The Reality-Challenged Community: Feminism and Moral Inversion

In my own research I have run across a feminist claim that we should see honor-killings as part of continuum of domestic violence, little different from the assaults on women that take place in western countries (and most especially in the USA). Phyllis Chesler has done yeoman work in this area, making it clear how vast a gulf separates the culture of the US, and those in which parents feel driven by community pressures to kill their daughters for the sake of family honor.

David Thompson, whose critique of post-modernism I have highlighted and commented on here has a new post on the strange world of feminist discourse that sheds light on this effort at moral equivalence. It chronicles the astonishing misrepresentations that come from a radical political agenda disguised as human rights talk.

Every Bit as Hobbled

I’ve previously noted the tendency of some academic activists to indulge in wild overstatement, not least those entranced by the Holy Trinity of race, class and gender. As, for instance, when Barbara Barnett, a product of Duke’s infamous English department, claimed that, “20%–25% of college students report that they have experienced a rape or attempted rape.” Barnett’s assertions were subsequently debunked by KC Johnson:

Barnett… thereby [suggests] that college campuses have a rate of sexual assault around 2.5 times higher than the rate of sexual assault, murder, armed robbery and assault combined in Detroit, the U.S. city with the highest murder rate. For those in the reality-based community, FBI figures provide a counterweight to Barnett’s theories: not 20%-25% but instead around .03% of students are victims of rape while in college. Duke’s 2000-2006 figures, which use a much broader reporting standard than the FBI database, indicate that 0.2% of Duke students “report that they have experienced a rape or attempted rape.”

Writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Christina Hoff Sommers spies more academic work in which accuracy appears peripheral to a political agenda:

    Consider The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World (2008), by the feminist scholar Joni Seager, chair of the Hunter College geography department… One color-coded map illustrates how women are kept “in their place” by restrictions on their mobility, dress, and behavior. Somehow the United States comes out looking as bad in this respect as Somalia, Uganda, Yemen, Niger, and Libya. All are coded with the same shade of green to indicate places where “patriarchal assumptions” operate in “potent combination with fundamentalist religious interpretations.”

    Seager’s logic? She notes that in parts of Uganda, a man can claim an unmarried woman as his wife by raping her. The United States gets the same low rating on Seager’s charts because, she notes, “State legislators enacted 301 anti-abortion measures between 1995 and 2001.” Never mind that the Ugandan practice is barbaric, that U.S. abortion law is exceptionally liberal among the nations of the world, and that the activism and controversy surrounding the issue of abortion in the United States is a sign of a vigorous free democracy working out its disagreements.

[snip]

Needless to say, Sommers’ line of enquiry isn’t universally welcomed. Her points about gross errors, overstatement and competitive victimhood are often met with prickling indignation, not least from those whose activities include some combination of the above. Some denounce Sommers as “conservative” – a synonym for evil – a “female impersonator” and an “anti-feminist,” a term that suggests both the crime of apostasy and a very narrow definition of what “real” feminists should be concerned with and how they’re permitted see the world.

What Thompson points out here is how a small group of “right-thinking” “progressives” try to stigmatize and ostracize points of view that challenge their approach. This is the opposite of real scholarship — which welcomes dissent and tries to build consensus based on the free and informed assessment of empirical evidence — and actually seems to reflect the rules of the playground rather than those of adult — and consequential — discourse.

One taker of umbrage offers the following, entirely without irony:

    That Sommers does not get that the vast majority of American women are every bit as hobbled by constrictions around dress, mobility and behaviour as women in developing countries tells me Sommers needs to get out more.

Note the tone. There’s no substance here, merely a call to collective derision. This is similar to the way in which Saïd managed to coerce anyone who did not want to be embarrassed into not talking about “honor-shame” culture.

the vast majority of American women are every bit as hobbled by constrictions around dress, mobility and behaviour as women in developing countries…

Same, same. No?

Who needs to get out?

Thompson continues with a combination of scorn and data:

Readers will, I’m sure, be nodding in agreement. After all, women across America are accustomed to being given a three-day deadline to shroud themselves from head to toe or face imprisonment. And doubtless when American women find themselves pregnant out of wedlock they too have a very real fear of execution at the hands of local government. You see, in degree of constriction, the “vast majority” of American women are indistinguishable from Aisho Ibrahim Dhuhulow, a Somalian woman found guilty of extra-marital intercourse by her local Islamic court. No doubt all across America unfaithful wives risk sharing Dhuhulow’s fate. Which is to say, they too risk being bound from head to foot and buried up to the neck, screaming, while their skulls are pelted with rocks by 50 pious men until, finally, they scream no more. All in front of a crowd of equally pious onlookers.

Yes, “every bit as hobbled.” Not one iota less.

No wonder we don’t have a clue.

UPDATE: Barry Rubin has a post on the rampant folly in academia: The Reactionaries Take Over Academia and Call Themselves Progressives.

My experiences in recent years have been more involved with publishing. I won’t use the name of the two university presses but they are both Ivy League ones.

At the first, a project was going fine until suddenly rejected in a routine meeting. When I asked what had happened, my source who had been there told me: “Someone said that we can’t have an Israeli writing about Arab politics.”

At the second, I was commissioned to do a book—their idea, not mine—which had been completed. The readers had raised some issues which had been simple to handle. I had a letter from the editor that the readers’ points had been fully addressed and the revised manuscript accepted by the editorial board.

Suddenly and at the last minute, the book was rejected by the advisory board whose head—obviously uncomfortable with being forced into this unprofessional and immoral behavior by the veto of a radical member of his board—nervously told me that they couldn’t publish the book.

Asked I, Why not? The answer: “You didn’t do what the readers asked.”

“But,” my response was, “I have a letter from your own editor saying I did. Tell you what,” I offered, “let’s send it back to the readers and see what they think. If they have any objections more changes can be made.”

“No!” He said. Can’t be done. Keep the money and bye! Click!

That same once-proud publisher, not much later, did a book by someone with no serious qualifications claiming that Zionism is a mental illness.

As R.D.Laing used to say, if everyone’s crazy, then sane people will seem mad.

85 Responses to The Reality-Challenged Community: Feminism and Moral Inversion

  1. Lorenz Gude says:

    Yes, you can see how those California girls have been crammed into a patriarchal straitjacket and deprived of the freedom and dignity of the veil. Lord knows what ordinary folk would get up to if they didn’t have the Duke English Department to look after them.

  2. oao says:

    has anybody encountered a radical feminist who is pretty?

    there is some explanatory power behind that.

  3. Sophia says:

    Dude: I have seen some “radical feminists” who were absolute knockouts.

    So don’t make idiotic comments like this please. How on earth can you make such an assumption? Are you saying that a woman’s appearance predetermines her philosophy?

    That is sexist and it is just dumb. It is reactionary.

    Believe it or not women are complete packages with bodies, minds and souls and we have independent brains that aren’t controlled by the way *society* (read “men” and/or “popular culture”) happens to see us.

    Indeed one of our battles, one that afflicts all women because we all age if nothing else, lies in overcoming the kneejerk reaction to our faces and our bodies – whether we are beautiful or not, socially acceptable in our appearance or not (this crosses over into issues concerning race, Semitic features, etc) and the absolute fact that people project their own ideas onto our faces, depending upon how they react to our looks and not to our thoughts.

    I think you should apologize, sir.

    Indeed your comment crosses some lines not only in regard to women but to the way people see Israel for example, or Jews, or people of color: people stereotype us and project their own ideas onto what they think they see or want to see.

    The fact is they aren’t seeing the “real thing” they’re seeing their own projections, the inside of their own heads.

    You as a defender of liberal Western values should realize this! What you’ve said about feminists is no different than if you’d asked, “Has anybody ever seen a really intelligent African-American” or “Has anybody every met a really civilized wog”, you should forgive the expression.

    I use this offensive term deliberately in order to point up the awful nature of your comment and I apologize if anybody is upset thereby. I am upset by the problem of stereotyping which is in fact a form of bigotry. I thought we’re all trying to fight this.

    That said, the idiocy of Sommers is astounding. Even with all our problems obtaining equality – which are no joke – there’s no comparison between our status and that of women in many other cultures around the world.

    Baloney like this merely reinforces oppressive social orders.

    It’s ironic that much of the so-called left is actually reactionary.

    Fortunately that isn’t all of us. It’s interesting that the anguish and struggle for rights in the wake of the Iranian elections has revealed a split on the left, real confusion – indeed one poster on Harry’s, Anaximander’s other sandal, has come up with the term “malignant left”.

