBloody Hell at June 5, 2008 07:02 PM

ONE OF YOU EEEEEEEVIL MEN SAID IT :P

Now *that's* funny.

Because it's late here, I'll answer your question by quoting Grim. I've just made a couple of minor changes ;-)

I can't imagine wanting to be a man. I love men, and enjoy them as friends and companions, but I am what I am and I like it that way. I think if I were given ten thousand more lives, I would choose to be a woman every time.

Posted by: MaryAnn at June 5, 2008 07:04 PM

My Dad use to have this saying. I assume he got it from someone else but he might have made it up. "The measure of a man is not what he is or does, but what he has given up for those he loves." I may not be very "manly" in the traditional view.

Posted by: ryan at June 5, 2008 07:06 PM

You make a lot of good points, OBH.

I remember thinking when I was a teenager that black girls and women had so much poise and style. I was always a little bit overawed by them in school, and I've always been surprised that you don't see more interracial couples nowadays than we do. That always seemed the most obvious answer to the race problem.

Re: age and gender, you're probably right, although I have to say that as I've gotten older I've gotten more self confident. I don't think I lacked confidence as a young woman, but as I've aged I have grown to accept myself. I may not be as pretty as I was when I was younger, but I am happier and I think that, in many ways, makes up for a lot.

Men do have it easier as they age because women (as a general class of people) aren't so obsessed with looks as men are. But I've found that many men, as they grow older, also mellow and become very kind. They accept that we all get older, and if someone makes them happy, I don't think they really see the little signs of aging so much in someone they love. That is why guys rock :p

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 07:14 PM

ryan:

I think that's very manly.

I also think a man should choose wisely, or (as Dr. Helen pointed out) he can get taken to the cleaners. But that's just part of being smart.

I just hate it when people start going on as though marriage was dead (DON'T START IN ON ME, AFE :). Just because some marriages don't work out doesn't mean they all won't, or society is coming to an untimely end. And women get a raw deal in divorce too - I've seen it happen more times than I can count.

It's happened to many of my friend's daughters - they've married men who don't fulfill their responsibilities, and the courts don't make them, either. And their kids suffer for it. So divorce can hurt everyone. Good reason to work as hard as you can at your marriage. I'm not saying that to blame anyone, or point a finger. It's just common sense to avoid that train wreck if you possibly can, as I'm sure afe will agree. Sadly that is not always possible.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 07:19 PM

What kind of adult allows his whole motivation to come from other people? ... But if you "get" your self-esteem from her, there is something seriously wrong.

Careful here. A lot of abused people fall into this category and to suggest that they are intrinsically broken is dangerous ground.

I've known you long enough to know that's not what you really mean, but I think a better choice of words are in order.

/stern voice


All people seek validation, we are social creatures and do not exist independently. We develop our sense of what is and is not appropriate from those around us. Only later do we internalized it. And when doing what we consider to be right leads to consistently negative outcomes we do this amazing thing called learning and we adjust.

While The Unit may not sit around waiting to see if you approve, don't you think that all of those years of either approving or disapproving actions has had an effect? That is, afterall, what you were saying earlier about spouses learning from each other.

Society also has that same effect. While one might not think, specifically, "women won't approve", years and years of social approval/disapproval takes it's toll and people adjust.

AFE is not weak because he has allowed a woman/women "to determine" his course of action with regards to (re)marriage. He has simply seen enough evidence that the risk is not worth the reward. Why? Because gender-feminism has taught so many women that men are tools to be used. Tired of your husband, throw him away, take his stuff and get a new one.

So, in a sense, feminism has caused him to throw up his hands and quit. But this isn't really because he's letting them "control" his life. What he's done is given up on letting women have any influence at all.

Which is, strangly, what you are saying you want.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at June 5, 2008 07:25 PM

Thank you for the kind words, Cassandra. I admire you, also; I suppose everyone here understands that, but it's worth saying again.

Posted by: Grim at June 5, 2008 07:30 PM

Yu-ain:

1. A lot of abused people fall into this category and to suggest that they are intrinsically broken is dangerous ground.

I am not sure that abused people is the model we want to say is normal and desirable, is it? You confuse my talking about what I think the ideal is with the notion that I am looking down on someone because of a bad experience they may have had.

There is a huge difference between a person who reacts in a certain way because they have suffered abuse, and someone who reacts that way, never having done so. Either way, are you suggesting this is a desirable state of affairs? Would it not be better in all cases for them to be able to be more self-sufficient? That is, after all, what an abuser seeks: to break the spirit of the abused person so that she (or he) is not able to build his or her own self up, but must rely on the abuser. Not really healthy, in my opinion. But that is just my opinion, I will grant you.

2. Again, there's a vast difference between someone who has never been married deciding ït's "not worth the risk" and afe, having been through a painful divorce and damaging property settlement, having done so. Different risk calculation entirely.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 07:41 PM

Grim, they are not kind words :)

Simply true ones.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 07:42 PM

I agree with you, FWIW, about society both positively and negatively reinforcing our actions Yu-ain.

But I also strongly believe we have some independent willpower as well. It's rare that we get all positive or all negative reinforcement: there is some choice involved in interpreting the signals. Otherwise there wouldn't be liberals and conservatives.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 07:45 PM

By and large, women do not give men respect. A man who wants to "get a job, find a decent, responsible woman, and have children" do not want to do those things with an insufferable bitch. And yes, most women today are insufferable bitches. Hence, the decline in marriage rates.

Ask any man who dates women. Better yet, read "Self Made Man" by Norah Vincent. She impersonated a man and even dated women as a man. She reports very accurately how women treat men these days.

Women today are feel entitled to things from men, but they feel no sense of obligation towards men.

I used to think modern women hated men, but now I know they just hate masculinity. That's why so many women love hanging out with gay men. Women love men, but not manliness.

The only mature, sensible thing for a man to do is to abstain from long-term relationships with women. The alternative is to be treated like trash, be financially exploited, and treated as a second-class citizen under the law in any dispute with a woman.

No thanks, toots. That's a word few women hear these days: no.

Posted by: Jeff at June 5, 2008 08:09 PM

Your article is well thought out and useful, but you're addressing only one demographic (or perhaps "demographic" is too limiting a word). Men's roles change as they age and enter into retirement, and so do women's.

My husband and I are the children of intact marriages where our mothers had outside jobs most of our childhoods. I was more or less expected to find a job to help make ends meet, and I never questioned this. I worked full-time jobs, raised the children, kept the home, and achieved an advanced education, and after all that, I'm tired. But now that we are retired, our roles have changed, almost reversed in some ways. Expectations have become uncertain and probably unrealistic, which has caused some problems. I don't want to make decisions anymore. I tried to lapse into the traditional wife role and it doesn't work, because I expected safety, and he wanted to explore. What do we do now?

At this point, I wouldn't choose to be born at all, man or woman.

Posted by: RebeccaH at June 5, 2008 08:16 PM

> Some women limit themselves because they make good money and feel they need a man to make more than they do in order to respect him.

"Some" women? No, "Most" women. I'll amply grant it's not "all" women, but any guy who goes into any relationship with a woman expecting her not to care that she makes more than he is a fool.

And any woman who enters into any relationship where she has a significant percentage of the mutual income and retains the mental constructs of "Our Money" and "My Money" but not "His Money" is equally a fool. Assuming you're making enough between the two of you to pay all the bills, You really do need to make sure you allocate a percentage of that excess of "Our Money" to both "His" and "Her" money -- to be spent without justification or supervision on anything that person wants to spend it on (Hopefully, both have enough of a clue to realize some of it goes towards spending on the S.O., too, mind you).

This solves the obvious arguments (or should) over "Shoes? What the hell do you need another pair of shoes for?" as well as the equally silly "Why do we need a 50" TV? And what does '1080p' mean?". Both stupid questions get to be answered with a politely worded "It's my money, I'll spend it how I want!" -- preferably not more than once in a blue moon, as the stupid question doesn't get asked anytime again soon.

Posted by: OBloody Hell at June 5, 2008 08:29 PM

> I've always been surprised that you don't see more interracial couples nowadays than we do.

Must be the circles you are in. I never saw them very often before visiting Denver briefly in 1993, where they were all over the place (sufficient that I noticed them over the course of a week's time).

I suspected then that they would become more common, which I've noticed has been the case. This is a college town, so that may also be relevant.

I will point out that it's almost always black guys with white women, often blondes. I am fairly sure there's a black status element there, and I've always presumed that black guys are, as the stats suggest, bigger than white guys, hence the reason for the women's preference.

All the evidence I have (given the codicil that I'm not exactly researching it) says that black guys don't have a particularly good view of women in general, I've always wondered if the trade-off is worth it, but that's not my decision in any event, and I'll never be faced with it, so it's nothing more than gossippy curiosity on my part.

I see such couples all the time, or the unavoidable suggestion of it, as when you see a white woman with obviously black children she's treating as hers.

I note such more as a matter of novelty (less significant as time passes) than due to any sort of issue with it. They do still stand out from the background in the USA.

Posted by: OBloody Hell at June 5, 2008 08:42 PM

> It's happened to many of my friend's daughters - they've married men who don't fulfill their responsibilities, and the courts don't make them, either. And their kids suffer for it. So divorce can hurt everyone.

Not to discourage the recognition of this sort of jerk, but I'd call attention to the fact that not all "official deadbeats" are deadbeats.

I knew one guy who officially was supposed to provide $xxx in child support. He knew, however, that the mother was not responsible and did not use such payments properly for the child. He stopped making them, but he would take the girl out and make sure she had clothes and food and things she needed. In short, while he was technically, and legally, a "deadbeat", he was, in fact, very much doing his job as father of the girl.

I just wanted to make sure that, when you thought about such, you grasped that there are women who fail their duties as parents, too, and a father may choose to be more directed in his contribution than the legal system typically encourages. Not every man who fails his support payments is such a man, but it is possible.

Posted by: OBloody Hell at June 5, 2008 08:49 PM

And it's still, by virtue of biology, a bigger problem for women than it is for men.
Nonsense. The problem of too few children resulting in the death of a culture impacts men and women equally, it's not a "bigger problem for women".
"Western culture dies - women most greatly impacted."
Oy.
However, "by virtue of biology", women are more responsible for the problem. They have the babies - or choose not to have them. Unless you can show that men are either grabbing women off the streets and aborting their children or that men are driving around in vans darting women with Depo-Provera.
Face an unpleasant, inconvenient truth - tens (hundreds?) of millions of fetuses have been redirected from personhood for the "convenience" of women.
An even uglier truth is that many women have opted not to carry the next generation because it would have meant forever giving up expensive shoes. Or cool cars. Or cool vacations.
Yes, there are certainly many less ugly reasons women have opted for the demise of Western Civilization. But really, none of these reasons can possibly be painted as noble.
And what can any man or all the men in Western Civilization possibly do to halt this cultural suicide?
Not snark. I'd really like an answer if there is one.

Posted by: F at June 5, 2008 08:59 PM

F, you're misinterpreting my comment entirely.

On an individual level, my statement is true. But then it is also predicated on the assumption (which you seem to ignore entirely) that a great many women would not even consider aborting a child. And so if they get pregnant and it turns out the father doesn't want the child, their life changes irreversibly and his doesn't, necessarily, one iota unless she chooses to hold his feet to the fire.

That, my friend, is biology in action. And it's a bigger problem for women than it is for men. Period.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 09:05 PM

> By and large, women do not give men respect. A man who wants to "get a job, find a decent, responsible woman, and have children" do not want to do those things with an insufferable bitch. And yes, most women today are insufferable bitches.

I would not be quite so harsh, but I would point out that a friend of mine, from Romania, was of the opinion that American women thought far too highly of themselves, and were exceedingly mercenary about dating and such (once again, this is a college town, derive from that what you will).

I also note this commerical shown here for a local pawn shop, in which a girl says, "I just broke it off with my boyfriend, and XXX gave me $500 for the ring!!" Ooooohhh, yeah.

While I ack he can give you just cause for "breaking it off" (i.e., 'screwing around'), for the most part, if "you broke it off", you're supposed to return the ring, not sell it to a pawnshop...

I do tend to concur with this overall attitude, that women tend to feel that it's the man's job to do all the work when it comes to dating.

The real problem with this is what women don't see -- it's a fantastic way to weed out all the decent guys and guarantee that only the dickheads make it to final contention.

Dating is a skill -- while some men certainly have more innate talent than others, if you go out with a guy, and he says all the right things, does all the right things, never screws up and talks about the wrong thing or does anything "wrong"... Get Out Of There Fast. This is not Prince Charming, it's James Bond.

Remember -- it's a skill -- you get good at it by practice, practice, practice.

And if you really think that some guy who has spent all this time getting GOOD at dating is going to suddenly STOP excercising that skill just because "you, magical YOU" came into his life, you're an IDIOT.

Sure, he may lay off it for a while but the real fact of the matter is, you've selected this guy for his propensity to fool around on you.

So when you're 35 and he turns you in for some 23yo chippy, hey -- you picked him out for that quality. When you find out that he's been screwing his secretary for the last four years... hey, you picked him out for that quality.

The guy who won't screw around on you is more likely to be the guy who isn't slick and doesn't know what to say and do -- who fumbles for the right words and sometimes says something that sounds really, really stupid. He's nervous and unsure of himself... because he doesn't date a lot and doesn't have a lot of practice seducing women.

...And maybe that's because he spends a lot more time IN relationships than in GETTING INTO them.

So he may well be damned GOOD at being IN a relationship but suck at getting into them.

And isn't that a lot more of what a woman really wants?

No, the guy in question could be just a friggin' complete loser -- you'll have to figure that out as things go on -- but it's a lot better path to the kind of guy women TALK about wanting.

Posted by: OBloody Hell at June 5, 2008 09:06 PM

RebeccaH raises a difficult problem, although I think it's less about sex than about the problems of people changing as they age. After a long and stifiling career, of course some people will want to get out and explore things they had to set aside while working so hard; and others may be exhausted, and just want to rest.

It's easy to imagine an example where the husband was the one who was worn out, and the wife wanted to explore life's opportunities at retirement -- or before retirement. Indeed, it's not necessary to imagine it; my parents were that way.

My mother was much like Mrs. H, in that she had an advanced education, a career (two of them, one a business she started up after getting an advanced degree; then she went back to her primary career, and in the meanwhile got another advanced degree), and children to raise in her spare time, such as it was. My father, meanwhile, did forty years as a middle manager in a phone company.

My mother did all those things because she felt stifled at various points in her life, and wanted to explore. So she tried a new career, getting the appropriate education; then she tried that career, and it didn't work; so then she went back to her first career, but pursued advancement through additional education; and she got to be a mother as well. Unlike many women today who lament missing out on motherhood, having focused on career until their late 30s, my mother had children as well as a career.

There was a time in all this exploration when things were very tense between her and my father. He was a good old mountain boy from Tennessee, which was fine when she was a good old mountain girl from Tennessee; but as she learned about art and culture and exciting things, she wanted him to change too. He didn't, and didn't want to.

I remember her being very frustrated by being tied to him at that period. One day I gently mentioned that it was lucky for her that he had always been there, because the reason she'd been able to go to school a couple of times was that he was there to steadily pay the bills; and that he'd absorbed the costs of her failed business; and that, though he had worked long hours, he had always done whatever he could to be a good father to me.

She looked at me severely, and said, "Do you really think so?" I said I did, and she went on about whatever she'd been doing.

Eventually, though, things came to an even keel with them. She accepted that he was who he was -- who he'd always been -- and wouldn't change; and that he was a good man and a good husband who, if he couldn't always make her happy himself, had tried to give her every chance to make herself happy. She began to see how much he had always loved her, and to recognize the sacrifices he had made so she could pursue her dreams.

I mention this because I understand that loving, long-married families do go through hard times over issues like this. There is hope, though: things can also change for the better.

Posted by: Grim at June 5, 2008 09:24 PM

You know, I have to say something here.

I don't recognize the women you are talking about. And not only AM I a woman, but I have known women all my life.

I have two daughters in law. I watched my boys take girls out, and none of the girls they dated acted the way the men who seem so bitter about women describe. Could it be that perhaps, you are going about this all wrong?

I dated - a LOT - before I got married. And I NEVER expected a guy to spend a lot on me. NEVER.

I absolutely DID expect him to treat me like a lady. I expected him to take the time to talk to me and not to try to jump my bones on the first date even though often, being only human, the same thing was running through my evil little mind that was undoubtedly running through his. But we are not supposed to be ruled by our hormones, so I didn't think you needed to jump into bed with some guy you didn't even know. I expected him to treat me with respect. In return, I tried to find things for us to do that didn't cost him a lot of money.

I tried to be a considerate and fun companion. I tried to put him at ease and take the pressure off. I tried to let him know that I liked him for who he was, and that he didn't need to show off to impress me. I tried to get to know him, and find out what was important to him so I could talk to him about subjects he found interesting.

I have - literally - never had a female friend who sounds the least bit like what you describe. Never. Ever.

I *have* known women and girls who were too naive to understand that some guys are players. They just took guys at face value. But you are unfair when you blame them. They interpreted what a man did as though it meant the same as what a woman would do. And men can completely divorce love and sex.

To most women, that is incomprehensible. So if a guy says, "I care about you" and then wants to have sex, a woman thinks he is telling the truth. After all, he wouldn't desire her unless he loved her. You guys are cynical because you don't have to love a woman to sleep with her.

You are unfair to judge women by your standards. If you understood women better, you'd understand that they are only doing what you just did - interpreting the opposite sex by means of their own experience.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 5, 2008 09:32 PM

I've always been surprised that you don't see more interracial couples nowadays than we do.

I live in Dallas, and I see lots of inter-racial couples: almost all of them white females with black males. This phenomena is interesting.

First, women will openly announce that black men are sexually superior. Second, white women interpret the actions of black men differently than those of white men. When black men act in a manly way, in full masculine display, white women swoon. When white men do the same things, white women interpret it as a form of sexist oppression.

Thus, as a white man you face a problem. Black men are widely held to be sexually superior, and they can use manliness to attract women. White men must hide their masculinity is a faux gay, metrosexual sensitivity to attract women.

Far from their being to few inter-racial couples, I can tell you that a white man competing against a black man has absolutely no chance among most women in the US.

Posted by: Jeff at June 5, 2008 09:33 PM

Oh, nonsense, Jeff. There remains a significant social stigma against white/black intermarriage.

It is increasingly common. But it is absurd to say that white men don't have a chance with white women because of the black threat.

It's also nonsense to say that white men "must hide their masculinity" to attract women. I have a perfectly fine wife, and if I weren't married, I have little doubt that I could attract another. There are some women out there who like this kind of thing.

The best ones.

Posted by: Grim at June 5, 2008 09:46 PM

A question Cass... Would it be safe to assume that you inherited your values, behaviors and expectations more from your parents or your peers?

I grew up in, well mostly around, a small southern town that absolutely smacked of an ongoing Leave it to Beaver episode. The whole county including the AFB was, maybe 50-60K in the 1960 census. I was of the impression that my peers, of that time, were of the same sort as you describe. Of course the few exceptions in those days proved the rule.

It was only after my hitch in the navy and taking up residence in a very big megalopolis did I encounter more of the piranha types. Fell off the cabbage truck in my late twenties, I did.

I do have sympathy for folks trying to navigate the choppy waters of dating and establishing relationships now and reading this post and comments only reinforces my earlier opinion on my prenatal selection. A man has to know his limitations. =8^}

Posted by: bthun at June 5, 2008 09:50 PM

Good question, bthun.

Posted by: Grim at June 5, 2008 09:53 PM

"By the time I was about 15, I realized it was better not to be beautiful. Shallow men pursued you only for your looks but didn't care about you as a person. It was better not to be quite as pretty because that forced you to develop something that might keep a guy interested later in life. Looks don't last and not all men are shallow :) Guys, I've found actually, are really pretty nice people. They want a woman who makes them feel happy and aren't as picky as women seem to think about looks."

I think I just read somewhere that often beautiful women are shunned by men, or at least by men that are worth a damn. I know in high school I had this huge crush on the girl who ended up being the Homecoming Queen but I was too intimidated by her looks to even approach her. I "settled" for a nice looking girl who was a wiz at math and helped me pass AP Calculus. She ended up going to Rice while I went to Texas A&M and we lost touch. I recently went to our 30 year HS reunion. Math girl wasn't there but the Homecomimg Queen was. And, no, she wasn't the cliche teen angel: married at 18, divorced at 24, etc. Instead, she was a successful Petroleum Engineer, had a great husband, three great kids, and still looked amazing. Some people have all the luck. Anyway, I got a dance with her, so one more HS insecurity overcome.

The point? Don't judge a book by its cover?

Posted by: edjoyce at June 5, 2008 10:15 PM

Haven't read all the comments yet, but I wanted to point MikeD to here, where Matt at Blackfive lets us know about The Gift of Adoption through the story of a military family who got help from that organization to adopt two children.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at June 5, 2008 10:16 PM

I have to admit that given the choice today, I'd probably choose to be a woman instead. Of course, I'm assuming that I'd still be average looking and college educated. But it seems that women have most of the choices these days. Women can choose to focus on a career, balance children with a career, decide to stay at home to raise their children, or even have children on their own. Men don't have the latter choices, in increasing order.


And Jeff: That may be true in Dallas today, but before I married, I dated black women as well as white women (and I'm white).

Posted by: Waldo at June 5, 2008 10:26 PM

Grim wrote, Oh, nonsense, Jeff. There remains a significant social stigma against white/black intermarriage.

Nonsense would be illogical, but we're disputing facts.

I didn't say there is no stigma. I said that there's "lots of inter-racial couples: almost all of them white females with black males." I hold this as a fact. One sees very much more black men with white women than the other way. This is a fact.

It's also nonsense to say that white men "must hide their masculinity" to attract women. I have a perfectly fine wife, and if I weren't married, I have little doubt that I could attract another. There are some women out there who like this kind of thing.

I can't speak to your ability to attract a woman, but it's irrelevant in any case. Notwithstanding your prospects, by and large women interpret the "manly" actions of black men and white men quite differently. White women prefer black men because they feel free to be "womanly." They do not see themselves as "objectified" by aggressive sexual pursuit from a black man. They often do from a white man.

Posted by: Jeff at June 5, 2008 10:34 PM

Jeff:

On the contrary, we aren't talking about facts, but about claims. You made two with which I take issue:

1) "White men must hide their masculinity is a faux gay, metrosexual sensitivity to attract women."

and

2) I can tell you that a white man competing against a black man has absolutely no chance among most women in the US.

Both of these claims are strong claims: white men must, a white man has absolutely no chance.

I don't think either claim stands up to even slight scrutiny. Interracial couples are more common than they once were. According to the Stanford study cited here, they make up 7% of marriages nationwide. That means that 93% of couples marry within their race.

So, I'd say you stand somewhat more than "absolutely no" chance.

As for what men "must" do, I'm here to tell you, it's not so. Since you phrased that one as an absolute, even one counterexample -- me, for instance -- will do to disprove it.

If you want to rephrase it as a far more conditional argument -- "Some white men lose out in competition with some black men, given the feelings of some white women" -- then fine. But then we're talking not about groups, but individuals. Individuals can make decisions for honorable reasons, including love. Then we're talking about people, not races or sexes; and people can do just about what they want.

Posted by: Grim at June 5, 2008 10:46 PM

Grim wrote, On the contrary, we aren't talking about facts, but about claims.

Now we are.

Since you phrased that one as an absolute, even one counterexample -- me, for instance -- will do to disprove it.>

That's pedantry, and an informal fallacy. You should apply the normal rules of informal written communication, not formal logic. "Absolutely" was intentionally hyperbolic. You can try to ignore rhetoric, but you'll err.

I don't think either claim stands up to even slight scrutiny. Interracial couples are more common than they once were. According to the Stanford study cited here, they make up 7% of marriages nationwide. That means that 93% of couples marry within their race.

Your equivocating. The case I cited was competitive between a white male and a black male in Dallas (but I would extend it to all large cities.) In those cases, black men will tend to be preferred. The study you cite is wholly irrelevant on that ground alone. I'm not claiming that white men have no chance ever, but that they are less favored in competition with black men. You've missed that twice now.

But then we're talking not about groups, but individuals. Individuals can make decisions for honorable reasons, including love. Then we're talking about people, not races or sexes; and people can do just about what they want.

This is the old "you can't generalize" saw. Yes you can. You can generalize. In fact, it's essential that you do, even when it comes to the sexes.

As a non-hyperbolic formulation: "White men tend to lose out to black men, given the prevailing beliefs of white women."

Posted by: Jeff at June 5, 2008 11:09 PM

Haven't read all the comments yet, but I wanted to point MikeD to here, where Matt at Blackfive lets us know about The Gift of Adoption through the story of a military family who got help from that organization to adopt two children.

Believe me, I saw it. But sadly it isn't just the upfront costs alone which are a problem. Right now, we're living on one income which gets us by, but short of taking public assistance (which I am strongly against) there's no way we could afford to raise a child on our current income. And I strongly believe that couples should not have children they cannot provide for, much less adopt one. My parents did very well on very little with four children. But economically, I am pretty much where my parents were but without the children.

I've made peace with it, but it is sad nevertheless.

Posted by: MikeD at June 5, 2008 11:10 PM

No, I'm saying that you can generalize -- but when the numbers are so small, there's no point in doing so.

The problem with applying "the normal rules of informal communication" to your statement is that it would normally be regarded as racist: exactly the sort of fulminating about miscegenation that we've had so much of in this country.

I will do you the honor of assuming you are not a racist; but in return, I think it is fair to hold you to a precise standard in your claims. We are talking about a tiny number of people -- indeed, your wish to narrow the focus from "American marriages" to "mixed-race couples in Dallas, TX," means that it's statistically negligible.

So we are talking about individuals; the number of cases of white men being in competition with black men for a white woman in Dallas, TX, cannot exceed a few hundred, in a nation of hundreds of millions. Let this be about them as people, then, and not about "black men" or "white women" as groups.

Posted by: Grim at June 5, 2008 11:18 PM

Going back to the original question, I, too, believe that I will opt to be born male time and time again.

Except once. Just for the kicks of it. And even then I'd have to remain chaste and celibate. It would be interesting, though, to have that experience.

No, taken in total, being a guy is great, especially in an Asian culture (what? The continent's called Asia, don't like it, change the name). Women can have all the power they want outside the home; inside, they're still the stereotypical housewives they've always been for millennia. Mostly.

But I can tell you that only real masculine men over here will do chores around the house.

Here's a question for you, though, Cassandra. Why can't we stick a list of generalisations together and call it 'real man' or 'real woman'? Certainly, Andrew Sullivan self-identifies as a 'conservative' but just about every other conservative out there would call him a liberal. So to speak. Definitely when we call accountants 'bean-counters' there's a reason for it.

Posted by: Gregory at June 5, 2008 11:24 PM

This was all predicted in the movie "Idiocracy" written by Mike Judge (Beavis & Butthead, King of the Hill, OfficeSpace)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0387808/

It begins:
Narrator: As the 21st century began, human evolution was at a turning point. Natural selection, the process by which the strongest, the smartest, the fastest, reproduced in greater numbers than the rest, a process which had once favored the noblest traits of man, now began to favor different traits. Most science fiction of the day predicted a future that was more civilized and more intelligent. But as time went on, things seemed to be heading in the opposite direction. A dumbing down. How did this happen? Evolution does not necessarily reward intelligence. With no natural predators to thin the herd, it began to simply reward those who reproduced the most, and left the intelligent to become an endangered species.

The premise: a 100 IQ average man, a private in the Army, and a prostitute (in exchange for dropping some criminal charges) are frozen for one year in an Army hibernation experiment. The base is suddenly shut down, and they are forgotten. The wake in 500 years to a society of dumb a$$es b/c all the smart people quit breeding.

It is really funny. You should watch it. It is the future of Europe, except Idiocracy had fewer muslims.

And it is on point to Cass's post.

Posted by: KJ at June 5, 2008 11:34 PM

Grim wrote, No, I'm saying that you can generalize -- but when the numbers are so small, there's no point in doing so.

Fair point.

The problem with applying "the normal rules of informal communication" to your statement is that it would normally be regarded as racist: exactly the sort of fulminating about miscegenation that we've had so much of in this country.

Not a fair point. Racism is the belief that one race is superior to another. Nor am I "fulminating." Indeed, I've not criticized inter-racial coupling at all. Indeed, I'm in an inter-racial relationship. You're just making stuff up. Some might call you a liar, and an offensive one too.

I will do you the honor of assuming you are not a racist; but in return, I think it is fair to hold you to a precise standard in your claims.

No, it's not fair. I'm not, in fact, being a racist. I don't need your honors. It's fair to call for precision, but it's also fair for me call for valid rhetorical context. You make things up, and you misconstrue. Your bad, not mine.

So we are talking about individuals; the number of cases of white men being in competition with black men for a white woman in Dallas, TX, cannot exceed a few hundred, in a nation of hundreds of millions. Let this be about them as people, then, and not about "black men" or "white women" as groups.

No, I won't. In some sense, I'm advancing a conjecture. And it is anecdotal, that's what characterizes informal conversation. But the conjecture involves a generalization. So, no it isn't about individuals.

Posted by: Jeff at June 5, 2008 11:43 PM

Some might call me a liar, but never yet to my face.

I will do you the honor of assuming you aren't a racist; and I will do you the honor of taking you at your word that you're not one.

Nevertheless, in a country which had laws on the books against black/white marriages until 1967 -- where talk of 'black sexual superiority' and their desire to 'take our women,' because we 'couldn't compete' played such a large and ugly role in the national imagination for so long -- it is not unreasonable to say that your comments would normally be viewed as an expression of racism. Indeed, you can read them characterized exactly that way in Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man.

I don't make the charge that you are a racist, or are expressing racism. As I said, I will assume you are not. But I want you to be aware that you are saying something that racists have long said, in precisely those terms.

Posted by: Grim at June 5, 2008 11:53 PM

Gregory wrote, Here's a question for you, though, Cassandra. Why can't we stick a list of generalisations together and call it 'real man' or 'real woman'? Certainly, Andrew Sullivan self-identifies as a 'conservative' but just about every other conservative out there would call him a liberal. So to speak. Definitely when we call accountants 'bean-counters' there's a reason for it.

It's the old "it's all about individuals" line, but we sometimes have to make claims about groups. Policy questions, in particular, must deal with claims about groups. Some people cannot get this elementary point.

Posted by: Jeff at June 5, 2008 11:53 PM

Dear Cassandra,

Thanks for the many interesting things you have written.

May I put in my two cents worth?

The following are from a life long observation of men, women, people and society as a male engineer with three sons. (No, you don’t have to tell me all the engineer jokes, my wife already has told me all of them)

The nuclear family of male breadwinner and wife homemaker works very well. We are fortunate enough to live in a place were stay at home wives is the norm not the exception. The wives run the society, the community and the schools. The children start school with the benefit of pre-schooling at home by an educated mother. They graduate with some of the best test scores in the country. Most families have at least two children, three is common and a few have more.

My parent’s generation and my generation were raised in the same type of environment. In my lifetime, we have seen the cost of maintaining a single working head of household type of family get beyond the capability of one person to sustain. When I graduated as an engineer, my taxes were a nominal 1% for social security and maybe 10% for income. There wasn’t any sales tax. My income would support me, a wife and kids.

My son will graduate soon as an engineer. He will get hit with 8% on social security and 35% on income. Then he faces about 8% sales tax.

All of the additional tax removed from the income of a working man makes it a lot harder to be the sole provider.

Then ask yourself where has all that extra tax money gone? It has taken the form of a government mandated wealth transfer to the elderly, the retired and the non-productive members of our country.

Society has changed in many ways. The laws in place and the women’s group’s aggressive defense of any transgression or attempt at moderation make any sensible man cautious in dealing with women. Regardless of the equality argument, harassment suits are really a one way street.

Many women in university are not even considering the prospect of marriage while in school. They have their sights set on a successful career first and maybe looking for the “right” guy later. They enjoy university, look for the studs and macho men to date and completely miss the normal guys that could be a partner for life.

I believe that most men are successful because of the women that they marry. It is a team. I also believe that women do the choosing. If the smart, capable women put off looking until the herd has been thinned out, it is no wonder that they end up unhappy with the pickings.

Regards,

Posted by: Stan/Tx at June 6, 2008 12:17 AM

"I have - literally - never had a female friend who sounds the least bit like what you describe. Never. Ever."

So, Cassandra, you're saying that they don't exist? Or are you saying that only a stupid man would fall for them? I think you're being awfully cavalier about dismissing this aspect of the modern male experience, just as you are apparently hand-waving away the very real finanacial risks to males in marriage these days.

"You are unfair to judge women by your standards. If you understood women better, you'd understand that they are only doing what you just did - interpreting the opposite sex by means of their own experience."

And it's equally true that men mis-judge the intentions of princesses and gold-diggers because most men are incapable of the kind of manipulative behavior that these women routinely engage in.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at June 6, 2008 12:33 AM

Grim, Some might call me a liar, but never yet to my face.

I would, if you were calling me a racist.

it is not unreasonable to say that your comments would normally be viewed as an expression of racism. Indeed, you can read them characterized exactly that way in Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man.

Now you're getting more reasonable. Notice that the issue here is rhetorical, as I suspected at the beginning. We've passed through several stages in this short discussion. In this last one, you think that a black man, Ellison, can discuss stereotypes of black sexuality and such, but a white man can't? Balderdash. It's not 1967 anymore, Grim. White people can have frank discussions about race, just like blacks can. Charges of racism are used to make white people shut up.

It's passing strange, since I'm noticing and even complaining of the same things Ellison did.

Notice, also, that your use of the word 'normal' depends on the very same generalizations you've reviled.

Grim, I want you to know, that white people can talk frankly about race and sex without being a racist. (Every time I oppose affirmative action, I'm called a racist, too.) You need to develop the rhetorical sophistication to apprehend that. In this case, I think the stereotypical view of black male sexuality, and the observable behavior of white women, says a lot about women's views of white males, too.

I think Ellison would find that uncontroversial. Indeed, I could be said to have copied his method and his message. You seem to be pulling some truth from Ellison's book. It lacks the statistical foundation you want to apply to the observations of others. Yet, still you accept it, while denying the other. Peculiar.

You're rhetorically skilled. You need to stop intentionally insinuating charges of racism where it's not warranted. You might be called a liar to your face, mate.

Posted by: Jeff at June 6, 2008 12:34 AM

I have to agree with Cass in that these manipulative /b*tchy woman aren't women I know. I know they exist - I've heard other talk about them. But, I think what Cass is getting at by saying she doesn't know these women is to say that not all women are like that. I see too many men (and not the regulars from here at VC) saying "all women this" and "all women that". This is nowhere near the truth.

Me, I'd love to be married to a good man and have children. Problem is, I've never been one to have lots of guys pursuing me. Yes, there have been guys in the past - a couple in high school back when I wasn't really ready for dating, maybe a few more in college, but not much since then. I was always the shy one, and what many would call a "goodie two shoes": I had friends that never seemed to have problems hooking up, but they also engaged in behavior I wouldn't (like coming home with hickies literally from ear to ear on her neck, or getting drunk on a regular basis whenever we went out). It's not that I put career first over settling down with someone. It's more that there's never been the chance to even consider settling down - I've never been in a relationship that ever got anywhere near that serious. Now, I'm not sure I'll ever have the chance for that family I want so badly. Even if I do find that good man to settle down and share my life with, I'm of an age where my chances of getting pregnant is starting to decrease, and since I don't see the possibility of marriage on the horizon, my chances of ever conceiving if it does happen will be even lower. I'd like to do my part to keep the birthrates up, but I can't (or really, won't - a child needs both parents) do it alone.

As an aside, all my friends live elsewhere, so I've spent a lot of time with my (much) younger sisters and their friends. They have male friends who are older than they are (hell, my oldest sister is dating a man 6 months younger than me, and has been for 4 years now). These two men (not counting my sister's boyfriend, mind you) both want a woman - whether just to date, or for something more serious, I don't know. One of these men (a few years younger than me) is in a position where a woman would date him because of his job and what they might get out of it. My sisters has discussed that he too readily shares information about what he does, and this attracts the wrong sort of women who aren't really interested in HIM, but what they might be able to get THROUGH him (see, I said I don't know them, but I know they exist). He's also got lots of skanky women as "friends" on his MySpace page... The other guy is about 6 months older than me. However, he doesn't look like he's that old (late 30s). He seems to be considering looks before anything else. I've just come to the opinion (and this goes for both men AND women) that if you keep dating the wrong person, maybe you need to change what it is that you value when trying to find someone to date and/or marry. If you keep ending up in the same types of (bad) relationships, maybe you need to re-examine YOUR choices so you don't end up with the same type of jerk/b*tch next time...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at June 6, 2008 01:10 AM

"Birth"rate is the key: in 2006, 289,000 future taxpayers and workers were not born. They were aborted.

Millions of Americans are not here due to the "liberation" of Roe V. Wade.

You wonder where the kids are? They're dead.

Posted by: Koblog at June 6, 2008 01:12 AM

Without having read through all these many comments:

"I've got to be me." Wouldn't have it any other way...

Posted by: camojack at June 6, 2008 01:25 AM

Koblog~

That's something I could never do. My mom actually goes to prayer vigils outside abortion clinics, I think something like once a month, and this weekend, she's participating in a walk to benefit the pro-life cause.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at June 6, 2008 01:28 AM

Grim: Before I forget again, "chivalry." I think my problem with the term is because of past history of the word. A knight received honor by confronting and/or defeating opponents of *equal* status and ability. A refusal to engage a particular opponent could in fact be seen as *insulting* to the prospective opponent, implying that the challenged considered the challenger as unworthy to engage. A refusal to engage on the basis of sex *FEELS* as if one is judged an unworthy opponent. Too much noblesse oblige. Therefore I prefer 'respect' and see no reason to modify the concept on basis of gender in the context of contemporary society.

I would on balance choose 'male' next time. My experiences are similiar to Cassandra's and I'm tired at this point. It started early on too; I joined Civil Air Patrol when I was in 7th grade and had a squadron commander who didn't want females there but had no *legal* grounds to get rid of us. When I went to college I got told by the assistant director of the marching band that the band was all male because women had 'that time of the month.' I remember thinking that it would have been handy a few times in high school if the director there had believed the same thing. Football games in Michigan often had snow late in the season and it's hard to cue on yard markers when the entire field is white. Would rather have sat those fiascos out.

In my opinion what we're seeing is women choosing to limit the number of children (if at all) they have in part because because of finances and in part because women are living longer and usually have a great deal of time beyond raising children these days. They are also expected to provide for their own or assist in their spouse's retirement. Having children still does interfere with or even prevent achieving those goals. It may be in part also because for all the laudatory comments about the role of mother/women in creating the family the role still requires more on the part of the women and there is no benefit long term to the individual woman who stays home and raises children as compared to the woman who does not or to the man in a family. There was a columnist at the Wash Post, William Raspberry, who I used to read regularly. He was a liberal Dem but I enjoyed his columns even when I disagreed with him! He wrote one that laid it out very clearly--the stay at home mom benefitted everyone except herself--and it cost her. It's interesting though, watching my daughter. She's involved with a young man who is unsure about getting married because he's worried about "his" retirement and is afraid the expense of a wife and family will hurt his plans for early retirement. He's a good kid and I like him--but I don't think it's only the women who are reluctant to take on the responsibilities of a family because of costs to themselves.

Fear of the penalties of divorce? It depends on the state and also on the judges. I initiated one when it became a matter of the welfare of the children, not just mine. I can tell you that this state doesn't award alimony, only spousal support for a limited amount of time, child support is also limited, the father is not obligated to assist with college tuition, and 'joint custody' does not mean he has to help take care of the children. The man can get taken to the cleaners--but so can women, particularly those who stay home with the children. I'd say that's really a wash. Frankly, the issue of children vs career is a BIG factor in my choice of 'male' in a hypothetical next time.

And Cousin Dave...please. I'd match my ex against a princess or gold digger anytime--he'd likely win. Men are perfectly capable of manipulation and princess behaviour.

Posted by: Maggie100 at June 6, 2008 01:45 AM

> They do not see themselves as "objectified" by aggressive sexual pursuit from a black man. They often do from a white man.

Which is hilariously far from the reality. There are certain times I really question the grip of most females on reality. I really do. Simply listen to black music vs. white music and you can see a difference in the attitudes of black and white males towards females. These are group distinctions, not applicable to any specific individual, but you can damned sure tell what's the smart way to bet.

