Thursday, November 24, 2011

Conclusions on Feminism Part 2

"Feminism is the radical notion that women are adults."

The problem in America is that we treat women like they are part child, part adult. 
That's really, really it. 
Too many Americans see women as "Adults Lite" or "Children Plus" and it is reflected in the way we employ them, use them in our armies, punish them when they commit crimes and mourn when they are abused. 

As a society, we abhor men who sexually abuse young girls and boys. We somehow see women who do the same thing as slightly less culpable.  I think this is similar to the way that we see less harm in a 19-year-old man having "consensual" sex with his 17-year old girlfriend than we do a 40-year-old man and a "consenting" 17-year-old girl.

Why do we do this? Sex with an under-age child is harmful to them no matter the age of the perpetrator, right? Not exactly. We think of that 19-year-old man as more of a child than the 40-year-old. And we certainly don't think a crime has necessarily been committed when 14-year-olds have consensual sex with each other, right?

Well, what's more child-like than a 19-year-old man? A 19-year-old woman. That's part of the reason why society doesn't care as much when an older woman has sex with an underage boy.

You could even make the case for eye makeup that embiggens their eyes and hairless bodies as the ideal vision of female beauty being tied to the childization of women.
(Yes, I just used two words that aren't words in one sentence. But you knew what I meant, didn't you? That's right. Deal with it.)

Hell, we even have a federal organization named "Women, Infants & Children."

I think this ties into one of the biggest problems facing Feminism today. The effort that has been put into getting women the right to vote and into the workplace has been crucial for women to physically, financially and legally "leave the nest" of child-like status when they were passed from parents to husband for custodial care hundreds of years ago.

But now, women are permitted the benefits of adulthood without many of the societal expectations and responsibilities we expect of adult men. 

Women are still:
Able to avoid parental responsibilities via abortion, adoption or abandonment
Able to sidestep military drafts via exclusion from selective service
Able to sidestep career "duties" via relative ease of being a housewife
Able to sidestep or mitigate criminal sentences 

Don't get me wrong: women being excluded from voting and employment opportunities are not the only ways that women have been and still are harmed by this mentality. Those were just the most egregious and systematic/institutionalized issues. Women still have many issues to deal with today - just add Jezebel to your daily reading and you'll be bombarded with (mostly) valid issues.

That said, there are certain benefits to being a woman today in the same way that there are things that are pretty awesome about being a kid (assuming you're not in an abusive home.) I think Feminists think that these "benefits" to being a woman either A) aren't really benefits at all or B) think they'll go away on their own as Feminism grows in popularity. 

It is especially apparent when feminists stand up for women accused of crimes. They may outright defend them or may look for reasons (systematic/gendered or otherwise) to excuse their behavior. This is blatant childization of women. We do the same thing when a child is accused of a horrific crime - "What kind of home did they grow up in? Were they being abused? Were there drugs involved?" We excuse and mitigate the consequences of the behavior of juveniles because they are less developed than adults. 

When you do it with women, you're saying the same thing. You're saying they're less culpable for their actions because they are "less developed." It's bullshit and I've only seen a few feminists speak up about this.

And that's why I butt heads with Feminists. Women have been committing crimes for the entire length of humanity because people commit crimes. Men, women and children, too. We are all human beings - animals with great intelligence, capability for good and evil acts and an incredible knack for adapting to our environments. 

It makes sense for women to who are enjoying the recently-earned benefits of full adulthood to fail to recognize the increased responsibilities that come with that position. It's called a "catch." And right now, men are the ones primarily being caught by it.

To those of us wishing to change our environment - socially or politically - we'd best not forget the animals we're dealing with: Apes that want to get the most reward for the least effort. It's in our programming.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Conclusions on Feminism Part 1

I said it earlier in the year, and I knew it would happen.
I reserve my space here on the somewhat anonymous internet to talk about things I feel confidently enough to espouse as the Real Me. This also ties into the name of this blog and me - "Easily Enthused." Because when I discover a topic or issue that I don't feel that I've "got a handle on," I very quickly get enthusiastic about it, passionately arguing and discovering until I feel I've reached a resting place, metaphorically speaking.
I knew this day would come. I've experienced it a few times before in my life.
The first was when I left religion and asked myself "Without God, how do I know what is 'good?'"

The answer eventually came in the philosophy of Universal Utilitarian Humanist principles. The long story short was that a good action is one that benefits the most people.
(Aside: The stumbling block is "then why not kill one person and distribute his organs to multiple people who need new organs" and the answer is "because although a few people would benefit from his organs, many more people would be harmed by the knowledge that they live in a world where one innocent person can be killed for their organs.")

The next question was "How can a moral criminal defense attorney defend people he/she knows is factually guilty?"
The answer came in two parts: A) no one has perfect knowledge of truth and B) our criminal justice system relies on the government 'behaving itself' when it comes to depriving a citizen of their liberty. Without someone to hold Government to task, more injustices are sure to come.

It was these two questions I sought answers to that brought me to modern-day feminism and gender in/equality issues. A handful of my atheism and law-related blogs ended up mentioning feminism over the course of a few months and I delved deeper into my own personal experiences and expectations of feminism as it relates to society.

I came into the topic with essentially one "sacred concept." This concept would never change, and most people I cared to discuss these things with should share this principle.

It was:
"Your gender or the gender assigned to you at birth should have no bearing on the treatment you receive, the expectations people have of you, or your value as a human being."

I thought that made me a feminist. Unfortunately, I found that I tended to disagree with a lot of other feminists (online, mind you) on many of the details. I was repeatedly told that I was not a feminist.

So what am I? What do I really believe? This blog chronicled this period of self-discovery.

I think I've come to my conclusion.

It's been said that "Feminism is the radical notion that women are people." 

When I first heard this phrase a few years ago, it angered me. I thought it was as ridiculous - if you're not "people" then what are you? An animal? Pshht. Nobody thinks that. 

I still think the statement, as it is currently worded would be useful in the Middle East and some other countries. Gender equality is a sliding scale, after all.

But in North America, I still think the phrase is relevant - sort of. I think it needs one small change.