    One is hardpressed to improve upon that. It describes a sort of leftist who, in order to “save the people” inflicts all sorts of harm on “the people” and does it in the name of “saving the people” which makes it all the more riduculous and offensive.

    People on the Left in particular have to fight back hard against this because it undermines everything we (theoretically) believe in.

    We see a lot of “moral relativism”, not just in the areas of women’s rights but in other aspects of social and political discourse.

    I do think our system, bless it, is strong enough to cope with self-criticism. In fact that is how we’ve evolved to this point.

    But that is not the same thing as simply inventing stuff.

  4. oao says:

    i once was criticized here for deploring the length of your comments — lack of succinctness and rambling, part. in an online thread, is to my mind an indicator of intellectual weakness and a likelihood for a tendency to like hearing oneself talk.

    it was therefore interesting that the owner of another blog “got tired of reading your lengthy emails” and ‘despite your lefty tendencies’ inconsistent with his own, gave you posting rights.

    pls note 1st that my question was somewhat facetious and half joking, and it’s better if i don’t comment on why you reacted so seriously to it.

    but 2nd, and more important, is that i was very careful to refer to ‘radical feminists’ and not just feminists. perhaps you’re not making that distinction, in which case this says something about you too.

    i am not going to say more to avoid predictable reactions.

  5. oao says:

    How on earth can you make such an assumption? Are you saying that a woman’s appearance predetermines her philosophy?

    well, to the extent that i made any assumption, the question was an attempt to test its validity empirically. why is the opposite assumption so obviosuly true that it should not be tested at all?

    anyway, just for the sake of endulging you i can easily provide a mechanism for the hypothesis of affect of appearance on “philosophy” (it is not exactly a philosophy, but more of a political ideology):

    men have a weakness for pretty women. consequently, pretty women can influence, manipulate and often outright control men. and they usually have an easier time doing so to powerful/rich men, to whom they are attracted for both biological and nonbiological reasons. it is, therefore, less likely for such women to feel oppressed, dominated and controlled by men in society and to adopt a radical “liberation ideology”.
    there.

    now, even if this were true, like all social hypotheses it would be probabilistic–a generalization with exceptions (hence my question). so it’s not predetermination — you lefties think in these terms –but influence, effect on, etc.

  6. Diane says:

    Re: the bikini girls, RL, I think this is a cheap shot on your part, and not really making your point. The feminist would say (and I would agree with her) that our over-permissive culture pressures young women to see themselves as meat and display themselves as meat is displayed in a butcher shop. THis is not a sign of cutlural enlightenment. It is a step backward. I am sick and tired of the different expectations our culture has toward women and men. Call it the Sarah Palin syndrome.
    Whatever else can be said about Palin, I felt that the liberal establishment’s reduction of her into a political pin-up was unforgiveable. She is at least as serious a person as Joe Biden. Case closed.

    Re: Barry Rubin’s experience and the progressives really being the reactionaries, I think you’re on to something important there. The collective derision you describe. The equating of “conservative” with “evil.” These are quantifiable signs of a movement that has abandoned logic for sloganeering. The question is: has academia wandered so far from the path of truth-seeking that it cannot recognize its own place on the map?

  7. Ray in Seattle says:

    Diane: These are quantifiable signs of a movement that has abandoned logic for sloganeering.

    Since when have such movements been grounded in some form of logic that could therefore be abandoned? Movements imply expressions of group identity – i.e. the strongest human emotions – the one’s we each other kill for. It’s the red shirts vs the blue shirts. As in . .

    “My team is moral and courageous and driven only by honesty and the purest logic. Yours is depraved and driven by emotions and dishonesty with no intellectual content.”

    Much like the way oao and some others here refer to dem pols and any liberals for that matter.

  8. rich says:

    I just read the article you link to purportedly making a cultural equivalence argument connecting US domestic violence to honor killings.

    First, it does not mention the united states except to say that turkey had females in top leadership position before the US and Canada, so I’m unclear on how he found the connection for his claim.

    Second, and sadly, the article includes a long list of vicious honor killings carried out against mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters by their fathers, husbands, brothers and sons. How is that not the definition of domestic violence?… Read More

    Third, in 2000, 33% of all murdered females were killed by an intimate partner (ABA). There may be a “vast gulf” separating the two cultures, but that technicality doesnt necessarily protect a woman from her family in the US.

    Fourth, reading about these grim statistics in the US and in Turkey made me truly sick in my heart…Radical feminism, disparate cultures, or holy trinities not withstanding.

  9. clazy says:

    our over-permissive culture pressures young women to see themselves as meat and display themselves as meat is displayed in a butcher shop

    Meat has no agency. You’ve entirely ignored the power inherent in the display, so the analogy is flawed. You might correct it by comparing young women to butchers who display meat in the window. Do you have a problem with that? Even that analogy doesn’t really work because the butcher the butcher engages in a brief transaction with the customer, whereas the woman is, at least potentially, looking for an enduring relationship whose value is specific and exclusive to the couple.

  10. oao says:

    oops, #10 is in the wrong thread. sorry.

  11. oao says:

    How is that not the definition of domestic violence

    are you that dim or just pretend to be? domestic does not refer to the location of the violence, it is a label for the nature of the violence — due to differences between couples. it is not socially induced and rewarded kliings in the name of family honor, conceptualized as men superior to women own them and can kill them with impunity.

    Third, in 2000, 33% of all murdered females were killed by an intimate partner (ABA). There may be a “vast gulf” separating the two cultures, but that technicality doesnt necessarily protect a woman from her family in the US.

    assuming the stats are accurate (which i am not prepared to vouch for) the question is what are the consequences for the perps in the 2 societies: one induces and condones if not rewards it, the other punishes and stigmatizes it. not to mention the KIND of violence difference in the two.

    Fourth, reading about these grim statistics in the US and in Turkey made me truly sick in my heart…Radical feminism, disparate cultures, or holy trinities not withstanding.

    if true, yes. but that this does not negate the fundamental differences between societies.

  12. oao says:

    Much like the way oao and some others here refer to dem pols and any liberals for that matter.

    you either don’t understand my arguments or want to put words in my mouth due to strong identity emotions.

    1st, i did not question just lib or dem surveys. on the contrary, asia was bringing up conservative board as defence of the survey and i explicitly dismissed that too.

    2nd, my argument was explictly general and independent of politics: i said that most outfits, whether they had an agenda or not, do not know enough about survey methodology and its problematics, let alone foreign cultures and life under islamism to be capable of producing reliable results. this is a technical domain in which i have experience and as far as i can tell, you don’t.

    3rd, there is a possibility of inconsistency in your position. for if everything is driven by emotions, then why not the survey practitioners’?

    it’s funny how all those who subscribe to universal theories except themselves from their own theory. is your reaction to me emotional too, or is there some logic behind it? if we are all dumping emotions on each other here, what’s the point? but i am sure you think i am emotional and you’re not, right?

  13. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao, No need to get all emotional now. You shouldn’t take things so personally. I was responding to Dianne and only referred to some of your comments (and others’) as an example of my point to her, and indirectly at that.

    BTW – Doesn’t it bother you at all that your comments – sans caps, commas or other useful forms of communication – are almost impossible to read without extra effort? We should be thankful that at least you use the occasional period. Or, is that just another way that you express disdain for those who don’t share or fully understand your conclusions? Perhaps I misconstrued your punctuation and didn’t understand that in past comments you were using “shrillery” and “alibama” as terms of respect. ;-)

  14. rich says:

    I never said it was in the home, or whatever you are referring to when you talk about “location” in this context. So your definition of domestic violence is “A difference between couples”?? And you thought I was dim.

    What exactly do you think those differences are? You’re suggesting an American would never kill his spouse because he thought she was cheating on him? That’s very naive. Is your argument that no American man thinks he’s better than a woman or is it that, if he does think that way, he made it up on his own and did not get that from the society he grew up in?

    I agree. It is worse that those societies condone this violence against women, but that distinction is cold comfort for the dead.

    The statistics I used were from the American Bar Association. here’s the link: http://www.abanet.org/domviol/statistics.html. There are a lot of other statistics there for you dispute baselessly as well.

    Also, what “KIND” of violence are you talking about that’s different? Because the 14-year old turkish boy who was tasked with killing his older sister used an old butter knife instead of an American switchblade?

