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Observers Debate Feminism’s Impact

(Micah Taylor/Flickr)

(Micah Taylor/Flickr)

Suzanne Venker, a conservative thinker and author, is no fan of the feminist movement.

In her new book, Venker argues that the movement actually harmed the lives of women more than it helped it. In “The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know and Men Can’t Say,” Venker wrote, “according to a 2007 report from the National Bureau of Economic Research, as women have gained more freedom, more education, and more power, they have become less happy.”

Certainly, Venker’s position is controversial and many feminist scholars disagree. Sally Haslanger, the director of the program in Women’s and Gender Studies at MIT, believes that the feminist movement helped create the freedoms that women enjoy today.

In an interview with Radio Boston Friday, Venker shared her theories and spoke about her book. Monday on the show, Haslanger presents the other side of the coin.

Radio Boston listeners have continued to chime in on twitter, on our website and on Facebook. How do you feel about the feminist movement?

Guest:


Other stories from this show:

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  • Alex G.

    My comment got buried under everyone else’s comments. The issue I wanted to bring up was how there seems to be a positive correlation between a rise in recent feminist movements and the rise in single-parent households headed by a mother who often has little income. It seems that there is a strong pro-feminist sentiment at the same time that the divorce rate has increased and, simultaneously, the economic prospects of many mothers are often decreasing.

    • Dana Franchitto

      Alex ,are you implying that feminism is to blame for the rise in singlepatrent households? What about husbands who leave their families for another woman. The alleged correlation is not that simplistic.

      • Frank

        Dana, I’m sure you know that 75% of all divorces are initiated by women. IMHO that is a result less of feminism (of whatever wave) than of the run-amok individualism in this society. The mere fact that recently-divorced men commit suicide at a rate 10 times that of recently divorced women speaks volumes about who thinks divorce is the better deal for them.

        • FeministSmithie

          Frank, you are conflating benefit and blame. If I derive pleasure from regularly kicking my dog, and my dog runs away, then the dog benefits, but I am to blame. My dog will have initiated that divorce, my dog will have the better deal, and I will be displeased, for who am I now to kick?
          I suggest you look to shame as well as a possible explanation for the suicide rate of recently-divorced men.

          • Frank

            Oh goodie, you and I are mixing it up!

            So, according to the DOJ statistics cited in the March, 2011 Women in America Report of the White House Council on Women and Girls, women suffer from Intimate Partner Violence at a rate of 4.3 per 1,000, a rate of 0.43%. If 50% of all marriages end in divorce, and 75% of all divorces are initiated by women (both numbers pretty widely reported and accepted), then any given marriage faces a rate of being terminated by the woman of 37.5%. Assuming that ALL women who experience Intimate Partner Violence have the good sense to ditch the bastard, and that ALL batterers of women in the statistics are ONLY men (i.e., assuming, contrary to the statistics, that there is NO woman-on-woman IPV), I subtract 0.43% from 37.5% and come up with a whopping 37.07% rate of any given marriage being terminated by the woman without any “kicking” of the “metaphorical dog” (well, at least of the female sex) involved whatsoever.

            But worry not, if your dog leaves you, you can always kick a man. Men, as you may have heard, are arrested if they kick back.

            I do think you are correct that shame (indeed any weakness or vulnerability) is a real issue for guys. We are much more emotionally sensitive than women want us to be, and we spend a lot of extra time at work (which, by the way, accounts for 2/3 of the remaining 20% male-female “pay gap” when you dig into the March, 2001 White House Council data), and a little more time getting aerobic exercise, or a lot more time drinking, to make up for it. The fact that the male suicide rate (which so far as I can tell, doesn’t really bother anybody, at least before a given man is dead) is about 5x greater than that for women when people are in their 20s and zooms up to about 13x greater than female suicide after age 65, suggests to me that men are at pretty serious emotional risk and likely are not being well served by the health care system. Again as noted in the March, 2011 White House report, men are significantly more likely to be uninsured, although as I would have expected, the report continues to focus on improving women’s access to health insurance and health care.

            The suicide spike among divorced men may well relate to the persistent, self-reported data that men get more emotionally out of marriage than women do. My suspicion is this arises from the pressures on men (from a variety of sources, including their mothers and wives, not just other men) to be tough, to not seek emotional support from friendships with other men or women, but rather to put all their emotional eggs in their wife’s basket.

            Of course, it might also arise from the continuing bias of family courts to give physical custody to mothers and to limit non-abusive fathers to 2 weekends a month a 2 weeks in the summer, or about 21% of the non-working, waking hours, when all the meta-studies I have seen have concluded that the parent-child relationship goes to hell when time together dips below 35%. Or that we have a wonderfully developed enforcement system for child support payments that put unemployed men in jail merely for being unemployed, but no child visitation enforcement system whatsoever, other than a judge telling a custodial parent “pretty-please, won’t you make better karma for yourself and let your ex husband see his kids even though you haven’t chosen to do so for the past five years.”

      • Alex G.

        There very likely is a causal relationship between feminism and the rise in divorce. I do think that feminism is directly responsible for changes in law that allow for no-fault divorces – would you agree on that?

        Whether the rise in divorce has been a good thing is another story. The usual argument is that many unhappy marriages can now end in divorce, whereas before the wife was often trapped in a cycle of abuse and depression in an unhappy marriage. But the question I want to bring up is, has the increase in divorce brought about better happiness in women? In what other, perhaps unforseen ways have we been paying for an increased divorce and separation rate?

        I think that poverty of children of these households have perhaps been suffering the most, and I am asserting that this has perhaps been one unfortunate outcome of feminism. Of course, if women had more equal footing in the workplace, the poverty of single-parent households would be mitigated somewhat. But I do believe that one unfortunate consequence of feminism is indeed the rise of single-mother households and a resulting rise in poverty among mothers in general as a consequence.

        Have mothers as a whole been better off for the increased career and life choices available to them, or has the increased divorce and separation rate negated any other effective gains that mothers have made as a result of feminism? Should more accommodations be made to parents in the workplace (such as paid maternity leave) to mitigate these problems? We should ask ourselves these questions. Of course, this could be viewed as one step that must be taken in the rocky road to equal respect for women. For sure, it won’t be easy, and there is pain along the way.

        • Sally Haslanger

          Alex G, these are great questions. I don’t actually know if there is a causal connection between feminism and the rise in divorce. But as you say, it seems plausible. (I’m someone who worries about evidence for causal claims because I think they are usually hard to establish and our intuitions about what causes what in the social sphere can be very misguided…but that doesn’t mean we can’t go with our hunches sometimes!)

          I think it might be helpful to separate two questions: (1) Are women (and children) happier now that no-fault divorce is common? And (2) Should we have laws/policies that allow for no-fault divorce? The first question, again, is an empirical question that is hard to address simply (and I don’t know all the data). I do know of some research done by Abigail Stewart that provides evidence that, in fact, divorce isn’t, in general, bad for children (though it may be in some cases). The basic idea is that living in a household where the parents are in conflict and/or don’t love each other is very harmful to children, so if we are looking at whether divorce is a cause of harm, we should compare divorce with staying together in conflict, rather than divorce compared to loving families. She has a book *Separating Together* (1997) on this topic.

          The second question – whether we should have no-fault divorce even if in the current circumstances it causes unhappiness – requires, I think, a look at the big picture (as you suggest). If we make divorce hard to get, then there will be more women stuck in unhappy and/or abusive marriages; if we make it easy to get but don’t change the background economic circumstances, then women will be more vulnerable economically (note too that because of the economic costs of divorce for women, many stay in unhappy and/or abusive marriages even when divorce is easy to get). My own view is that we should work to change the economic circumstances, which will also involve many other changes: in availability of affordable childcare, in the structure of the workplace, social roles of men and women; etc. This is a hard and long-term project, so the worry is that in the meantime women will be really vulnerable and unhappy. And given the currently popular demonization of women receive TANF or are participants in other programs and the desire to cut the federal budget, it looks like things aren’t going to get better any time soon. So as feminists we need to think hard about what might be done NOW to get us through these times. I don’t think that going back to making divorce hard to get is a good solution. But I don’t have anything better to offer than lobbying for social/political change (not only in the laws, but in the workplace, etc) and providing support through non-governmental programs (The Women’s Lunch Place in Boston is one of my favorites).

          I’m sorry I don’t have something much more useful to say here…I’ll see if I can find someone who works specifically on this question to say more.

  • Deebster

    The fact that Venker got a political book, as opposed to a cookbook or how-to-clean book, published is because of the progress made by the feminist movement.
    The feminist movement was largely done in by its treatment in the media, e.g. bra burner, women’s libber, etc.
    Last, feminism is about equal opportunity and equal treatment. Is Venker against that?

    • Sees62

      No. Venker is not against that. After lots of twisting and turning, the definition of feminism was finally nailed down (from Valenti) in the interview. Venker is against victimhood feminism or patriarchal oppression feminism. This feminism has nothing to do with equal opportunity or equal treatment but in fact strives for female supremacist entitlement using false scapegoating.

      • FeministSmithie

        It may be feminism’s greatest strength that it defies definition, yet to utilize this strength, feminists must wrest the terms and definitions away from conservatives.

        • Guest

          Yes. Feminists dogma tends to flow like water. You can never pin it down. That’s likely to work temporarily as a ploy to duck responsibility for feminist creations but in the long term, the water had better be ‘treated’ or even the most daft male will begin to smell the stench coming from what is, currently, an estrogen sewer. Young feminist, like you, would do well to try to drain the sewer and replace the today’s feminist filth with some clean, cool, refreshing water. That way, we wouldn’t even care how you defined the term because we’d be so besotted with the water itself.

      • Sally Haslanger

        Here is the definition of ‘feminism’ Ms. Venker quoted (though it wasn’t in the Washington Post article she mentioned – I don’t know where she got it): “A structural analysis of a world that oppresses women. An ideology based on the idea that patriarchy exists and has to end.” (This is from the interview, and since I was copying it as she spoke, I hope I got it all right.)

        I don’t know what’s so bad about this definition. It doesn’t say that women are victims. In fact, a structural analysis of women’s oppression is usually one that points to the ways in which we all – intentionally or not – participate in practices that are unjust. So I participate in unjust practices that harm women whether I mean to or not, e.g., women tend to have greater fine motor coordination than men and are employed in garment factories and the high-tech industry where handwork is required. These industries, however, often pay women poorly and don’t provide the kind of working conditions I think fair or reasonable. Nevertheless, I purchase clothes and high-tech equipment all the time, allowing the companies in question to profit from the exploitation of the women in question. I am a woman, but not a victim. I’m part of the unjust system.

        You might say that in the example the women workers are being represented as victims. But that’s not true either. They are making reasonable choices to work, even though the working conditions are exploitative. They have agency to organize or to quit. But it may be rational for them, given their circumstances to stay and (especially given the recent attacks on collective bargaining) to keep their heads down. To say that they are making a rational choice to stay, however, is not to say that their circumstances are just. If they are underpaid and have terrible working conditions, then the employer (and the rest of us who purchase the products) are taking advantage of them unfairly. This is how a structural analysis works. People aren’t victims.

        The definition mentions patriarchy, so that might be the troublesome word. You might be thinking that to suggest that patriarchy is the problem is to say that there is some sort of male conspiracy to oppress women. But the term ‘patriarchy’ doesn’t always mean that there is anything like this. Many people use the term just to convey the idea that there is a broad social structure that, overall, unjustly benefits men. It doesn’t require intentions; it doesn’t require a cohort of men in charge; it doesn’t even require an oppressor in the sense of an agent causing harm.

        So even if the terms “structural oppression” and “patriarchy” sound a bit much, they can be unpacked in ways that mean something rather straightforward: our society is structured – not due to any conspiracy or intention but due to history, accident and forces we don’t even understand – so that women are systematically and unjustly disadvantaged. Moreover, the goal of feminism is to change this, i.e., to restructure society so it is more just.

        I’d be interested to know what’s wrong with that definition of feminism.

        • Guest

          May, I respectfully, suggest that you carefully unpack the ideology-related chapters in Nathanson’s and Young’s trilogy on misandry. They make mention of the fact that gender (mainstream) feminism is a recycled combination of three discredited philosophies from the trash heap of history. They are Marxism, Romanticism and Classism.

          Before you go on about social structures that ‘unjustly benefit men’, I’d urge you to consider the Faceless Fifty in Japan who are risking death so their neighbors might live. This is ever so common chivalrous conduct from the ‘disposable sex’ that costs us far greater losses than women will ever know. Maybe we should start shouting matriarchal oppression too but then we’d be shamed as less than real men by the very women who scream patriarchal oppression at us. Do you NOW have some sense of the rage the bigoted female supremacist feminism tends to engender in men? Society is structured in many many ways that both benefit and ‘oppress’ both sexes. We need to look at the whole picture rather than screaming or shouting for special privileges for one group at the expense of another.

          Matriarchy exists too. It’s just the mean-spirited mirror image of mad-minded patriarchy. After all, women for all the noble (peace and love) nonsense otherwise tend to prefer (patriarchal) beasts for female ‘fun’.

          We need definitions for feminism that do not perpetuate perpetual female victimhood/false female supremacist entitlement. As you can see from even a quick glance at The Woman Racket, women certainly have no monopoly in the oppression sweepstakes. Men do not deserve the hate-full screaming we have born from feminists for four decades now. Were we to abandon our roles tomorrow you’d soon see how ‘oppressed’ women REALLY are. Do feminists really want to join the death, dismemberment, and mutilation brigade as TRUE ‘equals’ or do feminists plan on screaming ‘inequality’, ‘injustice’ and ‘oppression’ till the cows come home?

          Hope that helps.

    • http://chris-key.myopenid.com/ Chris Key

      Women’s books were published long before the 1848 Women’s convention at Seneca Falls.

      Seneca Falls convention was the birth of feminism.

      Therefore, you’re assertion is a crock.

  • http://www.facebook.com/NewtonsBob Bob Kavanagh

    Not every woman can have a career. Some simply have a wage job. You folks are truly elitist.

    • Dana Franchitto

      Bob ,it sounds like,you’re co-opting the word “elitism” as a disingenuous way, to berate feminism

      • Dsmith548

        Dana, it sounds to me like you just jump on anyone who has anything negative to say about females, feminism or anything of the sort. How about you climb down off the soapbox, clear your mind of all your bias and try to listen once in a while?

    • logoskaieros

      The word “folk” connotes anti-populist elitism. I can play this game, too. lol.

      Thanks for this great interview!

  • http://www.facebook.com/NewtonsBob Bob Kavanagh

    Many women do not have careers. They have wage jobs. Such elitism.

  • Hnlatham

    I agree feminism is about being able to choose. When I came into my feminism during college 15 years ago, my mom thought I judged her for taking off work to raise five children. I didn’t, because I knew she wanted to raise a family. I also know that she chose to be a teacher and did not become a professional athlete because of the opportunities that were and were not available to her growing up in the 40s and 50s.

  • Mollie2345

    I think it is important to remember that last Friday’s show heavily stressed offering a voice to the women that want to have the traditional family. I thought it was interesting to hear about the guilt younger women feel when they are said to be “going against” the feminist movement.

  • Dana Franchitto

    What a relief, MS Haslanger’s intelligent discourse was from the trite rhetoric of “not PC to marry et al, “baby boomers” and “greatest generation” offered by MS Venker.

  • Rochen26

    In response to Dana and Bob. The discussion on Feminist politics today, specifically of women choosing to stay home with their kids and/or a carreer, is strongly rooted in heteropatriarchal white constructions of gender roles in the U.S. In response to Bob, I would say you are correct, however wording could change to privlege. The truth is, CHOOSING between work or staying home is an economic privlege afforded to mostly white upper middle class women in the U.S. This discussion of Feminism is limited to mostly white upper middle class (and educated) women and completely negates the struggle and strong resistance of poor and working class white women and women of color who face multiple, intersected oppressions daily. It also ignores the fact that there is SO MUCH MORE going on in the country. Activists are doing amazing ground work that utilizes feminist and Queer politic as a means of actually addressing issues that effect ALL women ( on a gender spectrum) in multiple ways.

    A great new book that challenges the elitism and privlege in academia which limits the frame of feminist theory and politic is edited by Jessica Yee and titled Feminism FOR REAL: Deconstructing the Academic Industrial Complex of Feminism.

    • Sally Haslanger

      I completely agree that not all women have an opportunity to choose whether to work or not (for wages or for salary) and that experience of this as the main issue is a distortion. I also believe that feminism is about a LOT more than choice. It is about injustice and oppression along multiple dimensions. But in the context of this discussion with Ms. Venker, the question was whether feminism is the “worst thing” that has happened to American women because it tells them that they shouldn’t get married and stay home with their children, when in fact a more feminist society has made women unhappy. I could hardly begin to list the problems I have with this view. Yes, the feminist movement is so much more. HOWEVER feminism doesn’t say that women who want to — and have the privilege to do so — ought not to stay home with their kids. The idea that the problems are structural and have multiple manifestations that intesect with other major forms of injustice does not entail that people who live within the structures, managing the best they can, are dupes or complicit. That’s an important point. Given that the framing was the Venker discussion (and the online replies), the goals of the discussion had to be modest.

      • Sally Haslanger

        Oh…and I meant to say that I’m happy to discuss any or all of the issues – about the structural issues or the individual issues, on this forum. I hope I didn’t sound defensive in that last note. It is just so hard to say everything you want to say in a few minutes and I’m still kind of energized! :)

        • Rochen26

          Sally, no worries about sounding defensive. It is partly my fault that I came half way through your interview and then preceeded to reading comments and responding (with out getting in the WHOLE conversation, which is difficult to find on NPR right now). I understand that your response and discussion is contextual to the discussion of Ms. Venker’s statement and book on feminism being the worst thing for women. And might I say, well done in challenging the many problems with Venkers book and thesis statement.

          I also agree that for those privleged enough to decide whether to stay home or have a carreer (and might I add you can have both in some cases) should not be demonized for their decisions. One of the wonderful politics of Feminist theory is for gender, specifically, women’s self determination and actualization, which I think over the many years since second wave feminism emerged, has begun to be socialized and implemented in our many communities in multiple ways.

          However, I have constantly followed Feminist politic, theory and practice since I graduated from Simmons College in 2008 ( minoring in women’s studies). Within that program and in other academic settings( recently attending a discussion panel on Feminism and activism in blogs at Harvard University) I find myself constantly dissapointed with the limited scope of feminist dialouge that sits in the mainstream politic of white liberal feminist theory. I think liberal and radical feminist politic has it’s important points. However, I feel there are MANY feminist theories and activists that are bringing more to the table than just basic monolithic issues of discussion. Multiracial feminist theory and activism and the strong emergence of queer feminist politic (that is intersectional), theory and activism is doing important work in academia, the blogosphere and on the ground, which seems to go unnoticed in the mainstream discussions.

          I know I sound grummpy, but for once, Iwould like to see a dialogue on feminism that breaks out of the heterocentered discussion of carreer or staying home ( however, I do understand that is the scope of this interview discussion you had). In addition, more complex diagoue can give feminist theory the credit it deserves for being multidiciplinary and broad on the subjects, issues and theories it challenges and produces.

          Apologies for this being so long, I just get excited when Feminist discussions are going on, and I’m happy to engage in dialogue :)

          • http://www.seeing-as.blogspot.com Duckrabbit

            It’s too bad the popular culture conversations about feminism are so often framed in these contrived controversies (“Feminism: good or bad?” or “feminism vs. the family” or “Feminism v.s. Men’s Rights”), instead of being about the genuine problems you raise here. It often forces the feminist side of the debate to smooth over these issues instead of directing attention to them.

          • Sees

            There ain’t no ‘smoothing over’ the hate from bigots. Until HONEST feminists (an oxymoron in all but a few rare cases) begin to address the rotten core of the apple, there will be reason to get all ‘excited’ about feminism. What we need to do is frame feminism in terms of what is FALSE or VALID, like we are SUPPOSED TO DO any other body of knowledge. On the basis, feminism is likely to disappear from the within the frame altogether.

          • Confirmation bias is tedious

            OK, talking about what is FALSE and VALID. That’s good. I like where you’re going with this.

            Now, you really like talking about what “feminists” think, do, say, etc. You don’t say “some feminists” or “all feminists”, or even the vaguer terms “most feminists” or “feminists in general.” If two or three–or two or three thousand–feminists “have proven themselves to be moral imbeciles,” you might be inclined to say, “Feminists . . . have proven themselves to be moral imbeciles . . .” And, under one interpretation, that’s true. At the same time, it would not validly follow that feminists in general are moral imbeciles. At the very least, you’d need to have some kind of credible sampling scheme to make that inference. So, unless you have some such methodology, you would be in no position to validly justify the consequent, “. . . so I don’t even consider paying attention to them” unless the “them” in question is precisely the individual feminists you’ve already examined. Even if you are in a position to make a statistical generalization, though, such that you could presume individual feminists are moral imbeciles (in absence of evidence to the contrary), your policy seems to insulate you from the possibility of encountering relevant new data, which would make your statistical generalization all the less trustworthy.

            So, may I suggest framing your claims in less vague fashion, in the interests of the validity we both so respect? Because, as is, you seem to be setting a very low bar. By your logic, we could infer the following:
            Sees is shrill and doesn’t reason well.
            Sees is a man.
            Chris Key is also a man.
            Chris Key is shrill and doesn’t reason well.
            So, men are shrill and don’t reason well.
            So, any given man is shrill and doesn’t reason well.

            I think we all can agree this argument form isn’t valid. So, for the sake of not making our gender look like it is easily upset, and loses its grasp on logic when feeling huffy, why not take the argumentative high ground? You know, lest we license someone to pronounce “Men have proven themselves to be logical imbeciles so I don’t even consider paying attention to them.”

          • Sees

            Look, I am deliberately conflating different kinds of feminists because mainstream feminists have never bothered to specify what feminism IS or create distinctions between different kinds of feminism. Those feminists, like Hoff Sommers, who do try to create distinctions between say ‘gender’ and ‘equity’ feminist are routinely slandered as ‘anti-feminists’ by mainstream ‘gender’-feminists. I understand that mainstream feminists will in time destroy the term for all feminists but that’s not my problem because I’m not a feminist or anti-feminist. Nor do I care to waste time studying feminist demographics rigorously before I create inferences about feminists in general. HONEST feminists can create the methodology, do the work, and specify who feminists are FOR ME. In the meantime, I’ll put my thumb in the wind and sample the most prominent feminists and anti-feminists sloppily because I don’t need perfect data to call an overwhelming population of mainstream bigots.

            May I suggest you spare us your male-cunt lessons on logic using us as your personal targets. You are too cute, too clever and too cool for words. I really loathe ‘lovely’ guys who fight like cute girls so please reattach your (feminist-castrated) balls so you can have a conversation that goes somewhere.

            Just in case you ever decide to be serious rather than silly (like little girls do silly) I will reiterate my logic. Mainstream feminists (like most of the feminists who posted here, who are featured in the main stream media or who write feminist books) can be easily classified by what they say and do. They say sexist ‘oppression’ and they DO reverse sexist oppression, they say gender-as-female justice and they DO reverse sexist injustices, they say gender-as-female equality but they DO reverse gender discrimination. None of them ever confront the radical bigots who speak in feminism’s name. They also attack Sarah Palin because she ain’t the right kind of feminist for em. Since such bigots are a dime a dozen and since morally responsible feminists are so rare I can make a reasonable inference that bigoted anti-male feminists constitute the mainstream of the movement.

        • Frank

          Professor Haslanger,

          What role do you think feminist studies can or should play, if any, in addressing the current lack of options for the vast majority of boys and men, the injustice and oppression structures that are embedded in the legal system that discriminate against the vast majority of boys and men, and the attitudes / preconceived beliefs of women that contribute to confining boys and men to outmoded, unworkable and even internally-inconsistent roles and socio-economic expectations?

          More broadly, what if any future do you envision for boys and men in North American (and more generally Western societies) ? And what would be some practical ways of getting from here to there?

          I’m serious about these questions because I don’t think the current state of play is in anybody’s interest.

          Thanks for your continuing engagement.

          • guest

            To add to your questions to Professor Haslanger. How do you respond to the scholars in Male Studies who show that gender-feminism, the mainstream form of feminism, is anti-male as an ideology. How do you respond to Ellen Klien’s Undressing Feminism: A Philosophical Expose which shows the absurdity of modern forms of feminism. How do you respond to Christina Hoff Sommers in Who Stole Feminism who shows how feminist scholars routinely lie, falsify, and misrepresent for political purposes. Do feminist scholars ever intend to clean house, so to speak, or is this the best we can expect from professors who get equal pay for grossly inferior work?

          • http://www.seeing-as.blogspot.com Duckrabbit

            Wow, really? Personal attacks? Frank’s questions were serious.

          • Sees62

            No personal attacks intended. This is an attack on the racket rather than the person. I do believe Prof. Haslanger is more than able to see the difference.

          • Sally Haslanger

            Thanks for your question, Frank. I believe that there are many forms of injustice that affect boys and men. Some of the injustice comes from their membership in other social groups (class, race, sexuality, disability), but I also think that there are ways to understand the current gender structures as seriously limiting both boys/men and girls/women in ways that are harmful and unjust. As you point out, some of the roles and expectations that men face are as ridiculous and inconsistent as some of those women face. We are in this mess together.