> That means that 93% of couples marry within their race.
This may ties as strongly to appearance tendencies. You tend to marry a person who has qualities in common with your opposite sex parent ("tend", and not strongly). This is why you often see blonde females with blonde males, and brunette-w-brunette. I'd assume there is a limit on the percentage of men and women who violate that rule for sexual partners in regards to race, too.

> This was all predicted in the movie "Idiocracy" written by Mike Judge

Judge didn't invent the concept. If anyone did, it's C.M. Kornbluth, in The Marching Morons (1951) -- exactly what it sounds like. That entry mentions Idiocracy. ;-)

> I have to agree with Cass in that these manipulative /b*tchy woman aren't women I know. I know they exist - I've heard other talk about them. But, I think what Cass is getting at by saying she doesn't know these women is to say that not all women are like that.

I would never assume such, either. I even granted the point that it may also tie to collegiate women for my own experience. But I think they are far more common than Cass realizes. Either her kids have been lucky, or there is some aspect of her environment which has shielded her (and them) from them.

> You wonder where the kids are? They're dead.

True, but they were all going to be liberal twits, so we're better off.

> Having children still does interfere with or even prevent achieving those goals.

I think some of that is keeping up with the Jones's, too, though. People want more for themselves, so they are less willing to sacrifice to have kids.

> And Cousin Dave...please. I'd match my ex against a princess or gold digger anytime--he'd likely win. Men are perfectly capable of manipulation and princess behaviour.

Men do create princesses -- it's a phenomenon tied almost entirely to the father/daughter relationship.

But no, males don't have anywhere near the viper mentality it takes to be truly manipulative. Men like things simple and straightforward, as a group (yes, generalization). Women, on the other hand, want a lot more "nuance" in everything. They tend, as a group (yes, generalization) to overthink things and try and read levels into things which may not be there. This is because, in their minds, those levels ARE there. As a result of this, when women interact, they do so on far more levels than men do. So no man EVER gets taught to game the way women are taught to game, by their mutual environments. Even if a guy were enclined that way himself (and by no means should you think I'm saying none are), and naturally talented in that manner (most such become politicians, I'd lay odds) they will never have the opportunity to practice it and develop it as a skill, in a male-mileau, as a dedicated female does in the female-mileau.

Posted by: OBloody Hell at June 6, 2008 03:09 AM

> or there is some aspect of her environment which has shielded her (and them) from them.

Sorry, BTW -- with this I also meant to ack that it may well be that this environmental component comes from her own hard-headed common sense.

She may be responsible for why she doesn't see it too often.

Posted by: OBloody Hell at June 6, 2008 03:13 AM

Cousin Dave:

That wasn't my point at all. Of course, if these men are bitter it must be because they have encountered women like this. Just as some men are players, some women are narcissistic and selfish.

My point was what bthun said: there are also plenty - PLENTY - of decent women out there.

My point was: if your experience has been that women are taking you for a ride, perhaps the problem is not that all women are selfish, but with the women you are dating, i.e., your selection process? I offered the fact that I have *never* met a woman like that as evidence that there are indeed ample numbers of decent women out there; not that selfish and rude women do not exist.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 6, 2008 04:26 AM

Cass and Yu-ain, thank you for understanding that I am not trying to be the Black Raven of Doom re marriage. My decision to avoid marriage is not by any means a rejection of women or relationships with them, but a rejection of what the institution of marriage has become under modern jurisprudence. Most men who have never experienced a divorce have no idea how bad the Sword of Damocles dangling over their head truly is. You can sit in an electric chair peacefully all your life. Until someone throws the switch, you might never know the consequences.

Yu-ain hit the nail exactly on the head. My decision to avoid marriage is based upon empirical data gathered in my own life, as well as friends and colleagues in my profession. If it was just me, then perhaps my situation was just aberrant from the norm. When I see so many successful men going through divorces, and emerging ruined from it, then look at the national statistics concerning marriage and divorce, I don't think its a stretch to say something is seriously wrong here.

I have done the risk analysis, and a cost-benefit analysis, and find ZERO benefit to my getting married again. I have a successful career and have rebuilt my finances from my divorce. My firm is growing by leaps and bounds. I should risk losing half of my business, my house, half or more of my money, and risk 18 years or more of indentured servitude for what? Cooking services? I am a gourmet cook and usually do so better than my ex-wife or subsequent girlfriends. I actually like to cook, having started doing so for my family at an early age. If I am tired and don't want to, I can afford to eat out whenever I like.

Cleaning services? Let's face it, modern gals are pretty pitiful in the cleaning department compared to their Mom's generation. Feminism has taught most of them to view domestic duties with disdain, so they have never really learned those skills for the most part. I have never minded doing my fair share of the chores, and am generally a neat and clean person. I am better at ironing than most girls I know. In any case, as I have prospered, my shirts are now dry-cleaned professionally and I have a cleaning crew give the house a cleaning overhaul every two weeks.

"Companionship"? I have never had a problem dating, but prefer committed relationships so long as they do not include marriage.

The cost for dating, cooking services, and cleaning services are a mere pittance when set against the risks I would incur under a marriage. I usually don't discuss my conclusions because it drives women nuts and reminds men of their mortality and legal subservience to their wives. Women want men to continue believing there is something mystical and magical about the idea of marriage when it is, in fact, legal bondage for men. In my experience, women hate when I analyze marriage in the cold light of logic and reach my conclusions. I can't help but think they desperately don't want men to figure out that the Emperor really isn't wearing any clothes.

Posted by: a former european at June 6, 2008 05:02 AM

Men do create princesses -- it's a phenomenon tied almost entirely to the father/daughter relationship.

Oh, bingo Maggie! I recall posting on this a few months back. And ironically, some of the guys who complain about the 'princess' mentality will go right on to raise their daughters to behave this way, because they have a really odd (and unhealthy) double standard in their minds about women. I am sorry, but if you like and respect women you will deal with them straightforwardly and teach your daughters to deal with men that way. Women learn how to interact with men from their fathers. My Dad was an excellent role model, and so I grew up adoring men and respecting them: expecting only the best from them.

Because of him, when I dated, I could unconsciously sort out the players and the immature ones. They didn't "feel" right to me. They didn't treat me like my Dad treats my Mom. And I always treated my dates as my Mother treats my Father: with respect and honor.

But no, males don't have anywhere near the viper mentality it takes to be truly manipulative. Men like things simple and straightforward, as a group (yes, generalization). Women, on the other hand, want a lot more "nuance" in everything. They tend, as a group (yes, generalization) to overthink things and try and read levels into things which may not be there. This is because, in their minds, those levels ARE there. As a result of this, when women interact, they do so on far more levels than men do.

Now I partly agree and partly disagree here.

Women are more emotionally aware, but I don't see this as negative. Like any quality this has its positive and negative consequences.

In a marriage (and in most families) women are the caretakers. We are the ones paying attention to the relationships. If men were relied upon to do this, most families would fall apart. So damnitall, we NEED to be aware of all the emotional subcurrents going on. We raise children who can't even talk for years on end. We have to be able to intuit what's wrong when they cry. We also have to be able to "read" our largely non-verbal husbands, and that can be a really difficult task, because sometimes there is legitimately something Going On in the male brain housing group that really does need to be Talked About (a fate most men think is worse than having the Frilly Panties of Oppression pulled over their heads at Guantanamo Bay) and sometimes they are just mulling over their March Madness picks or even worse, wandering around the nothing box buck naked with a beer and a bag of stale Doritos. How are we supposed to know? We never stop thinking.

When he comes home from work with that annoyed look on his face, did he have a shitty day at work and does he just need a cold beer and 25 minutes of silence to decompress, or is he pissed that you forgot to take out the recycle bin... again? Or is he worrying himself sick about how he will afford that fancy new house he is convinced he needs to provide for you (you know, the dream house you enjoyed looking at over the weekend but never seriously considered buying b/c you think it's waaaaaay too expensive)?

Or did some asshat just cut him off in traffic?

Or are his Fruit of the Loom boxer briefs chafing?

Is he just wondering what is for dinner?

Or did he learn at work that Iran has nukes pointed directly at us and the world is coming to an end at precisely 4:45 on Friday, but he can't tell you b/c it's classified?

Who knows? Men are inscrewa.... err...inscrutable, while women are (of course) eminently logical and always reich.... ummm... right!

Posted by: Cassandra at June 6, 2008 05:24 AM

OBH, my husband and I were talking about this last night.

I also know almost no divorced couples. That is definitely not the norm in America.

I think this is a function of the old saying: birds of a feather, flock together. IOW, we tend to associate with people whose values are consonant with our own. It's funny. I don't even go to church.

I swear like a sailor. Just ask my Mom! I don't do it in public, but in private, and at selected times, my language can be kind of... well, salty. But I also know when that's not appropriate. My point is, I'm hardly prim and proper. But almost none of my friends are divorced, and the few who are, when you look at their stories, had something pretty catastrophic happen (i.e., it wasn't just a "we drifted apart" situation). I don't look down on people who are divorced. It's just interesting to me, because in my neighborhood there are plenty of people on their 2nd and 3rd marriages, and yet amongst my friends... doesn't happen.

And so with dating. Like Maggie, I "know of" women like the ones you describe. But I think the answer is that my sons probably picked girls with values like their own family over looks. Not that my daughters in law are any slouches in the looks department. But I think values had to be a big factor too because they never dated anyone who treated them badly. I don't think they ever considered anyone of poor character.

When I was young, I was attracted to guys I considered unreliable all the time. But I didn't date them.

I think this is a major difference between men and women. Because men separate love from sex, a dating man will date women of poor character. He is not necessarily looking for a relationship up front. So he is using an entirely different set of criteria in his selection process: mainly (frankly) sexual attractiveness!

And then he has the nerve to complain when some of these women (that he had no intention of having a relationship with, that he - in fact - selected on the basis of sexual attractiveness rather than character) prove to be of poor character :p Is this really surprising?

I don't think so. I think it's a consequence of the male vs. female selection process. We select hoping for a relationship. Most single men select hoping (be honest) hoping to get laid. And many men select hoping to get laid by several different women and avoid entanglement in a relationship. That is what makes many single women cynical and bitter - feeling used by men they thought were actually interested in them as people, but who in fact only wanted to rent their bodies for an evening.

The truth is, if both sexes were honest about their intentions up front, I don't know what would happen? Men often criticize or even refuse to date women who won't "put out", but if a woman is serious about wanting a relationship she is usually foolish to sleep with a man early on. This is extremely annoying, because most mature women have a strong sex drive too. They don't want to play games.

If anything ever happened to my husband, I almost have to say I'd be in the same boat with afe. After what I've read on the Internet about the cynical way so many single men talk about women, I think that I would never want to date. To listen to him, men don't think marriage is worth it, so the best I could ever hope for is to have a man use me for sex when I want a committed relationship.

No thanks. I know my own worth and I would have to regretfully remain alone for the rest of my life.

What a sad state of affairs, because I truly, truly love men and always have. Good reason to keep my husband in excellent health :)

Posted by: Cassandra at June 6, 2008 05:47 AM

Er, Cassandra.

psst. you can ask, you know. just don't ask until we've had dinner and a coupla beers in us.

In that, I actually like bitching and kvetching to anyone who will listen. If that means bitching to myself, it's still good to release steam.

AFE: Kids? I mean, marriage is still the best way to bring children up, you know. Of course, if you're not bothered about pruning your family tree at your end, then yes, not much bloody reason to be married.

Except, oh, unless you are a committed, practising Christian who had even a smidgen of a sex drive and will not pursue lusts unless consummated in holy matrimony, warts and all.

You're not actually against marriage, per se, I don't think. If it lasted forever and both parties committed to each other and making it work, I'd bet you were all for that, right? There must have been a reason you got married once, after all.

OBH: I think Cassandra mistook you for maggie. Oh well, could be worse :)

It's said that men want to marry their mothers. Presumably they identify and bond with their fathers. So, is this true for women, that they want to marry their fathers?

This incest thing might be worth looking into if so.

My experience with marriage is admittedly limited to seeing how things work out in my family. We have not yet suffered a divorce in the entire clan (except for my uncle who was adopted out by a Brit, but he didn't remarry until she died, so not sure if that counts). Marriages have their ups and downs - and there were times when my mother griped about my father so much, it's a good thing we didn't have guns in the house.

Still, on the whole, I think because of the HUGE HUGE GINORMOUS societal pressure to remain married (in the Asian context), somehow both men and women grit their teeth and make it keep working from day to day.

I think that's what's wrong with the West - divorse is stacked against the man and way too easy - and you no longer have as great a stigma attached to it.

Posted by: Gregory at June 6, 2008 05:55 AM

:)

I don't think I mistook OBH for Maggie, but I edited my comment and that may have made my train of thought hard to follow. I was responding to OBH's comment here:

or there is some aspect of her environment which has shielded her (and them) from them.

Sorry, BTW -- with this I also meant to ack that it may well be that this environmental component comes from her own hard-headed common sense.

She may be responsible for why she doesn't see it too often.

While I realize the comment was made in relation to dating, it also struck me that the same is true with respect to divorce: that just as I don't know any women who treat men badly, I don't know any (or many) divorced couples in real life.

What I meant to relate this to was a conversation my husband and I had last night about why our marriage has lasted even though we married so young.

Let's face it: there is no way anyone can argue either of us knew then, what we'd be like (or want) 20 or 30 years down the road. We were just kids. And we had everything against us: early childbearing, no money, couldn't even afford to live together most of the time, you name it.

Over the years, we've had frequent separations. Three of them lasting at least a year.

And yet, we stayed married.

I think there are two reasons.

1. Neither of us ever even contemplated *not* being married. That was never an option.

2. We have similar values. Our families are different in many ways, but in regard to marriage and the role of the family they are the same: family is everything.

Don's comment earlier was great, and bthun's. That is the way my husband and I approached marriage and life. You put your marriage and your family first, before everything else. If your home life is happy, everything else falls into place. That is the rock upon which the rest of your life is built.

Jobs, friendships, houses, hobbies, all that other stuff is transitory. Sure, you give up some things. But what you get back is well worth the sacrifice, especially when you see your children grow up and make wise choices, marry good women and have their own children in their turn. It is all worth it.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 6, 2008 06:27 AM

Marriages have their ups and downs - and there were times when my mother griped about my father so much, it's a good thing we didn't have guns in the house.

Still, on the whole, I think because of the HUGE HUGE GINORMOUS societal pressure to remain married (in the Asian context), somehow both men and women grit their teeth and make it keep working from day to day.

Exactly. I have a great marriage, but there are days (not many, but it happens) when you look at your beloved and see the Great, Burning Flames of Shaitan in his eyes. And you wonder: WHAT IN THE HELL HAVE I DONE???

And you know he is looking at you and thinking, "What happened to my adorable wife - the one who usually greets me at the door with a big smile and a kiss? Suddenly her head is spinning around and green smoke is coming from her ears! Is this menopause or should I call the men in the straightjackets?"

At times like this, everyone needs to take a chill pill and remember why they got married. Or read one of afe's epic rants on divorce :p That will get their mind right... heh.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 6, 2008 06:36 AM

A married-about-six-months friend of mine showed up at work one morning and despondently announced his wife had moved back with her mother.

"What went wrong?" I asked.

"I haven't got a clue," he answered. *shrug* "Which may be the problem..."

Posted by: BillT at June 6, 2008 06:39 AM

I linked an article months ago that talked about that very phenomenon, Bill.

Men are almost always clueless when their wives divorce them. Their wives try to talk to them about problems in the marriage, but they often refuse to talk, or interpret their attempts to resolve the problem as criticism or nagging (if she is unhappy, I must have done something wrong/not be a good man).

Whereas the woman is thinking, "We have a problem. He is doing things that make me unhappy, but there's probably a reason for that and I just don't know what it is. If we could talk, I could find out what I'm doing that bugs him and we could solve it." But when she says something like, "When you do this, it really upsets me", he shuts down or tells her to stop being emotional. That's dismissive. It's a slammed door in the face.

Eventually, she stops talking completely.

And the man, at this point, thinks, "Wow! She must be happy! She has stopped complaining!"

WRONG. She just checked out of the relationship and she's thinking of leaving you.

Even though guys don't like this, a committed woman is engaged. She is paying attention to her man, even in ways he may not understand or like. It comes from a good place. Women need to try harder to understand men, and men need to try MUCH harder to understand women. I think women are trying less hard now that they are working, and this is a shame. It's a function of time and energy - there is only so much to go around. It is also a function of power in the relationship: now that women have more power, they act more like men, and boy do men hate that! I deplore it, but I have to say that it has its amusing aspects too.

In general, most men don't try terribly hard to understand their wives until they get older. And even then many don't try at all. That is a HUGE mistake. Men often complain their wives dont' want to have sex with them. But they don't understand female sexuality.

A women won't feel desire for a man she feels emotionally disconnected from. If she's angry with you, she is not going to want to have sex with you. If you have made it obvious you don't care about her feelings because feelings aren't important TO YOU, that's pretty self-centered, but it is also self-defeating. They are important TO HER and she is one half of the relationship.

Women have the same thing to overcome. If you *constantly* withhold sex because it isn't important TO YOU, you have some 'splainin' to do because sex is tremendously important TO HIM and he is one half of the relationship. You are being self centered.

Bottom line: you both have to try and meet each other half-way. Most women initiate divorces, but they also desperately want to be married. The prospects for women who divorce are not good: their chances of remarriage are far lower than those for men who divorce, and they do try to head it off. It is tragic that our inability to communicate with each other leads to so many marital breakups. I have never understood why men and women don't try harder to understand and get along with each other.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 6, 2008 07:08 AM

I guess I have an unusual perspective. You see, while most Intersexed people (ie neither 100% male nor 100% female in body, though usually one or the other in mind), well, their bodies might be ambiguous, but at least they don't change.

A woman with 46xy (male) chromosomes and CAIS (complete androgen insensitivity syndrome) might only find out her situation when she visits a fertility clinic to find out why she's still not had her first period at 18.

A man with mixed 47xxy chromosomes, or 46xx (female) chromosomes and CAH (congenital adrenal hyperplasia) might not know it till he visits a fertility clinic.

But some... they change. Those with 5ARD and 46xy chromosomes look feminine at birth, but masculinise at puberty. For the boys, it's an escape from nightmare. For the girls, a descent into hell, and surgery to stop the change is urgent and necessary for their sanity. 17BHDD can cause the same thing. There's thousands with one or the other in the USA.

The syndromes (4 we think) which can cause an M to F change aren't well understood, with only a handful of cases worldwide. Unlike the FtoM changes, only 1 of the syndromes causes change at puberty, the others happen at menopause/andropause.

Such people know what it's like to have a body (mainly of) the opposite sex, either before the change, or after.

Ask any of them, and they'll tell you that boys and girls are different, not just between the legs, but between the ears. And it varies between individuals, so we have hard-nosed female canines, and sensitive new-age men.

The Gender Roles, the societal conditioning, amplifies these hardwired tendencies or traits, and also injects a whole load of other differentiation which is totally bogus.

I won't go into the neurological basis for the differences, just let it be said that the brain is sexually dimorphic, it differs between men and women, though the edges are blurry. And like all other sexually dimorphic organs, it's subject to Intersex, so a person really can be a woman trapped in a man's body.

Such a condition is enormously uncomfortable. Depending on the parts of the brain that are affected, instincts can be totally cross-gendered, and women in particular can suffer dreadful persecution when young. Body like a Quarterback, body language like a cheerleader.. it causes problems. Many, possibly most, suicide. Those who survive usually get their bodies modified to match their minds. "Transsexuals", and they have their own problems with societal disapproval.

From my own observations, a large proportion of people could do reasonably well in either gender role. Rather more are really "set" as one gender or the other, but might be able to function semi-adequately as the opposite sex. And a significant number, maybe a third, could only function as the sex their mind is set for.

I'm female, always was. I didn't always look female though. 1985 diagnosis was a mildly intersexed male, 2005 diagnosis a severely androgenised female. Yes, one of the handful who had "Idiopathic Partial Sex Reversal". Whether I'm more properly classed as a Transsexual with a unique endocrine system, or Intersexed with a transsexual life history, is open to argument. I prefer "woman with an unusual medical history" or even "woman with a past".

Be thankful your body matches your mind. For the 1 in 3000 where it doesn't, it's bad. Really bad. Norah Vincent, as described in her book "Self Made Man" pretended to be a male for 18 months, before suffering a nervous breakdown. Any transsexual could have told her she was endangering her sanity.

Posted by: Zoe Brain at June 6, 2008 09:10 AM

That's an interesting comment.

I have observed for years that women's personalities change when they go through menopause. I used to see it in the commissary, of all places. Older women were really kind of assertive and almost brusque at times, while their husbands (who years ago were very macho and really kind of domineering - keep in mind these are Marines) were far more laid back and... dare I say it? almost acted like they were placating their wives.

I attributed this to a few things, but mostly that in women, their estrogen levels had declined relative to other hormones like progesterone and testosterone. And for the older men, their testosterone levels weren't as high as they once were. So there is a 'gravitating towards the center' effect in both sexes that is sometimes almost comical to watch.

It is also rather scary to realize how much hormones influence our behavior. I believe (though Grim may differ with me on this) that our behavior is much more influenced by the chemical balance in our bodies than people like to think - IOW, things in your body can "break" or alter the way your mind works. I wouldn't be so open to this if I hadn't experienced a nasty case of post partum depression that completely disappeared in a matter of days when I quit nursing. Luckily with my 2nd child it never recurred, but once you live through something like that, you don't doubt the power of a few hormones to mess with your outlook on life.

This doesn't make us powerless - I didn't give up or ax-murder my baby. But it can make life very challenging for some people, and that is something I'm not always sure is fully appreciated by those who haven't experienced it firsthand.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 6, 2008 10:15 AM

Jeff:

You're hardly on solid ground in claiming that you wish only to talk reasonably about sex and race, having begun with absolute claims of the sort you did.

It is not my intent to insinuate racism on your part. It is my intent to insist that your statement, which could reasonably read as an expression of racism, be clarified to a degree that avoids that impression.

That being done, I am satisfied. Your bravado is noted, but needless.

Maggie:

You're correct that the code of battle insisted that knights -- and, later, gentlemen -- should fight when challenged by an equal. When ladies of an equal social standing wished to fight, there were two options: they could elect a champion, or they could fight themselves under terms that evened the physical playing field.

For example, if you turn to plate 242 in Hans Talhoffer's Medieval Combat (which you can do at Amazon, using the "Look inside" feature, should you not have a copy of the book on hand), you can see a 15th century depiction of a male/female judicial combat. The man is placed in a pit up to his waist, and may fight only with a wooden club; the woman fights with a heavy stone tied up in a veil. Swung overhead, with her opponent largely immobile and a few feet lower than her, that would create adequate force to burst the skull or shatter bones. The knight, meanwhile, is denied the use of the weapons to which he is accustomed.

However, it is also the case that chivalry had a very deep tradition -- which burst into flower particularly in the 12th century and deepened thereafter -- of service to ladies. This was developed by the poets of the court of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry the Good, including Chretien de Troyes. This established that being a friend to ladies was one of the high ideals of knighthood.

To me, it seems obvious that there are plenty of men who are ready to fight with women as equals -- that is, using any weapon that comes to hand, as for example in the late contest against Sen. Clinton. These men are unwilling to accept the restrictions of "judicial" combat, by setting aside sexism and attacks on her as a woman.

There are also plenty of men who are not friends to women at all, but regard them as harpies, predators, schemers, backstabbers, and so forth.

What is lacking is men who will insist that women be received fairly and treated kindly, and not treated with hostile sexism. It seems to me that chivalry encompasses that willingness.

It also seems to me that modern society could use more rather than less of it.

Zoe:

That was a fascinating comment. "Down to the soul," indeed.

Posted by: Grim at June 6, 2008 10:26 AM

No offense, but lots of women posting here are full of it. Do men make mistakes in dating women? Damn right they do. Men err by believing women.

Women harbor contradictory desires. If the one desire is fulfilled, then the other is guaranteed be unfulfilled. Thus, women live lives of perpetual dissatisfaction, and they blame it on men. Stupidly, men will often accept the blame.

Cassandra wrote, Their wives try to talk to them about problems in the marriage, but they often refuse to talk, or interpret their attempts to resolve the problem as criticism or nagging (if she is unhappy, I must have done something wrong/not be a good man).

Bullshit. Women are passive aggressive. They don't talk about what's really bothering them, and instead nag about ancillary crap. Women have a reputation for being good communicators. Not so. Women talk a lot, but they do very little communicating.

Cassandra wrote, But when she says something like, "When you do this, it really upsets me", he shuts down or tells her to stop being emotional. That's dismissive. It's a slammed door in the face.

You know what, when a woman screams "That upsets me!" and it's about how a guy loaded the dishwasher --- he's going to ignore her. Why? Because otherwise he'd have to conclude these freakin' insane. Women don't directly say what's bothering them, they are passive aggressive about stuff. Women nag instead of working things out directly. Women suck at relationships.

That isn't men's fault.

Cassandra wrote, Bottom line: you both have to try and meet each other half-way.

But women don't do this, and that's the problem. For women, it's their way or the highway.

Cassandra wrote, In general, most men don't try terribly hard to understand their wives until they get older. And even then many don't try at all. That is a HUGE mistake. Men often complain their wives dont' want to have sex with them. But they don't understand female sexuality.

This is the old man-bashing trope: "women are unhappy because men just don't understand X." (Insert issue at X.) Pffft. Grow up lady. Women reflexive attribute ignorance to men, totally without warrant.

A woman's orgasms are a woman's responsibility. If she isn't getting what she wants, she has to take steps to fix it. Your body, your responsibility. Grow up. Jeeesh.

Cassandra, in the last fifty years men haven't changed very much. Women have. Then by the method of difference, isn't it correct to conclude that the problem most likely lies with women? After all, they changed not men.

Posted by: Jeff at June 6, 2008 10:29 AM

Cass:

I don't disagree with you on the importance of hormones. They can't change everything about us, but they certainly can alter specific behaviors -- and, taken far enough out of a healthy balance, can cause serious problems to both mind and body. There is no lack of evidence for that.

Posted by: Grim at June 6, 2008 10:31 AM

Grim wrote, You're hardly on solid ground in claiming that you wish only to talk reasonably about sex and race, having begun with absolute claims of the sort you did.

Sure I am. If my hyperbole mislead, that's my fault, and I apologize. I stand by my original statements. It's fascinating and revealing how white women apply old-fashioned notions of masculinity to black men, but new-fangled notions to white men.

Grim wrote, It is not my intent to insinuate racism on your part. It is my intent to insist that your statement, which could reasonably read as an expression of racism, be clarified to a degree that avoids that impression.

Sure you did. But now that you've modified your stance stance, I'm satisfied.

Grim wrote, That being done, I am satisfied. Your bravado is noted, but needless.

As for bravado, you're the one who wrote "not to my face." I just matched you, Grim.

Good. You're satisfied; I'm satisfied. Can we converse on my original observation?

Posted by: Jeff at June 6, 2008 10:49 AM

That blacks in Dallas, Texas, are more successful with white women than you are? I have nothing to add to that discussion.

Well, OK, one thing:

"A woman's orgasms are a woman's responsibility. If she isn't getting what she wants, she has to take steps to fix it. Your body, your responsibility. Grow up. Jeeesh."

This may have something to do with your trouble.

Posted by: Grim at June 6, 2008 10:52 AM

Grim wrote, That blacks in Dallas, Texas, are more successful with white women than you are? I have nothing to add to that discussion...This may have something to do with your trouble.

Ah. As I thought. You're a troll. you have nothing but to offer but insult. What a dope.

Posted by: Jeff at June 6, 2008 10:55 AM

Certainly, in your case, I have nothing else to offer.

When you are ready to talk about women in terms that are not both universal and insulting, however, you might find me more accomodating.

Posted by: Grim at June 6, 2008 10:58 AM

Jeff:

Step back and read your own comment for a second:

Cassandra, in the last fifty years men haven't changed very much. Women have. Then by the method of difference, isn't it correct to conclude that the problem most likely lies with women? After all, they changed not men.

Kind of funny.

The human race is supposed to evolve :p


And fwiw, I disagree with you. Men have changed a lot in the last few decades. And so have women. Mostly, I think it's for the better but of course some people are always going to act like jerks.

The point I was trying to make is that if you are consistently running into the jerks, maybe you should examine the possibility that either you are doing something, or you are hanging around the wrong kind of people because there are other people who get along fine with the other sex and have happy relationships and marriages :p

Also I have to agree with Grim on the orgasm thing. It's never all the man's responsibility, but man-oh-man! with an attitude like that I'm hardly surprised you're a bit bitter. If all a woman wants is an orgasm, she can stay home with a few AA batteries and a good vibrator. Sex is a team sport.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 6, 2008 11:00 AM

Grim wrote, When you are ready to talk about women in terms that are not both universal and insulting, however, you might find me more accomodating.

Where are the universals and where are the insults?

Posted by: Jeff at June 6, 2008 11:04 AM

Cass wrote, Men have changed a lot in the last few decades.

How?

Cass wrote, The point I was trying to make is that if you are consistently running into the jerks, maybe you should examine the possibility that either you are doing something, or you are hanging around the wrong kind of people because there are other people who get along fine with the other sex and have happy relationships and marriages

I agree. But why are you using the second person pronoun? I don't have problems meeting decent women, mostly because I say "get lost" early and often to the duds. Women often veer into the psychological fallacy. You don't think that is a guy disagrees with you, then something must be wrong with him, do you?

Cass wrote, It's never all the man's responsibility, but man-oh-man! with an attitude like that I'm hardly surprised you're a bit bitter. If all a woman wants is an orgasm, she can stay home with a few AA batteries and a good vibrator. Sex is a team sport.

I see. I'm bitter. you can tell that from blog comments. Who knew you had psychic powers.

And you've obviously intentionally misread my statements. A woman's orgasms are solely her responsibility. If she isn't satisfied, she has to say something and take action to get the other player to train up. (Keeping with the team sport metaphor.)

Teams communicate what they need to the other players. Teams train up the less capable players. Teams adapt to the play styles of the other players.

A woman's orgasms are her responsibility. IT has nothing to do with electric apparatus, and everything to do with actually approaching sex as a team sport instead of laying there as a spectator.

Posted by: Jeff at June 6, 2008 11:13 AM

Allow me to offer a few examples.

1) Women harbor contradictory desires. If the one desire is fulfilled, then the other is guaranteed be unfulfilled. Thus, women live lives of perpetual dissatisfaction, and they blame it on men.

2) Bullshit. Women are passive aggressive. They don't talk about what's really bothering them, and instead nag about ancillary crap. Women have a reputation for being good communicators. Not so. Women talk a lot, but they do very little communicating.

3) Women don't directly say what's bothering them, they are passive aggressive about stuff. Women nag instead of working things out directly. Women suck at relationships.

4) For women, it's their way or the highway.

All of those are universal statements about "women," in general; and all of them are phrased in insulting terms.

Posted by: Grim at June 6, 2008 11:15 AM

Where did I get the idea you are bitter?

Your own words:

Women today are feel entitled to things from men, but they feel no sense of obligation towards men.

I used to think modern women hated men, but now I know they just hate masculinity. That's why so many women love hanging out with gay men. Women love men, but not manliness.

The only mature, sensible thing for a man to do is to abstain from long-term relationships with women. The alternative is to be treated like trash, be financially exploited, and treated as a second-class citizen under the law in any dispute with a woman.

No thanks, toots. That's a word few women hear these days: no.

Wow. Talk about painting with the broad brush.

All I did was try to point out that I've been alive for nearly 50 years, raised two boys to adulthood and watched over their dating years, and never once saw ANYTHING like what you describe. And I used your own words to form my opinion that you do sound a bit bitter, Jeff.

Feel free to point my mistake out.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 6, 2008 11:19 AM

Cassandra, I do have to apologize for the tone of my post last night. However, I still claim that the sentiments I expressed are valid. Way too many times, I've had a woman complain to me about all the problems they face as a woman. When I ask them, "Don't you think men face problems as men?", they'll acknowledge it in a disconnected intellectual way, but when I ask them to name one, they can't, and they usually make it clear that they consider whatever problems men face to be trivial and not worth consideration. And that's the vibe that I got from your post.

And I still claim that a fair number of women are capable of casual, guilt-free manipulation in a way that few men are. I find your statment that you don't know any such women to be rather naive -- I will almost guarantee that at least one or two of your acquaintences are such women. You don't see it because you don't get into those kinds of relationships with them. Men usually know who the playas are among other men, and yes, I can off the top of my head think of at least one male acquiantance who is a playa. (I've been avoiding him since he started doing that; I don't approve of it and I don't want to get tainted by association.)

Women I don't think recognize it as often among other women. I have a nephew who married a girl that he met in high school. She came from a terrible home, with an addicted mother and an absent father. I guess he felt sorry for her at first and just wanted her to feel welcome at a new school, but they bonded and started dating. She blossomed, transforming from a malnourished skinny girl into a beautiful young woman. She got along yery well with the family too. She always told us that we were the family she wished she'd had.

They got married after graduation and moved to a big city out West, a very different environment from the small town they came from. The marriage lasted about a year. Then she had an affair with his boss, got him in trouble at work, and divorced him. She got the house and a claim on his pension -- she'll get half of it when he retires, even though she'll have been divorced from him for 40+ years by that time. She sent several of us an email telling us that she had never loved our nephew; she had simply spotted him as a young man who was going to go places, and that she used him to get out of the small town they grew up in and into a better situation. Once she had no further use for him, she dumped him, and that was that. Nothing to it.

And did any of the females in the family spy her out as a user? Not a one. They were all as charmed as the men were. We in the family were all played, male and female alike. Mind you, this went on for six years. And it was easy for her. Effortless. Our nephew is still not yet recovered from the shock. He moved back home; he's only working as much as necessary to get by, and I kind of doubt that he'll ever enter into another serious relationship with a woman again, much less marriage.

And I've seen other male family members go through similar situations -- most not quite as bad, but basically similar. Another male relative married a woman who appeared to be a nice, charming, attractive lady. Once the marriage was consummated, she stopped taking her meds, and it turned out that she was psychotic; bat-shit insane, violent, and she liked it that way. But by God, she had managed to pull herself together for the two years that it took to get a chump to marry her. Fortunately for my male relative, she missed one detail: he found out that she had presented a forged birth certificate for the marriage license, and so he was able to get the marriage annulled. But it cost him a lot of time, money, and pain to do so.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at June 6, 2008 11:23 AM

...or, you could just look at the examples Grim cited above :)

And let me remind you, I didn't say there weren't any bad women out there. But you are making broad categorical statements about "women" that are insulting and derogatory.

Men have changed in the last few decades in their treatment of women. They are more accepting of women in the workplace, they are more respectful to women who wish to get a college education or improve their minds. They do not act dismissive or patronizing the way I remember them doing - often - in public when I was a little girl when a woman ventured an opinion in a political discussion. They actively encourage us when we are trying to go to school or get promoted.

These things were not the case when I was younger. They are now.

My sons have a completely different attitude towards women than my grandfathers did. And it's an improvement. I am so proud of them that I could just burst, and yet they are still strong and manly and their wives respect and honor them. So yes.

Men have changed.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 6, 2008 11:26 AM

Grim, I usually don't feed trolls, but I'm going to make a fool of you.

All if the following general and universal statements were made by Cassandra:


  • Men are almost always clueless when their wives divorce them.

  • In general, most men don't try terribly hard to understand their wives until they get older.

  • A women won't feel desire for a man she feels emotionally disconnected from. If she's angry with you, she is not going to want to have sex with you.

All of those statements are either about "men" or "women," in general. Yet, you don't complain about them.

It turns out, Grim, that in casual conversation most people understand that practical questions deal with things that are probable and mostly true. For a unit economy of words, most honest people know that when Cassandra writes "women" or "men" that she admits of counter-examples, but still hold to a probable and mostly true claim.

Moreover, any one of those sentences by Cassandra could be taken as an insult to men. But honest people don't impute bad motives to people without good reason.

Worse, you yourself use such generalizations and universalizations: A man who defends men is presumed to be opposed to womens' independence or freedom. Really? All men? But of course, since I'm honest, I know you mean probably and mostly.

You're just not honest, Grim. Fix that.

Posted by: Jeff at June 6, 2008 11:29 AM

"So..... that said, if you had it to do all over again, would you rather be born a man?

Or a woman? And why?"

What an odd question. I'd be a man. Because I like women. And I suspect most women would be women, because they like men. I think it's curious that you see the reasons as being otherwise.

Posted by: James at June 6, 2008 11:36 AM

Dave, let's examine this carefully. I think we're caught up in semantics:

And I still claim that a fair number of women are capable of casual, guilt-free manipulation in a way that few men are.

I think that's incredibly naive. Read any men's magazine (I have) and you see there are guys who openly brag about how many women they screw and how they avoid entanglements, and how they will lie to women to get them into bed - promise them anything.

I find your statment that you don't know any such women to be rather naive -- I will almost guarantee that at least one or two of your acquaintences are such women.

But I wouldn't have any way of knowing what an "acquaintance" does in her sex life, now would I? One only discusses this sort of thing with a close friend.

You don't see it because you don't get into those kinds of relationships with them.

See above.

Men usually know who the playas are among other men, and yes, I can off the top of my head think of at least one male acquiantance who is a playa.

Why would you ever know this sort of thing, unless you talk with men you hardly know about your conquests? That doesn't strike me as kosher.

(I've been avoiding him since he started doing that; I don't approve of it and I don't want to get tainted by association.)

And yet you doubt that I don't have any female "playas" amongst my friends? I am sensing a big of a double standard here, Dave :)

Come on. First of all, one thing you may not know about me is that I have few female friends. Another is that, being an introvert, I don't have a large circle of friends, but rather a small circle of close friends. So again, we may be tangled up in terminology. I admitted I have heard of women like this, but I have never known one personally, nor did my sons ever date one, nor have any of my male friends been entangled with women like this. Or at least they haven't told me they have, and I'm 49. So there is a common thread here: I don't hang around with people like that and none of my friends seem to be running into this problem.

Maybe it's a personality thing? I don't know. Maybe I just genuinely like men, and so I don't run into the jerks. Maybe if you genuinely like and admire women you either get a better reaction from them, or encounter a better class of women? Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? It's a funny thing: I like men, and I've found that even men who treat other women badly have treated me with respect. Why is that?

I don't know. I only know it has been true all my life.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 6, 2008 11:38 AM

Obloodyhell: Men are straightforward and women are nuanced doesn't entirely address the issue you raised about women being vipers. Women may be more "nuanced" (actually I personally would need a manual to work that one) but that doesn't have a whole lot to do with being manipulative or a viper. One of the objections raised to women entering the workplace was that women couldn't handle the machinations of workplace politics and "combat." Men may be straight forward in what they want from a women (and I'm not sure this is a positive for men) but that's not to say that they can't indulge in that behaviour as well as women--nor use it to their advantage. The many business scandals of recent years were engineered by males.

Jeff? There are men out there that don't pay any attention even when a written outline is laid out. Women have changed, I suppose, in that women now expect men to be equal partners in a marraige and in raising a family--or they can leave. From my perspective the men haven't gotten with the program. Judging from previous discussions here these differences between men and women are of long standing--where's the surprise? The only difference is that women can leave nowadays--it was nearly impossible in the past. Or are you saying that men can't change and that women need to "change back" (to what?) so that families can keep going?

My OB/Gyn (a male) actually got angry at me one time because I only wanted two children (given how things were going that seemed to be the wiser choice--and I was right). He said that "people like us" were the ones who should be having a lot of children. He and his wife had six...(I did wonder, since he was a doctor, how many late night feedings and discipline problems he was around to asisst with). I found it interesting then and in these discussions now that most of the criticism is still directed at the women--even as aef runs through the reasons he's not going to marry again which are purely financial. It it NOT always a matter of "keeping up with the Jones'", particularly not now. Besides, why is a desire for a career and financial stability not seen as a valid desire for a woman too?

Like I said, I'd rather be a man if there's a choice next time around. And I enjoyed raising children and always intended to have them. It was finding out that the rhetoric about having it all was hollow, and finding that things really have not changed all that much, that tipped the balance.

Posted by: Maggie100 at June 6, 2008 11:38 AM

"Men have changed."

What about women? Have they changed in their attitudes towards men? For the better, or for worse?