    The KIND of violence is the same. The relationships between the victim and victimizer are the same, the means are the same, often the motivations are the same, and, of course, the outcome for the woman is the same. If you asked the perps why they did it, they’d probably even answer the same, “Because she had it comin’ for what she did to me.”

    And finally. What I did not see in your response was an answer to my first point. Where did you get the idea that the authors are making any kind of cultural equivalence comparison with the US? I didn’t find it in their piece. So maybe you yourself made the connection and felt the need to deny it so badly that you didn’t feel your argument needed to be held back by petty details like whether or not it was actually what they said.

    Wherever the evidence is, it’s not a major point so that means it will be easy to just copy down the one sentence (if it’s there) and post it in a response. I look forward to seeing it.

  15. Ray in Seattle says:

    I’d have a hard time saying it better than Pat Condell.

    Enjoy!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlkxlzTZc48&feature=player_embedded

  16. oao says:

    I never said it was in the home, or whatever you are referring to when you talk about “location” in this context. So your definition of domestic violence is “A difference between couples”?? And you thought I was dim.

    you’re right, it was more like “family violence”. i did not say it’s MY definition, only that that’s what it usually means in the system.

    neither did i put a normative flavor on the differences, but a difference is a necessary but insufficient condition for violence. and without a thorough investigation of the details of all the cases, there is no way to explain its causes. i would not be surprised if a large % of cases are just that, differences which drive some people prone to violence.
    whatever the causes, it should be obvious that this cannot be equated to the oppression of women in islam.

    perhaps kind was not the right term. perhaps barbarity is a better term. and there it’s not just violence, it’s pervasive oppression.

    in any case, those who deem the 2 equivalent either dk much about women in islam, suffer from PC, or are blinded by disregard of the west.

  17. oao says:

    Where did you get the idea that the authors are making any kind of cultural equivalence comparison with the US? I didn’t find it in their piece.

    i did not. the thread has a context and i put all comments in it.

  18. Ray in Seattle says:

    Rich, I think that analyzing inter-family and inter-relationship male against female violence is easier when you look at the motivations in terms of the emotions aroused.

    Violence as a result of sexual jealousy or infidelity is recognized almost universally in all cultures as far as I know as a somewhat lesser crime and has been so even in all ancient cultures that recorded daily life.

    Even modern Western law does so by way of requiring premeditation for first degree murder. Such crimes occur in all cultures and are explained pretty well by evolutionary psychology. Men require absolute fidelity in order not to waste their efforts promoting some other man’s genetic legacy at the expense of his own. Women derive an evolutionary advantage from demanding male fidelity in order to optimize the stability and care available to her relatively few eggs (chances for offspring). She can also get insurance for this by cheating if she has doubts although there can be other emotional motives for that.

    Social subjugation of women by men outside of some sexual relationship is another thing. It is the result of a cultural belief – an identity belief about one’s society and the place of women and men in that society.

    Our cultures are different. According to our cultural beliefs we generally see the social subjugation of anyone including women as an abomination. Biology is inherited. We have no control over our genes. Culture is passed down, learned and promoted actively by societies that wish to preserve it. Just as we have largely moved past racial discrimination and female subjugation in the West, although we still have significant work to do – I think it’s high time for Arab societies to modernize and stop such gross abuse of their women as FGM, making them wear stifling black tents in public and honor killing.

    Jared Diamond provides a good discussion of human sexual selection behavior in his classic “The Third Ape” – Chapter 4, “The Science of Adultery”.

  19. oao says:

    No need to get all emotional now. You shouldn’t take things so personally.

    heh, heh, that’s a good one.

    you have not seen me yet take anything personally and you’re better off that way, believe you me.

  20. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao, you have not seen me yet take anything personally and you’re better off that way, believe you me.

    You mean you can be even more derisive? ;-)

  21. oao says:

    You mean you can be even more derisive? ;-)

    not more derisive, derisive. i have not been desrisive yet. but you have not yet triggered that.

  22. oao says:

    Violence as a result of sexual jealousy or infidelity is recognized almost universally in all cultures as far as I know as a somewhat lesser crime and has been so even in all ancient cultures that recorded daily life.

    yes, and it’s not a positive.

    Such crimes occur in all cultures and are explained pretty well by evolutionary psychology.

    yup. but the more affluent the society the more the non-evolutionary behaviors and emotions.

    According to our cultural beliefs we generally see the social subjugation of anyone including women as an abomination.

    in general, true. but there are segments of our society which, while not touching islam, are on that path: the fanatically religious.

  23. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao said: yup. but the more affluent the society the more the non-evolutionary behaviors and emotions.

    There is no such thing as non-evolutionary behavior.

  24. Sophia says:

    Oao, go re-read Solomonia’s comments about my posts.

    And – we women, radical feminists or otherwise, still deserve an apology. How one earth can you try to wriggle off the hook by adding the term “radical” to your smear about people’s looks?

  25. oao says:

    Oao, go re-read Solomonia’s comments about my posts.

    no thanks. i wasn’t reading much of them here, so why go there? if form my own judgments, don’t go by others.
    particularly online comments which can range to absurd nonsense. it takes all kinds, you know.

    And – we women, radical feminists or otherwise, still deserve an apology.

    you wish. i don’t apologize for asking questions and testing hypotheses. only lefties can ask for apology for that. certainly not to any radical.

    How one earth can you try to wriggle off the hook by adding the term “radical” to your smear about people’s looks?

    you belabor under the illusion that i am trying to wriggle out. out of what? obviously you ignored the perfectly reasonable mechanism i described to you. but then lefties are never about facts, logic and reality, but about illusions, wishful thinking and utopia.

    your notion of smear is pretty weird. you mean, if i don’t like the looks of somebody and i say so i smear?
    and for THAT i should apologize? what crap.

    btw, if you don’t get the significance of ‘radical’ i can’t help you. nobody can. and since you’re not a radical yourself–trust me, you’re not–no apology os warranted.

  26. oao says:

    There is no such thing as non-evolutionary behavior.

    poor term, for the lack of a better one. i meant ‘not strictly for survival’.

  27. Lorenz Gude says:

    While I think RL’s choice of images was lighthearted and humorous (Hence my ironic comment above) I felt Diane’s point that he could have more effectively reinforced the arguments made in the post with other images was true. Here are a couple of candidates:

    Two female Marines in Iraq searching an Iraqi woman at a checkpoint – you have to scroll down past the historical image.

    http://groups.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=groups.groupProfile&groupID=103855359

    And there is this widely distributed recent photo of an Iranian woman defying police in the street.

    http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2009-06-17-IranianWomen1.jpg

    While I think modernity, including feminism, has penetrated the Islamic world more than we sometimes realize, I think it is also true that we in the West have made a genuine effort to create a new level of equality between the sexes. Women Marines have proven effective at getting more intelligence from both men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our corporations and other institutions benefit enormously from female talent and brainpower. I had the pleasure of watching a steaming video recently of my daughter in law give a talk at Google in her area of expertise. What struck me was her natural authority and her ability to simply be herself without having to take on a false masculinzed personality to maintain the respect of the audience. In short I think it is fair to say that the West has committed itself to a new relationship between the sexes while the Islamic world is still deeply split.

    http://www.all4humor.com/images/files/Burka%20Swimsuit.jpg

  28. Richard Landes says:

    i’ve changed the photos to make my point less abrasive.

  29. Cynic says:

    Sophia,

    Indeed one of our battles, one that afflicts all women because we all age if nothing else, lies in overcoming the kneejerk reaction to our faces and our bodies -

    Start placing the blame on the evolutionary processes for reproduction.

    It seems that in all nature from plants through insects to bipedal animals the big thing in reproducing the species is firstly to attract.

  30. sshender says:

    Thanx Richard! I must admit I like the new photos better – the girls have perkier breasts!

    As for Sophia and Diane (but mostly Sophia), I think that you’re letting your emotions cloud your judgement. oao is absolutely right about the general correlation between a woman’s looks and her status and views in life. There is nothing degrading about. This is just natural. Ugly women (and please, just don’t give me the “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” or the “it’s on the inside that matters” bullshit) have serious trouble finding men, thus can grow emotionally and sexually frustrated and be drawn to radical feminism as a reaction to their perceived injustice. It is little secret that most feminists have some very serious issues with either their looks or some sort of childhood psychological trauma that inhibits them from leading a healthy way of life vis-a-vis the opposite sex.

    This is really a no brainer.

