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sufi
08-09-2009, 10:51 AM
Are you an only child or do you have siblings???

me i'm the eldest of 3, a little bro (aka newliberia) & a little sis
(& do your siblings use dissensus?)

martin
08-09-2009, 11:13 AM
Are you an only child or do you have siblings???
(& do your siblings use dissensus?)

Two sisters, one brother, all born over a decade before me. You'll have to blame the Pope for that one. So I kind of got best of both shitty worlds.

Do they use Dissensus? Are you joking?

STN
08-09-2009, 11:14 AM
I was going to post a similar thing, because I realized recently that a significant majority of my friends and ex-partners are the youngest of the litter. I do think it has a massive effect on your personality.

I have one older sister. She doesn't use dissensus. I think we should try and guess who is what: youngest, oldest, middle, only.

baboon2004
08-09-2009, 11:27 AM
I'm an only. Don't even get me STARTED on the psychological implications.

massrock
08-09-2009, 11:40 AM
Oldest of two. But one of the youngest in the year at school - late August birthday, which is something I never thought about until recently.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8227268.stm

nomadthethird
08-09-2009, 11:40 AM
In most developed countries, it's rare to see more than 2-3 children in one family, although it does happen. So guessing that there are a lot of one sibling families out there isn't magic, just pretty obvious.

But birth order/personality is a fun subject. I have a younger brother. My parents don't like to admit this, but they treated him completely differently than they did me and he lived by another set of (much more lenient) rules.

Most of people I've known who were only children seemed to think they missed out on something very special and important by not having siblings. Whereas when I was a kid I would've said only children were lucky because they didn't have to deal with double-standards and favoritism.

martin
08-09-2009, 11:46 AM
Personality-wise, in descending birth order, my 'other 3' are

1 - Gregarious, over-emotional, reckless
2 - Cynical, quiet, headstrong, guarded
3 - In your face, motormouth, scam artist

It might be worth pointing out that 2 was the 'golden girl' for years.

baboon2004
08-09-2009, 12:03 PM
Most of people I've known who were only children seemed to think they missed out on something very special and important by not having siblings. Whereas when I was a kid I would've said only children were lucky because they didn't have to deal with double-standards and favoritism.

That's what a friend was telling me the other day - his siblings are particularly stressful though. I take your point objectively-speaking, but I can't help but feel a bit jealous with friends who have siblings they get on amazingly with.

On a darker note, the prospect of being alone to look after both my parents as they (hopefully not, but, realisitcally, probably) increased ill health of old age, is one of the only things that wakes me up in the night, shivering.

Pestario
08-09-2009, 12:12 PM
youngest of 3

older half sister -> older brother -> me

my sister is much older than my brother and I (8 years older than my brother, who is 4 years older than me) and she was always living away so she felt like more of older cousin than a sister. The gap also meant that my brother seemed to get the worst aspects of being 'the oldest' as well as the middle child.

Sick Boy
08-09-2009, 01:42 PM
Eldest of 3. It's a good arrangement.

swears
08-09-2009, 01:42 PM
I have a sister who is 18 months younger, people always thought we were twins. She is a lot more outgoing and well-adjusted than me, we always got along OK, but not particularly close. Also a brother who's 8 years younger, he's very headstrong and athletic (6 foot 2 at 17) I used to feel protective of him, but he can look after himself OK now, haha. Do they read Dissensus? No, my sister told my mum I was going to see "this music professor fella talk about happy hardcore at FACT."

I sort of feel like the runt of the litter, like when the scientist in Twins tells Danny DeVito "You were the shit that was left over". I think our parents love us all the same though, never really been any favouritism.

nomadthethird
08-09-2009, 01:50 PM
I think our parents love us all the same though, never really been any favouritism.

Ask your sister about that... I wonder what she thinks.

STN
08-09-2009, 02:01 PM
Ask your sister about that... I wonder what she thinks.

what do you think she's likely to think, if you were to hazard a guess?

I wonder what my sister thinks, I reckon she thinks they favour me.*

*which they'd be right to, harr harr.

swears
08-09-2009, 02:12 PM
Ask your sister about that... I wonder what she thinks.

Hmmm... I dunno. They always made sure we had the same stuff. I remember if there was a cake, my mum would have one of us cut it down the middle and take the smallest slice. Of course it would be the most accurate 50/50 cut you'd ever seen, lol. We were just very different kids, I'd be in my room reading and she'd be on the front lawn with at least 10 mates shouting their heads off.

Sick Boy
08-09-2009, 02:50 PM
Nomad it looks like your theory isn't really panning out.
12 of the 14 people who've taken this poll so far have siblings.

jenks
08-09-2009, 03:00 PM
Hmmm... I dunno. They always made sure we had the same stuff. I remember if there was a cake, my mum would have one of us cut it down the middle and take the smallest slice. Of course it would be the most accurate 50/50 cut you'd ever seen, lol. We were just very different kids, I'd be in my room reading and she'd be on the front lawn with at least 10 mates shouting their heads off.

we use the 'you cut - he chooses' method - very effective.