Posted by: James at June 6, 2008 11:39 AM

James, I am not sure the reasons are otherwise.

I threw the idea out there as a question to be tested, but I'm perfectly willing to be refuted! I will throw my ideas out and I like hearing what other people think. So fire away :p

Posted by: Cassandra at June 6, 2008 11:40 AM

I don't know how many here are Christians, but I find myself a staunch evangelical, Pentecostally-inclined, Calvinistic-leaning Christian of the Anglican Communion. Yes, Anglican, not Episcopalian.

And speaking as such, it humbles me at the complex interplay of factors that contribute to make me who I am. My genetics, gestational environment, early upbringing and formation, faith, diet, hormonal balances, general knowledge and common sense - and of course, over all, God.

It humbles me, and it prostrates me to know how one delicate those forces are. Zoe, as you point out, in those relatively uncommon cases where (pseudo-)hermaphroditism occurs, the societal and cultural systems we have in play do not work as planned, because we do not generally expect such cases.

I cannot begin to understand, for it is not the road God has chosen for me to walk.

Jeff: easy there, easy. Cassandra is not exactly the enemy. Jaw jaw is better than war war, and right now, at least we can still jaw. With hardcore feminists and GLBT sorts, we cannot, and hence it has to be war.

But oh yes, there is much truth in what you say. It's just that, you know, sometimes it really is all one thing to a woman. Let me explain.

Guys are like mules. If you try to load us up with straw, we'll bear the load up to an optimum (but not maximum) point. At which point, either we shake some of the pile off, or we refuse to move. In either case, it's pretty much to give you fair warning.

Gals are more like camels, patiently accepting the load until the LAST STRAW, which BREAKS THEIR BACK. Then, the whole pile gets dumped.

See, to the camel, it's not the pile, precisely, it's that 'last straw' that triggers the whole thing. Whereas the ass, he sees a whole load of stuff coming his way and he partitions it off. Again, the wires (or was it string) and the boxes.

Here's the other thing. Guys are superficial. And I don't mean that in a shallow, unthinking way, although there are elements of that. It's just that, if you tell us it's the way we hog the blankets, we'll fix that - or try to, anyways - and then we get befuddled when it doesn't help.

Whereas, if you said our hogging the blankets is part and parcel of a whole lot of behaviours that reinforce the message that we don't care about your welfare, then we'll spend much time trying to convince you where you're wrong. In the typical guy way, IYKWIMAITYD.

There's also an unpleasant aspect of the way guys react that ladies, you probably know but must understand how this plays out IRL. We're fixers. Our tendency is to fix stuff. 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' is a very male philosophy, but its corrolary is that if it's broken, we must fix it. As long as we see the value in doing so, of course.

Women are more nurturing-type maintainers, so to speak. They like to ensure the damn thing doesn't break, so they lavish more care and time on it.

Now, of course, there's gonna be more of one and less of the other depending on the circumstances and the 'thing' in question. Some guys, for instance, are plain obsessed with their cars and will spend inordinate amounts of time maintaining it, while some girls won't bother about the leaky pipes and wait for the husband/brother to come back and fix it. But in most normal circumstances, we act pretty much in the ways I've described above.

So, guys, when your woman comes home with a load of gripes, *listen*. Offer some sympathetic noises now and then, and maybe a shoulder to cry on, and enfold them in a big bear hug. But, for your own sake, don't offer any advice unless she asks for it! This I learnt the hard way, right?

And gals, if your guys comes home and gripes, this is a sure sign he's seeking your advice. Using you as a sounding board, bouncing ideas off you, maybe. Participate. And if he says nothing, be blunt. "You look troubled. Anything I can do to help?" And if he says no, leave it but let him know if he needs you you're there. Just knowing you're covering his six relieves a guy tremendously.

This is assuming right-minded people who aren't treating you as objects, but as real people, of course. And of course it may vary from person to person, and even circumstance to circumstance. But as a general rule of thumb, it helps a lot.

Posted by: Gregory at June 6, 2008 11:41 AM

"Read any men's magazine (I have) and you see there are guys who openly brag about how many women they screw and how they avoid entanglements, and how they will lie to women to get them into bed - promise them anything."

I guess I don't read any mens magazines then. I'm not even sure what they are. Popular Mechanics? I've never met a guy who bragged about how many women they screw.

Posted by: James at June 6, 2008 11:45 AM

Cassandra wrote, Wow. Talk about painting with the broad brush.

I've given examples above where you do the same thing. You're just imputing bad motives to me because you disagree with men.

Cass wrote, All I did was try to point out that I've been alive for nearly 50 years, raised two boys to adulthood and watched over their dating years, and never once saw ANYTHING like what you describe.

Right. Your second-hand, anecdotal experience, some thirty years ago trumps my first-hand, anecdotal experience today. Uh huh.

Again, I suggest you put your stuffy, old experience to the test and read a fresh, new book.

I'm being kind of rough on you only because you elevate you experience above other people's. You need to be knocked off the pedestal so you can have a real conversation, rather than preaching the holy truth to the heathens. (If you want to know how I see your emotional state from your writing, that's it.)

So that's your mistake: you err by privileging your own experience above other's. I suggest we follow the old Greek method of Stasis. We should find common ground first, then talk about disagreements.

I'm just sayin'.

Cass wrote, And let me remind you, I didn't say there weren't any bad women out there. But you are making broad categorical statements about "women" that are insulting and derogatory.

You're using the old female tactic: "don't pick on the poor, helpless women!" Not buying it. you've made similarly "derogatory" statements about men. I put "derogatory" in quotes, because I'm not going to impute bad motives to you.

I think you're just not used to men treating you like an equal, without deference, and without condescension. You smart, and reasonable. You can take direct debate.

If you can make general statements about men and women, so can I. Hey, we can even discuss those disagreements --- and maybe learn something. Pretty cool.

Cass wrote , Men have changed in the last few decades in their treatment of women.

Ok. Men have gotten nicer. Why has that caused the crissis in marriage and the like? Come on Cass. You're engaging in non sequitur here, aren't you?

Posted by: Jeff at June 6, 2008 11:46 AM

Grim: I knew about the champions, I did not know about women actually being allowed to fight. I think I know what you mean when you use the word, the problem for me is the emotional connotations that have come down through the centuries instead of the practices, and how it came to be seen in recent history. That's why I said "feel", why the term tends to raise hackles in the back of my mind. It's also my personality--my problem, my fight. I don't like standing behind someone for any reason.

Posted by: Maggie100 at June 6, 2008 11:47 AM

Jeff:

As Cassandra has already endorsed the opinion I expressed above about your feelings, I'm going to assert that it is you who is not being honest -- with yourself.

There is nothing I can do to fix that. You have my sympathies, however: I know that a broken heart can be the worst kind of pain for a man.

I will defend the honor of women, in general, in spite of that sympathy. If you want to talk about specific women instead of women, in general, go ahead.

If you want to talk about "most women" or "some women," you can do that too; I won't trouble you.

As long as you fail to include any such qualifies, please don't assert it is unreasonable -- far from dishonest! -- to read your sentences the way they are written.

Also, I reject your use of the language of honor (if you are even aware you are using it). Where there are no consequences to your words, as on the internet, it is not appropriate; the words are empty and without force.

Posted by: Grim at June 6, 2008 11:50 AM

Maggie:

I've noticed that about you. :)

Please think of me, then, as someone who wants to stand beside you, rather than in front of you. Consider me a friend and an ally, rather than a protector.

That includes, of course, my willingness to -- as Cassandra said, above -- tell you when I think you're full of beans. I do that with her all the time. But I remain her friend and ally, and that of women in general.

Men should be the friends of women, and vice versa. I would be glad to have women ready to stand up for me, in many contests. I would not 'hide behind them,' any more than you would hide behind me, but I would appreciate the support and friendship. It is something that is hard to resent, when it is given honestly and from the heart.

Posted by: Grim at June 6, 2008 11:54 AM

Grim wrote, As long as you fail to include any such qualifies, please don't assert it is unreasonable -- far from dishonest! -- to read your sentences the way they are written.

Uh huh. Just as long as you read everyone else's sentences that way. I've shown that you don't. Then you are either unintentionally inconsistent or a hypocrite. You are too smart for the former, so I choose the latter.

Grim wrote, Also, I reject your use of the language of honor (if you are even aware you are using it). Where there are no consequences to your words, as on the internet, it is not appropriate; the words are empty and without force.

Interesting. What consequences are you talking about, Grim? I'm very interested to know.

When I was in the Corps, to be honorable was to be a guardian of excellence. Sometimes that means correcting fools.

But do tell. What are these "consequences" of which you speak?

Posted by: Jeff at June 6, 2008 11:57 AM

"If men believe a woman will go running to her brothers and father at the first sign of trouble, who would ever want to deal with a woman? This is little different from the tribalism of the Middle East - a man, in dealing with a woman, is always dealing with unseen 'silent partners' who may be treacherous, dishonest, or violent. No one in his right mind would contract on that basis.

My husband pointed that out the first time I brought that up to him, and I did not even have to say it. And he does not even completely agree with me on this topic, yet he saw the practical implications of the argument, all the same."

But these are everywhere. Not just in marriages. The implication of force is behind just about every contract out there. If you don't honor it then someone will get a leg breaker(the mob) or a lawyer or the police(everyone else) to do something that amounts to the same thing.
I'm not seeing this one. Can you elaborate a bit more?

Posted by: ry at June 6, 2008 11:59 AM

No man raised in the culture of honor would have to ask.

That is only expected; most of America today is not part of the old way. The internet's culture is particularly poisonous that way. People feel free to throw around the most aggressive insults, because there are no consequences.

We were a better country when, and where, there were.

As I noted, I am not alone in this reading of your statements. You can continue to assert that you are being fair and reasonable, and others are being dishonest and irrational; there is nothing that I or anyone can do to stop you. But you are alone in that reading.

I feel that I am the one who is rebuking a fool, in the interest of guarding what is excellent. I have said what I have said in the interest of fairness to ladies, and I think that is part of the proper role of a gentleman: to speak up when other men are being unfair or cruel to women.

Posted by: Grim at June 6, 2008 12:10 PM

Jeff,

I'm sorry to ask it like this, but are you quite sure you're sane? You're reading motives that are not there and getting incensed when others read motives in your writing that you claim are not. And you're reading threats where there are none.

Case in point:
Also, I reject your use of the language of honor (if you are even aware you are using it). Where there are no consequences to your words, as on the internet, it is not appropriate; the words are empty and without force.

Let us parse:
Where there are no consequences to words like there are no consequences here (being the internet), the language of honor is not appropriate. So in plain English, talking big is meaningless on the internet.

There's no threat there. All that Grim is saying is, 'stop with the chest pounding, it don't mean a thing on teh intarwebs.'

Honestly, I think you're getting FAR too emotionally involved here.

Posted by: MikeD at June 6, 2008 12:12 PM

you err by privileging your own experience above other's

Jeff, you seem determined to ignore whole swathes of what people say. If you make categorical statements like "women are like this", then surely other people are allowed to say, "Hey, my experience has been different than yours, so maybe the world isn't uniformly the way you say it is".

Which was the point I made. I DIDN'T "PRIVILEGE MY EXPERIENCE ABOVE YOURS. I merely suggested that not all women are evil and maybe you might try finding the non-evil ones. Because clearly they are out there. My sons just found and married two.

And it's not a question of my experience 30 years AGO overriding your experience TODAY.

It's a question of 30 years of experience being offered as a counterpoint - as evidence that your... gosh, I don't know? how many years of experience isn't the only experience out there. OTHER PEOPLE HAVE DIFFERENT EXPEREIENCES. INCLUDING MY TWO ADULT SONS AND THEIR FRIENDS, WHO HAVE BEEN DATING IN RECENT YEARS.

Sheesh!

Posted by: Cassandra at June 6, 2008 12:13 PM

As for hypocrisy, I should add that it is not me but Cassandra who believes that there should be a single standard by which everyone is equally judged. I have always believed that there should be separate standards for different cases.

Aristotle said that justice was treating relevantly similar cases alike. I agree: but the key is knowing when there is a relevant difference.

If I treat you differently than her, it is because she is writing out of an interest in creating greater understanding and friendship between the sexes; and you are not. There is no reasonable reading of your words that implies you hold womanhood in general in high regard, and only wish to correct some misconceptions.

It is therefore entirely proper to give her words a different reading from your own. It is just to do so.

Posted by: Grim at June 6, 2008 12:14 PM

Maggie, my OB/GYN refused to tie my tubes after our last child without my husband's "permission"! Like I was a little kid.

Yeah. Pretty amazing. Especially since I wanted more children, and he didn't, and the only reason I was doing it was at his behest because I get pregnant at the drop of a hat.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 6, 2008 12:19 PM

Grim, I don't always believe in a single standard.

I just believe that insofar as *possible* we should strive for a single standard. That is the ideal. Depart from that only when you must, otherwise you risk devolving into subjectivity and partisanship.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 6, 2008 12:20 PM

Grim wrote, I have said what I have said in the interest of fairness to ladies, and I think that is part of the proper role of a gentleman: to speak up when other men are being unfair or cruel to women.

Quite possibly the funniest thing I've read in the last year. Wow. Just wow. I rarely encounter such hubris. Wow.

I'm starting to get it now. You're not a troll; you're are a parody.

Those poor helpless women can't handle rational debate? Direct talk? LOL In my view, I respect women and you do not. Women are just as smart and men, just as capable as men of handling debate. They don't need protection on a freakin' blog. Jeesh.

Grim wrote, No man raised in the culture of honor would have to ask.

And no honorable man would fail to speak the consequences in the open, in the interest of gentlemanly fairness. LOL So, come on do tell? You're not afraid, are you?

Grim wrote, As I noted, I am not alone in this reading of your statements. You can continue to assert that you are being fair and reasonable, and others are being dishonest and irrational; there is nothing that I or anyone can do to stop you. But you are alone in that reading.

True, you are not alone. But, by the rules of reason, you indulge in the democratic fallacy. You've inadvertently shown that I am reasonable and that you are not.

Posted by: Jeff at June 6, 2008 12:23 PM

Well, let me rephrase then, Cassandra. I think that overarching standards are useful only in cases where there are no relevant dissimilarities. I think that is a weaker standard for, ah, standards than the one you employ.

I'm not opposed to overarching standards when they are appropriate. I just have a fairly limited view of when that is so.

Posted by: Grim at June 6, 2008 12:24 PM

Another point on my "generalizations".

1. They weren't about all men, only men who end up divorced. So we are dealing with a subset of men who promised to work at their relationships, and yet...

2. There is an awful lot of well documented research on the question of men not knowing why their marriages ended/being blindsided. I wasn't making this up to make men look bad. In any event, it's hardly a shocker that men don't like to talk about their feeeeeeeeelings :p

3. I took great care to qualify most, if not all of these statements about a subset of all men.

4. I happen not to think it's all the man's fault when a marriage breaks up. I said it was tragic that the failure to communicate was responsible for so many marriages breaking up. But Jeff heard what he wanted to hear and ignored what I said about how women need to try harder too.

Whereas Jeff didn't bother to qualify his statements about all women.

And yet we're supposed to "read into them" that he didn't really mean all women?

Posted by: Cassandra at June 6, 2008 12:28 PM

As I said to Maggie, above, it is my interest to stand beside ladies, not in front of them.

I believe our society could use a bit of that: of men who were willing to stand up for the goodness of women, in general; and women who were willing to defend men, in general. It might help heal some of the anger that exists on both sides.

I'll excuse your other words. The old culture of honor often strikes those outside of it as ostentatious -- a 'parody' as you say -- because they haven't seen the benefits of the thing as it is lived. Also as Aristotle said, you cannot convince someone of certain points of ethics unless they have been brought up in those traditions. (See Iakovos Vasiliou, who was a professor of mine).

I will do what I believe is best; you must do the same. What I believe is best includes standing up to unfair statements about women of the kind you have been making.

Posted by: Grim at June 6, 2008 12:30 PM

And Jeff, you really need to stop with the name-calling.

One of my very few rules here at VC is no ad hominems.

I have been very patient, but you have consistently been provoking to Grim and he has not responded in kind. Address the argument without attacking the person.

There are very few things that will cause me to ban a person, but calling names is one.

This is the first and last warning. He is not a troll, nor a dope.

Knock it off. I'm quite serious.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 6, 2008 12:31 PM

In fairness to Jeff, I believe he was incensed by what he read as my assertion that he might be a racist. Such an accusation is inflammatory.

As I said, I intended not to accuse him of racism, but to get him to relocate his claims onto ground where they could not be mistaken for racism. My intent was not to charge him with racism, but to avoid the discussion descending into accusations of racism.

Nevertheless, insofar as he misunderstood my intent, his anger is understandable and even appropriate. Racism is a severe charge in American society today, and he has a right to resent the implication. I meant no such implication; rather, I wanted to move the discussion away from the potential for such a descent.

Posted by: Grim at June 6, 2008 12:37 PM

Grim wrote, Aristotle said that justice was treating relevantly similar cases alike. I agree: but the key is knowing when there is a relevant difference...If I treat you differently than her, it is because she is writing out of an interest in creating greater understanding and friendship between the sexes; and you are not.

OK. I could argue that you have the genre of rhetoric wrong, that we are engaged in what Aristotle, in the Rhetoric, would classify as a political discussion not a discussion of Justice. But I'll stipulate.

You claim the difference is one of intent.

I've provided evidence that you and Cass use the self-same rhetorical devices of which you complain to me. I have noted, but not cited, many more by lots of other posters. This means intent is the only difference. The writing itself matters not one whit, for there is no grammatical distinction to be found.

Now in the interests of Justice, Grim, how can you infer intent from blog posts? I'd like to know your method for determining it.

As a counter-ples, I note that Aristotle in the Organon he points out the necessity of an anti-thesis in dialectic. It seems that anti-thesis requires an intent to overturn the opponents arguments. Then one can have such an intention while simultaneously seeking agreement, truth, and harmony. The Organon is quite clear on the matter. This seems to belie your view that Aristotle's Justice would require you to take "consequences" to hand against me.

Rather, Aristotle seems to require you to welcome my opposition.

Posted by: Jeff at June 6, 2008 12:39 PM

Grim wrote, Nevertheless, insofar as he misunderstood my intent, his anger is understandable and even appropriate. Racism is a severe charge in American society today, and he has a right to resent the implication. I meant no such implication; rather, I wanted to move the discussion away from the potential for such a descent.

Well, that is honorable indeed. Thank you for that clarification.

I retract all my previous statements directed at you. I apologize to you, if my tone mislead you. That was my fault. I now see that you are not a troll. I retract that. You're smart, and I want to discuss with you.

If I could shake your hand, across the Internet. I would.

Posted by: Jeff at June 6, 2008 12:42 PM

Cassandra wrote, This is the first and last warning. He is not a troll, nor a dope. Knock it off. I'm quite serious.

I do hope your protection against unwarranted accusations extends to me, too. I've obeyed your edict.

Posted by: Jeff at June 6, 2008 12:46 PM

Aristotle held that politics was an extension of ethics to the state: as a result, the distinction between "a political discussion" and "a discussion of Justice" does not hold. The point of politics was to develop a state which encouraged people who were just. The effort is unified.

The dialectic is useful as a method of inquiry only insofar as you are talking about things that may be disputed. There is no useful synthesis between "The sky is blue," and "No, the sky is orange."

I always welcome an opponent -- like Cassandra, so often -- who wants to engage in a useful debate. One who wishes to descend into insults that cannot be resolved is not engaging in a form of the dialectic that is useful; I see no reason to pursue a synthesis between your claim that I am not honest, and my claim that I am. It would neither be useful, nor true, to synthesize those claims -- I suspect this is something you and I can agree on, although we stand at opposite ends of the scale as to which of the claims is truthful.

Posted by: Grim at June 6, 2008 12:49 PM

Jeff:

Your retraction, and offer of a handshake, is heartily accepted.

Posted by: Grim at June 6, 2008 12:51 PM

Thank you Jeff. Anyone is welcome to discuss ideas here. All I ask is that commenters avoid personal attacks.

Misunderstandings are frequent and perhaps inevitable. I made my policy clear because you could not know if it unless I made it explicit.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 6, 2008 12:54 PM

Grim wrote, Aristotle held that politics was an extension of ethics to the state: as a result, the distinction between "a political discussion" and "a discussion of Justice" does not hold.

This is equivocation. Modern language would say "policy discussion" not "political rhetoric." Discussions of policy are oriented to the future, of Justice to the past. Insofar as the regime aims to encourage people to just action, it is a policy question. As Aristotle demonstrates in the Nichomachean Ethics, ethics is primarily a matter of good habits leading to prudence. It is not an exact science and proceeds by heuristic. the ethics of the regime aims at justice but is not Justice de re. Thee state pursues Justice through policy, and it is future oriented. The distinction exists. It is one of means and ends.

Grim wrote, The dialectic is useful as a method of inquiry only insofar as you are talking about things that may be disputed. There is no useful synthesis between "The sky is blue," and "No, the sky is orange."...I see no reason to pursue a synthesis between your claim that I am not honest, and my claim that I am.

Nor I that I am not a racist, and my claim that I am not. So yes, we do agree here.

But I wasn't proposing a dialectic on that basis, but rather on Cassandra's original post, the validity and usefulness of generalizations, the existence and implications of women's views of traditional masculinity, and the peculiarities of those views tangled up with race.

If I appear to propose something absurd, like a dialectic on your honesty, it's a good bet you've read me wrong, or I've written poorly. We should agree to ask about these things, yes?

Posted by: Jeff at June 6, 2008 01:07 PM

"Modern language would say "policy discussion" not "political rhetoric." Discussions of policy are oriented to the future, of Justice to the past."

I understand why you say that -- the kinds of events that we'd use for examples regarding justice are always things which have already happened, and therefore "past" -- but it isn't quite so. Aristotle wasn't talking about a kind of society that didn't exist yet. He was thinking about the future.

The distinction is that the state may not use precisely the same means as the individual to encourage virtue. But the state is to be virtuous, for Aristotle, in just the way that an individual should be: that is, it should have courage adequate to protect itself without descending into rashness; it should have magnanimity towards its citizens; it should behave justly. But it should also 'push down,' so as to encourage those same traits in its citizens: if the state is not producing citizens that are brave, just, and magnanimous, it is flawed.

We look to the past for examples of justice, but only because they are the only form of reference for developing future justice. We hope to develop a state that is itself just, and which will also develop citizens who are just: both future-centered aims.

Posted by: Grim at June 6, 2008 01:16 PM

Pardon me. I mean: "Aristotle WAS talking about a kind of society that didn't exist yet."

Posted by: Grim at June 6, 2008 01:16 PM

chivalry--I think most American men have at least some concept of chivalry, in the sense of showing mercy to the weak and realizing that with power comes responsibility. But for most of history, the moral upbringing of women has focused mainly on sexual restraints--now that these are mostly gone, there are more than a few women around who have no moral code whatsoever. And as more women attain positions of power--too frequently viewed entirely in terms of privilege and entitlement--this is a real problem.

Posted by: jeff at June 6, 2008 01:25 PM

I (the 1:25 comment) am not the same jeff as the 1:07 comment.

Posted by: jeff at June 6, 2008 01:26 PM

I'd disagree that "sexual restraints" was the sole purpose of female-centric ethics in the high period of chivalry. Sir Thomas Malory, for example, was deeply sympathetic to women who had longings and even engaged in extramarital relationships -- indeed, his own career suggests that he may have participated in such.

He was not alone in this; the whole "courtly love" movement allowed women to have strong feelings beyond their marriages, and even to indulge them so long as there was a sort of discretion involved.

It's true that adultery was a serious matter in the middle ages, but -- like with many another matter -- it was one that the society seemed to create a work-around for dealing with. Instead of indulgences and penance, it developed a form in which adoration and denial were expressions of love; and which, when a lady might go beyond that, a certain discretion was expected and encouraged.

So, formally, chastity was a virtue; but this was a living system, and had room for people to live in it. As the Chinese say, "Make the way wide, or you will find there is nowhere to set your own foot." I think it's fair to say that the Medievals did so.

I do think that women today don't have a reliable guide on sexuality, though I'm not sure that chastity is precisely the one that's wanted. I think Cassandra is broadly right to say that sex impacts a woman's mind (and heart) more than a man's, and this is something that women should be taught at a young age. Chastity is a sort of self-defense; but I don't hold women in disdain who don't use it.

Posted by: Grim at June 6, 2008 01:36 PM

grim--to clarify, I wasn't arguing that women need to be more chaste--rather that, now that more women attain positions of power, it is important for them to learn to use it without unnecessary ruthlessness. I doubt that the typical upbringing of girls in American society, with the emphasis on being a "princess" and having "attitude" (or even being "beyond bitch") contributes much to this.

Posted by: jeff at June 6, 2008 01:43 PM

Ah! I see what you mean.

There may be something to explore there. Let me think about that for a bit.

Posted by: Grim at June 6, 2008 01:51 PM

"And wispy, lacy little, to-die-for lingerie items!"
"I get pregnant at the drop of a hat."
Listerne! Listerene for the eyes! Stat! Man, that's like walking in on your parents. (shudders) Please, for the love of what innocence gollum retains(no thanks to Unka Bill and this thong fetish o' his) no more!

Oh, and the princess and attitude is about the only useful thing to have come out of the duel. Most of that duel is fallacy laden and @55covering(who cares if you nailed me dead to rights on the logic and support of the claim, I'm speaking informally so it doesn't matter, teehee). Too much posturing. Useless.

Posted by: ry at June 6, 2008 02:10 PM

Interesting point, I submit that the overwhelming majority of negative female behaviors I see are in the current 16-25 age bracket. And I further contend that this (in my opinion only) is due to the current parenting trend towards no negative feedback for bad behavior.

Examples: Look up any "My Super Sweet Sixteen" on YouTube. It is a Kafka-esque descent into madness to watch these teenaged tyrants DEMAND outrageous treatment, and their parents acquiesce to their wishes. Clearly, they choose spoiled brats in order to drive up ratings, but I am pretty sure that in the age of scoreless team sports (everyone is a winner), this is not as uncommon as one might believe.

Mind you, I also know as a fact that this is far from universal. My own sixteen year old neice is a lovely young lady who has excellent manners and poise. I do not fear for her behavior because she was raised to realize that the world does not revolve around her, and that bad behavior will not be tolerated.

I merely am suggesting (and now that I think about it, this was already covered to an extent in previous posts above) that poor parenting is probably the number one cause of "princess" behavior. It's not the fault of their gender, it's the fault of their upbringing. The male equivalent would probably be boys raised without a father figure. With no male model of behavior (or worse, a bad model of an absentee father), we're raising a generation of adolescent male lions.

Posted by: MikeD at June 6, 2008 02:12 PM

I get pregnant at the drop of a hat.

You and the Unit have a funny way of procreating if dropping hats cause pregnancy. :p

Posted by: MikeD at June 6, 2008 02:13 PM

Listerne! Listerene for the eyes! Stat! Man, that's like walking in on your parents. (shudders)

That was inconsiderate of me. One of the nicer things about being older is not having to worry about it looking like you are being a tease because the idea is just too stupid for words :p I guess the down side is that I didn't consider the possibility that I was giving people nightmares!

I apologize! I will try to be more careful from now on.

Posted by: Cass, feeling chastened at June 6, 2008 02:20 PM

Maggie, my OB/GYN refused to tie my tubes after our last child without my husband's "permission"! Like I was a little kid.Yeah. Pretty amazing. Especially since I wanted more children, and he didn't, and the only reason I was doing it was at his behest because I get pregnant at the drop of a hat.

What's pretty amazing is that your husband would suggest that you get your tubes tied when you wanted more children! If it was he who didn't want more kids, he should have offered to get himself snipped. That way, if you got remarried after your *perfect* marriage busted up or he wrapped himself around a tree, you still could have the kids he didn't want you to have.

I can not imagine my husband asking me to have my tubes tied when he knows I want more children.

Posted by: Shea at June 6, 2008 02:29 PM

Oh, he did offer Shea. And my husband didn't suggest it. I did - after reading up on it. He's a great guy.

Back then there was a lot of scare articles about health risks from vasectomies. That bugged me. He would have done it anyway but I didn't want him to. Also, I figured having my tubes tied was more reliable. Have I mentioned I get pregnant at the drop... oh, nevermind :p It is true, though.

My rationale was that I didn't care if a baby was mine or not. Babies need love, but who cares if they share your genes? After giving birth twice (and I loved pregnancy and childbirth) I had had the experience. So if I had second thoughts later, why not adopt a child who needed a home? There are so many who need loving parents.

What torqued me off was that doctor.

It will make MikeD happy to know that I rose up off the gurney like the wrath of God (I didn't lose my temper, but I was very "firm" with the doctor) and informed him in no uncertain terms that there would be no permission slip because it was my body and I was not a child.

He said "don't you think you should discuss this with your husband?"

And I said, "Not only is it absolutely not your place as my physician to ensure that I have done so, but you are not a marriage counselor and he would not be carrying any future children we might conceive."

After he agreed that this was so and that he would perform the procedure I said, "By the way, I happen to want more children and this is a mutual decision... not that that's any of your business."

And then I went out into the hall, only to meet a woman who was 46 and in labor.

Her tubes had been tied 12 years before that and she had 4 teenagers at home.

[drum roll]

Posted by: Cass, feeling chastened at June 6, 2008 02:48 PM

A couple of things. I really don't care to go down the path of whose experience is most valid; I can see that that discussion isn't getting anywhere. But I wanted to follow up one question Cassandra asked, to wit: How the hell did you wind up being associated with creeps like that? Well, Cassandra, I assume that you don't have any harpies for close friends, for the simple reason that you don't care to associated with such people. For the same reason, I don't have Rasputins as close friends. But among your wider circle of social associations, you're bound to run into some now and then. The playa guy I was talking about is an acquaintance that used to engage in some of the same activities I engage in. I know he is married, but as I got to know him, I realized that he was spending a lot of time with younger, cuter women (his wife had had some health problems). My DW and I engage in social activities that brings us into contact with a lot of members of the opposite sex, so that in itself wasn't abnormal, but as I observed the guy, I started to get the strong impression that his motives were not honorable, so to speak. (One clue was that he seemed to be gravitating towards a particular type of woman, rather than having a mix of women among his circle of friends.) I started to notice him turning up with women of this particular description at public events where his wife wasn't present. But the dead giveaway was when we went to an out-of-town event and found him there, very chummy with a cute young thing. And when we went to say hello, we got the deer-in-the-headlights look for a moment; he clearly was not expecting to run into anyone from home at this event.

Because of the circumstances of my youth, I've had the "pleasure" of associating with a broad pallette of unsavory characters, so I got to know their types up close. I've seen just about every kind of self-inflicted and other-inflicted human misery ever invented. So the question you asked is, how do guys know who the playas are? We observe them. We watched them work all through high school. We know their habits, their mannerisms. Don't forget, they are a direct threat to us. They will try to mess with our relationships if they get half a chance. Know thy enemy.

Now, on to something else that Grim wrote, which I think is far more interesting:

"Aristotle held that politics was an extension of ethics to the state..."

I'm afraid I don't hold to this, because my own observations have not supported the conjecture. I see law as, at best, having a loose connection to ethics. For the most part, law is only a minimum set of standards for maintain social order, and that's the domain in which it works best. There are a huge number of things that are unethical but not illegal. Further, we've learned over the years that when we try to make the law our ethical arbiter, the cause of justice is often less well served, if not outright perverted. This is my #1 quarrel with social conservatives, and perhaps with liberals too: they want to use the law to make the world a nicer place by banning everything they find offensive. Every time that is tried, we wind up with things Cassandra's problem with the OB/GYN, 8-year-old school kids being arrested for having an aspirin in their pocket, and a female worker filing sexual harassment charges against male co-workers because they wouldn't let her to go to lunch with them.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at June 6, 2008 03:16 PM

"maintaining"... cough cough.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at June 6, 2008 03:20 PM

I hope I didn't sound as though I was intentionally insulting you, Dave. I just couldn't figure out how that kind of thing would come up. Thanks for the answer.

Earlier someone asked how women have changed. I typed up a long answer and had to bail. Sorry. Will get back to it. Busy.

Posted by: Cass, feeling chastened at June 6, 2008 03:27 PM

The issue that Iakovos Vasiliou was talking about is relevant to your concern, Cousin Dave. He was thinking about a much smaller kind of society than we have today: one where all members would share a common upbringing, and thus could all be convinced of the rightness of certain points of ethics.

We just don't have that in America, and won't except at the very local level. Even there, American tradition requires broad support for allowing even very small minorities who strongly dissent from local mores to get their way a lot of the time.

So, the Aristotlean ideal is simply not available to us. In a sense, we can establish it outside of government -- in private societies, clubs, or organizations which are free to associate only with those who share their ideals. But we cannot have it in the state, where he wanted it to be.

Posted by: Grim at June 6, 2008 03:28 PM

On the other hand, you can probably see why such an organization -- at the level of a club or society -- would be invaluable in encouraging ethics. Groups like the Boy Scouts, or a good church, or the Knights of Columbus, or what have you: they exist to mirror the ethics they want from you, to exhibit those ethics as organizations, and develop them in their members.

I would say Aristotle was not wrong to want this. He put it at the level of the state, rather than in a society whose membership was freely chosen, for two reasons: because states were smaller, not bigger than a small city at that time; and because the virtue of the membership was crucial for the survival of the state as a free entity in a way it is not today.

We survive as a free nation on the strength of a few volunteers. Ancient Athens did not have that luxury, and so Aristotle felt it necessary to inculcate virtue throughout the membership. Plus, as they had a common upbringing, it was far easier to achieve a settlement on what "virtue" meant.

We can't do either. We can, though, profit from the model in other ways.

Posted by: Grim at June 6, 2008 03:41 PM

It will make MikeD happy to know that I rose up off the gurney like the wrath of God...

YAY! But that's the Cass I know (through reading) and expect/respect.

Posted by: MikeD at June 6, 2008 03:52 PM

the women were tricked by women of communist bent who did not want them to have love, marraige, and children.

to not blame them, is to seek blame elswhere and give them a free pass to continue.

most do not even want to check the history.

care to find out where 'free love' was first implemented?
how about no fault divorce?

remember these women? robin morgan changes constitutional interpretations.
"Feminism, Socialism, and Communism are one in the same, and Socialist/Communist government is the goal of feminism." - Catharine A. MacKinnon, Toward a Feminist Theory of the State (First Harvard University Press, 1989), p.10
"A world where men and women would be equal is easy to visualize, for that precisely is what the Soviet Revolution promised." - Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (New York, Random House, 1952), p.806
"The Women's Caucus [endorses] Marxist-Leninist thought." -- Robin Morgan, Sisterhood is Powerful, p. 597


so its the mens fault.. its our fault for not saving you from yourselves.

"No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one." -- Interview with Simone de Beauvoir, "Sex, Society, and the Female Dilemma," Saturday Review, June 14, 1975, p.18

it wasnt men that did this.

it was women who said if they ruled the world it would be better. 47,000,000 deaths later, on par with stalin, hitler,and mao, three other socilaists, feminism as soft eugenics has made its mark.

before feminism a holiday image was norman rockwell.

after its an image of a woman in an old age home with no family pining at a window with wire through it and alone.

it doesnt matter if you believe me or not...

the women didnt believe when they sided with the communists and decided to have a long march through the instutions.

there really isnt anything to do.

the leftist women will erase their future genetic contrubutions voluntarily, and eventually this will no longer be a problem.

the smartest, the best and brightest, tricked into pruning their family tree from the future.

go tell it to the feminists that displaced ladies home journal with virginia slims and gave them all heart desease...

go tell it to the women that wanted to break down all the barriers and destroy culture completely as a way to end things.

it wasnt men that bath in fruit as if its magic and can make us young.

its not men who are so gullible that you can put magic or miracle before their underwear and get huge sales. imagine a man wearing a miracle jockstrap. totally funny eh? thats how normalized womens ridiculousness is.

this will probably be removed... but that wont change anyting.


Forget this tosh about 'freemales' - single women who say they are happy are lying
http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/femail/article-1024317/Forget-tosh-freemales--single-women-say-happy-lying.html


Why more and more women are losing custody battles over their children

http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/femail/article-1024304/Why-more-women-losing-custody-battles-children.html

it was exactly what you asked for, but it wasnt what you wanted.

too late now... the feminists like cortez burned your bras/boats, as said above, they never wanted to allow you anythign other than what would get them power.

women only recently entered politics, now women know what its like when a despot uses them. their myth that women were the same but different just allowed them to ignroe this.

in their naivette, they enables female despots.


i am glad i married a foreign lady and we will retire someplace together... as a team... not as a marxist gender class struggle casted into my living room

we are very happy, we liek ourselves, and we feel very sad for the two feminists in our building who are now past experiation date, lonely barren, and turning into alcholics.

they are lovely people, but a car is lovely too before it has a wreck.


none of this is the mens fault... in fact, you can say honestly that we tried to impede all you thelma and louises driving off a cliff with everyoone with you. but you would have none of it. your precious communism was too important.


too bad you didnt believe your sisters when they told you like hitler did in mein kampf what would come. it was their plan, they followed it, its here.

too late to argue...
too late to bail water...
too late to learn to swim

like an acid trip gone bad, you have to ride it out and pray that your not going to be in the middle of it.

today marks D-Day...

how soon we forget how socialists decorated europe with their plans.


Posted by: Artfldgr at June 6, 2008 04:06 PM

here is a perfect example of the delusion by ignoring certain facts.

I HATED when I was a little girl and I wanted to go somewhere the boys went and I was told, "No, that's not safe for girls", or "Let the boys look out for you". What crap. I lied, more than a few times, in order to go places and do things I wanted to do, but I found that incredibly demeaning and to this day I hate lying worse than anything for that reason. I will tell the truth even when it hurts me because it hurts my pride worse to lie.

care to resarch how many boys die early and how?

did you know what they were going to do?

did you assume that you would be safe because they would keep themselves safe?

my sister wanted to come too. but we wouldnt take her. we CARED about her. when we DIDNT CARE We let them come. after all, some guys woulf think if funny that a girl broke her arm trying to do a guy thing wihtout the bernifit of years of practice!

so this is why the women won... men got pissed on for doing the right thing... why? because the women were too selfish to see beyond their own immediate desires.

sound familar?

same thing here... a constant wail for 40 pluys years and now that they were wrong, we are going to hear a constant wail that we should have protected you.

but you didnt want us to. you wanted to come with us and wanted to be like the men.

now your like the men...

and i think the real think irking the women is that the men have switched tasks more smoothly than they did.

but there is a reason.. women were made for a specific and imporatnt task... men were made to be their general protectors on all fronts to preserve that special thing.

so for a man to switch from the board room to the house, is just another job. work is work to us. but the truth is real work is hell for women, and family work is a joy..

women are hypergamous biologically and mroe selfish since they are the holders of the wealth their husband bring.

they can make as much as men, but they will not live a life in wich htey give up 99 percent of their paychek to their mate to do with as they please for the family.

the men were made to make this sacrifice all the way up to death.

thats why men are the disposable sex.

Posted by: artfldgr at June 6, 2008 04:17 PM

Oh, for Pete's sake. Don't be so dramatic!

No one is going to remove your comment unless you are abusive towards the other readers, and even then I give plenty of warnings.

Also, I am not buying off on either the "it's all the women's fault" or the "it's all the men's fault" BS. Both are extremist, one-size-fits-all arguments that don't hold water on close inspection.

There have always been "free lovers" of both the male and female persuasion.

There have always been morons who were male and female too. And you can't have immorality without men who are perfectly willing to wade into the sewer along with any woman foolish enough to waggle her wahoo at him :p

As a Marine of my acquaintance used to say, "That dog won't hunt".

Posted by: Cassandra at June 6, 2008 04:18 PM

Also, I am not buying off on either the "it's all the women's fault" or the "it's all the men's fault" BS. Both are extremist, one-size-fits-all arguments that don't hold water on close inspection.

would i get the time to show that they are not?

how many statements and quotes would be needed before someone believes?

the history is there... from the frankfurt school... you can read the stuff, but you need to know history in detail.