  31. Cynic says:

    Dude: I have seen some “radical feminists” who were absolute knockouts.

    Maybe he should have used the word attractive instead of pretty.

    For my part I have come across some pretty (if you see it as punny it is intended)radical feminists who were not very attractive in their aggressive and somewhat abusive expostulations.
    As attractive as a chunks of marble to be stuck outside as apparitions beckoning the sun to try and warm them.

    They displayed no warmth with regard to the humdrum things of life but an animated drive for the preconceived part they think they have been alloted in life.

    Amazing how these, I suppose not all, radical feminists have not been out in front of the world shouting about the disgraceful conduct of the chauvinistic males (of the Muslim world in particular) where the female is mere chattel and in some cases of lower importance than the camel and in some cases even the nanny goat.

    Where are their voices about the disgraceful conduct of Iranians stoning women to death, in the 21st Century of all times?
    The honour killings where the father and/or the brothers gang rape the sister and then the mother is ordered to kill her?
    I am already sick of innumerating this hideous behaviour while the feminists of the world remain silent.
    Why?
    Do they also form part of the Leftist Liberal Fascists who form an alliance against Israel/Zionists/Jews and remain true to their ideology and thus silent on the abuses practiced by their fellow travelers?
    Where do they stand in terms of conceived morality?
    What do these feminists think and feel when a young daughter is slaughtered to appease the “honour” of an animal, because the animal objected to her clothes?
    Where is the justice that the feminists demand for themselves but is denied the sister/daughter raped and butchered? The Wife treated more lowly than the goat?

  32. Ray in Seattle says:

    sshender, your #31 is a real humdinger. I’ll leave it to Diane or Sophia to deal with the several levels of revealing content if they wish but I certainly agree with your final conclusion as the perfect description of your comment.

    It really is a no-brainer.

  33. Cynic says:

    RL,

    Re #29; sometimes the more abrasive the quicker the “truth” shines through.

  34. Ray in Seattle says:

    Geez, I feel overwhelmed participating in a forum with so many males who are such obvious chick-magnets. You guys must have a bevy of hot, sexy warm women standing in line to make you happy. Is your success with the women because of your insightful manly world-view? Does it make them feel all girly inside when they are around you?

    Maybe you could post some pictures of yourselves here so we could see what success with the ladies really looks like. ;-)

  35. Cynic says:

    Diane,

    I am sick and tired of the different expectations our culture has toward women and men. Call it the Sarah Palin syndrome.

    Blame it on the hormones. Start observing the animals in the wild and you will see some close resemblances to 21st Century man competing in a Machiavellian style to succeed; and all those frustrated ones resorting to ersatz forms of satisfaction.

    As for Sarah Palin, what a breath of fresh air; she was the butt of a frustrated political class (In an analogous fashion like some of those radical feminists) which should be getting therapy.
    Very attractive, emitting warmth and pleasantness, the very antithesis of those screwed up democrats, republicans who were so jealous of her and those feminists who found in her an enemy.

    She is at least as serious a person as Joe Biden.

    I think she would run rings around the current menagerie on display.

  36. Ray in Seattle says:

    BTW – I think this whole thread is really a good one – in the ideas it raises and the responses elicited so far. IMO the new pix are fine but the first picture of the three women was beautiful. I think it also made the point better because it had a definite sexual dimension to it. That says something about our culture. It defuses sex a great deal compared to Islamic and other traditional religious cultures by allowing moderate public expression of sexuality.

    It says that men and women in the West can treat sexuality as a non-serious aspect of life that can be played with safely. It says that women can exhibit their sexuality if the wish and not be subject to abuse or rape. It says that men can get by just fine playing that game from the other side in our response to playful sexuality. From the male side I’d say the ideal male role to adopt (in our culture) is a “James Bond” – certainly able to deliver if requested but cool and in-control of our actions. Never demeaning or demanding and we don’t go crazy or get out of control – at least the great majority of us who are normal. It’s a matter of priorities.

    And hopefully, in our fevered imaginations, we can keep all that separate from considerations of a woman’s intelligence or competence.

  37. Cynic says:

    Ray,

    you were using “shrillery” and “alibama” as terms of respect. ;-)

    I think I introduced Alibama because of all those tax thieves he was nominating, at the time, for positions in his admin. Poetic license?

    I think I am at liberty to say things :-) about the manner in which my security and livelihood are being affected even though I’m not an American.
    Good grief even those allied Brits were calling him President Pantywaist and the Financial Times had a cartoon of Ali opening his Superman vest to expose a pussy cat.

    The terms generally come out of frustration at not being able to direct one’s own life but being forced to endure the crap being dished out.
    In life it is not very honest to try and display being “fair and balanced” because in many cases the situation demands that one take a stand and the cognitive dissonance eventually grinds down to serious problems.

  38. oao says:

    I think it is also true that we in the West have made a genuine effort to create a new level of equality between the sexes.

    you bet. but i also bet that the radicals are oblivious to that.

    one interesting thing is that when women did reach the top of corporate or political world they did not behave any different than men. so when we’re talking equality, we’re also talking the negatives.

    Start placing the blame on the evolutionary processes for reproduction.

    it’s the knack of lefties to ignore biological realities. remember communism?

    i am not gonna mention the feminist overgeneralization to “always” and “all men”, the very thing that they complain about men doing.

    oao is absolutely right about the general correlation between a woman’s looks and her status and views in life. There is nothing degrading about.

    i don’t see the radical feminists complaining about pretty women hitting on rich/powerful man based on looks; nor do they complain when they exploit their looks to attract/influence men, or when powerful/rich women pick up men based on looks.

    there was a book by a “pro-men” activist about the myth of man power — men should read that.

    Maybe he should have used the word attractive instead of pretty.

    uhuh. why???? and do you think that would have made any difference on sophia?

    Where do they stand in terms of conceived morality?

    they don’t, because their issue is not morality (it might have been decades back, when there was still discrimination against women). today is a pure power play: they are just against western males, it’s a perceived self-interest issue, not a moral one.

    You guys must have a bevy of hot, sexy warm women standing in line to make you happy.

    i can’t speak for the others, but alas, i am neither powerful nor rich so no, no line waiting for me.

    Start observing the animals in the wild and you will see some close resemblances to 21st Century man competing in a Machiavellian style to succeed;

    it would be useful to make sure one watches the females of the species too — whom they choose and how they behave when they get the power–be it via looks or skills.

    That says something about our culture. It defuses sex a great deal compared to Islamic and other traditional religious cultures by allowing moderate public expression of sexuality.

    yup, as long as we also remember that we have men whose views are not exactly the same, but along the lines in islam. the difference is that they are individual exceptions, not a social cultural rule.

  39. oao says:

    incidentally, some men are smart enough to be wary of beautiful women because the low need for developing character and intellect doesn’t make for reliable, non-exploiting/manipulating relationships.

    but for evolutionary reasons mentioned here, men more often than not succumb to instinct, with not very attractive consequences.

  40. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao said: yup, as long as we also remember that we have men whose views are not exactly the same, but along the lines in islam. the difference is that they are individual exceptions, not a social cultural rule.

    I agree. Now, if you think for a minute about the way you use the term “lefties”. Why is it that you can be so careful not too generalize about Western males’ views toward female sexuality – but find it so hard not to generalize derisively about attractive women or “lefties” or Dems or liberals?

    It’s not that I disagree with some of your points. It’s just that you aren’t very careful about your thinking nor in the way you express your conclusions. There is some truth IMO in your thinking on most topics. It’s too bad you keep it confined to a zero-sum ideological battlefield.

  41. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao says: some men are smart enough to be wary of beautiful women because the low need for developing character and intellect doesn’t make for reliable, non-exploiting/manipulating relationships.

    Let’s parse this astounding statement. When you say ” . . because the low need for developing character and intellect . . ” you are directly implying that beautiful women are not likely to be smart or have good character.

    Can you possibly be more offensive than to derisively generalize a large group of human beings based on nothing but their appearance? Do you have some stats to support this amazing assertion?

    It’s been my observation that beautiful women often have a very difficult time in life because people like you assume just what you said above. So they constantly have to prove themselves to be the exception to your ugly prejudices. They are constantly dismissed by males, their ideas classed reflexively as being not worthy of consideration. I think that is grossly unfair and shows how far Western society has to go to fulfill the promise of the enlightenment.

  42. oao says:

    i knew somebody would jump on this, ignoring my explicit qualification.

