GENERAL – New Words

Time for some new words and expressions. Those that promote the discussion get taken up and used, the others just fade into obscurity on some server somewhere.

Tit swinging – This is the direct equivalent of “dick swinging”. Dick swinging refers to competitive, macho boasting. Tit swinging is the swarming you see in feminist spaces to shower sympathy on someone who has just told a story of pain, and frankly it is comforting to see. It isn’t really a competition at all, it is just about belonging – making that person feel surrounded by support, and reaffirming their own worthiness to belong, which we all need to do from time to time. In this it is a lot like dick swinging. Dick swinging is competitive and tit swinging is not, but the competitiveness of dick swinging is all about belonging, all about making the team, so at bottom they are both quite alike.

Cave fish – A cave fish is someone who has lived in their own dark little world for so long that they have finally gone blind and can’t see the reality that other people live in, also known as “your privilege blinds you”. Tumblrfems are a common form of cave fish.

Female chauvinist pig – This is a woman who thinks women are more moral, more caring than men because men cause all the violence and oppression in the world and control everything, that women’s concerns should be centered and that men should just suck it all up because after all they already control everything, that the metric of a good man is how well he takes care of a woman or how much he “respects” them…and you know all the other attributes and attitudes. There are some sub-categories:

Princess Fish Sauce – This is a woman, generally young, who thinks men’s bodies are icky but hers is the Ultimate Prize for which all men should strive, or else they are misogynists trying to marginalize women in their lives. http://www.genderratic.com/p/912/misandry-feminist-gay-bashing-edited/ She’s very clear on insisting that every real man she goes with is going to go down on her, fish sauce or not; or else he’s a misogynist asshole, but she thinks fellatio is eewwww and a form of patriarchal submission, and besides, penises are just icky, amirite? Squeeeee!!!!

Phallophobe – This is someone who believes in the Evil Penis – that the phallus is a threatening weapon rather than something that can easily be injured, that it is just axiomatic that rape is something men do to women, that any display of masculinity is suspicious. This is someone who uses “phallic” and “testosterone-fueled” as derogatory terms or says someone is “testosterone-poisoned”. This is someone who is phobic about phalluses.

Foaming feminist – as opposed to a feminist who actually does want to dismantle traditional gender roles rather than exploit them for victimhood, who actually see all people regardless of gender as full human beings with rights and hurts and the whole load, who really makes her feminism about gender equality. A foaming feminist on the other hand is motivated by a sense of moral superiority over men, and who derives her ideology from a sense of rather Victorian outrage at the brutishness of men.

Moving along:

Gynophile; gynophilia – and this is the male reflex of the Female chauvinist pig. Like a pedophile who “loves” children, but in a bad, predatory way, he “loves” women, but in a bad, pedestalizing, bigoted way. Both are perversions, since bigotry is a perversion. This is the man who thinks Women Are Wonderful and that little girls are made of sugar and spice while boys are made of snails and whatnot. what a wonderful word it would be if woman ran it! No more war or hunger or over-consumption or consumerism, no more competition, no more homeless puppies…. Of course there might still be plenty of inhumanity to man, but so what? Men deserve most of it, right? And there would still be plenty of homeless men, but hey, what about all the women forced to wear high heels?

 

That’s it for this installment. Nominate some more!

 

 

FEMALE PRIVILEGE – What #Yesallwomen tells us about white female privilege, and the privilege discourse in general

In an open thread over at Feminist Critics*, Commenter AndreaK quotes with disapproval a question she saw somewhere

“The #YesAllWomen thread raises an important question: Why do so many men behave so poorly?”

That question is itself a sly inversion. Quite a lot of the “poor behavior” is exactly the kind of sexual aggression young men report at the hands of women. They report women running their hands along their shoulders – absolute strangers – they report women grabbing their crotches, making lewd comments, report that they are expected t be grateful for all this, that they get all kinds of gay-shaming and accusations of misogyny if they demur – and absolutely none of this is called harassment. They report that they get no hearing at all, they get laughed at and told they should feel lucky.

So the question is, what does #Yesallwomen tell us about [white] female privilege.

Sexist Double Standards: What does it tell us about sexist double standards as to what constitutes harassment, what does it tell us about women’s sense of sexual entitlement to men’s bodies, what does it tell us about women’s claim on sympathy and protection that men do not have?

Empathy Apartheid: What does it tells us about the superior position of women in this society that women feel safe talking publicly about their victimization, where men will be shouted down, gay-shamed, privilege-silenced and have their gender identity called into question if they even try to speak up?

When you are in actual fear of someone, do you go around broadcasting that fear? No, because you know the person you fear will use that information against you, that information will tell that enemy how effective her efforts are so far, and she can ramp them up. So you hide that fear, if it is real, unless you expect help and protection from some other quarter. And if you can expect no help and protection, you hide that fear.

I wonder how much a black woman can expect in the way of sympathy when she gets harassed on the street, how likely she is to go public with that information. I wonder how recently the police and prosecutors in this country started investigating rapes of black women and actually prosecuting them, and how these women’s experiences with that differ from those of white women.

You don’t breathe a word to anybody, and everybody goes around saying that if there really is a problem, why are they not hearing anything about it? And at that point you are in the world of sexual violence statistics and research and cultural conventional wisdom about who the victims of sexual harassment and violence are and are not.

Misandry and objectification of men: The standard deflection is that this is just the workings of the Patriarchy, so it’s self-inflicted pain. So there’s the objectification of men right there, the borgification of men into a single entity inflicting patriarchal oppression on itself. The patriarchy hurts men too. And when a feminist deploys this line of rebuttal, she shows she is complicit in the patriarchy. I have yet to see it used as a rallying call for women to start defending men against women’s sexual violence.

White Lady Tears: There is another question that hashtag brings up. It would be interesting to look at the demographics of the women posting there. Are they really “all women” or are they the usual over-privileged young white women who see oppression everywhere and bewail their victimization to support their privilege? Is this just yet another effusion of “white lady tears”? It this yet another instance of white feminism’s recurring problem of racist erasure of non-white women, or of young white women presuming to speak for all women? I wonder how this trust that an appeal to the pity of society would look to anyone who is not a white women of a certain income level, or someone whose whole gender identity revolves around cherishing and defending white women’s well-being?

 

The privilege discourse: Does anyone really think any of these so-called privileges these women enjoy are really privileges? Aren’t they really rights? Isn’t this how members of a community are supposed to be treated when they are harmed or even just feel harmed, that they can get a sympathetic hearing and some help? What these are is male “disprivileges” if you insist on the p-word, rights that are denied males.

This is the problem with the whole SJ version of “privilege”. It conflates simple advantages, inherited advantages (Yes, I am going to care about my kids more than you and pass what I have to them, not yours – get over it. No, I am not going to treat all children equally.), basic civil rights, such as the right to what you earn, that all citizens should have but some are denied, and finally what can fairly be called privileges. i.e advantages granted by some external power. “Privilege” conflates all of these and is so sloppy a concept that the sloppiness look almost intentional.

 

*http://www.feministcritics.org/blog/2014/04/11/an-open-thread-full-of-huskies-and-hoops-noh/

SUMMA GENDERRATICA: The Anatomy of the Gender System

Author’s Note: This is a summary of my entire theory of how our society’s gender system operates and how it originated. It is intended to be a ‘road map’ of society’s norms about masculinity and femininity. I believe that it can explain all gender norms in our society. The MHRM requires an integrated, consistent theory about gender in order to successfully compete with Radical Second Wave and Third Wave Feminism – this theory is an attempt at providing one.

The following does not mention every single aspect of our society’s gender system, but I believe that any unmentioned aspects of the gender norms can be successfully explained by this theory (feel free to propose “Explain This Norm As A Product Of The Gender System” challenges in the comments).

Note that whilst I called this post “Summa Genderratica” I do not wish to imply that the theory below is accepted (in its entirety) by anyone other than myself. I am only illustrating my theory here, and it isn’t meant to be taken as the “official philosophy” of GendErratic as a whole. The reason for the title is because I am a pretentious douche and as such I enjoy the self-important connotation/reference towards the works of Aquinas.

Onto the theory!

PART 1
The First Premise: The Purpose of Social Norms
Why do social norms arise?

This theory will take it as axiomatic that social norms arise for survivability and practicality reasons. Social norms arise as responses to the challenges of physical existence.

The Challenge
The gender system arose in the early days of our species. During these days, food and resources were scarce, accumulating them was a difficult and failure-prone task, and it was manual labor which performed these tasks; physical labor was the primary source of improvements to survivability and the standard of living (unlike today, where technological capital and knowledge work provide this (it is telling that the first challenges to the gender system only arose with the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution… periods during which the economy became less labor-dependent and more capital-dependent owing to technological advances. It is also telling that challenges to the gender system arose first amongst materially well-off groups in society)).