I didnt believe it too... till a feminist stepped into a prior relationship, and proceeded to work her magic.

my son and i were buddies... inseperable.. so when the games started, i did research to find somethign that would allow me to establish that i was the better parent. the fact that she shoplifted, she faked a murder by disappearing, pulled scams, and all that and more. i wondered. how could a court ignore this. but then i became familiar with the changes to our legal system. how parents have no more rights as they are now stewards for the state. how man female judges, like mine, said "men have no rights".

his stepfather abused him, he was warehoused, he nearly died of septicimia, and the list goes on.

when he lived with me i took him for his doctor visits, i took him places, he had his own room, and i rented teh bottom of a house..

but she was able to steal all the money, drive up the cards, and on and on... with no repurcussions by the advice of a feminist who worked for social services.

so i learned a heck of a lot.

i CAN show and detail it.

but i CANT convince someone that doesnt want to change their mind and only dares as a way to deflect. it wastes my life and theirs.


i only have time right now for one as i am going home... and can start up their.

your comment of free love.

yes, there have always been people who have loved freely, but thats not the same as free love.


study the history, it was perverted from the original. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_love


the first laws of no fault divorce came witin a couple of years of the october revolution.

my family lived through the horrors of the last century... close up and in detail.. so everytime school history didnt match, i went out to learn, and found out that school history had been revisioned. the old word was Stalinized.

even though lenin didnt think that such things were the right part of marxism, he still made the no faul divorce laws.

it took about 60 years for the effect on marraige to result in its collapse.. with the purges and stuff on top it was worse.

now think of it... around the same 60 years since we adopted the same stuff under the guise of liberation... and we are collapsing.

and as to your moron comment... there are a lot more men morons than women. the distribution is differnt. the mean peformanc of women is more homogeneuous, the center of their bell curve is tall... mens bell curve is wider... with more idiots at the back and and more super performers at the front end. nature can afford to experment in the male.


its not womens fault other than they decided to stop listening and trust a few women that were lying to them.

my grandmother was a research chemist in the 30s.. my mom worked... all this before feminism.

here is how twisted it is. you know about margret sanger a eugenisist that hitler had his people write to for advice. she even started the firs eugencics magazine, and her organization still is around, they still celebrate her, but if you ever get the chance to read her AUTOBiography you would be appalled.

we forget that prior to socailism and the abilty of the democrats to bribe us with our own money, the democrats were the party of jim crow, and the kkk was their strong side.
[you can read about the highlander school and how the people that ran it were arrested by the fbi for buying a house in white neigborhoods and moving blacks into it. when the whites didnt care, they bombed the blacks and ended up in jail.)

however, you wont see them celebrate emmy noether.

no. they tried to make mrs einstein the backbone... but einstein credited his work to emmy in her obituary. she set the foundations for super symmetry...

bet you never heard of her...

why?

because she did it on her own... she was not a leftist comminist socialist... and she disproves that women coudlnt do it. they could, but they had to prove that they could before the few seats would be wasted on someone that wouldnt work as much.

you can read the uk press this week or last week that is descrying a lack of doctors because female doctors work 20-30% less than the men. so even though thtere are more female doctors than men in school there will not be enough of them.


i can show you this dog hunts...

but only if you are willing to change your mind if i show you other real verifyable facts. i deal in no other kind.

the past 40 years of schooling has been dumbed down.. we think the kids are not capable of things.

well admiral farragut had his first military commissioned captain at 12 years old.. alexander was 25...

so we are way dumbed down from what we were.

and if you didnt get an old schooling with all this stuff in it, then all you really have and dont realize it is msm fluff repeated over and over and over again till it became truth.


i apologise for being too forthwith. i am used to people today turning off the truth that is unpleasant.

but remember, to blame women as a whole is to blame the victim of the con.

now that there is enough to know the con, the history, the facts that the internet now makes available... now there is no real excuse.

it was franfurt school teacher herbert marcuse that said "of it feels good do it", and his cadre that created the 60s revolution...

it wasnt spontaneous... you can read the warnings in george kennens long telegram that started the cold war.

and do read the work of erin pizzey, the woman that opened the first shelter for abuse ever.

she had to flee the country of her birth because the ideologues took over.

having family members that lived through hitler, stalin, and the stuff done... gives some a different persepective.

there is no reason it wont happen here because the exact same thing is happening here. and the people are reacting the same way as they did then.

what they dont have is that part of history that would let them know this. after all, today they teach that stalin was a hero.

i am latvian. i know better than that because i have no family... most died in the camps for being like my grandmother. smart and capable.

Posted by: artfldgr at June 6, 2008 05:01 PM

Art, you are not telling me anything that I do not already know.

I know about Margaret Sanger. And I happen to agree with you. OK?

But the fact that there are feminists who espouse loathesome ideas (and there are - in abundance) does not change the fact that there are also plenty of men who championed and continue to champion those same ideas. The notion that these ideas originated ONLY with women, or that they and they alone are responsible for every bad thing that has happened is poppycock.

Karl Marx was not a woman.

Lenin was not a woman. Stalin was not a woman. Pol Pot was not a woman. OK? There have been evil people of both sexes.

I have never sought to deny the excesses of feminism.

What I am trying to do is bring a little bit of balance to the discussion. And it REALLY bothers me when people on the right try to silence anything that doesn't consort with their world view. That makes us no better than the Left. How much sense does it make that all the evil in the world is coming from only 1/2 of humanity?

The answer to your question is that you would have to quote chapter and verse to show me that every single woman CAME BEFORE EVERY SINGLE FAMOUS MAN WHO HAS DONE SOMETHING WRONG. And you will note that unlike you, I am not railing on and on about how much men suck and how they cause all the evil in the world!

Anyway, somehow I do not think you can do that, barring quoting Adam and Eve :p

I actually agree with a lot of the things you are saying, and if you'd been reading me for any length of time, you'd know I have written posts that document a lot of the things you are complaining about (for instance, I've written about the equal pay/equal hours worked issue many, many times). My one anecdote from my personal life doesn't conform to that. This is why you don't use anecdotes to prove a general case, but only to discuss things. I've never used that story in a post, for instance, because it's totally irrelevant. It's not a 'fact' you can introduce in evidence of anything except the "fact" that discrimination against women with children in the workplace can, and does, happen. And I only used it in that informal context.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 6, 2008 05:34 PM

I agree with most of this post, especially the your theme that nobody has providence to define what a real man or woman is.

But, the part you lost me was when you started talking about single men.

"What kind of man is too stupid to look around him and see what would happen to the human race if every man refused to grow up, get a job, find a decent, responsible woman, and have children.

An selfish idiot, that's who."

Maybe I'm reading into that statement too much, but, aren't you saying, any man who isn't married with children, isn't a real man?

Because that seems to go against this statement.

"Using distainful language like "butch up", or man up, or limp men bothers me because it is, by its nature, disrespectful to men in the same way the rhetoric directed at Hillary Clinton has been disrespectful to women. I think it is sexist. Telling men what a "real man" is like seems beside the point, because I'm not sure an adult ought to care what anyone else thinks a real man or real woman is. An adult decides for him- or herself what kind of man or woman he or she wants to become."

Again, I could be reading it wrong, but, calling single men selfish and stupid, isn't very respectful.

Most single men, and single women for that matter, are not drifting through life with no responsibilities. There are many different reasons why someone might be single. But, I've noticed some married people seem to look down their noses at single people.

Can someone please explain why?

Posted by: Buckeye Tom at June 6, 2008 06:33 PM

You've had all kinds of interesting new commentors with this post, haven't you...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at June 6, 2008 06:51 PM

...but, aren't you saying, any man who isn't married with children, isn't a real man?

Oh no. Not at all. I'm sorry if I gave that impression.

I agree that what I wrote could be interpreted that way. Sometimes I know what I meant, and I just don't have time when dashing off a quick post before work to polish it. I don't have much time and I never do anything but a rough draft, so it's hardly a polished product :p

What I meant was that even if individual men decide not to have children (and not all men - or all women - were cut out to marry or be parents) what kind of world would this be if EVERY man waved off of marriage because it was "too risky"?

I'll have to look back at my actual language, but I'll be surprised if I didn't say something to that effect. But maybe I didn't. I'll check after I hit "Post.".

Posted by: Cassandra at June 6, 2008 07:18 PM

OK. I've re-read what I wrote.

I suppose it could be read either way. I was responding to the excerpt from the Dr. Helen post, which I interpreted as telling "every man" that marriage is no longer worth it. That really frosts me - I think that is arrant nonsense.

So my answer was framed (at least I thought) in response to what I thought Dr. Helen was saying. I usually agree with her, but in this case, I didn't:

What kind of man is too stupid to look around him and see what would happen to the human race if every man refused to grow up, get a job, find a decent, responsible woman, and have children?

In any event, I intended to pose a hypothetical question about what would happen if men as a whole abandoned the institution of marriage, not criticizing individual men who decide for whatever reason, not to marry. And my thesis was that such an action would be selfish and destructive because the first duty of any human is to ensure the survival of the species. Men as a class of people can't just abandon that duty.

Nor can women. I have (actually) posted on that topic too. Several times.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 6, 2008 07:26 PM

And just so I'm clear, I usually enjoy Dr. Helen's posts. She usually makes a lot of sense. It is only on one or two topics that I find myself disagreeing with her, and this is one.

I think feminism has its excesses, but I also don't think two wrongs make a right. Duty is not always easy, and I don't believe we are excused just because external circumstances make doing the right thing harder. That is just the way it is. There are still plenty of decent people in the world.

For a man who has never been married to be cynical and say, "It's just too risky" seems a real cop out to me. Women could cite plenty of horror stories about divorce too. Give me a break.

Life is full of risks. Why not just stay home and hide your head under the pillow?

Posted by: Cassandra at June 6, 2008 07:32 PM

Read the bottom before you read through all of this... thanks! :)

We are not discussing evil men in history, we are discussing a communist socialist ideology in which Marxist class struggle was casted into gender relations for the purpose of destroying the family. The reason being that the family is what opposes mass movements and totalitarianism. The family can teach the child before the state can.

But the fact that there are feminists who espouse loathsome ideas (and there are - in abundance) does not change the fact that there are also plenty of men who championed and continue to champion those same ideas.

That is not a nice way to argue, and you know it, it’s a form of relativism and kitchen sinking to deflect the conversation from the actual point. It’s irrelevant if there are men helping them. There were Americans helping the Germans, does that mean that the Germans were less evil because of it?

These men could never get the common women’s ears. I mentioned the replacement of family oriented print matter by feminists. What are the big magazines that have an exclusive ear of a majority of young American women?

There are lots of other groups. Like termites eating away at things. But of ALL the groups, feminist groups are the largest, most powerful, and most radical and devious. The reason is that they imagine the men in the past to be that way, and they are trying to flip the machine as payback.

Most people are useful idiots. Most of those men above (not the ones below), are useful idiots, or even gay men who think that they are going to get something out of it and have become hard core useful idiots. My talk is more towards the few who are using people, the fellow travelers, and the ones that help them. You know, Obama’s friends.

The notion that these ideas originated ONLY with women, or that they and they alone are responsible for every bad thing that has happened is poppycock.

I never said the ideas originated with women. In fact I said that the women were lied to by people with an ulterior motive. And again, it’s a false argument to go back to original sin. It doesn’t matter whose ideas it is, it matters who puts them into practice, who uses their position of trust to do things, and who abuses it. The people helping leaders that set the direction, make policy, spend the money, and design protests… the ones using people to their own ends, playing out a huge con.

Karl Marx was not a woman.

Nope he wasn’t. But I will let him answer you here.

"Anyone who knows anything of history knows that great social changes are impossible without feminine upheaval. Social progress can be measured exactly by the social position of the fair sex, the ugly ones included." -- Karl Marx

Marx was a philosopher… he did nothing much… a layabout failure who really has no other claim to anything. But it was the people who responded to this that are to blame

"The philosophers have only interpreted the world in different ways. The point, however, is to change it." -- Karl Marx

A person can tell me to jump off a roof, I have a choice of listening or not. if I listen to the person, can I blame them? no. the responsibility was my own.

Well, same thing with the women. The women blindly followed these women that put themselves up and who went to what was then enemies to be funded, advised, and more.

And they are not the only ones. Minority groups, and others of the left radical groups are also fifth column. However NONE of them have been anywhere as successful as the feminists. No one gives 5 billion a year to any of them other than the feminists. The feminists and their policies are at the forefront of the most important area of social change. Who deals with the children. They have managed to insure that no matter what you and your husband may be like, you can be sure that most of your kids teachers will have this bent to them, and administrators, and so forth.

The sixties revolution would have gone no where if the men had no one to have sex with them for it. its called topping from the bottom. Without the bait of communist free love, utopia, and so forth… the apple so to speak, the men would never had bit.

In my traditional Chinese wedding photos (I am not Chinese), there is an interesting photo that also illustrates the truth of this through every culture. I am on my knees in the shot, she is sitting on my back, and leaning forward to hold both my earlobes. Shows you that even in cultures that are submissive, its not the men that run things. women run the hearth, when they go out to work, the world becomes their hearth.

‘Woman is a violent and uncontrolled animal, and it is useless to let go the reins and then expect her not to kick over the traces. You must keep her on a tight rein . . . Women want total freedom or rather - to call things by their names - total licence. If you allow them to achieve complete equality with men, do you think they will be easier to live with? Not at all. Once they have achieved equality, they will be your masters . . .
Cato the Elder 234-149 B.C. quoted in Livy’s ‘History of Rome’.

I can quote from dozens of cultures that say the same thing through ages.

What I am trying to do is bring a little bit of balance to the discussion. And it REALLY bothers me when people on the right try to silence anything that doesn't consort with their world view. That makes us no better than the Left. How much sense does it make that all the evil in the world is coming from only 1/2 of humanity?


Dialoging to consensus with a group whose intent is to tear down the things we love, including women, is a bad thing to do (even though Obama things its great. His uncle Odinga did similar in Kenya with the Russians and ended up doing what?)

Feminism should go. Women should stay, be strong, and free… they never needed feminism. what we needed was to develop to a point where the needs of life were not so close to death, then we would have the wealth to spread out. We always did that. I can tell you about a female Irish pirate, I can tell you about lots of others through history.

The game that you don’t get your playing is the game of ‘personal versions’. It’s a neat relativism trick. Say an organization or group or something has 10 things that define it. in the old days, if you didn’t agree with the 10 things, you wouldn’t be part of that organization or group. this is basically what luthor did, and all the other protestants.

Today, we are so good at relativism, we can ignore the statements of the leaders that define things and that deal in our name, and we can include ourselves in a group that we really are not a part of.

Rudy guiliani calls himself a catholic. But a catholic means that they recognize certain things. rudy says he doesn’t. well with a personal version of Catholicism he can still call himself a catholic and pretend to be a part of that group.

In this example you can see how Rudy benefits. However, there is a way to reverse that benefit. By having so many personal versions that the top thing becomes meaningless as they are all contradictory. So you can have feminists against pornography, and feminists against pornography. Eventually feminism becomes like adobo, its added to everything to taste better, has no real meaning, cant be defined, BUT… to the power people the few women at the top are seen to control everything with the label on it (whether they do or not).

Now if you understood the ins and outs of dialectical materialism, and the games played, you would see this. This isn’t about right or left. If they could change us to an authoritarian state by being on the right, guess which side they would be on.

The words we use are just symbols. They have no real meaning other than they are a tool to allow us to manipulate ideas, concepts and relationships and transfer mental products. In reality the only thing that has actual meaning is the material.

Words are means to move material, and once there are no more morals, there are no more preffered sets of words to use to accomplish something. With morals, arguments have to have merit, without them, anything said that can move the material and gather whats needed works.

The relativism allows us to say that the same action performed by us is different because we do it and not them. in this way, two people in two places can each kill a person. but one can call it murder and the other can say it was justice. All you need is to add this anecdotal personal feeling spice to change the meanings of the symbols and ignore the meanings of the real in front of you.

But I digress…

The answer to your question is that you would have to quote chapter and verse to show me that every single woman CAME BEFORE EVERY SINGLE FAMOUS MAN WHO HAS DONE SOMETHING WRONG. And you will note that unlike you, I am not railing on and on about how much men suck and how they cause all the evil in the world!


Ah… your making the fallacious argument that if you insult a marine you insult all marines… if you insult the queen you insult all the british.

There are many women that did not follow feminism, but they are very much in the minority. There are lots of men too…

I didn’t say the women caused all the misery.. I said that the feminists did, and the gullible women that listened to them did. Your responding as if I said all women, but feminism isn’t all women. It almost is as that’s the mass mind placement of it. its has no meaning anymore…

I am going to be pedantic to be a bit fun here..
But since all men are born of women, then everything originates with women unless you’re a creationist.

But I don’t argue like that…

Your setting the position of the goal posts so you can draw a bullseye around the bullet hole wont work either.

I don’t have to show what your asserting to show that feminism caused a mass movement that swept everyone with it. not all germans were nazi’s they have to go along for the ride, just like you and I will, because they collectively gave people power they shouldn’t.

It’s the very fact that men and women both don’t have a lock on evil that has allowed them to do what they do, since they defined this point as different!!! (in contradiction with we are the same). By redefining that women are only evil in response to men, women blindly sided with some very evil women. You can see the change by watching movies. In old movies there were men and women villains. Some really dark ladies who were dark on their own. Not propagandized that all their evil comes from men. thats the same mass appeal that directed one group to hate another group in germany. That all evil stemmed from the jewish people, and they are responsible. Your argument going back could almost be taken from a text book on it. that’s because we internalize the premises and start spouting to the rules of them.

Today we have many of these hate threads running and being maintained by the left since they make out by divide and conquer. While you and I are arguing whether ideology is good (it never is because it blocks ideas), they are robbing the house while we are distracted. You see these arguments serve no purpose other than making sure that the material is distracted from its responsibilities.

I never said that all women… nor the things your projecting… and I don’t have a lot of posts here for it to be hard to check. Most women in America went with the flow. They chose to change things even if their mates didn’t like it or it destroyed the family, or it made her infertile, etc.

Anyway, somehow I do not think you can do that, barring quoting Adam and Eve :p

No.. other than biology.. that you need females to give birth, and males came later. The first things were asexual… but asexual reproduction is done by males or females? So all origins for mammals are from females.

Can I stick out my tongue too (and I hope your laughing cause I am).
It was a silly goal post, and a silly thing to waste our time on. So I am hoping we got a smile out.


The promise is that you want to change feminism. you cant. It can never change, its an ideology. If you can change parts of an ideology, then your going to change it into something else. Another material trick.. if I change every brick in the wall do I have the same wall or a new one? Way back in the beginning they weren’t feminists. Suffragettes were not feminists… they were suffragettes.. Same with the other groups… feminists stole their fire to legitimize their socialist communist version and make it one whole organic thing.

My one anecdote from my personal life doesn't conform to that. This is why you don't use anecdotes to prove a general case, but only to discuss things.

True…true… (and I haven’t had the PLEASURE yet of reading other things, but I do and can show where your lapseing to the ideology which is what caught my attention. A weird mix of free thinker with a sprinkling of crud… and the crud isn’t yours).

In my case the anecdote was to illucidate what got me to study all this in detail. However, I am a Bronx Science guy, and was WAY ahead of the curve when young. That doesn’t mean listen to what I say I am smart (oh how I hate that), but that I might have a lot of information and over time we can share it.

I actually don’t mind being wrong. Being wrong is how I learned to do so much and be something more. look at any more capable man or woman, and you will see someone that made more mistakes than their contemporaries who have done less. The difference is that they made sure to make them in new areas.

Heck.. people are people, and there is discrimination… but to say its discriminatory to look out after ones own interest is also wrong.

You see, to play devils advocate her, feminists hate capitalism. The ones that done have a personal version of feminism that is different. The game here is to break the back of the successfulness of capitalism, and replace it with a administrative feudal state of the kind my family lived through several times.

Lets flip this over… your now the person that owns the business. Your you, you have your kid, you have your husband. But now you own a business with say 7 people in it.

A person is leaving your business and they are one of two sales people that drive work to the business and so forth.

So you do your interviews and such, and you find a young woman. You don’t ask about her future, since her future is now a no no.

You hire her… she works for two weeks, and tells you she is 4 months pregnant, and is expecting two months before your high season where you make most of your money.

Now what?

She works for 4 months then gets 6 months paid leave. (if she was hired because her husband works for you, you may lose two of your employees for that time).

So what do you do now? 50% of sales is down with pay..

What happens is small businesses are put out of work. if you want a command economy, then you want to destroy small businesses. You can’t argue their demise, no one would listen. You can’t win this by merit since your point is only meritorious to your designs for future power and largesse and no one would side with that.

So you come up with things like… choosing an employee that is more likely to work than another one that isn’t, discrimination.

The employer wasn’t responsible for the biology of the worker… neither was the worker.

And this is where the game comes in.

In the example 6 people are going to lose their jobs and a company will shut down because of one pregnant woman. I know SEVERAL companies that that happened to. I also know companies that closed because the disabilities act the state is immune from. And then there is minimum wage… and other programs.

Only large companies that get paybacks from central planning of the state get to have the amount of business that can handle that.

So they are helping the corporatist game by selling what they want as a social good and shifting the responsibility to the employer rather than the person who wants the kid and is not willing to bear the expense and sacrifice for it.

Discrimination happens to EVERYONE. Its part of human nature..
But not everything today that is defined as discrimination is discrimination, and much of it is preferential and one sided.

Here I will give you an example of leftist idea of no discrimination.


At the The University of Delaware mandatory indoctrination program at the school as part of the Office of Residence Life Diversity Education Training includes the following:

“A RACIST: A racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. ‘The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality. By this definition, people of color cannot be racists, because as peoples within the U.S. system, they do not have the power to back up their prejudices, hostilities, or acts of discrimination.’”

This is an example of class dialectics casted into race.
However, feminism did the same thing for women!

The logic is that the oppressed can never oppress the oppressors, and any hurtful act or thing that would appear to be evil would be considered justice.

this is the left logic for oppressed groups.. blacks, latinos, gays, lesbians, feminists, etc.
each has been taught this in different forms.

This is how you get a mass movement that moves merit aside by force. And if your going to “remake America” since you cant beat America and win, its going to take a long time of this till you can seem to converge the masses onto one change.

We were even warned a long time ago by george Kennan and others. But we went pish tosh, who could be against “best interest of the children”… or “somethings rights” (as if the constitution didn’t cover everyone already).

Well they didn’t get that idea from nowhere…

"The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation."
Mein Kampf; the Ralph Manheim translation published by Houghton-Mifflin, 1943. pg 403.


And since this was astronomically long… and I apologize… I will leave you this to ponder in connection with the current elections.

He, himself, had provided an excellent background for a propaganda build-up. From the earliest days of his political career he had steadfastly refused to divulge anything about his personal life, past or present. To his most immediate associates he was, in reality, a man of mystery. There was no clearing away of unpleasant incidents to be done before the building-up process could begin. In fact, the more secrecy he maintained about his personal life the more curious his followers became. This was, indeed, fertile ground on which to build a myth or legend.


Thanks for the discussion, sorry if I came on too strong… will tone it back for civility and more fun…

And sorry this is so long…

Oh… and I promise I will read through more of your stuff to get a better feel..

Posted by: Artfldgr at June 6, 2008 07:46 PM

Cass and Gregory: You are both correct that, if we were talking about traditional societal and legal concepts of marriage, I would not be opposed to marriage. This is precisely my point. That traditional definition of marriage has gone the way of the buggy whip industry. Pretending otherwise is not helpful.

My take is on what marriage has become, IN THE HERE AND NOW. I will leave hypotheticals and utopias to the philosophers. Modern marriage has radically changed. One factor has been societal changes, no doubt. Many women view marriage as something disposable -- to toss out when the ink runs dry. Feminism has championed this approach as somehow "empowering" women and proving that a woman doesn't need a man.

Another factor has been changes in the law, primarily sponsored and passed by womens' groups. They have turned men into nothing more than indentured servants to their ex-wives, or "walking paychecks" as I like to call it. The law treats men and their concerns with callous disregard as opposed to the rights of women in these types of situations.

In essence, feminists have succeeded in gaining an overwhelming advantage over men when it comes to marriage and divorce. Congratulations on your triumph, ladies. My character is of such a nature that, when I am asked to participate in injustice, or where the playing field is no longer level and equal, I simply choose not to play the rigged game.

Posted by: a former european at June 6, 2008 07:50 PM

Thanks for clarifying that. I thought I might have been reading that wrong. This is my first time to your blog, so I'm not familar with your writing. That's why I thought it was better to ask, rather than to assume your meaning. I hope my comment didn't come off as being accusatory. If it did, I apologize.

I agree with you entirely, including your assessment of Dr. Helen's post (which I had read previously). I do like Dr. Helen too, but I think she is wrong, if she thinks men have a legitimate reason to give up.

I know there are men who have been dealt a bad hand, whether with child custody or alimony, etc., and to them, it might seem like the system is out to punish men. It's hard to fault them for their views. Personal experiences shape your views. However, from my personal experience, I don't think today's society is inherently biased towards, or against men. Just about every problem I've face in my life has had the same root cause.....me.

I think when you start telling men, the deck is stack against them from the get go, it gives them an excuse not to try. You see the same thing happen to inner city kids. They are told they have no chance in bettering themselves, so alot of them don't even bother to try.

Posted by: Buckeye Tom at June 6, 2008 08:10 PM

Sorry, I forgot to add, my above post was in reference to Cassandra's clarification of singles, marriage, and children.

Posted by: Buckeye Tom at June 6, 2008 08:17 PM

Buckeye,
i must beg to differ on the statement

"it might seem like the system is out to punish men."

it sure the heck is.

"Men have no rights, only responsibilities" - Former justice minister Martin Cauchon


"[J]oint custody is an attempt of males to continue dominance over females" - Feminist psychologist Peter Jaffe, a social-context educator of family court judges


"Courts may treat parents unequally and deny them basic civil liberties and rights, as long as their motives are good". - National Association of Women and the Law

its a case of whether one wants to believe. the facts, or the message said over and over again.

the system is VERY biased, its also very damaging, and a whole lot more. its like pigs feeding at the trough.

if the family resolves their problem, nothing happens. however, if the family can be broken up there is a long string of agencies and people that get their pork that way.

there is no payment or reward for not railroading them! there is no other purpose since the feds and state dont fund resolution, they fund the merry go round.

and this is a politically correct merry go round which is dominated by people who went into it expressly because they thought they could change things from the bench as a good rad should.

the whole industry is predicated on feminist doctrine of the man bad woman good paradigm.


the guys know that the deck is stacked against them. its why they are responding to it in the strongest fashion. they are not marrying any more. and if risug gets out or similar, our population will plummet like a rock. no more accidents and we will then find out how many were really accidents or not.

each one of the policies are policies that hurt fecundity, genetics, structure, etc.

the other thing the men are doing, and its natural, is that since they have no responsibilities unless they get married, they dont have to earn or work hard for a future.

in general, men are made to burn out working to be able to provide for the caloric needs of himself and a small group of others. a group in which they have a high caloric need and are threatened by nature.

women are made to take advantage of that for the benifit of both and their lineage.

without that lineage and family to work for, they can live on so little that they all become rotten prospects for the hypergamous side of our species.

so they are picking up on it, which is easy when you see someone in the paper married two years and getting half of everything made over a lifetime.

the men dont have to be told.. every show paints marraige like what? "married with children", "unhappily ever after", etc.

the men in the shows are emasculated or bafoons, and so there is nothing. this is why escapist games are so popular. not much to offer them in the real world.

lets see... work hard for decaded to be successful to get married and lose more than half of it and future earnings too on a 50/50 bet with a girl that has a 75% chance of having an STD and has waited so long she has a huge chance of being infertile or having a downs syndrome child.

they are not stupid...

you see.. most of them have dads who went through this!!

in my sons case i had joint custody, and she took him away. what a circus, but at some point she robbed a bank with her two kids and my son with her. she served time for that one, but my son got to wait in jail till his grandparents could pick him up.

needless to say he turns 21 next month and is visiting me for the second time since he was 5.

so the kids know... in his case a whole part of a state knows.


the kids can tell you more horror stories than the fathers at the bar killing time between work sessions.

Posted by: Artfldgr at June 6, 2008 09:18 PM

Oy, talk about verbiage.

AFE: Yes, true... in the West. Even then, I am sure that there are places where the normal (as in traditional) view of marriage still holds. Maybe not many, and maybe not places you would like to be in.

I do feel for you, and my only advice, however impractical it is, is to mosey on down to Asia. Now, I'm in Malaysia, so naturally I looked for Malaysian stats.

According to this linky, http://www.scribd.com/doc/69145/High-rate-of-divorce-in-Malaysia, the rate is 20%, mostly amongst Muslims. And considering that Muslim men (not women) initiate divorce, and is as easy as saying "I divorce you" x3 over SMS, well. Assuming that 60% of that rate is theirs, then it means that the general divorce rate is ~8%. Which is pretty alright, considering. As opposed to the 50% rate of the US population.

Posted by: Gregory at June 6, 2008 10:46 PM

Grim: I've identified the exact hackle raising part! You said:

"If you were a man, I might insult you if you betray your word in a contract; if you're a woman I'll tip my hat on the way out the door."

In MY experience this kind of chivalry actually covered bad mouthing me behind my back while being polite to my face; I was so naive I had no idea anything was wrong. That experience has tended to color my perception of the concept and I prefer the insult to the tip of the hat these days--to me it's more honest. At this point I think I understand what *you* mean by it and will try to beat back the associations conjured up by the word when you use it. I much prefer your version! :D

Gentlemen: For those of you talking about the unfairness of marriage and divorce for men. I can assure you that at least in some states feminism has had its effects on women in that respect too. And personal experiences color perceptions of issues whether one wants to admit that or not. I did the whole "traditonal thing" of staying home and raising children--and I stayed home at his request, given the arguments about costs of daycare, commuting, clothes. The divorce was initiated after he wavered on the fine line between emotional and physical abuse of our oldest--not because I 'needed to find myself' or because I 'had outgrown the marriage' and it cost me financially. To avoid going before a judge who disapproved of spousal support even temporarily for a wife with no recent work experience I had to let a lie on his part about a loan go by. The result? No career, little savings (since he refused to pay proportionately for their college even though he made nearly five times what I did) and a whole 17/25 of "his pension" when he gets around to retiring--that's 1% (of 25%) for each year we were married. I put quotation marks around 'his' because I handled everything for him except that job, enabling him to "have it all" including the house and children he also wanted--he went to ONE parent-teacher conference in 12 years of schooling for two children--without any sacrifice on his part. And I mean that quite literally--I cut the grass and fixed the toilets too.

The difference here is that I recognize not all men are like him--but I don't see any recognition that all women are not like your (collective) exes. aef--the same arguments can be made by a woman...who needs a man?(On the other hand, there is a thing called a 'prenup'). On the whole, reading some of these comments convinces me that life as a single male would be a whole lot simpler!

Posted by: Maggie100 at June 7, 2008 01:11 AM

Artfldgr,

I had to look up Martin Cauchon, Peter Jaffe, and the National Association of Women and the Law, because I was unfamilar with them. It turns out you're talking about Canada. I'm from the United States, so I couldn't presume to know what the social climate is in Canada.

However, I did say, I understood why someone who has been through a tough divorce, might think the system is stacked against them. And I don't fault them for that view. But based on my own personal experience, I never felt discriminated against because I am a man. Now, I never been married, so I've haven't been in that situation. My parents will have been married 48 years this August. I'm one of eight children. All 7 of my brothers and sister are married, and have never been divorced. All of my friends are married, except one, who did get an annulment (they had no children). So maybe I've lived a sheltered life, but I personally, have not seen a messy divorce, up close and personal.

But it seems to me, there are no winners in a divorce. Divorced men say it's a nightmare. Divorced women say the same thing.

I agree with you, unless a parent is unfit, child custody should be joint. But I haven't seen any statistics one way or the other, as to how the courts normally rule, here in the United States.

As far as the financials are concerned, I agree men are on the losing end in most alimony cases, generally speaking. However, as of 2007, women in the United States were the primary breadwinners in 25% of households (up from 18% in 1987), and that number will continue to rise because more women earn college degrees than men.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/sns-yourmoney-0211pay,0,6975673.story?coll=orl-sns-yourmoney-headlines

And with women increasingly becoming the primary breadwinners, they are now starting to be hit with alimony just like men.

http://www.forbes.com/leadership/2007/03/13/women-paying-alimony-lead_cx_pink_0313alimony.html

So soon enough, more and more women will be talking about how they got shafted in a divorce. I know that is of little consolation to you. However, the alimony issue is starting to even out some.

While I have some sympathy for your views on divorce, your point about how husbands and fathers on television is another matter.

I've seen the argument that men are being devalued by the way they are portrayed in sitcoms, what seems like, a million times on the internet.

Sitcoms are sitcoms. It's entertainment. Did Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Lou Costello, Don Adams, Milton Berle, Mel Brooks, Sid Caesar, Art Carney, Jackie Gleason, Tim Conway, Harvey Korman, Redd Foxx, The Three Stooges, Danny Kaye, Laurel & Hardy, Steve Martin, Bob Newhart, etc. destroy men's respectability? Everyone one of those pioneers of comedy, played the fool. Most of them had their greatest success during the Golden Age of the American family, when divorce was rare, and children minded their parents.

Ever since Hollywood was invented, men have been playing simpletons, buffoons, wise cracking charlatans, and yes, even clueless husbands and fathers, for comic effect.

But let's look at it from the other side. Did Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Phylliss Diller, Carol Channing, Gracie Allen, Ruth Buzzi, Goldie Hawn, Vicki Lawrence, Jean Stapleton, etc., set women back because they played buffoons, fools, and ditzy wives and mothers?

The fact of the matter is, men are more prolific in the comedy field, so if you need a fool for your show, guess who's going to get cast. A man, that's who. I happen to think men are more naturally inclined to look like a fool to get a laugh. Have you never done anything foolish, just to get a laugh out of a friend? But does that make men less respectable? I don't think so.

Posted by: Buckeye Tom at June 7, 2008 04:20 AM

What about women who find themselves dumped at age 40 or 50 for younger, blonder models? The classic example always was the woman who worked while her husband was in med school or law school, gave birth to and raised his children, and was tossed for the trophy 2nd wife when hubby had his mid-life crisis. That old cliched scenario still plays out fairly frequently and not just among doctors and lawyers. My ex-brother-in-law, a high school vice principal, left my sister after 20 years of marriage for a teacher half his age. That was 6 years ago and guess what? The homewrecker didn't work out - and now he is 58 years old and has 3 year old twins he has to pay child support for, as well as to my sister for his soon-to-be 18 year old son. I'm sure he gets lots of sympathy from bartenders if he moans to them about how his ex-wives have taken him to the cleaners. I doubt he goes into much detail about his inability to control Mr. Happy.

I mention this because from reading this thread, I've gotten the impression that some people seem to think that men are usually the victims in divorce cases. Sometimes they are and sometimes they're not. The fact is that men are at a real disadvantage in divorce court and that still doesn't stop some of them from chasing after something a bit fresher and newer. It never seemed to occur to my ex-brother-in-law that the sort of young woman who has no objection to starting an affair with a middle-aged married man with a kid is not someone who's going to be there to help you pick out your first walker.

Posted by: Donna at June 7, 2008 04:39 AM

What Cassandra said on June 5, 2008 09:32 PM - here's something from Transgendercare:

What is Brain Sex? Brain Sex is the primary hard-wired patterns which dictates how we view and relate to others on a social, interpersonal and sexual level. Although, like Brain Gender, most physical females will have female Brain Sex and physical males, male Brain Sex. But, this is far from absolute, and in the case of transgendered folk, it is the reverse. A physical male transgendered person will have female Brain Sex as well as female Brain Gender.

When referring to female and male brained individuals in this section, I will be referring to their Brain Sex regardless of the physical or Gender Brained states.

Female brained individuals cannot and do not separate how they feel about a person (good, bad, nice, boring, etc.) and how they see them sexually. They must feel positive about a person as an individual in order to sexually desire them. Male brained individuals have a distant disconnect between feelings about a person as an individual and as a sex object. Males can easily, sometimes preferably, have sex with a person they don't know, don't like or even actively dislike. Love and sex are two different worlds for the male brained. These two worlds can come together, and for most this is preferred, but it is not necessary, and for some, not even desired.

For female brained individuals, environmental factors are very important when it comes to sexual contact. Such things as lighting (candles, soft lighting), smells, sensual bedding, music and a "romantic" ambiance are important to erotic feelings and fantasies. Males can have sex anywhere, any time, any place with equal gusto. Sex in the bed, car or dark room with a stranger are all equivalent.

While environmental concerns are low on the male totem pole of desires, sensual attitudes come very high. How their partner looks, feels, even smells, is very important. Males prefer their partner young (or with young features), smooth and "sexy." Looks and sensual components are much less important to the female brain, with social status and acceptance given greater weight.

While I would be less dogmatic, describing things in terms of trends and tendencies rather than absolutes - Exactly right.

It is this kind of mental mismatch that makes "gender dysphoria", the "crossgendered neurology" or "transsexualism" so uncomfortable. The instincts are all so terribly wrong. Transsexuals of all people are the most aware of gender stereotypical behaviour, though again I must emphasise the statistical nature of it. While all women conform to stereotype in some respect or other, only a minority conform in all respects. Those Intersexed women so driven to "transition" are more stereotypical than most. That's because if they weren't, then their daily discomfort would be less than that of transition, and consequent loss of family, children, job, savings, etc. On the other hand, most don't have completely cross-gendered brains, so have some traits more commonly found in the opposite sex.

Re what Cassandra wrote on June 6, 2008 10:15 AM about hormones - they're Powerful JuJu. Everyone's brains get re-wired by the hormonal storms at puberty, and for women, pregnancy too. The hormone levels there are stratospheric, and while post-partum depression is bad enough, post-partum psychosis can result too.

I've had a partial male puberty, a rather more complete female puberty, and my system recently started masculinising again due to Adrenal Hyperplasia. The latter had no effect on my neurology, it appears my mind has already been masculinised as much as it can be. Fortunately, the hormone treatments (12 times the normal dose to counteract menopause) seem to be working. One natural sex change in my life is quote enough, thanks. I might have remained sane if the treatment didn't work, but maybe not. As it is, I don't attract attention, and having that change could well be fatal. Those who look like "Men in dresses" have it tough.

I confess to being rather envious about being able to get pregnant at the drop of ... some garment or other. That was never biologically possible for me, and it took medical help (and 12 miscarriages) for me to get second prize. I'm probably idealising, after all, I didn't get the backache, the morning sickness, the oedema, not forgetting the "having your lower lip stretched above your forehead" experience of giving birth. But it would have been nice to act in accordance with my instincts, and carried my child, rather than merely contributing artificially extracted gametes from misfitting gonads.

I'm not complaining though. The odds of anyone as hormonally screwed up as I am being able to be a biological parent at all were best described as "extremely remote". I have my little boy, and am content.

Posted by: Zoe Brain at June 7, 2008 06:30 AM

I mention this because from reading this thread, I've gotten the impression that some people seem to think that men are usually the victims in divorce cases.

Exactly.

I can name, right off the top of my head, three cases right now where a man I know of has left his wife for a younger woman out of the blue. These are not personal friends, but friends of people I know or (in one case) someone I work with. And in EVERY SINGLE CASE, his wife still loves him, was absolutely heartbroken, there were children involved and the man was lying and cheating on her while they were still married.

In EVERY SINGLE CASE the man is not being straight or honorable about the finances, either. These women are ALL struggling financially - living from paycheck to paycheck.

You men complain about how women's lib has "ruined" marriage.

What reward did these women get for staying home and taking care of these men? I'll tell you.

They have no job skills. They are helpless. They have no visible means of support. They are totally dependent on the goodwill of a man who has ALREADY lied to them and is dishonest.

And in one case, he has already liquidated their retirement fund and given the money to the other woman before the divorce went through, so it will not be part of the settlement. She is also in danger of losing the family home b/c he isn't paying his child support. But he has money to fly to another state every weekend and see this other woman.

Nice. afe goes on as though men never do anything wrong. And I truly do sympathize with him. I do.

But I can tell you so many stories of women who trusted their husbands, who stayed at home like good wives and took care of the home and the kids and then got shafted. I was a stay at home mom for 18 years, but my husband was trustworthy. These women did nothing to deserve this treatment and the courts have not protected their rights.

So it is not all one sided, guys. Be fair.

The truth is that there are bad people of both sexes out there. And the law, though it has changed, is unfair to women much of the time too. I've seen that, over and over. You complain if a woman doesn't want to stay home and take care of the house, but if she does she is TOTALLY vulnerable. Totally. She takes a far greater risk in marriage if she doesn't work than a man does, because she gives up her earning power and she is not guaranteed an income upon divorce.