Edit: I realized that I really need to flesh this out more and add a few more examples that I had. Right now, I'm going to break this into maybe a two- or three-part post so I can collect my thoughts more clearly and they will better stand up to the criticisms that I expect to come. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Just Read This

I'm not publishing this link to inflame, incite or rally anyone.

I think it's important that people on different sides of a debate make sure they listen very, very closely when a person on the "other side" expresses an emotion other than anger.

Here, we have an older radfem who feels hopeless and resigned that the Feminism of today doesn't reflect what she spent most of her life fighting for. It genuinely made me sad - not because I agree with her movement - but because spending your life working for something that doesn't work has to be one of the most crushing realizations a person can have when it comes to social justice.

Here's the link:

If you care what I think, I think that women like her (30+ years ago) had gotten so wrapped up in the inequity of gender that they successfully convinced themselves that something that naturally is pleasurable for many women is actually harmful for them. Maybe they thought that if they inspired enough women to abstain from sex that men would start treating women better - although I doubt they would admit to this "sex strike" technique even if it were true.

Then, things started changing. Year by year, women gained ground in business, government and education. We're getting to the point now where sniffing out gender inequality is more akin to CSI than forest-for-the-trees. It's getting to the point where men, rather than fighting feminism, are holding outstretched hands to it and asking "What about me?"

We're living in a world where increasing numbers of young women who read the great Feminist authors of more than 20 years ago are saying "this doesn't resonate with me and with what it means to be a woman in 2011."

That comment up there is proof. I'm glad her movement is dying, but I'm always sad to see someone fail at a "noble cause."

EDIT: Commenter Tim has pointed out that the comment on Jezebel has been moved to the (LOL) "ohhellno" category. Generally speaking, I am happy that they did this, but I'm also a bit torn by the ability of a feminist space to "hide" it's ass, so to speak.

On the other hand, I wish to do the same thing to the MRA contingent who continually espouse ridiculous attitudes towards women, so I guess I'm being hypocritical. I guess I'm just going to have to be happy that Jezebel realized how unproductive that sentiment is to the Feminist movement. Thanks, girls women ladies people!

DOUBLE EDIT: After reading through the comments, it seems the original commenter is from Germany. I am slightly more concerned for the entire world after reading that, as I thought radical feminism was a product of North America.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Of Forklifts and Potty Trips

It's story time, again. From the ages of 14 to 17, I worked at a lumber yard and hardware store. This was a well-connected mom & pop type shop. It was a hard, minimum-wage job - and the only reason I kept it was a sense of duty. In my small town, jobs for non-country-club kids who weren't 18 yet were hard to come by. It was either this, or have no spending money.

There was a problem with this job, though. I wasn't allowed to use the fork-lift. Every time someone needed items that were either up on shelving, like a pallet of shingles, or 8x8 lumber (which is too heavy to lift) I had to run around the lumber yard trying to find someone who wasn't busy to bring the forklift over, get the items, then return to whatever they were doing.

Meanwhile, the customer just sat there.  Eventually, a few of the regular contractors there refused to let me serve them.

I'll never, ever forget how that made me feel. I felt like less than whole - like a failure.

And all because of stupid paperwork that said I couldn't operate a forklift until I'd been on this planet for 18 years. I had my license - I could drive my Nissan across the country if I wished. But I couldn't use a forklift to move a pile of bricks four lousy feet.

Funny story (not really), I got in the habit of moving things with my hands that were too heavy - that I should've used a forklift to move - and because of that, I injured my back permanently.

OK, end of story.

Now read this:
(Edit: After some flak from Paul Elam and many people from A Voice for Men, it appears Jenna has taken down all of her offending articles. Register-her has saved a PDF of her original post with the first 100 or so comments. It can be found here:

I keep having to take deep breaths while writing this. This one article has made me angrier than I've ever been since I started blogging.

As someone who notices the way that men are the victims of sexism, I'm used to seeing this - but never so unabashedly.

Unabashed sexism is exactly what this is - and if you read the comments (which I don't recommend) she has plenty of supporters.

Jenna Myers Karvunidis has displayed the holy trinity of bigotry: bad statistics, bad faith and bad logic.

First off, she blithely states "99% of sexual predators are men, only 1% are women and girls are over twice as likely as boys to be sexually abused" with absolutely no citing of her statistics.

That's because she pulled them out of her ass. People from Reddit have flooded her comments with correct statistics - and yes, there is a skew towards male perpetrators but it's certainly not 99%! The ironly is that skew towards men could very well be due to a society that sees women as incapable of harming a child sexually - a society perpetuated by people like Mrs. Karvunidis.

Secondly, she belligerently attacks the commenters who call her out on her sexism by claiming that they're only angry because they're pedophiles who want the opportunity to molest.

Wow, so I guess all those middle-eastern people who are angry over being profiled as terrorists by the TSA are ACTUALLY terrorists who want to sneak by security?

Lastly, she openly admits that she isn't concerned with logic.

She says it best in her very own words:
"Again, why are you guys trying to change my mind? IT WON'T CHANGE. You may use perfectly sound logic, you may use unsound logic, you may bully me, you may scare me, you may send hate mail to my house but I will never, ever change my mind on this."

And best of all, she calls herself a "Feminist." Holy shit! At least she admits that she "pick and choose when I'm a feminist because I'm not down with man-bashing."

Actually, Jenna, you look quited down with man-bashing to me.

(takes a deep breath)

Frankly - I have no idea how to deal with this type of issue or person. There's no way to change her mind (as she has made painfully obvious).

I'm a little afraid at what some of my friends in the Men's Rights community might do about this. As of this post, she's just been added to, a site designed to highlight sexist, sexually abusive or false-rape accusers.