I am the older of two - my sister is 18 mths younger and pretty much hoovered up all of the family's attention - very much the one who got into trouble with the police etc while I just got on with things.

I think this pattern has been reflected throughout our whole lives - she still lives close to my dad and is always getting him to help her out while I live a way from where I grew up and would never dream of asking for help.

With my own two I am very aware of how position in the family ahs had a big effect on them - the older is very competent and independent whilst teh younger still relies on playing up as the 'baby' of the family despite now being 9.He also plays on the fact that his older brother will do everything for him if allowed.

woops
08-09-2009, 03:03 PM
Nomad it looks like your theory isn't really panning out.
12 of the 14 people who've taken this poll so far have siblings.

remarkably no hitlers or napoleons yet though.

I have one brother who is a year and a half younger.

STN
08-09-2009, 03:10 PM
With my own two I am very aware of how position in the family ahs had a big effect on them - the older is very competent and independent whilst teh younger still relies on playing up as the 'baby' of the family despite now being 9.He also plays on the fact that his older brother will do everything for him if allowed.

I think I might still do this a bit.

Certainly my sister will try and do everything for me, which drives me insane. We'll be in a bookshop, and she'll say 'oh what are you looking for?' and I'll tell her and she'll race off and try to find it. Maddening.

I recently went on holiday with three other people, one a youngest sibling (like me), the other two were oldest siblings, and I noticed that me and other-youngest sat around a lot more, while the two oldests did stuff, like tidying, cooking etc.

baboon2004
08-09-2009, 03:11 PM
Is leaving children under mulberry bushes "negligence" these days then? Political correctness gone etc.

STN
08-09-2009, 03:12 PM
Nomad it looks like your theory isn't really panning out.
12 of the 14 people who've taken this poll so far have siblings.

I'd say that's a fairly significant number (of a very small sample), considering how rarely one meets only children.

sufi
08-09-2009, 03:12 PM
remarkably no hitlers or napoleons yet though.
being in the middle (i read somewhere) gives you WILL TO POWER... so i guess they have better things to do ...
(altho tbh i'm not 100% certain hitler & bonaparte were both in the category... :p)


My parents don't like to admit this, but they treated him completely differently than they did me and he lived by another set of (much more lenient) rules.
i've gotta say that i never heard anyone say 'o i was always favoritised', either here or elsewhere,
it's the most subjective situation, surely?

polystyle desu
08-09-2009, 03:27 PM
being in the middle (i read somewhere) gives you WILL TO POWER... so i guess they have better things to do ...
(altho tbh i'm not 100% certain hitler & bonaparte were both in the category... :p)

i've gotta say that i never heard anyone say 'o i was always favoritised', either here or elsewhere,
it's the most subjective situation, surely?

OK, i'll take that Sufi !

Didn't have either of those in our family,
more then made up by me 'Step mom' and her crew that got brought into our tribe while I was between Elementary School and Jr High.
Real mom passed too early...

padraig (u.s.)
08-09-2009, 03:55 PM
it depends on how I count 'em as:

my mom & stepdad have a daughter, my half-sister, 3 1/2 yrs younger, who I grew up with.

then my dad & his 2nd wife have 6 kids who are, variously, my half-brothers or sisters. Orthodox Jews, breed like rabbits, u know the score. they all live in Israel & I've never met any of them (tho I plan to go & do so someday).

I should probably just answer 2 but I'm going to say 3 or more, b/c, why not.

polystyle desu
08-09-2009, 04:32 PM
Hear you Padraig US,
Once our two families er, 'got together' everything scrambled.
Reality included.

nomadthethird
08-09-2009, 05:00 PM
Hmmm... I dunno. They always made sure we had the same stuff. I remember if there was a cake, my mum would have one of us cut it down the middle and take the smallest slice. Of course it would be the most accurate 50/50 cut you'd ever seen, lol. We were just very different kids, I'd be in my room reading and she'd be on the front lawn with at least 10 mates shouting their heads off.

Right. I'm not really talking about that sort of thing, more about gender role assignment and role assignment more generally (x is the "smart one" y is the "social one" for example). Most parents try to show love to their children in equal measure as far as that goes. What I was thinking of is unconscious patterns.

My theory isn't really panning out I suppose but so far only a couple of the people I had in mind as only children have actually posted on here. Also, this is a very small sample of Dissensians. 10 or 12 out of how many? Too small.

STN
08-09-2009, 05:02 PM
My theory isn't really panning out I suppose but so far only a couple of the people I had in mind as only children have actually posted on here. Also, this is a very small sample of Dissensians. 10 or 12 out of how many?

name names!

nomadthethird
08-09-2009, 05:04 PM
Nomad it looks like your theory isn't really panning out.
12 of the 14 people who've taken this poll so far have siblings.