            Feminists have a variety of strategies for thinking about this. Some, for example, think that social roles/expectations should not be gendered at all and that we should formulate a set of values/virtues that all humans should aim for. These will include some combination of values/virtues that have been historically divided amongst men and women. For example, all humans should be caring and nurturing (in appropriate contexts); all humans should be assertive and competitive (in appropriate contexts). And social roles should be open to all, regardless of sex. On this view, sex would not play a significant role in determining how one lived one’s life. Others, however, think that there are and should continue to be important differences between the sexes, but the roles that women occupy should be revalued and appreciated for what they contribute to society. On this view, for example, it might be that women should play a more substantial role in child rearing, but child rearing should be more valued than it currently is, and the virtues of those who are caring and nurturing should be more valued society-wide. For example, the values of care could play a greater role in our relationship to the environment and to global politics. (So feminists who support this view are apt to think that women should play an important role in environmentalism and the peace movement.)

            I know this all sounds very abstract, but I hope it gives you a sense that the questions you raise are not irrelevant and feminists care about them. I’d be happy to continue this thread, if you are interested.

          • FeministSmithie

            To add to Professor Haslanger’s excellent suggestions, I would like to point out the movement of contemporary strands of feminism away from a gender-based framings of feminism. This ‘de-gendering’ of feminism recognizes the intersectionality of oppression, and seeks to promote socio-political justice for all, regardless of gender identity.

            Feminism is about more than ‘equality of the sexes.’ As an academic as well as an activist movement, feminism addresses individuals’ unique combinations of gender, sex, race, ethnicity, nationality, class, sexuality, disability, age, belief, and other identities, working to overcome diverse mechanisms of oppression.

          • Frank

            Thank you for your response, Dr. Haslanger, and your viewpoints as well, FeministSmithie and Sees62.

            I should probably confess at this point that I come at this from the perspective of a lawyer, policy wonk and man (not necessarily in that order). So, I have a tendency to see individual, or middle-sized-group problems and desire practical solutions for them, rather than to come at it from a philosophical framework. That, by the by, is at least as much a weakness as a strength for me.

            Let’s take, for example, this morning’s argument in the US Supreme Court, which I am dying to hear when scotus posts the audio to the web, concerning whether a man who is under a child support order, but unemployed (in the case of that particular fellow near-unemployable), is entitled to an attorney before he is packed off to jail for being unable to pay child support. All of (a) State and Federal beancounters, (b) Newt Gingrich and his band, (c) Bill Clinton, and (d) well-known national women’s rights groups, helped produce a situation where tens of thousands of unemployed, non-custodial parents, usually fathers, find they cannot pay child support and go to civil jail for up to a year at a time, with repeat visits possible. I get how this system helps upper middle class white women whose hubbies leave them for the trophy wife. Guys like me do find our minds are concentrated by a possible stretch in the pokey, and will do right by our kids. But men who were in construction and are likely to be unemployed for the next 5 years? Young unmarried dads with no particular skill set? Wouldn’t we be better off forgiving the child support for such men if they take parenting classes and take on the burden of caring for their own kids while the mothers who are employed go to work and the mothers will have the benefit of relief from third party child care?

            It sounds from your description that less-gender-based feminism might be amenable to discussing such a subject. Gender-based feminism, not so much.

            Another example (and one on which you commented somewhere else in a discussion above) involves domestic violence. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but quite a number of men in Massachusetts who have approached the police or domestic violence shelters as a victim report being arrested. The cops and DV shelters have a bias toward seeing men as abusers only. Indeed, there are websites for domestic violence shelters that say that their experience is any man who calls looking for help is really a batterer who is just trying to muddy the waters. In fact, to my knowledge, the only DV shelter in the state that takes in men is the Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project in Cambridge. Their Education Director has been quoted as saying that they take in straight men as well because “heterosexual men are the bottom of the barrel” when it comes to DV victim assistance, and no one else will take them in if GMDVP doesn’t. But the 2008-ish Harvard U / Clark U study showing that an average of 1 in 3 domestic violence victims is, in fact, an adult man. Same data result from Australian studies. And since 2006 VAWA supposedly requires gender-neutral services (and California DV and West Virginia DV shelters have lost cases for refusing to treat male victims and women abusers). But a lot of men’s lives and the lives of their children have been damaged in the meantime, and at least in Massachusetts we appear to be seriously behind the curve.

            By the way, I could not disagree more with your advice to another poster here that a male victim of domestic violence should defend himself. That would be a disaster for the man, and would almost certainly cause him to be viewed as the presumptive batterer by the police.

            I applaud you for sharing your own experience and the trauma of having been raped. I am very sorry you experienced that and I hope the bastard went away for a long, long time. Myself, I had a childhood of physical, emotional and sexual abuse at the hands of my mother, but I also have a long-term wife I love and daughers I love and I do think we are all in this together.

            Finally, since this is turning out to be a rather long posting, at some point in our conversation I would like to turn to the subject of how male studies, or at least a male-derived perspective, can be brought to bear in research as well as theory.

          • Sally Haslanger

            Thanks, Frank. I am not a lawyer and have a lot of trouble understanding the rationale behind certain laws. A close member of my family worked while her partner took care of their kids, and he was put in jail for failure to pay child support. She almost lost her job trying to sort this out. This seems ridiculous to me. (This is not a middle-class family, but a family that is barely making it financially.) It seems plausible, as you suggest, that the law is not constructed with class issues in mind is unfair. I also believe that whenever the state is about to “pack someone off to jail” that someone is entitled to legal defense.

            In my previous message about violence against men I was not recommending anything, but asking for information. I don’t know as much about that issue as I should. And it matters. I need to learn about it.

            Re the issue of gender-based feminism or not. As I see it, gender is a category that is intended to include men, with the understanding that both men and women are affected by gender roles, gender norms, etc. Women’s Studies, according to some (not all!) was about including research on women in a curriculum that focused primarily on men. Gender Studies, however, recognizes that you can’t just look at women, because the social lives of women are intimately connected to the social lives of men: what a society deems right, legal, normal (etc) for one should be explored always in relation to what is deemed right, legal, normal for the other.

            At risk of over-simplifying hugely, I think gender studies attempts to recognize the message in this poster (the link is just what I found when searching for the poster – I don’t know anything about the blog): http://dialogic.blogspot.com/2010/01/for-every-girl-for-every-boy.html

      • Guest

        “Injustice and oppression along multiple dimensions” indeed!? Men have the real claim here as shown so well in Steve Moxon’s The Woman Racket: http://www.amazon.com/Woman-Racket-Science-Explaining-Playand/dp/1845401093 I had hoped for better from MIT. To have just anti-feminists and feminists discuss this topic is obviously far from sufficient.

  • Guest

    Meghna,

    Thank you for trying to have Professor Haslanger tell us what feminists believe feminism is. One thing, I noticed is that like most Women’s Studies scholars, she refused to narrow down the term in any meaningful way. That means you spent the rest of the interview talking about some ethereal “Movement” that wasn’t even defined AT ALL. Is that the best we can expect from the guests you bring on your show?

    In addition, I hope you put Women’ Studies/Gender Studies/Feminist Studies in context before you introduce scholars from such discredited departments. Please review Daphne Patai’s Professing Feminism or What Price Utopia? for some solid work on the widespread abuses of scholarship that prevail in this discipline. Feminist scholars are widely held as fraudulent or unethical because they refuse to play by the rules. To do political activism as science or as scholarship is to abuse professional privileges for partisan purposes. We need to know that before we are asked to take such scholars seriously.

    Since this topic is so loaded, I hope you will bring in some scholars (say from Male Studies or those feminists who confront the abuses of feminism head on) so that we can see more than this bipolar ‘debate’ between anti-feminists/feminists.

    My fundamental problem is that feminism is fraudelent. Schlaffly called it “The Fraud of the Century”
    and made a fairly solid case for her assertions. To have those of you paid by the taxpayers to run right by the well documented fraudulent nature of the Movement (including that fraudulent ‘equal pay for equal work’ cliche) does a disservice to those who believe that public radio is to serve the public good.

    Guest

    • Sally Haslanger

      I don’t think anyone has said that men and boys never experience injustice. Feminism does not claim that injustice against women is the ONLY injustice. There is plenty of injustice to go around, and the feminists I know aim to identify multiple kinds of injustice and find ways to end them. Also, women of color, lesbians, transgendered women, poor women, disabled women, are subjected to injustice that combines forms of injustice in ways that can’t be easily teased apart. For this reason, (and others) feminists are very concerned not just about how women are affected, but also the other social groups that women are members of. That said, I think it is difficult to defend the idea that women don’t experience injustice AS WOMEN. Sexual violence, domestic violence, and sexual exploitation are the easiest to document.

      In 2000, according to the Department of Justice statistics, one third of the women murdered in the US were murdered by an intimate partner. It has been reported in the Associated Press (I haven’t checked the statistics myself) that in the early 2000′s the leading cause of death of pregnant women was murder by her partner. In the Boston area, now, a girl 12-18 who runs away will be contacted by a pimp within (on average) 48 hours. According to the Service Women’s Action Network, “3,230 military sexual assaults were reported in 2009, an increase of 11% from fiscal year 2008.” 50% of homeless women and children are trying to escape from domestic abuse, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless. It is, of course, true that men and boys are raped, murdered by their partners, sexually exploited and abused. However, the numbers don’t come close to those for women and girls.

      Sexual violence and exploitation may be easiest to document as crimes against women, as women, but the wage gap and other forms of economic injustice are well-documented. As I said above, this is not to claim that women are more oppressed than others. And it is, of course, a matter of debate what explains the statistics (and whether they are adequate). Researchers in every field work very hard to try to document patterns in women’s lives. Numbers are not just impressions, or intuitions. They are the result of serious empirical work. Social scientists devote their lives to making sense of and trying to establish causal relationships in the data. Political theorists and philosophers work to develop theories of justice that capture complex forms of harm. That women face injustice as women is a scientifically serious and well-justified claim. And I am happy to discuss and debate the evidence for it with anyone.

      • guest

        With all due respect, the kind of injustices toward men that concern me most are those CAUSED by feminist ideological bigotry, by feminist fraud and by misandric feminist misinformation campaigns. No one said that women don’t experience injustice as women just as men do as men. What disgusts me about feminists is the pattern shameless fraud that is used to scapegoat men, to absolve women of all responsibility for female forms of aggression, and to steal public resources that rightly belong to both sexes. Hoff Sommer’s Who Stole Feminism is replete with well documented instances of feminist fraud which are then spread by the main stream media as ‘fact’. The very injustices you mention above are among the most manipulated of feminist statistics. That means we can never have confidence in feminist statistics short of some serious and systemic house cleaning.

        For instance, we have a totalitarian and reverse sexist VAWA law which funnels billions of dollars to the feminist propaganda machine but the data shows that MEN, not women, suffer far more from violence as shown here: http://www.avoiceformen.com/2011/03/16/rape-is-not-special-and-neither-are-you/ . We also have good reason to believe that men constitute the majority of rape (male-male) today as shown in Laura Kipnis’ The Female Thing but again VAWA funds flow almost totally toward women who were raped by men. Finally, it is well known that women commit the majority of child abuse in America and far more child sexual abuse than is ever acknowledged but we never hear that from feminists.

        Finally, feminists tend to actively apologize for and suppress research into female forms of aggression….including but not limited to the epidemic of false rape accusations or abusing the legal system to extort spouses. Since there is absolutely nowhere for men and boys to go for shelter from female domestic violence/vice, from female rape, from female forms of pyscho-social aggression in the feminist controlled shelter industry, it is very unlikely that the data will reflect the female role in violence/vice. That means that feminists will continue to create distortions by cherry picking (and falsifying) data for political advantage with near perfect impunity.

        Rampant feminist falsehood and infantile reverse sexist entitlement with respect to support services tends to engender reasonable rage in the already disposable (read male) sex.

        As for the wage gap, please spare us. What has been well documented is the controversy around wage gap claims or other assertions of economic injustice. The shocking silence from feminists about the 98% to 2% disparity in combat mortality or the equality shocking disparity between male and female job mortality between the sexes make an utter mockery of feminist complaints about imagined pay gaps. Men still do the dangerous, difficult and unpleasant work and we don’t hear feminists screaming for equal outcomes (death, dismemberment or mutilation) there.

        I hope that one day feminist scholars begin to become responsible members of society so that we can work together to address common problems rather than to create more unequal entitlements for the already privileged sex.

        • Sally Haslanger

          I appreciate your anger and frustration at what looks like distorted claims of fact. I too value careful research into the facts and serious investigation into claims of causation. So we share a commitment to tracking the truth where we can get it, and also a commitment to justice for all.

          I’m not sure we agree on the best methods for collecting data or researching causal claims. I don’t think that the Department of Justice is run by feminists and am tempted to think that their data are not biased towards feminism. But do you have reason to think otherwise? And concerning child sexual abuse, I had never heard that women “commit the majority of child abuse in America.” I would be interested to see the evidence for that. (And I’m not being sarcastic!) I’m also puzzled by your claim that “there is absolutely nowhere for men and boys to go for shelter from female domestic vilence/vice, from female rape, from female forms of psycho-social aggression.” Do men not go to the police? Do they not fight back if approached by a female sexual aggressor? Why aren’t more men reporting the crimes?

          The website you link does provide data to show that rape is not the most common violent crime and that most violent crimes occur between males. I think that is well-documented. However, the author seems to jump from that data to the claim that rape isn’t as significant as feminists suggest. I’m not sure I understand the inference. Violence is a terrible thing against anyone. And I sincerely believe we should work to create a world where men are neither the victims or perpetrators of violence. I also believe that rape isn’t the worst thing that can happen to someone. I myself have been violently raped at knifepoint by someone wearing a ski mask who broke into my house in the middle of the night. I was traumatized. But as Hembling suggests in the post, I managed to go on and am living a fullfilling life. But I still think that a society in which women are subjected to such violence and constrain their actions to avoid such violence is not a society that is good for women. And I also think that a society in which men need to constrain their actions to avoid being subjected to violence by other men (or women) is not good for men. We can agree that rape is not the worst thing in the world, or as common as some feminists would have us think, and STILL think it is a very bad thing and that we should do what we can to change society so it is rare or nonexistent.

          My sense is that you are especially angry because feminists seem to get attention (and funds) that you think should be focused also on men’s suffering. I agree that our society allows for and even condones many bad things, and not every group gets the attention it deserves. But your suggestion that there is an active and intentional effort on the part of feminists to suppress research into crimes against men is, in my experience, an unjustified and unfair allegation. Feminists might be preoccupied with harms women experience, but it is OK to fight for things that matter to you. I know a lot of feminists and I can’t even imagine them engaging in the kind of deception you describe (though this is compatible with there being a climate in which men’s concerns are not heard). Perhaps it would be worth considering reframing your complaint so that it isn’t charging individual feminists with deception, but is drawing attention to a broader social question: has our culture become one in which violence between men and the suffering of men is not taken seriously enough? If your point is that it is, then I would be inclined to agree with you.

          • Sees62

            Thanks for be willing to listen. That said, my anger, frustration and disgust stems from how feminists INTENTIONALLY spread falsehoods, perpetrate frauds and misrepresent statistics for political reasons…especially in academe which is supposed to be free from political hacks. Since these abuses are wide spread and well known by now, I am always shocked that feminist scholars never seem to be willing to address them in any meaningful way. For instance, Daphne Patai’s works are banned in many Women’s Studies departments. That tells me that Women’s Studies is more of a totalitarian political racket than a respect-able discipline. I hate to pay my tax dollars to fund false anti-male bigotry in academe as I’m sure you would too were the tables turned. While you will see me ridicule the loathsome freak show that is (feminist-sponsored) Men’s Studies you won’t see me supporting gratuitous fraud in Male Studies as most feminists do that in the activist-perverted Women’s Studies. In a world which faces increasingly catastrophic crises we need scholars who take academic integrity far more seriously.

            As for research methods, I’d hope that as a MIT prof. you follow the time tested standards of objective science.

            As for the rest of your post, there is too much substantive content there to address in full right now. That said, I’m sorry to hear that you were raped. No one deserves to be violently violated (or vice-ently violated like female rapists tend to do) especially in their own home. I sincerely believe that we should work for a world where PEOPLE (that is women and men) are neither survivors or perps of vice or violence. The effort to do that starts with putting both female and male aggression into proper perspective, by looking at the scourge holistically and by focusing on the most serious crimes first. By those criteria feminism tends to fail on all counts. For instance, assuming you were raped violently by a male rapist, (rather than a female rapist), he is more than likely (like many male rapists) to have suffered from female child sex abuse. To blame men or the patriarchy for creating the (imagined) ‘rape culture’ is not going to get to the root causes of male aggression. Nor is shaming women or the matriarchy for female forms of psychological rape likely to get to the root causes of female aggression.
            We need to do better than this.

            My concerns about widespread feminist falsehood, fraud and misrepresentation are well founded. All I have to do is turn on TV to see the ugly anti-male results. For that reason, I tend to consider dishonest feminist scholars are a very serious threat to men, to women, to children and to the society as a whole. Men and women both suffer from dishonest feminists who slander men and who pander to the needs of an already pampered princess gender. As the feminist onslaught against Male Studies shows there will be no space for men’s needs until feminists have be forced to respect the rules that everyone else is expected to play by. I’m not particularly interested in whether you agree with me or not. What bothers me is that most prominent feminists scholars seem to have no shame about the ugly anti-male aggression that most OTHER feminist scholars are infamous for. Discussion with feminists is almost impossible as long as the Big Lie is left to rot in public view with no notice. I tend to respect feminist scholars who shoot the bigoted beast and who help haul the carcass away. To do otherwise is to tolerate the perverting of our public institutions by tendentious totalitarians. As any wise women knows, in the end, the totalitarians goons will come after women too. That’s why I love Ms. (What Price Utopia?) Patai so much.

          • http://www.seeing-as.blogspot.com Duckrabbit

            I just wanted to jump in and ask everyone in this discussion to honor Professor Haslanger’s experiences by refraining from analyzing, explaining or theorizing about the events she shared here. I’m sure no disrespect was intended, and I don’t want to start a debate about this, but I did want to make a (strong) suggestion.

          • Sees62

            Look. She is a big girl. For whatever reasons, she chose to go public with this on a blog about feminism That means she doesn’t need to be protected by white knights or white knightesses. No one is dishonoring her suffering or blaming her for what happened to her. She’s a professional. She can handle responses to her story or she can be responsible to herself by not pulling such loaded content into the discussion in the first place. I chose not to tell my stories because I didn’t want to confuse the political with the personal but to each her own. Please spare us the strong suggestions unless we somehow disregard Prof. Haslanger’s direct and legitimate requests. She is never going to become truly empowered as a fulfilled thriver unless people stop indulging her as an ‘oppressed’ victim. Same goes for feminists in general.

          • sees62

            Since the top of the federal government is now run by feminists hacks (Obama, Biden, Clinton) who destroy the rights of men to push politically correct entitlements for women, there is every reason to believe that the Justice department is controlled by feminists too. This article shows how the Attorney General participates in the racket: http://www.avoiceformen.com/2011/02/21/attorney-general-holder-loses-his-grip-on-the-truth/ As for the Justice Dept’s VAWA office even the website is full of feminist propaganda. RADAR (online) has been waging a battle to curb the totalitarian reverses sexist abuses of that loathsome feminist-sponsored law for years now. VAWA is reverses sexist to the core, it doesn’t address violence against MEN, it empowers women who make false accusations of domestic violence, it deprives men of their Constitutional right to due process under the law, and it funnels billions of tax payer dollars to fraudulent and bigoted feminist-run organizations. Distorted facts used to create laws that do great damage to men does tend to create legitimate anger and frustration with the frauds who create the propaganda in the first place.

            I’m not saying that you, personally, created the fraudulent propaganda that underlies VAWA. What I am saying is that you have a responsibility to confront such widespread abuses of academic privilege. Otherwise, you have no right to hold your head high as a director of MIT’s Women’s Studies program.

          • Sees62

            Mothers are the champion child abusers as shown in the official data Marc Rudov offers here: http://thenononsenseman.com/nonsense/child-abuse/ (Forgive me for the source but his site shows the data best). The data on female child SEX abuse is still coming in slowly because fear mongering feminists tend to be hostile toward, and/or ignore ALL research into the dark side of woman. Many feminists even coddle or celebrate female child sex abuse as shown in the women-girl rape shown in the first version of the Vagina Monologues, or the coddling of Oscar winning actress Kate Winslet after she called the woman-boy rape (portrayed in The Reader) “true love between equal partners” . What is known however is that female child sexual abuse occurs at far higher rates than is commonly acknowledged. That stats in the 2004 USDE report Educator Sexual Misconduct are so divergent as to make the current research look utterly absurd. One study shows that 4% of female educators commit sex crimes while another other shows 47% do. Go figure. WOMEN’s Studies seems to be an oxymoron in terms of how little we now know about feminine forms of evil.

          • Sees62

            SH: “I’m also puzzled by your claim that “there is absolutely nowhere for men and boys to go for shelter from female domestic vilence/vice, from female rape, from female forms of psycho-social aggression.” Do men not go to the police? Do they not fight back if approached by a female sexual aggressor? Why aren’t more men reporting the crimes?”

            There is nowhere to go for many reasons. First, VAWA, the domestic violence shelter industry, the rape crisis industry, and the child abuse industry are funded (by taxpayer dollars) for and run by bigoted feminists who adhere to the Party Line lie that ALL women are victims of ‘patriarchal oppressors’. The entire racket is reverse sexist to the core. There is no room at the inn for men and boys because men and boys are scapegoated as part of the ‘oppressor’ subset. The absurd dogmas used to treat the problem (by making all males the scapegoated aggressors and accusatory women the totally blameless victims) have nothing whatsoever to do with the complicated realities of domestic violence, rape, and child abuse. (Note: the primary from of female domestic aggression: domestic vice, isn’t even acknowledged AT ALL in the equation despite that fact that many women have addressed this factor anecdotally.) Statistics on these phenomena are grossly distorted to condemn men for all abuse and to absolve women from all abuse. When men and boys abused by women do try to go to feminist run care centers they are most often met with a wall of totalitarian feminist tripe which tends to rape them twice…once by the female perp and twice by the totalitarian feminist system. There in no out reach to men and boys abused by women despite the fact that women commit at least 25% of serious domestic violence, significant sex and child sex crime, and the majority of child abuse.

            We don’t go to the police for many reasons. One is that the police are forced by reverse sexist feminist policies to blame us first. Another is that women can and all-to-commonly do make false accusations of rape, domestic violence, child abuse with perfect impunity Thanks normal male propensities toward chivalrous behavior (to impress women) and thanks to widespread feminist propaganda, even male officers tend to believe the woman first. Feminists collude together to be sure men and boys are never seen as victims because that would tend to destroy the very falsehood that feminism is based on which is that men and boys are part of the ‘oppressor’ class. It would also force the reallocation of resources away from feminist controlled care rackets into those that better serve males or those that better serve both sexes holistically.

            We do fight back where possible. However, since we are socialized NOT to abuse women, to take gratuitous abuse from women (particularly from fascist feminists) and because women tend to fight in ways that are very covert and/or difficult for us to cope with we do not always KNOW HOW to even detect that abuse at first, much less fight back. WOMEN’s Studies is, of course, of no help here because Women’s Studies refuses to acknowledge that women even CAN be oppressors.

            Why aren’t we reporting the crimes? Because NO ONE LISTENS to us, because no one cares, because we are considered the oppressors rather than victims, because we are already the disposable sex and therefore not worth caring for, and because we are often willing to die rather than lose our dignity…something that many women sell for pennies on the dollar…as evidenced by the willingness to proudly perpetrate blatant feminist fraud decade after decade.

            There is one tiny little light at the end of a long dark totalitarian tunnel. That is Male Studies. Sooner or later, there will be truth brought back to the table…no thanks to Women’s Studies or Men’s Studies.

          • guest

            One succinct link regarding why male victims of female perps remain invisible:
            http://www.amen.ie/victims.html

            It’s even worse for male rape victims of female rapists. They are not only ignored and seen as beneficiaries by filthy female apologists for female-male rape but they are also ridiculed by their brothers for not enjoying sex with ‘hot’ female rapists. Predictably no feminist (read ALL) rape crisis centers are willing to address female rape meaningfully much less show boys and men how to detect and defend against female rapists. Any wonder the number of REPORTED female sex crimes is so low?

            Same but worse happens for children who suffer from mother’s who make false accusations against fathers, who use the reverse sexist legal system to steal custody from fathers, who commit parental alienation, who overtly or covertly rape their children as substitute lovers, husbands and fathers. As saints, mothers can do no wrong. Since many mothers are especially abusive to their sons (as innocent little scapegoats for whatever wrongs (real or imagined) that the sons’ father did to them) abusive single mothers tend to destroy boys as boys. The result is the kind of chaos that swept England and is likely to sweep the US too. Thanks in large part to the feminist destruction of males, masculinity and fatherhood boys (and girls) have no nice role models to respect. Mothers make terrible fathers.