Her unabashed sexism makes it really hard not to take off the gloves - but I fear someone may go too far and take OUT the knives. I really, really hope that no one threatens her or her family with any type of violence or other inappropriate actions. Boycott her site, write letters to the editor, make blog posts like this one - but please, don't make it so she or her family can't sleep at night - no amount of bigotry deserves violence.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Masculist Issue, And A Joke About Monkey Abuse

The wife and I had a Google Chat conversation I felt like sharing. She works in financial aid.

me: Hey!
Did you know a transgender men are denied Pell grants because they aren't allowed to sign up for selective service?
Wife: yes, actually
they have to be legally female in order to qualify
or actually (and legally) male to register
Wife: also
same-sex marriages aren't recognized for financial aid purposes
even if they are legally married by state law
me: Oh really? I didn't know that
Wife: yup
me: What about polygamy?
Wife: those aren't legal anywhere
You can claim the wives/children as members of the household if you or your legal spouse provides 50% or more of their support
me: What about pets?
Wife: but if you're not legally married to your spouse and he provides support for you, you file your own taxes, and he claims your children instead of you, you'll have a tough time even getting them to count as members in the household
Wife: pets? uhh
me: what about monkeys?
oh oh! What about if you USE a monkey to make money - like an organ grinder, then use that MONEY to SUPPORT THE MONKEY?
Wife: it counts as your income and the monkey is not counted as a member of your household
me: Is the monkey an asset?
cause I think it would be a liability
or a dependent
unless I put it in a blender - then it would be a liquid asset
Wife: -_-
the monkey is not counted as a personal asset, but rather a business asset
the same as a car or building
I wonder if his value can depreciate over time as he gets older and less cute
me: I imagine that if you bought him some groucho marx glasses, his value could be increased
depending on how much he wears them
I suppose you could staple them to his head, but that would certainly depreciate his value
Wife: but would that be a legal appreciation or not?
me: I guess it depends on if Animal Control sees the staples

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Manliness is Not Next to Helplessness

Pinpointing the exact reason for my hesitation to claim the title of "Men's Rights Activist" or a member of the Men's Rights Movement has been a tricky subject for me.

The movement for men is a collection of men (like myself) many of whom have been brought up to think that "real men" are never helpless. We are DO-ERS. We GET SHIT DONE, SON.
In general, our ultimate goals are the same. I'd like to see a world where traditional male gender roles aren't the only option for those born with a penis. I'd like to see a world where people who naturally grow facial hair aren't expected to be violent. I'd like to see a world where persons with testicles aren't seen as the only perpetrators of crimes.

But still, something keeps me from waving the high flag of Men's Rights - and I think today I had a breakthrough.

One thing that nearly every single male MRA has experienced is what it's like to grow up in a culture where men are expected to be Men you know, a Man's Man. A Manly Man or a MAN.

Thanks to Feminism (no, really, THANKS!) women are feeling less and less pressure to be "Woman's Woman" or "A Womanly Woman" or "WOMAN." Gender flexibility for women is increasingly prevalent and that's a good thing for women AND men.

No thanks to Feminism (No, really, NO THANKS) men are still being told by each other and many, many women that they still need to be MEN.

The result is the mentality that a man who cannot act upon his surroundings is no man. This is Male Potency - and it is one of the core attributes of what it means to be a man.  Without it, we are impotent, pitiful, and even comical.  Barney Fife. 

For all our screaming and yelling – a habitual inability to affect any change is pitiable and unmanly. We don’t want to be Barney Fife – we want to be Andy Griffith.

Cool, calm, collected - but authoritative, effective and respected.
This hidden psychology is creating problems for men in the MRM, where they are drawn towards concrete issues with concrete solutions rather than the more intangible work of swaying cultural perceptions and overall societal biases.

If we do a quick run-down of the more concrete, policy-based issues that MRAs are concerned about, it might look something like this:
  • Military draft only applies to men
  • In custody disputes, women are considered default care providers
  • False Rape Accusations unfairly target men (and are hard to defend against if the accusation reaches the criminal court level)
  • Male adult victims of DV/rape/sexual abuse have essentially zero support resources
  • Sentencing disparities for crimes committed by men vs. women (doubly so for sex crimes)
  • Lack of parenthood choice for men - (Men's options for fatherhood end at conception, women may use Plan B, abortion or adoption)
And the following is a list of the cultural perceptions and societal biases that the MRM would like to overthrow:
  • Men being seen as the "expendable" sex
  • Men incapable of being "victims"
  • Men unable to control their sex drive - leading them to cheat/rape
  • Men being dirty
  • Men unable to "nurture"
  • Men being violent by nature

It’s not that the second list is unimportant.  In fact, many of those general concerns are folded into the aforementioned issues - the ways that men are stereotyped relates directly to the policies and stigmas that men face in the first category.  It’s just that we can’t directly fight against bias in the same direct way that we can fight for policy change.

This situation creates a whole new level of complexity when viewed through the lens of "Male Potency." Like any movement in its infancy, MRM must pick its fights in order to avoid the pitfalls of early defeat.

With that in mind, if you look back up at the issues men are facing - you'll see a problem.
All of the problems in the first category involve solutions that have the potential to harm women or children, though indirectly. If the amount of money being given to DV survivors is zero-sum, supporting men will mean taking support from women. If men are given an option to default "out" of parenthood, more children may be raised without child support. If we change the standard of proof for False Rape Accusations, rapists could go free and rape survivors could be wrongly charged with a crime.

Those are all bad things. But as it stands, MRAs are faced with the cruel reality that those issues are the only ones they are capable of changing.

So, the MRM faces a dilemma.  In choosing its battles, will the MRM choose to tackle issues where satisfying, concrete change is possible, or will the MRM choose to tackle the more intangible, less directly actionable issues of public perception and stereotypes?

The first category allows men to feel potent and effective in directly tackling a problem with a face and a name, and seeing progress in ways which can be measured and quantified.  But, it comes with the consequence of damaging the movement’s reputation when our actions are incorrectly interpreted as a battle against women and children. Sometimes Feminists may make this interpretation. Sometimes gender-inequality non-Feminists may make this interpretation - but either way it creates a Public Relations nightmare for our cause.

The second category would avoid that problem, as we are reaching out to create awareness and appeal to the empathy of others through outreach efforts.  But it feels less satisfying, as change in public perception is so slow and so difficult to see or measure.  You can’t really tell if anything you are doing is making any difference at all, and the efforts we launch now are likely to not come to fruition within our lifetimes. This is difficult for men who need action and want to feel empowered to create tangible change.