4 out of 22 are only children, which is just about the same proportion as the general pop.

nomadthethird
08-09-2009, 05:09 PM
i've gotta say that i never heard anyone say 'o i was always favoritised', either here or elsewhere,
it's the most subjective situation, surely?

I've had plenty of discussions about this with my brother, he generally agrees that the rules and expectations were very different for us. It's not that my parents liked him better, but that's how a small child will tend to perceive those kinds of discrepancies--as favoritism...(and, as a matter of fact, I would say in many areas I was the 'favored' one--including intelligence and academics, where my brother was constantly compared to me and told he would never measure up.)

There's an article (http://www.nytimes.com/glogin?URI=http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/08/health/08klas.html&OQ=_rQ3D1&OP=66a8756Q2Fkptzk,Q5EaoUQ5EQ5EQ7Dsks33Wk3Wk3ikbtL Q60Q7Dbk3iBQ60LoQ5CbQ7DvQ60) about birth order in the NY Times this week, it was interesting on the scientific side of this, the difficulties of testing for possible differences, the myths surrounding birth order and gender (e.g. boys and younger siblings always speak later).


name names!

Haha. Can I invoke "trade secrets" here?

STN
08-09-2009, 05:13 PM
Haha. Can I invoke "trade secrets" here?

Of course, though as the youngest in my family, my first impulse is to hurl myself at your feet and shriek 'pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease?' before bursting into tears.

empty mirror
08-09-2009, 05:37 PM
On a darker note, the prospect of being alone to look after both my parents as they (hopefully not, but, realisitcally, probably) increased ill health of old age, is one of the only things that wakes me up in the night, shivering.

i am an only child, i think. have a possible half-brother that my father (RIP) disavowed since his (the child's) mother was a prostitute that my father left upon finding her in bed with two men (at once). w/r/t being the sole caretaker for an ailing parent, i've done that. it is as bad as you think.

debating whether or not to have a second child, myself. i am rather inclined to. i like the idea of children creating their own little society. i especially like the notion of twins creating their own language and such. so yeah, i don't miss not having siblings (how could i?) and i think it made me rather resourceful and creative; but i would like to see how the other half lives, so to speak----i'd like to be a gulliver of sorts, waking up bound hand and foot by little homunculi.

Mr BoShambles
08-09-2009, 06:02 PM
Eldest of 3. It's a good arrangement.

Same as ^^.

Had another brother who died aged 3. I was 5 at the time. Consequently there is a large-ish age gap between me and my brother (6 years diff) and my sister (7 years). Works great these days but there were times when i was younger that I felt a little resentful of my siblings for taking my parents attention away. They were difficult times as we were all dealing with our grief in different ways. But despite this my folks felt that it was important for me to have siblings to grow up with and for us to have a "whole" family. They did the right thing and nuff respect to them for that.

hucks
08-09-2009, 07:29 PM
Middle of 3. I think my older brother would say I was the golden child but it never felt that there were any particular favourites to me.

Growing up me and my younger brother were really tight and formed a (wholly pointless) alliance against the oldest, despite the age gap being bigger (I'm two years younger than my older bro, three older than my younger bro)

Also my mum definitely wanted a girl by the time son number three came around.

nomadthethird
08-09-2009, 08:05 PM
To be honest what I was thinking was that most of the really music/media obsessed people I know are only children. They also have a sense of being special/having a special destiny a lot of the time, ime. Which can be a good thing.

But it looks like a lot of 3s here...

poetix
08-09-2009, 09:24 PM
Older brother of a younger sister (http://codepoetics.com/rebecca_fox).

Tentative Andy
08-09-2009, 10:32 PM
1 brother, 5 years younger than me. He's actually going to be moving into a flat with me in the coming weeks, I reckon it'll be either wonderful or terrible..
Parents were quite a bit more lenient with him, and he got lots of stuff that I was denied the first time round, like more access to television/games consoles, sugary and other foods that kids like, etc. But on the other hand, my mum always gave him a bit of a hard time about school and would compare him unfavourably to me in terms of exams and so forth, 'why can't you be more like your brother?' etc. Which I thought was kind of bad craic, esp as I still reckon that in general my brother is smarter than me, he's just less focused on book-knowledge.

mistersloane
09-09-2009, 12:03 AM
I was the youngest of six - by 11 years - but the only child of my mother and my father, they had been married previously, mother had three, father adopted two, so I was kindof both an only child and the dowel of a new family unit.

Father, mother and one sister now deceased. I'm increasingly glad that my parents died early (see baboon's comment), I see alot of people now just starting to deal with the fact that their parents are getting old, and it must be really weird, even though it's a fact of life I guess. Actually maybe it is weird, maybe its a fact of being in now-ness.