          • Sees62

            SH: “The website you link does provide data to show that rape is not the most common violent crime and that most violent crimes occur between males. I think that is well-documented. However, the author seems to jump from that data to the claim that rape isn’t as significant as feminists suggest. I’m not sure I understand the inference. Violence is a terrible thing against anyone. And I sincerely believe we should work to create a world where men are neither the victims or perpetrators of violence.”

            I offered that link to put rape into perspective. The data shows, conclusively, that we have a Murder Culture rather than a Rape Culture. Murder is always far more serious than rape because there is no coming back for a ‘fulfilling life” as a murder victim. Feminists who demean murder victims by constantly screaming ‘rape’ or ‘rape culture’, notwithstanding the facts, need to have their heads examined. Infantile feminist entitlements are not justice. Justice involves following the facts to do first things first. Genocide comes before war, war comes before domestic disturbances, murder comes before rape, rape comes before burglary and so on.

            Vice is a terrible thing against anyone too. If you look closely, behind every truly evil man there is always an equally evil woman. Serbia’s genocidal ‘SLOBO’ comes to mind right of the bat but in Rhwanda, the Hutu women ‘rewarded’ their machete-wielding husbands with hot sex after a ‘good day’s work’ whacking Tutus. The Hutu women also were the primary plunderers of the slaughtered Tutus’ property.

            Women also commit many serious forms of direct/indirect violence including physical, psycho-social, political, legal, and relational forms. To ignore female forms of aggression in favor of an absurd ‘patriarchal oppression’ model tends to make THINKING men enraged. We don’t like to be scapegoated for all the evil in the world from the beginning of history to the present.

            Let’s cease and desist with the bigoted ideological violence that is gender-feminism so that we can truly work together on all forms of human-human aggression by BOTH sexes and BOTH genders.

          • Sees62

            SH: “Feminists might be preoccupied with harms women experience, but it is OK to fight for things that matter to you. I know a lot of feminists and I can’t even imagine them engaging in the kind of deception you describe (though this is compatible with there being a climate in which men’s concerns are not heard).”

            What angers me is that most ‘oppression’ feminists are preoccupied with The End of Men (see hateful Hanna Rosin chortling in the Atlantic). We don’t enjoy seeing boys destroyed as boys, men demeaned as men and males murdered or castrated psychologically as males. We don’t enjoy retarded reverse-sexist misandry in the name of equality either.

            Were feminists to be fighting CLEANLY to address serious issues like say female genital mutilation in Africa or female honor killings in the Muslim world rather infantile entitlements for an already entitled princess-set in the Western world, I’d have no problem with em. But that’s not the case. Feminists are fighting using the filthiest lies (that are possible to pass the nominal smell test). The fights have nothing whatever to do with equality or justice. That kind of INJUSTICE is something that will create the real backlash because men are rapidly becoming aware that feminism is one ugly anti-male ‘religion’…one that is too dangerous to ignore now.

            As far as your imagination goes, you might stretch it with some due diligence. Many Women’s Studies departments ban the works of Patai or Hoff Sommers because truth is anathema to the feminist political hacks who run the Humanities today. Vencker’s Flip Side is almost sure to be banned judging by the comments by feminists on this blog. To ignore the very real, wide spread, and well documented academic abuses your ‘discipline’ is infamous for is hardly likely to en-gender respect for you as a director of MIT’s (nominally fairly clean) program. We deserve better from Women’s Studies than bigoted nonsense dressed up as ‘scholarship’.

            In short, I asking your and your Sisters (most of whom are a very twisted academic hacks in what has become a very twisted academic quackery) to look in the mirror before you even try to point your fingers at men and masculinity. You will never be heard by anyone who believes in genuine scholarship until you bring some serious science to the party. To pervert science for political reasons (using taxpayer provided funding) is to do violence to the entire society.

          • Sees
          • Sees62

            VAWA in all it’s girl -power glory: http://www.avoiceformen.com/2011/03/23/dv-fakers/

          • Anonymous

            Sees62,
            If I referred you to an article from Ms or Bitch, would you believe what you read there? Would it have any potential to change your opinion?

          • Sees

            Who knows? Depends on content. I tend to change my mind the moment I see something credible but not before.

            But since I’m a “troll too offensive to be real”, be sure to toss the articles under the bridge where I can find em.

          • Sees
          • Sees

            The Politics of Rape: http://www.drtraycehansen.com/Pages/writings_politics.html . Are feminist researchers scholars or True Believers?

    • TomAtStanford

      Just to be clear, Sally Haslanger’s academic credentials are beyond dispute. Haslanger primary appointment is in the philosophy department at MIT, where she is full professor. (Though she is also director of the interdisciplinary Women and Gender Studies program.) MIT’s philosophy department is a top-ten department. She has consistently published important papers in elite journals, two of which have been selected as among the ten best philosophy papers of their years (2000 and 2007). The “rules” she has “played by” are analytic philosophy’s standards of rigor and clarity applied to social justice issues involving gender and race. Within the philosophy community, even the scholars most opposed to her views recognize her as a first-rate scholar.

      I think the reason that Haslanger does not provide a narrow definition of feminism is that she sees it as a broad social movement, and members of this movement have different beliefs. What they have in common, I would think, is a commitment to gender equality and addressing systematic disadvantages that women face, from sexual violence to employment discrimination.

      Of course, the motivation for this concern is not that women are women… rather, it is that women are people. Ultimately, the goal is a society in which *everyone*, of all genders, races, whatever, have a real measure of equality. So I think it’s important to avoid a false dichotomy between a concern with feminism and a concern with the interests and rights of men.

      • TomAtStanford

        Just to be clear, Sally Haslanger’s academic credentials are beyond dispute. Haslanger primary appointment is in the philosophy department at MIT, where she is full professor. (Though she is also director of the interdisciplinary Women and Gender Studies program.) MIT’s philosophy department is a top-ten department. She has consistently published important papers in elite journals, two of which have been selected as among the ten best philosophy papers of their years (2000 and 2007). The “rules” she has “played by” are analytic philosophy’s standards of rigor and clarity applied to social justice issues involving gender and race, as well as issues in metaphysics and Ancient philosophy. Within the philosophy community, even the scholars most opposed to her views recognize her as a first-rate scholar.

        I think the reason that Haslanger does not provide a narrow definition of feminism is that she sees it as a broad social movement, and members of this movement have different beliefs. What they have in common, I would think, is a commitment to gender equality and addressing systematic disadvantages that women face, from sexual violence to employment discrimination.

        Of course, the motivation for this concern is not that women are women… rather, it is that women are people. Ultimately, the goal is a society in which *everyone*, of all genders, races, whatever, have a real measure of equality. So I think it’s important to avoid a false dichotomy between a concern with feminism and a concern with the interests and rights of men.

        • TomAtStanford

          Apologies for the multiple postings, I tried to correct my earlier post, as it might have implied Haslanger only works on social justice issues, when in fact she has also done important work in metaphysics, epistemology and the history of philosophy (esp. Aristotle), among others.

      • guest

        You’ll notice that I never disputed Prof. Haslanger’s academic credentials. What I did say is that Women’s Studies (aka Gender Studies or Feminist Studies) are infamous nationwide for perverting scholarship to do political activism. That is something we need to know so that we can assess the LIKELY credibility of those who come from Women’s Studies.

        Were Prof. Haslanger to be a stand up critic of the falsehood and fraud that permeates so much of feminist ‘research’, I’d tend to give her the benefit of the doubt. Were she to address what Schlaffly calls the ‘fraud of the century’ head on, I’d also tend to take her more seriously. Instead, in the interview, she kept side stepping any direct definition of feminism so that she could have her cake and eat it too. This kind of dissembling is par for the course with feminists because it allows them duck accountability for the term. We deserve better from scholars who speak for us.

        Were feminism really about authentic gender equity or some sort of genuine (but utterly impossible) gender equality, I’d have far less problems with it. However, feminism, in it’s current form, is a bigoted female supremacist ideology that seeks infinite entitlements for women at the expense of men. That’s hardly likely to move us toward the goal of a truly equitable society.

        For more on the ideological foundation for mainstream feminism, I recommend Nathanson’s and Young’s trilogy on misandry.

        • Anonymous

          The purpose of pointing out Dr Haslanger’s credentials is to counter your claim that Women’s Studies is undeserving of the high regard it receives in the academic community. There are other prominent Women’s Studies scholars whose work can also be cited, but would you care?

          What is the “falsehood and fraud” to which you refer? how about some ideas rather than catchy slogans?

          Perhaps Haslanger chose not to pin down a definition of feminism for a very good reason: feminism defies definition in its scope and its diversity. A definition would be restrictive and exclusionary, which runs counter to the goals of feminism.

          Where do you find ” bigoted female supremacist ideology that seeks infinite entitlements for women at the expense of men”? Can you give examples? Or more information? Me asserting that flute players want to kill all kittens & puppies does not make it true: show me the murderous flautists!

          Why is it not good enough for you that feminist theorists are telling you that feminism is about equality (or justice, as I would prefer)? You complain that feminist scholars do not give a definition, and yet you ignore those defining guidelines that they do offer? Instead, you look to people outside the feminist movement for explanation. Does that make sense to you? Would you trust an anti-Semite’s definition of Judaism, or a Jewish Theologian’s?

          • guest

            Women’s Studies is hardly held in hard regard in academe. It is almost universally scorned by those who believe in genuine scholarship. Daphne Patai’s and Norietta Koerge’s Professing Feminism: Cautionary Tales From the Strange World of Women’s Studies shows why.

            As for feminisms falsehood, fabrication, and fraud, listen to Phyllis Schlafly (yes even ‘ignorant’ Conservative women can easily see the Big Lie), read Camille Paglia’s Vamps and Tramps, read Christina Hoff Sommers’ Who Stole Feminism, read Nathanson and Youngs deconstructions of feminist dogma in the their trilogy on misandry or read Steve Moxon’s The Woman Racket. Columnist Cathy Young is also a wonderful source for sanity on the subject.

            As for failing to pin down the definition, I cannot really determine Prof. Haslanger’s reasoning sight unseen. I can say that refusing to define the mainstream gender or oppression feminism (which is the primary form the bigoted beast takes in the mainstream media) strikes me as irresponsible. One can define the main tenets of the most influential aspects of feminism without being restrictive or exclusionary but totalitarians (read feminists) are rarely known for transparency.

            For female supremacist bigotry from feminists, just read quotes from any prominent feminist from the last few decades. Where any other group to spread such gratuitous hate or such shameless falsehoods, there would be an incredible outcry but feminists always seem to be able poison the well with perfect impunity. For feminist entitlements, one good source is Nathanson’s and Young’s Legalizing Misandry.

            Feminist theorists do not get to tell us what feminism is or isn’t. Like any other influential ideology, feminism is well documented and can be assessed objectively based on it’s merits. As so many authors show today’s feminism is about female victimhood/male oppression and the scapegoating of men.

          • Anonymous

            I suspect that Women’s Studies is neither held in highest regard *nor* scorned. My point was simply that I can make hyperbolic statements just as well as you, and that the value we attach is meaningless. At my university (2nd ranked in the UK for Philosophy), the gender studies program is very well respected. The faculty is esteemed, the students are respected, and members of other departments are honored by invitations to speak and collaborate with the Gender program. If Gender Studies (etc) were not viewed as a reputable academic field, then it would not be ever more successful, with increasing rates of publications, programs expanding and opening, and more and more students choosing to study gender. If Gender Studies were not so highly esteemed, then Judith Butler, Susan Faludi, Germaine Greer, Shere Hite, Fatema Mernissi, Onora O’Neill, Pragna Patel, Nawal El Saadawi, Alice Walker & Mary Warnock would not have been on the Guardian’s List of the Top most Inspiring Women this year! (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/series/top-100-women)

            My propositions are empirical, based on verifiable observation rather than mere assertion. Rather than bandying about catchphrases, would you like to offer evidence that Gender Studies is in disrepute?

            How about, for the main tenet of Feminism: justice? Do any feminists want to disagree with that? “So many authors” also show that feminism is about justice, equality, ethics, fairness, progress, tolerance, peace, love and so many wonderful ideals that we should all be able to get behind!

          • Guest

            READ Who Stole Feminism, or Professing Feminism. Popularity is not credibility. The Guardian, a feminist propaganda machine that regularly shills hate-full feminist swill is hardly where I go to find inspiring women.

            I offered evidence repeatedly. Whole books full of compelling evidence. The rest is for you to do.

            As for what feminists agree or disagree with about their tenets, I could care less. I look for what the majority of them SAY or DON’T SAY in public. I also pay close attention to how main stream feminists coddle or worse celebrate bigots like Andrea Dworkin.

          • Sally Haslanger

            Yesterday I tried to explicate what I took Venker’s definition of feminism to be, based on her attribution of a definition to Valenti that she took as her target. I suggested that the meaning of “oppression” and “patriarchy” in Valenti’s definition wasn’t about victimhood or scapegoating, and I was using the definition given to me. Do you have thoughts about that?

            But maybe we are not really disagreeing after all. I don’t support a version of feminism that scapegoats men and defines male oppression as an intentional victimizing of women. I do support, however, a view that says that sexism is one form of injustice (among many) in our society. Suppose for the purposes of our discussion, I give you the word ‘feminism’ and I call my view ‘anti-sexism’ where ‘sexism’ is defined as injustice that affects women as women. Do you support anti-sexism? Of course it is an open question at this point what sorts of injustices affect women as women (or men as men, etc.). Those are questions that take further investigation. But I’m just wondering if we have any common ground.

          • Sees62

            Yes, I support anti-sexism where sexism is specified carefully. I also believe reverse sexism deserves just as serious consideration. Where I have problems is with conflating gender- feminism with anti-sexism or equality or justice.

            You aren’t likely to convince me that ‘sexist’ “oppression” doesn’t require feminist victims or that feminist usages of “patriarchy’ aren’t about scapegoating men. Feminist history is loaded with niggardly nonsense that proves the reverse. That’s why the first thing I pay attention to on any feminist website are the code words “patriarchy’, ‘gender’, or ‘oppression. That tells me that I’m dealing with a fascist organization that is spreading the poison.

            Common ground for me is a definition of feminism that ACCURATELY reflects the realities I see on the ‘ground’ not some white washed version with which to indoctrinate the masses. Should you ever choose to disassociate your ideology from fraudulent bigots like Susan Brownmiller (Against Our Will) you will have to disown the utterly false statements from your feminist foremothers.

        • http://www.seeing-as.blogspot.com Duckrabbit

          Regardless of your personal attitudes toward Women’s Studies, Gender Studies or Feminist Studiest, the point is that Professor Haslanger’s credentials are from philosophy — a field (in)famous for its severe disdain for publications carrying even a whiff of political activism, and for its near-total insulation from the feminist and antiracist movements within academia.

          • Guest

            These are not my personal attitudes toward Women’s Studies. Feminist ‘scholarship’ has been thoroughly discredited by many independent scholars from a wide range of disciplines. Since Prof. Haslanger directs the program at MIT she shares SOME responsibility for the quality of the overall discipline.

            As for feminist philosophy, please come back after you have read Klein’s Undressing Feminism. Any feminist philosopher who tolerates such nonsense as ‘philosophy’ is hardly likely to be taken seriously.

      • MKSpeaks

        Bravo TomAtStanford!

    • A feminist

      I am so confused by your claim that feminism is fraudulent? In what sense? The main feminist claim is that women are equal to men. Almost no one believed this before the feminist movement and many people–to a greater or lesser degree–believe it now. What I find most strange about the argument Venker proposes is that women would be happier with fewer options, as lesser members of society and as unequal. I find that implausible and I really wonder what kind of happiness that is.

      • Sees62

        Phyllis Schlafly calls feminism ‘the fraud of the century’ and backs her assertions in Flip Sides’ Heritage Foundation speech (on line). You might listen to her there. Many other scholars (including some fine liberal feminist authors) have made similar scathing assessments of mainstream feminism. Camille Paglia and Daphne Patai are probably the most accessible. Christina Hoff Sommers shows the fraud that underpins feminist scholarship in Who Stole Feminism. Ellen Klein shows the falseness of feminist philosophy in Underdressing Feminism: A Philosophical Expose.

        As for Vencker’s argument, as a man I find Conservative anti-feminists even more dangerous than garden variety gender feminists (who are already plenty dangerous). I have no particular interest in female happiness at the moment because men are miserable thanks to feminism. What I am worried about is that Conservative women seek to enshrine traditional male disposability. That is even more worrisome than the loathsome feminist lie about ‘gender’ equality.

        • Sees62

          Correction that’s Undressing Feminism

        • Anonymous

          You can throw names, and others can throw them right back, but what does that do to the discussion beyond silencing it? How about some ideas, some propositions, some arguments?

          Why do you assert that “men are miserable thanks to feminism?” I assert that men benefit from feminism (for example every single father who gets paternity leave and is able to be part of his children’s lives, those men whose wives have the option to work for a decent wage and who need not feel shame for not being able to support their family on a single income, and every single queer man who chooses to come out!) And what is your “lie about ‘gender’ equality” in reference to? Do you not believe that all people deserve equal rights, regardless of gender?

          • guest

            Please read the sources I have offered. The reason, I said that men are miserable thanks to feminism is because modern feminism is based on anti-male bigotry, because the feminist politics, feminist law and feminist cultural propaganda are about destroying, demeaning and being contemptuous toward males and masculinity. You can to Male Studies for some very solid researchers on these topics.

            As far as gender, let me make some distinctions. Gender is not sex. Sex is not gender. Feminists fantasies notwithstanding, the sexes will never be equal thanks to biological differences that are hard wired. The genders will never be equal either thanks to social needs that create hard wiring for social survival (witness the mess that is unfolding after Hillary Clinton took her little sun-in-the-fun boy (no racial slur intended here) to war in Libya). Therefore the like-like-like lie is just that, a pretty feminist falsehood that will soon collapse as reality returns to the world. What we can hope for is some sort of balanced equity between the sexes/genders but that will take more than The Flip Side of Feminism or absurd feminist dogma to create. We need women and men who can use their heads rather than just repeat ridiculous slogans that make no sense.

            I don’t have time to do your reading for you. The authors I have offered are far more eloquent than I. You can always go to the source as an antidote for feminist indoctrination.

          • Anonymous

            If you are unwilling (due to lack of time or perceived eloquence) to represent your views here, then why are you posting inflammatory messages? Your posts are full of incendiary language (“bigotry…feminist cultural propaganda…fantasies…pretty feminist falsehood…absurd feminist dogma…ridiculous slogans…feminist indoctrination” just in these three short paragraphs), yet you are unwilling to back up your claims with any ideas. Are you using your head or merely “repeat[ing] ridiculous slogans that make no sense?”

            I–and presumably most feminists–would agree with you that gender is not the same as sex: that is an important tenet of gender discourse. However, those ‘biological differences’ to which you refer are based neither on gender (a social construct) nor sex, which is non-dichotomous, and far more complex than a question of chromosomes. There are biological differences between all of us, but there seems no reason to believe that they are anymore sex-based than blood-type based or otherwise hereditary. Further, no one perfectly expresses their sex: we do not manifest characteristics of our chromosomes or hormones or general biological structure independent of social influences.

            If anything, isn’t your example of Hillary Clinton’s role in the Libyan war further evidence that women can make the same decisions and act the same way and hold the same beliefs as men?

            Please don’t confuse equality for identity: feminism is not saying that all men and all women are exactly the same. Feminism recognizes the gross inequality based on discrimination (sexual, racial, class-based, religious, etc.), and seeks to right that inequality by offering equal rights to all.

          • guest

            I did present my views here. I also gave you plenty of sources to back those views. As I said before I don’t have time to do your reading for you or to rewrite whole books on this blog for you.

            Suffice it to say that were you to be systematically slandered as an entire sex just because of your sex/gender as men have been by feminists, you would probably post inflammatory messages too. As men become more informed we become better able to see through the male bashing lie that is feminism but don’t expect us to be happy about it.

            To try to discuss sex or gender with a feminist is impossible. Sex differences are well documented biological realities that have a huge impact on how we relate as OPPOSITE, UNEQUAL and DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT animals. Feminists hope to indoctrinate us all into the false belief that social constructionism (read gender) is the sole determinant of the differences between us. This is an ugly falsehood. They use this falsehood to create Utopian fantasies of equality in world that will never be equal short of men becoming mothers or women becoming fathers or whatever.

            I’m not confusing equality with identity. I’m saying that the OPPOSITE sexes/genders will NEVER be identical or equal or a-like as Valley Girl feminists would have us believe. I would never be so arrogant as to say I will be any woman’s equal in terms of what makes women women. Nor do I tolerate women who falsely believe they can be any man’s equal in terms of what makes men men.

            To confuse or conflate sex and gender for female supremacist entitlements as feminists love to do is very dangerous. Hillary Clinton’s role in taking her mamma’s boy Barak Obama to war at the 11th hour shows how dangerous the woman-as-wanna-be-man-myth is. Sadly the men who do the dying will, as always, be the guinea pigs for feminist hubris here.

          • Guest

            Oh by the way, you are very welcome to throw some (CREDIBLE) names right back. To silence slanderous nonsense with credible criticisms is one thing but I am always open to feminist refutations. That’s how open societies (read non feminist) are SUPPOSED to work.

          • Anonymous

            For your credible names, let’s just start with some of the feminist philosophers:
            Sally Haslanger & Rae Langton at MIT
            Pamela Anderson & Sabina Lovibond at Oxford
            Vikki Spelman at Smith
            Helen Longino at Stanford
            Sandra Harding at UCLA
            Nancy Tuana at Penn State

            This task seems absurd: the list could go on and on, and I have papers to write.

          • Sees62

            Books please that tend to refute or supplement those I offered you please.

    • MKSpeaks

      Is there shoddy “feminist” scholarship? Yes. Is there shoddy “scholarship” in other fields? Yes. In fact, in each and every field, there is (at least some) shoddy scholarship. There is also excellent scholarship. There is also excellent “feminist” scholarship. Professor Haslanger does excellent scholarship. Some of her excellent scholarship is in metaphysics. Some of her excellent scholarship is in ancient philosophy. And some of her excellent scholarship is “feminist.” Moreover, she is widely regarded as doing excellent scholarship. I recommend that you read her work before you pass judgment. By the way, in addition to being a member of the Women and Gender Studies Program at MIT, she is also a member of the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT.

      I am grateful to Professor Haslanger for taking the time to discuss these important topics. She is a very busy person. I am also grateful to her for pointing out (some of) what is shoddy about Venker’s “scholarship.” I am saddened, though, that doing so places her in the line of fire of people like you.

  • m1101

    It sounds like the central claim, or one of them, of Venker’s book is that the feminist movement has brought about certain changes in society, and those changes have made women unhappy. I haven’t read her book or even listened to her interview yet, so I was just wondering if anyone could tell me how she established that claim. Happiness is a notoriously difficult thing to measure. Causation isn’t easy to tell apart from correlation. And as several people have pointed out by now, feminism is a lot of different related movements and isn’t easy to define. So it’s probably very hard to show that feminism has caused unhappiness for women. I guess that’s why it took a whole book to argue for it. (Although it sounds like a lot of the book was used to attack feminism with insults rather than data, but like I said, I haven’t read it, so I don’t know.)

    Full disclosure: I consider myself a feminist, and mostly what I want now is to fall in love, get married, and have kids. And get my PhD. :)

    • Sally Haslanger

      Hi M1101….great questions. I have been at this all morning, so can’t write as long a response to your post as I would like, but I had the same worry: how on earth could anyone ever claim that feminism has made women unhappy? So I found the article Ms. Venker quotes from when she says that “according to a 2007 report from the National Bureau of Economic Research, as women have gained more freedom, more education, and more power, they have become less happy.” (In fact, the report is from 2009 and is by Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, “The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness.” You can find the report here:
      http://www.nber.org/papers/w14969
      In fact, the report is really sophisticated and well-done. It does argue that by the standard measures used in economics, women’s happiness has declined over the past 30 years to the point that both in relative and absolute terms they are less happy than men (30 years ago women were both absolutely and relatively more happy than men). The report doesn’t argue, however, that feminism is responsible for this and actually offers from very interesting hypotheses about why the decline has occurred.
      One thing to note, especially, in the context of Ms. Venker’s argument, is that the decline in happiness is across the board. So married women and unmarried women, women with children and women without children, older women and younger women, women of different socioeconomic statuses and races, all have declined in happiness (except African-American women, which the authors conjecture is probably due to the effects of the civil rights movement). What this suggests to me is that there is no reason to think that if women decided, as Ms. Venker suggests, to return to traditional roles, they would be any happier than they are now because married women with children are ALSO declining in happiness.
      My bigger worry, however, is that this seems to be the form of argument sh offers: women are unhappier now than they were before feminism; the unhappiness is due to feminism; so women ought to return to the social roles they had before feminism. Even if we grant her the second premise, the argument is bizarre. For example, it is well-documented that people with higher education are unhappier than those without. Consider this argument: women are unhappier given higher education than they were when higher education was unavailable to them; the unhappiness is due to having higher education; so women ought not to have higher education. Would anyone argue this way?
      The problem is that gaining genuine objective goods does not always result in greater happiness under conditions of injustice. That’s part of the problem with injustice: it makes it hard to take advantage of the goods one is offered. I think it is also evidence against Ms. Venker’s claim that feminism has accomplished all that is needed. If women are given opportunities but are still unhappy, and we can document that the opportunities they have been given come with costs, shouldn’t we work to remove the costs rather than take away the opportunities?