And I believe it is for this reason that the MRM has focused on policy changes and legislative action.  It’s tangible, progress can be measured, and it is concrete.  It isn’t that men don’t care about public perception - I'll bet most men would prefer a world where men aren't seen as "expendable" or "dirty." But how do we do that? You can't pass legislation to change public perception. Feminism has shown us that stereotypes and public opinion take decades, even centuries, to change — especially when the roots of such ideas are at the very heart of Western Culture. So instead, it’s that the MRM is drawn towards issues where concrete, effective change is possible, and can potentially be achieved quickly.

This focus is understandable, particularly for a group whose needs have been ignored and even ridiculed for so long.  But it is backwards.  Policy change flows from societal perceptions.  Until stereotypes are challenged, there will be no political expediency to change policies to become less discriminatory towards men.  And even more than that, when we fight the policies first, particularly with the potential negative consequences for women and children, we earn the movement a reputation as being anti-women or anti-children rather than being pro-men.  In this way, not only do we fail to create forward progress, but we actually create extra work for ourselves, because we must work backwards through the negative reputation attached to our efforts.  

Let’s look, for example, at the struggle for gay rights.  At first, all attempts to legislate equality failed miserably, and in fact resulted in a backlash where religious groups attempted, sometimes successfully, to pre-emptively define marriage as being only for straight people, in an attempt to prevent gay rights from becoming legislated.  This only changed once the movement focused primarily on public outreach - on encouraging gay people to come out of the closet and reach out to their family and friends and community. It was only once a majority of the public knew a person who is openly gay, that the stereotypes about what it means to be gay started to come down, people started to empathize with the plight of gay people, and public bias started to shift. Only then was legislative reform successful, when it came after a successful movement to shift public opinion.

And this is the reason why I hesitate to describe myself as a Men’s Rights Activist.  Because my focus is on awareness, public perception, overthrowing bias and stereotypes.  I can’t get behind all of the legislative policy change proposals of the MRM because I believe it will come at a cost too great to our movement.  We have to do this in order.

* We, as in us gender egalitarians.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Choice for Men: A Hypothetical Situation

Recently, a topic that never fails to get me riled up has been coming up on the gendersphere. The issue is "Choice for Men," and I think it is one of the few, genuine masculist issues out there.

As I've been mulling it over and talking with opponents of C4M (Choice for Men), ( I think I've drilled down to the core of their beliefs that prevent them from embracing C4M.

Embodied in two parts, I think it could be said like this:
1. Innocent children are due support from the people whose biological material lead to their conception.
2. Biology/bodily autonomy is responsible for women's ability to end pregnancy (and end the development of a fetus, which has no rights to support, before it becomes a child which does have rights to support.)

So now that I think I understand their position, I developed a realistic scenario that I want feedback on.

If you're reading this and have weighed in on either side of C4M before, I'd really appreciate it if you would please respond with what you think a just and fair child support system would do in this situation. You may leave an anonymous comment if you wish.

The Scenario 

James and Janet are married and have two children, two and four years old, Sam and Max. They want to have a third child in the near future if Janet gets the promotion she has been promised. James is a stay-at-home dad with no income and Janet is a consultant. James and Janet are also in an open relationship, and a few times a year they arrange for a weekend to engage in NSA sex with people outside the relationship. (Don't judge!)

Three months ago, James and Janet went off for a weekend and had sex with other people. James has sex with a woman named Annie and Janet with a man named Richard. For simplicity's sake, Annie and Richard are both single. Both use condoms. Both condoms break. Janet and Annie both become pregnant.

Janet, who was not planning on speaking to Richard again anyway, has an abortion. She desired to have a child with her husband, not Richard.

Annie, is different. Annie in her mid-30s and due to a medical problem when she was younger, was told by doctors that she was sterile. She contacts James and tells him she is pregnant. James says that he will pay for her to get an abortion - as he realizes he is partially responsible for her pregnancy. Annie refuses to have an abortion. She knows that James is well-off - he was wearing nice clothes and driving a nice car. Plus, he offered to pay for the abortion. She decides she will try to raise the child on her own, and if she cannot, she will get financial support from James.

She knows that this may be her only chance to have a biological child of her own. She decides to keep the child and gives birth to Charles.

Unfortunately, Annie underestimated the costs related to having a child. Unable to take the time off from work to care for Charles, Annie is forced to take a lower-paying job that allows her enough time to spend with her baby.

Caught in a difficult situation, Annie applies for child support, as she cannot supply her Charles with all of his needs on her income alone.

Unfortunately, James does not have a job - he is still a stay-at-home dad.

Imagine you are the judge who is making the decision about this situation. You have Annie, Charles, James, Janet, Sam and Max in the courtroom with you. How would you rule? What would be most fair to all the people involved?

Would you force James to get a job to support Charles, while taking him away from his own biological, planned children?

Would you take money from Janet to support the child - as she is the one who supports James in the first place - thereby removing support from Janet and James children Sam and Max?

Would you simply award 20% of James income to Charles - which essentially amounts to $0 - and only hope that Annie can find some form of support for her child through charity or fortune?

Would you work out some other arrangement?

Hopefully this exercise has made you think a lot about what presumptions you have when it comes to the way our child support system works. Now, I present one last challenge:

Imagine this situation in a gender-equal world where James and Janet could either be the sole breadwinner in the houshold. If men start becoming income-less house-husbands on a wide scale - do you think women would still be having babies and supporting them alone? Or do you think more women would abort their pregnancies because the man that got them pregnant has no income?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Actually, Not Dead

Heads up to my readers: I'm not dead or stopping posting, NOR do I feel the need to "take a break" which is the sure death-knell of any one-person blog.

Simply put, I've been working far too much and through far too many weekends and holidays. My first priority is my wife, my second is my career, my third is my leisure time, my fourth is my health and my fifth is my continued education about the world and its workings.

This blog falls under the fifth priority. I have a handful of posts tumbling around in my head that I can't wait to write out - as soon work stops being so demanding, I'll get them out there. In the meantime, here's a picture of a beautiful vehicle:

Friday, August 12, 2011

When the Baby Should Be Thrown Out with the Bathwater

Mary Daly was one messed up lady. I've never read her books, but I've read interviews and other writings she's done. I have a hard time following her - she's a bit too Postmodern for me - and I can't follow her points because of the flowery prose she writes with.