My nephew makes really cool music, see 'Hollow Tree' on here

http://www.myspace.com/thecellardoorsound

nomadthethird
09-09-2009, 01:28 AM
Polystyle and Sloane-- "blended families" are a growing segment now, I want to read more about the dynamics of these from a theoretical pov.

My brother and I are "irish twins" and all but if I count my cousins, with whom I grew up as if they were siblings, I have 18 brothers and sisters. (And the younger ones have all found me on social networking sites. No more comments about freebasing and orgies, then.) I suppose that counts as a blended family, the whole immigrant thing where you all live on the same block and stay in the bubble.

Zhao is an only child. Amirite?

luka
09-09-2009, 08:47 AM
Oldest of two. But one of the youngest in the year at school - late August birthday, which is something I never thought about until recently.

This is me too, exactly. i think this does make a difference.
i also have a step sister, who i don't know very well becasue she had her own flat, and a step brother i am very close too. all younger than me to varying degrees.
i got my brother at about 16 and it was great. i always wanted a brother.
my sister is a big acheiver type, cambridge etc, lots of qualifications. frighteningly well adjusted.

i have the weight of the world on my shoulders.

craner
09-09-2009, 09:27 AM
And yet, somehow, you manage to cope.

luka
09-09-2009, 09:29 AM
Craner is an only shild!

craner
09-09-2009, 09:37 AM
A Golden child!

zhao
09-09-2009, 09:49 AM
so far only a couple of the people I had in mind as only children have actually posted on here.
name names!
To be honest what I was thinking was that most of the really music/media obsessed people I know are only children. They also have a sense of being special/having a special destiny a lot of the time, ime. Which can be a good thingthe music and media of course makes sense: so much time spent alone growing up. i remembe drawing for hours and hours on end by myself, reading obsessively from age 4 to 7 (wore glasses by then), and just always playing by myself... yes "can" be a good thing...;) in addition to the self absorption and sense of entitlement and insularity and emotional detachment and simultaneous neediness and "lack of understanding of how people work" (thanks Luka!)... and some or all of these characteristics is presumby how nomad knows this:
Zhao is an only child. product of the "1 child rule" of 1970s China... and even now. i was reading that the policy is regarded internationally as a huge success, as the population growth rate in China has ONLY been like 10 million annually (i exaggerate but it was some huge number).

debating whether or not to have a second child, myself. would be amazing but i don't think i will have one... 1: terrified of becoming my father and 2: the usual over population and number of unwanted children in the world issues. my girlfriend has a daughter, so it's kind of like adoption like i always wanted to, but without the pain in the ass procedures.

luka
09-09-2009, 12:52 PM
er yeah sorry zhao
i have phases of being very expansive and friendly and then ones of being a horrible bastard. my latest project is trying to be more nice.

nomadthethird
09-09-2009, 01:06 PM
product of the "1 child rule" of 1970s China... and even now. i was reading that the policy is regarded internationally as a huge success, as the population growth rate in China has ONLY been like 10 million annually (i exaggerate but it was some huge number).

This reminds me, I was going to say before, when someone asked for "objective" rather than subjective measures of favoritism:

In all countries where they've instituted population controls and two-children limits, "social disequilibrium" in the form of drastic female shortages have soon followed. In countries like China and India, female fetuses are routinely aborted (basically on sight, as soon as ultrasounds confirm that they are female--you can walk into the next room and get it terminated), orphanages are full of female children, etc. etc.

A lot of people think this factor helped usher in a few revolutions. Tense 18-35 men = civil unrest.

nomadthethird
09-09-2009, 01:13 PM
For the record, I'm not saying pop controls or abortions are bad, just that any time they get instituted on a large scale, male children get favored over females, which says something about economics, politics, social dynamics, and whose life/traits humans tend to value more.

polystyle desu
09-09-2009, 02:36 PM
To reply a bit to Nomado, re: 'blended' families.
Our's never blended -it was like oil and water, familial layers smooshed together on what looked like more a whim then a plan.
We would have been much better off if Dad hadn't wanted to get remarried so quickly -
and the other women we was dating were much nicer, hotter and cooler.
Well, I got three identikit step brothers and younger step sister added to our three brood.
Totally mismatched in almost every way ...
Mother died early , I was 6 or 7 -to the earlier point made by MrSloane - it is quite different having already gone through some of that 'death' stuff.
Now my wife and some friends are dealing with the 'taking care of parent's' thing -
after only dealing with the thought of it and from a distance !

By now all sorted - Step mum passed after 9/11,
Dad has new British girlfriend photog who used to boss transport in Africa.
And so all is peaceful ...
;)

4linehaiku
09-09-2009, 02:39 PM
Well if it helps your theory you'll be pleased to hear I'm an only child. Would probably fit into the music obsessed subset as well, I'm just one big walking cliche I suppose.