She may get an award from the court. Or she may not. But all he has to do is move or change jobs and she can't collect it without going back to court over and over again.

Of course, you don't want to admit this because it weakens your argument.

Sure, honorable men don't refuse to pay child support. But we don't pass laws to protect against the honorable people. They do what is right, even if no law forces them to.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 7, 2008 07:09 AM

Oh.

And talk about being manipulative, or a "viper". The jerk I am talking about above?

After leaving his wife and while still cheating on her, he tries to come back and sleep with her (so he's willing to cheat on his new squeeze, with his wife) in order to get more favorable terms in the divorce settlement. He tells her "he'd really like to reconcile", but he's feeling "conflicted".

And women are nasty? Yeah.

THUD.

I had a friend 15 years ago whose daughter was married to a guy like that. This guy seems to have pulled this nonsense right out of the blue. Mid - life crisis, apparently. But there is really no excuse for some of the things he is doing. None. The whole thing is so awful it just blows my mind. I can't believe anyone would act that way.

The point is this: yes, feminism has caused some problems. But anytime the balance of power swings too far one way or another, people are incented to act badly. Some need less encouragement than others.

Some will always do the right thing no matter what the circumstances. That's called integrity, and why I am not so keen on blaming all the world's ills on feminism or any other -ism.

I've written often enough about how stupid and ill advised a lot of feminist stuff is, but we all still have a duty to do the right thing.

Kind of, what Dave said. No excuses, and I still don't buy the generic woman bashing. Both sexes have their share of jerks.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 7, 2008 07:20 AM

...you would have to quote chapter and verse to show me that every single woman CAME BEFORE EVERY SINGLE FAMOUS MAN

I'm not famous, but I *am* a gentleman.

The lady *always* came first.

Wotthehelk, you're gonna kill me anyway...

Posted by: BillT at June 7, 2008 08:51 AM

Oh, and regarding the "every single" qualification -- the above hasn't changed since I got married.

And I still support at least half my weight with my elbows.

[okaaay, click POST before the Bill-Seeking missile plunges through the roo

Posted by: BillT at June 7, 2008 09:05 AM

Bill, I adore you :p

And you're a dead man. Sooooooo dead. Heh.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 7, 2008 09:17 AM

Ummmm, spd? If I make it back, what do you want on your T-shirt?

Posted by: BillT at June 7, 2008 10:11 AM

My immediate answer to your question was that I’d want to come back as a woman, of course, because men’s view of the world seems to be so very different from mine. After considering for a while, though, I decided I would like to try life as a man. The physical advantages would be nice: strength and, of course, ease of peeing. (I asked my aunt once if she thought there was such a thing as penis envy. She said, of course. It’s when a little girl watches her baby brother being bathed and thinks, What a handy thing to have on a picnic.) More than that, though, I’d like to really know how men think about things and how the world looks to them. I think it would be fascinating to take that step sideways and see how the world looks from over there. And I might be surprised. Maybe it actually looks exactly the same and men just talk about things less.

As for the whole idea of telling men to “man up” or “butch up”, how is that different from telling women they should act like ladies? The point of the man/butch up advice seems to be that the writers can’t find the kind of men they like so men should alter their behavior. That sounds an awful lot like the advice girls used to get from their mothers about how no man would want to marry them if they: acted like tomboys, were too smart, wanted a career, or in any other way deviated from how women “should” act.

Dr. Melissa says:

And it's not just women judging women. Men, too, want their women to work to take the pressure off. A man is simply not interested in carrying all the financial weight and why should he have to? Women are equal now. Equal means doing the same thing--working and living like a man. Feminism means, and it's men that I've seen to be the biggest feminists, being a good man and bring home the bacon, frying it up in a pan and doing it again and again.

This is NOT feminism or at least not what feminism was supposed to be. Women being equal is not about men and women necessarily doing the same thing, about women working and living like men. And it’s certainly not about women doing what men want them to. Feminism is about - or was supposed to be about - women having choices about how they live their lives. And even though the focus was on women, once women had those choices it was assumed men would have them, too. The situation Dr. Melissa describes seems to me identical to the old setup. Then, men wanted “their” women to stay home so the women did. Now, men want “their” women to work so the women do. Not really much progress.

There’s way more in this post and the comments that would be fascinating to discuss, especially the issue of declining birth rates. But one thing that caught my eye in the comments was:

I strongly agree with Cassandra on women in combat arms for all the reasons she listed; and I think a man's innate nature to protect a woman would interfere, at least some of the time, with the kind of thinking that is required in combat.

I mean, how does a guy feel when the enemy holds a female soldier as a hostage? Some might say no different than if it were a male hostage, and perhaps that would be true some of the time. But what about the few times it would interfere with one's judgment?

If you start down this path you can end up on some pretty shaky ground. The idea of men’s innate nature to protect women can be used to bar women from fire fighting and the police force. More prosaically (since I just reread “The Perfect Storm”) it can be used to bar women from a hazardous job like sword fishing. There may be perfectly valid reasons for excluding women from combat roles but I’m not comfortable with this one.

Posted by: EliseK at June 7, 2008 11:15 AM

"Female brained individuals cannot and do not separate how they feel about a person (good, bad, nice, boring, etc.) and how they see them sexually"...true, however, you need to add to the list "successful/unsuccessful." Most women are attracted to men who have high social prestige, however that it defined in their social group. This is why ugly rock stars (and ugly writers & politicians) can have as much sex as they want.

Sometimes this is conscious gold-digging, but more often it is probably hard wiring below the level of consciousness. The female status detectors seem wired to the sexual response in the same way that the male youth & beauty detectors are.

The sad part is that when a man suffers a major setback in his career or other social status indicator, his wife will usually either abandon him, or, if she stays with him, do so in a constant state of anger.

Women do not generally show much loyalty or mercy to men who fail to meet their status expectations.

Posted by: jeff1 at June 7, 2008 12:17 PM

The sad part is that when a man suffers a major setback in his career or other social status indicator, his wife will usually either abandon him, or, if she stays with him, do so in a constant state of anger.

Women do not generally show much loyalty or mercy to men who fail to meet their status expectations.

Posted by: jeff1

By including the phrase "if she stays with him, do so in a constant state of anger" you have made your point unarguable. If I cite a thousand cases of women who have stayed with husbands through poverty, illness, or other misfortune, you can simply claim they were angry while doing so. Nonetheless...

Even if your points about hard-wiring are right (and I do not concede that they are), I believe there's more to humans than their hardware. Not every woman is driven to abandon her unsuccessful husband any more than every man is driven to abandon his no longer young and beautiful wife. Love and loyalty are every bit as real as hormonal drives and genetic imperatives.

Posted by: EliseK at June 7, 2008 12:59 PM

EliseK,

I agree with you, if a woman is physically able and willing, she should not be restricted from combat duty. Our military is becoming more and more technology based, so bomber/fighter pilots, helicoper pilots, or even tank personnel are good opportunities for women.

I do have one disagreement with your previous comment though.

"As for the whole idea of telling men to “man up” or “butch up”, how is that different from telling women they should act like ladies? The point of the man/butch up advice seems to be that the writers can’t find the kind of men they like so men should alter their behavior. That sounds an awful lot like the advice girls used to get from their mothers about how no man would want to marry them if they: acted like tomboys, were too smart, wanted a career, or in any other way deviated from how women “should” act."

There is huge difference. Mothers telling their daughters how to act like a lady, might be bad advice, but unless the mother is say Joan Crawford or something, generally the mothers are looking out for the best interest of their daughters. It's one woman telling a soon to be woman, what it takes to be a successful woman. Again, it could be bad advice, but the intentions are good.

When women tell men to "man up", it mostly comes off poorly. Some men take offense to women telling them what it takes to be a "real man", just like women are offended when men tell them how to act.

However, if say John Wayne (I know he's dead but he was the first to come to mind) grabs a guy by the collar and tells him to "man up", the guys is morely like to be receptive, because most (not all) guys believe John Wayne knew a thing or two about what it takes to be a man.

Posted by: Buckeye Tom at June 7, 2008 01:39 PM

Yes, some women treat men as walking wallets. And some men are willing to destroy their families because they can't resist chasing women whose boobs haven't yet begun to sag.

My sister did not "let herself go." She is still a size 8. But she has a few wrinkles. Her body isn't what it was when she was younger. Whose is, at 52? And middle class women with kids have somewhat different financial priorities than Hollywood stars who can spend a fortune on tummy tucks, face lifts, botox, personal trainers, etc.

And in EVERY SINGLE CASE, his wife still loves him, was absolutely heartbroken, there were children involved and the man was lying and cheating on her while they were still married.

Yep. I remember those anguished 2 a.m. telephone calls from my sister very vividly. Believe me, she wasn't telling me how she was going to clean out his bank account.

A friend of mine (also a reasonably attractive woman) lost her husband to a woman he met online. He left for Texas, and now she's dealing with raising 2 children, one of whom is special needs, on her own.

I can counter every story about some evil golddigger with another about a selfish, shallow jerk who decided chasing young tail was more important than his family.

News flash: Women can behave badly. Men can behave badly. Human beings can behave badly.

Posted by: Donna at June 7, 2008 02:03 PM

All of this is why I think we need a cadre of men who are determined to be friends to womankind, and enforce decency on other men in their dealings with women; and why I think it wouldn't be bad to have a cadre of women who are determined to be friends to men, and enforce some standard of decency on other women in their dealings with men.

It's obvious that there is a huge chasm of distrust and hard feelings in this country, right now. We need men who are friends to women, and will defend them and their interests; and women who are friends to men, and will defend us and our interests.

I've been told that relations between the sexes have never been better, on the strength of the fact that women are more equal than ever before. As Cassandra would say, there's a truth to that, but it's not the whole truth.

Relations between the sexes have also never been worse. The quote from Cato the Elder, above, doesn't compare in bitterness or distrust to a substantial number of the comments expressed here in the last couple of days.

We need a sense of chivalry among men, that women are due a certain respect and honor from all men because they are women and according to their needs as women. We also need a corresponding sense, whatever its name might be, among women toward men.

I'm determined to be such a friend, and I hope others will be likewise.

Posted by: Grim at June 7, 2008 02:40 PM

Grim~

Have any single friends in Texas? ;-) I just know any friend of yours would be a fine man any woman would be lucky to have in her life...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at June 7, 2008 02:54 PM

Grim wrote, We need a sense of chivalry among men, that women are due a certain respect and honor from all men because they are women and according to their needs as women. We also need a corresponding sense, whatever its name might be, among women toward men.

Nope. We need to dispense with chivalry altogether.

By way of stasis, I'm a neo-Aristotean like you, I think.

First, it's telling that you can't name the "corresponding sense" among women. Mainly because, by and large, it no longer exists. If men are to treat women chivalrously, then women should obey the standards of chastity that chivalry was designed to protect. By and large, women do not come close, not even close, to that standard. Worse, most women deny that chastity is a virtue in women at all, citing sexual freedom and reproductive rights. By being chivalrous to day you are not Gawain, but Don Quixote; you are not acting honorably but rather fighting for something that largely doesn't even exist anymore.

Second, you are spouting universals while denying them to everyone else. Not all women are worthy of chivalrous protection. Most women today would be considered impure sluts by the standard of chivalry and chastity. What you suggest is the equivalent of entering life-and-death combat to defend a whorish thief who lacks any honor to defend. This is literally fighting for nothing.

Third, you view fails to account for degree and kind. Men should treat virtuous women virtuously, and unvirtuous women to contempt. Anything else raises vice behavior to the level of the Good. This is the precise problem today. This is a matter of kind. But people can have degrees of virtue. Then we should treat female vice to contempt in the degree to which it occurs in women. In accord with that view, we should sometime treat women to scorn and contempt, as an act of manly virtue aimed at correcting vice.

Fourth, it is commonplace that with duties come rights. If men have chivalric duties towards women, then men should have corresponding rights over women. This was indeed at the very heart of the chivalric code. Yet, few if any modern women will abide a man with rights over her, even if he has responsibilities for her. Indeed, this the precise condition of modernity: no person has rights over any other person. This is the triumph of libertarianism and feminism since the 1960's. In such a society, chivalry is imply an anachronistic form of exploitation.

Fifth, your view would have us ignore the plain facts of reality. You want us to act as if women are chaste and prudent by the classical virtues, when in fact they mostly are not. Anti-reality theories don't work well. Women have created this space of equality for themselves. They must live the consequences.

Sixth, your view disadvantages men, something chivalry was never intended to do. On your account, men will behave like 12th Century men-at-arms, while women are free to act like 21st century feminists. This is simply exploitative of men, and a situation never contemplated by followers of chivalry.

Lastly, friendship is predicated on shared values. If a man has 12th century chivalric values and a woman has 21 century feminist values, no true friendship is really possible because their values are so different. Thus, your account would actually preclude any friendship with most modern women, except as they could use your deference and service without giving you anything in return.

I say be consistent. Treat chaste women who behave like 12th century ladies to chivalry. Treat the typical modern, Sex and the City woman to true equality. If it turns out those women can't handle real equality, as is often the case, they'll have to sleep in the expensive designer bed in which they fornicated.

Virtue demands that we not honor vice. By the standards of chivalric behavior, applied to men and women, your proposal does not promote virtue but rather promotes vice.

Posted by: Jeff at June 7, 2008 03:26 PM

Let's talk that through one point at a time.

"First, it's telling that you can't name the "corresponding sense" among women. Mainly because, by and large, it no longer exists. If men are to treat women chivalrously, then women should obey the standards of chastity that chivalry was designed to protect."

I've already responded to this point, above. Search on "make the way wide."

"Second, you are spouting universals while denying them to everyone else. Not all women are worthy of chivalrous protection."

I haven't really engaged your position on universals, because we were engaged in a different argument at the time. Let me clarify.

I belive, as Aristotle did, in something like Forms -- I don't know that I believe they have external reality, but I know I believe they are real as basic thinking tools.

And, for me as for Aristotle, the Form of Woman is good, because it is woman as she ought to be -- the best kind of woman, the one that other women ought to aspire to be.

So, it makes perfect sense from my perspective to be a friend to Woman, while not having to defend untrustworthy thieves.

The benefit of this proposition is obvious enough: will you get a better society if men say, "Women are good, trustworthy and loyal friends, though some fall short of the ideal," or where men say, "Women are vicious, manipulative and untrustworthy"?

If men are determined to believe that Woman is good -- even if individual women are not -- and women are determined to believe that Man is good -- even if individual men are not -- that's a firm foundation on which you can both correct miscreants, and build a society. As Cassandra rightly points out, the real question is producing children and raising them. If you can't maintain the civilization across generations, it's worthless.

"Third, you view fails to account for degree and kind. Men should treat virtuous women virtuously, and unvirtuous women to contempt. Anything else raises vice behavior to the level of the Good."

I think a division of labor is useful here, although I recognize that others disagree. Still, I think that it is best if men enforce decency on men, and women on women. I think we need men -- for the reasons explained above -- to be primarily interested in defending Woman, and women to be primarily interested in being friends to Man.

The key goal, again, is a working civilization where the sexes are cooperative rather than hostile. Having men punishing bad women may be necessary in some cases -- I have accepted Cass' contention that this is sometimes so -- but I don't believe we profit from treating women with contempt. Leave that to women.

By the same token, expand your contempt for men who abuse or mistreat women.

"Fourth, it is commonplace that with duties come rights. If men have chivalric duties towards women, then men should have corresponding rights over women."

I don't think that's necessarily so. The model being suggested here is remarkably co-equal. Women have a duty to protect and uphold Manhood, encourage its virtues, and so forth, just as we are supposed to have chivalric duties to protect and uphold womankind.

Thus, we aren't talking about a power relationship, but about an alliance.

"Sixth, your view disadvantages men, something chivalry was never intended to do. On your account, men will behave like 12th Century men-at-arms, while women are free to act like 21st century feminists. "

Well, men and women are both free to act however they want. What I am suggesting is the bringing of social pressure to bear in a way that forces men to do their duty to ladies, and treat them with respect; and similar pressure by ladies, to ask them to treat men with the respect we are due, to respect our interests and our rights.

I don't see that the adversarial system has helped us much. Women looking out for women and men, now, starting to look out for men -- it produces an ugly and hostile system that doesn't lead to children or successful long-term relationships. Civilization, generations. We need to make it work, and that means we need to look out for each other, rather than for our own.

"Lastly, friendship is predicated on shared values. If a man has 12th century chivalric values and a woman has 21 century feminist values, no true friendship is really possible because their values are so different."

Values are likely to harmonize somewhat if people find an advantage in the system. But there is really only one value that needs to be shared: that we agree to treat the other sex as basically worthy and good, and we agree to hold our own to decency in their relations with them.

The benefits of that model should be strong enough to begin to heal the difference you speak of. Indeed, it's the only thing I can think of that might.

Achieving that friendship and harmony between the sexes is almost the whole point of the model, in fact. I say almost, because in fact, the real point is to reinvigorate the civilization -- but it can be done only through that healing.

I believe we must be valorous in this matter. It is not too much to say that everything is at stake.

Posted by: Grim at June 7, 2008 04:09 PM

GRim wrote, I've already responded to this point, above. Search on "make the way wide." The previous quote is, Chastity is a sort of self-defense; but I don't hold women in disdain who don't use it.

Contradiction. If chastity is a virtue, then women who "don't use it" act out vice, and deserve contempt. If you think chastity is not a virtue, but an optional form of "self-defense," then it is not at all what chivalry has in mind to protect. But then your application of chivalry to modern times is inapplicable as a category mistake.

Grim wrote, The benefit of this proposition is obvious enough: will you get a better society if men say, "Women are good, trustworthy and loyal friends, though some fall short of the ideal," or where men say, "Women are vicious, manipulative and untrustworthy"?

You have criticized me vociferously for imprecise language. I feel entitled to do the same here. In the above quote, you mean the form of Woman but you write "woman." Then you follow it with a predicate that equivocates. No offense, but you've done this a lot so far.

Let's rephrase it: "The form of Woman is good, trustworthy and loyal, though ____ fall short if this ideal." Replace the blank with some quantifier, which will always be at least "some.

Now you aren't befriending women, and you can't befriend the form of Women. so, indeed the whole language of friendship is erroneous.

We will have a better society if men say, "The form of women is good, trustworthy and loyal, though almost all fall short of the ideal, and most women don't even try to live up to the ideal," when in fact almost all women fall short, and most women don't try. In other words, we will have a better society when the truth is spoken.

Pretending that women are the form of Women, that since the form of Woman is good that women are good, that because the form of women is good that most women must be good --- this illogical, unwarranted, and untruthful pretense --- doesn't make a better society.

Faithful attendance to the actual behavior of people is a better guide to prudential action than pretense.

Grim wrote, I think we need men -- for the reasons explained above -- to be primarily interested in defending Woman, and women to be primarily interested in being friends to Man...I don't believe we profit from treating women with contempt. Leave that to women.

We can't, and it is disastrous to attempt it. Virtues exist in equally number in men and women, though each in different degree. If we are to establish a society oriented towards virtue, then all must be concerned with all virtues.

Your account has men unable to hold women to account for their responsibilities, yet women can hold men to account. This is a blueprint for social disaster. I mean that quite literally. If you want chivalry, you can't separate it from the social mores that created and upheld it to begin with.

I see a pattern here though. You want to hold men to the high standards of chivalry, while making chastity in women "optional." You want to allow women to call women and men to account, but men can only call men to account.

You don't really care about womanly virtue. You just want women to get the benefit of manly protection without the costs. I can assure you that such a society is untenable. Manliness will not allow such a cowed, cuckolded, whipped Form of Man as you present. Men simply will not live in such a society. Although, I grant you this: that's what modernity has wrought for men.

Grim wrote, The key goal, again, is a working civilization where the sexes are cooperative rather than hostile.

I've shown above that your's is a recipe for social disruption.

Grim wrote, By the same token, expand your contempt for men who abuse or mistreat women.

I don't have to. I already have such contempt. However, when women can shoot their sleeping husbands in the back, in front of their children, and such women routinely escape prison, when women can assault men, even with weapons, and routinely escape prosecution --- in such a society I don't see the prevailing problem being contempt of contemptible men. It's quite the other way around. Indeed, you've written that you don't think men should have contempt for women at all. So, I think you are really off point here.

Grim wrote, we aren't talking about a power relationship, but about an alliance

Parties to alliances have rights an duties to the other members; otherwise, there is no alliance at all. You have almost all rights going to women and almost all duties gong from men to women.

Then on your account, you aren't talking about chivalry at all, which gave men explicit rights over women. Your use of the term 'chivalry' is therefore disingenuous. I ask you to stop using it, since the thing to which you refer is not in fact 'chivalry' but something quite different. Using the word 'chivalry' to describe your alliance concept is misleading.

You can expect than few men will want to enter your alliance, because they will quite correctly perceive it as exploitative and quite against the form of Man which sacrifices only for the Good and not for unvirtuous women. Men will not, and should not, sacrifice for vice.

Once again, we see your's is a recipe for social disunity and disaster.

Grim wrote, What I am suggesting is the bringing of social pressure to bear in a way that forces men to do their duty to ladies, and treat them with respect; and similar pressure by ladies, to ask them to treat men with the respect we are due, to respect our interests and our rights.

Well, it seems to me you've contradicted yourself. Above you seem to say men have no rights over women, but here you seem to say they do.

If you are saying men do have such rights, then I agree.

Grim wrote, I don't see that the adversarial system has helped us much.

Nor do I. I don't think it can last very long. Men won't allow it. Either men sill shirk their responsibilities concomitant with their diminished rights, as is happening now, or men will simply take back their rights over women in exchange for the duties laid upon them.

I don't know which is more likely to play out in the long term, but I do know your proposal won't fix it.

Grim wrote, But there is really only one value that needs to be shared: that we agree to treat the other sex as basically worthy and good, and we agree to hold our own to decency in their relations with them.

This is false. In these decadent times, there is no general agreement on what is meant by 'worthy,' 'good,' and 'decent.' For example, even while you want men to uphold chivalric virtues, you want to grant women the "option" of chastity. You have abused the original meanings of 'chivalry' and 'chastity.'

Social harmony derives from agreement on the virtues. Flippant statement like yours above betray a naive view of how such agreement can happen.

Grim wrote, I believe we must be valorous in this matter. It is not too much to say that everything is at stake.

I agree. But your proposal is neither valorous nor capable of winning the day. It's invalorous because it reduces men to a diminished status as compared to women who have all the rights. It can't win the day because it will provoke even further disharmony.

Posted by: Jeff at June 7, 2008 05:08 PM

It's invalorous because it reduces men to a diminished status as compared to women who have all the rights.

Interesting. Grim's addressing Things That Are Right and Jeff's addressing Things That Are Rights -- as if the two concepts were mutually exclusive rather than mutually dependent...

Posted by: BillT at June 7, 2008 05:57 PM

I've been an observer for most of this discussion. Comes along with having a regular office job now that school is out for the summer. However, I think I need to say something now.

Jeff, do I recall correctly that you said you were married? From everything I read you write, I interpret that you hold women, as a group, in great contempt. If you are, indeed, married, how does your wife compare to the statements you have been making about women?

You're also new here. I've been reading and commenting here for years, and Grim has been doing so longer than I have. In the brick-and-mortar world, I would much prefer to keep company with Grim and men like him, who do not hold women - as a group - in contempt over someone like I imagine you to be.

There are men I respect and men I don't. I would expect that men would be discriminating about women as well, dividing women into the groups of those who can be respected and those who cannot, BASED ON THE INDIVIDUAL'S BEHAVIOR. I've known of bad men who treat women badly. I do not allow this knowledge of specific bad men to color my view of all men.

On chastity: I am a chaste woman, and many of the women I call friends are as well. None of the women I call friend is what one would call a slut or a whore, although I know of several who had sex with a man without the benefit of marriage. Women who would be considered sluts or whores I do not deem worthy to be called a friend. However, I have this same view about men. Men who are players aren't worthy of my friendship, either. To men, chastity is a virtue in both men and women. Society apparently deems it acceptable for a man to rack up a long list of sexual conquests, but calls a woman who behaves the same way a whore. What, in a code of honor and virtue for men, justifies this behavior? To have a list of sexual conquests, these men are - by definition - making (some) women unchaste.

As an aside, modern society seems to view those who are chaste as having something wrong with them. Otherwise, I don't think we'd have seen a movie such as The 40-year-old Virgin (which I'll admit I haven't seen), where the apparent goal of the lead character is to lose his virginity. I can only imagine how demeaning to women such a movie had been if the lead character had not been a man, but a woman... I'd like to see society start reversing these views.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at June 7, 2008 06:03 PM

I'm not sure that I think chastity is a virtue; as Chesterton said, it may be, and it plainly has seemed so to many other very good people. The reason why isn't quite clear to me; but, again as he said, it may be told me any day.

I am also not willing to hold women (in general) to chastity as a standard of ethics. My point was that I think that even in Medieval times there was a living standard that endorsed unchastity and set other, more livable standards for its practice in society. Make the way wide; because either you have to live in the rules, or you will find there is no room even for you, let alone others who might want to follow.

What I am looking for is a simple standard, by which men and women can start to rebuild something that has largely collapsed: a genuine respect for the other sex, and a desire to defend it and uphold it.

I think we need that.

I don't believe that men will lose out by following this standard. I have followed it all my life, and have nothing but profit to show for it. A man who does as I advocate will be loved by women, and sooner or later he will find one who will reply to him with love and honor. I am as sure of this as the sunrise.

More, while I don't feel that men should -- as you put it -- "simply take back their rights over women," I have no doubt that my house is in order. I make sacrifices for my wife and my child, but in no way do I feel subordinate. I am sure they will follow my lead if I give it, because they always have. If I sacrifice for them, it is from love, not force: but the sacrifices are made often and gladly, because the love is genuine and deep.

People will generally follow you if they are sure you love them, and will defend them. Enlisted men will follow officers on those terms, even into the fires of hell. Women will follow men. Men may follow women. But that is where leadership is won: by example.

You mentioned membership in the Corps, so you have heard this before. Ductus Exemplo. It is not merely that you lead by example: it is that the quality of command arises from the example you set.

If we set this example, much can be done. There are bad people. Not everyone will follow. But it is not needed that everyone should follow. We only need to save civilization, not every one of its members.

Posted by: Grim at June 7, 2008 06:15 PM

As I've pointed out earlier, I lack this "nuance" thing we women are supposed to have. So I'll just ask straight out.

Just exactly what do you want to happen, Jeff? From your writings here you *appear* to have nothing but contempt for women as a group (honestly, women ROUTINELY shoot their husbands in their sleep?). What exactly do you see as a desirable change?

Posted by: Maggie100 at June 7, 2008 10:19 PM

Dear Maggie;

I suspect Jeff would like a return to a situation where women primarily stayed at home, dressed, talked and behaved modestly in public, showed unswerving loyalty and commitment to their husbands. In return, I also suspect that Jeff would like a return of men to their traditional roles, as providers for the family, also chivalrous towards *all* women, but reserving special respect for their wives, protectors of all that is right and virtuous, and upholding the family honour.

Or, as someone more rudely put it, "an angel outside our bedroom and a whore inside" for women, and unfortunately I have never heard of what the term for men is.

Oh, just btw...

In MY experience this kind of chivalry actually covered bad mouthing me behind my back while being polite to my face; I was so naive I had no idea anything was wrong. That experience has tended to color my perception of the concept and I prefer the insult to the tip of the hat these days--to me it's more honest. At this point I think I understand what *you* mean by it and will try to beat back the associations conjured up by the word when you use it. I much prefer your version! :D

I must admit, I am ambivalent about this. I see your point. I do. It's just that, I don't know, I don't see it as 'behind my back', really. See, if you did me in, so to speak, whether or not you're a man or a woman, you'd know (because I suck at keeping my feelings to myself, no matter how polite or tactful I might try to be) exatcly how I feel about you and the situation, and you can be fairly certain that word-of-mouth will happen.

It's just that I feel less constrained about punching a guy's lights out. Or doing the metaphorical equivalent (a cussing match, or some if-looks-could-kill-you'd-be-dead-four-times-over, usually) if it didn't warrant such a severe reaction.

You surely understand that this is a natural reaction if you treated me like dirt, regardless of who you are, right?

And if you wanted to know, my 'polite' reaction would usually entail "So that's how you want it. Fine. Very well. We'll just have to see." while I nod coldly and stalk away. If you couldn't decipher my feelings by then, well...

Posted by: Gregory at June 7, 2008 11:35 PM

"And if you wanted to know, my 'polite' reaction would usually entail "So that's how you want it. Fine. Very well. We'll just have to see." while I nod coldly and stalk away. If you couldn't decipher my feelings by then, well..."

Ah, but while that's 'polite' I'd know right up front, eh? I deal with that more easily. :D

I suspected that's what Jeff is looking for. But to get back to the topic--sorta, in a way--that can be a sucker move for the woman in today's world and it's not likely to happen. Yeah, men can get taken too in a bad marriage but it *usually* doesn't hurt the man as much in the long run. It certainly didn't my ex! I think what might be happening, and this is casual opinion only, is that while laws may change quickly people's internal beliefs about what's fittin' change more slowly and right now the pendulum is swinging wildly between the two.

In BROAD terms:

Men were the support of the family, while women stayed within the home with children. Lotsa reasons, ranging from men don't have children to actual laws prohibiting women from all but a very few jobs. Basic beliefs on what makes a 'real' man or woman were based on those roles and how they played out in society. Examples? Men complain about women being mercenary--if a woman was going to be dependant on a man for her support it makes sense to go for the gold. Women are manipulative? Well, when kept from real power what other methods are there to use? Women complain men go for sex and looks--man wants children makes sense to go for someone who looks to be in good reproductive health. Men are agressive? Well, when a quick hand on the club or sword could mean the difference between life and death that was a survival trait. And a 'real' woman had children, most societies either scorned barren women or consigned them to second class status. That made sense when children were necessary for survival (and so many died at a young age) starting with farm labor but not now when most survive here and we're finding the planet over populated.

Thing is these concepts no longer make automatic sense in contemporary society but it's not that easy to change millenia of habits as quickly as laws. Things aren't going to ease back until people acknowledge that society has changed (again)and work out new expectations and customs that include equal respect between the sexes.

Posted by: Maggie100 at June 8, 2008 01:31 AM

"I'm not famous, but I *am* a gentleman."--Unka Bill

Wait, I thought it was 'I *am* a demigod'? Dude, you're confusing me here.

Posted by: ry at June 8, 2008 01:40 AM

ry, you incorrigible child -- the "demigod" reference was part of a *spelling* lesson.

You're the only one I know who thinks SpellCheck is a Chaotic Dwarf Mage attribute...

Posted by: BillT at June 8, 2008 02:28 AM

To Cass, Maggie, and all the other fine ladies here whose views I respect: Let me clarify that I never intended to defend all males as blameless. I am well aware that there are many toads of my same gender. I am also not trying to condemn ALL women. I was trying to explain why I find marriage a far too risky venture for someone in my position.

I am also not against committed relationships. After two failed marriages, my uncle-in-law moved in with his then girlfriend. They have been together faithfully, but unmarried, for over 20 years. This is better than most marriages today.

It is also true that my perspective on divorce law is colored by living out West in a community property state. If it is different out East, then I will have to take your word for it.

I don't think that my idea is so radical, as suggested by some. As govt. continues to make marriage/divorce more and more onerous against men, at least where I live, then men would be wise to avoid such entanglements. The idea of and alliance, as Grim suggests, is fine when dealing with comparative equals. Such a notion becomes a joke, however, when the power disparity is extreme. In geopolitical terms, such a disparate arrangement refers to the lesser as "puppet". An example would be the realtionship between the 3rd Reich and Slovakia in WWII.

A crude example of my point may shed some clarity on this. My secretary is also a notary public. If the govt. suddenly decided to make laws requiring notaries public to pay double the income tax they would otherwise be required to pay, then I fully expect to see fewer and fewer persons willing to become a notary public each year. Does this mean my secretary would be unable to function as my assistant? Not at all. It would simply remove the official govt. sanction, title, or imprimatur she previously possessed. Whoop-tee-do.

Feminists cannot persist in their unrelenting assault on men by using the power of govt. and enacting unfair laws, and then not expect smart men to avoid the trap.

Posted by: a former european at June 8, 2008 04:35 AM

Afe:

I understand your point. But while in your case you got 'taken', all too often it has been the woman--the 'stay at home' oft lauded model in particular, who gets played for a sucker because this 'balance of power' you talk about is nearly all on the male's side--and that is what is driving a great deal of the emotion, not to mention the laws, in this matter. You mentioned that you have been able to rebuild--in my case, because I trusted both the model and the man, I was not able to 'rebuild' and the cost to me was permanent. This is what colors *my* perception.

As with many mandated 'solutions' I suspect this is one that has gone overboard in an effort to be 'fair.' The idea behind it was to compensate women for what originally was their unpaid contribution to family support/maintenance. If a woman stayed home and took care of the children and home while the man worked outside the home it was 'his career' and she was expected to do 'her' part unpaid. You talk about the balance of power. We did try mediation but I had nothing to bargain with--my only leverage was the law. Frankly my ex owes me more of his pension. My efforts left him totally free to pursue that career while also giving him that home and children he wanted. You mentioned that you can hire someone to do laundry and cleaning--I would have been better off doing that for a stranger and getting paid than doing within the marriage too. I am aware that he thinks I earned nothing of "his" money; in his case he was forced to give up some of "his" in recompense for what he wanted and used while at the same time he didn't value.

I suspect that his attitude, to varying degrees, is more common than people want to admit. (No, I am not imputing this attitude to you, afe, I don't know anything about your circumstances). The only factor that reduces the number of children across ethnic and cultural lines is education of women. The more education a woman has, ie the more choices open, the fewer children she has. Women are human beings too, and when a situation is not beneficial to her AND there are other options, she takes it. I don't really think it's a matter of 'respect' in the end. I realize there are some men who do see having a family as a joint venture, but cultural and societal and biological factors still weigh more heavily on the woman.

This is feminism's "fault" I suppose, in that women now have more choices open to them than marriage and children. However, I don't see things changing substantially until people's internal beliefs in the "correct" way to handle having a family catches up with the laws.

Posted by: Maggie100 at June 8, 2008 10:33 AM

I'm afraid I've known people on both sides of this equation. I've known both men who were taken by bad women, but also women who were badly treated by their husbands and then left. We need a solution that treats both sides of the problem.

One female soldier I knew in Iraq had lost her child to her ex-husband under these very laws we are talking about, quite recently. Apparently the one thing that's worse than being male is being a soldier. The courts just couldn't leave her in custody, since she might be deployed (and was, in fact, deployed for 15 months at the time I knew her).

So her ex took the baby, and promptly moved out of state. Even her family could no longer see the little girl.

It's a serious problem. I'm not at all kidding when I say that I think the civilization is at risk from the level of distrust we have -- peoples' willingness to marry and reproduce is at risk.

I'm not in favor of punitive laws or using the ever-greater force of the state. That's part of what got us here: turning to the courts to try to resolve failures of decency.

What we need is greater decency. That means we've got to start standing up for each other, and punishing those of our own who let the other sex down. We do need an alliance -- and it is an alliance, not a puppet-state relationship. Both sides have much to gain. Both sides have much to lose: everything, in fact.

Posted by: Grim at June 8, 2008 11:58 AM

"What we need is greater decency. That means we've got to start standing up for each other, and punishing those of our own who let the other sex down. We do need an alliance -- and it is an alliance, not a puppet-state relationship. Both sides have much to gain. Both sides have much to lose: everything, in fact."
Indeed.

Now I've a question and it centers on whether or not taking the time to provide council, or training if you prefer, to children and teenagers on topics that would include but not necessarily be limited to the legal and ethical responsibilities you have for your mate and your offspring, the economics of a partnership, the realities of a failure of the partnership and so on would have any impact on the success rate of marriage?

Are there any professionals in this field participating in the thread? Or does anyone know if has this ever been studied? Any links to such studies? I would have to imagine that this has been studied (probably ad nauseam) since every other conceivable study has, at one point or another, received funding. As is true for any research entity, a funded social scientist is a happy social scientist.

Anyway, if this has been studied and it has been shown that young adults armed with this knowledge (avoiding for the moment the content and scope of this knowledge which without doubt can be, depending upon the audience, yet another sticky wicket) are more successful in their long term relationships, would this not merit some effort to determine how best to insure that young people have this knowledge prior to becoming of the age to mate.

Mothers, fathers, family and others such as religious leaders in the community used to and in some cases still do provide this background knowledge to young folks. Having lived, what must have been a sheltered life, it seems to me that many youngsters today either do not consider the big picture, that is beyond their next hook up, or that they gain what knowledge they have from the entertainment industry. IMHO, not the best source for info on how to pick a mate.

And no, I've not dwelt much on this idea having kept myself busy with my little tribe over the years. It is admittedly just a rough idea but one that does seem, at least to me, to merit some consideration given the state of relations and the divorce rates we have in the nation.

I'll think I'll now go busy myself with something in which I have more expertise... Something to do with the usage of a power tool maybe.

Posted by: bthun at June 8, 2008 01:18 PM

Gregory wrote, I suspect Jeff would like a return to a situation where women primarily stayed at home, dressed, talked and behaved modestly in public, showed unswerving loyalty and commitment to their husbands. In return, I also suspect that Jeff would like a return of men to their traditional roles, as providers for the family, also chivalrous towards *all* women, but reserving special respect for their wives, protectors of all that is right and virtuous, and upholding the family honour.

Exactly. And yet I am flexible. I am also happy to keep the present sexually liberated equality --- provided we also dispense with the outdated notion of chivalry.

Women want chivalry? Then act like a chaste lady. Do they want equality? Then they may act how they will, but then don't burden us men with anything.

In truth, I prefer equality. It's less fuss for men all around, and women get the license they so desire and deserve.

I'm essentially saying to women: no ladies, you can't have your cake and eat it too. Many, many men are saying the same thing.

Posted by: Jeff at June 8, 2008 02:47 PM

Grim wrote, Apparently the one thing that's worse than being male is being a soldier. The courts just couldn't leave her in custody, since she might be deployed (and was, in fact, deployed for 15 months at the time I knew her). So her ex took the baby, and promptly moved out of state. Even her family could no longer see the little girl. It's a serious problem.

This has been happening to men for centuries. It's telling that when the selfsame acts begin to afflict women, even rarely as in this instance, something actually gets done about the injustice.

In our society, mass injustice to men is insufficient to warrant action. A rare injustice to women warrants rapid response.

Sad.

Posted by: Jeff at June 8, 2008 02:52 PM

bthun~

Beginning next school year, high school students in Texas will be taking mandatory Parenting and Paternity Awareness training as part of health class (going by the oh-so-clever acronym of PAPA...). It is my understanding that what prompted this new requirement is the high teenaged pregnancy rate in the state...

I think it's a good idea that teens having some understanding of what goes into being a parent and the financial responsibilities that entails, but I am leary of the State doing it. Teens need to get that information somewhere, but the ones who need it the most are the ones NOT getting that information at home...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at June 8, 2008 03:08 PM

I agree with your last Ms. Ladybug.

How to see that youngsters receive info and of what that info should consist is, it seems to me, a pretty important issue given the state of affairs.

And do I ever agree that the state is not the ideal mechanism through which such training should be disseminated... but as you say,

"Teens need to get that information somewhere, but the ones who need it the most are the ones NOT getting that information at home..."
seems to be true in so many areas of training that children should receive. So from whence should the information be made available and how to see that children have a better, more realistic idea of what awaits them in areas like the selection of a partner/mate and begetting children?

Speaking in polite company -I love having an opportunity to use the word, begetting. Larry the Cable Guy would be proud... =8^}

Posted by: bthun at June 8, 2008 03:28 PM

Okay, I'll try turning this question on its head. I'll also toss out a thought. "Respect" as in between the sexes doesn't have much to do with what's going on. Past customs do not fit current conditions and that's what's causing all the angst.

Why should women marry?

Why should women continue having children?

Caveats: These are my opinions, formed by living in a particular segment of American society where I married, had two children, divorced and remarried. Nor is this directed at any particular poster either pro or con. This saves time typing this over and over again.