Mary Daly was also trans-phobic and misandrist, although, without a doubt, she would say that misandry is impossible because men are the ruling class.

Realistically speaking, Mary Daly was, in my opinion one of the few, true, unarguably misandrist Feminist leaders the movement has had. I'm aware many MRAs will point to countless others they believe to be misandrist, and that's fine. They might be right.

But Mary Daly's misandry is beyond doubt. This quote makes my point:
"If life is to survive on this planet, there must be a decontamination of the Earth. I think this will be accompanied by an evolutionary process that will result in a drastic reduction of the population of males."
I don't appreciate it when people say she was calling for genocide here - notice she was saying that evolutionary process would be responsible, not human intervention.

But still - her belief was that men - by definition of having penises - were going to bring about the end of humanity. Men are unredeemable - there is no salvation for them.

She might as well have said "Men are intrinsically evil - they can never do good for humanity."

Now, to test if a statement is misandrist, all we have to do is plug in some other language ... so let's give it a shot:
"If life is to survive on this planet, there must be a decontamination of the Earth. I think this will be accompanied by an evolutionary process that will result in a drastic reduction of the population of white people."

Yup - that's hate language. Mary Daly hated men - no further discussion necessary.

Back to the point of this post, now.

The question has arisen - can we salvage any of Daly's work when she held these terrible views?

That question was posed just yesterday at Feminist Critics. Danny said:
If its unfair to dismiss Daly and all her work because of her misandry (which BTW most feminist sites acted like they didn’t want to acknowledge) and declare that she is not a feminist then how is it then fair for feminists to point to Spearhead and the selective writings of manboobz as supposed evidence that the entire men’s rights movement is nothing but a vehicle of hatred that hopes to keep women oppressed so men can have the right to beat and rape their wives at will?
Ah, the "baby and bathwater" dilemma.

Let's run an experiment, shall we? Let's remove gender issues and feminism from the mix - because we're all a bit prejudiced here on that issue.

Let's say you're having trouble in your garden behind your house. Your tomato plants aren't growing tomatoes, your pear tree is an ugly yellow color, your grass is spotty and gray and your roses smell like tuna fish.

You call up two gardening consultants to help you fix your lawn.

The first consultant, Gary, spends 30 minutes examining your back yard and gives you some recommendations about watering, trimming and fertilizing your garden, lawn and bushes. He explains a little about the soil composition in the area and the amount of light your back yard receives and how that affects your plants. As you pay him for his time, and walk back towards his truck, he engages you in polite small talk and mentions how none of his advice will matter because the world is coming to an end in a week, and he knows this because aliens are projecting their plans into his head when he sleeps at night. You nod, thank Gary for his time, and say goodbye.

Later that same day, the second consultant you hired stops by. Roger spends 30 minutes examining your back yard and gives you some recommendations that are a little bit different than what Gary advised. As you pay him and walk him back to his van, he explains to you that he knows how to take care of plants because they can speak to him. He says that the plants are planning a secret revolution and will soon be our rulers. He said that your garden is doing so poorly because the plants are angry with you because you drive an SUV and don't recycle your plastic bags. He advises you to trade in your car and start using reusable grocery bags if you want your plants to forgive you and your garden to flourish. You nod, thank Roger for his time, and say goodbye.

You go into your house, close, lock and dead-bolt the door, and now must choose whose advice to follow.

Both gardening consultants are, to be kind, operating with some very faulty conceptions regarding how the world works. Less kind folks would call them crazy.

But ultimately, you can only follow one of the consultants advice. I suspect most of you would follow Gary's advice. Gary held some wrong views, but they were not related to his area of expertise.

Roger's views were intrinsic to his gardening advice - and even if he had some good advice for you in general (reusable bags and trading in your SUV) his purposes behind that advice is indelibly linked to his perverted perception of reality.

Now, what does this mean about his advice? I believe that, in the same way that a broken clock is right twice, the fact that Roger may have given you some good advice - you can not rely on him because of this taint. If you want to find GOOD reasons to take his advice, you can (such as saving money and reducing waste by switching bags and cars) but you can't use "Because Roger Said So" when trying to convince others.

Therefore, I claim that any and all works by Mary Daly (relating to gender issues) may not be used due to her unrepentant misandry.

If she has some cookbooks somewhere that I don't know about - feel free to read and quote from them.

But you don't take investment advice from a communist.
You don't take legal advice from a guy in jail.
You don't take dieting advice from fat people.

Don't expect to improve gender issues while quoting and reading Mary Daly.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Seeking Validity: Romance

This is a true story from my youth. I've done my best to recall the details of the day to the best of my ability - but it was an important day for me - so I remember it well.

Tara, Ron and I were sitting at the large, circular unused teacher's table during lunch of my senior year. We were all in Drama class together - and we were lumped into the same lunch block because of it. Incidentally, this was the only year in high school where I didn't share lunch with my two best childhood friends. Tara and Ron were new friends to me - because we spent so much time together during rehearsals after school - we made a pretty strong bond relatively quickly.

Being born in New York and transplanted to the rural south at a young age can be traumatizing. I don't expect anyone to quite understand that unique pain that comes from being a Yankee in Billy Bob's Court. Especially when you're a child.

So, growing up - I never had girlfriends. Not even the lame kind where you never talk and just wave in the hallway. It wasn't until I was 14 that I actively started to want a girlfriend - and when a year had passed, and I was 15 still with no girlfriend - I started to get frustrated. Luckily - I got through being 15 by convincing myself that I needed to have a driver's license and a car to have a girlfriend.

That bought me some time - or so I thought. The reality was that when I did finally end up having a drivers license, awesome parents who would let me drive where and when I wanted (within reason), and a completely awesome car:

Oh man, do I miss that thing.

Wait ... no I don't.

Where was I?

So when I finally turned 16 and had a car, money to spend and permission to take girls out on dates - my singleness became almost unbearable. Luckily, I had a new female friend, Tara, who I could vent on.

Tara was a tall, shapely blonde and our salutatorian. She was extremely intelligent if slightly condescending. Bad acne and a poor family (little make-up and ill-fitting, out of date clothes handed down from her older sisters) meant that she didn't get much attention from the boys in our school.