Because physical labor was the primary means of production, importance was placed on the means of producing physical labor, i.e. reproducing and growing the population. However, only a minority of children survived to reach adulthood, and as such much higher birth rates were required to grow the overall population size.

But only one half of the population could bear children.

The Response
Biology combined with the necessity of aggressive breeding essentially forced women to “specialize” and devote large amounts of their time to being knocked up and producing children (and when pregnant they are less mobile and thus more vulnerable).

Since males could not perform this important task, they provided protection and resource-provision (in essence, all the ‘rest’).

Social norms arose to push people towards their sex-mandated tasks. The “good female” and the “good male” were the female and male who contributed to their society by fulfilling their assigned role; the “good female” was the fertile mother, the “good male” was the strong warrior and productive hunter. These social norms were reflected in all of society’s institutions, including religion (see the warrior gods and the mother goddesses for more).

Summary 1
1. Social Norms arise as responses to the challenges of living and thriving
2. Low technology societies are dependent on physical labor to survive
3. Very high birth rates were required to increase the supply of labor
4. Only one half of the human population could give birth
5. Gender Roles emerged to encourage specialization on the basis of sex

PART 2
Maturity and Gender
As stated before, the “good female” and the “good male” were understood in terms of those who contributed to society by fulfilling their sex-assigned tasks. However, children of either sex are physically unable to do this.

A woman needs to be post-pubertal in order to bear a child. Young males are on average significantly less physically developed and thus generally lack the necessary strength to even have a chance at successfully performing their sex-assigned task.

As such, there is an association between maturity and gender-compliance. A female needs to undergo a process of biological maturation in order to perform the feminine contribution to society, however this process is essentially automatic and is basically assumed to occur over time, with mensturation serving as a clear biological indicator of fitness to perform the task.

With males, things are more tenuous. Proficiency or even ability to perform the male function, let alone perform it well, is not biologically guaranteed. Additionally, there is no single clear “he’s ready” indicator delivered by male biology.

Whilst females “grow into” being women, males do not automatically grow into being “real men.”

Aristotelian Femininity, Platonic Masculinity, and the Subject-Object Dichotomy
A young female just becomes a woman automatically, due to the innate properties of her biology. Her mensturation evidences her maturation. Her womanhood simply is. She is assumed to be gender-compliant and thus socially contributive by default.

A young male has to demonstrate, through action, the ability to perform masculine tasks successfully. A young male must prove he has “grown up” and become a “real man.” Males are not assumed to be gender-compliant (and thus socially contributive) by default; by himself he is just another mouth to be fed by the work of “real men.” A man must validate his manhood by action, otherwise he is not a real man but rather a “boy” (i.e. immature, not-an-adult male).

As such, one can correctly understand traditional gender roles as premised on epistemological essentialism, however different kinds of epistemological essentialism underpin each role. Femininity is mostly understood as innate to female biology, as an immanent essence, whilst masculinity is mostly understood as an ideal to aspire to, a “form” which one “participates in” in order to gain an identity.

It is a particular quirk of human psychology that we tend to perceive moral agency (the capacity to do things) and moral patiency (the capacity to have stuff done to you) dichotomously, even though human beings are in fact both. As such, the association of agency with manhood combined with the innatist understanding of womanhood (as well as, perhaps, the fact that pregnancy does render a woman less mobile and more resource-dependent) led to the association of womanhood with moral patiency. Men are seen as actors, and women are seen as acted upon. This is the traditional subject-object dichotomy.

The Disposable-Cherishable Dichotomy
A gender-compliant person of either sex is seen as valuable to society (since they are acting in ways which conform to survivability-oriented norms). However, females are assumed to either be (or will be) gender-compliant; naturally infertile women are the exception rather than the rule and thus the assumption is that any given female is (or will be) capable of bearing children due to their biology.

As such, females are ascribed an innate value simply for being female. Females are seen as inherently cherishable because they are the incubators of the future.

Males lack this. Their gender-compliance is not seen as an inevitable feature of their biological maturation but rather an ideal to live up to. Males neither are nor will become “real men” by default. As such, they have no innate value. The value of a man is exclusively contingent on the consequences of his agency and by himself, he is ultimately disposable.

Because men are valued not for properties of their biology but the outcomes of their actions, the death of one man is ceteris paribus a smaller tragedy to society than the death of one woman. After all, when tragedies happen, the death counts typically specify the toll taken by women and children (i.e. the future).

Our society may lionize its male heroes who go and die so that others may live, but as stated before, social norms arise to push individuals to perform socially beneficial tasks; the worship of heroic male self-sacrifice is a way to encourage men to see their deaths for noble causes as a worthy contribution to society, and thus to make men more willing to die for others.

The Gender Norms In A Nutshell
As a consequence of all of the above, males are innately disposable subjects, females are innately cherishable objects.

All gender norms ultimately are reducible to this.

Summary 2
1. Maturity, for each sex, is conceptualized as gender-compliance
2. Female maturity is seen as a natural result of biological development
3. Male maturity is not seen as guaranteed, but rather something proven/earned
4. Men do, women are, because manhood is about doing and womanhood just “is”
5. Because gender-compliance is seen as valuable and women are seen as innately gender-compliant, women are seen as innately valuable
6. Because men are NOT seen as innately gender-compliant, men are seen as innately expendable
7. Ergo, the subject-object dichotomy is overlaid by the disposable-cherishable dichotomy, casting males as innately disposable subjects and females as innately cherishable objects

PART 3 – Some Advanced Implications
Agency and Feminine Power
Everyone derives a sense of power – used here to mean efficacy or competence – when they successfully perform a task which has the end result of providing for their needs. This makes evolutionary sense – if survival-enhancing things did not give pleasure and survival-diminishing things did not cause pain, an organism would be significantly less likely to survive.

But the performance of tasks was typically assigned to males; femininity was not associated with agency and due to the innate reproductive utility of women, women were kept safe and away from potential danger where possible (which in turn generated a self-reinforcing (and perhaps somewhat self-fulfilling) presumption of diminished female competence – a presumption which was somewhat true during pregnancy (and may be somewhat true on average with tasks that require very high upper body strength) but clearly got exaggerated and overgeneralized).

However, every human being has material needs for survival, and these material needs must be satisfied through action (food must be acquired, shelter must be found). So how would a woman, someone culturally perceived as and encouraged towards remaining deficient in agency, acquire these needs?

The answer is that women are encouraged to rely upon men, and not merely in the passive sense, but to actively enlist the agency of males to provide for their survival. Masculine power is thus equated with anything which enhances successful/competent agency (e.g. big muscles), and feminine power is equated with anything that enhances enlisting successful/competent agents. Masculine power is that which augments agency, feminine power is that which augments the acquisition and preservation of agency by proxy.

The gender system, therefore, always contained a form of feminine power – i.e. ways in which women could act to service their material needs. Whilst it reserved direct acquisition through agency to men, the system also reserved agency by proxy for women.

Male Hierarchy
Society’s understanding of manhood as a Platonic ideal to aspire towards explains the fact how there can be “better men” and “worse men” (as men), as well as how biological males can be “not real men” – the use of “real” to mean “ideal” is telling.

Because manhood is demonstrated by performing certain tasks, men are ranked in accordance with how well they perform these tasks. Men are ranked by other men and by women – their gender identity is heavily subject to social validation and revocation. This means “real manhood” is an earned social status which is collective-dependent, hierarchical and competitive, and men can be socially emasculated at any time. Male identity is made contingent on competing with each other to prove oneself a “better man.”

As stated above, maturity is linked with “real manhood” but male maturity is again socially validated due to the fact that masculine task-performance isn’t biologically guaranteed – this means male elders (particularly fathers) are placed in a position of evaluator where they judge prospective males to separate the “boys” from the “men.”

The male hierarchy can be effectively divided into three basic categories (from lowest social status to highest social status)

1) Males who are “not real men.” The socially emasculated. “Boys.” Omega males.
2) Males who are “real men” but who aren’t able to revoke another male’s “real man” status. Beta males.
3) Males who are “real men” with the ability to revoke another male’s “real man” status. Alpha males.

The division between statuses 2 and 3 is contextual and often dependent on other institutional arrangements as well as the surrounding males – someone can in fact be Alpha in one hierarchy and Omega relative to another.

This setup ironically enough compels that a Beta be submissive to his Alpha so as to avoid being rendered an Omega. In other words the male gender role isn’t entirely about dominance but rather demands submission to “better” men.