      • Suzanne Venker

        While the authors of the report you linked above do not make finite claims, they do write that “the salience of the women’s movement fueled elation in the 1970s that has dissipated in the ensuing years.” They also say feminism brings with it unrealistic expectations. “As women’s expectations move into alignment with their experiences, this decline in happiness may reverse.”

        That’s precisely the reason for The Flipside of Feminism.

        In addition, Dr. Catherine Hakim of the London School of Economics released a report in January called “Feminist Myths and Magic Medicine.” In it, she highlights a dozen feminist myths that “have no solid basis in social science research, yet are popular, widely believed, and constantly reiterated in the media.”

        I believe the comments on all the Flipside articles from both BU and Boston Radio demonstrate this last point beautifully.

        • m1101

          Hi Suzanne. I haven’t read the report yet (having only downloaded it a few minutes ago). For the benefit of all of us who haven’t read it, could you say a little about what the claim that “feminism brings with it unrealistic expectations” means? How does a movement create unrealistic expectations in people, and how was that claim substantiated in the report?
          Could you also say what some of the “feminist myths” are? (Or give us a link to Dr Hakim’s report?)
          I’m sure we’d all appreciate more clarity and more information about these complicated issues. Thanks!

        • IY

          Dear Suzanne,

          Regarding Dr. Hakim’s report, it is, of course, commendable when someone tries to myth-bust. The problem, however, is that at least for the “myths” Dr. Hakim discusses where I happen to know a little bit of the relevant literature, her report fails to cite important references which contradict her points. I’ll give one specific example.

          In Myth 8, she cites evidence that women ask less for pay raises than men do. This is true. What is not mentioned, however, is the fact that when women _do_ ask for pay raises, they are severely punished, while men are punished only moderately, if at all (see Bowles, Babcock, and Lai 2007, doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2006.09.001 – by the way, Babcock is the same Linda Babcock who was one of the authors of the 2003 book Dr. Hakim does cite.)

          Now, I must also add that the main statement of Myth 8 (“Men and women do not differ in careerist attitudes, values and life goals”) is indeed a myth. But I do not know of people who seriously looked into the relevant research and DID believe it. Needless to say, that includes feminists, who in fact often push forward the study of how and why those attitudes, values and life goals differ by gender.

          Returning to the larger point, while Dr. Hakim’s report is interesting, it is not, unfortunately, always up to date with “social science research”.

        • Sally Haslanger

          I will definitely read your book – I was notified on Sunday night about the Friday discusson on WBUR and have been trying to fold in this ongoing discussion with the many other demands on my time since then. So forgive me for not getting the whole argument yet. But I (and others in this discussion, I bet) would love to understand it better, so perhaps you could answer a few questions here?

          It seems to be true that women have become less happy over the past 30 years even though they have increased in virtually all objective measures of welfare. This is the puzzle that the authors of the NBER research introduce. Why aren’t women more happy given that they are so much better off?

          One hypothesis is that women were very excited about the possibility of dramatic social change 30 years ago, but society changes slowly, so they are disappointed. The authors of the study argue that the statistics don’t support this hypothesis because “there is no evidence that women who experienced the protests and enthusiasm of the women’s movement in the 1970′s have seen their happiness gap widen by more than for those women who were just being born during that period. This finding provides suggestive evidence that the decline in happiness cannot be explained by the peaking optimism of those participating in the women’s movement in the 1970s.” (16-17)

          It seems that they are arguing against your suggestion. HOWEVER, you might reply that their data don’t get to the heart of the matter. Feminism has increased women’s expectations year after year, decade after decade, so even those who were born in 1970 and never experienced the excitement at the height of the movement are disappointed. This seems plausible. Women are told they can be anything they want (by their moms, by feminism, by the media), but when they get to college they find that it isn’t true, and this is depressing.

          I’ll grant this so we can see how the argument goes from here. Women are unhappy because they were promised things by feminism, the media, etc. that they aren’t getting. My view would be that it is a problem that women aren’t getting what they have been “promised” because the promises were based on a vision of justice. So the solution isn’t to give up on the demands for justice and equality, but to work even harder to make the world more fair. But you seem to want to draw a different conclusion. Can you spell out the next steps in your view? How do we get to the conclusion that feminism is the problem and that women should return to a more traditional form of life?

          Please understand that I sincerely want to understand your view and if I seem dense, it is because I sometimes have to move through arguments slowly to understand them. Thanks in advance for engaging in discussion.

        • Anonymous

          I don’t understand the “raising unreasonable expectations” argument against feminism. Should we say to the people in Egypt that they shouldn’t rise up against an unjust ruler because democracy might be hard and they might be disappointed? Of course it will likely be harder than anyone thinks. Does that mean injustice should be allowed to flourish? Because hoping for change would be too disappointing?

      • m1101

        Thanks, Sally! That helps a lot.

        I think that even if married women with children were happier than average, that still wouldn’t show either that 1) feminism was responsible for making the other women unhappy, or 2) women should get married and have kids in order to be happy.
        To establish (1), she could show that the feminist movement was doing something to discourage women from marrying and/or having kids, which she assumes, but I don’t think she can prove it (given the wide variety of movements under the umbrella of ‘feminism’, and because feminism doesn’t tell women what they should or shouldn’t do with their lives). Unless telling women that they have other options besides marrying and having kids, and that they should do those other things if they want to, counts as discouraging.
        As for (2), I think she’d have to say a lot more about why it would make sense for women to be happier when they’re married and have kids. And I don’t see why this would make sense.

        I agree that feminism needs to go farther. If women are less happy than men, then either they don’t have the same opportunities as men or those opportunities come with a greater cost for women than for men, and in either case there’s plenty of work left for feminists.

      • Dreamingofsandiego23

        Why is this conversation single minded about the happiness of women? Why are people hear Not looking at the broader spectrum of the effects of women working outside of the home and how it affects children?

        • FeministSmithie

          Because Ms Venker’s central thesis concerns women’s happiness, not the effect on children.

          • http://www.theflipsideoffeminism.com Suzanne Venker

            Feminism’s effect on children is covered in depth in chapters 5 and 6. I strongly suggest commenters read the book before continuing with this discussion. It would help enormously in making your arguments. You can’t debate a book you haven’t read.

          • FeministSmithie

            I thought we were discussing the broadcast, not your book.

          • Guest

            The broadcasts are about her book. One thing I’ve noticed is that you seem to have an antipathy to reading ANYTHING. That makes you the perfect disciple for feminists and other Progressive totalitarians who prefer to brainwashing to braining.

            Conservatives deserve to be read just as much as Progressives do. Both sides love to manipulate but there is also truth buried beneath both sides’ propaganda platforms. For instance, I amused and disgusted that Uncle Newt believes men are better pigs than women for combat in dirty ditches but there is also truth in that statement too.

  • Charlotte Witt

    I was struck by how little evidence was provided by Suzanne Venker to support her claim that feminism has substantially harmed women. Instead of substantiating her claim, Venker described the unhappiness of Alice Walker’s daughter, who apparently waited too long to have a second child and did not feel supported as a mother by her mother. In contrast feminists can point to a series of social changes that have improved the situation of women: equal access to sports, higher education and employment, movement towards equal pay for equal work, and workplace respect for family obligations (including family leave policies). There have also been important changes in laws concerning violence against women. Feminist organizations have been driving forces behind these developments. These are society wide changes that have improved the situation of women. Far from substantially harming women evidence (not anecdote) supports the opposite thesis.

  • Dreamingofsandiego23

    Women may enjoy their so called freedom.. but children are suffering..and I bet they don’t enjoy dealing with messed up kids!

    • FeministSmithie

      Childhood is suffering. Existence is suffering.

      In all seriousness though, children benefit from more highly-educated mothers (see for example, http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/apr/26/university-school-grades-child-background), and I would bet more satisfied, accomplished women make better mothers as well.

      • Dreamingofsandiego23

        That’s a very wrong statement in my opinion. You are saying that children that don’t have highly educated mothers suffer more. That is really out there… No offense meant. A woman that is steadfast in Christ..and is lead by grounded principles and is guided by the Spirit of God on how to raise her Children.. by far out weighs anything… educated or not.

        • FeministSmithie

          Assuming that you are responding to my comment about a mother’s education benefiting the children, no, I did not say that children of less-educated mothers suffer more. Rather, I suggested that children benefit from having more highly-educated mothers. This position is not something ‘out there’ that I have invented, but rather the findings of sociological studies.

      • Dreamingofsandiego23

        I don’t need any “study” to tell me otherwise.

        • FeministSmithie

          No? Where do you look for support for your views? How about the intuition that higher education is linked to family planning, lower rates of abuse, higher levels of health in the family, and financial stability? Or very simply, the better homework help an educated mother could offer.

        • Dreamingofsandiego23

          I do want to say though… that other than “higher education” there is the internet..and other means to educate ourselves. I am for being educated… and I do agree, that if there are problems.. when I go to Heavenly Father in prayer.. I am guided to the right places for answers.

    • Anonymous

      But this would suggest that there were no unhappy kids before feminists started their campaign for justice. I am sure this is wrong.

  • Dreamingofsandiego23

    Why is this conversation single minded about the happiness of women? Why are people hear looking at the broader spectrum of the effects of women working outside of the home and how it affects children?

    • IY

      I totally agree. And while we are at it, why aren’t we talking about the effects of MEN working outside of the home and how it affects children?

  • Charlotte Witt

    There is also a particular irony today in Venker’s claim that feminism does not value maternity. Perhaps she is unaware of Sally Ruddick’s pioneering work in maternal ethics, which takes the mother-child relationship and maternal practice as the central ethical concepts. Both feminists who agreed with Ruddick and those who did not are saddened by her recent death.

  • Knielse4

    As a Norwegian, and hence the beneficiary of decades of progressive feminist policies in my country of birth, I’m absolutely baffled by the idea that there is some kind of opposition between implementing feminist policies and advancing the interests of the family or children in general.

    The whole idea of instituting rights to a nine-month maternity leave, passing laws that aim to prevent discrimination in hiring and promotion, and of ensuring universal access to affordable child-care was precisely to remove obstacles for women who wanted to have children and to be able to provide for them without relying on handouts from the state or from husbands. As a result, Norway now has one of the highest birth-rates in Europe AND one of the highest rates of female employment in the world. Compare this to countries without feminists in office: in Italy, women are opting out of having children at alarmingly high rates. And before someone yells “oil”, these policies are also implemented in Scandinavian countries that don’t have oil.

    Feminism floats all boats, it is good for the economy, and good for the financial security and hence well-being of children. And that’s even without considering the idea that women should have equal rights and equal opportunities to decide what they want to do with their lives. Anyone who wants to conduct an intellectually honest debate about this topic had better say something about the real-life experiences of women in Scandinavian countries.

    • Bobby Orr

      What do you mean by “universal access to affordable chid-care”?

    • Sees

      Doesn’t look like feminism is floating WOMEN’s boats in Scandinavian nations according to Catherine Hakim: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2004/sep/22/books.familyandrelationships .

      Rights to nine month maternity (not paternity) leave, laws that favor inferior performers in hiring or promotion, or laws that force others to pay for one’s child care ARE handouts from the state. The state is the new Father and Husband for women. Don’t know about you but I don’t enjoy being forced to father or husband women for someone else by some sort of collectivist state run by female bigots.

      Anyone who wanted to conduct an intellectually honest debate about this topic had better start connecting female responsibilities to female rights. I have no interest in paying for someone else’s financial security, to pay for their maternity leave, to pay for their cushy jobs that don’t produce diddly (as in requiring women on every corporate board irregardless of merit). Nor do I have an interest in women popping rug rats like rabbits even in nations saturated in Ancient Sunshine. I much prefer to see WOMEN earn WOMEN’s entitlements with PERSONAL WORK rather than by perverted political fun and games.

  • Bobby Orr

    I am sure that the author of the book being discussed would be more than happy to debate on any of the comments below, however actually reading the book would certainly help in any discussion or comment. I find it laughable that people keep making comments without having actually read the book. I guess everyone has forgotten the eloquent axiom “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.” Everyone sure seems to have a lot to say about something they have not read. If we were talking about a person instead of a book one could argue that this borders on false witness. Many of these comments are stiflingly closed minded. And that is sad. I assume, ironically, that “The Feminine Mystic” was greeted with a similar distain.

    I challenge any of you naysayers to actually pick up the book, read it and dispute its points otherwise your comments are a waste of time.

    • m1101

      As someone who admittedly hasn’t read the book yet had the gall to express an opinion about the topics discussed in it anyway, I guess I should respond to this.

      The book was about something we all have opinions on. Can’t we talk about the general topic of feminism and its effects on people’s lives without reading one specific book first? Yes, this discussion started because Venker was interviewed about her book, so in a sense the discussion is about that book. But these comments (which I’ll assume you’ve diligently read in their entirety before posting) haven’t entirely been about the book. A lot of discussion has centered around claims that were (allegedly) made in the book, or things Venker said in the interview. If those claims weren’t actually made in the book, tell us; I for one would like to know. But we can discuss those claims, and broader topics related to feminism, whether or not we’ve read the book.

      I think we’ve got a great opportunity here to ask questions of the author herself and get a response from her right away. That’s the magic of the internet. (I know she doesn’t have to engage in this discussion with us, and I’m glad she’s doing it anyway. Thanks Suzanne!) Personally, I’d rather take that opportunity while it exists rather than wait a week or two while I read the book, and then, I guess, email her with any questions I have? (In which case I wouldn’t expect feedback right away, maybe ever, because I’m sure she’s very busy and gets lots of emails about this book, almost all of them from more informed people than me.)

      So I suggest that author and audience engage in some interesting, though maybe less than fully informed, dialogue for right now, and then we all go away to think and learn more after the discussion is over.

      • Bobby Orr

        As I said in my reply…it would be easier to read the book. There is no way one has to time to answer all the comments. Also if you read the book I think one might better understand the claims the author makes. And focus on specific points that might be proven wrong or right for that matter. And the dialogue might be more fruitful.

        I think everyone is open to dialogue but as long as it is informed (and that includes personal experience). As you point out the inspiration for the discussion is the book so why not read the book and focus on the points. Especially since this is a legitimate perspective based on extensive research that no one has seen in 4o years (since 4o years ago the movement was in its infancy). Hence the overwhelming reactions. Its as if someone said that the earth revolved around the sun (based on some reactions).

        I will admit that countless times in my life I made reactions based on my emotions because the subject was sensitive to my very being. But once I detached and really understood where the other person was coming from there was a much better understanding even if I did not agree. When one is presented with facts that challenge one’s belief it is very hard to accept that new way of looking at things. All the more reason to fully engage and research the subject. That way when you do walk away from the dialogue you can challenge every facet of it including your own perceptions.

        • Anonymous

          I think it’s perfectly legitimate to base this discussion on comments from Venker we’ve heard and read (in the BU Today piece, for instance). And I agree that since this is a topic we all are concerned with, having an open discussion about it is great, whether it’s based on the book or not.

    • guest

      Who’s the Feminine Mystic? You mean The Feminine Mystique? Yeah, it probably did suffer from disdain (I assume that that is what you meant by distain) from sexists (you can be a conservative and support women’s rights) but it was very well received by people around the world and changed many lives for the better.
      Again, if you must read Venker’s book because you don’t think that her poor defense of it says enough, save your money for charity or another worthy recipient, and get the book from the library.

  • Lynne Tirrell

    Individual happiness during transitional times is not the appropriate measure by which to judge feminism or other movements for social change. Justice matters more than happiness. If one person’s happiness requires another person to suffer injustice, then that happiness is bought at too great an expense.

    Personally, a lot of things matter more to me than my own happiness. The well-being of the people I love, the state of the world, increasing the safety and security of people at risk, the list goes on. I am a feminist, and I deal with juggling the demands of a complex adult life (as a professional, a spouse, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a volunteer). I am pretty happy. Am I perfectly happy? That won’t happen until the world is rid of injustice, which includes violence, both individual and structural. It would take that, so I see feminism as a way of getting closer.

    Feminism is primarily about justice for women. If you define feminism as the project of bringing about a world in which gender identity is not a source of injustice, in which it is not a factor in one’s life prospects (which is not just economics), then you can see that there will be growing pains as we move away from a world that is so full of gender injustice. Dr. Haslanger made some good points in the broadcast about the difficulties of living through transitional times. If you make the world more just for women, one would hope that you would undermine gender-based injustice for everyone. Most feminists do, in fact, work to fight many forms of injustice.

  • Charlie

    This is a complex topic, but a simple and crucial point has emerged.

    In a court of law, with impartial judges, a point like this would be decisive for the case.

    The anti-feminist authors build their case on a research study. It suggests that women are less happy today.

    The anti-feminists conclude that this provides evidence that women are better off in arch-conservative, pre-determined social roles of yesterday.

    But they *neglected* to mention that this same research study suggests that this is not *only* for women in more modern roles, it is *also* for women in traditional roles of the kind the conservatives promote exclusively. So, if the world really is better off without equality, feminism, and other forms of social progress, why aren’t the old arch-conservative gender roles still a safe haven where women stayed happy?

    Professor Haslanger already made this point. And she cited the study in this thread. I followed her link to the study, and confirm that Professor Haslanger is correct (see Section III of the study).

    So, there goes the key premise of the whole anti-feminist book.

    A related point. The arch-conservative author also sent a post (below) mentioning that unhappiness for modern women may arise from women’s “unrealistic expectations”. Well, if equality makes me happy but is unrealistic for me, because of e.g. the realities of slow social progress, I might be a little disappointed … right? But that does *not* support the arch-conservative’s conclusion that instead of continuing the political struggle for social progress, women should just accept the social roles which arch-conservatives dictate to them.

    I understand feminism as the effort to promote equal opportunity and self-determination across gender lines.

    Who would not want to work toward that?

    I am proud to be a male feminist. We are growing in numbers! Fast! We realize that equality is in everyone’s interest. In a generation or two, these anti-feminists will seem as freaky as the people who opposed desegregation in the 1960s.

    • Sees62

      To be a proud male feminist is like being a proud KKK member as a BLACK man. You might read Steve Moxon’s The Woman Racket before you buy feminisms’s Big Lie hook line and sinker. Bigoted anti-male hate is hardly likely to promote equal opportunity and self-determination across sex/gender lines.

      • Anonymous

        Your point is premised on the fallacy that feminism is about hate. Feminism is about being *more* ethical, not less so.

        To be a proud male non-feminist is to be proud of your perceived supremacy. To be a proud male *anti-feminist* is akin to being a proud white racist.

        What problem do you have with the principal that all humans deserve equal rights? What about that do you think is wrong? What about that principal do you find hateful?

        • Sees

          READ the books I offered girlfren. Feminism is both false AND based on anti-male hate. Hoff Sommers even made the ironic observation that its misogynistic too. Show me one ethical gender-feminist and I’ll show you a compassionate Conservative (sarcasm intended).

          Feminism is NOT about human rights. Feminism is about infantile entitlements for an already privileged princess class. There is no end to feminists whining about victim hood even as they celebrate The End of Men. The game is to create imagined oppression to steal resources from the taxpayers and to scapegoat men for what are often women’s choices. Gotta give em credit, this ugly game has ‘worked’ pretty well so far but we are awakening. As soon as we do we will get our fly swatters out to slap down what is niggardly nonsense, nonsense that tends to destroy societies from within.

          You need to go do your homework now. We are not in church. I do not enjoy going round and round like I have to with some Right wing religious fanatics.

      • IY

        I presume you are male, right? Then why don’t you just try? You will quickly see it is absolutely not like a black man being a proud member of KKK. For one, if you know a little history, you should know that a black man would not be _allowed_ to become a KKK member in the first place…

        Spoken by another proud male feminist.
        And, truly, the more I learned about feminism and embraced it, the fuller and happier my life became, and the closer I could get to the women who are a significant part of my life. There is no Big Lie. There is no anti-male hate. There is a lot of compassion, understanding and love in feminism.

        • Sees62

          Been there. Done that. It was no fun telling my brothers how badly they were treating women once I began to understand how badly their women were treating THEM. Enjoy the crocodile compassion, the incestuous understanding and the loathsome like-like-like-lie love in feminism for as long as you like but don’t say you weren’t warned.

  • Sally Haslanger

    A grad student of mine who didn’t want to post herself raised these excellent questions in an email to me:

    (1) Did the study alleging that women are less happy account for changes in women’s willingness to admit to being unhappy with a situation? Increase in willingness to express unhappiness is a good thing, and may be something that feminist’s could take some credit for, but it could also mean that women aren’t in fact less happy now; they are just more willing to report unhappiness than they were before.

    (2) Bringing to light a problem may make people unhappy. If I found out that my boyfriend was cheating on me, I’d be unhappy, less happy than I was when I incorrectly thought that he was faithful. But I wouldn’t blame my unhappiness on finding out; I’d blame my unhappiness on the cheating. Feminism brings problems to light. Why not think that it’s the problems that are to blame for unhappiness, not bringing them to light?

    (3) Why is the relevant measure of the importance of feminism how women’s happiness now compares to women’s happiness in the past, as opposed to what it could be? For example, suppose that I am fighting for my rights, and then I get attacked for doing so. I’m less happy than I was before I started fighting, but that doesn’t seem to be the relevant comparison. The relevant comparison is how I would fare if I fought for my rights and won.

    I thought some of you might like to see them. They are worth thinking about!

    • Tracheal

      A more relevant measure of feminism is basic human decency.  On that basis, your bigoted hate movement fails miserably.  Who cares about women’s happiness when women spread hatred with near perfect impunity.  Witness the recent ‘lovefest’ that Warren Farrell faced at the University of Toronto.  Feminism is an evil insult to all standards of decency, civility and yes Ms. Haslanger as you well know to scholarship too.

  • Panochey

    So the opposite of a feminist is a masculinist?

    • Anonymous

      No. Your proposed contrast is akin to claiming that the opposite of a sexist is a celibatist. Feminism is about justice, not femininity. The opposite of a feminist is someone who believes in, supports injustice, discrimination, and oppression.

      • Sees62

        Right!? Feminism is about justice (sarcasm). The opposite of a feminist is really someone who believes in human rights for all, who is concerned about the masses of murdered men worldwide, who believes that the terribly abused women (now ignored by feminists) in the Muslim world matter more than entitled and infantile women do in the Western world, who believes that women choose much of their own ‘discrimination’, and who tend to detest infantile victim mongering or fear mongering as a substitute for responsible adult rhetoric.

        • Anonymous

          Sorry to hear that you think feminism ignores human rights issues, because those are precisely the issues I see at the heart of the feminist debate. On which theorists do you base your view of feminism? I would question their validity. Some very distinguished Feminist Philosophers are on this forum, offering explanations of what feminism is, which looks nothing like what you are proposing.

          If I were in a room full of Jewish theologians who were trying to explain the core ideas of Judaism, and I responded by rejecting their definitions and echoing anti-Semitic rhetoric, what would you think of me?

          • guest

            I mean you no offense, personally, but I believe you have been badly brainwashed by some very clever bigots. Since those bigots tend to be very hostile to the entire male sex for false reasons, I tend to have little interest in coddling them. Debating them is almost always impossible because they refuse to play by the rules. Rather than a room full of Jewish theologians, I see a room full of totalitarian goons who subvert scholarship in time-tested tyrannical fashion for parochial entitlements. As Ellen Klien shows so well in Undressing Feminism: ‘feminist philosopher’ is an absurd oxymoron that no one need ever take seriously today. I don’t have time to show you the whole ridiculous racket but you can read Phyllis Chessler (feminist) on the hypocrisy of feminist treatment of Muslim women. There are is plenty more on the mean spirited, misandric and ugly nature of the Big Lie in the other sources I have offered below.

          • Anonymous

            And I believe that *you* have been brainwashed by clever bigots. At least my brainwashers have taught me to respect and support people, seek morality and justice, and fight for those who need help. What have your brainwashers taught you?

            What I, as a feminist, want is justice for all (regardless of gender, race, creed, etc.): human rights, recognition of dignity, and for people to have the capacity to flourish!

            What do you want?

          • Sees62

            Ok. As soon as you go silence the loathsome little anti-male bigots like Jessica Valenti, Amanda Hess, or even the far more smooth Hillary Clintons of the world who speak in your name I’ll begin to take you seriously. In the meantime, please spare me the idealistic but false notions about how noble feminism, IN GENERAL, is.

          • Anonymous

            How is your generalization that because a few people who identify as feminists are anti-male, feminism is anti-male any different from someone (ridiculously) generalizing that because some men are rapists, masculinity is rape (or male culture is rape culture)?