Ron was new to the school - he'd transferred in after some trouble (bullying?) at another school district. He was very, very poor but extremely good looking. That said, he had self-confidence issues and wasn't very smooth.

Tara, Ron and I made a close, if odd group of friends that year. I regularly vented to both Tara and Ron about my inability to find a girlfriend. Ron was no help at all. He kept offering pickup lines. Tara wasn't much help either - but one day she got sick of my complaining and decided to lead me to water and shove my head into the trough.

"So exactly how many girls have you asked out?" she said.

"Well, I asked Amanda after rehearsal a few weeks ago, I asked Leslie out last month," I offered.

"Right, but those were your friends before you asked them. You can't do that. You need to find a girl you think is cute, and just ask her."

I scoffed. "Right! That would not end well. She'd probably laugh in my face - there's no way that would work."

She crossed her arms and sat back in her chair. "You've never tried it. You don't know that."

"Fine! I'll do it right now - just to prove you wrong!" I spun around in my seat and decided to find the most attractive girl I could at the table behind us. Of course, I wanted to be right more than I actually wanted a date with a girl at this moment, so I picked the absolute hottest girl at the table behind me. Kirsten Sweetwater (yes, that was almost exactly her name - although I didn't know it at the time.)

She had long, natural blonde hair - cute freckles and a beautiful smile. She was athletic and wore nice clothes. I chuckled to myself - I was sure to crash and burn and prove my point.

At the last second, I hesitated. I spun back to my table - there's a certain self preservation instinct that makes it hard to face unavoidable rejection. "That would be rude."

Tara rolled her eyes - "It won't be rude, it will be a compliment. Trust me."

Ron spoke up - "Look, dude, I'll do it, it's easy."

Suddenly, a fire rushed over me, from my spine, over my shoulders and down the front of my chest and through my legs. I was not going to let Ron ask her. I spun around.

I tapped on her shoulder in the noisy lunchroom. She turned around. "Hey, I've noticed you before, I wanted to know if you'd like to go out on a date with me."

The girls sitting with her made bug eyes. I braced myself. "Uhhhh ..." She turned beet-red. "I'm not sure." She started laughing.

"Ok, thanks." I turned around - that wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. I looked right at Tara. "See? What did I tell you!"

Tara gave me this face:

"Are you serious? She did not turn you down! She said she didn't know!"

"Isn't that the same thing?"

"Of course it's not the same thing! Did you see her face? She was smiling like an idiot and turned bright red! She was clearly interested!"

"Really?" I said.

Tara and Ron chimed in unison, "Yes!"

I turned around again, and tapped the girl on the shoulder. She was still red. Her friends stopped talking.

"So you said 'I don't know.' What does that mean exactly?"

"Well I'd have to ask my parents first."

"So ... you mean would go out with me on a date if your parents said you could?"

"Oh, yeah! Of course."

"Great!" I said, and turned around. Lunch was almost over. Tara was the embodiment of I-told-you-so. Ron gave me an approving smile. I fought an epic war internally to contain my excitement.

Kirsten came by after she took up her tray and handed me a note with her name and home phone number and walked away saying "Call me tonight, OK?"

Long story short, her parents said no to a proper "date" but they did invite me over for dinner (I got along really well with her father) and allowed us to spend the day at a local fair - and sit together and watch fireworks that night. It didn't matter - at that point in my life I wasn't terribly concerned with a first kiss or more - I was 16 and desperately seeking romantic validation - and I got it by randomly approaching a cute girl and asking her out.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Blame the Victim?

This local story has me a bit befuddled.

Is it ok, in this situation, to say "Well they shouldn't have been running from the loss prevention officer. If they hadn't shoplifted - they wouldn't be dead right now ... etc.?"

Friday, August 5, 2011

Maybe I'm Being Oversensitive

But this internet meme rubs me the wrong way:

I resent the idea that a girlfriend is "best" when she watches you play video games.


Who wants a woman to shout "Kill him!" when she could be saying "Let's kill him!"

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Blue Shirt Confession

A good deal of conversation has been going on regarding men feeling sexy, men feeling sexually harassed and men's sexuality.

I wasn't quite sure how to respond.

I completely realize - and experience - the way that men's sexual value is minimalized, fetishized or parodied in mainstream, heterosexual media.

The idea that women could be sexually attracted to men is taboo. They can be attracted to his wealth, his power, prestige, fame or talent - but his body? Hah! C'mon now ... we're being SERIOUS.

Now of course GAY men find men attractive - that's because they're men! Men in general find all sorts of things sexually attractive - women, other men, children, animals, high-heeled shoes ... that's cause they're perverts. No more discussion needed.

So earlier this week I wore my totally out-of-place Carribean Blue dress shirt to work.

The men in my office have a uniform. It is the blue pinstripe shirt with black or dark blue slacks. Close your eyes - think of wall-street execs minus the tie and jacket. Boom - that's my office (other than the women who wear dresses like this vvv ... but that's another post.)

But it was laundry day, so I wore that blue shirt with some black slacks. I pulled in to the parking garage behind a small Corolla. She got the space closer to the office building, I had to pull in a few spaces down from her. I grabbed my coffee and lunch and got out of my car.

As I headed towards the office building, I saw a short, mocha-skinned (Filipino?) woman about my age get out of her car and open her trunk. It was the same woman who I pulled in behind.

(Edit: I understand how important a woman's appearance is, so here's the best description I can give: She was about 30 years old, 5'1" and 100 lbs. She was wearing a tight tan skirt that came up about 4 inches above her knees, and a very light blue button-up blouse. Her hair was the same as the woman in the photo below, and she was wearing heavy-but natural make-up to cover her lightly pock-marked cheeks. She has olive-shaped eyes and full lips.)

She opened her trunk, slung her shoulderbag over her shoulder, and in one swift movement, tossed her hair back, made eye contact and gave me "the smile."

That is the smile. It's mostly in the eyes - but it's absolutely different from the "friendly smile" and the "cordial smile" and the "professional smile." [I'll be happy to talk about these later, but for now, I need to stay focused.]

So she gave me a smile that I don't get very often. She got her bag, closed her trunk and headed towards the main building. At this point I was about one pace behind her. We walked out from the parking garage toward the covered walkway that led to the office building.