Social Genders
Typically, “gender” is taken as a binary – as a reference to masculinity or femininity. However, this is hard to reconcile with the above situation – males who aren’t “real men” aren’t regarded as possessing manhood (i.e. they do not contribute masculine value). They are “boys” rather than men, according to the gender system.

They do not receive many aspects of ‘male privilege’ because much ‘male privilege’ is in fact ‘real-man’ privilege. And whilst they are socially emasculated they receive no female privilege either, because due to their biology they cannot perform the essential feminine task of bearing children.

In short, socially emasculated men are not seen as masculine or feminine but rather they are perceived, treated and categorized as a third gender. They are neither a man nor a woman (socially speaking rather than biologically speaking).

PART 4: Challenges
There are several classic problems in gender studies which any prospective examination of the gender system needs to explain. Below, I take several of these phenomena and reconcile them with the theory proposed above.

The Promiscuity Double Standard
The Promiscuity Double Standard (henceforth PDS) of our culture is well-known; a man is seen as a worthy and virile stud for sleeping around, but a woman is seen as a degraded and self-cheapening slut for doing the same thing.

Typically, the PDS is treated as a unitary construct – as if the PDS’s gendered imperatives arose from the same source. This is counter-intuitive because the imperatives of the PDS are in conflict – men are encouraged to sleep around and women are discouraged from doing so, thus meaning men cannot comply with the system without women failing to comply with it (and vice-versa). The PDS certainly isn’t in the interests of men, since it encourages women to prevent men from being studs (through the withholding of sexual access).

Typical feminist analysis sees the PDS as a male construct invented to control female sexuality. The fact that men’s interests are not served by encouraging female chastity complicates this explanation, but it is further complicated by the empirical fact that most slut-shaming is perpetrated by women against each other. If men created and enforced the PDS, one would expect men to be the primary shamers of sluts.

As such, it may be more accurate to see the Promiscuity Double Standard not as a single construct, but two different constructs, proposed and enforced by different parties for different purposes.

An interesting thing about the concept of “slut” is that women who are sluts are seen as “cheapening themselves” or “debasing themselves” – they are seen as giving sexual access far too easily (i.e. giving away a good without getting enough in return). Let’s look at the transactional framing here: a market exists, women are the suppliers of sexual access and men are the demand side of the equation. Women are encouraged to not give away sex “too easily,” i.e. they are encouraged to receive something in return for sex. It is mostly women who shame other women for giving sex away.

From an economic perspective, we are seeing cartel behavior; sellers colluding amongst themselves to raise the price of sex by restricting the quantity of sexual access that is immediately avaliable.

So what is the ‘price’ of sex? As explained above, women are encouraged to enlist male agency in their service, since the gender system discourages them from developing their own. Thus, the ‘price’ of sex is male agency, typically framed as a committed relationship. When women are sluts and thus ‘put out too easy,’ competitive pressure lowers the price of sex and thus damages (traditionally-understood) female interests.

The implications here are quite depressing; because women are encouraged to experience power through enlisting male agency, “sluthood” is opposed to traditional feminine power by eroding women’s bargaining position. Women are encouraged by the traditional gender system to experience their sexuality as being defeated and being conquered, rather than getting something they desire (i.e. sexual satisfaction). Women are also encouraged to see men as adversaries, and to see male advocacy of female sexual liberation as threats to their material security (i.e. “they just want cheaper sex, the cads!”).

In conclusion, the PDS wasn’t invented “by men” – at least half of the PDS is a mostly female-maintained standard intended to sustain traditional feminine power through preserving the value of sex and thus maximizing the agency women can enlist in return for granting sexual access. The imperatives of the PDS conflict with each other, and the PDS’s implicit sexual transactionalism sets up an adversarial situation that sabotages sexual fulfillment for both sexes.

The Childhood Gender Conformity Double Standard
A common double standard in our society is one relating to gender conformity amongst children. Look at the ease with which our society accepts female children going through a “tomboy phase.” Compare this against the worry and concern that accompanies any male child that may want to play with dolls. It is “normal, she’ll grow out of it in a few years” for a young girl to want to play with the boys, but if a boy confesses liking pink he’s immediately suspected of being homosexual or a gender failure.

This is an obvious consequence of the fact that female biological maturation (and thus gender compliance) is seen as an automatic process which “simply happens.” Because womanhood is seen as biologically innate, a woman’s actions are not seen as the primary source of the value she can contribute to society.

Male biological maturation, on the other hand, is not a guarantee of being able to perform the socially-mandated male tasks. Being a “real man” (i.e. able to contribute masculine value to society) is not biologically guaranteed. Since a male’s gender compliance is evaluated not on what he is but rather what he does, a male’s actions place his entire social value at risk.

Many gender theorists argue that society worries more about males because our society allegedly values masculine traits above feminine traits; this conflicts with the fact that feminine traits are praised when they are exhibited by women (it also conflicts with the fact that historically, societies have sacrificed men to protect women; societies don’t sacrifice higher-valued members for lower-valued members). Biology means that a man who acts feminine cannot perform the socially-mandated “core” feminine task (bearing children), and thus for him to be feminine represents wasted potential (but when a woman acts feminine it isn’t a threat). Thus, a man who acts feminine isn’t perceived as a social woman, but rather a social neuter (an Omega Male).

However, since both men and women are (in fact) agents and masculine value is dependent not on what someone is but rather what someone does, females can in fact contribute masculine value to at least some degree (and the feminist movement has influenced people to accept the reality of female agency, and even to celebrate when women transgress gender roles). As such, women can “value-add” through gender nonconformity, whilst men cannot; females can be socially androgynous whilst men (due to their inability to perform the core feminine task under the gender system) can only be social neuters.

Thus, it is the Subject-Object Dichotomy (and not any alleged valuation of masculinity as superior to femininity) which forms the basis for the Childhood Gender Conformity Double Standard.

The Madonna-Whore Complex and Gendered Evaluations of Moral Character
Our gender system has influenced the ethical standards which are placed on both sexes. In the case of this problem, whilst men are subject to normal ethical standards, women are not; questions about a woman’s character are entirely centered around whether or not she is chaste.

This is an obvious product of the subject-object dichotomy, which casts women as moral patients. As women are not seen as moral agents, they are not treated as subject to moral standards or as possessing capacity for great moral virtue (or vice).

Slut-shaming under the gender system is explained above, however it is obvious that religious norms have influenced the Madonna-Whore Complex (look at the name!). Religion is a separate system to the gender system (although the two clearly interact), and Abrahamic monotheistic religions condemn promiscuity in both sexes (not just women). Women, however, are slut-shamed under both traditional gender norms and religious norms, whereas men are shamed for sleeping around under one set of norms but praised for doing so under the other.

This confluence of gender norms and religious norms, coupled with the objectification of women under the gender system, explains why chastity/sluthood is so heavily emphasized in discussions of women’s character: women are typically left off the hook with standards relating to other issues (minimizing both their virtue and vice), so the Madonna-Whore standard fills the vaccum.

PART 5: Conclusion
The above is a summary of my entire theory of gender as expressed in all my previous articles. I believe it to be a superior explanation of the gender system, for both sexes, than the status quo theories accepted in most gender studies departments. Feedback, commentary, suggestions and critiques are encouraged.

Reddit Repost: “Beyond The Binary Gender Structure: Biological Maleness vs. Social Masculinity”

This is a repost of an article I originally wrote for /r/Masculism and posted here: http://www.reddit.com/r/masculism/comments/16t9fa/beyond_the_binary_gender_structure_biological/

Upon a second reading, I notice one error or piece of sloppy reasoning: with respect to the “prison bitch” issue, I did not take into account that in some cases, the “prison bitch” is in fact treated “like a woman” to some extent. This makes sense as the relationship being pseudo-heterosexualized due to the fact that some of these relationships are the product of situational sexuality practiced by heterosexual men who obviously wish to maintain the ‘illusion’ that they are having sex with a female. In spite of this fact, there is also a strong number of “prison bitch” relationships which follow the template I describe in this article. This subtext seems validated by reports on the phenomenon of prison rape, for instance “No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons.” I could cite other examples of phenomena which are consistent with my analysis, however.

In addition, this post uses a significant amount of technological terminology relating to Philosophical Methodology. I do not wish to sound patronizing, but I’ll provide a definition for these terms in advance (my thanks to Chris Sciabarra at NYU for these concepts).
Monism: Everything is understood as being “the same thing” or epiphenomena (products) of that one thing.
Dualism: Everything is understood as fitting into one of two mutually exclusive and exhaustive categories.
Dialectical: A relationship between things in which these things are defined/understood in terms of their relationship to each other. Understanding X in terms of comparing-and-contrasting it with Y.
Dialectical Pseudo-Monism: A monism which ‘masquerades’ as a dualism by outwardly establishing two categories (X and Y), yet it understands/comprehends Y exclusively in terms of its relationship with X. Y is not treated as an entity of its own, but ultimately as an epiphenomena of or response to X.