    Let’s parse this astounding statement. When you say ” . . because the low need for developing character and intellect . . ” you are directly implying that beautiful women are not likely to be smart or have good character.

    i am careful with my language: “low need” means “low need”. if indeed good looks is a dominant–though not necessarily the only–factor (as it was sort of agreed here), obviously developing character and intellect is not as important as in the absence of good looks. since character and intellect require development and therefore effort, time and resources, it follows that there will be a higher probability of no such investment for the more attractive (ok?) women. this is a logical inference and i emphasized its probabilistic nature, which means there are exceptions.

    Can you possibly be more offensive than to derisively generalize a large group of human beings based on nothing but their appearance? Do you have some stats to support this amazing assertion?

    gee, looks like i touched one of your identity emotions (yawn).

    reality is not always pleasant and politically correct, but it’s reality. now you are free to reject it because it offends you or others.

    as to stats, it is really impossible to provide serious stats, because such research will never be undertaken precisely because it is deemed offensive and there is no desire to risk the findings. so this hypothesis is based on the logic of what has been agreed here as well as rational human behavior (in the economic sense).

    if indeed physical attraction is an evolutionary phenomenon and if it, indeed, works as described, then it would be less rational for attractive women to invest as much in development of character and intellect as the less attractive one. unless you want to except them from the evolutionary explanation, or reduce their rationality (which may be offensive in itself).

    It’s been my observation that beautiful women often have a very difficult time in life because people like you assume just what you said above.

    it happens, because there are exceptions to every human generalization and when it does happen, it does not take long and even if it does, it puts the women in the less attractive category and may well induce an effort to develop you know what.

    but exceptions are not the rule and so i would reject ‘often’ and i would therefore argue that this hardly negates the hypothesis.

  43. oao says:

    btw, there is some anecdotal confirmation of the hypothesis in the “dumb blondes”. it is not empirical evidence, nor is it an accurate expression, but it attests to some recognition of a trend.

  44. Ray in Seattle says:

    I rest my case.

  45. Diane says:

    This thread is disheartening, because people whose opinion I usually respect are showing themselves to be utter cavemen when it comes to respecting and understanding women. I will not rebut your arguments … no point, really. Your minds are made up. Just ask yourself: is it reasonable to reduce HALF the world’s population to sexually frustrated hags and “perky”-breasted babes? Does it make any more sense than to reduce the male population to caricatures of potent hunks and undersexed nerds?

    I hope, RL, that you at least do not agree with the pseudo-psychological crap flying around here and that you don’t approve of it as justification for mindless woman-bashing.

  46. oao says:

    I rest my case.

    if only it were that easy.

    are showing themselves to be utter cavemen when it comes to respecting and understanding women.

    and apparently reducing men to cavemen is alright.

    it is part of respect not to condescend and pander to some distorted views that ignore reality.

    Your minds are made up. Just ask yourself: is it reasonable to reduce HALF the world’s population to sexually frustrated hags and “perky”-breasted babes?

    to change our minds we would have to be persuaded by some convincing evidence and logic, something which is absent in your posts. your interpretation of what we say has no relationship to what we say and is in danger of validating some of our arguments.

    i would say you’re the closest case to validating ray’s theory that i’ve seen. but then lefties are prone to that.

    you have a kneejerk reaction to what we say, you infer nonsense from what we say, and you have the nerve to accuse us of closed minds? help me lord, and i’m an atheist.

  47. Eliyahu says:

    We were talking to an intelligent young woman who recently married into our family. She had gone to Goucher [a women's college for those outside the US who don't know] and then to Columbia. She was very emphatic about what she called the phenomenon of “feminazis.” She meant feminists or radical feminists on the faculty, especially those who hated Israel and justified Islamist deviations from human decency. She ran into some of that breed first at Goucher and then at Columbia. So I have to take her word for it and her observation is supported by RL’s post and other writings.

    Maybe we should consider the possibility that some “leftists” undergo something more than indoctrination, maybe some kind of brainwashing. After all, it is bizarre for self-styled feminists –and bear in mind that “Women’s Lib” began back in the 1960s with young women who felt exploited in the civil rights movement, and hence demanded recognition of women’s rights– to throw out all of their ostensible feminist principles and justify “honor” murders and all sorts of other abuses of women.

    At this point I am not ready to try a psychoanalysis of the feminazi phenomenon.

    I hold with those who say that “honor” murders are not mere domestic violence also known in other societies. These murders are a definite Islamic phenomenon, even if sometimes occurring among other cultures and religions. Further, even beating one’s wife –moderately to be sure– is an Islamic principle in the shari`ah. Men are supposed to use force to keep their wives in line. Note well, though, that the Arab-Islamic “honor” murder is usually committed NOT by the husband but by a woman’s brother or father. In one case among Arabs living near Ramallah, it was the mother who killed her daughter, after the daughter had been raped and made pregnant by two of her brothers. Although she was the victim, she was considered to have brought shame on the family. So Mom did her in out of concern for the family’s rep. Such murders have taken place in the USA too, the earliest such murderer that I know of being Zein Issa of St Louis or Kansas City, a Palestinian Arab by origin, who disapproved of his daughter going out with a black boy, among other offenses [circa 1988].

    On a tangential topic, in Israel, among Jews, the “peace process” going on since 1993 and symbolized by the handshake on the White House lawn, has, inter alia, led to a sharp increase in violence among Jews, among Jewish teenagers [among themselves], and also more wife-murders. I don’t see this increase in violence including murder as a mere coincidence in time with the “peace process.” I see it as one of the less appetizing outcomes, although the peacemongering community would not want to admit it. I’m sure that the “peace process” is not the only cause, but a major one in that people feel frustrated by the continuation of “peace processing” which they know leads to Arab terrorist violence and murder. Further, the “peace process” is humiliating to Israelis and Jews. Perhaps like Frantz Fanon’s 3rd world revolutionaries, Israeli youth react with violence. The wife murders too, although here the murderers are not youths. Anyhow, the peace process also devaluates the value of human life by excusing or “understanding” or approving Arab terrorist acts, and deploring responses to them. The so-called Left also promotes murder and violence in another way. The “left” or “peace camp” dominates the mass communications media. By giving violence/murder so much publicity, much more than it used to get, it seems that they encourage it. What say you, Cynic?

    As to Sarah Palin, I think that she’s much more competent than joe biden who can’t keep his mouth shut, and more honest than The Obominable One. That’s not hard, after all. But I preferred McCain and Palin. They’re far from perfect to be sure. I’d prefer Palin to obama as president. by the way, FRance24, the French counterpart to bbc, is now calling the war in Afghanistan obama’s war, actually the current military offensive there France24 calls “Obama’s surge.” Where are the sweet dreams of peace of yesteryear? Ou sont les neiges d’antan?

  48. oao says:

    btw, ray, i take notice that you said “not likely to be smart”.

    my notion of intellect is not reduced to smartness, but rather how that smartness is trained to be used within society; i also consider character not just something you’re born with, but something developed via the environment, circumstances, hardships, etc.

    therefore there is no implication in my argument that attractive women are likely to be less smart or lack character. rather i was clearly referring to how their natural characteristics — which i assume to be similar to men. rather my argument is specifically of the need for that development and the social inducements — positive or negative — for it.

    are you familiar with the social expectation from women, often internalized, to focus on marrying well?

  49. oao says:

    Maybe we should consider the possibility that some “leftists” undergo something more than indoctrination, maybe some kind of brainwashing.

    maybe???????

    The “left” or “peace camp” dominates the mass communications media. By giving violence/murder so much publicity, much more than it used to get, it seems that they encourage it.

    that and more. witness mash’al claim that it’s jihad which has changed attitudes in the US and brought alibama to power. violence is effective on west: it’ll do anything to make it go away.

  50. Ray in Seattle says:

    Oao said, rather i was clearly referring to how their natural characteristics — which i assume to be similar to men.

    That is not a sentence – and that makes your thesis somewhat incoherent. If you really want my response could you amend it so I can better understand you? If so, I’ll do my best.

  51. oao says:

    btw, ray, i take notice that you said “not likely to be smart”.

    my notion of intellect is not reduced to smartness, but rather how that smartness is trained to be used within society; i also consider character not just something you’re born with, but something developed via the environment, circumstances, hardships, etc.

    therefore there is no implication in my argument that attractive women are likely to be less smart or lack character. rather i was clearly referring to how their natural characteristics — which i assume to be similar to men. rather my argument is specifically of the need for that development and the social inducements — positive or negative — for it.

    are you familiar with the social expectation from women, often internalized, to focus on marrying well?

    by the way, FRance24, the French counterpart to bbc, is now calling the war in Afghanistan obama’s war, actually the current military offensive there France24 calls “Obama’s surge.”

    whatever they call it, i have little confidence in any war conducted by alibama.