A couple dozen feet from the door, she looked over her right shoulder at me - first at my chest, then up to my eyes. She was smiling.

She grabbed the door, opened it and let me go through first. I nodded at her and walked through first. I hesitated after walking through - looked behind me and watched her as she followed me through the door, and started walking next to me.

I said, "I'm not used to women holding the door and letting me go through first."

She replied, "I like your shirt. It's uplifting and festive. It makes me feel alive."

As she said "alive" she looked up at my eyes as we continued walking.

I did my best to respond quickly, "Well, I'm a philanthropist of sorts. I actually hate this shirt but I wear it to cheer up women's days."

She did the giggle. (The giggle is really hard to describe. But it's usually a sign of flirting because she's laughing at something that ISN'T actually funny - the other possibility is that she's just trying to occupy dead air time.)

We walk the rest of the way to the elevators, and she presses the UP button. I suspect she was being polite with her "giggle" so I whip out my Blackberry and look at it intently.
(Of course, my Blackberry is a piece of shit, so I was actually staring at a blank screen while it struggled to activate it's main screen, but that's not important.)

"So what do you do for AMC?" She wasn't trying to be polite. The giggle was a flirt. The blood drained from my face. I can deal with women I don't know - as long as they're not flirting with me. Attractive women flirting with me is so far out of my everyday experience that it causes a meltdown of sorts in my reasoning cortex.
(I don't actually work for AMC - I work for the equivalent of A&C ... but people often confuse the ampersand for an M ...)

The elevator arrived and I let her in first. I entered and pressed the 7 button. She stepped forward and pushed the 6 button.

I spent the rest of our solitary elevator trip up to her floor (6) telling her about my job.

The sixth floor arrived - she got off, looked over her shoulder and said "It was really nice talking with you," and swished her sexy little ass around the corner.

The doors closed.

I realized, shortly after that I had been holding my lunch box in my left hand - obscuring my ring finger. Even later, I realized that there were no offices on the sixth floor of our office building (It's very new, many floors haven't been leased yet.)

Now to the confession part: My interaction with her made me feel GOOD. I felt invigorated and confident. It's been a while since I felt that way - because no matter how much encouragement your spouse gives you, an "outside opinion" is always bolstering to your self confidence.

From here on out, that blue shirt is going to be my 'sexy' shirt, and there's not anything anyone can do about it.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Request Aggression Formula

In a thread over at Daylight Atheism, a commenter named "monkeymind" makes this statement:

"The more trust you are requesting, the more unearned the trust is, the more aggressive the request."

Of course, this thread was relating to Elevatorgate - which I've promised I would revisit.

I've become more soft towards Rebecca Watson's position in the past weeks. It isn't because I had any sudden realization, or some reasoned argument I've been given has shown me how I was wrong.

Actually, in hearing so many people try to express online why Rebecca Watson was right to say what she said and others explain why she shouldn't have said it - I realized that there was a >0% chance that I had misunderstood her original comment.

In her first video, her exact words were: “A word to the wise, guys, uh, don’t do that.”

I initially thought that Rebecca was saying "To the men who want more women to participate in Atheist conferences, uh, you all must stop propositioning women at these events."

That interpretation really rubs me the wrong way. Luckily, I don't think that's what RW meant anymore.
(Although I would not be surprised if she held this position - I think she's gone on record saying that this would be a good way to get women to participate more - but either way, that wasn't what she was getting at in this video.)

But now that more people who know her have spoken out, it seems that she was probably saying "Men - it is a bad idea to proposition women you've just met in an enclosed space - you will make them feel uncomfortable and it's socially unacceptable."

This interpretation doesn't raise my hackles nearly as much. It could be wrong (based on how likely it is for women to feel uncomfortable and its social acceptance - but I don't want to discuss that right now) - but it's not as offensive as my original interpretation - that she was basically calling for men (and only men?) to postpone their sexuality during a convention.

OK, so that's my stance regarding Elevatorgate.

But regarding monkeymind's statement - I thought it was incredibly ... succinct. It is a really insightful way to look at how we make requests of other people and how aggressive those requests are.

I feel like there should be some sort of mathematical formula for it.

For example, something like

(Objective Value X Portion of Wealth) / (Requestor Trust Level) = Request Agression

So let's say my life-long best friend in the world (RTL=10) asks to use a car (OV=3,000) but I have another car of equal value (PoW=50%) I can drive.
(3,000 X .5)/10= 150

So in that case, the Request Aggression would be a score of 150.

If we contrast that with this situation:
Let's say a person I just met in a bar (RTL=2) asks to use my car (OV=3,000) but I have another care of equal value (PoW=50%) I can drive.
(3,000 X .5)/2= 750

In that case, that person asking to use a car of mine is much higher Request Aggression score of 750.

So let's just play with this model for a bit and see if we can break it - let's see if it makes much sense.

Let's say a complete stranger (RTL=1) asks for $5 for lunch (OV=5) but I have a bank account with $2,000 in it so (PoW=0.0025%) however, because this complete stranger does not know about how much money I have in the bank, he loses the benefit of the PoW.
(5)/1= 5

So we can see that, in reality, the aggressiveness of this request is rather low at only 5 points.

Although I'm not entirely happy with the way this works out - it would make a stranger asking you for $150 as aggressive as your friend asking to borrow your second car - which seems way out of wack.
Also, there is no mechanism for the likelihood of returning something. With a complete stranger, you just can't know. Whereas my best friend would be throwing away an entire lifetime of friendship and trust if he failed to return my car after borrowing it - a stranger would have far less to lose.