PART 1
In my article Separating The ‘Boys’ From The ‘Men’, I argued that traditional gender roles, whilst both premised on Gender Essentialism, were based on different types of Epistemological Essentialism. Traditional femininity was (and probably still is) seen as innate to female biology (probably due to the fact that a female can serve her socially-mandated function, i.e. reproduction, simply by virtue of her biological maturity (barring infertility)), in the tradition of Aristotelian Essentialism (a.k.a. Immanent Essentialism or Moderate Essentialism).

Traditional masculinity, on the other hand, has always been based on Platonic Essentialism. Men, by virtue of their innate biology or biological maturation alone, do not serve their socially-mandated functions (hunting, protecting, the extremely dangerous tasks). Rather, they must act to prove they not only can perform these functions but to show how they can perform these functions better than other males. Thus, biological males have to “earn” their “manhood” by proving they can serve society in specific ways, and the better they are at doing this the “more man” they are.

As a consequence of this Platonic concept of masculinity, not all males end up achieving the social status of manhood. There are the “real men” and there are the “not-real-men,” or as we might put it, there are “the men” and “the boys.”

I believe that this fact has been sorely missed in the vast majority of traditional gender analysis. I believe that this fact also has particularly radical implications which need to be drawn out.

PART 2
In traditional (and, with very few exceptions, feminist-conducted) gender analysis, there is a methdological dualism between masculinity and femininity – all gender classifications are seen as falling into masculine or feminine. Even feminists that aren’t of the radical-second/third-wave type have usually subscribed to this model. Even relentlessly politically incorrect feminists such as Camille Paglia have. This model is fundamentally gynocentric (or perhaps femmecentric would be a better term). It sees the masculine as based on the disownership of and revolt against the feminine (technically speaking this makes the model pseudo-monistic with masculinity defined dialectically (i.e. the not feminine, masculinity is defined in relation to the feminine) but that’s a whole different issue and for simplicity’s sake we’ll describe this as a methodological dualism). It sees the feminine as the “default” from which the masculine acts in order to differentiate itself (to be fair, this argument has some biological basis – fetuses are female until they are exposed to androgens in the womb, which masculinizes the fetus over the course of development. This leads to the situation of some feminists trying to use a biological argument to defend gynocentric analysis; a situation that strikes many as hypocritical).

As an analytical consequence of this model, anything which “falls short” of “real manhood” is classified as feminine. Thus, the bullying of men for being insufficiently macho is classified as an epiphenomenon of misogyny (see my article Primal Misogyny and Ozy’s Law over on /r/GenderEgalitarian for more). Prison rape of smaller, weaker men by larger, stronger men is seen as an epiphenomenon of male-on-female rape. The oppression of socially emasculated males is seen as no more than a consequence of the oppression of females. This attitude, which I call “Primal Misogyny,” is one of the greatest reasons why so many men involved in the gender conversation have come to the conclusion that feminism does not care about men’s issues; most of the time feminism has argued men’s issues are just repackagings of women’s issues (which, ironically enough, compounds the social emasculation of “not-real-men” by turning them into “honorary women” for the purposes of analysis).

So what are the alternative models? If we are to stick with a bigendered model, there are two alternatives; an androcentric (or masculocentric) model (the flaws of which have been admirably critiqued by plenty of feminists, and thus would be fallacious to adopt), or a true methodological dualism which doesn’t center on either side.

PART 3
But this leaves us with a problem; where would the ‘socially-emasculated’ men, the ‘not-real-men’, or the ‘boys’ fit in such a model? They’re clearly male-bodied individuals, yet socially they aren’t considered “real men.” “Real men” do not identify with them; rather, they usually hold them in contempt and often outright bully them. Nor do the “boys” receive any of the chivalry/benevolent sexism/female privilege that women can have some expectation of receiving; “don’t hit a girl” certainly doesn’t apply to “not real men” (indeed, the opposite is true).

Many feminists would argue in favor of the methodological dualism which reduces the insufficiently-masculine to the feminine by pointing at the insults thrown around various school playgrounds at less “jockish” males. They’d suggest “pussy” and “sissy” and “girl” back up their methodological presumptions, and in that they have a point. However, plenty of other insults and teases applied to the same victims are not gendered; “wimp,” “shrimp,” “loser” (especially indicative since athletic competitions are typically held between members of the same sex), “weakling,” “nerd” (which typically has male connotations) etcetera. And then, we come to a more telling set of insults; “grow a pair!” “Man up!” “You have no balls!”

This last set of insults focuses not on being traditionally feminine but rather on lacking traditional masculinity. According to the typical model, to lack masculinity is to be feminine, however if one uses these specific insults to argue for the traditional methodological dualism, one is making a circular argument. But is it possible to lack traditional masculinity without gaining traditional femininity?

The gender psychologist and androgyny scholar Sandra Bem has argued so. Bem developed a personality measure (the Bem Sex Role Inventory) which was based on the presumption that masculinity and femininity are in fact independent variables. One can be high on both, low on both, or high on one and low on the other. The result is four categories – traditionally masculine, traditionally feminine, androgynous (exhibiting both strongly masculine and strongly feminine traits) and undifferentiated (exhibiting neither strongly masculine nor strongly feminine traits). Insults which revoke masculinity without arguing for an increase in femininity (i.e. “you have no balls” isn’t necessarily saying “you have a pussy”) suddenly make a lot more sense. Insults which degender (emasculate or defeminize) aren’t to be seen as ascribing the traits of the opposite gender but rather as subtracting the traits of the current gender.

The other concept I find illuminating in this regard, apart from Bem’s androgyny model, is the concept of “Apexuality” developed by Typhon Blue. Blue begins by noting that, due to the hierarchical nature of traditional masculinity, men often lack a common social identity with each other – “real men” holding “not-real-men” in contempt, for example. The notion of “men as a class” comes apart at the seams, because many males do not perceive many other males as fundamentally like themselves.

PART 4
The above two notions lead me to make a radical suggestion. It is not enough to “try harder” at avoiding slipping into gynocentrism or androcentrism; the basic methodological reduction down to two genders is the problem.

Think about it; is a “prison bitch” (clear case of a man who, in his context, is at the (pun intended) bottom of the social hierarchy, socially emasculated and seen as something other than a “man”) treated as a woman? In the western world, most of the time women aren’t shamed if they get raped and an outcry is rightly raised if anyone suggests a rape victim deserved it; the “prison bitch” unfortunately faces a culture which lacks such sensitivities, and indeed rationalizes his rape as something he secretly wanted/deserved on account of his alleged lack of masculinity. Does the prison bitch receive any chivalry or white knighting? Can the prison bitch invoke damselling? Of course not; that would be used as more evidence that his natural place is getting raped. The prison bitch faces all the demands of traditional masculinity (as defined in prison) – his failure to meet these demands is what demotes him to an inferior status. The prison bitch incurs several of the demands of traditional feminity (having to sexually satisfy his protector/provider if he’s “claimed” by a larger/stronger inmate, for instance). Yet the prison bitch cannot access the benefits of either masculinity or femininity. Can we really claim that the prison bitch is socially considered to be of the same “gender” as either females, or the rapists of the prison bitch?

The socially-emasculated men, the ‘boys,’ the ‘failed males,’ the omega males, call them what you will but to lump them into the same analytical category as the socially-approved “real men” when they are (in real life) categorized and treated differently is a fallacy. To lump them into the same analytical category as “women” when they are (in real life) categorized and treated differently is a fallacy.

It seems to me that gender discussion needs to abandon a bigendered model. Members of the male sex do not necessarily become “real men” (socially speaking). It is time that gender analysis adopts models of gender relations which truly separate the “real men” from the “boys” – whilst they are both of the same biological sex, they aren’t socially treated as having the same gender.

To clarify, I am not suggesting there are only three legitimate analytic categories (i.e. “man,” “woman” and “failed man/boy”). What I am suggesting is that there are at least three legitimate analytic categories, and the reduction of “failed men/boys/omega males/whatever” down to “honorary women” (or to “real men” for that matter) is a mistake. Nor am I alleging anything about gender-atypical females; as a male I have more experience with the male side of the equation and I am simply limiting my comments to the field I have more experience with. Certainly the hypothesis proposed in this piece is extremely radical and controversial and thus this piece should be read as a tentative exploration of a future potential angle for the exploration of men’s issues. Nevertheless, it is submitted for your consideration.