  52. oao says:

    I hope, RL, that you at least do not agree with the pseudo-psychological crap flying around here and that you don’t approve of it as justification for mindless woman-bashing.

    looking for supporters when you aren’t persuasive yourself?

    i would call your stuff crap which is not even pseudo-psychological.

    i guess when we say so it’s lack of respect, but when you do it is defense of the truth and morality, right?

  53. rich says:

    So you’re saying that if, like a dog, genetics had made it easy for humans to lick their butts, you would advocate that as an imperative? ok. sorry, i couldn’t resist.

    But it’s fascinating how, if a man kills a woman because he thinks she cheated on him in America, it’s a biological imperative of his evolution which stands at the root. If he happens to be from turkey, then it’s a cultural abomination. It’s an defense intellectually akin to, “you disagree with me? oh, don’t get emotional.”

    It is clear that the original claim made in this post is an unsubstantiated sham and an excuse to preach this lame cultural superiority bs (which i find ironic).

    The whole thing would be hilarious except that it rests oppressively on the bodies of thousands of young girls who i’m sure couldn’t give two sh*ts about your attempts to figure out on which pile to stack their bones.

    …and now i’m back to talking about dogs.

  54. Diane says:

    I didn’t call all men “cavemen” — just the ones here (oao, I’m talking to you) who pound there chests in a fair imitation.

    Before you spew any more nonsense, please read Phyllis Chesler, a conservative feminist, pro-Zionist, and a passionate advocate for women’s rights in the Muslim world. RL cites her with admiration, and I have read enough of her work to agree (check out The New Anti-Semitism) http://www.amazon.com/New-Anti-Semitism-Current-Crisis-About/dp/078796851X

    With all the nastiness directed at women in this thread, I’m beginning to wonder whether the anti-feminists hanging out here actually condone the practice of honor killings. After all, if women are such trash, what’s wrong with treating them accordingly?

  55. Ray in Seattle says:

    In #43 I said, It’s been my observation that beautiful women often have a very difficult time in life because people like you assume just what you said above. So they constantly have to prove themselves to be the exception to your ugly prejudices. They are constantly dismissed by males, their ideas classed reflexively as being not worthy of consideration.

    I should have said that it’s been my observation that women’s views generally are dismissed by many men in our society as if they were children. Exceptionally attractive women have an even harder time of it for the reasons mentioned above.

  56. oao says:

    I didn’t call all men “cavemen” — just the ones here (oao, I’m talking to you) who pound there chests in a fair imitation.

    i wish i could respond intelligently but i can’t do it with crap.

    Before you spew any more nonsense, please read Phyllis Chesler, a conservative feminist, pro-Zionist, and a passionate advocate for women’s rights in the Muslim world.

    no, you stop spewing nonsense. chesler is irrelevant to what we were discussing here and not just in one way. i suggest you familiarize yourself with logic and the concept of relevance to the specific argument at issue.

    moreover, i also suggest you pay attention to the several times i referred to rules and exceptions and it would be a good idea to know the difference between them.

  57. oao says:

    So you’re saying that if, like a dog, genetics had made it easy for humans to lick their butts, you would advocate that as an imperative? ok. sorry, i couldn’t resist.

    i strongly recommend you resist, as i have no idea what you’re talking about.

    But it’s fascinating how, if a man kills a woman because he thinks she cheated on him in America, it’s a biological imperative of his evolution which stands at the root.

    looks like you either don’t understand arguments, or you attach weird interpretations to them.

    i am not aware that anybody here has justified ANY killings and, in fact, i explicitly rejected any violence, regardless of reason. but that is completely irrelevant to the issue of whether there is cultural equivalence of women treatment in western and islamic societies.

  58. oao says:

    I should have said that it’s been my observation that women’s views generally are dismissed by many men in our society as if they were children. Exceptionally attractive women have an even harder time of it for the reasons mentioned above.</i.

    let’s see:

    1. how generally?
    2. how many men?
    3. dismissive in what context?

    but let’s assume your observation is accurate in toto. to put this in the context of this thread, would you equate this to the treatment of women in islam?

  59. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao said: but let’s assume your observation is accurate in toto. to put this in the context of this thread, would you equate this to the treatment of women in islam?

    Equate? No. Relate? Yes

    They both come from a cultural belief that women are inferior to men. I use belief in my special sense of non-conscious emotional force that affects behavior choice.

    Each culture provides behavior norms that are permissible as well as lines that can not be crossed without penalty – as responses to those emotional forces. Arab norms are exceptionally brutal and worthy of full condemnation. The lines that can not be crossed there are almost nonexistent. Ours are not so brutal but still worthy of honest recognition as well as effort to correct them. (The area of abortion law in some states approaches brutality in some cases.)

    The recognition part is the point of my last few comments on this topic.

  60. oao says:

    They both come from a cultural belief that women are inferior to men. I use belief in my special sense of non-conscious emotional force that affects behavior choice.

    i would say that it’s your belief that that is their belief. it’s your blind belief that everything is a belief that drives your comments. it’s getting tiresome.

    one does not have to believe that women are inferior to be violent to them. people who are violent to women tend to be violent in general. are there men who believe women are inferior? absolutely. but that is not characteristic of our society.

    Ours are not so brutal but still worthy of honest recognition as well as effort to correct them.

    yes, which is exactly what i said: there are segments in our society that have their flaws. but that is not true of the whole society as is in islam. and the barbarity of the latter is in a category by itself.

    honesty goes both ways, you know?

  61. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao say: i would say that it’s your belief that that is their belief. it’s your blind belief that everything is a belief that drives your comments. it’s getting tiresome.

    If it’s so tiresome for you why do you read and respond to my posts. As the Dr. says – if that hurts I suggest you stop doing it.

  62. oao says:

    If it’s so tiresome for you why do you read and respond to my posts. As the Dr. says – if that hurts I suggest you stop doing it.

    because i don’t want to leave others with the impression that there is no countering to your arguments.

  63. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao: Do you realize that you have suggested that either I stop publishing my true thoughts on this topic (become silent so as not to antagonize you) or perhaps that I lie about my ideas for you. I am daily amazed by your offensive arrogance – something that only the most committed ideologues seem capable of.

    But please don’t take me seriously in #63 and as a result stop providing your little barbs in response to my comments and ideas. I don’t think I have ever had an online detractor offer such vivid and regular evidence in support of my theory.

    It is the emotional dimension of belief that is where the meat is. The words we use to defend our beliefs are a side-issue. It is the emotional part that directs our behavior. Ideologues have exceptional emotional attachment to their own beliefs to the extent that even being exposed to beliefs antagonistic to their own results in a deep anger and a need to publicly shame the perpetrator to support the honor of their own world-view. It is the reason why they spend so much time on-line. It provides them with deep emotional fulfillment.

    The tell-tale sign of ideology in discussion is not disagreement over ideas (which is what makes this forum interesting for me) but a bullying intolerance to the exposure to others’ ideas. Like all cultures, in online forums like this, there are acceptable behaviors and lines that must not be crossed when responding to those emotional drivers. Ideologues learn how to express their intolerance in more-or-less acceptable ways – like by characterizing others’ ideas as crap and telling them they should stop posting them.

    So, please don’t let up.

  64. oao says:

    Do you realize that you have suggested that either I stop publishing my true thoughts on this topic (become silent so as not to antagonize you) or perhaps that I lie about my ideas for you.

    do you really believe (pun intended) that your ideas are so important or so disconcerting that they are worth silencing?????????

    i suggested you stop??? in your dreams. I NEVER in my whole life tried to stop anybody from publishing anything. claims of arguments being rubbish are not attempts to silence. you sound like mearsheimer and walt.

    to lie about your ideas? is that another of your beliefs? looks like you assign rigid beliefs to everybody except yourself.

    i don’t think you have a real clue about what ideology is. what is more you are oblivious to the ideological nature of your so-called theory which is actually close to a tautology and not very enlightening as a theoretical explanation. can you figure out why?

