Monday, February 11, 2013

To Be Happy, We Must Admit Women And Men Aren't Equal

Yesterday I had the weirdest Internet day:  Venturing into places where I'm the Antichrist and mostly by accident!  Two of the sites had to do with Neo-Hitlerites (my term for racists who kinda like Hitler or think he was just misunderstood and who also hate Jews, blacks and women).  I was somewhat surprised by the fact that these guys are not only obsessed with race and the establishment of a White Homeland and all sorts of very, very nasty stuff.  They are also utterly into the oppression of women and telling us our proper role!

This makes sense, of course.  If you want to create a mega-country with only white people in it you need to get white women to start breeding to the maximum.  Women are the cannons and babies are the cannon balls and the soldiers operating the cannons must be these race-separatist men.  And cannons don't go to college or steal jobs from men.

One site told me, quite seriously, that feminism is a Jewish plot to make all non-Jews go extinct.  Its purpose is the destruction of the family which results in low birth rates, single mothers who cannot cope and so on.  The solution, it seems, is for men to man-up, grab women by the next and grind their faces into the dirt.  She likes it.  She really does, because evolution made woman interested in only two things:  pleasing the man and having as many babies as possible.  Men, on the other hand, are created Leaders by evolution!  All white men, that is. -- Don't you just love the various theories of our evolution people feel free to present, these days?

Anyway, this site told me that women should be at home caring for children because that's what evolution created women for.  Because women are so emotional, men should make all decisions except those about children.   I find it hilarious when we get a whole story how all unequal arrangements are to benefit the children and then men would leave that most precious cause for existence to be decided over by the terribly emotional women!

While scrubbing my eyes with steel wool in the shower I contemplated the fact that the story that site told about women is identical to the story extreme Islamists tell about women which is identical to the story fundamentalist Christians tell about women.  But in some ways this site seems more honest because the writer doesn't even pretend that any of this is for the benefit of women.  Cannons.

So after disinfecting myself thoroughly and repeating the mantra "only a few rotten apples", I strayed onto a very similar but smarter site from a YouTube video of this Superbowl ad, because the site sent a commando unit of misogynists to take over the comments thread.  They really do hate us!  Especially feminists because feminism stands in the way of the Dominant Alpha Wolf Getting His Way.  Which is pretty funny, given that alpha wolves don't seem to exist in the wild.   They are family guys.

Anyway, these asshats were so nasty and dehumanizing that I wanted to see who their daddy is.  He's a Nationalist, he tells us, meaning that he is not racist but just wants all races to have their own countries and besides, Hitler was badly misunderstood.  He wants to abolish the Nineteenth Amendment because he believes that women's suffrage destroyed the White Family though he admits that it most likely won't get abolished. 

He also wants to ban women from becoming physicians (I was too tired to find out why but suspect it's too high a role for women).  And he is opposed to abortion, thinks homosexuality is a disease caused by early childhood homosexual abuse and so on.  Interestingly, he seems to have joined the misogynists openly not because he would feel strongly about the perfidy of women as a sex but because his plan for a White Homeland requires taking away women's human rights.  Cannons, again.

And no, I'm not linking to either site.  And yes, I had to do the steel wool operation again.

There's something very wrong about me because the third piece I read was on the Fox News website, titled "To Be Happy, We Must Admit Women And Men Aren't "Equal.""  Suzanne Venker's piece  has snippets such as this

  • It’s time to say what no one else will: Feminism didn’t result in equality between the sexes – it resulted in mass confusion. Today, men and women have no idea who’s supposed to do what.

  • Prior to the 1970s, people viewed gender roles as as equally valuable. Many would argue women had the better end of the deal! It’s hard to claim women were oppressed in a nation in which men were expected to stand up when a lady enters the room or to lay down their lives to spare women life. When the Titanic went down in 1912, its sinking took 1,450 lives. Only 103 were women. One-hundred three.

  • Compare that with last year’s wrecked cruise line, the Costa Concordia. It resulted in fewer deaths, but there was another significant difference. “There was no ‘women and children first’ policy. There were big men, crew members, pushing their way past us to get into the lifeboats. It was disgusting,” said passenger Sandra Rogers, 62.