Never got the sibling jealousy thing though (the fact other people have them, rather than people being jealous of theirs). Possible interactions with siblings seem to range from 'really good friends who you have known forever' which I already have, to 'weird people you don't like or get on with but are stuck with anyway' which I obviously don't want. If it does offer some particularity unique experience then I have no idea what I missing, so I can't really be jealous of that either.

Not sure how well I fit the other usual only-child stereotypes. Self-analysis on this sort of thing doesn't tend to be very revealing does it?

nomadthethird
09-09-2009, 04:10 PM
I just realized something. Every roommate I've ever had was an only child, from undergrad on up, including my current one. Even the ones I lived with in the 'real world,' in every apartment I've ever had. (Excluding any cohabitating partners.)

Since some of them were (semi-)randomly assigned, it's partially coincidence. But I'm guessing that I think about 'only children' in a certain light because I have a lot of experience living with them.

zhao
09-09-2009, 07:45 PM
In all countries where they've instituted population controls and two-children limits, "social disequilibrium" in the form of drastic female shortages have soon followed. In countries like China and India, female fetuses are routinely aborted (basically on sight, as soon as ultrasounds confirm that they are female--you can walk into the next room and get it terminated), orphanages are full of female children, etc. etc.


i'm all for starting with the extermination of male fetuses.

zhao
09-09-2009, 07:54 PM
Dad has new British girlfriend photog who used to boss transport in Africa.

my ex's mom was like 67 years old, and has a lovelife more exciting than ours. at one point she had 2 or 3 boyfriends at the same time, including a japanese doctor man who was married, who she was trying to convince to divorce. between all of them every other month she was going on a cruise or some such.

pretty inspiring really.

CHAOTROPIC
09-09-2009, 07:55 PM
I'm a twin, born on my father's birthday. He couldn't be more different than me. Big, fat, blond, married dyspraxic lawyer with aspergers. If I wasn't a twin I'd swear I was adopted.

nomadthethird
09-09-2009, 08:30 PM
I'm a twin, born on my father's birthday. He couldn't be more different than me. Big, fat, blond, married dyspraxic lawyer with aspergers. If I wasn't a twin I'd swear I was adopted.

Mono or dizygotic?

poetix
09-09-2009, 10:10 PM
With respect to birthdays and school years, my late October birthday made me one of the oldest in my primary school year, but skipping the final year of primary school and going to secondary a year early made me the second-youngest in my year (the youngest had done the same thing). I started university aged 17, had my 18th birthday party a few weeks into my first term...

swears
09-09-2009, 10:24 PM
I was the oldest kid in my school year at primary and secondary. Still a shortarse though. But the funny thing about school years is that someone only a few weeks older than me would still be a "year above" and noticeably more grown up.

CHAOTROPIC
10-09-2009, 01:04 AM
Mono or dizygotic?

Non-identical. Cesarian, but I was pulled out last, so I'm the youngest. Being a twin is weird ... we didn't do the 'secret language' thing but we were close enough to have our own world, etc. Shared everything until we were about 13 & barely spoken since.

empty mirror
10-09-2009, 01:24 AM
my grandfather was a twin
he saw his twin brother get hit by a truck
must be close to seeing oneself die

Mr. Tea
10-09-2009, 11:33 AM
Elder of two. Got a brother 2.5 years younger (2 years below me at school). I think big-ish gaps between kids probably make things easier for the parents - less rivalry as they grow up, and often the older one can help take care of the younger one a bit, or at least not be so much of an attention-drain. With a gap of only a couple of years you've got to suddenly got to look after a newborn as well as a toddler. :confused:

nomadthethird
10-09-2009, 01:41 PM
Non-identical. Cesarian, but I was pulled out last, so I'm the youngest. Being a twin is weird ... we didn't do the 'secret language' thing but we were close enough to have our own world, etc. Shared everything until we were about 13 & barely spoken since.

Yeah they're pretty different I've heard, non-identical versus identical...

There are identical twins in my family, which is extra incentive not to have kids, since that raises your chances of having them yourself-- if there's anything scarier than having one kid, it's two at once who are the same age.

Lichen
10-09-2009, 02:35 PM
There are identical twins in my family, which is extra incentive not to have kids

I'm not sure this has a bearing on whether you'd have twins. Non-identical twins has a genetic link, but I don't think identical ones do.

3 Body No Problem
10-09-2009, 03:16 PM
i'm all for starting with the extermination of male fetuses.

Great idea, we should aim to achieve a 1:4 male to female ratio. It would be a feminist's dream: women working in all jobs, including all top jobs. Men could form harems and bang hot girls left right and center without ever having to endure monogamy.

Almost all my friends are eldest children with > 1 sibling. As am I. Why?

nomadthethird
10-09-2009, 05:08 PM
There are identical twins in my family, which is extra incentive not to have kids

I'm not sure this has a bearing on whether you'd have twins. Non-identical twins has a genetic link, but I don't think identical ones do.

