Monday, March 17, 2014

Short Posts On Weird Stuff About Gender

1.  One conservative, Bryan Fischer,  thinks that the proper goal of women is to strive to be women:

"We don't need women trying to be like men," he added. "We need more women whose ambition in life is to be a woman"
That's based on the idea that men and women are non-intersecting sets in all their characteristics, but it's also an interesting plan for allowable female ambitions.

2.  The manufactured thigh gap that looks like a missing Lego piece.  This is funny on one level and nothing but horrible on a deeper level.  For an antidote, have a look at this story.

3.   Did you know that there will be a new reality show called "My Five Husbands?"  Well, I lied there.  The new reality show will be called "My Five Wives" and it joins other recent shows which portray polygyny (one man with several wives) in the US ("Big Love" and "Sister Wives").  The husband of those five wives states that he is a feminist and all the five wives also regard themselves as feminists.

To address those claims would take a proper post.  Though polyamory could be gender-egalitarian, the situation of that family doesn't quite look like equal sexual freedom for all participants.  Brad has five partners but his wives, Paulie, Robyn, Rosemary, Nonie, and Rhonda, each have only one partner, and the five share Brad between them.  There's a small adding-up problem* in that, for those who argue that the arrangements provides sexual equality. 

Now, a polygamic situation like that could have many theoretical interpretations.  For instance, the man could be viewed as having a harem or the women could be viewed as having a toyboy they share as they deem appropriate.  In other words, how egalitarian such an arrangement is depends on how power is divided inside it.  The traditional forms of polygamy give the man the lion's share of the power.  Whether egalitarian polygyny or polyandry is possible in real life and not just in theory seems an open question to me.  But the traditional type of polygyny certainly isn't gender-egalitarian.

I'm not as fascinated by this attempt at a feminist angle of the most recent polygyny series as I am by the question why there are enough American viewers for essentially gender-retrogressive stories about marriage and gender.  And when are we going to see that "My Five Husbands" series?
*The fundamentalist Mormon polygamy has another adding-up problem which these kinds of series probably don't address, and that is what happens in a community where some men have many wives so that other men cannot have any wives.  The Lost Boys is what happens.  More generally,  polygyny cannot be a stable societal arrangement without some way to get rid of all the surplus men, even if the women in the society have no say about whom they will be married to.