CONCLUSION
Traditional gender analysis often sets up a gynocentric (or femmecentric) situation where the masculine is seen as the rejection and inversion of the feminine default. A consequence of this is the attitude of Primal Misogyny – seeing all disdain for insufficient-machoness as an epiphenomenon of a disdain for the feminine. This attitude marginalizes men’s issues. However, as Sandra Bem’s androgyny model as well as Typhon Blue’s concept of “Apexuality” indicate, it may prove fruitful to move beyond a bi-gendered model of gender relations by embracing a model which differentiates between those males who are socially considered “real men” and those males who are socially emasculated. This could greatly improve the discourse surrounding the experiences of men who experience persecution and prejudice due to being socially considered “not real men.”

GENDER STEROTYPES – Kjerringa mot strømmen

There is a story told in various forms across northern Europe that involves a contrary old woman. The form I am (vaguely) familiar with is the Norwegian version, Kjerringa mot strømmen - The Old Woman (no good English equivalent for the Norwegian term) Against the Stream. In this version there is an old couple on their way somewhere and they fall to squabbling over whether their field should be “clipped’ or “shorn” – not clear on the difference – and one way or the other the old woman ends up in the river. So the old man goes downriver to find her to give her a proper burial, can’t find her, concludes a contrary old woman like her would be far upstream by now, and he finds her up above the rapids.

The story has been seen as a proto-feminist parable. The idea is that the individualistic old woman resisted social norms, and the core of those social norms were her restrictive female gender role.

Time roles on and the struggle continues, but now the villain looks different. The monster’s old mask was societal male domination that a kjerring would bravely rebel against, but now that mask is being torn off and the monster’s real face is being exposed. The monster is the traditional female role that these kjerringer see victimizing men and women in complementary and inter-supporting ways.

What is that traditional female role modern-day kjerringer are rebelling against? It basically comes down to hypoagency and feeding off of men’s agency, objectifying men into instruments of whatever is good for women.

Aspects of this are:

The Romance Narrative: In the West the Romance Narrative is a reflex of courtly love as it was popularized in the Middle Ages and has since then permeated the entire culture, from the elites down to us humble folk.In this memeplex the man is eternally on bended knee offering serivce to his Lady, who sits in passive glory far above the trammels of earthly existence. She is pure, he is dross; she is spiritual, he is animal; she is selfless; he is a predator; she is wise; he is thick-witted and insensitive and all his worth is derived from her approval. Oh, and he’s a naughty little boy too, and it’s her job to civilize him.

Measuring of Men: Women have always measured men as possible mates against various external criteria, just as men have women. Those criteria might be birth, might be wealth, might be breast size, success in war – whatever. In the past few generations those criteria have either become irrelevant or have been demonized, so what remains is a vague list of criteria derived from romantic fantasies, see above.

Here is an example of this thinking, a checklist of metrics to measure a man by to decide if you still find the relationship beneficial or if it’s time to trade up, a consumerist objectification of men verging on sociopathy.

There is one other aspect of this that remains, the old Moral Guardian role.This role was active not only in the White Feather Campaign – note how no men were out handing out these white feathers because they would have been beaten down - but also it has always been the preferred approach taken by feminists in gender discussion. The suffragettes made the issue of voting rights a moral issue and 2nd Wavers did the same thing with their pig-shaming language later on. The issue always is how are men oppressing women and what can men do to redeem themsleves to women – stop rape, stop rape jokes, stop keeping women and girls out of men and boys’ spaces, stop FGM, stop, stop.

Men Exist to Serve Women: The first question in any discussion of gender must be what is best for women. Any discussion of parenting must defer to the wisdom of mothers as the natural nurturers and any discussion of what is best for children really comes down to what is best for mothers because after all children are just extensions of their egos. (This is the kind of narcissistic perversion you can expect in a consumer culture.)

Engagement rings? A sign of ownership of women by men, not an exaction of expensive jewelry by women from men. Valentine’s Day and all that attendant expense? Oh there’s nothing wrong with that, women actually like that and it doesn’t make them feel objectfied or anything. Stay At Home dads? That’s a good thing because it frees women to work outside the home. Not one of these points is inaccurate or invalid, but they are all gynocentric. Everything must be assessed from the perspective of how a woman benefits from it because after all that is the only measure that matters.

So why does any woman rebel against this sweet deal? And by rebelling, I don’t mean the false rebellion of the spoiled brat who talks her parents down, i.e. she denounces the patriarchy, and then sits back and lives on their money and counts on their protection if the cops find out what she’s really been doing all this time to impress her friends. I mean women who reject all this for the golden cage it is but more than that, they reject it because they are not sociopaths and it sickens them to see men treated this way.

They are wives of husbands they truly love (as opposed to moaning about tot ehir friendsand toelrating as co-breadwinners). They are mothers of sons who are angry about they way way their sons are vilified and considered suspect or ignored in school and horrified at their lack of equality before the law if they are accused of a whole range of crimes that their female peers soemhow never get accused of. They are grandmothers of children whose mothers keep them away from their fathers and families.

These women are not traitors to women, they are the salvation of women, despite the howling derision, threats and vilification they endure from other women. They are what feminists claim to be and sometimes are – gender egalitarians. And that means swimming hard against some very strong and icy currents. They have the whole force of the “Patriarchy” and the traditional gender roles it prescribes, against them

DAMSELING – The moan about housework, again

Here we go again, another moan, this time from Annalyn Kurtz, about how men don’t do their share of household chores, all of course without any consideration of who gets to decide what chores need to be done in the first place, in other words, how many chores there actually are. But that’s another fight. This one is just over sloppy reasoning, reasoning so sloppy that only firmly entrenched assumptions can explain it. The core lazy assumption is that women have it worse, period, and facts are just road bumps to establishing this obvious truth. She starts off with a brazen declaration of dogma:

Despite gains for working women over the last few decades, two basic facts remain true: Men still work longer hours in a paid profession, and women do more of the cooking, cleaning and child-rearing at home.

Working in the home is not usually paid. But if both paid and unpaid work are combined, it’s the women who put in the longest hours.

Working at home most definitely IS paid work, at least in community property states where the couple functions as a corporation and owns everything in common, including income whatever the source. Are we to believe that a SAHM pays for room and board out of some other income and buys her clothes out of that income? Then where is all that money and that value coming from?

Of course, it simply has to be women who work the longest hours, sniff, sniff. That’s just axiomatic, if you care not to be called a misogynist wretch. Watch how she woozles this into shape:

In the United States, men and women work a nearly equal number of hours, but the women shoulder significantly more of the household burden.

Yeah, only if you surgically excise enough of the household maintenance men do. Any yardwork is somehow not part of the household burden. Car maintenance is often ignored too or explained away as some kind of fun for the man, so it doesn’t count, amirite?

American men work an average of 50.6 hours a week (33 hours at a job and 17.6 hours on household tasks). Women, who are more likely to be employed part time, worked 50.9 hours a week (23.8 hours at a job and 27.1 hours at home).

Here she can’t make up her mind. She admits to the higher percentage of women who work part time, but still says that amounts to basically the same amount of time…probably to get the end numbers to work out the way she needs them to support her damseling moan of a thesis.

Totaling it all up, the average American woman actually works 18 minutes more than a man each week, but she is compensated for fewer than half her hours. The American man, on the other hand, is paid for 65% of his work.

As I pointed out above, they are both compensated for all their work, if they are married. It’s all one income.

This is a textbook example of twisting facts to maintain a narrative, of artfully overlooking inconvenient countervailing information, of misrepresenting other information and of the use of plain old repetition in place of argumentation.

Perhaps I should be backing this all up with links to citations of how many more hours men work in jobs compared to female peers on average, or to assessments of how the tasks actually needed to keep a home running share our between the genders – I imagine there is so much overlap that comparisons are hopeless – or go into a discussion of how the overall list of chores is arrived at, who decides what needs to be done – the master of the house? That joke answers itself.

But Kurtz didn’t bother to back up any of her points with any kind of citations, because they are all just received wisdom. Her article is like a recitation of a catechism, and facts are just footnotes no one reads.

Perhaps if Kurtz had brought an argument it might deserve the effort of a rebuttal. But all her article deserves is a dismissal.

THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE – “Feminists Run the Schools – Teach Anti-Male Hate”

Brian Simpson has an excellent post up at Rense.com on the gender situation in the Canadian schools where he has taught. The post is quite complete – he catalogs a whole range of misandry and gender discrimination he has experienced or witnessed in that time.