Good to know...although still would rather poke my eye out with a stick.

nomadthethird
10-09-2009, 05:19 PM
Great idea, we should aim to achieve a 1:4 male to female ratio. It would be a feminist's dream: women working in all jobs, including all top jobs. Men could form harems and bang hot girls left right and center without ever having to endure monogamy.


Yeah, it's funny to hear men moan about monogamy (and specifically marriage), and try to blame it on women, as if it's something only women want so men grudgingly give in. In my anthro course we just studied a unit on matrilineal/matriarchal versus patrilineal/patriarchal societies, and it's actually far more common for monogamy to be common practice in a culture where men run social institutions, have authority in private life, and where only one male diety is worshiped, than it is in matriarchal cultures, where there are almost universally permissive attitudes toward extra- and pre-marital sex, and where polygamy/polyamorous behaviors are common practice. Also, incidence of rape is higher in patriarchal cultures than it is in matriarchal ones, double standards for sexual behavior are rampant, sex negativity rules and non-reproductive sex is seen as a "sin", prostitution is criminalized, etc.

Basically, monogamy is a form of social control of female sexual behavior, not male behavior, in patriarchal societies. But somehow, we manage to pretend like it's vice versa.

poetix
11-09-2009, 06:49 AM
"Sex positive" / "sex negative" - how about "sex critical"?

nomadthethird
11-09-2009, 03:18 PM
"Sex positive" / "sex negative" - how about "sex critical"?

Being "sex critical" would be sort of like being "critical" of covalent bonds between elements with fewer than 8 valence electrons.

What would be the point?

Sex is going to happen, you can either deal with the reality that most organisms reproduce sexually and therefore engage in sexual behaviors, or you can be "critical" of sexual behavior from a moralistic standpoint for...what reason?

nomadthethird
11-09-2009, 03:21 PM
Not to mention the fact that whenever people get "sex critical", the ones on the losing end legally, economically, socially, and otherwise are without fail 1) teh gays, 2) the wimmin, 3) the ethnic minorities.

zhao
11-09-2009, 03:46 PM
er yeah sorry zhao
i have phases of being very expansive and friendly and then ones of being a horrible bastard. my latest project is trying to be more nice.

forgot to say earlier: no need to apologize at all, i wasn't being sarky with the "thanks luka". it's clearly an acute observation and i know there is some truth to it... been a loner for so long i can certainly be self absorbed and alienated from the world... and as much as i do have a very extroverted side, but in the long run no, i'm not very good with people. more of a cave dweller really.

my new project is... pay more attention to how others feel, rather than what i think.

poetix
11-09-2009, 08:11 PM
Being "sex critical" would be sort of like being "critical" of covalent bonds between elements with fewer than 8 valence electrons.

I don't find that sex is something that "just happens" in quite the way that the formation of covalent bonds between elements "just happens". There's an impressively complex stack of cultural mediation involved. Plenty of entry-points for critical intervention, I should have thought.


What would be the point?

To get away from uncritical moralism, which is what the "sex positive" posture really is: one uncritical moralism opposed to another (that's America for you, I guess). What it can't bear the thought of is anyone judging their own and other people's experiences, desires, expectations and compulsions, in the light of any larger or more demanding conception of human freedom than "whatever turns you on".


Sex is going to happen, you can either deal with the reality that most organisms reproduce sexually and therefore engage in sexual behaviors, or you can be "critical" of sexual behavior from a moralistic standpoint for...what reason?

The opening move of critique is to critique the "moralistic standpoint", to survey its conditions and try to comprehend the obstacles it might pose to understanding. You can't do that if you have an unexamined prior commitment to "be positive".


Not to mention the fact that whenever people get "sex critical", the ones on the losing end legally, economically, socially, and otherwise are without fail 1) teh gays, 2) the wimmin, 3) the ethnic minorities.

Now we observe that "sex" is not after all as neutral and inevitable as the formation of covalent bonds; now it is political, freighted with questions of power and social justice. But how can it be that these questions are instantly resolved, in favour of the most deserving, simply by coming over all tolerant and affirming about everyone's lifestyle choices? I feel like we're in a Disney production here: a grey planet run by frowning bearded gentlemen, with their ladies in dismal sackcloth, is introduced by an exotic hip-wiggler from outer space to the joys of consumerism and synchronized dance routines, and oh! the rainbow colours!

Besides, don't the gays and women and local representatives of the global majority have a right to be critical too?

poetix
11-09-2009, 08:29 PM
Hah! That's put my annoying little sister in her place!

poetix
11-09-2009, 08:30 PM
Hah! That's put my annoying little sister in her place!