Background noise since I went to college in 1970 has been that the earth is full. That 6 billion (or however many billion there are now) is enough. That there is no survival necessity (as in survival of the species) for women to keep having children, and as many as they can. Many births are not needed because most children survive to adulthood and because they aren't needed to work the back forty. The farming community is a small part of society these days. In every branch of my own extended family the number of children has gone down in each generation and only one branch even owns a farm any longer. There is the individual "biological imperative" to reproduce, but that IS individual and no longer enforced by anything except familial or societal expectations--which are either fading or changing.

Additionally, women are no longer compelled to marry, in that women can support themselves and are no longer automatically dependent on men for support nor protection. They are considered adults in society, and can be educated, earn a living, make contracts, etc, the same as males.

Therefore, an arrangment such as afe describes(and I know of others myself) makes perfect sense. Bear in mind here I am looking at this in terms of practicalities (of what is), not of individual beliefs about what "should" be.

But then comes the question of children. Not only is the overriding necessity for species survival seemingly passed, in large segments of society these days it seems that children are no longer welcome. Look at the rise of adult only enclaves, and the complaints about paying taxes for schools by those who don't intend to have children. Etc, etc, etc. So much for the "It takes a village to raise a child", eh? Even women have turned on each other, with working and "non-working" mothers spitting at each other.

I have no problem with those who don't want children, by the way. I believe only those who want children *themselves* (not because of family or societal pressure) should have them. I do resent those who complain about those who do have children while at the same time benefitting from the fact that other people do have them. I simply point out that to be logically consistant with their complaints they should then not accept goods or services from anyone younger than themselves. Fair's fair. I do admit it's funny when those employed in industries dependant on a consumer society diss children. Where do they think their future consumers are coming from?

It is a biological fact that women are the only ones that can bear a child. Society is still hooked on the idea that only a woman can raise a child or make a home even though that is an ideal often honored in theory more than in practice. Women often died in large numbers in childbirth, they still do around the globe. Rembrandt fathered 16 children--with three wives. Even the fictional Tom Sawyer was being raised by an aunt and uncle because his parents were dead. And yet the respsonsibility is still imputed to the woman even when a father is present. At the same time, society these days tends to value the woman who works (and rewards her financially) instead of the stay at home mother. Hilary Clinton lost me forever when she made that 'real job instead of baking cookies' crack.

There is, however, religion mixing in here. This is a big problem for me as a woman. (Re-read the caveats). I was raised in a fundamental Lutheran branch, the most conservative. In that branch the Pauline directives were taken quite literally, even to the point that I was taught the Fall was the fault of women, that the pain of childbirth was payment for Woman's sin, and that women are to be subject to men. I no longer find religious reasons compelling, your mileage obviously will vary.

So, we find in today's society that, in practical terms, women no longer need to marry, that quite often bearing and raising children is detrimental to a woman's life and future, and society in some respects is becoming hostile to both women who do and to children themselves.

Therefore, what is the benefit to a woman to do either? I've seen a lot of reasons that it's not beneficial to men to marry nor have children. Quite frankly, a good number of them work just as well for women. And women are not an alien species :D. Given the choice and opportunities they tend to choose those that benefit themselves, just as men tend to do.

For thsoe who advocate a return to past conditions I will say that those conditions benefitted men and children, and in general society--but not the women. There is the "fault" of feminism, in that women do have these choices now.

I don't see the answer as being a return to past conditions; quite frankly that would send me to the protest lines and I'm a very quiet person! I have also experienced the difficulties of raising children and working, and dealing with the consequences of trusting that old model. On the other hand I do see the inequities that can be experienced by men when it comes to divorce and children. I don't know the answers but I think they encompass more than simple respect.

Posted by: Maggie100 at June 8, 2008 09:00 PM

I don't think anyone is really suggesting -- anyone here, I mean -- that we should return to "past conditions."

What I am suggesting would be a rather new condition: a mutual alliance based on genuine equality, where we defended each other and recognized the need for the other's defense.

(One thing I have consistently heard from feminists when I assert that I intend to be a friend to womankind: "We don't need a knight in shining armor to rescue us." But that misses the point entirely, though for understandable reasons related to past battles already won. I don't propose to rescue a woman, or even women. I propose to defend women, in the hope that they will defend men. They may not need me to save them, but we most definitely need each other to save ourselves.)

Those proposing a standard whereby women are subject to equal abuse -- have your license, and the freedom to be disdained for it -- are also proposing something new. The progressive who feels free to call Hillary a "bitch" in public -- "It's only fair! She's empowered, and can take it if she's as tough as a man!" -- is of this kind.

I think the guiding star is here: what makes things better between us, so that we may raise more generations?

The right to disdain the other cannot be the answer. The duty to defend them might be. But I think this is the star, and our answer must accord with how it stands in the sky.

Posted by: Grim at June 8, 2008 09:32 PM

Gregory wrote, I suspect Jeff would like a return to a situation where women primarily stayed at home, dressed, talked and behaved modestly in public, showed unswerving loyalty and commitment to their husbands. In return, I also suspect that Jeff would like a return of men to their traditional roles, as providers for the family, also chivalrous towards *all* women, but reserving special respect for their wives, protectors of all that is right and virtuous, and upholding the family honour.

Exactly. And yet I am flexible. I am also happy to keep the present sexually liberated equality --- provided we also dispense with the outdated notion of chivalry.

Women want chivalry? Then act like a chaste lady. Do they want equality? Then they may act how they will, but then don't burden us men with anything.

In truth, I prefer equality. It's less fuss for men all around, and women get the license they so desire and deserve.

I'm essentially saying to women: no ladies, you can't have your cake and eat it too. Many, many men are saying the same thing.


*~*~*~*

So..... that said, if you had it to do all over again, would you rather be born a man?

Or a woman? And why?


As a woman, I have absolutely no desire to be "equal" to a man. It is impossible. And - to me - undesirable. The only advantage I can see is the ability to urinate standing up.

From my vantage point, it boils down to the old question...is the glass half empty or half full? Many women see their womanhood as a "half-empty" scenario. They focus on all the things they are unable to do due to their femininity.

That's not to say there is not discrimination. There is. Just like there is racial discrimination. And it is admirable to work toward the elimination of those kinds of discrimination. However, it will never be completely eliminated. Not by us, at least. We are human and it is our (the collective "our") nature to discriminate.

I choose to see my gender as a list of the things I CAN do that men cannot. I do not need to list those things here - we all seem to be smart enough to figure it out.

The fact is that we were not made to be equal. We were made to compliment each other - parts to a whole, if you will. To struggle for equality is to struggle against the very nature of who and what we are. We are human - male and female, man and woman. Parts of a whole. It's not a "Kind of the Hill" competition.

When I was a kid (and, still, now) I was a tomboy. I wanted to do all of the things they boys did. People told me I couldn't because I was a girl.

I ignored them. I did those things and I did them well, for the most part. I never had any desire to BE a boy. I simply wanted to DO the things they were doing. And if someone told me I couldn't? Katie, bar the door.

Not much has changed. I still prefer the tomboyish side of life. But I am a woman and I am happy that I am a woman. I carried and birthed two beautiful babies. No man can do that. That, in and of itself, is worth anything that the "You-can't-do-that-cuz-you're-a-girl" crowd could ever throw at me.

I would consider myself a chaste woman, for the most part (ok, not in the language department but, like Cass, I know when and where it is appropriate) and I enjoy it when a man is genuinely chivalrous toward me.

However I do not expect it. I do not feel entitled to it. And I think that is one of the holes that some women today have dug for all of us. They expect a man to be chivalrous, regardless of how they act. They feel that they are entitled to the benefits of chivalry without having to do their part.

Then again, that is a hole that much of society today finds itself in.

Jeff, I don't know you - here or in real life - but your comments strike me as bitter and lazy. Or maybe just fed up, I'm not sure. Regardless, you come across as having a lot of contempt for woman and I am sorry that you find yourself there. I have a feeling that someone (or someONES) have caused you to harbor this attitude and that is unfortunate. Not ALL women are like that. Unfortunately there are a large number of women out there who spoil it for the rest of us who are doing our best to be our best.

Now, if I could just pee standing up...

Posted by: HomefrontSix at June 8, 2008 09:35 PM

HomefrontSix: That's pretty much the way I've gone along. I don't regret having the children, in retrospect I just think some areas of my life would have worked out better if I'd been male. :D

Grim: "I think the guiding star is here: what makes things better between us, so that we may raise more generations?"

This is the question, ain't it? :D Men and women are both members of the same species, more alike than different. The differences are complementary: women may have babies and be concerned about home, men may be protective and be concerned about threats. There is no point in defending borders if homes don't exist and no point in trying to make homes if borders aren't secure.

The tricky part is as you pointed out--we need to respect *each other*. IMO that's hard right now because millenia old cultural habits are still being shaken up and the old patterns don't always work--and it's only one role that has changed dramatically, not both.

I admit I have a hard time working it out philosphically. I see no point in trying to deny biology, nor any point in denying the changes that have taken place. Nor do I subscribe to the idea that either sex is Satan personified: there was no Great Matriarchal Golden Age nor were things perfect when women "knew their place." Both are irrelevant to now except to understanding how we got here. For me it comes down to how do we want it to work NOW and how do we get it to work that way. And we don't get it to work by tearing each other down. Respect might indeed make a starting point.

Posted by: Maggie100 at June 8, 2008 10:25 PM

Then let's start there. Ma'am.

Posted by: Grim at June 9, 2008 12:37 AM

Maggie~

The planet might not need more people, but if we want to keep our society, WE need to at least maintain a replacement birthrate. White Europeans are in the process of not-breeding themselves into extinction while their immigrant Muslim populations explode. I'd rather see the US (and the rest of the West) not be breed out of cultural existence, if you please.

And, it seems my family, at least through my parents' generation, was doing their part. My mother is the oldest of six, and I am the second of 21 grandchildren on that side of the family. I am part of 4 sets of 4, with there being one set of 3 and one set of 2. Now, my generation is a little spotty (although not all of us are even out of high school yet). There are 7 great-grandchildren, and I will become an aunt for the first time (my older brother) in August. Now, my dad was an only child, but his parents married later in life, so they had a late start. God willing, I'll be able to find a good man to marry and have a couple of kids of my own.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at June 9, 2008 01:51 AM

I have had no firsthand troubles with women so far; except that a huge huge number of women I've had serious crushes on are now married with children. Kinda cuts down on the market, so to speak. ;)

I have, unfortunately, seen crappy behaviour from my sister's former boyfriend, who was playing around even while he was dating my sister.

This is why I will always treat any girl/woman like I treat my sister, generally speaking. Of course, my sister and I tend to get physical, so, you know.

Maggie: you gotta be joking, right? We don't need kids? Labour-intensive farming a small segment of society?

Ok, scrap the religious aspects for now, although I doubt you can, really. Eve was involved, yes, but Adam was the stupid fellow who ate it too (see? Never listen to your wife ;))

But just from a practical aspect, you're dead wrong. Caveats or otherwise, consider that our lifespan remains capped at ~120 years. Yes, life extension treatments are undergoing trials and whatnot, but they may be years or decades from production.

As Miss Ladybug points out, other societies are outbreeding you, including my mother culture in China - despite all of their stupidities over one generation (huge sex imbalance happening. I privately wonder if this leads to a rise of male homosexuality in China, and how the Chinese Politburo is handling that).

Replacement rate is 2.1 - many Muslims are punching out 6-7 kids. Because, you know, in other parts of the world, infant mortality is still very high. Indeed, it is very high in the USA - you just don't count abortions.

But further, children are your genetic and cultural heritage. You cannot look at your own generation and say 'Me! I'm important!' which many libertarians (and self-centred liberals, which is a redundancy) subscribe to. Yes, you are important, but why? A major reason is because of who comes after you.

Now, I do realise you're speaking of appearances, and why it doesn't seem like children are important - and you are not yourself saying that children are unimportant. I still say you're wrong - children still appear to be important - just look at all the 'it's for the children' garbage legislation your pollies are dreaming up! :)

I guess my point is that people need to be grounded in reality, and why not start where you are?

As a man, I am privileged. As a woman, I would have been pampered, I daresay (just look at the way my parents treat my sister!). And in fact, I *was* a woman for a good 5 years. Just ask the Passport Department! :P

In the end, there are no perfect solutions. We'll just have to screw things up as we go along this life together, men and women both. And aren't I glad both sexes exist to complement each other and help each other in our daily lives.

Posted by: Gregory at June 9, 2008 03:17 AM

I don't think anyone is really suggesting -- anyone here, I mean -- that we should return to "past conditions" (Grim).

It seems to me that you are calling for just such a return, but only for men not women.

What I am suggesting would be a rather new condition: a mutual alliance based on genuine equality, where we defended each other and recognized the need for the other's defense (Grim).

On the contrary, you deny equality. You want to deny men critique of women, yet allow women to critique men. You want men to have responsibilities to women, yet you admit you can't even name the corresponding duties for women.

You are not in favor of equality under any reasonable definition of the word 'equal.'

I don't propose to rescue a woman, or even women. I propose to defend women, in the hope that they will defend men. They may not need me to save them, but we most definitely need each other to save ourselves.

And you take this to point of defending female vice, at least to the extent that you don't men to address it. So, you end up being unable to distinguish between vice and virtue in women. What you propose is a kind of moral blindness in service to a past ideal of "chivalry" to defend a thing which no longer even exists.

What you want is for the world to be a Romance novel. It isn't.

Those proposing a standard whereby women are subject to equal abuse -- have your license, and the freedom to be disdained for it -- are also proposing something new. The progressive who feels free to call Hillary a "bitch" in public -- "It's only fair! She's empowered, and can take it if she's as tough as a man!" -- is of this kind.

Yes. If women want to assume the "privileges" (that the feminist way of saying it) of manhood, then they must take the barbs of manhood. I am of this kind. Other kinds are illogical and anti-reality. Perhaps they too, want the world to be a Romance novel.

I think the guiding star is here: what makes things better between us, so that we may raise more generations? The right to disdain the other cannot be the answer. The duty to defend them might be. But I think this is the star, and our answer must accord with how it stands in the sky.

Stars exist. Your Romantic world doesn't. Virtue demands that vice be disdained. Insofar as you deny this, you are not virtuous nor a defender of virtue, and therefore not a defender of virtuous women.

You fail to grasp that with duties to defend must come rights. Your proposals will only make matters worse.

Posted by: Jeff at June 9, 2008 08:28 AM

Jeff, I don't know you - here or in real life - but your comments strike me as bitter and lazy. Or maybe just fed up, I'm not sure. Regardless, you come across as having a lot of contempt for woman and I am sorry that you find yourself there. I have a feeling that someone (or someONES) have caused you to harbor this attitude and that is unfortunate. Not ALL women are like that. Unfortunately there are a large number of women out there who spoil it for the rest of us who are doing our best to be our best. Now, if I could just pee standing up... (Homefront6).

Heh. It's convenient, but the dangly bits can get in the way on a wrestling mat. ;-)

Look, I appreciate your sentiment here. As a woman, I know this will be difficult for you to believe. No woman has spoiled womankind for me. I haven't had a tragic or traumatic experience with women. I really am acting our of principle with an eye towards the long term.

When women encounter criticism from men, they often engage in the psychological fallacy whereby they ascribe the man's disagreement to some past history, usually some tragedy that makes him bitter. I daresay, this happens almost every time a man criticizes a woman. I've seen it deployed countless times, even when women are criticized in business situations, and even in the military.

My disagreements with Cassandra are her double standards on logical quantification, her belief in privileged experience, her unwillingness to consider other people's experience, and her failure to warrant obvious facts.

My disagreements with Grim arise from a similar double standard on logical quantification, his willingness to defend female vice, his silly Romance novel view of the world, his amusing tendency to complain of others what he himself raises to a virtue, and his awful, anti-social, illogical, anti-reality proposals for male-female relations.

These disagreements are a result of a thinking process, not the other way around. Even as I disagree with my opponents, and in a few cases think they are almost daft, I ascribe no bad motives to them --- although I must say, they have to me in spades.

In my experience, women find it difficult to conceive of plain, logical, reasoned disagreement on the facts. Women tend to think that disagreement must mean bad motives on someone's part.

This is not so.

Posted by: Jeff at June 9, 2008 08:47 AM

Well, I was actually trying to point out some of the reasons/influences that women may not be having many children right now. I understand the point about societal survival, but that's an abstract as compared to the day to day reality of having and raising children. Having lots of kids is not only hard physically on the mother it's VERY hard to support many for most people today. And asking that women have more children for "cultural survival" stirs echoes of other cultures for me that have done that in the past.

Bear in mind that I've already done so--and in MY experience it cost me permanently for others' benefit. I was trying to point out that it's not surprising that women are having fewer children. Humans tend to choose those actions that benefit themselves and having children does not currently benefit women, only "others". I'm afraid that telling me I should have had more children for societal survival at certain points while I was doing so might have caused a felonious assault...

I did have two children, and when I made that decision I knew it would affect my career. I did not know that it would cost me that career or I might have made a different decision, frankly. My children are both grown, both productive, contributing members of society. Yay, society. My son was very driven to make a career, frankly I would not have wanted to be married to him during this period--he was rarely home! We were always on the edge of financial disaster while he was a teenager and right now he's busy setting up long term financial goals to make sure that doesn't happen again. I'm really not sure yet whether he actually plans to have a family or even whether he's thought about it seriously. My daughter intends to have a couple--but she also intends to work part time while they're small so she can resume a career. Her SO is still wavering over whether or not he actually wants the financial liability of a wife and family. Both men are honest, hardworking and responsible. They are both also affected by the loudly proclaimed uncertainty of the economy and are making plans for the future that do not include looking to the government to 'save' them later in life. At the same time they apparently don't feel any compelling need to marry and start families. My daughter takes it as a matter of course that she ALSO plans for retirement and therefore keeping a career going is part of her responsible planning for the future--not a matter of 'fulfilment' nor of having money to buy "stuff."

It might be more illuminating to look at why neither sex is interested in such. I came across a comment by a male on another blog--he's glad he decided not to have children because "society is going to hell."

Posted by: Maggie100 at June 9, 2008 10:41 AM

Jeff, honestly, your statements in this thread strike me as the mirror image of radical feminists--and just as unyielding.

Posted by: Maggie100 at June 9, 2008 10:45 AM

I was unable to post this earlier since my Internet was down

Reading Maggie's comment above, it's even funnier now.

Jeff:

No matter how many times you assert that I have some sort of belief that my experiences are more "privileged" than yours, that does not make it so. At the risk of enraging you, this really sounds like feminist rhetoric.

My argument is really quite simple.

You claimed that "modern women" were so awful that men shouldn't bother with them:

I used to think modern women hated men, but now I know they just hate masculinity. That's why so many women love hanging out with gay men. Women love men, but not manliness.

The only mature, sensible thing for a man to do is to abstain from long-term relationships with women. The alternative is to be treated like trash, be financially exploited, and treated as a second-class citizen under the law in any dispute with a woman.

I countered with the fact that over the past 30 years of my life, not only have I not known any women like the ones you describe, but my sons both had no trouble finding, dating, and marrying decent, upright women. So, clearly they are out there.

At this point, you go high and to the reich with your "privileging" argument, which sounds like it comes straight out of the Andrea Dworkin handbook.

How is this logical? Am I not allowed to contrast your experience with mine and that of my sons without being accused of "privileging"? I never claimed (once) that there were no bad women out there. I just said that there are good women, too.

It seems to me that you are the one who is not being entirely logical here.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 9, 2008 10:53 AM

Sheesh! You go away for a day and the post explodes. I’m not going to try to answer anything point by point - I’d be here until Christmas - but I am going to (I think) line up with Grim.

Based partly on having read his thoughts on “chivalry” on his blog, I don’t think he’s advocating a return to 12th Century standards for men with no corresponding standards for women. Or maybe I should just say that’s not where I get to if I take his thoughts and run in my own direction with them.

One of the meanings of “chivalrous” in my dictionary is simply: Characterized by consideration and courtesy, especially toward women. How about if we just change the end of that to read “especially toward the opposite sex” and apply it to both men and women? To me this would mean that I acknowledge broad differences between the sexes without judging one way of dealing with the world as bad and one as good. To me there also needs to be implicit in this stance the realization that there is considerable individual variation within each group. Description (men are usually better at advanced math) should never become prescription (no woman should take advanced math).

So if someone says, “Women are lousy managers”, I can say, “I take the chivalric view. Men and women often have different management styles but either can be effective.” In response to the view that, “Children need to be taken care of by their mothers”, I’d say, “I take the chivalric view. Mothers do often seem to be the better primary caregivers, but that’s not always the case. I would make a very poor primary caregiver and I can name several men who would be quite good at it. And even in cases where the mother is the better primary caregiver, children desperately need what fathers have to offer, also.”

I don’t see what this has to do with chastity for crying out loud. If a man or woman is sexually voracious, that’s their own business. I might not choose to party with them or marry them or invite them home but I would still continue to be considerate and courteous to them in other situations.

bthun -

With regard to training on the reality of marriage and parenthood. I don’t know if they’re still doing it, but at one point a Catholic church where a friend of mine lives was running a very rigorous pre-Cana class. The prospective brides and grooms weren’t just given a talk about marriage, they were given questionnaires that covered a wide range of issues like who works, who doesn’t; who manages the money; how many children; who stays home with them; and so on. The brides and grooms had to fill these out without consultation, then the questionnaires were collected and the couple’s answers were compared. I think this is a great idea and the best testament I heard to its effectiveness is that some couples who took the class elected not to get married. I don’t know how you get that done universally - I can just imagine the fights over what questions should be on the questionnaires if the states get involved - but it does seem reasonable that if you have to pass a test to drive a car you should have to put some thought into getting married.

Grim -

I take your point about the difference between what a mother tells her daughter (or John Wayne tells his compadre) and what female posters are telling men and it’s a good one. What I was trying to express was my dislike for behavioral prescriptions based solely on gender (or sex, I’m never sure which is the right term). I would hope that if John Wayne was in a cabin surrounded by vicious cattle rustlers and his only companion was a woman who was an excellent shot, he’d expect her to help out, too, not just cower in the corner and whimper, thereby getting both of them killed. His line then might be, “Grow up” or “Face up to it” or something like that, but I think the sentiment would be the same: Don’t whine, don’t waffle, look reality in the eye, and do what needs to be done. (And John Wayne’s being dead doesn’t detract one iota from his iconic power.)

More broadly, except for the stuff about not using grooming products and not talking about feelings, the characteristics Dr. Melissa and Casey Fiano want “real men” to have are the characteristics I think “real women” should have, too. Here are the “real men” traits I’ve extracted from their posts:

honor, strength, and drive
someone strong, decent, and hard-working who is very good at what he does professionally
*not* insecure, wimpy, or over-compensating
provide for and protect his family
honor, courage, integrity
more worried about doing what’s right than what’s popular
shoulder extra burdens so your children can get the best possible upbringing
strong, aggressive
have drive, honor, love of country, courage, and integrity

We can argue about “aggressive” but other than that, what traits in that list should women not have?

Yes, there do seem to be, broadly speaking, differences between how men and women view, approach, and deal with the world. But I think - or at least hope - that the bedrock virtues are the same for both.

Posted by: EliseK at June 9, 2008 11:28 AM

I'm willing to be accused of Romanticism. Romanticism only means an attachment to a vision of beauty so great as to refuse to accept the world as it is. That may be a virtue or a vice, but it is powerful habit of mind. It was Jefferson's virtue, and it was Plato's. It was Marx's vice, and Hitler's.

The one thing it isn't is what you call it: silly. If you start from principles and beauty, you can change the world.

Maggie said rightly, the other day in a discussion on women voters, that it's less a question of who votes on things than what things there are to be voted on.

On the contrary, you deny equality. You want to deny men critique of women, yet allow women to critique men. You want men to have responsibilities to women, yet you admit you can't even name the corresponding duties for women.

I want to deny men nothing in the critique of a given woman, but only to ask them to hold Womanhood as a good. I ask them to set aside terms of abuse that rely on a woman being a woman -- "bitch" and so forth -- so that they may restrict their complaint to a give woman, without tearing down Women as a whole. This is actually a profound way of adding to the critique of the bad individual woman, because it shows that she has fallen off from what a woman should be.

I ask precisely the same thing of women for men. If a given man has behaved badly, so. I think it is fine to say that a given man has betrayed trusts, broken oaths, or been horrible. It would be well if women did not say that "Men" are untrustworthy or liars or horrible. Say, rather, that a real man keeps his word and his promises: and you will find that adds to the critique of the bad man. It is not just that he has done bad things, but that he has failed as a man.

In this way, both sexes are held to a higher standard; but also the friendship between the sexes is corrected.

As for naming womens' virtues, I can name them. What I don't have a name for is this particular quality of being a defender of the opposite sex in women. It is called chivalry in men.

Where I disagree with you is in your assertion that chivalry is the man's virtue, and chastity is the woman's. Chastity, if it is a virtue at all, is a virtue for both men and women.

It is a virtue, though, only when it is what Chesterton spoke of:

"Chastity does not mean abstention from sexual wrong; it means something flaming, like Joan of Arc."

The chastity of the priest is a virtue, and a powerful one. The chastity of the nun is a virtue. The chastity of a teenager who has decided to wait for marriage and love out of a desire for a strong and beautiful family is a virtue. The chastity -- within marriage -- of a husband or wife to his mate is a virtue, because it is a declaration of firm loyalty and honor.

The mere abstaining from sex, or not, is neither a virtue nor a vice as far as I can tell. I have noticed that women who practice regular sex with men they don't marry tend to be unhappy. I think they will find that abstaining from that practice is a useful form of self-defense.

However, I don't think they merit condemnation for not wishing to defend themselves, if they choose not to do so, any more than I condemn a rodeo cowboy for getting on the back of a bull. It is a free choice. They have a right to it, and they will have the consequences of it.

You fail to grasp that with duties to defend must come rights.

Duties must be attended by powers, but only the powers necessary to perform the duty. Rights must also come with powers, which include all the powers necessary to perform the duty. If you have both the right and the duty to defend something, you must have all the powers you need to carry that out.

But defending a thing does not give you mastery of it: otherwise, only soldiers would be allowed to vote.

In truth, I need no power over women to defend womanhood. I need only power over myself, the power to believe in the goodness of the thing I am defending, and the power to speak and write about it.

Even if there were some exchange of power in my taking up that defense, the exchange would be precisely even, because I am asking women to be willing to do the same thing for manhood. Whatever they gave me, I would have to give back in equal measure.

I'll close with another Chesterton quote, one he composed about Sir Walter Scott.

"The center of every man's existence is a dream. Death, disease, insanity, are merely material accidents, like a toothache or a twisted ankle. That these brutal forces always besiege and often capture the citadel does not prove that they are the citadel."

Romantic it may be. Certainly, it is not how things are now. It may be what they will become, however. We are free and can choose, even to choose to believe.

Posted by: Grim at June 9, 2008 11:41 AM

I would hope that if John Wayne was in a cabin surrounded by vicious cattle rustlers and his only companion was a woman who was an excellent shot, he’d expect her to help out, too, not just cower in the corner and whimper, thereby getting both of them killed.

I believe I've seen that very movie several times. It was a common scene in 1930s Westerns of the type both Wayne and Roy Rogers made. Strong female characters are one of the Western's pleasant features, and as someone I was reading the other day pointed out, it was four Western states that first gave women the vote -- long years before the rest of the nation.

That's just the kind of woman I like.

Posted by: Grim at June 9, 2008 11:45 AM

We can argue about “aggressive” but other than that, what traits in that list should women not have?

If you'd like to argue that, I can introduce you to a 19-year-old perky, pony-tailed blonde who blew away four terrs with the .50 cal she was -- pardon the expression -- manning...

Posted by: BillT at June 9, 2008 01:08 PM

BillT -

I wouldn't argue "aggressive" but I know people who would so I suppose I sinned there by providing a little wiggle room rather than just standing my ground. (You know women - we're always trying to be too accommodating.)

I have no problem with "manning". I'm all for trying to make language gender neutral but there does come a point of diminishing return.

Posted by: EliseK at June 9, 2008 01:22 PM

I'm willing to be accused of Romanticism (Grim).

That's because you are honest. I respect that.

Romanticism only means an attachment to a vision of beauty so great as to refuse to accept the world as it is. That may be a virtue or a vice, but it is powerful habit of mind. It was Jefferson's virtue, and it was Plato's. It was Marx's vice, and Hitler's (Grim).

It's a vice on which Aristotle corrected Plato, replacing Plato's noble execution with a conception of prudence that matches the Good with practical circumstances. This matching is precisely what the Romantic lacks, what you lack. I write this fully in agreement with your ends --- reconciliation of the sexes --- but your means is hopeless, as hopeless as Jefferson's opposition to the Constitution as an anti-Federalist.

You've precisely the right images. They illuminate your noble end, and your hopeless recommendations.

The one thing it isn't is what you call it: silly. If you start from principles and beauty, you can change the world. Maggie said rightly, the other day in a discussion on women voters, that it's less a question of who votes on things than what things there are to be voted on. (Grim).

I do not challenge the necessity of first principles, but like Aristotle I challenge their sufficiency. Your suggestion are certainly Platonic, as they will bring us to a cup of hemlock. It's not mindless, for it has purpose. But it will not promote human flourishing.

You can change a world, specifically an imaginary one, but you can't change the real world. In Plato's The Republic Glaucon needs the "noble lie" Socrates named The Myth of Ur. I admit your lie is noble, but I dispute whether, like Glaucon, we need it.

I can say this while fully agreeing with Maggie.

I want to deny men nothing in the critique of a given woman, but only to ask them to hold Womanhood as a good. I ask them to set aside terms of abuse that rely on a woman being a woman -- "bitch" and so forth -- so that they may restrict their complaint to a give woman, without tearing down Women as a whole. This is actually a profound way of adding to the critique of the bad individual woman, because it shows that she has fallen off from what a woman should be (Grim).

I agree. But then can't an individual woman be a "bitch" just as an individual man can be an "ass?"

I ask precisely the same thing of women for men. If a given man has behaved badly, so. I think it is fine to say that a given man has betrayed trusts, broken oaths, or been horrible. It would be well if women did not say that "Men" are untrustworthy or liars or horrible. Say, rather, that a real man keeps his word and his promises: and you will find that adds to the critique of the bad man. It is not just that he has done bad things, but that he has failed as a man (Grim).

No offense, but this is dumb. I'm sorry to say it, but it is.

Your use of the words "men" and "women" are non-standard, not mine. Repeat:
Your use of the words "men" and "women" are non-standard, not mine.

When you write "men," you mean the Form of Men. When you write "women," you mean the Form of Woman. Now, once I know what you mean, all is well. I even agree with you. But I must inform you, very, very, very few people will mean what you mean by those terms.

Most of us will mean quantification not qualification. We will be speaking of number not property. Example: "Cats have fur." Uncontroversial. Common. Yet not all cats have fur. No one is confused by this because in normal conversation we conventionally deal with things that are mostly and probably the case. Most especially, no one will be referring to the Form of a Cat.

This point if usage is obvious and uncontroversial. I really think you should concede this one. It is your use of the word "women" and "men" that confuses.

As for naming womens' virtues, I can name them. What I don't have a name for is this particular quality of being a defender of the opposite sex in women. It is called chivalry in men (Grim).

Ah. Here's where you tend to some, unintentional I'm sure, dishonesty. In the real world, where beauty is in things rather than in the Eidos, we have to decide whether to uphold individual women. It is certainly possible to hold a woman (a real one) in contempt, while justifying this contempt by reference to the Form of Woman. (I'm using your terms.)

By holding contemptible women in contempt, we lose no defense of the Form of Woman. Indeed, we are defending it by scorn of vice.

If you are honest, you will see how you are equivocating. sometimes you use the word "women" as meaning the Form of Woman, and other times as a number of real, instantiated women.

When we do the appropriate grammatical substitutions, ans I urge other readers to go back and do this, it becomes obvious that you are writing nonsense.

As I keep writing, you are equivocating in the worst way. No amount of fancy images or Chesterton quotes can rehabilitate that problem.

Where I disagree with you is in your assertion that chivalry is the man's virtue, and chastity is the woman's. Chastity, if it is a virtue at all, is a virtue for both men and women (Grim).

You're tilting at windmills again, Don Quixote. ;-)

I didn't say Chastity was only a man's virtue, but only that it is a woman's virtue. No disagreement here.

It is a virtue, though, only when it is what Chesterton spoke of: "Chastity does not mean abstention from sexual wrong; it means something flaming, like Joan of Arc." (Grim)

Also, you're doing it again, your equivocation problem. Yes, the image of the Form of Chastity is "something flaming," something remarkable. But the chastity of an individual woman shows in appropriate deference and modesty. There's tons of writings about the role of women under chivalry. At least enough to stuff full an undergraduate course in my undergraduate years.

Yes. All people possess an equal number virtues, but in differing degrees. Moreover, possession of one virtue automatically means possession of the others. Virtue is not a heap, not an aggregate, but rather a composition. Women, because of their different natures, express temperance in ways different than men.

In regards to Chastity, I mentioned it only because it is highly controversial to modern women. (Yes, I wrote "to modern women" and if you are sane and honest you will know I mean most and probably.)

The mere abstaining from sex, or not, is neither a virtue nor a vice as far as I can tell. I have noticed that women who practice regular sex with men they don't marry tend to be unhappy. I think they will find that abstaining from that practice is a useful form of self-defense (Grim).

Since all virtues aim at human flourishing, all virtues are forms of self-defense in the sense you write. So?

However, I don't think they merit condemnation for not wishing to defend themselves, if they choose not to do so, any more than I condemn a rodeo cowboy for getting on the back of a bull. It is a free choice. They have a right to it, and they will have the consequences of it (Grim).

By the standards of virtue, they do. By your own standard of promoting virtue in society, they do. This is a base form of special pleading on your part, Grim. Really.

Then why not say, "Hey, a man who insults women is bound to be unhappy. Polite, gentlemanly conduct is a form of self-defense. It his choice." This is the kind of libertarianism you stand against in men, yet here we have you making the flimsiest excuse for promiscuity. On the one hand, you advocate a City of Virtue, but when it comes to women you are content with Sex and the City. Ridiculous.

Duties must be attended by powers, but only the powers necessary to perform the duty. Rights must also come with powers, which include all the powers necessary to perform the duty. If you have both the right and the duty to defend something, you must have all the powers you need to carry that out (Grim).

True.

But defending a thing does not give you mastery of it: otherwise, only soldiers would be allowed to vote (Grim).

This is your usual straw man argument. I didn't say "mastery," your mputing to me things I never said. I said corresponding rights, just as you wrote in the previous quote.

In truth, I need no power over women to defend womanhood. I need only power over myself, the power to believe in the goodness of the thing I am defending, and the power to speak and write about it (Grim).

Really? I'll tell you an anecdotal story. I was raised to protect my sister. I even punched my best friend in fifth grade for insulting my sister. Into high school, my sister discovered that she could manipulate events using my obligation to protect. She didn't like a guy? No problem, insult him, taunt him, until he said something back. Kick him in the nuts, so he'll defend himself.

Jeff will take care of it. Eventually, I explained to her how the real-world works. I was not a sacrificial offering for her, nor a hired henchman. If she wanted to continue to receive my protection, she must follow my rules. Namely, that she act modestly and rightly and politely. I explained to her that I have no obligation to defend her bad behavior, and in future I will leave her to the wolves if she abuses my good graces.

I didn't have "mastery" but I could say no. I could withdraw. She shaped up, and I rarely had to dirty my fists on decent men who she was manipulating.

Indeed, this is what I think men should do today. People, as creatures with natures, will return to natural behaviors if they are not insulated form the fact of reality. This is why I urge men to simply withdraw protection, deference, and (in extreme cases) even gentlemanly conduct. Goods in abundance are not valued. Scarcity or the prospect of scarcity, makes all of us more prudent.

Whatever they gave me, I would have to give back in equal measure (Grim).

And if they give you scorn precisely because you are a virtuous man?

Romantic it may be. Certainly, it is not how things are now. It may be what they will become, however. We are free and can choose, even to choose to believe (Grim).

I warn you, hemlock is bitter. Not all lies are noble.

Posted by: Jeff at June 9, 2008 02:27 PM

Strong female characters are one of the Western's pleasant features, and as someone I was reading the other day pointed out, it was four Western states that first gave women the vote -- long years before the rest of the nation. That's just the kind of woman I like (Grim).

Me too. We have another area of agreement. Women have never been weaklings. One of the reasons so many women today despise men, is the way so many men treat them as weaklings.

No offense to other American States, but the Texas pioneer woman is my feminine ideal.

Posted by: Jeff at June 9, 2008 02:32 PM

No matter how many times you assert that I have some sort of belief that my experiences are more "privileged" than yours, that does not make it so (Cass).

True.

At the risk of enraging you, this really sounds like feminist rhetoric (Cass).

We'll see about that.

I countered with the fact that over the past 30 years of my life, not only have I not known any women like the ones you describe, but my sons both had no trouble finding, dating, and marrying decent, upright women. So, clearly they are out there (Cass).

They are out there. Just very rare. Maybe we have a disagreement over quantity?

At this point, you go high and to the reich with your "privileging" argument, which sounds like it comes straight out of the Andrea Dworkin handbook (Cass).

Hmm. "High and to the reich." Now if you had said "high and to the right" as in a long, uncontrolled trigger pull on an M240, I would have laughed. You would have gotten the image just right, and you would have made your point.

But you said, "high and to the reich." That's a Nazi comparison. You compared me to a Nazi. Shame on you. Is this what your blog is about? Unreal.

How is this logical? Am I not allowed to contrast your experience with mine and that of my sons without being accused of "privileging"? I never claimed (once) that there were no bad women out there. I just said that there are good women, too (Cass)...It seems to me that you are the one who is not being entirely logical here.

And I see your point. I elided much important information, having first posted here from another blog. I kinda' carried over some of that context here, and you couldn't know that.

I really don't appreciate being compared to a Nazi. That's a low blow.

Posted by: Jeff at June 9, 2008 02:42 PM

I wouldn't argue "aggressive" but I know people who would...

In my line of work, "aggression" is a gender-neutral quality and highly-prized when combined with "accuracy" -- again, regardless of gender. In yours, it probably isn't.

*courtly bow*

Posted by: BillT at June 9, 2008 02:50 PM

But you said, "high and to the reich." That's a Nazi comparison. You compared me to a Nazi.

*sigh*

Newbies...

Posted by: BillT at June 9, 2008 02:54 PM

Jeff :)

Lighten up! Good heavens... it wasn't a low blow, it was a *joke*... a reference to the tendency of many progressyves (not all, but too many) to label anyone they don't agree with as wingnuts, 'wingers, rethuglicans, knuckledraggers, crazies, etc :p Not that progressyves are the only ones who do that. But

There's a search box in my sidebar. Try searching my blog for the word "reich". I call Right Wing News "Reich Wing News". I call the President (who I have voted for twice) a chimp. I don't actually think he's a chimp. I am making fun of people who think they can persuade by namecalling.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 9, 2008 02:56 PM

I am making fun of people who think they can persuade by namecalling (Cass).

OK. That caught me by surprise.

Posted by: Jeff at June 9, 2008 02:59 PM

"If you'd like to argue that, I can introduce you to a 19-year-old perky, pony-tailed blonde who blew away four terrs with the .50 cal she was -- pardon the expression -- manning..."


Mistress Mandy approves.

Keracckkk

Posted by: Mistress Mandy at June 9, 2008 03:09 PM

That caught me by surprise.

Hang around some of her other posts, Jeff. It'll help take the rough edges off *and* heighten your situational awareness.

Like, knowing where the nearest bunker is...

[Okay, okay -- I'm sooooo dead. Again.]

Posted by: BillT at June 9, 2008 03:11 PM

*sigh* Newbies...(BilT)

Ouch. That was the unkindest cut of all. ;-)

Posted by: Jeff at June 9, 2008 03:15 PM

We kid around a lot here, Jeff :p

It's a messed up crowd, but we're fairly harmless if you can ignore the occasional thong.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 9, 2008 03:17 PM

Dear Lord.

I was counting the minutes until the whip showed up.

*rolling eyes*

/smacking Mistress Mandy before she muses thoughtfully to herself that Mistress Mandy probably likes that kind of thing..., thus smacking her may not be the Wisest Course of Action

Posted by: That's Gonna Leave a Mark.... at June 9, 2008 03:20 PM

Mistress Mandy probably likes that kind of thing...

Or thong.