          • Sees62

            I listen to the news, watch some of the crap that Hollywood manufactures, ACTUALLY read the Women’s Studies nonsense at my local bookstore, pay attention to misandric fools like Joe Biden who write reverse sexist law like VAWA, listen to the anti-male crap that comes out of mamma’s boy Obama’s mouth, pay attention to Hillary’s feminist propaganda campaigns, listen Hanna Rosin chortle about the End of Men, watch how feminist hyenas try to shut down Male Studies, notice how TED promotes hateful feminists/already entitled women but censors independent or pro-male perspectives, notice how NPR rarely covers the real issues in the gender war but operates as a foil for feminist frauds…and on and on. Feminism is anti-male because it is based on the false proposition that women are oppressed by the patriarchy. Most feminists, like you, seem to have been brainwashed into believing that ‘cow’. NO prominent feminist have EVER, to my knowledge, bothered to condemn the hateful slogans that have been spread for decades now. Bigoted haters like Andrea Dworkin are still being featured as feminist heroines in mainstream rags like The Guardian even now. The women I mentioned above speak for you. Do YOU plan on calling their cunning cow-crap for us? What about Prof. Haslanger who still seems to support that ugly ‘patriarchal oppression’ nonsense? As soon as you confront the hidden hate that is buried beneath feminism’s ‘lovely’ facade, I’ll be glad to have some discussions about justice or equity with you but not before. In the meantime. Cathy Young is who I’ll go listen to because (coming from the former USSR) she knows the feminist game all to well, because she seems to care about BOTH sexes, and because she definitely DOES know how to use her head.

        • http://stevetm.com Steve McFarland

          Hi, Sees62. I’ve read many of your comments on this thread; we disagree, but this comment sticks out to me as simply logically flawed. It sounds like you disagree that “feminism is about justice” because it is “parochially” concerned with justice *for women*. But you falsely conflate that active parochial concern with another active quality: a LACK of concern for “murdered men worldwide.” That’s invalid. I *love* pie, and have a special inclination towards it, but it does not follow that I detest cake. In fact, as someone who generally loves all desserts, I feel quite passionately about cake although my particular concern is for pie – there’s no conflict. I don’t doubt that you’ve read some women writers who hold the positions you refute in this comment, but it *doesn’t* follow that to have a parochial concern for women’s justice is to *necessarily* turn a blind eye to the suffering of men.

          Further, as FeministSmithie implies, a parochial personal concern for the injustice faced by one particular group is quite an effective way to enter into understanding and compassion for injustice and violence faced by other groups. But so long as women or any other group are singled out for violence and oppression on an essentialist basis – simply because of who he or she is as a woman, an African American, or an LGBTQ person – the violence they experience is quite a different thing from other sorts of political or interpersonal violence.

          Concern for human suffering, writ large, is quite noble – I’m in seminary, in fact, and one might argue this is the fundamental concern of all religion – but women who experience FGM or are denied the right to vote don’t experience that violence because of the human condition, they experience it BECAUSE of their womanhood. Essentializing forms of oppression don’t have to exist, but they do. Misogyny has a logic unto itself, and has visited that logic on an enormous number of its targets. We can imagine a parallel form of “misandry,” as you say, but in the history of the world it’s simply a fact that men haven’t suffered at the hands of a similarly essentializing logic (they haven’t been castrated or marginalized in large numbers simply in light of their manhood). We men have suffered, for sure, as have all human beings, but essentialist forms of violence are an empirical reality. Again, although you may have read women who are callous to the suffering of others, that does nothing to diminish the particular reality of violence against women.

          All of this is an effort to endorse Smithie’s (much pithier) definition of the opposite of a feminist. Sees62, I’ve actually critiqued major feminist thinkers for just the sort of inhumanity to others’ suffering that so sticks in your craw – I called it racism, you can call it whatever you want. But that has nothing to do with the two things I’ve argued for here: the empirical reality of essentializing forms of violence, including violence against women, and the fact that to demonstrate a “parochial” concern for a particular form of oppression is not only perfectly legitimate, but might even be the best way to enter into solidarity with and concern for the oppression of other similarly essentialized groups. THAT, I believe, is a more roundabout version of FeministSmithie’s definition of feminism and its opposite.

          • Sees62

            Hi Steve. Thanks for your post. Looks like I need to clarify myself.

            1) I believe ‘oppression’ or ‘gender’ feminism is really about infantile female supremacist entitlements not about equality or justice. Suffrage feminism had something to do with justice. Gender feminism is about the hatred of men as imagined ‘oppressors’ and that is not justice in any sense of the word.

            2) I believe that men suffer as much or more from essentialist injustices as women do…notwithstanding the feminist hysteria otherwise. You might read Steve Moxon’s: The Woman Racket for more on that.

            3) The same arguments you made for misogyny apply to the social constructionist ‘logic’ feminists use for institutionalized misandry.

            4) I was feminist once too. That is, before I understood feminism. I urge you to dig deeply into the dogma of today’s feminism so you don’t waste as much time as did before I began to smell the dead rat.

            5) Since feminism is the new secular religion, since Esther Vilar shows how men are rolled by religion in The Manipulated Man, and since you are a man I’d urge you to take time to challenge the assumptions you have made here.

            Whatever you do good luck on journey.

  • zenmind

    In response to Suzanne’s remark that “you can’t debate a book you haven’t read” (see below), I purchased a .pdf version of the book, and read it this evening.

    The fact that Radio Boston has presented this book (and author) as an authority of any kind is… well, alarming. The publisher of the book, “WND Books”, promotes itself as “fiercely independent, telling the stories that other publishers won’t”, and trumpets titles such as “Manchurian President: Barack Obama’s Ties to Communists, Socialists, and Other Anti-American Extremists” (wndbooks.wnd.com/about/). And “The Flipside of Feminism”, like at least several other WND titles, is almost completely devoid of serious references.

    Take, for example, the chapter “When Mothers Work”, a section that Venker and Schlafly introduce as “emotionally… difficult to read.” (97) The thesis of this chapter is that “the mass exodus of mothers from the home over the past thirty years… has been devastating [to children's well-being].” (97) Specifically, they focus on “mothers who have remained in the workforce consistently throughout their lives and placed their children in full-time group care.” (98) In targeting mothers who rely on “full-time group care” versus mothers who rely on other forms of child care, one would expect at least *some* data to support the (non-obvious) assumption that group care, or full-time care, has a negative impact on children. No data or research results are offered.

    This would perhaps not be so reprehensible if Venker and Schlafly did not insist on presenting their theses as “the truth” and facts that are “known”. At the beginning of the “When Mothers Work” chapter, for example, they claim, “we now know from research that the most important aspect of a child’s early life is that he has the consistent care and attention of one individual — preferably the mother, but not necessarily.” (98) We now *know*? From *research*? Really? Then why not cite the research? Instead, what they offer is a hodge-podge of odd anecdotes, public opinion surveys, and the occasional reference to persons who lack authority or knowledge based on any form of study. (!) So, for example, in support of the idea that children need consistent care from a single individual in early life, they “cite”:

    (1) a “nonpartisan polling agency, Public Agenda”, whose polls allegedly show that 70% of (American? employed?) parents with children under the age of 5 “agree” that “having a parent at home is best.” (98) — I say “allegedly” here because no source is given for this quote in the book, and no Public Agenda poll is listed in the bibliography.

    (2) a book by “former day care owners” William and Wendy Dreskin. (Like Venker and Schlafly’s book, the Dreskins’ book lacks any attempt to substantiate their views through research or anything other than their own anecdotal experience.)

    Later in the chapter, they offer a couple of anecdotes lifted (again, without any citation) from Working Mother Magazine that the authors seem to think provide additional “support” for the single-care-provider thesis. One is of a mother whose childcare provider tells her that she put the children’s cots together at naptime so that they “could comfort each other through the tears.” (106) Another is of a working mother who forgets her preschooler’s graduation.

    Readers who share my epistemic values will at this point probably sign off, thinking that this so-called “debate” has a talk-show sort of feel (aside from the fact that Radio Boston has chosen to pit Venker against a bona fide philosophical heavyweight from MIT), and that further discussion of the book is simply not worth their time. I agree.

    I am dismayed, and shocked, that Radio Boston would actually have presented Venker as a conservative “thinker” worthy of debate. Conservative she is. A “thinker” she is not. At least not by the standards that prevail in our society — both inside and outside of academia.

    • Bobby Orr

      The copious research about early childhood needs is out there. The fact that is not cited is irrelevant. You can research the facts about the needs of children yourself. After reading the book myself, I assume that the authors did not cite specific studies because the information is public knowledge.

      Regarding “thinking” I assume that you take for truth anything your professors tell you which is indeed sad. The authors’ alternative point of view obviously has touched a nerve for many. Which I think is a great thing because it is forcing people to look at this subject with a new set of glasses. Some may not like it but the point is to get people talking because so far the “Feminist” discussion has been pretty one-sided for the last 40 years.

      Can you send me a set of those “standards” you reference? I can’t seem to find them anywhere. Could I find them at the Library of Congress or The Department of Education?

      • zenmind

        Bobby, I *have* read much of the research on the effects of various forms of early childhood experiences (and later childhood care) on children, in part because I have three children whom I care deeply about. (The oldest is a first-year student at Harvard; the youngest is 9 months old.) And much of the research indicates that there are compelling reasons to believe that early childhood care in a high-quality group setting with trained educators and caregivers is not only not detrimental, but actually beneficial to children on many levels.

        One of the more extensive studies was an NIH-sponsored longitudinal survey of 1,364 youth from diverse geographic, economic, demographic and ethnic backgrounds. The group was followed from age 1 month through their teens as part of the NIH’s National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD), the largest and longest running study of child care in the U.S. The results of this study, published in the May/June, 2010 issue of the journal “Child Development”, show that teens who were in high-quality group child care settings as young children scored slightly higher on measures of academic and cognitive achievement, and were slightly less likely to report disruptive behaviors. The authors of the study report that high quality group child care appears to provide a small boost to academic performance, perhaps by fostering the early acquisition of the sorts of school readiness skills and socialization skills that are traditionally acquired in a group setting.

        In other words, the “knowledge” that the authors are propounding, without appeal to research or any acknowledgement of existing data, is not only not public knowledge — but not “knowledge” in any accepted sense of the word.

        With respect to your remark about “thinking”, I of course do not “take for truth” anything others tell me. This was particularly true of professors. I myself am a professor, and am not only well aware of just how fallible faculty members (and all people) can be, but make a point of teaching the students in my critical thinking classes to cultivate a healthy degree of scepticism towards what they hear and read, including what they hear and read in the context of my course. One way in which I do this is to make several credible but ultimately unjustifiable statements in the first week of classes, usually in an area in which they take me to have some authority, and then reveal the falsity and/or fallacious nature of the statements. In other words, I deliberately teach my students *not* to accept what I say — to require justification for the claim, and to search for alternate hypotheses, explanations, and data. To make claims without justification or substantiation is, in my opinion, to insult the autonomy and independence of the intended audience. It is this challenge that I now issue to Venker and Schlafly: to back their “knowledge” claims with something other than isolated anecdotal evidence.

        In response to your query regarding my reference to presumed standards for intellectual thought: excellent question! (And a good example of critical thinking.) The intellectual “standards” that I reference are those that used as a basis for teaching the critical thinking and problem-solving skills required to make reasoned decisions — not just in academia, but at home, in the workplace, in both local and global communities. You can find them in the Library or Congress — or any library, for that matter — simply by asking for books on critical thinking. Venker and Schlafly have failed to meet even the most minimal standards for empirical knowledge claims by failing to provide research or other data to support their claims. (If they had presented their claims as opinion, or as hypotheses in need of further research and clarification, this would be at least reasonable. But this is unfortunately not the path they chose.) You will also be able to find references to critical thinking in many Department of Education documents and web sites, at both the state and federal levels. And you can find plenty of info online by searching for phrases such as “critical thinking” or “critical thinking standards”.

        • Bobby Orr

          zenmind…..I will have to look at the studies you cite. There is more to a child’s development than higher academic and cognitive development. Within the studies you name under what circumstances did the study take place? How balanced were the backgrounds? There are many control factors that go into these studies. What age groups are we talking about? There are many factors that can skew a study. I believe the authors are talking about early childhood not teenagers.

          Regarding the authors I can assure you that they based their claims on studies but just did not include them (their error which can be fixed in future printings). They could not have made the claims without research. Anyone can nit-pick something to find a few pieces of information that appear incorrect. I am sure you can challenge them and I am sure they can provide solid answers and satisfy your questions. I am sure they would agree with your 2nd to last paragraph regarding the importance of facts. It sounds like you read the book but only with an eye looking to find “things wrong” rather than actually reading the book.

          Regarding your teaching techniques, (but not knowing your discipline) I think it would be more interesting and fruitful to give your students an alternate view with books etc to read and then discuss. Giving a statement you know is false seems like you are “controlling” the outcome.

          • Bobby Orr

            also zenmind……would you have closely examined a book that supports your world view and meticulously reviewed all the points and research?

          • IY

            Hi Bobby,

            It is right that you question the generality of the NIH study’s conclusions and their applicability to a more general question of “what’s better for kids”. In fact, a question so broadly put is very hard to answer. After all, even if group childcare is better for children by _every_ possible metric (I’d doubt that, but who knows), you can still argue that people are happier when they are more ignorant and less able…

            Where you are not right is when you say that “I can assure you that they based their claims on studies but just did not include them”. Don’t you find it a little bit strange that you are eager to notice the limitations of a particular study, but are not ready to question a much more serious claim without a justification at all?

            I’m glad some people are such optimists, but frankly, very often it is the case that when no citations are given, it is for a very good reason. When you look at an exact citation, you can examine it, see what its scope and limitations are, etc. etc. Sometimes you’ll see that the authors misrepresent the source they cite, too. But when you give no citations, it becomes much easier for you – because now it is harder to point out that you are actually wrong. Any study which says otherwise may be dismissed by your readers – you yourself did that with the NIH study. Yet it is not possible to pin down where you are wrong – you don’t give a fair reader any chance.

            This is why citing where your evidence comes from is so important. It is one of the forms of insurance. Not a panacea, of course – even a book full of real citations may be highly manipulative (all you need to do is to very carefully pick your citations, not telling the reader you are concealing the studies which say otherwise). But providing a basis for one’s claims is the first step one should make to have any hope of writing something serious. If you think this would make books unreadable, you are wrong: it does not, the citations may be shifted into endnotes, and the main text becomes a smooth narrative. (E.g., see Cordelia Fine’s great recent book “Delusion of gender” – it is an example of careful popular-science writing which manages to stay entertaining while backing the claims with precise citations.)

          • Bobby Orr

            Hi IY,

            The focus of the author regarding children’s well being centers around the toddler years and the study you cite seems to be an overall range of years. Have you even bothered to read the book (with an open mind)? There certainly seems to be an overblown reaction to evidence/citations that can easily be produced by the authors (from the chatter there was only one or two instances and those can be proven). Besides, the authors openly discuss where the basis for their intrepretation comes from in the book. That hardly warrents a claim of mis-representation etc. Should someone cite the meaning of every sentance based on studies, readings etc. That seems a bit unrealistic. I am sure they are not “hiding” anything as you claim nor are they being manipulative.

    • MlleMadeline

      maybe you should have picked it up from the library. good job Suzanne for convincing someone to buy your book.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t understand Meghna’s incredulousness about MIT’s efforts to narrow the gender gap causing “a new set of problems.” Of course massive social change doesn’t happen without complications. Is she suggesting that these new problems would justify a return to gender inequality? I doubt it, but that’s what it sounded like.

    From what I can tell, the “new set of problems” is about inaccurate perceptions: people are accusing women of having an unfair advantage whereas the report makes clear that this perception is incorrect. So the problem is not the attempt at a more just system but people’s inaccurate response to it. The responsibility for change is then with the people with the misperceptions.

    It also makes sense that some men are sometimes confused about what is being asked of them. But someone’s feeling confused doesn’t mean that an unjust situation was better. Again, a huge social change is bound to cause a lot of confusion. Justice is not always easy. But it’s what we owe it to each other to fight for.

    • Meghna Chakrabarti

      Hello there. It wasn’t my incredulity you heard. It was my (perhaps ham-fisted) efforts at relaying what key MIT faculty members themselves were saying in response to MIT’s reevaluation of its treatment of female faculty.

      Here’s the portion of the New York Times coverage which prompted me to ask the question:

      ““It’s almost as though the baseline has changed, because things are so much better now,” said Hazel L. Sive, associate dean of the School of Science, who led one of the committees writing the report. “Because things are so much better now, we can see an entirely new set of issues.””

      Again, that’s straight from Associate Dean Sive at MIT. I probably could have done a better job at citing the source. Here’s a link to the full article if you’re interested.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/21/us/21mit.html

      • Guest

        Quote from the linked article above: “The women gathered more data — crawling on the floor with tape measures to compare lab space for men and for women. They took their concerns to the dean, Robert J. Birgeneau, who did his own study, which backed up the women’s conclusions that there were wide disparities in salary and resources and a general marginalization of women. ”

        Meghna,

        Were scholars in Women’s Studies willing to do the same kind of rigorous science that this quote illustrates to address so called ‘gender’ bias in the wider world, scientists would have far less scorn for the ‘discipline’. That doesn’t happen though. Instead the hacks who run this and most other feminist rackets feed those of you in the news media outright falsehoods, cunning fabrications, and mean spirited misrepresentations which you dutifully publish with no fact checking. When Schlaffly, a seasoned old veteran in the gender war calls feminism the ‘fraud of the century’ we have a right to hear you report on that. We also have a right to know why she believes what she believes. Last we have right to hear from INDEPENDENT scholars as well as feminists who can address Schlaffly’s assertions with some authority. Shockingly, Prof. Haslanger doesn’t even seem to be aware of the charges against feminism. Next, time you purport to discuss the effects of feminism please bring in credible scholars who can speak independently about what Venker and Schlafy have to say.

        I write this assuming that you believe in free speech, in some sort of objective journalism, and in balanced perspectives that include all major perspectives (including the male one). That is a very questionable assumption given the recent history of NPR and the mainstream media in general. However, I’m willing to wait and see.

        As you can see from my posts below there is much in the main stream media about feminism that is totally ignored and therefore censored. We deserve better than that in a democracy. Even (and especially) as a woman you can and you do have a responsibility to cover the other half of the human population in some meaningful ways….especially given the what we already know about the ugly anti-male nature of this influential ‘animal’ called gender-feminism.

        Please do so soon.

        Thank you,

  • Aeroguy48

    One thing I am not confused on is a feminist cant change a sparkplug!

    • Sally Haslanger

      I can change a sparkplug!

    • zenmind

      I can change a sparkplug, too! And the oil. And the tires. And the universal joint. And I drive a standard…

  • Smicky

    While I believe in total equality between the sexes I think the whole empowerment issue was co-opted by the rich to doucble the work force, cut our pay and have day cares raise our kids instead of a parent. Now Mom and Dad work to maintain a lifesyle that Dad alone used to provide. It was a good idea that was taken over by capitalists swines out to boost profits at our expense.

  • An Historian

    Love the “tolerant” and “progressive” NPR base that cant stand to even be exposed to another view point.

    • Sally Haslanger

      What? I thought we were having a conversation here. Is trying to explain your view carefully in response to questions and criticisms intolerant? Is trying to raise questions about someone else’s view intolerant? I think the most respectful thing one can do is engage different points of view seriously. But that doesn’t mean not articulating the points of disagreement.

      • Anonymous

        Yes; please let’s not equate having a passionate discussion with intolerance! No one is saying Venker isn’t allowed to say what she’s saying. We just disagree and there’s no reason we should be silent about our disagreement.

        • Sees62

          Right!? Go to any college campus today. Notice the nice welcoming attitude toward Conservative, anti-feminist or any other politically incorrect form of free speech. Look at all those lovely but utterly unconstitutional speech codes that the “OFFENDED” ‘good gals’ use to stifle the “OFFENSIVE” or worse “OPPRESSIVE” ‘bad guys’. Tolerance INDEED! Same thing happens in the mainstream media.

      • Guest

        You can hardly engage different points of view when NPR and the Progressive Left wing media censor those points of view. NPR’s racket is well known now thanks to serious back to back scandals but what happens at NPR is common in the rest of main stream media too. No one seems willing to challenge feminist hacks who lie ad infinitum with perfect impunity…and NO, I am not, carte blanche including you in that gang of girl-power goons because I haven’t read your works yet…but I will note that you seem utterly ignorant of the abuses that your Sisters are infamous for. The ‘F’ word has become the ‘F’ word for very good reasons. I hope that someday the LIBERAL media will address the illiberal abuses of feminism so that we don’t have to listen to the likes of Rush Limbaugh to get an accurate read on feminists.

  • College Counselor

    In the 1980s a fellow college counselor and I visited one of the Seven Sisters Colleges. After hearing the Admissions counselor go on and on re: the strengths of Feminism, I sincerely tried to gauge what sort of match I might make between my high school students and the college, asking, “If I had a girl (we called them that then) who wanted a top-notch education for her own depth of person and also that she would have much to offer her children, would she be happy here?” Immediate proud answer, “She wouldn’t come here.”

    • Anonymous

      This anecdote strikes me as highly unlikely. Of course you could say that, as a Smith alumna, I am biased. I believe though, that as a Smith alumna, I’m particularly well placed to assure you that–unless the politics have become drastically more conservative since the 80s, which I doubt–such a sentiment would never have been on the minds or agendas of one of the Seven Sisters.

      Which did you visit? On my college search, I went to tours at Smith, Wellesley, Mount Holyoke, and Bryn Mawr (among other women’s colleges). At each of these institutions, I remember the focus placed on inclusivity, on the idea that there is not *a certain kind of women* who attends women’s colleges. Rather, women’s colleges are for any people (no longer just cis-women) who value education.

      Smith (and I’m sure the others as well) certainly emphasizes the range of acceptable life choices, without stifling any of them. Thus the focus on supporting strong departments in subjects that traditionally excluded women (engineering, math, philosophy), and those that are traditionally female dominated (education, dance). We had frequent fora about balancing career and family, about each individual’s choice being valid, and about financial independence for mothers as well as single women.

      Several of my friends married directly out of college, and a few had children within two years of graduation. Yet I know no one on the faculty or among the student body who in any way denigrated their choice to do so. Some of their picks of men were questionable, but that’s what family therapy is for…

      • Anonymous

        Allow me to point out the Ada Comstock program at Smith, Frances Perkins at Mount Holyoke, and the Davis Degree at Wellesley (other schools may have equivalents of which I’m unaware), which fund non-traditional aged students to pursue an undergraduate degree.

        Many of these women started families rather than going to college, or are mothers of children who live at home, and the colleges are immensely supportive and proud of these women. Does that not evince the colleges’ deep respect for and commitment to all manner of life choices, and send the message that any woman could be a Seven Sisters woman?

      • Sees62

        Predictably, Smith is a Red rated school with your favorite feminist speech codes: http://thefire.org/spotlight/codes/758.html

    • Anonymous

      I actually think this is a great example of the women’s rights movement working well. Colleges have different profiles: some have a strong emphasis on sports that some students wouldn’t feel at home with. Similarly, some colleges are indeed focused on making sure that young women will have much to “offer their children.” Some are more focused on allowing young women to think of themselves in other roles. What feminism has given us is the opportunity to choose one way or another, whereas before the “preparing for motherhood” was the only track. You are doing your job as a college counselor well if you are steering students towards the school that will work best for them. But that doesn’t justify a condemnation of a school that doesn’t think of itself as preparing women for motherhood.

      On that topic, I want to push back against Venker’s assertion that society, inspired by feminism, makes women feel guilty if they have children. My husband and I have decided not to have children for reasons having nothing to do with “feminism” as Venker et al describe it. I’m often made to feel like I’ve made a selfish or unnatural choice. I think social pressure is still squarely on the side of motherhood. That’s fine with me; I’m happy with my choice and hope others are happy with theirs. But I certainly don’t recognize the anti-motherhood world Venker is describing.

  • mspeaker

    It seems to me that Vencker’s beef is with a moment of discomfort on college campuses when one student challenges another’s politics.

    I thought college campuses were where students were SUPPOSED to challenge each other— and themselves! Why does anyone have a problem with that?

    I think the fundamental problem here is that Americans like everyone to think the same way about certain very emotionally-loaded issues (motherhood being first among these).

    When I was a graduate student, I taught English Composition at Indiana University (I’m from Texas but schooled on the east coast). When I left New York, all of my friends appeared shocked that I would move to Indiana (I could NEVER live THERE, they all said). This was when I was about 26. I am now 33 and am considering moving to Iowa (I returned to New York after I finished up at Indiana). Now that I’m a little bit older and my friends and I are less enthralled with the fast pace of New York City, many of us are striking out for the greener, cheaper pastures of other places. Some of us are returning to the midwest, some of us are trying out a different coast, some are moving to the southwest. But my point is that when I arrived in Indiana, the people who I met, when they learned I had lived recently in New York, said the same thing as the New Yorkers— I could NEVER live THERE, they said. We were all a lot younger.

    This amazed me. What amazed me further was my students. Bloomington, Indiana is a perfectly split town. The student body is split about 50/50 conservative and liberal. But I had students from each side of that spectrum complaining to me that the entire campus was overrun by _______ <— insert your preferred demonized political group here.