Local Superiority is Superior Enough – I remember back in the days when I had to do my song and dance briefing whatever commander, one of the questions the Air Force would always get was “Will we have air superiority?” It was so predictable that it became almost a laugh line. And sometimes the answer would be “We’ll have local superiority” and the answer would be “I can live with that as long as you are locally superior over our location.” It was like a set of dance moves.

It doesn’t matter how much you enemy has you outgunned if he can’t aim those weapons at you or if you manage to get your one little, pitiful pistol aimed at the side of his head. That’s how local superiority becomes superior enough.

So if we are presented with the argument that sexism requires actual power along with gender bigotry, fine I can go with that – as long as we identify who actually has what power when and where. And reductionist, simplistic grand global models of gendered power relationships are not going to cut it.

Women control the entire public education system in the United States and I imagine the situation is about the same in the rest of the Anglosphere. Women don’t control the financial industry, and don’t control the foreign policy establishment or the legislative process except indirectly, but none of that matters when you are a six-year-old boy going to school. To that six-ear-old boy, the only power that matters is who is in charge of the building where he spends most of his waking hours.

Brian Simpson catalogs his own experiences as a male teacher. They include hiring discrimination, gendered blaming of violence on men, gendered concern only for female victims of violence presented as Truth in professional settings, bigoted rape awareness indoctrination directed at boys, open expressions of viciously anti-male sentiment tolerated and even encouraged, dismissal of male issues with lies and derision.

And what can a boy in these schools expect to experience:

He will experience being told he is less mature than the girls, and yet to be punished more severely when he misbehaves, and he will be punished more often. If a girl mistreats him, he can expect that to go unpunished. He may even find himself being punished for it.

He can expect to find girls’ behavior called more mature and his behavior labeled as immature.

He can expect to find learning activities structured to emphasize repetitive tasks, compliance with administrative rules valued over mastery of subject matter, and to be evaluated more on how comfortable the teacher is with him than on his academic performance.

He can expect to find competitive activities of the kind that motivate him to learn to be de-emphasized and even stigmatized.

He can expect to hear masculinity itslef stigmatized – to hear expressions such as “testosterone poisoning” and references to “the fragile male ego” and to hear men blamed for all violence and oppression and to hear women identified as the only victims.

 

Of course primary education is full of teachers, mostly female, who respect and care for all their students, boys included. But the culture of education is against the kind of equality they want in their classrooms. This is the hand that is rocking the cradle in public education. If “children are the future”, that is power indeed.

EQUALITY IS MISOGYNY – Incoherence in the female victim narrative

Robert Crayle asked:

“To ask a question…why would anyone who “genuinely” thinks they’re under attack from the “other”, that they’re persecuting, harming, even murdering the “in-group” also think that something so inane, so puerile as asking them to stop is the most effective strategy? I don’t think employed feminists or traditionalists (of the western variety) actually believe their bull – they just use the hordes of true ideological believers to hide the truth from themselves, as well as build up a sense of contempt towards those true believers. My question is, why would anyone else actually believe this – and so blindly too?”

Their narrative is incoherent, but it is so emotionally satisfying that they can’t stand to have it questioned in any way. That narrative is so central to their self-concept that it feels like an attack to hear it questioned.

This is exactly where tradcon men were in the mid-60s, having their sexual identity examined and denounced by privileged women – and let’s face it, all vanguards and social reformers come from privilege, even the ones whose revolutions turn out to actually benefit society too. These were men who had grown up under the control of women, naturally, so they were used to bowing to this kind of scrutiny. So the tactic worked.

When a man of that era quibbled with this, he was branded a sexist pig, a Neanderthal that just wanated to keep women in the kitchen and a whole barrage of other shaming language. And even now, when the MRM comes along and argues for full gender equality by way of denouncing inequalities in the family law and family law systems, denouncing disparities incarceration and the reluctance of law enforcement to charge women when they attack and injure men, to denounce gender bias in the educational system, to denounce double standards in the way female-on-male rape is handled by law enforcement and in the courts, to denounce rape hysteria, and to denounce male disposability in society in general – what is the response from feminsts? Infamy! MISOGYNY! Aaaaagggghhh!!!!

This call for equality is so painful because it confronts hypoagency, specifically the form of hypoagency in which women are the Designated Victims of society. Anything that questions women’s position as the ultimate victims in every situation throws these people’s gender identity into question. And that hurts deeply.

So whenever any harm to men is brought up, these people have to spin it so that somehow some way women have it worse:

Do men and boys commit suicide at four or five times the rate girls and women do? Well, well….girls and women attempt suicide more than men and boys do.

Are men sent off to die and be maimed in wars for the benefit of society, women included? Well, that’s not as bad as being considered too frail to be sent off to die. (By the way, how is that supposed to work? How does being too frail drive that? Why wouldn’t a society send off the weaklings? There has to be some other reason for not sending them off. But oh no….) Besides, women are the real victims in way anyway.

Are men raped and then laughed at? Well, it’s worse for a woman to be raped (because after all the demasculinatization of being raped is always so much harder on a woman). And besides, is it really rape? How could it be, when she is so much smaller and weaker, and besides he should be grateful anyway that the Wondrous Vagina has been bestowed on him and what’s wrong with him, is he, you know, gay? He didn’t want sex with that woman? He just hates the Vagina! Misogynist!!

Do men have shorter lifespans and worse health outcomes than women? Well, they are just weaker, that’s all! (Never mind that when woman had the shorter lifespans and bad health outcomes, society spent a century turning childbirth from a crapshoot with death into what looks like a perfectly natural and safe process.)

Are men judged solely by what they accomplish, so they put in longer work hours, forego time with their children, to the point that they even commit suicide for the insurance money if that’s the only path they see to make themseleves useful? Well, that’s just the glass ceiling? Don’t you see how that all discriminates against women? Don’t you??!!??

Et cetera.

Well now it’s women’s turn to have their gender role held up to the same scrutiny as men’s was. What they see as an inherent right they hold by virtue of being female, the MRM is denouncing as female privilege. Feminsts, it turns out, denounce all the same things as benevolent sexism. If they really thought they were so bad, they would launching their very effective activist resources against all these forms of inequality. That would show they were sincere. But what do they actually do?

 They denounce them on the one side and then insist of retaining those privileges on the other and cry “misogyny” if they are questioned.

They decry men white knighting them and then demand to know why men don’t have patrols out so that women can go anywhere they want at any hour in perfect safety, a safety no man enjoys.

 They say that gender is merely a construct. But then when people “constructed as feminine” display psychological traits that maladapt them to study and work in tech fields, rather than examining these maladaptive aspects of that particular form of femininity, they call for massive societal efforts to get the tech fields to accomodate that maladaptive form of femininity.

They denounce all this benevolent sexism, this female privilege, on the one side and then insist on retaining those privileges on the other and cry “misogyny” if they are questioned.

And that has been the response from most feminists, a lot of other women, and a lot of men, to this scrutiny of the traditional female role and female privilege. Equality is misogyny.

FEMALE PRIVILEGE – Gendering Class, Part III – Untouchability

Untouchability is a feature of several unrelated societies in which certain groups are singled out for exclusion in very concrete ways.

Thwe wiki on untouchability lists these features of the status:

  • Prohibition from eating with other caste member 
  • Provision of separate glasses for Dalits in village tea stalls
  • Discriminatory seating arrangements and separate  utensils in restaurants
  • Segregation in seating and food arrangements in village functions and festivals
  • Prohibition from entering into village temples
  • Prohibition from wearing sandals or holding umbrellas in front of higher caste members
  • Prohibition from entering other caste homes
  • Prohibition from riding a bicycle inside the village
  • Prohibition from using common village path
  • Separate burial grounds
  • No access to village’s common/public properties and resources (wells, ponds, temples, etc.)
  • Segregation (separate seating area) of Dalit children in schools
  • Sub-standard wages
  • Bonded labour
  • Social boycotts by other castes for refusing to perform their “duties”

This list describes untouchability in India, but most of it should quite familiar to Americans. This is practically the checklist of Jim Crow, both the laws explicitly segregating schools and public accomodation – restaurants especially – and also in a framework of custom restricting where black people could go, where they were admitted, and when.

That’s how untouchability works with respect to caste, whether that caste is defined ethnically or some other way. Let’s look at how it applies to gender.

The essence of untouchability seems to be an imputation of special dirtiness to a class of people. This dirtiness makes them a special threat and contact with them dangerous or to be avoided. This was an essential feature of the Jim Crow mentality and it doesn’t take much searching to find all kinds of references to it. And the purpose or the effect of untouchability is exclusion from privileged areas of society.

We have been looking at how gender patterns as a class divide in our culture. If untoucahbility is a factor in this class/gender overlap, then that could be one reason that black women are not considered or treated as if they are fully female, with regard to the privileges and prerogatives and protections accorded women in our culture.