Oh fuck, did I think that out loud?

nomadthethird
11-09-2009, 08:45 PM
Out of curiosity, how familiar are you with organic chemistry, sexology, genetics, evolutionary biology, anthropology and the intersection of these fields? Because, as just about anyone who studies sexual mechanisms within them will tell you, sex is something that "just happens" in exactly the same way anything else does, including covalent bonds: there are natural laws at the most basic level that make it all happen, extremely complex interactions between chemicals/chemical attractors being just one extremely important factor. Trying to will certain types of sexuality away will not work: you might as well ask the sky to fall. Any special pleading about "cultural mediation" is just bog standard cultural theeree humanities waffling. You can say anything you want about it, but until you have some evidence, it's just talk. (Btw, a Northwestern professor demonstrated that there's actually a negative correlation between porn consumption and rate of rape: counties with the highest per capita consumptions of porn and subscriptions to porn sites actually had the lowest rates of rape in the U.S.)

"Sex positive" is not a posture, it's an anthropological term used to describe cultures that do not describe sexual behaviors outside of monogamous heterosexuality as "sinful". I don't believe in "sin", so of course I'd like to see these sorts of designations, and the related cultural imperative toward heterosexual marriage and monogamy, go out the window. The only 'committment' I have is to refusing to impose some sort of phallogocentric bullshit slash Ceiling Cat decree on anybody... and as a sideline, I think dismantling patriarchy is pretty important, too. By the anthropological definition of term, if I succeed in these goals, my culture will become "sex positive." Would be wonderful, but again, not holding my breath...

Did I say anything about being "tolerant"? No, I did not. There are many things we shouldn't tolerate as a society (including rape, child molestation, sexual assault, sexual harrassment, etc), and this is already up for negotiation, discussion, and legislation. There's plenty to critique in our culture, but there's little to critique about the impulse to have sex per se. The critical element of feminism has always been based on a criticism of patriarchy and of the ways sexuality exists as a function of patriarchy, not of sexuality as such. It's proven that outside of patriarchical cultures, the tendency is toward increased sexual freedom and less sexual hypocrisy/slavery/injustice. This is not a difficult concept, and it's really not up for debate. It's clear where we should move, then, if you dislike rape and the oppression of women and sexual minorities: away from 'sex-negative' patriarchy and toward 'sex-positive' matriarchy.

Basically, moral approaches to anything, but especially to sex, put the cart before the horse. The goal should not be to "critique" sexuality itself as if that will somehow change human behavior. Sex is a psychologically (not an ethically) motivated behavior. If you want to change the behaviors that have negative consequences, you have a lot of work ahead of you; first you'll have to figure out what this means, what these are, and how to do this, but then, most importantly, you'll have to change psyches. If you want to change psyches, you'll have to make largescale economic and political changes that have nothing to do with asking people to criticize their own sexual impulses or drives.

nomadthethird
11-09-2009, 09:02 PM
It's not that being critical isn't good in a very general sort of way in life, it's that there's this tendency for people who are into philawsophy to think that all that matters are abstract ethical systems and the elegant ways some white dude in his country house smoking a pipe arranges concepts in his head. Once the white dude has figured it all out-- voila! He just has to drop his mentalisms onto paper so the rest of us can follow them to the letter and change the world.

This is just silly, and "obsessional", the hallmark of religious thinking, where thoughts make the person (you are what you think--thinking about doing it is just as bad as doing it). In the real world of natural laws that are much bigger than individuals, beliefs don't matter that much, especially not moral ones. In fact, the same anthropologists confirm that what people say they believe about sex and what they actually do are usually very different. (What they perceive that others do sexually is usually way off, too...)

Woyzeck said it best. "A penniless man has no use for morals in this world."

nomadthethird
11-09-2009, 09:17 PM
Anyway... let's hear em, where are the mindblowing criticisms of sex that we should be living by?

poetix
11-09-2009, 10:24 PM
There's plenty to critique in our culture, but there's little to critique about the impulse to have sex per se.

There is no "impulse to have sex per se". It is impossible to isolate any such thing from "our culture", or any other culture. Our sexual drives are always already involved in culture-making, in the production of totem and taboo, cultural expressions of excitement and revulsion. There is never not a place for renegotiation of these forms - they are where we live, sexually, and control of them (such as is exercised by the word-and-image manufactories of our societies) is control of us, at the level of our most basic needs.

I really don't think, when people talk about being "sex positive", they're talking about being in favour of the existence of sex as a biological fact. (I mean, wouldn't that be a bit redundant anyway?). They mean, more particularly, sexual optimism as opposed to sexual pessimism, the latter being a notable feature of some but not all religious traditions (although this is never the whole story, and I do get a bit tired of some people's simplifications in this area). This optimism entails looking benevolently on the variety of things human beings do for kicks, regarding them as in all cases expressions of human goodness (rather than, in all cases, expressions of human evilness). It suspends judgement; evaluation is inimical to it. Which means, effectively, intellectual surrender, and the banishment of ideas.

nomadthethird
11-09-2009, 10:54 PM
There is no "impulse to have sex per se". It is impossible to isolate any such thing from "our culture", or any other culture. Our sexual drives are always already involved in culture-making, in the production of totem and taboo, cultural expressions of excitement and revulsion. There is never not a place for renegotiation of these forms - they are where we live, sexually, and control of them (such as is exercised by the word-and-image manufactories of our societies) is control of us, at the level of our most basic needs.