    Where does this myopia come from? That EVERYONE must be CRAZY. Why are we all so convinced that we're right? Thanks to those speaking up for critical thinking skills— we need a LOT more of that in this country. I have a TON of respect for Sally Haslanger for articulating some very difficult points of view. It's hard to admit that not everyone is happy, but it's harder to try to argue that the women's movement, or any political movement for that matter, can possibly be the solution for that unhappiness. And that's the unfortunate position that Suzanne Vencker puts the women's movement in. Her rhetoric is entirely accusatory, and when she purports to offer positive solutions, her solutions are only positive if you agree with her highly dogmatic ideological position. No thanks, Mrs. Vencker. My mother taught me to think for myself, and I'd prefer that route.

    For the record, I went to Boston University, too, and although my parents are seventh generation Texans who also preceded the baby boomers, both of them had also gone to school in Boston— my dad to MIT and my mother to Wellesley, where she was pretty disappointed I didn't go, but I wanted nothing to do with women's colleges at the time. I was too excited about boys, and absolutely knew that I had no need for feminism, a term I knew nothing about except for the scary rumors floating around Texas ("bra-burning," "axe-wielding" etc.) I'd never been exploited or discriminated against, I declared (fiercely independant). Why would I need feminism? Ha! I learned that a little later, when I began to understand all the points that Sally Haslanger makes here. Well done, Sally.

    • Guest

      I suspect Vencker’s beef goes much deeper. When Conservative provocateur David Horowitz came to my campus, I had to attend just to see how he would be welcomed. Security was oppressive with his two personal bodyguards and campus cops everywhere. We were all pat searched for weapons on the way in. The ‘show’ was a scene right out Animal House with professors joining the abusive students for some very ugly fun and games. Even a dean supported students who were threatened with arrest for shouting down the speaker. Now I can believe that Liberal speakers might have received the same ‘courtesies’ on a Conservative campus too but the fact of the matter is that MOST US campus resemble Progressive totalitarian regimes rather than Conservative dictatorial ones. That needs to change and quickly because taxpayers cannot continue to pay for the boring, banal, and ugly crap that most US colleges and universities call ‘scholarship’. Good scholarship comes from institutions that not only allow, but celebrate free speech for all…no matter how unpopular, ‘unfair, ‘insentitive’, ‘offensive’, ‘oppressive’ or politically incorrect. Thank goodness we have NGO’s working hard to clean house Constitutionally speaking. The coming hyper-inflationary collapse will do the rest.

    • guest

      mspeader: “Why would I need feminism? Ha! I learned that a little later, when I began to understand all the points that Sally Haslanger makes here. Well done, Sally.”

      Seems that Vencker and Schlafly might be right after all. It IS very easy to sell victim hood to women. The CONTENT of the sell doesn’t seem to matter. Just convince us that we are ‘oppressed’ victims so that we can steal tax dollars at government gunpoint (from both sexes) and use Uncle Sam as our new Patriarch in the Sky.

      No violence here. None at all! Empowerment all around.

      Schlafly says feminism is not about women at all. Instead, it’s about power for the female Left.
      Even though Palin is an amusing (and potentially dangerous) parody of feminine power, I’m glad she’s on the scene to put this diseased cow out to pasture.

  • Anonymous

    To sees62, guest, and those of you in denial of patriarchal oppression, please spend a day in my shoes. Wear your hair long and down, apply some makeup and put in dangly earrings. Choose a springy dress and a pair strappy sandals. Walk down the street and feel the eyes on you, listen for the whistles from storefronts and the cat-calls from cars. Wipe away the slight smudges left by the men who ‘accidentally’ brush against your ass on the train, and try to capture a photo of the one who walks up in broad daylight and grabs at your chest.

    Give a talk and hear the professor praise the ‘elegance’ of your presentation rather than the content of your work, asking condescending questions that demean the intellectual effort you’ve put in while calling on a male classmate to offer ‘expert’ insight on your material. Apply for a job and count the number of times the interviewer looks at your breasts, count the extra seconds he holds onto your hand, judging you sexually. Read a book and notice how all of the pronouns are male: you are excluded from the philosophy, your existence denied in the very fabric of your language.

    But feminism isn’t just about gender, and patriarchy is racism, classism, and homophobia among other mechanisms of oppression. If you could only experience a day without your privilege (whatever that may be), you would see that life is hard for everyone, but in our society, it is especially painful for the oppressed.

    • Sees

      Very cute but you are missing the male side of this little game. Females hold superior erotic power according to Catherine Hakim. Women are taught by feminist fools to un-dress as utterly shameless ”empowerment’ but men are totally forbidden from following our natural instincts in social settings. This is a formula for powerful but unconscious male rage at the cock teasing sex. I got through that one long go. You undress your erotic ‘assets” in public and I will stare deliberately and with scorn. You want to REALLY understand why males rape females start here but don’t blame us for looking unless you choose to be very respectful with your ‘assets’.

      Based on your intellectual effort SO FAR on this blog I’m not surprised about male condescension. Sounds like you might be good enough looking to get by on your looks (an option that no patriarchal man even can consider). That usually tends to lead in time to less than sterling intellectual strength. Condescension can be appropriate for people who refuse to do the work.

      As for inclusion, you will be included the moment you have something intelligent to say. I remember an Air Force guy admiring a shit hot A-10 Warthog who was the best tank shooter in the squadron. She was female. We men are fairly simple animals. We respect competence but as Camille Paglia noted in Vamps and Tramps very few women every perform as true equals to the best men among us.

      Oppressed indeed!? More like brainwashed into believing in your own imagined ‘oppression’. That will surely result in more condescension from males who suffer severely from being the disposable sex but cannot depend on a feminist ‘oppression’ racket for infantile entitlements.

      That said, I will offer you a bone. The porn I see males (and their fully INTENTIONAL female ‘objects’) engage in online or elsewhere is no less ugly abuse than the constant public whore-war from women that besets every man on the street today. I refuse to be abused erotically but I also hate to see males abuse women sexually (even those females who intentionally sell their dignity for pennies on the dollar). Just don’t tell me that males have all the power here because we obviously tend to be slaves for sex from erotically ‘empowered’ babes.

      As for what you call our privileges. We DIE for our so called privileges. You can have OUR privileges the moment you are willing to DIE for them too. In the meantime, you will have to be happy with the unearned privileges that beautiful women have always been entitled too, that is the ‘assets’ you were born with. But don’t expect EQUITABLE respect unless you use those assets ever so CARE-FULLY to serve the common good rather than for you own (gold digging) goods.

      • Anonymous

        You make men out to be total beasts! Your post may be the most anti-male argument I have ever read.

        • Sees62

          Nice try to slander me as a male misandrist but not true. Some men are beasts particularly in the crude, crass and vulgar feminist and/or Mater-ial Girl cultures that rewards beasts for beastly behavior but most men I know are decent guys. There is one famous New Age guru, who women love to follow, who just said that porn is good because it keeps the sex organs pumping. That guy is the beast of beasts but as usual women love him because he is ‘spiritual’ and all.

      • Anonymous

        As for what you say about women, you’ve not just given me ‘a bone,’ you’ve shown quite effectively that there is still a problem in society of men hating women on the basis of their bodies.

        • Sees

          No. That’s YOUR projection. The body is the locus of female power. I love and hate how women USE their bodies just as I love and hate the uses of any other form of power.

      • Sees62

        Oh, a couple of more things.

        1) Women ‘oppress’ men sexually too. I’ve been touched inappropriately just as you have. I also know that college boys regularly have their asses pinched by college girls as well.

        2) To call relative trivialities ‘oppression’ is to demean those who suffer real oppression. For those held hostage in female hell or male horror (see Prof. Haslanger’s story below), who know genuine oppression first hand, this kind of misuse of the term can be very demeaning. Real female oppression includes honor killing, female circumcision (usually performed by other women), or punishing the woman for her own rape Saudi Arabia style. When pretty little privileged princesses whine about (next to) nothing they make our ‘oppression’-racket case for us.

        3) Race, class and gender ginning is cliched nonsense that is intended to ‘empower’ the female Left. Women on the female Left rarely have anything original or interesting to say because they are too busy trying to win the ‘oppression’ sweepstakes. Ironically, they are more than happy to try to oppress or suppress anyone who stands in their way too. That’s precisely why 2 female totalitarian twits and one male idiot lost their heads at NPR recently. It’s also why you find me so disgusted at the far more serious feminist academic, political and legal oppressions that I have repeatedly sourced for you here.

  • Sees

    “Self pitying and anti-male” bigots or “serious and self confident” human rightists: http://www.american.com/archive/2011/march/tina-browns-post-feminist-summit

  • Sees

    Notice no services for men here: http://www.cityofboston.gov/police/divisions/dv_shelter.asp despite the known fact that women commit significant domestic violence against men too. Is that “justice” or is that bigoted feminist discrimation? Do abused men in America have to cross the pond to be taken seriously as shown here: http://www.amen.ie/

  • Sees

    In the americon.com article below Hoff Sommers made mention of ‘patriarchal tyranny’. Seems like a good time to make a distinction. Just as matriarchies can be ugly backwaters for tyranny (Women’s Studies or the Justice Departments VAWA office for instance) so can patriarchies. What’s important to remember though is that the tyranny is the problem not necessarily the structure from whence it comes. There are beneficial patriarchal systems just as there are beneficial matriarchal ones (I have to scratch my head on that one because the matriarchal hive mind is hardly beneficial in most cases but bee colonies do come to mind). Same things goes for hierarchies, another common structure that feminists love to show knee jerk hostility towards. Of course there are no hierarchies in feminism because everyone is so equal…NOT!

  • mspeaker

    @Sees: what exactly is it about you that makes you feel victimized by the way that someone else’s body looks? Do you really think all men feel this way? I know plenty of men who have full control of themselves around women. You seem to deny the existence of these men (or perhaps you think I am being duped into thinking that they, too, are not exactly like you?). I can’t help but think that you’re arguing with some very carefully selected pieces of information which are much more about you than the men you claim to speak for. You also keep hinting at having gone through some kind of terrible experience. And now you’re blaming an innate character flaw in women, and your stance is really vindictive. That is a big problem. I hope that at some point you can choose to navigate your way out of that way of thinking, because it’s going to bring you nothing but more bitterness (not to mention aggression toward the women in your life). Only YOU have control over how you react to women. You cannot abnegate this responsibility. It is yours, and no one else’s. There is room for this discussion in gender studies. You are not excluded because you are male. You are not the only one who thinks this way, but that doesn’t mean that thinking this way is helping anyone, especially you.

    There is certainly power in beauty. This power may feel to you unfair, and held disproportionately in women’s favor, but that still does not change the fact that you control how you react to it. And please don’t for a minute think that the vast majority of women don’t also feel the injustice of that power. This is why all those fashion magazines have all those grabby headlines— you, too, can wield the power of beauty! It’s the eternal promise that the entire beauty industry is based upon. Many feminists will argue that this promise is as detrimental to women’s psychologies as the men who treat them as though they were useful for sex and nothing else. But not all women pay attention to it, and not all women evaluate their own worth based on their looks (as you seem to— even though you clearly recognize that this position is hurtful). It may surprise you to learn this, but plenty of us are determined to cultivate our worth in other ways on principle. That said, there is nothing inherently wrong with beauty. It can be playful and joyful and affirming. It can be funny and challenging and exciting and surprising. There is something wrong with the way that some of us see it, the way we feel effected by it, the way it makes some of us feel powerless. But we choose our own values. No one is controlling us. You are free to think what you like. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try to change your mind when I think you’re making a mistake. I want a better culture. I want you to help me make things better by being more responsible for yourself.

    • Sees62

      Please spare me the lectures on personal responsibility unless you are willing to take SOME personal responsibility for your shared reponsibility for feminine and/or feminist abuses of power. Please spare me false insinuations that I cannot control myself or that I believe other men cannot control themselves around women. The whole point here is that I, unlike gender-feminists, take no perverse pride in being victimized by the dark side of Woman. I’d rather tackle Her right here, right now as you have seen so far. There is no personal vindictiveness here (I even like some of my opponents) but I really, really, really loathe the retarded ‘religion’ that is being promulgated here because I HAVE done my homework.

      Women use their bodies for good and for ill just as men do male-related forms of power. Wise people pay close attention to all forms of power. Responsible women look in the mirror before they run around double-bind blaming MAN-kind for every evil under the sun both…historical and to the present day.

      I’m not victimized by women. That’s because I take personal responsibility for identifying and, where for possible, ‘offending’ female predators BEFORE they have a chance to prey on me or my entire sex. Since feminists and predatory females resemble big man-eating cats, which are the most dangerous predators to hunt in the wild, this tends be an an interesting game to say the least.

      With any dangerous cat, the best approach is to let the cat know right up front that you aren’t intimidated and that you are prepared to fight back. As you may have noticed here predatory feminists tend to run away the moment they understand that there is no chance that they will have me for breakfast or that I’m very likely to give em some serious ingestion if they, by chance, do. The same approach holds for female erotic predators but unlike feminists (who are transparently feebleminded) tend to be cunning, far more difficult to detect, and therefore far more interesting to hunt.

      Just as every man has a dark side so does every women (you? included). That doesn’t mean that men or women are innately evil. However, in today’s culture the ugly dark side of Woman seems to be in power in the Western world. Since men and boys tend to suffer FIRST from that dark side we are the ones who need to start shouting STOP.

      I’ll address the rest of your post later. I do insist that you cease and desist from slandering me, from projecting your beliefs on me, from lecturing me about my responsibilities as if you are coming from some morally enlightened VENUTIAN planet, or suggesting the if I just drink your Koolade we will have a better culture. You are welcome to address my POSITIONS, question my assertions or whatever else you like that I have DONE, but don’t go making assumptions sight unseen about how I see the world. You will always be wrong.

    • sees

      Let me address the “bitterness” and “aggression”, and “exclusion” you, falsely, attribute to me.

      Right now somewhere Afghanistan, someone (someone who is certain to have big BALLS both literally and figuratively) is probably trying to turn around on a narrow mountain trail. You will see HIM look down at HIS feet as HE shuffles ever so carefully to turn in the smallest circle possible. HE knows that the smallest misstep will cost HIM his legs, HIS balls or worse. HE also knows the macabre jokes about all the MEN in his company who have already been dismembered in many ever so ugly ways. HE risks HIS balls so that I can run my smart mouth to take down some silly feminist who is whining about some superficial smudges on her cute little ass. HE also risks his balls, ironically, so that feminists have the right to destroy boys, demean men, and murder masculinity in HIS name. Should HE survive his shuffles, somewhat intact, HE will come home to a crude, crass and vulgar shop-till-you-drop culture that is uninterested in respecting HIS well-earned privileges, one that touts useless wusses like Jessica Lynch as the real ‘heroes’, one that routinely rapes the very rights HE fought so hard to secure, and one that will rape HIM, ever so LEGALLY too, should HIS woman decide to get into sort of snit. Being a male, taught from birth to be disposable, HE will take that all in stride and do HIS best to MAN-up so HE is not condemned to die homeless on the street like so many other vets do. Since I was lucky and never had to shuffle in tiny circles, the very least I owe HIM and HIS buddies is some relatively easy work when bigoted gender-feminist bullies try to whine, ad nauseam, about how “oppressive” HIS “patriarchy” is.

      Without HIM, those very same bullies could count on wearing big black bags with little slits cut out for their eyes. They could count on routine murder, disfigurement, rape, and other forms of abuse to numerous to name. They would have no freedom to attend school at ALL much less bigoted re-education colleges. They would have no freedom to run their mouths in public particularly were they to start chattering about how ‘oppressed’ they were. Heaven forbid, were they to wear their hair down, apply some makeup, put in dangly earrings, choose a springy dress, or strap on sandals…even UNDER the black bag. Without HIM, these BIGOTED BULLIES would have something REAL to whine about.

      HE is NEVER allowed to whine about anything because REAL MEN don’t cry. MEN don’t cry because hyper-gamist WOMEN don’t respect MEN who cry. No respect, no ‘LOVE’.

      That should cover the ‘bitterness’ pretty well. I WAS slightly ‘aggressive’ with FeministeSmithie because she was tediously unwilling to do ANY due diligence and because she was so terminally naive but I mean her no personal harm. As for ‘exclusion’ from retarded rackets like Women’s Studies who the blank cares. There are many fine independent women and men I can go to for sex/GENUINE gender studies. I don’t NEED Women’s Studies or Men’s Studies. Besides Male Studies is right around the corner anyway. Female Studies will come soon.

    • Sees

      Heaven forbid, we agree. There IS power in female beauty. We also agree that beauty is power that is held disproportionally in women’s favor. We also agree that there is nothing inherently wrong with female beauty (it’s just male ‘beauty’ that’s all wrong to feminists).

      We DON’T agree about your false assumption that I believe that female biologically derived privileges are ‘unfair’. That’s like saying a rainbow or an earthquake is unfair. What I have REPEATEDLY stressed is that I believe some women INTENTIONALLY abuse those privileges for perverted power is all. THAT is unfair particularly when aided by idiotic ‘oppression’ dogmas that refuse to acknowledge superior female erotic powers AT ALL.

      That said, to say that women are more powerful than men in ANY way, is feminist heresy, one that tends to destroy the false ‘oppression’ superstition that feminism is founded on. But right back you go the ‘injustices’ of the SUPERIOR power you hold! Unbelievable. Will women ever become anything other than confused little girls held hostage to an utterly untenable belief in perpetual victim hood.

      I think I’ll call you Little Miss Riding Hood from now on. The moment you and your sisters become responsible for RESPECT-FULL uses of your superior power you can count on me to respect you FOR that respect. As long as you or your sisters engage in whore-war or coddle those who do you can plan on me being very responsible for ME as I already have been here.

      What’s good for the gander is JUST as good for the goose too. Don’t you EVER try to lecture me about my responsibilities to you or to your (CURRENTLY) whorish sex before you take some personal responsibility for your sexes’ superior power. Unlike proud male feminists, I am not some limp-dick dude who believes that women are the morally superior sex and thus entitled to tell me what to do or not do. I know better because I study feminists and females carefully. What I’ve seen is that women are every bit as bestial as men are brutal…feminist nonsense notwithstanding. Feminists, as you’ve probably already inferred from my previous posts, have proven themselves to be moral imbeciles so I don’t even consider paying attention to them.

      In addition, don’t presume to lecture me about what I already know and do. Scorning some coffee clatch whore who bares her boobs (aka man bait) in my face as she does business with me is perfectly appropriate as a response to HER erotic aggression. I am in complete control of me and SO IS SHE of HER. Since I cannot insist that she respect me without running afoul of the gender police, and since she is totally entitled (by feminism) to ‘fuck’ with men in general, scorn is the best of a bunch of bad options.

      • Anonymous

        You ask whether women will “ever become anything other than confused little girls.” A good start might be if you stop treating women like ‘confused little girls.’ Your comments are consistently condescending and demeaning. Your very next sentence is evidence. You are responding to someone who chose a name indicating maturity by the inclusion of ‘Ms,’ and yet your strategy is to infantilize her (I’m assuming) through the label of “Little Miss Riding Hood.” Your insertion of ‘miss’ further abases her, by relating her identity to her ‘ownership’ by a man. Do you think you are helping women to become mature and confident by telling them that they are immature and ridiculous?

        Do you recognize the contradiction in saying women should stop being confused little girls, and then calling us ‘moral imbeciles’? (Yes, I know you were speaking specifically of feminists, but we are–often–women too). But why should I be surprised by your contradictions. Very explicitly, two sentences apart, you say “I study feminists and females carefully” and then “I don’t even consider paying attention to [feminists].” Get your story straight.

        Your central complaint above seemed to be about women’s use of sexual power. Yet you are yourself sexualizing women through your language (whore…whorish…whore…). Good job.

        So are you a troll, or just a confused little boy?

        • Sees

          This is really rich…being lectured about condescension from a member of a mean spirited movement that loves to condescend to, to confuse and demean little boys and big men. To bring ‘miss’ into the equation as an “abasement” is one more ridiculous reason to laugh about the whole victim saint racket that is ‘oppression’ feminism. Don’t you have anything better to do than whine about utter trivialities. Do you believe that OUR responsibility is to help YOUR already EQUAL sex (in your view) become mature and confident AS we are constantly portrayed as less than by the feminist-perverted media with your full support. Do you ever pay attention to women, like the woman in Libya (today) who SAYS she was gang raped by 15 men and fought for what she SAYS was her honor. Assuming she was telling the truth (an essential assumption because women often lie about rape) SHE is who you need to go to for maturity and confidence.

          The OLDER hacks (female and male) who run your retarded racket (unlike you) are hardly confused little girls. They intentionally lie, falsify and misrepresent men (and women) in the most cold-blooded ways possible so that they can get their way…no matter who is hurt. They are moral imbeciles but (as you seem not to know) moral imbecility has no sex. Men can be moral imbeciles too.

          As for paying attention to feminists, I did set my story straight in the correction. There are a few rare feminists (usually gratuitously slandered as ‘anti-feminists’ by their Twisted Sisters) who consistently say interesting things about feminism. One can learn a lot about today’s feminism by reading what any of THEM have to say or even by listening to Schlafly’s humorous takes on the bigoted Beast.

          I ain’t about complaining about women’s USE of sexual power but about their MISUSE and ABUSE of said power as I’ve repeated numerous times. I have no problem whatever with using sexualized language to describe sexualized conduct. That is what language is for. I also tend to love sexualized women who use that sexuality RESPECT-FULLY. What’s YOUR problem here?

          As for ‘troll’ or ‘confused little boy” is that REALLY the best you can do. Why don’t you show me what your really THINK! Surely a woman who can draw on such a long history of hateful anti-male bigotry can do better than that.

          • Anonymous

            I’m going with troll. You are just too offensive to be real.

          • Sees

            “Wear your hair long and down, apply some makeup and put in dangly earrings. Choose a springy dress and a pair strappy sandals. Walk down (ANOTHER) street” You’ll feel better in no time because you won’t have to bother your pretty little head with ‘offensive’ opinions that force you to question your favorite ‘religion’. Ignorance is bliss.

          • Anonymous

            You give yourself too much credit, Sees. You have yet to offer any arguments that would lead me to question my reasoned understanding of the world. (difference from religion: my views are premised in reason rather than faith)

            I am not choosing ignorance over information, because I do not find the ‘information’ you offer to be credible. The sources you throw down do not meet the academic standards that I hold, and your assertions are not (so far as I have seen) rational arguments, but rather emotional conjecture and hyperbolic, supercilious ad hominem attacks.

            Let’s see some support for your claims grounded in premises upon which we can all agree, appealing to ‘authorities’ we can all respect, and please hold the value-laden language and personal affronts.

          • http://chris-key.myopenid.com/ Chris Key

            FeministSmithie,

            Sees has refuted all of your emotionally-laden claptrap.

          • Sees

            What academic standards DO you hold, pray tell? What INDEPENDENT authorities do YOU appeal to in Idiot America (http://www.esquire.com/features/ESQ0207GREETINGS) What premises do YOU believe we can all agree on?

            Why should I/we take you seriously (much less as someone who is even remotely equal) if you can’t even be bothered to BECOME INFORMED.

          • Sees
          • Confirmation bias is tedious

            I’m going to go out on a limb here: you probably haven’t read _The Second Sex_.

            I’m drawing that conclusion because you talk quite a bit about the power women wield because of their beauty, and claim, “to say that women are more powerful than men in ANY way, is feminist heresy, one that tends to destroy the false ‘oppression’ superstition that feminism is founded on.” But de Beauvoir talks quite a bit about how women exercise superior power to men in certain ways and situations. She also argues that those sorts of power are all part of a system in which women are generally oppressed. You could certainly argue she’s wrong–but you haven’t. You seem to take her position to be “heresy” to feminists–which is odd, considering how influential her work is. (You also seem to conflate the claim that “women are more powerful than men in ANY way” with the claim that women are not oppressed, which would be fallacious; but perhaps I misinterpret.)

            I see two possibilities here. One is that I’m wrong, you have read _the Second Sex_, and when you speak about feminists, you have particular ones in mind, ones that reject, for instance, de Beauvoir’s views on this point. There are some that do. But, if you are speaking only about that segment… well, that’s a lot of feminists left out, and it becomes unclear you are talking about feminists in general at all. Perhaps you are speaking about a much narrower segment of feminists than most people here assume–and have no complaint about most feminists at all.

            But perhaps I’m right. If I am, then I have to wonder whether you have grounds for claiming to be better informed than FeministSmithie, or the others you engage with here. I have no doubt that you have read books they haven’t, and I’d bet they’ve read books you haven’t. It’s an interesting question who, if anyone, has bothered to “become informed”.

            But–given that you seem to characterize one of the most influential feminist positions of the 20th century as “heresy”–might I ask how you have gone about informing yourself about what most feminists believe? One gets the impression that you take the typical feminist to hold all of the more extreme views we sometimes hear attributed to feminists, which is a bit like saying that typical Christians think more soldiers should die because there are gays in the military; or that typical liberals want to abolish private property; or that typical conservatives think every poor person deserves to be enslaved by big business.

            Or are you just throwing a hissy fit? Seriously dude. Take a few deep breaths, dab your tears, and see if you can’t keep your inferences plausible. I know “polarization” sounds manly, but it’s actually kind of irrational.