So think of the ways men in our society are considered dirty, smelly, contact with whom is a defilement to be avoided. In the Old Testament there are passages referring to women in their time of “uncleanness” when they were to elave the camp and their presence was defiling. Then think of the social restrictions in place to exclude men in our society from areas reserved to women.

Untouchability has a poltical puropse. It has the effect of excluding a class of persons. It goes beyond the simple notion of physical dirtiness to demonization of all aspects of these persons; sexuality – men as sexual predators, men as raging balls of lust, etc. – emotions – men as raging violent monsters, men as the predominant or only abusers – and it is used to justify this exclusion.

The fact that so much power is held by men does not refute this, it confirms it, since those men in power are such a small percentage of men. Getting the rest of society to treat all competing men as untouchable and disposable serves the apexuals’ purposes very nicely. 

Please suggest specific examples.

EDIT – From the commenters:

Dungone points out:

“It’s hard to come up with examples that combine dirtiness with male apartheid in an overt way. “

Yes. The link is demonization. Anything male is cast as hyperagentive and this chimes with the threat narrative around untouchability, where contact is exaggerated into some huge virulent – ha, it’s even right there in the language – threat. And this sense of threat serves as justification for exclusion. This takes various forms – some are listed below:

Demonization of male sexuality – Men as a sexual threat to children, here, and even here, where it’s a four year old boy being trained to see himself as a possible rapist; rape of females by males as “qualitatively worse” (Mary K. Koss’ formulation) than female rape of males, circumcision apology or simple indfference to it.

Fear of the “male gaze” – Women can go into male locker rooms or public restrooms or even dressing room areas and no one is supposed to get upset about that, but if a man does the same he will end up in th back seat of a squad car.

Dungone:

Men can be searched by a woman, including strip searches, but men are not allowed to search women.

For what it’s worth, I live in an area with lots of small islands and scenic beaches that are all on private roads. I can jog or ride a bicycle there if I’m with a girl, but I risk getting stopped if I go by myself.

Dressing rooms are the same way. I’ve had store employees tell my girlfriend she could go right into my dressing room with me, without asking me what I thought about that. But when my girlfriend had asked me to go into a dressing room with her, store employees blocked my way and told me it makes women uncomfortable.

Male behavior and speech as coarse and needing policing - The meme that men are really just over-grown children, the meme that men are all just drooling, sex-crazed monsters, the meme that women have to be protected from them and their coarse language. (And just look in the comment thread on that last one to see how vehemently this kind of thing is defended, and how amazed people can be even to hear it questioned.) This is where all the one-way sexual harrassment policies and speech codes come from.

Thgis is a very cursory list but it probably covers the major areas of male untouchability in the culture, under which there will be many sub-headings.

FEMININITIES –Toxic Femininity

The dose makes the poison.

One of the very useful memes that has come out of the gender discourse in the last few years is a discussion of “toxic masculinity” or the traditional masculinity that teaches little boys to make themselves disposable for the sake of women, as distinct from an earlier demonization of “macho pigs” and masculinity in general.

Toxic femininity is not a personal trait of individuals. It is an aspect of a gender role, and since gender roles are a matrix of customs, expectations and policing, they are social rather than individual. That is what it means to say gender is constructed, if always on a pretty fixed base of biological sex for the huge majority of us, and this is where the construction takes place. (Gender identities are different; they inhere in individuals.)

I have drawn up a preliminary list of types and aspects of toxic femininity. They come from things I have picked up in the femmisphere in posts and comments, from things I have seen in the men’s side of the gendersphere and some come from personal experience. I wanted to list and name them so that people can use this in their own discussions and would have something to refer back to. The list is preliminary and suggestions on additions are gratefull accepted.

The list falls inoot two sections, Damseling and Gynonormativity. These roughly correspond to femininity seen as childlike, in a dependent position; and femininity seen as the moral standard, in a dominant position. This sounds like a contradiction but in fact it is just a description. The switch from dominant Moral Guardian to trembling Damsel can be instantaneous, because at bottom there is not much distance between them. The dominant matron battle-ax can very easily stand over a man and lecture him about defending and protecting poor, helpless women.

As we go through the sections below - and this is only a first cut at listing these aspects of toxic femininity, not claimingto be exhaustive – we’ll see exactly how much this stuff is socially constructed, how much it can’t even exist without a lot of cooperation from all parties involved. I’ve watched that happen.

And notice how  in each example for what the healthy and non-toxic version of this. There is a healthy and decent form of each one of these dysfunctions. Again, the dose makes the poison.

DAMSELING                                                                                              

Damseling is the female end of White Knighting – one cannot exist without the other. It is a celebration of helplessness and dependence on someone else’s protection. This is really nothing other than a feudal relationship. Depending on someone else for protection is a form of vassalage.

Examples include -

Victim Cred – For the most part we have a moral structure that stigmatizes victimizers and tries to validate victims. It doesn’t always play out that way in practice, but even in practice if a victim brings a complaint against the person who victimized him – oops, there’s counter-example right there – but anyway, for the most part the reaction from the rest of us will not be to stigmatize the crime victim as a loser, but rather the perpetrator. This feature of our moral code works against the operation of the law of the jungle, and it makes our type of society possible. So far so good. But of course it has a down side. It grants victims a moral claim, a form of moral superiority over those they identify as having wronged them, and this can incentivize victimology, the weaponization of victimhood.

-          Strategic Resource: Victim Cred is a strategic resource and has to be shepherded. This includes not only maintaining what victim cred you already have, but increasing it. This involves making the validity of your victim cred unassailable, controlling access to victim cred by restricting the number of people who can claim victim status, adding to your victim cred by casting as much as possible of what happens to you as some kind of victimization and appropriating. 

-          The “It’s Worse When It Happens to Women” meme:  This not restricted to rape, either. This was a big part of the FGM/MGM discussion until mostly feminists shouted it down – others had been calling BS on privileging FGM all along, but it was feminist voices that settled the matter. It pops up all over though. Boys being raped? It’s worse for girls, and they get silenced and victim-blamed more, and the rapists get off scot-free! You see how the claims don’t have to be any reaction to any facts, they just have to sound horrific enough to get the desired reaction. 

An extension on WCFbelow is to make it all about women even when there is no direct connection. This is how Hillary Clinton can say that women are the primary victims of war – war is worse when it happens to woemn – because they SURVIVE to deal with the grief. This is why every discussion of MGM inevitably ends up centering around the evils of FGM as a caution that of course it is immeasurably worse…. This is why when male suicide is discussed, female suicide attempts are considered relevant (It’s very important, just not relevant to the topic of actual suicide. So why is it brought up?)

 -          Appropriation of Others’ Suffering – This is why homophobia has to, has to be a form of femmephobia. This how legislative attacks on women’s health services get hyperventilated inot a “War on Women” – war is war; how many women are coming back from the War on women with legs blown off? This is how people think it’s appropriate to say that women “fought” for the vote, as opposed the very actaul wars men had to fight to get the vote.

           -       Women and Minorities: This is an application of Appropriation of Others’ Suffering lieke the others above, but tis one stands out, so it gets its own bullet.This one was devised back in the 70s when the initial and limited successes of the Civil Rights Movement made the public relations and therefore political advantages of victim cred apparent. White feminists knew a good thing when they saw it and pitched themselves as the natural allies of black people and POCs in general. (The rise of Womanism represents of some of the reaction to this appropriation.) I really have seen white feminists insist that black men are privileged by having male privilege – this in a society where they and white men have spent the last 300 years destroying black men’s manhood. 

-          The Princess and the Pea – Daintiness is generally a good thing, but it can be weaponized, for instance if it is used to extort special considerations out of someone or society as a whole.We all have food sensitivities and that’s fine, and some things are just disgusting it msut be admitted, but rejecting food because it’s “gross” is taking daintiness too far. Nobody much likes getting their hands dirty, but if you think a girl shouldn’t have to do this or that dirty job and besides that’s what boys are for, that’s taking daintiness too far.

“Sugar and spice and everything nice…” how liberating would it be for little girls to hear “Spiders and lice and every vice, that’s what girls are made of.”?  So you don’t have to spend your life trying to be nice-nice, you don’t have to worry if some crudity you let slip out is going to shock people.

 Bambi-ing: This is a tendency for society to conflate women and children, to assign women a claim to the same kind of care, protection and leniency afforded children. Obviously it is misogynist, but its effects are misandrist as well, both since men get the job of babying women, and also since getting this kind of care gets typed as non-masculine, so they are cut out of care when they need it. The name is chosen specifically because is both refers to that baby dear character in the Disney film and is also a stereotypical (and obnoxious) nickname of grown women, thus capturing the conflation.