Jeff -- It's Bill with a double-ell

Posted by: BillT at June 9, 2008 03:26 PM

Mistress Mandy says that if it weren't for a certain OTHER Marine wife, Mistress Mandy wouldn't even have a whip.

Mistress Mandy likes the smackies!!!!

kerackkkkkkkk!!!!!!!

Posted by: Mistress Mandy at June 9, 2008 03:27 PM

The only thing I think I wish to say at this point, Jeff, is that I don't believe what I am talking about is a "noble lie." That isn't a concept that I'm after.

What I am after is something I genuinely believe is true. I do believe. You don't, and predicating a life on the belief seems hopeless and foolish. But I think Robert Duvall was right:

Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything... that good always triumphs over evil; and I want you to remember this, that love, true love never dies. You remember that, boy. You remember that. Doesn't matter if it's true or not. You see, a man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in.

You say this is hemlock, but for me it is wine. Far from bitter, it has given me a life I suspect many a man might envy: and one I'm not sorry to have led just this way.

It seems to me that what we're talking about, at base, is a failure of faith. Marriage, children, these are tremendous acts of faith. You are swearing to love and honor in the face of good and evil, with no idea what evils those might be.

Only a fool would take an oath like that.

I guess we have a lot fewer fools these days. It's a damn shame, because they're missing out on everything that really matters.

Posted by: Grim at June 9, 2008 03:27 PM

I guess we have a lot fewer fools these days.

Yeah, but we still have a lot of fun, don't we?

Posted by: BillT at June 9, 2008 03:43 PM

Yeah, we do.

Kings go up and kings go down
And who knows who shall rule?
Next night a king may starve or sleep
But men and birds and beasts shall weep
At the burial of a fool.

O! Drunkards in my cellar,
Boys in my apple tree,
The world grows stern and strange and new,
And wise men shall rule over you,
And you shall weep for me.

Posted by: Grim at June 9, 2008 03:46 PM

You say this is hemlock, but for me it is wine. Far from bitter, it has given me a life I suspect many a man might envy: and one I'm not sorry to have led just this way (Grim).

Do I say it is hemlock? Not so.

I was very, very careful to note that I agree with your ends. I wrote that they are noble ends, worthy ends. Duval is speaking about ends. One can believe in impossibly good ends. Indeed, one should.

One cannot believe in impossibly good means. The means must be possible. The means must be probable. The means must have social force.

I have immense respect for the ends you hold so dear. I wonder if I hold them so; you've made me pause on this point. Am I a jaded, worldly man? Is that all I am? I wouldn't like to answer 'yes.' For this consideration alone, our discussion has been worth it to me.

We are at odds on means, or as I said at the very beginning of our conversation, of policy.

Maybe, as we discuss in days ahead, you will lift my gaze to a beautiful sky, while I will watch that you do not trip on a stone. Maybe no one needs to miss out on anything.

I value dialectic. Thanks, Grim.

Posted by: Jeff at June 9, 2008 03:48 PM

BillT -

When I said I wouldn't argue aggressive I meant I wouldn't argue that it wasn't a desirable trait for women as well as men.

Okay, let's try that again without the double negative. I think being aggressive is a desirable trait for both men and women (please insert usual caveat about appropriate context). Sorry for the confusion.

It is true, though, that aggression is not highly prized in my (former) field of applications programming - although accuracy certainly is.

*graceful curtsy*

Posted by: Elise at June 9, 2008 05:45 PM

"Mistress Mandy says that if it weren't for a certain OTHER Marine wife, Mistress Mandy wouldn't even have a whip."

You forgot to mention that the whip has batteries.

Posted by: Snarkammando at June 9, 2008 06:11 PM

Mistress Mandy will punish you for not mentioning that the batteries were included and the whip has sound effects as well as the Indiana Jones theme song.

No raisins for you!!!!

Posted by: Mistress Mandy at June 9, 2008 06:25 PM

Listen here, Lady, you're the one who forgot to mention the batteries.

I was correcting you, as usual.

Posted by: Snarkammando at June 9, 2008 07:08 PM

Maggie~

In regard to women having the bad end of the deal when it comes to children: I can't look at having children as being a burden, only a challenge. Any responsible person understands that having a child means sacrifice, but I think (and I say this as a childless woman) children are a great gift, as well. I believe there are rewards with being a parent that you cannot place a pricetage on. I would give just about anything to have a child, but I wouldn't casually bring a child into this world - I intended to do so when I am properly married and anticipate being able to provide a loving home with both parents. I know it doesn't always end up that way (your case in point). But, sometimes, we - being only human - make wrong judgments and things don't turn out as originally planned. Now, if I HAD a child under this presumption of some measure of "happily ever after", and I found myself abandoned by a cheating husband, although things would be difficult, I don't think I could regret my decision to have a child. Again, I say this as someone without a child, but I would very much like to (to a certain extent, I envy those with children, so say what you will about my objectivity).

And I'm not saying EVERY woman must produce those 2.1 children. Some women decide not to for whatever reasons. But there are also those who make up for that. I guess it comes down to this: if you really want to have children, even in uncertain times like today, you can find a way to be able to "afford" them.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at June 9, 2008 10:23 PM

You're welcome, Jeff.

It's been a reasonably productive discussion all around.

Posted by: Grim at June 9, 2008 11:21 PM

> > Men do create princesses -- it's a phenomenon tied almost entirely to the father/daughter relationship.

> Oh, bingo Maggie! I recall posting on this a few months back. And ironically, some of the guys who complain about the 'princess' mentality will go right on to raise their daughters to behave this way, because they have a really odd (and unhealthy) double standard in their minds about women. I am sorry, but if you like and respect women you will deal with them straightforwardly and teach your daughters to deal with men that way. Women learn how to interact with men from their fathers. My Dad was an excellent role model, and so I grew up adoring men and respecting them: expecting only the best from them.

That was me, BTW. ;-)

Actually, I believe it it comes from the natural behavior of a good man towards women, esp. their children.

As a father, there is (or should be), a desire to ease the life of your children. Taken too far with boys, you either get a classic "mama's boy", or an incorrigible, selfish bastard with no empathy.

The result for girls is usually for them to become princesses. Their moral compasses are variable -- some feel a measure of noblesse oblige towards others, so they can still be quite decent people on the whole, or they can be rather mercenary, bitchy, and selfish -- this is probably tied to the maternal inputs.

The thing that makes a girl a princess is by learning how to get what she wants from Daddy, and learning how to generalize these behaviors to make them work on a wide variety of men.

Hence, acting helpless, and either never learning to do things for yourself or hiding when you are capable, is one of the main qualities of princesshood. This gets Daddy to do it, which is a LOT easier than learning or figuring how to do it yourself.

And, if a father is well-to-do, it's easy to give your daughter things when she asks for them, so the princess learns to translate financial rewards as a sign of love and affection. So she becomes rather mercenary -- not necessarily because she's really greedy, but it's how she's been trained to see the world.

And she learns a set of behaviors akin to pouting and exaggerated disappointment when she doesn't get what she wants, because most guys respond to this, and fathers even more so to their daughters.

And crying, well, that's pulling out the ICBM for when the world is really "wronging her" -- like not giving her a ski trip to Vale for Xmas vacation...

A wise father will learn to temper these behaviors in himself early on, to stifle the growth of the princess nature, while still making sure his girls are long on hugs and encouragement -- to not spoil his daughter(s), to expect and encourage a certain independence and self-reliance among them... but you always have to be careful about backsliding I'd suspect, until they are at least 14 or 15, because it's easy to be indulgent towards your children. But not all men -- heck even "few men" -- are really wise, esp. in these matters. And willpower plays into it, too. You have to be able to actually NOT give in when your little girl starts to cry. And that's not something guys are really good at, as you may have noticed. :o)

I've never had kids, but I've noticed the behavior patterns of princess GFs of friends, esp. the way they talk about their fathers. I think I've got a fairly good internal construct for how it works as a developmental mechanism. I ack I place limited reliability on it without ever having had a test bed to verify my analysis on...

>Women are more emotionally aware, but I don't see this as negative. Like any quality this has its positive and negative consequences.

Sorry, I never meant to be only negative about this quality -- I just think that women, as a result of inherent physical inferiority, have a cultural role and mileau which makes them replace the male aggressiveness and challenge behavior with a lot more infighting, backstabbing, and passive aggressive behaviors -- politics, if you will.

I believe that the female social structure is inherently much more 'political'.

That's not intended as a value judgement, it's just a trend I've noticed in the differences of early behaviors, and ones which affect the female approach to many aspects of life and make it very
different from the male approach.

It is why I believe women read more into male actions than they should -- because if the man were a woman, there would be more to it than what was on the surface. And woman don't often grasp this in their heart of hearts.

>We also have to be able to "read" our largely non-verbal husbands, and that can be a really difficult task, because sometimes there is legitimately something Going On in the male brain housing group that really does need to be Talked About (a fate most men think is worse than having the Frilly Panties of Oppression pulled over their heads at Guantanamo Bay)

No argument. The thing women don't realize is that men and women are both lonely, but not the same ways. Men are lonely as individuals, because we aren't allowed to show weakness (and there is validity in retaining this, even if current societal roles don't really need it). We have to be stronger, because it allows those around us to "lean" on us and feel (even when faced with a hopeless situation) that "The big guy" has it under control. It's a lot easier to not panic and fall into hysteria if SOMEONE around you has the appearance of having it all together. It has to do with illusions, identities, and a host of other things that go deeper than the roles themselves, and, even with the benefits of civilization, one still finds there are times when people need those support mechanisms.

If you're trapped high in the WTC on 9-11, do you want to be following a guy who LOOKS like he's in charge and has a clue, or one who's not really sure what to do? Right. Yes, he may lead you the wrong way. It happens. But people feel a lot more able to cope with someone around who ACTS like they aren't feeling hopeless themselves.

Contrast, this, though, with a girl I knew. We were friends, and out at a bar together with her sister and their best friends. Now, she and I felt like leaving, but she wasn't about to leave with her sister there, a bit tipsy. I pointed out that her friends were all with her, she'd be ok. But the impression I got was that her sister could not rely on her friends to watch her back.

I have gotten the impression from this and other input, that women don't have the capacity to rely on each other -- even friends -- the same way guys can. If I'm out with the guys, they'll usually do a pretty good job keeping me from doing something really stupid if I'm drunk or not thinking correctly (yeah, that's not always true, but they'll be there TRYING to watch my back, even if they don't do a good job).

When guys form a pack, they can REALLY get to know each other's 'nuances':
....the men of Easy Company [in World War II] coalesced into a crack outfit. They scored so high on a group physical-fitness test that the suspicious Department of the Army insisted that they take it again -- only to find that they'd done it better the second time -- and they came to be so good at carrying out orders in the darkness, one man recalled, that 'I could see a silhouette at night and tell you who it was by the way the helmet sat on his head.'
- Stephen A. Ambrose, 'Band of Brothers: E Company' -

I could be wrong, but I don't think women do that as readily. Girls don't seem to have this kind of inter-reliability, and, if I'm correct, it makes you a lot more alone than guys are, in some ways.


My overall point: I'm not saying that the female behaviors that lead to "viper" behaviors don't have a valid function when put to good use. Not at all. I'm saying that the most naturally talented of men, by virtue of almost never being constantly tested in that atmosphere of female competition, will virtually never be able to equal a typical woman's ability in this regards. It's a skill, like anything. The more you exercise it, the better it will get. And political skills can certainly be GOOD -- be put to good, fruitful purpose -- by helping to get people organized and focused and facing a useful social goal, despite personal differences and egos and styles.

I don't believe that a lot of women are doing a particularly good job of teaching their daughters about men.

All too many of them have bought into the feminist mantra that men deliberately oppressed women, that they treated women as property and chattel because they thought of them as "less than men". Less capable, perhaps -- but in a society where human muscle power is the only reliable way to get things done, that is not an entirely invalid view. That does not mean it is "right" today, only that it does not have the same measure of "wrongness" then that it has today.


By buying into this mantra, they have allowed a great deal of animosity towards men to develop which is categorically unfair and flat out wrong.

There are a lot of women out there who think it is "right" somehow that men suffer because women did in the past. Even if you grant that women suffered more than men (debatable but a side issue), it still does not make it right to punish todays sons for the sins of their great-grandfathers. Two wrongs don't make a right.

Add to that the tendency, mentioned in an earlier post, that often women wrongly place the blame for their egregiously bad selection process (which favors jerks who are likely to screw around on them) for the fact that -- their selected males indeed screwed around on them -- that they wrongly place that blame onto ALL men (i.e., all men screw around on women -- they ALL suck) and you get yet another divisive problem where mothers can and should be teaching their daughters better.

If a guy screws around on you, it may well be because you selected a guy who was the type to screw around on you. Sure, he's a shit for doing it, but the real mistake was yours, not his, for ignoring all those other guys who were more likely to be devoted, less likely to recognize temptation, and less likely to risk what he has for what the temptation is offering. This isn't saying there is any guy out there who is perfect -- but you can damned sure figure out which ones are more trustworthy than others if you apply some basic sense to the selection process.

Posted by: OBloody Hell at June 10, 2008 01:55 AM

> I think this is a major difference between men and women. Because men separate love from sex, a dating man will date women of poor character. He is not necessarily looking for a relationship up front. So he is using an entirely different set of criteria in his selection process: mainly (frankly) sexual attractiveness!

And then he has the nerve to complain when some of these women (that he had no intention of having a relationship with, that he - in fact - selected on the basis of sexual attractiveness rather than character) prove to be of poor character :p Is this really surprising?

No, not in the least. But part of the problem with your discussion is that you are taking a percentage of males and extending from them into the whole.

Looks are generally more significant to a male (but females rate looks higher than they often admit, but usually in a subtle way -- I've seen some of the stats on the chances a short guy has with women -- he can be a very considerate, widely talented doctor, but if he's 5'5", a large percentage of women won't really give him a chance.) but most women think men rate them much higher than they do.

The real fact is that, while a man will pursue a better looking woman, he will almost never reject a woman who's not ugly. And therein lies the woman's chance -- if she plays her cards right, she CAN win on personality, even more so if she's "at least" as good looking as he is (really is, not thinks he is).

Our visual cortexes are wired to SEE looks, but the love mechanism works on a whole different set of rules.

And I'd suggest that you consider if women don't tend towards the same sort of foolish choices you ascribe to men, but based on money and social status rather than looks.

> We select hoping for a relationship.

But women, almost never, as far as I can see, attempt to rationally consider what would improve your chances for a relationship (if you did, the obviously inherent rules would be more widespread among your daughters, whom you would teach them to)

As noted in a previous post, when you make guys do most of the work, it may well feed your ego but it preselects for guys who screw around. This is generally supposed to be very much outside the behavior you supposedly consider desirable. It certainly does not help the long-term prospects for the relationship.

Yes, certain Christians do suggest "no sex until marriage" and similar attitudes, but that is not what I am talking about. Abstinence and monogamy, especially through cognitive override of impulses, isn't necessary to find guys who don't tend to screw around -- women have to take on more of the weight of dating -- of finding, identifying, and pursuing males. Because, trust me, the really GOOD guys aren't as good at this as the shitheels So if you sit around waiting for guys to come up to you, you're going to tend to get guys that screw around. And the better they are at chatting you up from a cold start, the more certain it is that they are likely to screw around on you. The guys who fumble, say the wrong things, are nervous and clumsy -- they're more likely to be the real deal -- less likely to seek opportunities to screw around, less likely to go chasing some skirt that flirted with them, less likely to consumate said flirtation if it did go anywhere.

And they are more likely to appreciate what they have, to boot.

That most girls don't have a clue about the above is pitiful.

That most girls think they can "change" guys is pitiful. If he isn't acceptable as-is, you need to go somewhere else. He may be willing and able to change but if you go into a relationship expecting it you're a fool.

That most women, after 10 minutes, are so certain of their opinion of a guy that they will NEVER EVER re-evaluate that opinion is pitiful.

And by "opinion", I mean the answer to the question "Would I have sex with him?" It's bad enough that women imagine that they can get a decent answer to that question within 10 minutes. I'll accept the notion that this is necessary -- it's "triage".

That women are so irrational as to think it's a reliable accessment isuttely ridiculous. You cannot possibly know *jack* about a guy in 10 minutes. And the better he is at schmoozing women, the LESS you really know about him. So again -- the shitheels win out.

Posted by: OBloody Hell at June 10, 2008 02:24 AM


> Men are almost always clueless when their wives divorce them. Their wives try to talk to them about problems in the marriage, but they often refuse to talk, or interpret their attempts to resolve the problem as criticism or nagging (if she is unhappy, I must have done something wrong/not be a good man).

Whereas the woman is thinking, "We have a problem. He is doing things that make me unhappy, but there's probably a reason for that and I just don't know what it is. If we could talk, I could find out what I'm doing that bugs him and we could solve it." But when she says something like, "When you do this, it really upsets me", he shuts down or tells her to stop being emotional. That's dismissive. It's a slammed door in the face.

Eventually, she stops talking completely.


Hmmm. Part of this is just bad channels of communication. This can be his fault, but it can also be BOTH their faults, and I personally suspect it often is.

As an example to apply to the above -- has she tried other mechanisms to get through to him? Has she ever made an open statement that she is exceedingly unhappy about something, that they need to start talking through it, or it's not going to bode well?

I'm sure there are guys who would ignore this, but I think it's a lot less likely with my generation and younger -- we were raised with the whole "communications thing" from the start. Educational background can also be highly relevant -- I'll ack I don't hang much with non-college educated people, so the neanderthal thing may apply more in the non-college group.

The key point is, if there is no communication happening, then you have BOTH failed. He may have done more to prevent communcation but, as a spouse, part of the trick, like figuring how to teach addition to your kids, is figuring out what method to use to transmit the information (in our divorce case, "Houston, we have a problem").

And lest you imagine somehow that men are the only ones who don't communicate, please consider the following interaction -- which is sufficiently cliched that you know it's typical, even if not of you:

"HMMPH!!"
"Um, is something wrong?"
"No!"
(two minutes pass)
"HMMPH!!"
"Ok. Something is wrong. What?"
"There's nothing wrong!"
(eyes roll) "OK."
(four minutes pass)
"HMMPH!!"
"OK, something is clearly bugging you. WHAT?"
"If YOU DON'T KNOW, why should I tell you!!!"

Right -- men are supposed to read your minds. We are supposed to have known what we did wrong. We are supposed to have realized afterwards, that what we did was wrong.

And we are clearly, clearly, even more in the wrong for not having committed Hari Kiri the moment we did it, in abject shame and humiliation for such an inexcusable transgression.

And if you protest too much about the validity of the above, I also cite for you "The Rules":
1. The Female always makes THE RULES.
2. THE RULES are subject to change without notice.
3. No Male can possible know all THE RULES.
4. If the Female suspects the Male knows all THE RULES, she must immediately change some of THE RULES
5. The Female is never wrong.
6. If it appears the Female is wrong, it is because of a flagrant misunderstanding caused by something the Male did or said wrong.
7. If Rule 6 applies, the Male must apologize immediately for causing the misunderstanding.
8. The Female can change her mind at any time.
9. The Male must never change his mind without the express, written consent of The Female.
10. The Female has every right to be angry or upset at any time.
11. The Male must remain calm at all times, unless the Female wants him to be angry or upset.
12. The Female must, under no circumstances, let the Male know whether she wants him to be angry or upset.
13. The Male is expected to read the mind of the Female at all times.
14. At all times, what is important is what the Female meant, not what she said.
15. If the Male doesn't abide by THE RULES, it is because he can't take the heat, lacks backbone, and is a wimp.
16. If the Male, at any time, believes he is right, he must refer to Rule #5.


Now, this is, of course, humor -- but behind most humor (and this is no exception) is a large grain of truth.

Both my own created scenario and The Rules above, tie strongly to issues women have with proper communication. And some of them may also play into a male's resistance to communicate. He may be worried about a woman's reaction if he says the Wrong Thing -- even if it ties to his feelings about something that needs to be discussed.

Women tend to have "long memories" -- if, during one of these discussions, you took something said weeks or months ago and turned it into an issue, it discourages him to get into such discussions. Why get battered over something done weeks, months, and sometimes even years ago? If you don't think this can make a guy reluctant to talk about issues, problems, etc., you're imagining things.

One bit of advice for all women: If you didn't bring it up THEN, and unless it's a recurring problem, if it's over a week old, SHUT UP. No matter how much you WANT to make an issue of it, STFU.

It's a common female trait that really, really pisses guys off, thus closing down the lines of communication, because WE GENERALLY DON'T DO THAT. Either we talk about it when it happens or we let it go. And we don't bring it back up again to renew the fight or argument over it once it's been hashed out. That's not a guarantee about past events, but it's commonly the case. We don't usually hold grudges.

My point here is that I think that there ARE guys who just don't communicate well, and so they DO take a slap in the face to get their attention (so one suggestion: If things ARE to the point where it's bad, make the slap BEFORE you get so pissed off that it's going to be hard to resolve it. Do have a fight over something, but, instead of putting it aside to fester, Do go spend the weekend with your mother. Do go spend the night with your GF. Make the Slap earlier, rather than later, when it may be too late.

Because he's probably not clueless because he doesn't care, he's just focused improperly on things that (hopefully) are less important to him, but which seem more important at the moment.

Or maybe he's aware, but hoping, like most, that if he ignores the problem it may go away... and this does work all too often for it to not be a valid coping strategy.

Communication failures are usually failures of both sides -- one side of imagination, one side of proper focus.

Posted by: OBloody Hell at June 10, 2008 03:09 AM

Jeff, if I may point out:

It may make you feel better to be brutal and harsh in your statements (God know I've been known to do it -- but I usually reserve it for demonstrated idiots, not the general populace), but it does little to advance your ideas or discussion about them.

Example:
> A woman's orgasms are a woman's responsibility. If she isn't getting what she wants, she has to take steps to fix it. Your body, your responsibility. Grow up. Jeeesh.

On some levels, what you say is correct. A woman should take a certain responsibility for making a man know what works for her. She should not expect him to read her mind. Probably the best way is during post-coital "pillow talk", and, I'll more than concur, it works best if she can get it across without sounding critical or instructional, but either ascribing an action which he didn't do (but you can fool him into thinking he did) which you know you like, or complimenting him on doing something right.

I'm going to presume that this is somewhat what you meant -- but what you said sounded very much like "I got mine, baby, you're on your own!"

When I was younger, I had always heard about women faking it, and wondered about that. When I was twenty, I finally got the missing piece:
most guys can't hold off indefinitely. As a matter of fact, for most guys (according to statistics I've seen quoted), it's somewhere between 90 seconds and five minutes from insertion to ejaculation.

Given that women tend to take somewhere between ten and fifteen minutes, the little light in my head starts flashing.

Given those two pieces of data, I can see why women have problems with a lot of guys not satisfying them.

Now, the fact is, most guys can learn to hold off that. There are a number of mental techniques, and other things (I gather Tantric techniques are helpful in this regard), which can help make sure that you both get off together, or at least that you both get off.

And this is the sense in which a woman is responsible -- she has to work with the guy to make him recognize that she needs more time, and that he needs to learn to hold off, and to help him practice it and be patient with him learning it. This in addition to preferred techniques and or positions (some positions work better for some women, and since the shape of a man's penis is fairly variable (curvature is not uncommon, and this can make symmetrical positions have asymmetrical effects), even that can make what works with two different men be different.

Jeff, your words come across wrong. They reflect a lot of pent-up anger and resentment.

The fact is, that anger and resentment, assuming it's there, may well be fully justified.

But ya know what? The universe doesn't give a crap. The women you NOW encounter don't know why you're angry or resentful. They DO know that they didn't cause it, so they have no interest in being victims of it.

So your best bet is to work to let go of that anger and resentment. It's not conducive to forming a healthy relationship.

And this, I believe, is the sense Grim meant when he said that may be part of your problem. If your attitude comes off that way in the early stages, I'll guarantee you you won't make it to any later ones.

Posted by: OBloody Hell at June 10, 2008 03:53 AM

It may make you feel better to be brutal and harsh in your statements (God know I've been known to do it -- but I usually reserve it for demonstrated idiots, not the general populace), but it does little to advance your ideas or discussion about them. (OBloody Hell)

Mr. Hell, this is blog with snark written all over it. But I guess that's the chivalry crap Grim keeps talking about: guys must write like 18th century gentlemen, while women get to be uppity little snarks. Sorry, I'm not buying that.

As for advancing my ideas, I get you. But like I said, this is snarkville, with "high and to the reich" and all that.

And this is the sense in which a woman is responsible (Obloody Hell)

If you will read my subsequent response to Cass, you will see that I extend her "team sport" metaphor to precisely the points you have made.

Ah, but it is the manner of expression that's getting to you, yes? It's the direct, "a woman's orgasms are a woman's responsibility (Jeff)." It "smacks" of wham, bam, thank you ma'am? Do you think maybe, just maybe, it was intentionally provacative?

Hey! Maybe it was designed to show, shockingly, that women are actually in control of their own sexuality? That complaints about men are legitimate only after women communicate and train up their partners? ("Train up" to keep with the team metaphor.) That given the inevitable variability of taste, manner, and physiology, such "train ups" are inevitable too?

Ya' think?

Jeff, your words come across wrong. They reflect a lot of pent-up anger and resentment...And this, I believe, is the sense Grim meant when he said that may be part of your problem. If your attitude comes off that way in the early stages, I'll guarantee you you won't make it to any later ones. (OBloody Hell).

Oh bloody hell! Not another mind-reading, amateur psychologist. You're taking my recent blog debate and extrapolating to real-life relationships. Huh? See this is the kind of stuff that gets me all polemically. At least give me a Tarot reading before you slap me around like that.

Mr. Hell, there's this little thing called rhetorical context. The old rhetoricians called it kairos. When you take informal, snarky, contentious blog debates and try to make them into first dates --- dude, that's dumb.

This 'aint a first date. This is a debate. I shouldn't have the same attitude in a debate that I have on a date. I shouldn't treat women with whom I debate like it's our 50th anniversary dinner. That would be stupid. I have many faults, but stupidity isn't one of them, Mr. Hell.

My attitude is intentional and authentic. We've come to expect men to to submerge their passion under a cheap, smelly veneer of Chesterton quotes and faux chivalry.

No! The world needs a good polemic now and then. Men need to tell women the unvarnished truth. Men must stop allowing women to burden men with impossible responsibilities, like female sexuality. Men must come to expect women to speak up when they want something, and to subject their reasons to scrutiny just like everyone else. Men must expect women to be team players, not helpless creatures in silent anguish because they can't find their own g-spot. In short, men must begin to treat women like adults, not helpless little girls.

Protests about style and attitude are really just rhetorical attacks designed to disarm the opposition. Aint' gonna' happen.

So, if my attitude offends. Tough. To quote a master of rhetorical attitude and soft expression, "the universe doesn't give a crap."

Think of me as the universe.

Posted by: Jeff at June 10, 2008 07:50 AM

I could be wrong, but I don't think women do that as readily. Girls don't seem to have this kind of inter-reliability...

Don't forget the context of the example. That inter-reliability / mutual reliance evolved from necessity -- the "Band of Brothers" didn't bond overnight, like epoxy. When your life depends on working in concert with other people and their lives depend on *you*, you get good at reading one another after a few weeks -- and really, really good after a few months.

Girls -- with the exception of organized team sports such as basketball, volleyball or quilting -- just don't get as much practice...

Posted by: BillT at June 10, 2008 10:10 AM

We've come to expect men to to submerge their passion under a cheap, smelly veneer of Chesterton quotes and faux chivalry.

Those terms are unfairly dismissive. They remind me of the recent Obama "Lightworker" piece, where the fellow from San Francisco was saying that he had spoken to: "spiritually advanced people I know (not coweringly religious, mind you, but deeply spiritual)."

There's no justification for the disdain he expressed toward the religious, and neither is there cause to use such terms as "cheap" or "faux" for the principles that have guided my life. I wish you would say, "to 'channel their passion' through a 'rich, layered filter' of Chesterton quotes and genuine chivalry," if you please. :)

After all, this isn't wood paneling, it's the living tree.

You and I are doing two different things with that Robert Duvall quote. He says, "Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most." That "may or may not" means that there is not just ambiguity on the point, but that it's impossible to finally know. A lot of these are questions of faith: that good always, eventually, triumphs over evil. That may not be true -- we can point to evidence that it might not be true.

Yet we can also point to ways in which that evidence isn't final: an evil man may win today, but he may be undone tomorrow, or in twelve years; and he always must be looking over his shoulder, so he suffers a punishment the just man never does; and death will claim him eventually, and after that, who knows what becomes of him? It is a question of faith.

You tend to resolve that tension in the negative: that, being asked to believe something that "may not be true" is to be asked to believe in a definite lie (even if it may be a "noble" lie). You tend to regard these issues, which "may or may not be true," as deceptions or illusions.

Yet there is no real reason to prefer to resolve the tension that way, than to resolve it the other way. We really don't know. We must decide to believe.

You are certainly free to choose to disbelieve in anything that cannot be proven true. That is also an affirmative act of faith, however: the act of rejection of things that may be true. It is neither more nor less certain than the act I perform by embracing ideals that may not be.

Posted by: Grim at June 10, 2008 10:48 AM

I'm in over my head in this one now, I think, I don't have the philosophical background to deal with what's popping up. I will admit right up front that I get impatient with philosophy sometimes because I want to work out a method of dealing with a situation right now. However...

Jeff, I don't find your method of dialogue any more productive than speaking with a radfem. You call it speaking truth that women need, I call it a conversation ender. Not all women are like you portray nor are men always the chumps. This is not a 'girl thing' on my part. After having heard too such from the "other" side too I simply find such dialogue based on the "sins" of EITHER sex pointless regardless of the sex of the speaker.

Ladies and gentlemen, I don't see that having a baby race is going to win anything in the end--we're already outnumbered and *have been all along.* What is more important is to protect that culture by defending it and inculcating it in those who are born here OR come here--this country is a nation of immigrants and that's what we've always done in the past. I am not against children, I thoroughly enjoyed my own. I simply don't see that as a practical reason to have children. My comment about farming was a point about farming being far more mechanized now and in far fewer hands. I don't know anyone who needs to have the kids home to work the fields for their own family's food, for instance. My grandmother grew up on a farm and all eight of the kids had jobs to do to make a living on that farm, as did nearly all of the original immigrants on my family tree only three or four generations from me. Only one family connected in any way to me even owns a farm now. I am far more concerned that people have children because they actually *want* children AND have the number they can support. I didn't have a third child, even though it would have been possible and I wanted one, because I didn't think it was right to do so under conditions I began to see were coming. In the end, society would not have been served by a third child I might not have been able to care for properly. Sheer numbers is not the answer; raising them to be productive members of society and protecting that culture is.

What I was trying to do is show that *societal conditions have changed* and some of the obvious effects from that and perhaps why the old model can't work now. Feminism is "at fault" only insofar as it was the mechanism that allowed the changes to women's roles and choices in society. Yes, some people took those changes and ran with them but I tried to phrase my statements in a way that addressed the practical effects; this is where we are now and how do we cope? The injustices in divorce court are beginning to change (yes, I agree they exist); women are beginning to be assessed alimony and fathers are getting custody. The fact that I could not attend Harvard for grad school and my daughter could and did does not change the fact that I couldn't nor does it distract from the fact she did. The fact that some women are users and some men are cads in marriage does not mean all women are users and all men are cads, nor does it mean that marriage is automatically a no-win situation for either sex. Trying to discuss how to get to where we want to go from here on those starting points doesn't get anyone anywhere.

In my opinion (MY opinion) the old model of stay at home wife doesn't work for everyone any longer for practical reasons. I do happen to believe in marriage and children but don't believe the old model works and trying to impose it on new conditions is fruitless. Therefore, what changes do we need to make in that model and in how society operates that will make marriage more equitable for both and child-bearing less detrimental to women and more equitable for men in *today's* society? And therefore more desirable for both to marry and women to have those children? The situation as it stands is why I choose, perhaps only marginally, to try it again as a man if I had the chance. As I pointed out, women are human beings too and given the choice will take the course of action that benefits them the same as male members of Homo sapiens. There is no point in castigating only women for behaving as a *typical human being.*

I have talked to my son AND my daughter about how each gender views some things when each started dating and I explained to both about differing expectations each may have of the other. Neither one of them got any lecture about gender "sins." I raised them both to have a standard of acceptable behaviour for *people*. I am beginning to think that was not a good idea...

Posted by: Maggie100 at June 11, 2008 01:05 AM

obloodyhell--

Yep, that was your comment but there were some edits I think Cassandra made that obscured why I ended up in there!

You made an interesting comment: "Sorry, I never meant to be only negative about this quality -- I just think that women, as a result of inherent physical inferiority, have a cultural role and mileau which makes them replace the male aggressiveness and challenge behavior with a lot more infighting, backstabbing, and passive aggressive behaviors -- politics, if you will."

Thank you. I had always thought this was obvious. If one doesn't have the physical strength (or the right) to beat someone to a pulp then one finds another way to do it, human beings as they are. I always set this one in the column of "Unclear whether nature or nurture" simply because it could be attributable to either society and/or genes--and who can tell now?

And this one:

"I have gotten the impression from this and other input, that women don't have the capacity to rely on each other -- even friends -- the same way guys can. If I'm out with the guys, they'll usually do a pretty good job keeping me from doing something really stupid if I'm drunk or not thinking correctly (yeah, that's not always true, but they'll be there TRYING to watch my back, even if they don't do a good job)."

Recently in the course of talking about something else (college drinking, oddly enough) my daughter mentioned that when she went out intending to party hearty back then she always made sure that she was with at least a couple of dependable people she could trust. Story was kinda hair-raising for me but it turns out one got mentioned by name this time--and it was a he. Big change from my generation at college, I would have made sure the 'watch the back' types were *female.* This was a male friend, not a date, but yet a male she trusted implicity and apparently worthy of that trust. Perhaps things are changing in the generation growing up now?

Posted by: Maggie100 at June 11, 2008 01:29 AM

BillT: "Don't forget the context of the example. That inter-reliability / mutual reliance evolved from necessity -- the "Band of Brothers" didn't bond overnight, like epoxy. When your life depends on working in concert with other people and their lives depend on *you*, you get good at reading one another after a few weeks -- and really, really good after a few months.

Girls -- with the exception of organized team sports such as basketball, volleyball or quilting -- just don't get as much practice..."

I tend to agree with this, but it will be interesting to see if it holds true in the future. There were no organized team sports for girls at my high school but my daughter played lacrosse in high school. I suspect there are some women in the military, police, firefighting...that are getting that practice now. Might see a difference in the coming generations.

By the way, quilting bees were not a *team* sport--they were very, very individually competitive. :D

Posted by: Maggie100 at June 11, 2008 01:39 AM

You tend to resolve that tension in the negative: that, being asked to believe something that "may not be true" is to be asked to believe in a definite lie (even if it may be a "noble" lie). You tend to regard these issues, which "may or may not be true," as deceptions or illusions (Grim).

You are still making the same error, Grim. I have already said several times, that I generally agree with you on ends. I disagree with you on the means. Therefore, the locus of our dispute is not what ends we believe in, nor how we are to believe in them, nor whether we believe in them --- but rather how we are to best achieve those ends.

This is an elementary, and obvious, point. I have repeated is time after time. We disagree on means.

You think chivalry will best attain friendship between the sexes, and I don't. This is a disagreement over means.

Those terms are unfairly dismissive. They remind me of the recent Obama "Lightworker" piece, where the fellow from San Francisco was saying that he had spoken to: "spiritually advanced people I know (not coweringly religious, mind you, but deeply spiritual)" (Grim).

Ouch. comparing me, a conservative, to Obama!? Heh. I feel like the Black Knight from Monty Python's The Holy Grail.

There's no justification for the disdain he expressed toward the religious, and neither is there cause to use such terms as "cheap" or "faux" for the principles that have guided my life. I wish you would say, "to 'channel their passion' through a 'rich, layered filter' of Chesterton quotes and genuine chivalry," if you please (Grim).

Done. But with an explanation. First, I'm a big fan of Chesterton. I wish more people would read What's Wrong with the World, especially the chapter entitled "The Emancipation of Domesticity."

The shortest way of summarizing the position is to say that woman stands for the idea of Sanity; that intellectual home to which the mind must return after every excursion on extravagance. The mind that finds its way to wild places is the poet's; but the mind that never finds its way back is the lunatic's. There mus in every machine be a part moves and a part that is unchangeable. And many of the phenomena which moderns hastily condemn are really parts of this position of the woman as the centre and pillar of health. Much of what is called her subservience, even her pliability, is merely the subservience and pliability of a universal remedy; she varies as medicines vary, with the disease. She has to be an optimist to the morbid husband, a salutary pessimist to the happy-go-lucky husband. She has to prevent the Quixote from being put upon, and the bully from putting upon others. (Chesterton)

I don't have a problem with Chesterton. I don't even have a problem with chivalry, in situ. I have a problem with chivalry, taken from its native and natural social context, laid as a duty upon modern men who lack corresponding rights.

When I speak of a veneer, I mean to suggest that this lack of a corresponding right cannot be covered up by noble ends. A piece of furniture with a veneer of gorgeous birch over particle board is still furniture made of particle board.

You tend to resolve that tension in the negative: that, being asked to believe something that "may not be true" is to be asked to believe in a definite lie (even if it may be a "noble" lie). You tend to regard these issues, which "may or may not be true," as deceptions or illusions (Grim).

Again, I don't dispute the things which are true, but I disagree with you about how to get them.

Socrates' noble lie to Glaucon was not a dispute of the ends of action, but a means to move Galucon towards those good ends. Now, if I understand you right, you think chivalry is a means to move us towards more amicable relations between the sexes.

I don't agree. This is where we dispute.

You're aims are noble. How are we to attain them?

Posted by: Jeff at June 11, 2008 10:05 AM

Jeff, I don't find your method of dialogue any more productive than speaking with a radfem. You call it speaking truth that women need, I call it a conversation ender (Maggie100).

OK. I'll bite, Maggie. Why don't you try to have a conversation with me, without comparing me to a radical feminist. See what happens. You might be surprised.

Not all women are like you portray nor are men always the chumps. This is not a 'girl thing' on my part. After having heard too such from the "other" side too I simply find such dialogue based on the "sins" of EITHER sex pointless regardless of the sex of the speaker (Maggie).

OK. It's indisputable that the behavior of men towards women and most especially women towards men has changed radically in the last forty years. When I use the word 'radical,' I mean it in the semiotic sense of "the root of." This change in behavior reflects, I believe, a change in foundational beliefs about men and women.

There is a huge, HUGE, literature reflecting the modern women's dim view of men. From best-selling books to the most rarefied heights of the Ivory Tower.

The prevalence of man-bashing, man-hating, feminist women is the fault of feminism. Let's not minimize that. Wendy McElroy, Christina Hoff Sommers, Judith Levine, and Warren Farrel have concluded that this is not some isolated phenomena, limited to a few individuals. It's general enough to warrant a generalization.

I can state my position concisely, thus: Women have come to despise masculinity; feminism is the main cause; weak men are to blame because they won't speak the plain truth to women.

What I was trying to do is show that *societal conditions have changed* and some of the obvious effects from that and perhaps why the old model can't work now. Feminism is "at fault" only insofar as it was the mechanism that allowed the changes to women's roles and choices in society. Yes, some people took those changes and ran with them but I tried to phrase my statements in a way that addressed the practical effects; this is where we are now and how do we cope? (Maggie)

Yes, that's the question. I think we start with frank, honest dialog. It means we must examine the behaviors of women in the aggregate as well as men's. I find that most women are unwilling to do it.

Posted by: Jeff at June 11, 2008 10:33 AM

When talking about dating experiences, Cassandra has noted the discount her experience. It's true. I do discount it. It's only fair that I tell y'all why.


  • Cassandra says unbelievable things. She says she's never met a bitter, man-hating woman. Never. Ever. Not once. Bullshit.

  • Cassandra overstates the scope of her experience. I think I'm right to say this, but correct me if I'm wrong. Cassandra has never dated a woman. Women behave very differently in the company of men than with women. Until Casssandra dates a large number of women, I think she defer to those of us that have. All her experience really amounts to is a woman, commenting on the experience of a man, which experience she's never even had. Yet, still the stridently maintains she knows better.