          • Sees

            Consider it argued. I have never believed that women are generally oppressed. I believe that both sexes are able to choose whether to be ‘oppressed’ or not…other than in situations where overwhelming vice or violence precludes free choice. (Note: The Big Lie notwithstanding, most women do not suffer serious threat of violence, most women are not raped, and most women are not seriously abused so there is no reason for women to pretend to be put upon victims who have no non-’oppressive’ choices)

            For instance, for males to marry today is suicidal yet many males choose to do so anyway. I imagine that as soon as anti-marriage ads follow anti-smoking ads more males will wise up. That said, the information is a click away right now. Wise males go get some information before they make such stupid high stakes decisions. Wise women have the same options.

            I’ve scanned De Beauvoir’s work but frankly she bores me. I’d far rather read what non-feminists or anti-feminists have to say about feminism because that allows me to stay on the outside of the totalitarian racket looking in rather than vice versa. I also don’t believe The Second Sex (published in 1949) sheds much light on today’s feminism. Therefore, I’d rather pay attention to what today’s feminists scream so stupidly (for instance: rape is a crime of power but not sex). To waste much time digging into feminist philosophy after reading Undressing Feminism, Professing Feminism or Who Stole Feminism is like trying to take the Bible seriously after reading what the Four Horsemen have to say about religion. That said, I will be glad to consider whatever passages in The Second Sex you believe address women’s superior powers. Just don’t plan on having me buy the Big Lie that women are generally oppressed. Steve Moxon has already handily demolished that fantasy in The Woman Racket. Esther Vilar also received death threats for demolishing the lie that women are powerless in The Manipulated Man way back in the 70′s.

            When I talk about feminists in general, I’m talking about mainstream feminists of the ‘gender’ or ‘oppression’ or ‘bigoted anti-male’ persuasion. These ugly canines and filthy felines constitute the PRIMARY feminist population today. Since no one within their mainstream feminist racket is willing to state what feminism is in no uncertain terms, I see no interest in going round and round on what feminism is or isn’t specifically. You can always go to Wikipedia (which is full of feebleminded totalitarian goons) to see where that particular discussion goes.

            What I classify ‘heresy’ is ANY position that tends to run counter to the central ‘patriarchal oppression’ fantasy or the Valley Girl lie that underpins gender-as-female-sex ginning. Call your local rape crisis center. Tell them that rape is first and foremost a sex crime and NOT primarily a power crime (as is say murder). Tell that just as men are 100% responsible for the (male-female) rape women are no less responsible for what they do with their sexual ‘assets”. Tell them to stop lying about rape with your tax dollars. They will scream bloody murder or hang up on you. As I’ve made very clear in a wide range of posts those kinds of feminists are the ones I love to loathe. Those are the also the feminists who currently run the Big Lie that is feminism today.

            As for FeministSmithie, did you bother to READ what I said above. My problem with her is that she refuses to BOTHER TO BECOME informed. Feminists are infamous for screaming nonsense but they are rarely willing to become informed. Independent information tends to destroy totalitarians rackets.

          • Confirmation bias is tedious

            “I believe that both sexes are able to choose whether to be ‘oppressed’ or not…other than in situations where overwhelming vice or violence precludes free choice.”
            –Perhaps there is a merely verbal understanding between you and most feminists then. Many people would probably say that a situation can count as “oppressive” if one group, by virtue of group membership, was systematically denied various opportunities, or even just systematically made to face extra obstacles in achieving various opportunities. And, of course, the systematic disadvantages need not be something anyone intends–they could be “invisible hand”-type effects. If there is, in fact, a persisting wage gap (though, I’m told, a shrinking wage gap), and it has something to do with the fact that many employers suspect women in their 20s or 30s are apt to quit to raise children, many people would count that as (unplanned) oppression. (Much like we’d count it as oppression if employers, even those that were not racist, generally avoided hiring black people, for fear of losing racist clientele.) If you don’t want to call that “oppression”, you could suggest an alternative term; meanwhile, that’s all a lot of people mean by “oppression”–not some totalitarian conspiracy.

            I won’t necessarily recommend _The Second Sex_ in particular. Beauvoir is a pretty good reasoner, but there’s plenty of continental metaphysics and psychoanalytic theory in it that’s probably wrong, and, as you say, it’s a bit dated. (Friedan’s _Feminine Mystique_ might be even more on topic, though also very dated.) Perhaps more to the point, though, I don’t think I’ve ever read a piece of feminist literature that denied women had ANY power AT ALL. (Maybe Dworkin or MacKinnon say something that far out?) What I would recommend is reading some piece of carefully reasoned feminist thinking–preferably something widely respected. You say, “I’d far rather read what non-feminists or anti-feminists have to say about feminism because that allows me to stay on the outside of the totalitarian racket looking in rather than vice versa.” That’s not really a very good strategy for avoiding misinterpretation. If nothing, else, each side will be biased in such a way that it is better at finding info that confirms its own commitments, and worse at noticing its own blind spots, so you are apt to be missing out on some of the relevant info. I guess you are worried about reading propaganda, but it looks like you’ve adopted a pretty aggressive program of self-administered propaganda. If the feminists’ arguments are bad, find the errors. I don’t think they’re apt to hypnotize you.

            “rape is a crime of power but not sex”
            –I’ll grant you this is a pretty unclear claim, and the source of a lot of confusion. If we take it to mean “rapists are not interested in sex”, it’s probably wrong in a whole lot of cases. (I would think it’s true in some cases. Consider prison rape; would the rapist generally have been just as happy sodomizing a consensual partner? Probably not–there, it’s largely about humiliation. It’s not a big stretch to imagine that SOME heterosexual rape is also motivated by a desire to humiliate, and not a desire for sex.) I think at least some date rape, for instance, involves guys really just going for sex, and paying far too little attention to what their partners are saying.
            –But, of course, what MAKES it a crime–what makes someone a victim–is that someone is exerting power, and taking advantage of a less powerful party. And, aside from some misunderstandings, a pretty typical rape situation probably involves a man desiring sex, and being frustrated that someone else has the power to deny it to him, and so overpowering that person and taking it. Most feminists, I’d imagine, are not complaining that sex happened, but that a man used his physical power, perhaps in conjunction with his situational advantages, to take by force what would not be given willingly. When the motivation involves humiliating someone, or asserting dominance, enforcing an imagined claim, or “showing them who’s boss”, it’s pretty plausible to say it’s a crime of power. I’d imagine there are relatively few cases in which a guy is just so worked up he can’t help himself–feminists are probably in the right if what they mean is that most rapes are probably not motivated by the thought “I really need some sex” so much as the thought “How dare she deny me sex!” (Again, I’d figure there are exceptions, especially in date rape scenarios.)
            –But, to state the obvious, it’s a crime of power from the perspective of the victim–whose lack of consent is what defines it as a crime. (This difference of perspective may be why you are not so warmly greeted by the rape crisis center. Even if it is a “crime of sex” from the perpetrator’s perspective, that perspective is sort of irrelevant to their work.)

            I’m not at all sure who counts as “mainstream” feminists, or the “PRIMARY” feminist constituency. I suspect you’re right that a lot of the LOUDEST feminists are pretty silly. (Are Tea Partiers and Fox News commentators mainstream Republicans? ) You do seem to want a single ideological framework to account for all Feminist thinking, which may be a dead-end; feminism may be more clearly defined by its aims and concerns than by its theoretical underpinnings. I myself have often wondered just how to define the movement (as one is asked, now and again, whether one is a feminist)–and the best I’ve found recently comes from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (in an entry co-written by Doc Haslanger, who’s in this thread):
            1. (Descriptive claim) Women, and those who appear to be women, are subjected to wrongs and/or injustice at least in part because they are or appear to be women.
            2. (Normative claim) The wrongs/injustices in question in (i) ought not to occur and should be stopped when and where they do.
            http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/feminism-topics/
            That seems pretty cogent, covers most of the movement I know of, and leaves open most of the questions feminists disagree about. Since this definition made it onto a reference page for the premier academic philosophy reference, and was co-written by an MIT prof, I’m tempted to call this mainstream. Though I’ll grant you, it’s not what people are likely to chant as a slogan; the people chanting slogans often are not the ones most able to give you a clear account of their position.

            “just as men are 100% responsible for the (male-female) rape women are no less responsible for what they do with their sexual ‘assets”"
            –Actually, if by “assets” you mean something like “beauty” or “sexual attractiveness,” this is probably literally false. Women–no, let me put this generally. Any person can be relatively unaware of the affect his or her sexual appeal has on others. People can be unaware that they are especially appealing. People can be aware they have some effect, but little idea what, or how much. And it’s not necessarily possible to turn off. I’ve certainly developed crushes on women who were not trying to look especially sexy, and I know I’m not the only guy this happens to. And if they don’t return my interest, I sometimes have feelings of hostility towards them. All without them trying to have any effect on me at all. (So, of course, I work at not acting on that hostility. That’d be pretty unfair of me.) The gist is (rare date-rape misunderstandings aside) a guy can pretty much never rape a person without meaning to, whereas women can definitely use their “sexual assets” while only intending to dress according to fashions and expectations, while trying to be friendly, or just happening to be attractive.

            “As for FeministSmithie, did you bother to READ what I said above. My problem with her is that she refuses to BOTHER TO BECOME informed. Feminists are infamous for screaming nonsense but they are rarely willing to become informed. Independent information tends to destroy totalitarians rackets.”
            –Yeah, she says, “The sources you throw down do not meet the academic standards that I hold” and you asked her about what academic standards she holds in “Idiot America”. I’m guessing the standards in question have to do with peer review, the sort of oversight one would expect of a university press, and/or the pressures associated with conventional journalism. (The link you posted to “Idiot America” is no longer working, but when I looked at first, it didn’t seem like it would be directed towards academics at Smith.) I’m also not familiar with the books you mention, but I share her aversion to reading any old book someone says is right–it’s somewhat easier to get away with sophistry, misuse of statistics, and even outright falsehood in books that lack the aforementioned critical filters. (Which isn’t to say plenty of junk doesn’t get through those filters.) I’d imagine you are prepared to claim that feminist activism and bias ensure that these sorts of sources won’t print the truth, if the truth challenges feminist views. I wouldn’t be so sure–the nice thing about feminism being a bunch of different views, instead of one cohesive ideology, is that feminists spend plenty of time challenging each other’s claims. But even if you were right that a single ideological view kept the truth out of print, don’t you put yourself in a similar position by deciding to read only what non-feminists say about feminists?

            If you think some of the sources you recommend are well-researched (that is–sources cited throughout) and carefully argued, that would be interesting. The titles alone, though, make them sound like the sort of ideologically driven popular sensationalism that tends to be a headache to read, because they so consistently fail to address questions that arise if the reader is predisposed to agree with the author.

            But really, since I’m not sure what you attack is a position anyone really holds, as opposed to a straw-woman position, its’ hard to know whether these books would really present new and interesting information…

          • Sees

            Reply to your paragraph beginning: I won’t necessarily recommend _The Second Sex_ in particular.

            Science is fairly (but never totally) neutral. Science is destroying what Schlafly rightly calls the ‘fraud of the century”. In addition, feminist scholars are notorious for tyrannical totalitarian tactics that truly oppress those who try to do genuine scholarship on the topic. For those reasons, I refuse to respect feminist research. I could spend lifetimes sorting through the feebleminded falsehoods, the facile fabrications and the mean spirited misrepresentations in feminist ‘research’ but I have far better things to do with my time. Thankfully, there are many other women and men, both liberal and conservative, who willing to wade around in the estrogen sewer for me. To those scholars, I owe a great debt of gratitude. I always take the time to GLANCE at feminist bombast from time to time, just in case something might surprise me but that rarely happens. I’m hardly worried about being hypnotized by boring, banal, and ugly babble. I just tend to loath totalitarian nonsense because I am easily bored, because I know how dangerous the nonsense can be when swallowed by the masses, and because I deserve better…as do all seekers of some sort of truth (lowercase t).

            I didn’t say feminists deny that women have any power at all. In fact, they (falsely) believe they are equal (as well as morally superior) in every way to men notwithstanding the facts. THEN they scream ‘oppression’ so that they can steal infantile entitlements to make them less inferior…or really far superior to men. One thing they will never do is to acknowledge that, in many areas, women WERE ALREADY biologically and/or socially superior to men before feminism even began. They won’t do that because their fantastical ‘oppression racket’ is destroyed the moment they do. That’s precisely why Catherine (“erotic capital”) Hakim is so popular (NOT) as the new ‘anti-feminist’ feminist foil for these ‘oppressed’ bigots.

            As one can see from virtually any credible independent study of feminism today…the whole idea of feminist-reason is an absurd oxymoron. It’s like saying ‘postal service’ or ‘military intelligence’. Therefore, before you have me stick my head back into the estrogen sewer, please take the time to survey what the independent critics of feminism have to say.

          • Sees

            Reply to paragraph beginning: “rape is a crime of power but not sex”

            This is a FALSE (and ugly anti-male) claim popularized by the infamous feminist fraud Susan (Against Our Will) Brownmiller. It fits ever so neatly into the false feminist ‘oppression’ ideology. No independent research (that I know of) has ever validated this preposterous politically motivated falsehood…which has been repeated so many time that it has become ‘truth’.

            Of course rape is a crime (unless we are FEMINISTS talking about the rape of boys or girls by filthy older women that is). It is a sex crime that often involves vice (see The Reader) or violence as a means to an end…the robbery of non-consensual sex. Just as with any other robbery, the motivations can be myriad but the theft is the theft of sexual privileges. The criminal (rapist in this case) is always 100% responsible for the crime.

            That said, women are also 100% for the vice that sometimes but not always occurs before the rape. Female vice is no less vicious than male violence is vile. However in Western cultures, female vice is so common that we take it totally for granted whereas we rightly criminalize most forms of male violence.

            No one is saying that men aren’t 100% responsible for suffering that rape causes women (minus all the false oppression racket related suffering that is). What feminists say is that women are NEVER responsible for the common everyday cock-teasing or worse that women do to men with perfect impunity. To have women become responsible for the common everyday erotic aggressions they commit would also tend to destroy the totalitarian oppression racket that feminists love to rape men as an entire sex with.

            The perspective of the rape victim is NOT determinant or even relevant for rape causality. That kind of reasoning is precisely what is wrong with feminist ‘reasoning’ in general. They project their subjective ‘feelings’ onto the rapist and then create grossly absurd cause and effect relationships which make no sense whatsoever…other than as perverted political ploys to steal female-supremacist entitlements.

            The perp’s are the PEOPLE who best know WHY they choose to perpetrate the sex crimes. However, since feminists tend to forbid talking to rapists about such loaded topics such research is hard to come by. Interestingly however, one female rapist who raped a boy and tried to murder him to conceal the crime was very clear that she raped the boy to satisfy her sexual (rather than power) needs). In addition, most men could easily commit direct power crimes against women such as murder or non-sexual assault (as they already do on other males) were they purely power motivated. Although some sadistical rapists (female and male) do follow SEX crimes with gratuitous power ‘plays’, I suspect that most rapists use just enough power to steal the sex or conceal the crime…just as the female rapist above did.

            The real reason rape crisis centers are so hostile to any genuine science on rape causality is because sexuality is THE primary form of female power. By totally denying that female sexual power has any influence whatsoever in (male-on female) SEX crimes they can rightly blame men for rape but absolve women for ALL responsibility for female use/abuse/misuse of sexual power. That is the perfect foundation for the double-bind blame racket that underlies feminism in general. It is also the perfect recipe for infantile entitlements intended to please female supremacist bigots…read feminists. Worse it is a recipe for creating perfect female prey for male predators.

            As you can see from the article on the politics of rape that I offered Prof. Haslanger below, rape crisis centers are playing politics with rape. Genuine public service agencies prefer to use science rather than perverted political propaganda to serve the public. Rape crisis centers, like domestic violence shelters, will become increasingly irrelevant to anyone unless they cease playing hot, fast, and loose with rape science as so many of their feminist-empowered clients do with sex.

          • Sees

            “I’d imagine you are prepared to claim that feminist activism and bias ensure that these sorts of sources won’t print the truth, if the truth challenges feminist views. I wouldn’t be so sure–the nice thing about feminism being a bunch of different views, instead of one cohesive ideology, is that feminists spend plenty of time challenging each other’s claims. But even if you were right that a single ideological view kept the truth out of print, don’t you put yourself in a similar position by deciding to read only what non-feminists say about feminists? ”

            Yes, that’s precisely what the copious source materials I offered claim. Feminists are absolutely notorious for silencing, slandering and ‘trashing’ EVERYONE for within or without the racket who dares to challenge feminist orthodoxy. For instance, the moment Male Studies came on the scene the feminist hyena pack piled on. As usual there was no substance to the attacks, just the usual hysterical victim hood and simple minded slander. Hoff Sommers, Patai, Paglia and many other feminist dissidents are regularly slandered with the idiotic totalitarian label ‘anti-feminist’. Don’t even get me started on feminist Sarah Palin or genuine anti-feminists like Schlafly and Vencker. I’ve even listened to young feminist activist/authors joke about the Party Line, the Politbureau and the Old Guard. Apparatcheks all. Stalin would be so proud of his girls. As for me, I have no problem reading feminist babble from time to time. I even watch feminist inspired movies from time to time…that is ANY HollyWood production these days. I believe that even totalitarians tyrants have something to teach me even if only how to better understand how they operate and can be taken down. The same cannot be said about dear little FemninistSmithie.

          • Sees

            “I’m not at all sure who counts as “mainstream” feminists, or the “PRIMARY” feminist constituency”

            With all due respect, that Stanford link on feminism is full of standard boilerplate nonsense written for and by feminists. To believe what notorious totalitarians say about them-sex (or is that ‘gender’) is like listening to the Maoists talk about Communist Chinese. The best sources I’ve found so far for classifying mainstream feminists is in Spreading Misandry or Legalizing Misandry by Nathanson and Young. The breakdown is by ideology. By their definition, your Stanford gals and guys would fit mainstream feminism fairly well I believe…that is were they to truly define what they believe feminism is rather than use the politically correct but false versions. You can see from Prof. Haslanger’s posts here that she is attached to the patriarchal oppression (read victimhood) version of feminism) which forms the foundation for modern institutional forms of misandry according to N & Y.

            I also love to read Camille Paglia’s confrontations with feminist in Vamps and Tramps. Jessica Valenti or hateful Hanna Rosin would be just as likely to suffer from Paglia’s scorn as were her targets decades ago. The close-minded cult of MS or Bitch feminists seems to have changed little since then.

            In the end, I classify by what they believe or what they do (Hoff Sommers) not by official misinformation from the very people who have the most to gain by concealing the true nature of the racket.

          • Sees

            Reply to paragraph beginning: “–Actually, if by “assets” you mean something like “beauty” or “sexual attractiveness,” this is probably literally false”

            People, men and women, CAN be relatively unaware of various forms of power over other people. However, they remain 100% responsible for that power and for what they do with that power. Women (particularly ‘oppression’ brainwashed feminists) can be unaware of the effects of their erotic power too
            but that doesn’t make em any less responsible for their erotic power than some male rapist who believes he has the right to rape women with his physical power.

            I happen to be fortunate enough to observe hundreds of ‘hot’ young women every week. Most are very aware of the erotic power they have. You can see that first and foremost in their eyes, in their attitudes and especially in the way they spend large amounts of money to package (or unpack) their ‘killer curves”. They certainly work very hard to have an effect on mankind whether they are trying to have an effect on you personally or not. This effect IS very possible to turn off too. Beautiful Albanian women in Kosovo during Slobo’s genocide were as imaginative in turning off female erotic power as are the common everyday whores I see on the street today imaginative in the the turn ons.

            To deliberately and intentionally turn men on by shamelessly sexualizing ever single erotic asset in public, and then rejecting, or worse, double bind-blaming men for responding from our natural instincts, is indeed likely to generate male hostility. Unlike you, I rarely develop crushes on hot women anymore because my target rich environment has helped me rapidly see through the games that women play with their killer “assets”. I also pay very close attention to the hostility I feel because that is usually some signal that I am being fucked with erotically. A little work is all that is needed to transform the hostility into empowered responses. Once I transform the feelings I have, the hostility or loathsomeness in the ‘beautiful’ woman’s eyes or attitude tends to become ready apparent…and the evil spell is broken forever. Man to man, I’d urge you to throw away feminist nonsense so that you can pull carefully on the threads of your hostility. You’ll likely find that there is far more there than meets the eye. As you become more aware you will begin to realize that damn well are trying to have an effect but you but that they will adamantly deny Victoria’s Secret till the cows come home. The trouble (for them) is that Victoria’s Secret is hardly secret anymore in the Girls Gone Wild age. To infantilize women by allowing them to have their cake and eat it to with respect to the even the most abusive deployments of their erotic power while we blame men scornfully for (my eyes are up here) staring is most assuredly going to induce hostility in all but the dumbest or proudest of feminist-’brained’ men.

            Some sort of genuine Women’s Studies program would be addressing rather than apologizing for the kinds of stupid abuses of female erotic power that the NYT times addressed this past Sunday’s front page article on sexting. Instead all we hear is absurd nonsense about ‘a women’s body is a women’s right’. That needs to change because ALL bodies come with responsibilities too…something that erotically aggressive women who cannot depend on patriarchal protections tend to discover right away.

            To blame men for the abuses of male power is right. To ignore and/or absolve women for female abuse of power is wrong. Oppression works both ways…that is if you call garden variety rape ‘oppression’ as a product of the fictional ‘rape culture’.

          • Confirmation bias is tedious

            “People, men and women, CAN be relatively unaware of various forms of power over other people. However, they remain 100% responsible for that power and for what they do with that power. Women (particularly ‘oppression’ brainwashed feminists) can be unaware of the effects of their erotic power too
            but that doesn’t make em any less responsible for their erotic power than some male rapist who believes he has the right to rape women with his physical power.”
            –They are distinctly less responsible, if they make no choice to use their power, or are even aware they are having an effect. A woman who knowingly uses her power, and thinks she is right to do so, is as responsible for the use of that power as a male rapist who thinks he is right to use his power. But a woman who is not aware she is having an effect on others is like a man who (somehow) accidentally penetrates a woman who does not want to be penetrated–which might plausibly be called not a case of rape.

            “I happen to be fortunate enough to observe hundreds of ‘hot’ young women every week. Most are very aware of the erotic power they have. You can see that first and foremost in their eyes, in their attitudes and especially in the way they spend large amounts of money to package (or unpack) their ‘killer curves”. They certainly work very hard to have an effect on mankind whether they are trying to have an effect on you personally or not. This effect IS very possible to turn off too. Beautiful Albanian women in Kosovo during Slobo’s genocide were as imaginative in turning off female erotic power as are the common everyday whores I see on the street today imaginative in the the turn ons.”
            –Sure, can be done. (Of course, only those who are aware of the effect they have can choose to turn it off…)

            “To deliberately and intentionally turn men on by shamelessly sexualizing ever single erotic asset in public, and then rejecting, or worse, double bind-blaming men for responding from our natural instincts, is indeed likely to generate male hostility.”
            –Well, yes… but by the time I was 18, I realized (a) how to tell when people were flirting with me, rather than just dressing sexy, and (b) asked myself whether I preferred a world in which some women dress sexy, even if I don’t get to have sex with them, and decided, yes I would. At which point my hostility largely dissipated. Now there are really angry, petty, resentful people out there, and, yes, women who display themselves in an erotic fashion do risk upsetting those hypersensitive few…
            “Unlike you, I rarely develop crushes on hot women anymore because my target rich environment has helped me rapidly see through the games that women play with their killer “assets”. I also pay very close attention to the hostility I feel because that is usually some signal that I am being fucked with erotically. A little work is all that is needed to transform the hostility into empowered responses. Once I transform the feelings I have, the hostility or loathsomeness in the ‘beautiful’ woman’s eyes or attitude tends to become ready apparent…and the evil spell is broken forever.”
            –Huh. I guess that is one approach. I went rather with the theory that most women who mean to flirt with me are interested. And, going with that hypothesis, I tried to distinguish real flirting from misunderstandings. And it’s worked pretty well. I have had women flirt with me in a manipulative way, but the vast majority of flirting I encounter is genuine. And enjoyable. And I found that really took an edge off.
            “Man to man, I’d urge you to throw away feminist nonsense so that you can pull carefully on the threads of your hostility. You’ll likely find that there is far more there than meets the eye. As you become more aware you will begin to realize that damn well are trying to have an effect but you but that they will adamantly deny Victoria’s Secret till the cows come home. The trouble (for them) is that Victoria’s Secret is hardly secret anymore in the Girls Gone Wild age. To infantilize women by allowing them to have their cake and eat it to with respect to the even the most abusive deployments of their erotic power while we blame men scornfully for (my eyes are up here) staring is most assuredly going to induce hostility in all but the dumbest or proudest of feminist-’brained’ men.”
            –I’m less than fully persuaded, partly because both men and women have developed crushes on me, when I didn’t intend to attract them, and were upset when they found out I wasn’t interested. If I can accidentally attract people, and accidentally hurt their feelings, so can women. Some women are manipulative. Some are not. Of course, I know you like the inference, “Some women are manipulative, ergo women are manipulative,” but it’s still invalid.