Also, this method doesn't account for the reality of the situation. I really don't have a problem buying a homeless man a lunch or some food. I've actually done it before when I used to work downtown. I also don't completely despise giving them pittance in change. However, I never, ever, ever take my wallet out at someone else's request in public. I just don't do it. I don't take out my smart phone at someone else's request, either - not event to check what time it is.*

So in this way, a person with a RTL of <4 would be laden with the entire value of my bank account by whipping out my wallet in front of him. Whereas a person with a high RTL >7 would only be held to account for the actual property I gave them, not that which was made available - For example:
If a friend wants to borrow a nice set of pans so he can cook dinner for his wife, I might lend him my keys to my house to pick them up while I'm at work. Technically I'm giving him access to nearly all of my worldly possessions, but his high trust level privileges him to have ACCESS to that which is not actually granted access to. If we do some coding- maybe the formula should look like this:
(OV/PoW) [if RTL is >7, leave as is] /RTL = RA
(OV/PoW) [if RTL is <4, increase OV to level of increased access exploit] /RTL = RA

So then, we'd see that if a stranger with a trust level of 1 asked me for $5, which required me to take out my wallet (OV of wallet, including Identity Theft, is $5,000) then I could easily claim this man's RA to be much, much higher than my friend asking to borrow an extra car.

I dunno, but this was fun to think about. I'm not a math person. I'm only barely capable with simple arithmetic, and my attempts above at algebra are probably open to improvement.

But I ask, if you are going to tweak my formula, please try to do it with math that an average 13-year-old can understand, because that's my math skill level - and I'd like to try to understand what you're doing with my formula.

*The risk of me taking my wallet/smartphone out (and you now having the ability to grab it and run) is not worth your mild inconvenience of needing to make a phone call or knowing what time it is. If you are bleeding and need me to dial 911, that's another story - as your medical needs over-ride my fear of having my phone stolen from me.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tall or Short

FUCK YOU. If I could be taller or shorter than I am now - I'd rather be shorter. Yeah, I said it: SHORTER.

I could fit into a Ferrari or a Porsche or a Miata. A fucking MIATA.

Shorter, thank you.

Why? Because I like to drive cars. Cars are made for shorter people.

If I wanted to be a rapper, I'd want to be black.

If I wanted to be a gymnist, I'd want to be a woman.

If I wanted to do motivational speaking, I'd be handicapped.

And you know what - I want to drive cars - ALL CARS - so I want to be shorter. Fuck anyone who doubts me.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Good Relationships Are Better Than Good, They're ...

My wife has recently become employed after our move to a much larger city. We moved because my job moved - either move or become unemployed. Easy choice, huh?

So she came back today after her third day of working and her first day with her new schedule - one that means that she comes home about an hour and a half later than I do.

For the past 2 months, my wife has been dutifully fulfilling the roles that a non-working spouse should: basically everything regarding maintaining the household. And trust me, I've appreciated it.

But now that she's working, I need to pull my weight. So, before she got home, I emptied the dishwasher, loaded it full of dishes, and started cooking dinner. Because my ex-housewife (now just "wife") had so much extra time, she got into raiding in World of Warcraft. Becoming a part of a team isn't something you can just stop doing, so she had to run off to join her raid after she got home tonight.

We didn't get to do the usual bonding time that we're used to when I come home from work. Instead, she scuttled off (freshly-made-plate of Chicken Alfredo in hand) to join her raid with her guild.

After I cleaned up a bit and went to my office, the following conversation took place over Google Chat: (reposted with assumed permission)
Wife: Are you OK with me still raiding now that I'm working and might not be home til 630 or 7 some nights?
Me: Of course
I know how to find you when I need you
Wife: OK. I don't want you to feel unloved or neglected
Me: No, but I will let you know if I feel that way. Thank you for being mindful - that means a lot.
Like - A LOT.
You're an awesome wife
Wife: :D
I felt bad just running upstairs after unloading my whole day onto you
and after you'd cooked dinner and did the dishes
Me: It's ok - we have a give-and-take relationship
Wife: I give you shit
and you take it out of my ass

I am so in love with this woman.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"Rape for Men"

This started out as a comment - but I think it's too long.

It's in response to Ozymandias post at her blog: Myth of Male Power Rant

In her post, Ozy calls Warren Farrell (the founder of modern masculism) out for drawing an analogy between some things that happen to men and the rape that women experience.
I have to say, although I don't worship Warren Farrell as some sort of masculist god, this post raises my hackles a little bit.
Also, I haven't read the entirety of "MoMP" so judge me accordingly.

Warren writes from a position that many men who were raised in progressive circles in the 1970s and 1980s can relate to - and those men, like me, often view rape as a relatively unique violation that only women can be victimized by.
(Obviously: We are quickly learning that the number of male rape victims is greater than we suspected - so our views are changing.)

But with (the false, yet thoroughly ingrained mindset that) rape, being a violation only women can experience, it is a useful analogy for men to use to examine their own violation.

Most young men who grew up in the 70s and 80s view the violent rape (date or stranger) as one of the most heinous crimes imaginable. Many would kill anyone who did that to a woman they care about. We see rape as a unique, grotesque violation of that which we love - women.

By the same token, we were still taught that we, men, could not be victims. Either we deserve what we get, or we should've been strong enough to fight off our attackers.

I think what Warren was trying to do here was to use the visceral reaction we have of rape as a unique crime against women - and attempt to draw some line of similarity between these two gender-based injuries.

Ozy, if you subscribe to the oppressive concept of women as "sex objects" and men as "success objects" then I can perhaps help you see where I'm coming from:
If a woman's worth is seen as a "sex object" then to "violate" her in only a way that she can be violated is to take/use/destroy her sexuality and sexual agency. Rape, disfigurement (acid splashes and box-cutters) and genital mutilation are some common ways of doing this - I think we all agree here.
But the flip side is what I think you are misunderstanding from Warren's point of view. If a man's worth is seen as a "success object" then to "violate" him in only a way that he can be violated is to take/use/destroy his ability to provide for his family or himself.

In this gender concept, women who use child support systems to take wealth from the man are a form of "gender identity violation." When women encourage men to "rape them" ( they are asking a man to engage in behavior that could put him in jail, ruining his reputation, ending his career and destroying his ability to perform as a "success object."
Child support can be $800 a month. That's $172,000 over 18 years going towards a woman and her child who should've used a sperm donor but who decided to be deceptive.
I know men who'd rather be raped by a stranger than pay $172,000 that they may never even be able to earn.

Men and women who grow up identifying their self worth in either their sexiness or wealth have different vulnerabilities - that is the point that Warren Farrell was trying to get across.

We can either divorce our genders from these notions of sex and success - or recognize that men have a unique way of being injured that women experience through sexual violation.