-          The Women and Children First (WCF) meme: This is not only an expression of male disposability, it is also an infantilization of women. It is a case of expecting men to sacrifice their lives for  women’s lies as if those women’s lives were as valuable as children’s and thus more valuable than men’s.

 -          The Female Sentencing Discount : This is an institutional and systemic form of female privilege in which female perpetrators either receive lighter punishments or even are not prosecuted at all for the same or convicted crimes as men. It is quite well documented.

 -          Sex-negativism: This is the source of demonizing male sexuality that is such a strong feature of our laws and social policy. This also the source of “rape privilege” – the idea that rape is somehow the most heinous crime EVAH, that it is worse than murder or having your children taken from you are anything else. It is basically a desire to cling to a pre-adolescent state.

 -          Fat-shaming: A lot of what we call fat is not fat. Yes we have obesity problems in our societies, but a lot of women get called or think of themselves as fat when in fact they just have the bodies of grown women. And hate it. I bet if you gathered a group of a hundred women and asked them each to draw up lists of the five biggest examples of misogyny they observe, fat-shaming would be high on a lot of those lists. it’s about holding to a pre-adolescent body ideal well inot middle age. Arrested development.

Daddy’s Little Girl: This is so well-understood that it probably does not need much explanation, either what it is or of how toxic it is. As obnoxious as a Daddy’s Little Girl is, she’s not the source of the problem. Her daddy is. Chances are very good that Mom tried everything under heaven and earth to raise her daughter to be decent but Daddy undermined her every step of the way for his own selfish reasons.

The Princess Culture:  This is not just the Princess-Industrial Complex, as cannibalistic and noxious as that is. It reaches much further into the culture. It includes a lot of romantic tropes – expecting the man to get down on one knee to propose marriage, expecting a ring or some kind of gift for giving birth to one’s own child. Feminists have denounced the engagement ring from the angle of it being a possession-taking ritual – so far so good – but so far they have not exploited the female-entitlement angle of the ritual for criticism. That is probably a job for MRAs anyway.

Of course it’s wonderful to dote on someone you love and wonderful to receive that kind of attention. Where it crosses the line probably comes when one person comes to expect as her due rather than appreciating it as a gift. But the Princess Culture is all about fostering an attitude of dependence. “Someday my prince will come….” is really is a clear example of misogyny in a velvet glove.

 

GYNONORMATIVITY

Gynonormativity is not in of itself a bad thing. There are situations where what is generally considered a female way of doing something is the appropriate way, regardless of who is doing it. Teaching young children – primary grades surely, but even the older elementary grades sometimes – is one obvious example. Some kinds of anthropological fieldwork obviously call for gynonormative approaches. In other areas it’s neutral.  In some it’s not suitable.

These are examples of bad gynonormativity:

The Golden Uterus : GU is a distortion of the motherhood role into a tool for subjugating others to the mother’s will. It can even be used as a form of power to use in a rape. James Landrith recounts how his (pregnant!) rapist used her unborn child as a human shield against him to keep him from defending himself.

The Moral Guardian – The Moral Guardian is now almost exclusively a female role, (Although until recently you saw men doing it to. It still exists in communities on the Religious Right.)

Ninni Tokan recounts a story over at Pelle Billing’s blog of being regulated on by a Moral Guardian:

“It is October 2008, I am on the train to Stockholm. I will finally meet my wonderful friends from an online forum. Then I will go directly to this weekend’s conference; I have already gotten myself together for that. I’m all dressed in black slacks and a black blouse, with thin white lines. I’ve made myself up and fixed my hair.

After a while on the train I need to use the bathroom, and I’m not alone, so I get into a queue of 3-4 people ahead of me. The man at the front of the queue throws a glance backward, finds me in line, halts with his eyes and smiles. I respond to his smile and he disappears into the bathroom. When he comes back, he stops for a moment and we talk. Before he goes, he asks me to come back to his place to talk more later.

The man goes and I take a step forward when the queue shortens. On my left is a lady stands up, about to get into line. She casts a quick glance, which lands on me, and looks down at what she has in her hands again. The fraction of a second later, the reaction, the death gaze.

In slow motion, she lifts her eyes and the eyes meet mine. Then as she scans her eyes, slow down along my body, my shoes, flip and go as slowly up and look into my eyes again. Her eyes are razor grass, her facial expression clearly says “improper”, but the entire procedure lasts just a second. After bobbing her lightly on the neck and looks conspicuously obliquely upwards, before she returns to what she was doing.

What exactly happened? What was the social game that took place? Why did the man and woman act like this when they saw me on the train?

What we call gender roles can be likened to a flexible picture frame of standards, within which we “should” find ourselves. The frame will vary depending on social context, but also factors such as age. That both men and women reacted to was that I, on a train, found myself a step outside my picture frame in terms of “fitting clothes.”

The man would have reacted the same way if we’d met at a pub. His response is what we call “flirting”, “encounter”. It’s part of his gender to be the “fishing” (poor men, so tiresome it must be!). He obviously showed interest, without being the least disruptive; he is both pleasant and enjoyable (we talked more later) … and not without me taking his interest as a compliment. Sure it has happened that I happened onto to men who ” fish “without it being the least pleasant. And yes, some men sometimes be a bit “too on”. But men who do not ” fish nicely” are a crystal clear minority.

The woman, however, she had not reacted as if we’d met at a pub. She probably had not even noticed I existed. At a pub, I would had been dressed  ”right” in my gender (hence flexible picture frame). While the man’s reaction was “fisherman”, the woman’s reaction “moral guardian” whose purpose is to get me in line and teach me how a woman should act / be. It is almost exclusively women who guard women so that we stay within our gender!”

The Church Lady – Churches are almost female-dominated with male front men, which is why they are typically so toxic for women. They are tools of power in female hierarchy struggles. Of course this dynamic is harmful to men and especially to boys, but its real victims are women who happen to fall outside the Amen Corner. All the hyper-emphasis on policing women’s sexuality is no accident. See Ninni Tokan’s story next above.

-          Female Approval: “Man up!” “Get a pair!”The Real Man discourse and the whole concept of what makes a man a good man usually come down to one thing: How useful is he to women. That’s the measure of how good and masculine a man is.The measure of what made a woman a good women used to be the mirror image of this. Thank God feminism eroded that away to nothing. Now it’s time to do the same with this. 

“Man up!” “Get a pair!” Lectures from a woman on toxic masculinity are probably going to get a readier hearing than from a man, and the history of 70s feminism as a broad cultural change shows that. But harangues for more masculinity, especially a masculinity destructive to the man and beneficial and profitable to the woman, from someone who never has and never will have to meet the same standard, are just patently offensive.

Ultimately men’s need for female approval stems from childhood where women are the only authority figures around, because all the men have to leave the kids for most of their waking hours and support the whole arrangement. Where mothers do need this kind of authority to raise kids, espcially in the absence of the fathers they have sent off to support them, it’s dysfunctional when this authority gets transferred to women in general as a feature of a gender role. It’s disastrous when it gets transferred to wives.

-          The Flag-Waving Civilian Hyper-Patriot: Never served a day in her life, but she is ready to hound any man in sight to “man up” and go lay down his life for her. This chicken hawk is a real moral guardian of patriotic values. See also White Feather Society. 

-          “Boys will Be Boys” – Listen around and you will see how general the meme is that men are eternal boys and that women are long-suffering adults picking up after them. It comes out in teachers saying that girls mature faster than boys – by the gender-biased standards of teachers. It comes out in 20-something women presuming to lecture men their age on manners and mature behavior. It comes out in TV commercials and programming showing men as helpless, clumsy and incapable, but always with some superior woman coming to the rescue, or more often just looking on clucking her tongue.

 

-          Creep-shaming – This is how women take to Church Lady out on the street and use it on men. Lots has been written about creep shaming and if we want to go further into it, we can. It generally comes down to a content-free grenade a woman can lob at a man, though of course though content-free it is not necessarily consequnece-free. It can all too easily have real legal and criminal consequences.

 

WRAPPING UP

NinniTokan says that to free women, women have to dare to “make femininity problematic” and to shift the focus from demonizing men to women’s real gender problems – collectivism, moral guardianism and social punishments. She related (above) her own experiences of being slut-shamed by an older woman as an example of the damage gender role policing does to women.  She insists it is mostly women who enforce gender roles on other women.

She says the problem is not so much gender roles as the pressure to conform to them, and that to a large extent exerting that pressure is a part of the feminine gender role itself. I can confirm her in that; I have certainly experienced policing of male gender roles at the hands of women.

I consider it a perversion and a distortion of the feminine role and I call it toxic.