            “Some sort of genuine Women’s Studies program would be addressing rather than apologizing for the kinds of stupid abuses of female erotic power that the NYT times addressed this past Sunday’s front page article on sexting. Instead all we hear is absurd nonsense about ‘a women’s body is a women’s right’. That needs to change because ALL bodies come with responsibilities too…something that erotically aggressive women who cannot depend on patriarchal protections tend to discover right away.”
            –I can only speak for some men, but some of us do not mind the status quo in this respect, are happy to respect women’s right to decide, and do not mind flirtation and erotic display, nor do we mistake it for any sort of promise. I don’t really find it that hard to maintain equanimity when women dress in suggestive or revealing ways. I’m sorry to hear that you do. I would really rather you get it under control than demand that women try to be less sexually appealing.

          • Sees

            re: “If you think some of the sources you recommend are well-researched (that is–sources cited throughout) and carefully argued, that would be interesting. The titles alone, though, make them sound like the sort of ideologically driven popular sensationalism that tends to be a headache to read, because they so consistently fail to address questions that arise if the reader is predisposed to agree with the author.”

            The sources I have offered are well known in all but totalitarian feminist circles. Schlafly is worth listening to because she summarizes the basic ‘fraud of the century’ points so succinctly and humorously but Paglia, Hoff Sommers, and Patai are prominent and respected scholars who have said very similar things about feminism long ago. If you want really dense research you are welcome to read Nathanson’s and Young’s trilogy on feminist-sponsored misandry.

            Re: “But really, since I’m not sure what you attack is a position anyone really holds, as opposed to a straw-woman position, its’ hard to know whether these books would really present new and interesting information… show less”

            Do me a favor. No male cunt cutenesses please. Going round and round with FeministeSmithie was tedious beyond belief but since she is young brainwashed feminist and an obviously unequal woman I took some pity on her. I tend to be far less tolerant of males who do ‘cute’ so please be very careful to play this straight.

            Whether anyone else holds a position is totally irrelevant. Truth is not a popularity contest. ONE solid person’s position is enough to take down an entire totalitarian racket. Hoff Sommers, who sits front and center in Males Studies is more than solid enough to destroy most feminist fantasies out of hand. She rightly scorns the fainthearted nature of male scholars today. That said Steve Moxon has balls. He took down the head of Britian’s Home Office. He also takes down most feminist ‘oppression’ fantasies with relative ease.

          • Confirmation bias is tedious

            “Re: “But really, since I’m not sure what you attack is a position anyone really holds, as opposed to a straw-woman position, its’ hard to know whether these books would really present new and interesting information… show less”"

            “Do me a favor. No male cunt cutenesses please. Going round and round with FeministeSmithie was tedious beyond belief but since she is young brainwashed feminist and an obviously unequal woman I took some pity on her. I tend to be far less tolerant of males who do ‘cute’ so please be very careful to play this straight.”

            Straight as you like: I apparently made you very upset by using the term “straw woman” instead of “straw man”. This was not intended to be cute, particularly, but just seemed apt, since your target is distinctly female. I wouldn’t want to hurt your extraordinarily tender feelings.

            Now, everything you say about the phrase “straw woman” leads me to believe I was talking over your head, using a logical term you don’t know. A straw man fallacy, is an argument which purports to attack a real position, but instead attacks an implausible caricature of that position. I was not kidding when I suggested you were doing so; when you describe feminism, I have serious doubts about whether anyone actually holds the view you criticize.

            And here is why I think you didn’t understand what a straw man is; you say,
            “Whether anyone else holds a position is totally irrelevant. Truth is not a popularity contest. ONE solid person’s position is enough to take down an entire totalitarian racket.”
            Quite right. But I never asked whether anyone shares your view, or the view you defend. I asked whether anyone actually holds the view you attack. Since you, by your own admission, avoid reading what feminists actually say, preferring to read what others tell you feminists say, I remain unconvinced that anyone hold the whole view you take to be the feminist view. The truth is true even if it believed by just one person, or by no one at all. But to spend your time debunking a falsehood no one believes is a waste.

          • Sees

            This is what happens to feminists who challenge feminist claims: http://chronicle.com/article/Persistent-Myths-in-Feminis/46965 As you can see there is very little that is ‘nice’ much less honest about feminism. I asked FeministSmithie what academic standards she held PERIOD because she doesn’t believe that this very author (assuming she even bothered to check) meets the (higher?) ‘academic standards she holds’.

            Notice we haven’t heard back from her. Nor are we likely to. Reason tends to blow religions away…especially bigoted secular religions like feminism which are incubated from within Reason’s (nominal) palace.

          • Anonymous

            Nah, I just don’t see the point: we don’t share the requisite common language to discuss these ideas. I want concepts while you want citations. That, and being accepted to do a masters at Oxford has made me too elated to talk to people like you. :)

          • Sees

            Nah, you just don’t see REASON or evidence because you prefer your secular SUPERSTITION. The sources, I offered you are packed with powerful from authoritative authors concepts that confront your retarded religion’s racketeering. You repeatedly refused to READ even ONE concept that differed from your religion’s Big Lie constructions.

            To say that “we don’t share the requisite common language to discuss these ideas” is merely one more cute trick to duck the discussion. You deserve the condescension you are entitled to as an inferior student who is arrogant, infantile, and far too easily ‘offended’. Oxford is unlikely to change that masters or no masters.

            That said, as a feminist, you are likely to enjoy the company of loathsome little pricks like this one (http://uk.ibtimes.com/articles/122813/20110315/what-every-man-thinks-about-apart-from-sex-sheridan-simove-psychology-harry-potter-da-vinci-code-ama.htm) who hail from Oxford’s estrogen sewer. Great Britain is obviously feminist heaven but, just as obviously, hell for males. No doubt you’ll have far more fun Lying in a Nation of your Own (kind) than your twisted Sisters are currently having Lying in Room’s of their Own here.

          • Sees
          • Sees

            Lying in a Room of One’s Own: http://www.iwf.org/files/d8dcafa439b9c20386c05f94834460ac.pdf

            I see where the ‘straw woman’ stunt comes from now. You will have to do better than that. Here’s the scoop. As I said before Women’s Studies (with some rare exceptions) is just one big anti-male propaganda factory paid for in large part by the public.

            This article also sheds some light on the kind ‘academic standards’ that we are talking about too. No wonder FeministSmithie ran me around for so long. She probably believes in Women’s Studies’ academic standards.

          • Sees

            You might also enjoy An Empty Room of One’s Own:

            http://www.johnlocke.org/acrobat/pope_articles/inquiry22-womensstudies.pdf

            That said I will be glad to consider solid research which portends to show the opposite.

          • Sees
          • Sees

            One final note:

            I take no personal pleasure in ridiculing you (personally), in offending you (personally) or in affronting you (personally) but your “the personal is political’ religion is ever so PERSONAL to me. Since like all totalitarians you believe in your ‘religion’ fervently and ever so personally, I have no option BUT to take you personally too. That is unfortunate, because I don’t like to hammer hard on YOU personally for what I hate about the POLITICAL bill of goods you have been sold.

            Nor do I enjoy condescending to you even though the anger you en-gender, by insisting on an equality you haven’t even begun to TRY to earn, is intense. Had you even tried once to do some homework, I would have been far more gentle with you. I might even have offered you MORE chivalry even as a feminist (a suicidal option for males in a false ‘equality’ age) because I would have had reason for hope for some sanity from you in the future.

            Unfortunately, for both of us, you stuck to your ‘religion’ stubbornly against all respect/reason. Since your ‘religion’ is idiotic, objectively oppressive to males and insane, I had no good options with which to handle your persistent personification of said ‘religion’ other than to personify you back. That’s never something I like to do because I suspect that beneath every passionate feminist bigot lurks a humanistic idealist I do respect.

      • Sees

        Correction: The feminists I called ‘moral imbeciles’ above are those mainstream feminists who publish magazines like MS or Bitch, who sponsor the Good Man Project, who coddle bigots like Andrea Dworkin, who spread loathsome lies from scapegoating frauds like Susan (Against Our Will) Brownmiller, who ‘trash’ dissidents or anti-feminists, who spread misandric misinformation to the media, who sponsor , support, or enforce reverse sexist laws, and who generally support the Big Lie that is gender-feminism. You get the picture. I believe obnoxious BIGOTS are moral imbeciles not those all-to-rare feminists who DO try to do credible research, who do care about men’s rights as well as women’s rights and who do confront feminist bigots. Christina Hoff Sommers, Daphne Patai, Katherine Young, Cathy Young, rape survivor Wendy McElroy ARE feminists worth listening too.

  • Sally Haslanger

    HI all: I’m impressed that there has been so much passion in this discussion. I’ve not posted for a bit because I’m swamped and will be for another couple of days (at a conference). There is much more to say on all these topics!

    • Sees

      There is far more here than “passion”. There is knowledge here…something that tends to be anathema to feminists. I don’t know how much more there is to say on all these topics but I sure will be glad to listen to what YOU have to say about your twisted Sisters in Women’s Studies or about anti-male female supremacist feminisms.

  • http://chris-key.myopenid.com/ Chris Key

    Sees62 ,

    It’s good to see a a real man performing the manly act of standing up for the truth. You understand the flaws of feminazism and have the courage to speak against it. For that you have my respect. We need more men like you.

    Keep up the good work mate!

    • Sees

      Chris,

      Thank you for your support. It’s people like you who are worth speaking for. I know that you’ll carry the ball forward too…in your own way and in your own time. That offers me hope.

  • Sees

    Female fearlessness is likely to truly en-’gender’ some sort of ‘equality’ between the sexes. This woman: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=13227961&page=3 assuming she told the truth, deserves respect…even respect from males (who are routinely fearless and often foolishly so).

    Notice how ABC carefully reported her rape accusations as ‘claims’ rather than as accepted fact. That is responsible journalism. Were they just as responsible in reporting feminist accusations as (obviously false) claims rather than accepted fact, feminism would have fallen long ago.

  • Sees

    Heresy from the NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/11/magazine/11Girls-t.html . Valley Girls (and most Women’s Studies professors) believe in the feminist fantasy that all significant differences between the sexes are socially constructed rather biologically determined. That falsehood has been repeated so many times that even journalists conflate gender and sex in stories relating to sex OR gender.

  • Sees

    Response to your first paragraph: “Perhaps there is a merely verbal understanding between you and most feminists then…”

    You seem to be imposing your definition of oppression on me. Why don’t we settle that once and for all by using the dictionary definition of the term: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/oppression ? In terms of that definition Western (as opposed to say Muslim) women have no basis whatsoever to scream ‘oppression’. To even bring the so-called wage gap up after all the public rebuttals of this particular feminist fantasy strikes me as questionable. Systematic advantages and disadvantages are part and parcel of sex differences. For instance, based on the recent NYT article on female athletic injuries or Jessica Lynch’s performance in battle, I’d hardly be likely to pay women high salaries to for soccer or for combat. However, as Catherine Hakim notes even stupid women can be paid $5000 per day as hookers or porn stars, a wage that virtually no NORMAL man can command for even the best professional work. By your logic, us professional hard working guys are ‘oppressed’ because we cannot sell our bodies for the same wage as some stupid, lazy and uneducated but cute woman can. That kind of logic is precisely what I tend to get so hot and bothered by. Women have no basis to scream ‘oppression’ unless there is truly some sort of genuine oppression happening. Nor do they have the solid reasons to scream oppression before they first consider oppression holistically. Steve Moxon’s The Woman Racket is loaded with reason why men have things far harder than women do but I don’t remember him calling men ‘oppressed’. Putting things into balanced perspective makes the so-called ‘wage gap’ seem like an absurd triviality. I’ll be glad to discuss true oppression (such as what SEEMS to have happened to the Libyan gang rape accuser who has made such a splash lately) but to call ugly bigots who are chortling hatefully about The End of Men (with perfect impunity) ‘oppressed’ is one hell of a stretch to me.

    • Sees

      Correction: the above post is to reply to ConfirmationBias’ post below.

    • Confirmation bias is tedious

      So, I had to work for a couple of days. Only time to respond to this one post now. Happy to return to the ones lower down later, but don’t know if anyone will still be reading.

      “You seem to be imposing your definition of oppression on me.”
      No, I’m suggesting that there are multiple definitions. (Technically, I didn’t offer a definition, I suggested a situation many would count as oppressive. But, details.) If others are using one definition, and you assume they are using another, you are misunderstanding them. Confusion ensues.

      “Why don’t we settle that once and for all by using the dictionary definition of the term: http://dictionary.reference.co… ?”
      Sure. What I suggested was “Many people would probably say that a situation can count as ‘oppressive’ if one group, by virtue of group membership, was systematically denied various opportunities, or even just systematically made to face extra obstacles in achieving various opportunities.” That usage is compatible with
      “1.
      the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner.” (dictionary.com, “oppression”)
      …inasmuch as a systematic creation of obstacles would count as an exercise of institutional and/or economic power (albeit perhaps an unintentional one) in an unjust manner. Also, it seem to fit fine with,
      “4.
      the feeling of being heavily burdened, mentally or physically, by troubles, adverse conditions, anxiety, etc.” (ibid)
      For the record, even if feminists were using the term in a new way, not represented in the dictionary, you would still be misunderstanding them if you were assuming they meant something other than what they did mean. If someone says she’s disinterested in what I have to say, and I assume she’s using the term correctly to mean “unbiased”, and so keep talking, I’ve still missed what she meant, even though the misuse was hers. Dictionary.com won’t always have slang, neologisms and new technical terms, so you can’t always assume you know what someone means just because you’ve referred to it.

      “To even bring the so-called wage gap up after all the public rebuttals of this particular feminist fantasy strikes me as questionable.”
      Well, consider me uninformed. I work in philosophy and don’t always hear the latest empirical data. I step into a discussion mostly when I spot sloppy reasoning and fallacious argument. Which is why I’m on this thread, noticing that you don’t know what definitions are, or how to tell when they’re compatible, or what it would mean to not know that someone else is using a different definition from you. (You’ll notice that, to be on the safe side, I spoke conditionally about the wage gap. IF there is a wage gap… it would count as oppression, the way many people use the term.)

      “Systematic advantages and disadvantages are part and parcel of sex differences.”
      Recalling my first suggestion to you, might I suggest an amendment: “THERE ARE systematic advantages and disadvantages that are part and parcel of sex differences”? Where sex difference makes a difference, we should expect systematic differences. Women are systematically advantaged as prospective surrogate mothers, men as sperm donors. If, on the other hand, men and women are about equally good as editors (note the conditional–I’m offering a hypothetical), and are equally good in all the same ways, there seems no good reason sex difference should create systematic advantages or disadvantages.

      “For instance, based on the recent NYT article on female athletic injuries or Jessica Lynch’s performance in battle, I’d hardly be likely to pay women high salaries to for soccer or for combat.”
      I figure I’d pay women high salaries for soccer if audiences were eager to watch them play. But, even assuming sports salaries were based on no criteria besides performance, I think I’d pay a woman soccer player a high wage, if (factoring in questions like propensity for injury) she was clearly better than some men who earn a high wage. Even if women are generally, statistically less skilled at a given line of work, nonetheless, we would hope that any given woman would be payed what her work was worth. (BTW–inferring a policy about women in the military from one example is what the logicians call “hasty generalization”. You got a larger sample to go with that jerking knee?)

      “However, as Catherine Hakim notes even stupid women can be paid $5000 per day as hookers or porn stars, a wage that virtually no NORMAL man can command for even the best professional work. By your logic, us professional hard working guys are ‘oppressed’ because we cannot sell our bodies for the same wage as some stupid, lazy and uneducated but cute woman can.”
      So,
      A. Yeah, that’s a plausible conclusion. One form of feminism I find somewhat plausible (yes, there is more than one, I know this hurts your brain) claims that gender roles oppress everybody–that ending sexism and patriarchy will liberate men as well as women. Dunno if it’s right, but I don’t take the conclusion you draw to be implausible by itself. But,
      B. It doesn’t necessarily follow. If we were speaking only of prostitutes, I’d note that the lucrative career opportunity in question is illegal in most states. But, as you bring up porn modeling as well, a more nuanced reply is called for. Possibly, pornography is just a great opportunity that women are lucky to have available. But I suspect part of the reason it pays so well is that it comes with pretty significant social costs. I’d imagine it can be quite a bit harder to get other jobs, for instance, if it is known one starred in porn. And you’ll have to tell me whether a woman can get that kind of pay without, for instance, accepting some serious STD risks. (I’ve heard that the pay is much higher for women who are, for instance, willing to have unprotected sex. That’s rumor, but it sounds plausible.) If the option men are denied is a lousy option, and one that, for the most part, people only accept out of desperation, one could conceivably say that men are not oppressed by not having this option, as long as they generally have better options. That depends on several assumptions, but they are not all crazy.

      “That kind of logic is precisely what I tend to get so hot and bothered by.”
      I’m going to ask you to stop using the word “logic” until you start using logic.

      “Women have no . . . solid reasons to scream oppression before they first consider oppression holistically. Steve Moxon’s The Woman Racket is loaded with reason why men have things far harder than women do but I don’t remember him calling men ‘oppressed’.”
      Well, women could be systematically disadvantaged–and hence oppressed–even if men have things “harder”. That’s a pretty vague term, but I think a lot of the women’s lib movement of the 60s and 70s were not complaining that women had it HARDER than men, but that (by being generally denied interesting, high-status, high-pay jobs) they were being oppressed, even as men were working themselves to death. They didn’t object to the life of the housewife because it was HARD, but because it was unfulfilling, and they had few other options.

      “Putting things into balanced perspective makes the so-called ‘wage gap’ seem like an absurd triviality.”
      See, above, it looked like you were saying there is no wage gap. Here, it looks like you’re saying the wage gap just isn’t important. Where, exactly, have you seen it “rebutted”? Does your “rebutted” actually mean anything like “shown not to exist”? You’re not one of those people who thinks every objection to a position is a “refutation” are you?

      “I’ll be glad to discuss true oppression (such as what SEEMS to have happened to the Libyan gang rape accuser who has made such a splash lately)”
      I was going to pass this by, but I’m really not confident you know these things: The fact that the Libyan gang rape accuser is more aggressively, brutally, and obviously oppressed than most women in western countries does not show that the latter are not oppressed. They might not be… but it doesn’t follow from comparing them to someone more impressed.

      “but to call ugly bigots who are chortling hatefully about The End of Men (with perfect impunity) ‘oppressed’ is one hell of a stretch to me.”
      Are you talking about that Atlantic article? It didn’t strike me as a gloating piece particularly… but then, perhaps I’m less sensitive to such things.
      But, yes, an oppressed group could very well mock its oppressors. Stranger things have happened.

      OK, all I have time for. If there are signs of life in a few days, might respond to more.

      • Sees

        There isn’t likely to be life on this blog from now on because feminists (and feminist flunkies) always abandon ship as soon as some sort of truth appears close to the ship. I notice that you never bothered to address Lying in a Room of One’s Own or the other sources I offered you. I also noticed that you haven’t taken the trouble to address any of my assertions thoroughly (as in glance at the sources before you pop back into the discussion). You certainly haven’t provided us with any solid basis for believing that Western women are somehow “systematically oppressed”. What you have done, instead, is to engage in what seems like a slightly more sophisticated version of FeministSmithie’s ring around the rosy game. I have no interest in playing silly little ‘logic’ games with you unless you commit to taking the games to some sort of logical conclusions (which can include your logic as well as mine.) I also note with some amusement that as a philosopher you have absolutely nothing to say about Undressing Feminism: A Philosophical Expose. That makes me wonder whether you are serious or just playing some sort of (male-cunt) cute games here so you can impress your feebleminded feminist babes. I had hoped for better from great philosophers but I know better than to expect better from those who study in feminist-subjugated institutions. Camille Paglia helped me understand why there is no reason to hope for greatness from our colleges and universities in the foreseeable future but you are always willing to surprise me. In the meantime, Hoff Sommers, an ethicist will do just fine.

        If you really cared about “sloppy and fallacious” arguments you would be appalled at the abuses your favorite ‘oppressed’ population uses to assert that particular Big Lie. I offered Lying in a Room of One’s Own which addresses the pay gap, domestic violence (one more favorite ‘oppression’ story feminists love to spread) and many many other academic abuses Women’s Studies is infamous for. Were you to care about such WHOLESALE rapes of reason I’d tend to take you far more seriously on the RETAIL level.

        • Confirmation bias is tedious

          “I notice that you never bothered to address Lying in a Room of One’s Own or the other sources I offered you. I also noticed that you haven’t taken the trouble to address any of my assertions thoroughly (as in glance at the sources before you pop back into the discussion).”
          –Nope. Reading things and posting comments takes time. Busy with work and socializing. Other things going on in life. Back now, posted to a couple of threads below. Still won’t have time to read new books for a good month or two.
          “You certainly haven’t provided us with any solid basis for believing that Western women are somehow “systematically oppressed”.”
          –Nope. Not positive, myself. Never claimed to be. Just claimed that your reasoning is fairly sloppy.
          “What you have done, instead, is to engage in what seems like a slightly more sophisticated version of FeministSmithie’s ring around the rosy game. I have no interest in playing silly little ‘logic’ games with you unless you commit to taking the games to some sort of logical conclusions (which can include your logic as well as mine.)”
          –Boy, as soon as someone starts distinguishing “your logic” and “my logic”, that’s usually a good time to leave the discussion. Which I may well do after this post. You made various arguments in a public forum. Your arguments were poorly reasoned. I criticized your arguments, not claiming to have conclusive evidence to the contrary, but pointing out where your arguments were faulty. I guess the fallacies I’ve pointed out don’t matter in “your” logic. Just in, you know, actual logic.
          “I also note with some amusement that as a philosopher you have absolutely nothing to say about Undressing Feminism: A Philosophical Expose.”
          –Nope, haven’t read it. Won’t have time to for a while.
          “That makes me wonder whether you are serious or just playing some sort of (male-cunt) cute games here so you can impress your feebleminded feminist babes. I had hoped for better from great philosophers but I know better than to expect better from those who study in feminist-subjugated institutions. Camille Paglia helped me understand why there is no reason to hope for greatness from our colleges and universities in the foreseeable future but you are always willing to surprise me. In the meantime, Hoff Sommers, an ethicist will do just fine.”
          –Heard of these two, hadn’t heard anything that piqued my interest. Might give them a look in the future. But, really, as long as you are using your logic to evaluate philosophical texts, your recommendation won’t count for much.

          “If you really cared about “sloppy and fallacious” arguments you would be appalled at the abuses your favorite ‘oppressed’ population uses to assert that particular Big Lie.”
          –Oh, sometimes I am. I’ve heard more sloppy reasoning about “objectification” than I can shake a stick at. (Though Martha Nussbaum does some excellent work clarifying the concept.) The words “socially constructed” often signal “and here we go off the rails” (though Haslanger has done some promising work to make that notion actually mean something.) And don’t get me started on some of the hasty stuff Dworkin and MacKinnon argue. But, see, here’s the thing: not every feminist engages in sloppy reasoning. So, the fact that some do doesn’t lead me to dismiss all feminists, or all forms of feminism, because that would be… wait for it… IRRATIONAL! Like you, sweet thing. Have fun with the tantrums. I’m out, so there may be no one at all listening any more.

          • Sees

            You are too cute for words. You never really came in so there is no reason you mourn your running away. Mental masturbation seems to be the only thing that modern scholars (so called) seem to do today. I’d prescribe Intellectual Impostors (or posers) for people like you (see http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/dawkins.html) but that probably won’t ‘pique you interest’ either.

            Playing lovely little word games about my logic or your logic is pure childishness. You knew what I meant. You also know that I didn’t dismiss all feminists outright. Instead, I offered potent feminists to refute impotent feminist bigots. But of course all you have time for is to come run your mouth but not read just like your pretty put upon friend from Smith. It’s really hard to respect lovely little girls like you because you are more into socializing than doing your homework.

            Assuming you are one of the male ‘girls’ who populate today’s college campuses all I can say is that I hope your REAL education on sex and gender occurs soon or you will likely be food for various Preying Mantises who en-’gender’ you before consuming you.

          • Sees

            You might also enjoy Higher Superstition: http://www.amazon.com/Higher-Superstition-Academic-Quarrels-Science/dp/0801857074/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1303677110&sr=1-1 . I will enjoy the coming collapse of colleges as predicted by the National Inflation Association. There are some serious financial catastrophes coming which will pare perverted pretenders from colleges nationwide, be they professors, students, or entire departments.

      • Sees

        Just in case you haven’t taken the time to scroll down to my other replies to your LONG post, please disregard whatever premature comments are on the post just below this one.

  • Sees
  • Sees

    This is what feminism really looks like: http://thefire.org/case/841

  • Sees

    This is what lionhearted WOMANhood looks like: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/05/world/africa/05tripoli.html?_r=1&pagewanted=2 Notice no whining feminist fear mongering here. Were feminists to even remotely resemble this woman feminism would be worth something.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000512874910 Renessa Ciampa-Brewer

    All well said Sally Haslanger.

    The ignorance of Venker enrages me

  • TinaMcD

    There is no evidence to support anything Venker says.  Plenty of women love to stay home and take care of their kids, no one is preventing them from doing that.  Her critique of the “liberal media” is especially ridiculous.   Fox News alone supported the Tea Party, which just held the country and the world hostage with its politics.  Hardly a liberal media coup on any level.  

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