    I am daily amazed by your offensive arrogance – something that only the most committed ideologues seem capable of.

    i suggest that if you live in glass house, don’t throw stones. you are ideologically committed to a theory which “explains” every behavior. but how exactly does “they do it because they believe it” explain anything?

    and as long as you don’t comprehend that spare me your offended soul and stupid accusations.

  65. oao says:

    and btw, your claim that i am not arguing about ideas is false. it is you who hook on to my style as offensive rather than to my arguments about ideas.

  66. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao, Yes, of course you will say that I am the ideological one. Ideologues will see any ideas not supportive of their ideology as threats and personal attacks – and will see those that have those ideas as out to get them.

    As usual, your comments are full of broad-based invective and rancor but shy of examples or facts. Can you find one example where I have suggested that my view represents objective reality at the expense of competing models? Or that mine is the only correct way to see human behavior? Or that anyone who disagrees with me must lack critical thinking skills or the facility for logical analysis? Have I ever called someone’s ideas here crap or nonsense? I don’t think so. In fact I’ve emphasized that my view (not even calling it a theory) is simply one possible way of looking at human behavior and motives that could provide some interesting insight into the current discussion of cultural differences between East and West.

    I invite you to find one example of what you call “ideological commitment” by me of this view. That doesn’t mean that I won’t offer an intellectual defense of it if it is challenged. Isn’t that what forums like this are for? As long as the challenge is directed against my ideas that defense will never include a personal attack against those who question them. However, if you respond with arrogance, insults and derision have no doubt that I’ll call you on it. I never pass up an opportunity to call a bully to his or her face. Don’t confuse that with debate.

    To be clear I do not think that my view is the only useful model to describe human behavior and I welcome any (non-ideological) criticism of it as I’m sure it has flaws – or of any of the other ideas I may express here. I am far from an expert on any of this and I am sure I will come to incorrect conclusions as I explore and learn more. Try to get past the pain of exposure to other people’s ideas. They are not always attacks against your identity.

    And what was that about “lying about my ideas”. I have no idea what you’re on about there.

  67. Ray in Seattle says:

    I see now what that was about. If someone says that someone’s ideas are exciting – they are suggesting that people enjoy reading and discussing them. I won’t stay awake waiting for that to happen ;-)

    But, when you suggest that someone’s ideas are tiresome – then you are suggesting that either they should stop exhibiting them or perhaps they should be edited (changed) to be less tiresome (as opposed to true expressions of what they believe).

    I realize now that was just a generalized insult and I shouldn’t have taken it so literally. Sometimes it’s hard to separate your general insults from your more specific ones.

  68. Ray in Seattle says:

    Looking back at what started this detour from the topic – and in an attempt to return to it – it was this statement by me in #61:

    They both come from a cultural belief that women are inferior to men. I use belief in my special sense of non-conscious emotional force that affects behavior choice.

    The reason I included that qualifier is because it adds clarity to my meaning. Many males who non-consciously act dismissively towards women’s ideas or attempts at discussion of serious topics would vigorously deny that they believe (cognitively) that women and their ideas are inferior to men. And they would be right. Still the behavior is there. Where does it come from? Emotional forces produced by their non-conscious belief, the form of belief that I claim is often determinative in such situations.

    Ask any woman how often they feel they are being treated dismissively by some men in a discussion of serious topics in a social situation.

  69. oao says:

    I do not consider these exchanges about style rather than substance — usually your complaints and accusations — productive. and as i said i don’t much care for long posts in an online thread, it is not the proper medium. I said my piece and i stand behind it. here’s my last comment on the subject:

    But, when you suggest that someone’s ideas are tiresome – then you are suggesting that either they should stop exhibiting them or perhaps they should be edited (changed) to be less tiresome (as opposed to true expressions of what they believe).

    nope, if they are tiresome to me you don’t owe me any stopping or changes. only if YOU accept that they they may be tiresome, perhaps to others too, should you do something about it.

    no, it was not intended as an insult; i never waste my time insulting people, it’s useless. i just say what i mean and mean what i say. whether or not people are offended and how they choose to respond or not has to do with them, not with me.

    coupled with the fact that i don’t consider it really explanatory but sort of tautological, repetition of it in each and every issue became tiresome to me.

    I invite you to find one example of what you call “ideological commitment” by me of this view.

    that is not what i said and i try to be very careful with language, except when i rarely slip, but not in this case.

    In fact I’ve emphasized that my view (not even calling it a theory) is simply one possible way of looking at human behavior and motives that could provide some interesting insight into the current discussion of cultural differences between East and West.

    the 1st part is irrelevant to the issue at hand, the 2nd part i denied — it’s not a very interesting insight. in fact it obscures insights.

    i’m not gonna go back and forth on this, it’s not gonna solve anything. it requires some background in the philosophy and methodology of science for which this is not a proper medium or audience. take it as you wish.

  70. sshender says:

    It looks like some people here really can’t take a joke. (I guess I’m at least partially guilty of leaving the wink emoticon out).

    Back to the subject at hand. I really fail to see what I have done to earn such scorn from you Ray. I value your commentary very much, but this thread made me somewhat uneasy. Now, I am nowhere near your eloquence, so I’ll pass on any witty retaliatory put downs, and get straight to the substance.

    I’m not what one would call a “chick magnet”, but I am young, rather handsome and have had some experience with the ladies, but that’s besides the point. Here’s where I disagree with Sophia and (apparently) with you:

    Are you saying that a woman’s appearance predetermines her philosophy?

    To a certain extent. Obviously a multitude of other factors weigh in, but if, hypothetically, you were to take a group of young, intelligent women with similar backgroud, I would expect – given both my experience and familiarity with the human psyche and sexual tendencies – that their looks (attractive vs. unattractive) would be a factor in their world view, especially vis-a-vis the opposite sex. This is of course not an inherent discrepancy, but the result of the different invironmental feedback women receive from their invironment, which is – whether we like it or not – comprised of many males whose interactions with women are effected in large part by their physical appearance.

    That is sexist and it is just dumb. It is reactionary.

    What is dumb, in my opinion, is the resortion to knee-jerk accusations of racism, sexism, chauvinism etc.

    Believe it or not women are complete packages with bodies, minds and souls and we have independent brains that aren’t controlled by the way *society* happens to see us.

    As if anyobody claimed anything to the contrary. A classical straw man argument.

    lies in overcoming the kneejerk reaction to our faces and our bodies – whether we are beautiful or not, socially acceptable in our appearance or not

    This is where it gets woozy. This kneejerk reaction IS A UNIVERSAL HUMAN MALE TRAIT and it is not going to disappear just becuase it makes some ladies feel uneasy or it doesn’t fit in well with their ideas of what the world SHOULD look like. Any (straight) man who denies that the first thing he does upon seeing a women is to inspect her looks and physic to determine whether she is worth “mating” with, is a liar.

    The rest of Sophia’s post are emotional appeals rather than logic. She provides us with not a single counter argument against what she is so vigorously decrying. This is usually typical of people with an emotinal stake in the subject.

    As for Diane:

    The feminist would say (and I would agree with her) that our over-permissive culture pressures young women to see themselves as meat and display themselves as meat is displayed in a butcher shop. THis is not a sign of cutlural enlightenment. It is a step backward

    On the contrary, I would argue that sexual promiscuasenes is in fact part of female sexuality as it is of male sexuality, and not the product of social or cultural pressure. Women who display their bodies may do so consciously or subconsciously but all do it for getting attention from the opposite sex. Man do it as well, but it’s little secret that looks matter much more to males when selecting a partner rather then to females. This is evolution 101.

    I’m afraid that I am sick and tired does not constitute a valid counter argument. You can’t just wish somewhing away just because you happen to find it unjust or wrong.

    Actually what amazes me is the utter cluelesness exhibited by the female commentators on this thred. I suggest they pick a book on evolutionary biology and get a clue. And don’t get me wrong, I’m all for debate, but one based on empirical science and not on emotional appeals.

    Can you possibly be more offensive than to derisively generalize a large group of human beings based on nothing but their appearance? Do you have some stats to support this amazing assertion?

    What kind of reasoning is that? Are you in favor of silencing debate by virtue of calling it offensive? Appearance is a variable in life, and a strong one at that, so I don’t think that you can just dismiss it as irrelevant. From you of all people, I would not expect this kind of emotional appeals. oao is right that these stats are hard to come by because of their political incorrectness, but you can get there by combining different available data. For example, there is a positive correlation between good looks and sexual activity and satisfaction. we all know how important sex (and by extension love) to our species. Now, isn’t it reasonable to suggest that non attractive women stand a higher chance of being sexually (and subsequently psychologically) frastrated than their prettier counterparts, which in turn can lead to a radical worldview enforced by a grudge towards men who avoided them? These women can develop serious antagonism towards men, as well as towards their fellow prettier women out of envy. Radical feminism does exactly that – it berates men while trying to supress the sexuality of women under the guise of caring for them not being exploited.