  • The captain of the ship agrees. In USA Today, Francesco Schettino was asked about his New Year’s resolution. He responded, “Bone up on the parts about ‘women and children first’ and ‘the captain goes down with his ship.’
Mmm.  Thousands of years of unequal laws were all worth it because men stood up when a woman arrived in the room and because in one shipwreck most of those who drowned were men. *
The idea here is that chivalry was a far-ranging social force which women received in exchange for carefully prescribed traditional gender roles and subjugation.  But if that had been the truth nobody in those golden pre-feminist years would have been raped, no woman would have been beaten, no woman would have been treated badly at her job, say.  And none of those early writers would have written these sorts of things about women if people truly valued women and men and the traditional male and female roles equally. 

I won't veer to the other extreme from Venker, however.  There were both men and women in the past who didn't criticize or dislike women but worked for more rights for women.  Still,  donning the traditional gender female role of the past certainly did not save women from being hated by some or from having less rights and respect.  Even today, many of the MRA sites criticize women in the labor force for taking away men's jobs and women at home for not working.  You really cannot win those battles, my sweet Suzanne.

But of course Suzanne isn't interested in any of that.  She's interested in selling books which she shouldn't be interested in, given her own game rules.  She should be immersed in her home and that's it.  After all, the traditional gender roles assigned all public sphere stuff to men.

What about those gulf-like gender differences which we must admit to before we can be "happy?"  Are women really from Venus and men from Mars, and if so, how can I get my return ticket to Venus?  
Funnily enough, I also came across this article, having to do with a study which measured various personality traits of men and women, using physical strength of the comparison:
Dating book authors and policymakers alike often claim that scientific research proves men and women are vastly different. But a team of researchers analyzed data from thousands of people across many different studies, and found that lots of traits we tend to think of as deeply gendered really aren't.
Study authors Bobbi Carothers and Harry Reis used both their own questionnaires and research by others to look at the characteristics of 13,301 men and women. Specifically, they wanted to find out whether traits like assertiveness broke down neatly by gender or were more evenly distributed, with some men and some women reporting high levels of assertiveness. Other traits they looked at included physical strength, caring for others, and being comfortable with casual sex.
I haven't read the study.  But with that reservation (and remembering that we are comparing this Suzanne Venker's Private Opinions), here are two graphs which show the distributions of physical strength and assertiveness of men and women in the study:

What those graphs demonstrate is that assertiveness is much, much more equally distributed between men and women than physical strength (probably upper-body strength).

Here's the problem with Venker's arguments:  She posits a Happy Past when it wasn't especially happy and probably less happy than the present.  She then gives two examples of male chivalry as the reward for female subjugation, and one is simply hot air, the other one the only example always given at the MRA sites about how women were better off in the past, at least if they traveled on the Titanic. 
Now, most of us will never experience a situation like the Titanic, which makes its mythical importance in the MRA circles so very odd.  What those men did many decades ago is supposed to justify all sorts of goodies to today's men, even if they never gave up their lives for a woman. But if we used the same logic, the gang rapes of women in Bosnia should bear equally heavily on all men living today, and they should be used as examples of the lack of chivalry on men's part.  I'm pretty sure that the Bosnian women weren't hairy feminazis so feminism cannot be blamed for those atrocities. --  But that's where we go when we start positing that all men are the same with each other and all women the same with each other, and either taking credit for our sex or blaming the other in toto.
That, and the assumption of innate  gulf-like gender differences between men and women is the biggest unsupported assertion Venker makes, together with the assertion (also given without any proof) that one will find happiness by following her recommendations.  
In some ways that last part is the bit I feel worst about because she will never be held responsible for any unhappiness her advice causes.  Yet she is engineering human relationships, without telling us that if we follow her advice the next generation will continue reading stuff about women's intellectual inferiority, about the gold-digging aspect of women at home (what do they DO all day?  And no, that's not my question but something that was common in those pre-feminist days in cartoons and such) and about the importance of letting men be men equaling letting men be the bosses.  She's making more work for the feminists of the future, and believe me that they will exist because, my sweetings, feminism is an evolutionary adaptation!  So I have decided.
There!  I went all shrill in this one and boy doesn't it feel good!  The reason was that I first waded in turds, then received a prettily wrapped box with a pink bow on it, opened it and found:  A turd.
*One site on the Titanic has slightly different death figures.  It looks like her female death figures were for passengers only but the total figures were for passengers and crew.  The crew was predominantly male.  But so were the passengers in that my link shows 776 adult male passengers and 896 male staff and crew.  The adult female figures were:  412 passengers and 22 crew.  The death rates were considerably higher for men than women but they were also higher for second class passengers than first class passengers and highest all for those traveling in steerage.

The valor of many men on the Titanic is not something I debate.  The point is that if we pick one example of behavior as the justification for traditional gender roles why this particular example?