  • Cassandra doesn't take care when referencing the experience of others. For example, she's mentioned that her two sons have no trouble finding nice women. Well, sure, I don't either, but I have to wade through a very large number of man-hating bitches to find them. I never brought home the bitches to mama, but only the nice ladies. Cassandra's experience is therefore not equivalent to the experience of a single man dating women. She's like the last Chinese emperor, whose court kept telling him the war was won the good news even as the Communist forces were crashing the gates.

I'm not impugning Cassandra's motives, only her cocksure attitude and her erroneous evaluation of her own experience as equal to the experience of real, dating men.

Posted by: Jeff at June 11, 2008 10:52 AM

1. I don't have a "cocksure" attitude. I offered my experience as a counterpoint to yours.

2. And neither of my grown sons, nor any of their now married friends, were "real, single dating men"?

Okay.

3. Again, several people have commented that you really seem to dislike women. That comment alone really strikes me as hostile. All I did was say that if my sons and their friends had no trouble finding decent women, it would seem there must be more than a few out there.

Apparently anyone who has the temerity to offer any counterpoint to anything you say is "cocksure". But your discounting my experience (and that of my two single sons) is not "cocksure".

Got it.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 11, 2008 11:08 AM

Also, the characterization of any unsuccessful dating experience as the woman is a "man-hating bitch"?

In all my years of dating, I had a few relationships that didn't work out. I just figured that the guy and I weren't right for each other, we parted company on cordial term and remained friends. I didn't project the mismatch onto the other person.

Sheesh.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 11, 2008 11:11 AM

Jeff, "women" don't do anything.

You have never dated "women".

You date individuals. Try thinking of them as such. You'll probably have a lot better luck. Good lord.

Posted by: Baggage Check #11 at June 11, 2008 11:13 AM

Also, the characterization of any unsuccessful dating experience as the woman is a "man-hating bitch"? (Cassandra)

Aw, you're being disingenuous. I didn't say that, you did. Sure, I've had unsuccessful dating experiences with nice ladies with different interests and life goals. But I've also had unsuccessful dating experiences with man-hating bitches, too.

I don't have a "cocksure" attitude. I offered my experience as a counterpoint to yours. (Cassandra)

I've offered objections to the way you warrant evidence form your experience.

2. And neither of my grown sons, nor any of their now married friends, were "real, single dating men"? (Cassandra)

Here again, you're disingenuous. I've affirmed your son's experience, but not yours. Nice try, though.

Their experience is not your experience. Have you asked them if they met a number of man-haters in their dating life? How many women did they reject and why?

Again, several people have commented that you really seem to dislike women. (Cassandra)

Yeah. Women often say that when they can't justify their ideas in a debate. Like I've said before, I reject mind-reader rhetoric. It's just dumb.

I don't like it when men hide behind women's skirts in the rough-and-tussle world of debate. I dislike it just as much when women hide behind their own skirts.

Jeff, "women" don't do anything. You have never dated "women". You date individuals. Try thinking of them as such. You'll probably have a lot better luck. Good lord. (Baggage Check #11)

Aww. I've gone through this many times. Even in the post of which you complain I take pains to justify the use of generalizations. If you have an issue, please attack my reasons for the generalizations, rather than just stating you think it's wrong.

And, better luck at what exactly? What are you talking about?

Posted by: Jeff at June 11, 2008 12:07 PM

As a matter of fact, I did ask them :p

I asked them both. They both encountered women they didn't like for one reason or another, but oddly enough, no one either one felt they would characterize as a "man-hating bitch".

And Jeff, you are the one who is doing the mind reading. You have no idea what my attitude is. Calling my attitude "cocksure" is... what?

I have no trouble justifying my own ideas. I'm merely pointing out that you are doing the very things you accuse others of. You simply don't like it, especially when several people objectively read your comments and all see the same thing. Simply repeating the same thing over and over won't make the observation go away.

Interpersonal relations are very much a function of how you treat others: as you sow, so shall you reap, and so on. If you seem to be encountering more than your share of 'man-hating bitches' and other people don't have the same experience (and they don't) they're going to wonder why?

If you then make bitter and derogatory broad brush comments about women and how spoiled and messed up they are as a general class of people, they're going to start wondering if perhaps you don't have a few issues there? You can explain all you want. We don't have to find your explanations convincing, Jeff.

That's just the way it is, and no amount of belittling insults will make the lack of logic go away :p

Posted by: Cassandra at June 11, 2008 12:32 PM

Jeff, I try not to make blanket judgements about anyone based on either generalities of a class or my own experiences with single members of any group. This is not a virtue on my part, I simply got tired of all the "girls can't" growing up. Then I got tired of being told "because I'm white", "you're one of them college kids", "you are betraying the women's movement by quilting" (no, I'm not kidding) followed by "you're just a stay at home mother, what do you know", "a working mother is neglecting her children", etc, etc, etc. My own sense of fairness made me decide to at least *try* not to do that to others, even after going through a messy divorce from a man who, *over time*, ended up fitting quite a few of those negative male stereotypes. This did not lead me to believe that all men were bad, and I did remarry. To a man who was married before too and got taken too. No, we did not bond over bad divorces, we simply learned what to look for in a partner.

However, the terms in which you have stated your beliefs here make me doubt that I personally can have any such dialogue with you. That's me personally, because of my own personality. A statement about 'women *routinely* shooting their husbands in their sleep and escaping jail' sounds just as extreme to me as 'all sex is rape' from the other side to me. I have found all attempts on my part to talk with those from EITHER side who start from this attitude is ultimately frustrating and goes nowhere. I simply don't know how to manage it and I get tired of trying.

You conflate differences between men and women, conditions for both at different times in history, attempts to equalize opportunities, changes in the realities of contemporary society, and misguided (or yes, punitive) payback efforts by some into one big, bad, all women are nasty tangled mess. In this latest post you state "It means we must examine the behaviors of women in the aggregate as well as men's." Taken with your previous statements it appears to me that you are still blaming *everything* on nasty behaviour on the part of women as if that's the only thing that changed in the past century, all by itself. And yes, at this point I am placing you into a group, my previous comment not withstanding, one labeled "discussion types I know I personally can't talk with", right along with radfem types of the same ilk.

To ME: the past is irrelevant, if that means trying to "prove" which sex was most oppressed or which sex is the nastiest. If you're looking for that from me I decline to play. History is useful in illuminating reasons WHY something came into play and I personally consider that important. If we don't understand how something came to be how can we formulate solutions that work? In the past if a woman could divorce she *might* have gotten money but she had to leave the children behind, no matter what the reasons for divorce. Then came the Victorian upper class nonsense about the cradle-rocking hand and the growing stereotypes about motherhood and...voila we have the situation about mothers often getting the children automatically. I KNOW this can be a crock of shit in individual cases; I have a sister who should never have had full custody of the kids, and my own father was more nurturing than my mother. Except that the husband was more interested in being a stepfather to the children of the woman he left my sister for and at the time my parents were members of a church (religion again) that said divorce was forbidden except for desertion or adultury. My father was too honest to do either. And my mother was difficult in large part because HER father DID desert her mother for another woman and left her to support herself with two small children in the 1930's. Very, very, few things are due to a single cause, and human behaviour is not one of them.

Even in looking at divorce our starting points differ:

You appear to believe that all that's needed is for women to stop being nasty parasites who strip men of their money and assets in divorce.

I say maybe. Equity is needed and I see no reason for a man to pay alimony/spousal support *when assests are at least roughly equal*---except that many women are trying to deal with the reality that having the children and leaving the workforce for however long has long term consequences for the woman and not the man. In individual cases the woman may make out like a bandit (and no I don't think that's right) but changing the divorce laws re support was an attempt to recognize the fact that the *past* model of stay at home mother DID contribute over all to the welfare of the family and acknowledge the fact that woman in the past did not have the opportunity to be self-supporting after marriage (and often before). The reality today STILL is that for most women with children their standard of living goes down after a divorce. So, the solution apparently being worked out in response to that is that women are having fewer or no children so that they can continue to support themselves. So divorce laws appear to be lagging behind the fact that more women do have self-staining careers and need to be changed at least when there are no children.

You appear to see the entire problem as nasty behaviour on the part of women; I see it as laws lagging behind how society has changed as well as conflict between apparently contradictory expectations of women driven by both biological and societal factors along with past history. Where's the common ground to start a dialogue?

Posted by: Maggie100 at June 11, 2008 12:35 PM

By the way, quilting bees were not a *team* sport--

I know some ladies who would posit that each individual's effort has a synergistic effect on the end product in what they refer to as a "Group Grope." However, each one has also taken a scad of individual prizes.

*And* I was wondering who'd pick up on that one first...

Posted by: BillT at June 11, 2008 02:21 PM

I quilt. :D. Nor am I adverse to admitting that women are competitive. Energy of synergy comes from trying to out do each other without admitting that's what's going on. Even bigger :D

Posted by: Maggie100 at June 11, 2008 11:05 PM

Lord did this thing go boom...
i had to stop when someone was recomending brainwashing children and they didnt realize that thats what they were suggesting.

it was also interesting on how so many people had all these opinions on hope to remake man and tell man what values to take so that we can have family like my parents and grandparents had on both sides...

how none of them understood jeff being more pragmatic than a leftist, but not being leftist.

he was just explaining the rules in play. others kept on with visions of some form of imposed education that would help.

jeff was more saying that all these false perspectives have us in a knot. our ancestors behaved the way they did because they had a clearer view of the outcomes and were closer to nature to know what it was like, while also having a self love that they valued children and family for legacy.

technically while we are all arguing down here on the lawn, the top people are not exactly following what they have been advocating. though everyone is too busy arguing some bizarre points that could only be accomplished by a totalitarian kind of state. never realizing that whatever would actually come out would never be that utopian vision they are arguing.

in a way, the situation created has festered for 40 years to the point were everyone is ready for such a state to fix things. all the while thinking most of whats going on is spontaneous and not nudged hard all over.

interesting thread...

Posted by: Artfldgr at June 12, 2008 12:25 AM

"i had to stop when someone was recomending brainwashing children and they didnt realize that thats what they were suggesting."
If you are making a reference to my comment,
"taking the time to provide council, or training if you prefer, to children and teenagers on topics that would include but not necessarily be limited to the legal and ethical responsibilities you have for your mate and your offspring, the economics of a partnership, the realities of a failure of the partnership and so on..."
I have to wonder if you consider that the time you spent in school studying math, science, history, psych, whatever, -yeah I know, an assumption on my part, was brainwashing?

Regarding,

"clearer view of the outcomes"
If everyone has such a muddled view of the outcome, I guess a lot of us are just lucky to have been happily married for 3+ decades. Plodding and working our way through our little lives, successfully raising well adjusted and educated children, all while maintaining close friendships with people of both sexes. If only I had a clearer view of the outcome... But as I've already admitted, I've apparently led a sheltered life since I do not agonize over every individual who does not meet my definition of a proper woman or a man in full. But then I suppose that I have to agree with what someone else mentioned earlier, and that being that it's doubtful that there is a nickel's worth of difference between myself and my father or grandfather for that matter. And in my case, that covers not fifty, but a bit over one hundred and thirty odd years. Sheesh, I must be woefully out of touch to have managed to get this far without serious incident.

The

"and were closer to nature to know what it was like"
lost this old country boy. If I were any closer to nature, I probably would not feel the need to field-dress my game, I'd just gnaw on it on the spot.

After all the tangents, from uber-masculine black men taking all the white women to now the totalitarian state. Heheh...

Cass, there can be no doubt that your men & women threads chum the water.

Posted by: bthun at June 12, 2008 10:57 AM

...your men & women threads chum the water.

Yup. And 'midst the threshers and makos and Great Whites, some of us are just

*ahem*

pilot fish.

Posted by: BillT at June 12, 2008 03:03 PM

Ooooh! Number 300!

Μολὼν λαβέ!

Posted by: BillT at June 12, 2008 04:47 PM

"jeff was more saying that all these false perspectives have us in a knot. our ancestors behaved the way they did because they had a clearer view of the outcomes and were closer to nature to know what it was like, while also having a self love that they valued children and family for legacy"

No, artfldgr, he was not. His posts here were a rerun of the radfem line. To wit:

The opposite sex is ____________ (fill in a pejorative adjective of your choice here).

All problems are the fault of the other sex.

Nothing will be solved until the other sex admits their faults.

If the other sex will just admit this everything will be solved.

This is where the cherrypicking of history usually begins--with both sides throwing examples of the other sex's perfidy. This is usually where 'women kill their husbands' and men kill their wives' examples come in. He tossed that one off too.

And it ends with each side trying to claim the 'superior' position of victimhood.

Men and woman are the flip sides of the same species coin. While there are certain broad generalities that might be considered "typical" of each sex there are more that are common to both as members of that same species.

An example? Look up the definition of byzantine and machiavellian. Notice that Machiavelli did not name his book "The Princess"? "Back-handed" techniques are not unique to women: when physical confrontation is blocked for whatever reason human beings go for the flank attack. As was pointed out, just look at politics. Until very recently politics was all male.

No one gets anywhere by villifying the opposite sex. All it does it prevent attempts at solutions--or creates bad law.

Posted by: Maggie100 at June 12, 2008 07:57 PM

"Yup. And 'midst the threshers and makos and Great Whites, some of us are just

*ahem*

pilot fish."

And some of us are nothing more than tomorrows SOS, stuff on a shingle, just waiting to be cut up.

Posted by: Charlie Tuna at June 12, 2008 09:42 PM

nice comments maggie.

though i dont have time, so forgive not a better treatment of it. but how did we get to this part of hating each sex?

there is a clear history of it.. and it isnt tought in womens studies courses. from a small mention in george kennans long letter to lots of other things we have forgotten.

before gender marxism, the sexes didnt see each other this way... i am old enough to remember.

before women developed their personal versions of modern feminism we understood when they said comrade in meetings and what it meant (see erin pizzey). the personal versions let the leaders, who are not the kind of people i see talking here at all, gather all these people in opposition under one presumed umbrella and make changes.

i was waiting for someone other than me to give figures. most divorces are started by women. the majority reason is not the male cheated. children are awarded 95% of the time to the mother. NOW and feminists groups have fought very hard to strike down presumption of shared parenting. peonage is back. and we dont even know the history of these things sources.


under materialism (which is not western), matter is all that matters, not how matter thinks. so what is said is only said to move matter, people, around and get them to do what you want.
[hows this for machivellian to the max for you?]

this is the politics of socialism, which is against merit, and is the methods of revolution. you can read about it if you know where to read.

so it does not matter what you tell the horse to get it to move to the left, it only matters it moves. it opens the door to the person presuming all arguments are face value, and not take a step back, look at the situation, then asses what it is without the party line or correct interpretation.

if you look at serial monogamy vs monogamy, you will figure out that its a harem system. it also makes available an endless selection of women all experts for the people (male and female) to use. it allows the state to tax the work of women, which was untaxed before, and lower the amount paid to labor. the desire for security over everything else leads to the establishment of the most common form of government in mankinds history. the authoritarian state that tells you how to live, how to grow up, etc.


once you know the game, then your statement at the end becomes false. its a presumption.

the presumption is that no one gets anywhere by villifying the opposite sex.

thats not true... the feminists have managed to get to power the same way that others have. by selecting a hated group then villifying them in the feminist owned magazines that only women read and get advice from.

and male politicians along with females now have figured out that by doing this they can take our choice away. which is why marx said that any movement would only be successful through women, because its women that have always controlled things. topping from the bottom.

even hitler said the same thing. and both were pretty machiavellian... but so was dworkin, solanas, de bouvier, mckinnon, etc..

but remember we now know that kinsey molested the children and used pedophiles to get his research. so its s sham... and so was margeret meades work... a sham too... all for the sake of selling us on something that we would never accept if it was honest.

however, everyone is married to the theme they grew up hearing all their life over and over, and its very hard to crack that nut. no one wants the dissonance. i found out because my experience was even more dissonant. she faked her murder, disappeared... reappeared just before they were to indict me... cleaned out accounts, banrupted... took the kid to another state... eventually she took him and her two new kids and attempted to rob a bank with them with her. she served 1.5 in fed for it.. my son only visited me once since he was five, he will be 21 in two months.

the dissonance of a court system in which all this occured, and my being informed that men hav eno rights by several legal people (including a supreme court justice that was a family freind and was helping my case).

thats how one sided it was 15 years ago, and its worse now.


so i do know where jeff is coming from... i dont hate women.. and you would be surprised to believe htat jeff probably doesnt either. he knows who is to blame, but he also knows that despite whats being taught, put on tv, constantly rehashed in womens mags (ever notice they cycle over and over and drone the same stories rewritten like some tape loop), self help books, that women can choose not to listen to those messages if they wanted to.

i suspect that many women here have made that choice. they are probably the older ladies (not still college age, but i could be wrong about some)... and they as well as the person adminishing me when i never said who i was talking about, dont know what things are like NOW. (they knew that what they were talking about would amount to indoctrination and such. they tried to deny it and be offended by it, but that kind of education cant be anything else. even worse, none of us today know how do do what would be the point of the course. meanwhile, those people who DID have 60 year marraiges like both my grandparents and other family members live in a way that today they wont, which jeff was pointing out)

jeff is saying that the game has changed and what he sees is the end result after the premises blossom to flowers. a presumption was used to get the power to invade and make changes, now that thats done, the situation has to find its new balance.

that new balance is based on these real world forces. denying them doesnt get you to what it will be like. in a way, jeff is saying that you cant stand in the doorway... that the things that you thought would remain if you made fundemental changes (which were not inevitable, as we can choose how to live if we are not manipulated to abandon our life learning from family by not knowing them), are not going to remain.

which is why again the running to the state to force things. it comes from being promised something that wasnt true and now when it isnt working out, run to a powerful entity to fulfill the promise or feel cheated.

villifying also serves to blame the wrong group.. blame the leaders and advisers and all that, who asserted stuff that wasnt true, and still are doing that...

you would be surprised how much history, and law, and other things you go and read when they take your family away from you at the end of a gun for no reason of yours. you no longer are happy with third hand propagandic articles that tell you what something else said. you go to the sources, and you read them, and you start reading real histories, and seeig who voted..

then you no longer believe... you stop being a useful idiot... but you start being the one that everyone has to set straight on whats common knowlege... but they tell anecdotes as proof, i know several xxx's who have done this or that. or they quote false assertions in articles when those who have chcked the data have found that the original author either made up the figures, or made mistakes. i have even caught them claiming something was in a large boring report that was never in it. i have looked at textbooks and noticed whole categories of things removed or left out as if they never happen.

so you wake up... everone disagrees with you. they try to rationalize a way in which you can come back. they point out that you must be hateful of women.. even though feminism and women are not synonomous.. they never realise it.

i am married now... we are actually very happy... its not 30 years... but its really really sweet. the feminist downstairs that knows where i stand (A really nice woman whose life is in the crapper because she listened to bad advice) has tole me and my wife that of all the people she knows my wife has more freedom than any of them!!

and all this long way around is to talk not necessarily to maggie, but to conclude with a reference to her words, that we are like this because my wife doesnt vilify me.

my wife has freedom because we are partners, not gender class enemies.

then again, my wife is not american raised..

funny thing is i dont have to show or teach her anything. she would see what was being said and see his side!

she hasnt been inundated all her life with the pc message which tells her what the right perspective and position are to have. she sees things for herself and thinks a heck of a lot of it is sick.

i also find her to be terribly mentally resiliant and have a wonderful ability to not let life get to her.

we have it really good... her being this way makes me work extra hard. and we both are free and enjoy things spending lots of time with each other and her or my family.

i never went looking for it... but i knew the difference big time when i met her, her family, and the culture. everyone wonders how we match that, and its easy... we look at them like they are nuts...but then again, we have the values that jeff is talking about, so there is no how or anything like that. the cultures arent even different other than trappings and silly stuff. they are very much the same as what we USED to have...

its like night and day... no wonder women from india are marching in the streets AGAINST western ideas of how to live... they too would call such lessons brainwashing. as its state replacing family history, lessons, and cultural variation testing which ones are better than others. and even the recognition that some are better than others.

most wont see where jeff is coming from.. they are just going to try to correct him. convince him he is wrong. shame him.. and a bunch of other things... but they will not try to understand him.

and if someone else says they do... well they are in the other camp too and have to be told as well... not have that entertained and discussed... divide and coquer tell them that they dont understand... and then assert the party line, and same reflexive way.

its how things are now.. and it also depends on where you live too. city folk are ahead of the curve as far as what others will do a decade later as it spreads.

jeff was just showing that the old system was an intricate web of benifits and trades which ended up motivating us. we assumed or were told that this was natural an inside, it was how we were, even though we were also told we were blanks too.

the state cant replace natural motivation with force... even if the women think it can and want the state to get punitive... the state will get punitive, it already has... no one will believe it, because their measure of that is not in the action, but in the response.

if i guess it right... its no sweat off of jeffs back either way.. he gets the game, so he isnt subjected to it any more other than if the state crosses his path, but he can step out of the way.

the rest are confused and in denial. why else so many articles on where real men have gone... what the new man will be... etc..

they are trying to define something that will happen naturally, and it wont be what they are defining... it will be what will work for individual survival... this is the principal that jeff is working on, that in life its the individual that counts and its their interests that they will work for.

so he said its not in mens interest to make bad choices that have poor odds, and horribly bad negative consequences. its the women that are used to all mating historically... the men are used to the leaders getting the ladies and they finding something else to do for themselves if not.

its just how we are naturally... no one can legislate or indoctrinate that away without making a perverse broken person who is trained to respond in ways that are not in their interest.

Posted by: Artfldgr at June 12, 2008 10:01 PM

Artful,

"and they as well as the person adminishing me when i never said who i was talking about, dont know what things are like NOW."
Again, I do not know if you are addressing me, but I have no desire to admonish you or anyone else.

I think that I've confessed before that I have no interest in whether or not anyone agrees with me. Only my family and my small circle of friends really matter in that regard. But if you do mean my comment, I might have a vague idea of how things are now.

Up until a few years ago I worked for one of the largest corporations in the world. For a very long time I worked in varying capacities with men and women from all walks of life. From all levels of education, from most races and creeds. And before that I had the great good fortune to travel abroad, alot, on Uncle Sam's dime, interacting with other cultures up close and personal.

Now I recently saw one of my daughter married to a very fine young man. After I released her from a full-nelson upon the completion of her business degree plus a commitment from her to pursue her advanced degrees so that she could decide, with all options before her, what she wanted from life. And shortly afterwards I watched as my youngest decided to work and to go to college at the same time... on her own... The force is strong in that one, she has a lot of the old man's do it her own way in her. So I might have a bit of exposure to how things are today in spite of my old-fashioned attitudes and country ways.


And in spite of it all, or maybe as a result of it, and in spite of much of the commentary here, I still think that it comes down to the individual and the family. IMO, it is the duty of the parent(s) to teach the young to respect individuals based upon their actions, for who they are, if you'd rather... not what MVT, Hollywood, Madison Avenue, or any other transient or superficial influence might suggest. The young are much easier to train than the old, since the aged among us are more apt to be set in our ways with our attitudes filtered by our baggage and our bad experiences shading our perceptions, actions and interactions with others.

So the problem seems to me to be, and I will again confess that I am no expert -unlike so many others today, that so many children slip the bonds of guidance and instruction far too early and wind up with a superficial value system based upon little more than a 21st century entertain me addiction. Memememememe... it's all about MEEEEEE.

Of the roughly 6 billion souls on the planet, I have to believe that many, if not most, are good folks regardless of their sex, their creed, or their race.

Now having said all that, I'll just say that I'm happy for your good fortune in finding a person with which you can go through life.

Posted by: bthun at June 12, 2008 11:34 PM

Maggie willfully lies when she writes,

No, artfldgr, he was not. His posts here were a rerun of the radfem line. To wit: The opposite sex is ____________ (fill in a pejorative adjective of your choice here). All problems are the fault of the other sex. Nothing will be solved until the other sex admits their faults. If the other sex will just admit this everything will be solved.

But I've written things like this,

I can state my position concisely, thus: Women have come to despise masculinity; feminism is the main cause; weak men are to blame because they won't speak the plain truth to women.

It's pretty clear that I locate causes with feminism and blame with men.

Maggie, you need to woman up. It's both necessary and proper to examine the behaviors of both sexes --- in the aggregate.

I've invited you to have a conversation. It's you who's refusing. Maybe you just want to make dishonest statements about what others have written and then run away?

Isn't that what the radical feminists do?

Posted by: Jeff at June 13, 2008 11:00 AM

As a matter of fact, I did ask them :p I asked them both. They both encountered women they didn't like for one reason or another, but oddly enough, no one either one felt they would characterize as a "man-hating bitch" (Cassandra).

When? Before I prompted you or after?

So let's get this straight. Neither of your sons has met a man-hater. Never. Sorry, your sons are lying to you. That's just not believable.

And Jeff, you are the one who is doing the mind reading. You have no idea what my attitude is. Calling my attitude "cocksure" is... what (Cassandra)?

Heh. Your nto very good at this are you? You claim confidence in your experience -- explicitly. I do not claim to "dislike women" or the like. You're making things up, about your experience and about what other people say. I'm not.

I have no trouble justifying my own ideas. I'm merely pointing out that you are doing the very things you accuse others of. You simply don't like it, especially when several people objectively read your comments and all see the same thing. Simply repeating the same thing over and over won't make the observation go away (Cassandra)

Not so. Women here have said things like the very use of the term 'man-hating-bitch' means you don't like women. But there is no reason to the believe this. I don't like man-hating bitches. I like lots of other kinds of women, though. Still, I really don't like man-hating bitches.

I get to believe you when you claim to have confidence in your "experience." If you can produce a direct statement, made by me, that I dislike women --- I'll capitulate. So find one.

It's a typical female tactic: make the conversation about the "style" and the "attitude" of the man. Radical feminists have been using that tactic for a long time.

It's a way for you to avoid justifying your claims, mainly because, like your fellow feministas, you can't.

If you seem to be encountering more than your share of 'man-hating bitches' and other people don't have the same experience (and they don't) they're going to wonder why (Cassandra)?

How do you know I'm encountering more than my fair share? What is my fair share?

According to your "sons" it's zero. Bullshit.

How do you know all this about me? Are you making things up again? Typical. You want me shut up, so you won't talk about ideas, but only "style" and "attitude." Heh. Typical feminist.

If you then make bitter and derogatory broad brush comments about women and how spoiled and messed up they are as a general class of people, they're going to start wondering if perhaps you don't have a few issues there? You can explain all you want. We don't have to find your explanations convincing, Jeff.

There's two problems here. First, I've shown you, Grim and others have made exactly the same kinds of generalizations about men, and that was taken in a completely uncontroversial way. Then you are applying a different interpretive standard to generalizations about women. That the kind of illegitimate rhetoric you radical feminists engage in all the time. I'm not letting you get away with it.

Second, you committing an informal fallacy. An attitude is not relevant to assessing the truth or falsity of a claim. People with bad attitudes can make true claims and also the other way around.

This is why I continue to urge you to be more reasonable, to gain control over your more emotional female nature. We can dispute the validity of generalizations, the character of our experience, etc. without reference to "style" and "attitude."

You pride yourself (on your home page) on being a snarky commentator. Apparently, you can't take what you dish out. Typical.


Posted by: Jeff at June 13, 2008 11:22 AM

Just to head off a bit of Cassandra's sohpistry and to be clear I'll make two additional points.

She says her "sons" have never met a woman they would describe as a "man-hating bitch." This gives her some rhetorical wiggle-room to be dishonest.

Cassandra's "sons" might not want to use that term in the presence of their mother. Also, her "sons" might have met such women and chose not to date them. That's what I do.

So here's a working definition of a man-hating bitch.

Man-hater A person who gives the appearance of disliking men. (Deep down, I think all women like men, just as deep down all men like women.) Bitch An unpleasantly difficult woman. Man-hating bitch An unpleasantly difficult woman that appear to dislike men.

Now, I wonder. Have Cassandra's sons met women they would describe as "unpleasantly difficult because they seem to dislike men?"

For the men that post here. Have you met unpleasantly difficult women that seem to dislike men?

Is it unusual for you to meet them?

Posted by: Jeff at June 13, 2008 11:41 AM

Before I get copious with words I just want to say that even if I disagree with people here, this site has some of the most reasoned and intelligent conversation I have seen in a long time. I know, coming from a windbag like me, who probably is suspected of potential trollism, its not much, but I am sincere about that.

To Bthun:
No I actually was watching several people get on the same band wagon. I really didn’t want to single anyone out since NONE of them were aware of what they were advocating pretty reflexively, and our society (America) tends to now move knee jerk to statist solutions, but when described don’t include the key information that would let them know the end result of what they were discussing.

If they were leftist idiots happy to walk into slavery, then I might have selected a few. However, they didn’t realize that they ran into the same wall that was the base fundamental reason for the kind of freedom that America created, and intimately connected with freedom of speech.

They suggested youth programs, and didn’t realize that they were basically describing what would be indoctrination. They don’t think so, which is their right, but they make the same mistake as others do when thinking about germany. Yeah were doing the same things, but its US doing it, so it has to be different.

Such a program would have to have people decide what relationship information the kids should learn. Most don’t know they are already getting that with lukacs type sex education. I will not argue the point in the lifestyles, but I will argue that such education robs kids of their childhood. 7 year olds shouldn’t be deciding that they are gender dysphoric and taking meds to stunt growth and have a sex change, but that’s what we are doing. And the same man that normalized homosexuality (whether a valid thing or not) has now moved his efforts to bestiality. Of course if the animal doesn’t mind.

Would parents be able to allow their kids not to take the course? And that’s the telling part. And I think that you picked up on this and more in my quick answer because how you started talking.

Bthun: And in spite of it all, or maybe as a result of it, and in spite of much of the commentary here, I still think that it comes down to the individual and the family. IMO, it is the duty of the parent(s) to teach the young to respect individuals based upon their actions, for who they are, if you'd rather... not what MVT, Hollywood, Madison Avenue, or any other transient or superficial influence might suggest.


We are on the exact same page Bthun. FAMILY, DYNASTY, and such lead to a healthy culture. Each family having their own variation of the popular culture, and in the crucible of life, be tested, and those that do better have more kids, and so the population in the next generation has a more efficient culture. This was how old culture was built.

However the primacy of the family is key to this. And THIS is what socialists, feminists (I can list dozens of quotes that are not ambiguous), say is their objective. Following lenins maxim “Give me a child for the first seven years and you may do what you like with him afterwards.”

So the problem seems to me to be, and I will again confess that I am no expert -unlike so many others today, that so many children slip the bonds of guidance and instruction far too early and wind up with a superficial value system based upon little more than a 21st century entertain me addiction. Memememememe... it's all about MEEEEEE.

And that slippage is caused by what? forget the judgment of the truth of the cause. That’s where the whole defense thing comes from that is designed to stop discussion, so that making other choices aren’t on the table.

And that cause is, by design, feminism. Feminism is not synonomous with women, and womens rights. The suffragettes were not feminists. And the modern women calling themselves that are more cryptocommunists than real feminists as their policies are the same as the far left and not at all good for women . (Russia started all these policies were pulling and it has a birth rate under 1.4 and a life expectancy of 58 now. Its dying).

My grandmother was a research chemist before WWII, and before her… Emmy noether was celebrated by Einstein, but the best feminists could come up with was his wife.

No… the materialist plan underneath, the description of whats going on based on whats happening to the people is the ulterior motive that they presumptive good was designed to get you to swallow. A spoonful of sugar helps the arsenic go down.

Whats going on is that these policies and FORCED move forward in high speed is resulting in the total disintegration and demoralization of the proletariat. In Russia it’s a despotic dream because the people have no gumption to stand up and or fight back or even care about freedom. Nihilism, low wages, bribery system, etc.. all leads to a super low birth rate, short life spans, and the death of the common people, leaving the whole countries property owned by the leaders who appropriated it in the name of the people who are pretty much disappearing everywhere this game is being played.

So by changing family economics, our cultural opnion of men and invalidating their desires (in favor of the desires of a small exploitative elite), has resulted in the death of community, family, culture, and even the economic boon of close family, comparative advantage between mates. It now takes two people to earn what it used to take one, the women are infertile, having more kids with problems, lack of male mates, and more and more. crime is high as no one is home watching, so neighborhoods are vulnerable. The kids are vulnerable for the same reason, as they are left in the hands of people who may actually hate them for being able to hire them (not a majority, but enough to not be good).

Selfish people who think that what the state gives them is free free free, who are stupid enough like the Venezuelans to vote in a politic that would “rework” the country.

Of the roughly 6 billion souls on the planet, I have to believe that many, if not most, are good folks regardless of their sex, their creed, or their race.

The vast majority (not the sociopaths), are that way. The sociopaths are another story for they enjoy dishing out pain and control the way we like sunsets and cuddly puppies.

Bthun, you are 100% correct that it’s the distributed processing of individuals that make up families that are like the bricks that build good society. The majority of men and women actually just want to go about their lives and just ignore most others.

However, they are not allowed to do that in a state that is not free. And they are not allowed to do that in a state that has put arbitrary progress as a maxim as if they feel life is better if we can accelerate and have the goodies that our grandchildren might have. However like utopias, these methods end up dystopian.

I am glad your daughters learned things. my family and my wifes have great respect for such learning and I am sure it will serve them well. I am even happier for you that one has found a good man. Since I understand what you have said very well, I also understand that your saying that doesn’t have the loose connotation that obligatory gestures here do.

Now having said all that, I'll just say that I'm happy for your good fortune in finding a person with which you can go through life.

Thank you kindly sir. I greatly appreciate that. I didn’t bother with many people for over 15 years because in the states there wasn’t much to bother with, and I wasn’t handsome enough or wealthy enough for the best ones to bother with me.

We shall see if it all works out that way, but we are quite devoted to each other. and it never was this big passionate boom boom thing, but a slow fire that is focused on who we are not whether we have sex. So that makes it great.

Thanks Bthun!

Posted by: Artfldgr at June 13, 2008 06:40 PM

So let's get this straight. Neither of your sons has met a man-hater. Never. Sorry, your sons are lying to you. That's just not believable.

While I agree an awful lot with you jeff, you have to understand that some people do lead charmed lives. If they are in more rural areas of the US the venom is a lot less. Also people with good personalities, and unaware that things are systemic, tend to shrug things off and avoid negative people. If they do this naturally, they may be totally unaware of the nastier people among them.

I live in ny city, and this past two months its been strange as several women have taken cold shots as they were leaving the train. (basically punching me. I don’t know them, nor have any truck with any of the three that did it. don’t know why either).

Second, you committing an informal fallacy. An attitude is not relevant to assessing the truth or falsity of a claim. People with bad attitudes can make true claims and also the other way around.

This is the basic reason for the first amendment. That a persons arguments are taken by merit.

However, the current era of releativism, if fully ingested, creates a situation where there is no merit. To those who follow this collective type of thing, all arguments are equal. So you don’t win an argument by its merit, veracity, empiricism, observational truth, etc… you win an argument by showing that it deviates from the accepted culture that the nomenclature wants them to make.

They need not be feminists to do this, they only need to have parroted or copied and been bathing in this for a long time. This is why mass movements work. the person doesn’t even have to sign on for the whole program. Which is another reason why they don’t work.

This behavior is why I didn’t find anyone in the west to be with. (not doubting that they are here, but I guess they are with cassandras kids, which is great! More power to them if this is what they have for a life!)

The inability to get them off the party line perspective and position, and their not being aware of it. that they argue usually without knowing the history, or denying it, or having a Stalinized one (revision).

The other problem is that the way the arguing style goes it doesn’t go anywhere. Your obviously frustrated, and its easy to see, but they don’t see why. They don’t see that in order to understand you, they have to entertain your argument, rather than instantly search for the proof that refutes the hypothesis.

Years ago, this was less common, but I have watched it become VERY common. I would say its from the schools, since its what happens when someone learns in a way in which they are given facts, and not given premises. They don’t realize that they become incredibly dependent on the facts they know through the main way they know them.

Your different set of facts is not being entertained, because unlike someone that lives through ideas, not ideology, facts that contradict ideology contradict their world view.

In other words, when someone does not live by ideology but meritocracy. They care most that the thing they are describing is what is correct. They are willing to reform their view of the world if its wrong, because being correct and effective is more important than being comfortable and safe.

However, when we move to group think, and the feminine form, being correct is less important than being comfortable and safe. unity of the core is more important than being right. men are in the periphery where they have to distinguish themselves to be selected as mates, and in order to do that they have to earn their feathers, and display them (whatever feathers a she might like. some like money, some don’t). in this game its more important to be right and effective and REAL, so that she selects him for being better than the other guys.

(this should give a hint as to why this change was fomented and one of many reasons. The change removes merit, and causes stagnation and a dark age. Usually when we look at the dark ages, we are stuck on looking at the people, we forget how the rulers lived. But those who want to rule that way now, they know how those rulers lived, its their focus)


So what they are defending is not the information, they are defending the harmony. That the world would all be easier and better if we all agree. If we all have consensus.

But that’s not true since they are building the number 1 form of government of mankind. An authoritarian state where the people ruling rule absolutely over the people they own below them, and can do what they want with them.

That’s the most common form of government of man. It’s the form that takes hold the minute you can fool all of the people once.

As early as 1923, he said to Hanfstaengl (902):
"Do you know the audience at a circus is just like a woman (Die Masse, das Volk is wei ein Weib). Someone who does not understand the intrinsicly feminine character of the masses will never be an effective speaker. Ask yourself: 'What does a woman expect from a man?' Clearness, decision, power and action. What we want is to get the masses to act. Like a woman, the masses fluctuate between extremes .... The crowd is not only like a woman, but women constitute the most important element in an audience. The women usualy lead, then follow the children and at last, when I have already won over the whole family - follow the fathers."

The first thing they did was convince the women they had no power. That way, the women would never suspect that this would get them to use their power to usurp power for someone else.

"The people, in an overwhelming majority, are so feminine in their nature and attitude that their activities and thoughts are motivated less by sober consideration than by feeling and sentiment." (p.237)

They feel that the answer they are giving you is right. you are trying to tell them to look at facts, but you cant feel facts. They want to feel the answer is right. however they wont trust, and so only the trusted can tell them what to feel, and then they know whats right.

They can argue with me or you, but this little technique worked real well several times before, and in many places. Most notably used by the person talking above.

Their rhetoric is emotional. Which is why anecdotes are so important and they live by remembering them. but anecdotes are not facts, they are a fact. They are a singular form of something that requires a aggregate. Unless you have more feeling stories, and you are trusted, then your anecdotes will never be good enough to stand up to all the emotional anecdotes. Its kind of like watching two people with martyrs syndrome try to out neg each other.


They lead, we choose to follow or not. when its dangerous, they ask us to lead we choose to bring them, and they follow driving from the passenger seat. Topping from the bottom.

However, there is no way to win this argument jeff. Especially the way your going about it. they are going to deny everything, and even deny any merit information you bring. And what your hearing as their arguments is really just rationalization out loud. The kind of rationalization that is used to try to falsely understand someone by falsely creating phantom motives (with the most favorable hving been learned through years of programming and lack of independent thought. He hates women. He hasn’t had enough sex. Etc). from the point that that happens the discussion is dead because its been shifted from the subject of conversation to the subject that is conversing.

Who you are is more important than what your saying.

Posted by: Artfldgr at June 13, 2008 07:16 PM

since this is fathers day weekend, here is somethign to read

Hail the Male
Fathers, sons, and ghosts of feminism past.

article.nationalreview.com/?q=NWRhYzAwY2EzYzgwYzFlZjljODU4ODc5N2MxMTI4MmQ=

It’s Father’s Day this weekend, in a land where men are underappreciated, disrespected, and under attack.

I had to delete my post... the system thought there was something wrong with it and i couldnt locate the wrong thing as there was nothing negative or pejorative in it.

anway, its an interesting article.

Posted by: Artfldgr at June 13, 2008 07:36 PM

My anti-spam script doesn't like anything with more than one link in the comment field. That may have been the problem. Or it's possible a word in your comment triggered the spam filter. Trust me - it was nothing personal.

Posted by: Barak Obama at June 14, 2008 08:59 AM

oh.. i didnt think it was personal at all... none the less it was frustrating, and i am sorry for any difficulty.

Posted by: Artfldgr at June 16, 2008 07:56 PM

It is easy I think to find a key to my heart. I just need a strong man with serious intentions, tender, full of passion. Who is ready to open. I think a man need to be a MAN

Posted by: dorcas at January 21, 2011 08:11 AM

job search.jobstreet architectural services interior designing jobs

Posted by: interior at December 18, 2014 12:44 AM

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