  71. oao says:

    sshender,

    I really fail to see what I have done to earn such scorn from you Ray.

    ray complains of being treated badly but he’s not aware of doing the same. (that usually happens to those who are quick to complain).

    What is dumb, in my opinion, is the resortion to knee-jerk accusations of racism, sexism, chauvinism etc.

    methinks a nerve might have been touched.

    I would argue that sexual promiscuasenes is in fact part of female sexuality as it is of male sexuality, and not the product of social or cultural pressure.

    in fact society does not instill that in women, just the opposite. promiscuous women are exactly treated with respect.

    I’m afraid that I am sick and tired does not constitute a valid counter argument.

    that’s emotional reaction substituting for intellectual reaction.

    And don’t get me wrong, I’m all for debate, but one based on empirical science and not on emotional appeals.

    bingo.

    Are you in favor of silencing debate by virtue of calling it offensive?

    funny you should say that. ray has accused me of being offensive while at the same time complaining that I am trying to shut HIM off. because i was derisive of his comments. question: who was empirical and who was emotional, you think?

    anyway, appeals to emotion are very effective in shutting people off. those who don’t are targets as sophia (and to a lesser degree ray) have shown.

  72. Ray in Seattle says:

    sshender, glad to see you back. You started off addressing me in #74 and then quoted several people but me until the last. So, I’m not so sure what I’m supposed to argue about but I’ll give it a friendly try. As a general response I’ll say that your young age and obvious chauvinism explains a lot – that’s a tough combination to bear.

    Let’s see now. You say that women who seem to you to be not so much on the pretty side tend to have an attitude, they become lesbians in frustration and have it in for men – and that all that’s obvious to you and it should be to anyone. Have you ever wondered if that attitude you noticed had anything to do with the way you act toward them?

    Here’s another for you. If you look around you’ll find that most women and most men don’t look like magazine models – yet amazingly most women and most men reproduce and make viable babies together – they even get married and have happy lives.

    Now, I don’t have statistics to back this up (there’s probably some out there) but it’s been my observation that exceptionally pretty women and exceptionally handsome men have their share of unhappy relationships, marriages without sex and ugly divorces. Based on my personal experience in life I would not be surprised if they even had more than their fair share of those. My theory for that is that our culture leads attractive kids down that path by telling them that they are more desirable than average – and so they grow up expecting easy access to the hottest partners out there.

    The problem is – hottness depends a great deal on newness, and “the grass is greener” effect, especially for men. These men are the ones who stray soon after getting married when they find that their expectations are not met and the thrill of novelty has disappeared. The men I have known who were not able to have – and therefore – did not expect that easy access to the hottest hotties, seemed to have ended up with mates who had a balance of attractive features – not necessarily excluding their looks.

    There are studies done on these things. You should be able to find some support for your premise – which I think is that pretty girls have happy relationships with handsome men and girls who aren’t so pretty become lesbians and frustrated man-haters.

    PC has little to do with it. That’s a RW trope IMO. Most research psychologists are actually scientists who are out to discover truths of human nature. They are aware of ideological biases and design their tests to eliminate that factor. If they don’t they will be criticized publicly for sloppy work and stand to lose grant money and credibility. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen but it’s much rarer than you’d think.

    You say, There is a positive correlation between good looks and sexual activity and satisfaction.

    It seems to me that if that were true and acting over a few thousand generations, there would only be hot men and hot women running around, the not so hot having been eliminated from the gene pool. But, I’m open to be educated on this. Let’s see your data.

  73. oao says:

    oh, boy. it would take me several pages to address the various problems in the last past. so i won’t. life is too short.

  74. oao says:

    sshender, note that he asked both you and me for data, but he cannot provide any data himelf. typical.

  75. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao, it’s not always about you my friend. I addressed that comment to sshender. But feel free to kibitz. (Ha, from hanging out here I now know the difference between a kibitz and a kibutz. ;-)

    But, as for your comment.

    a) I’m not the one proposing an ad hoc “scientific” theory in this thread – sshender is.

    b) I’m not the one saying, “And don’t get me wrong, I’m all for debate, but one based on empirical science and not on emotional appeals.” – sshender is.

    c) As for my theory, I never claimed it was based on “empirical science”. I’ve never posed it as something that others should accept and I have no need to convince anyone else of it – although I’m happy to explain and/or defend it when others express an interest.

    d) It’s just an explanatory model that I came up with that helps me understand some things about the ME conflict and differences between Arabs, Jews and other groups, their motivations, etc. – and human nature in general.

    You’re free to be offended by it as I’m sure you are by any concept not already part of your closed belief system – although understanding it would be a good first step if you want to keep bringing it up as you do. Your comments on it so far reveal that despite my several attempts to describe it you really don’t have a clue.

    I’d suggest the following:

    Either you understand it or you don’t.

    a) If you don’t your comments on it are just smoke and mirrors to hide that fact – little vehicles you use to insult anyone who brings new ideas into “your” forum.

    b) If you do, you should be able to summarize it in a few short sentences.

    I vote for a) but I guess we’ll now get to see which one it is.

  76. oao says:

    oao, it’s not always about you my friend. I addressed that comment to sshender. But feel free to kibitz.

    funny, coming from you, as it’s always about you. again throwing stones, aren’t you? then complain about others doing it.

    I’m not the one proposing an ad hoc “scientific” theory in this thread – sshender is.

    really? you could have fooled me. anyway, who determines is ad-hoc?

    I’m not the one saying, “And don’t get me wrong, I’m all for debate, but one based on empirical science and not on emotional appeals.” – sshender is.</I.

    1st, we both explained why the data does not exist (and i dk if you would not screem “offensive” if somebody tried to collect it). second, if you can’t offer data for your counter position, why is it that you demand it from us? and on what grounds you argue ours is wrong?

    As for my theory, I never claimed it was based on “empirical science”. I’ve never posed it as something that others should accept and I have no need to convince anyone else of it – although I’m happy to explain and/or defend it when others express an interest.

    so it’s just about you, not about your theory, then? that’s what i figured quite early.

    as to who does and does not understand, i will leave it to others to judge who has a clue.

  77. oao says:

    btw, i did not say i am offended, i said that you are being as offensive as those you complain about, but you’re oblivious to it, or you excuse it. you’re not terribly important for me to be offended.

  78. oao says:

    an example of powerful women at work:

    http://www.freedomscost.net/?p=2323

    they’re not after men, but after their own. how typical.

  79. Cynic says:

    oao,

    Here’s another blog post worth reading
    Feminists and the mystery of Sarah Palin

    feminists-against-women-strikes-again

    Violet says:

    Sarah Palin is the Designated Hate Receptacle for self-described feminists. They know they’re not supposed to hate other women, but they do anyway because their feminism is not quite as strong as their patriarchal brainwashing. Sarah Palin is the culture’s designated Hate Receptacle.
    I wasn’t just being all poetic a few days ago when I said that every joke about Sarah Palin is a joke about you (if you’re female). This is pure misogyny. It’s rage against women, channeled onto one woman.

    Now people want to know why the so called feminists don’t give a dog’s doo about women in Muslim countries?

  80. oao says:

    They know they’re not supposed to hate other women, but they do anyway because their feminism is not quite as strong as their patriarchal brainwashing.

    the feminists delude themselves that they are different than the rest of the women, but they’re nothing of the kind.

    Now people want to know why the so called feminists don’t give a dog’s doo about women in Muslim countries?

    i don’t because i know.

  81. Cynic says:

    oao,

    Jonah Goldberg wrote this:
    For instance, Margaret Sanger, the revered feminist and founder of Planned Parenthood, was a racist eugenicist of the first order. Even more perplexing: She’s become a champion of “reproductive freedom” even though she proposed a “Code to Stop Overproduction of Children,” under which “no woman shall have a legal right to bear a child without a permit.” (Poor blacks would have had a particularly hard time getting such licenses from Sanger.)

    in Ruth Bader Ginsburg and a Question of Eugenics
    and now we can see just what sort human we are dealing with in the mindset of a feminist.

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