I really don't think, when people talk about being "sex positive", they're talking about being in favour of the existence of sex as a biological fact. (I mean, wouldn't that be a bit redundant anyway?). They mean, more particularly, sexual optimism as opposed to sexual pessimism, the latter being a notable feature of some but not all religious traditions (although this is never the whole story, and I do get a bit tired of some people's simplifications in this area). This optimism entails looking benevolently on the variety of things human beings do for kicks, regarding them as in all cases expressions of human goodness (rather than, in all cases, expressions of human evilness). It suspends judgement; evaluation is inimical to it. Which means, effectively, intellectual surrender, and the banishment of ideas.

Yes there is an impulse to have sex per se. There is a drive to have sex in multi-cellular organisms. Sexual reproduction is 'blueprinted' into organic life forms (in two out of three domains) genetically. This drive is very "base-level" and it can attach itself (cathect) to almost any object.

What is culture? Couldn't it be an abstract set of conditions that is itself "mediated" by a number of other factors (biological, social, chemical, physical). You're making the "special pleading" fallacy here, where Kultur is basically like a God in your argument--it goes around doing all sorts of things (very conveniently) that happen to be things we can't explain yet, and is allowed to be a category unto itself that magically doesn't get subjected to the same 'mediating' forces that everything else does in the schema. Culture isn't magic, it's not even clear what you mean by it. Examples would be nice, or data, or something.

When people talk about being "sex positive"- and I've been listening to these debates within feminism and been part of communities that talk this way for a while now - they are talking about turning over the heterosexist phallic bias of our culture in favor of a view of human sexuality that, informed by the sciences rather than bronze age moralism, is more inclusive of a range of behaviors and does not pathologize everything but PV intercourse within marriage.

And if we're going to talk about 'judgment'- I give about as much of a damn about what two consenting adults are doing with each other for pleasure as I do about what they had for dinner, i.e. not a bit of one, unless biohazardous waste is getting released into the ecosphere in the process. How could I possibly? For one, it's none of my business, and I really don't have a surveillance cam in every bedroom in the lower 48. I'd much rather save my time and energy for spreading good information about reliable contraception and STD/STI prevention. Or on fixing much bigger problems, like the kind that result from rape and abuse and economic inequity.

nomadthethird
11-09-2009, 10:58 PM
the latter being a notable feature of some but not all religious traditions

Including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism (to a lesser extent), and even Buddhism.

Not so much the pagan ones, tho.

Edit: I'd recommend some psychology texts if you really think people have sex "for kicks" primarily.

Edit 2: Sex-positive oriented feminists and LGBT activists are the single largest lobby for legal and political and social equality for women and sexual minorities under the law that exists in this country at present. They are, in fact, thee group most critical of the phallogocentric establishment, and the loudest voice of opposition to patriarchy, in the U.S. today. They are on the frontlines of every gay marriage battle and each fight for the rights of sex workers, single mothers, abortion rights, etc. Unsurprisingly, they are also the group most hated and feared by the [predominantly Christian] Right. How exactly do figure they're "inimical" to critical thought and evaluation?

poetix
12-09-2009, 11:56 AM
Yes there is an impulse to have sex per se. There is a drive to have sex in multi-cellular organisms. Sexual reproduction is 'blueprinted' into organic life forms (in two out of three domains) genetically. This drive is very "base-level" and it can attach itself (cathect) to almost any object.

The leap from "sexual reproduction" as fact-of-nature to a "drive that can attach itself to almost any object" crosses a vast chasm of metaphor. I don't accept that "libido" exists in any literal sense. I think it's of very limited usefulness in explaining patterns of social organisation and the real abstractions that govern them.


Culture isn't magic, it's not even clear what you mean by it. Examples would be nice, or data, or something.

Advertising. Zoning laws. Romance novels. Prostitution. Porn. Arguments about prostitution and porn. The choreography of striptease. "Dating". Beauty products. White weddings. Sex manuals. "The bedroom". Rock Hudson. Dan Savage. That walk Marilyn Monroe does in "Some Like It Hot". Jokes about prison rape. Battles for control of the connotations of the word "slut". Viagra. Dave Mustaine complaining about how women don't flash their tits at him at Megadeth concerts any more. Sasha Gray, pretending to pretend. Defenders of burlesque insisting that they're not part of "the sex industry". AmIHotOrNot.com.


When people talk about being "sex positive"- and I've been listening to these debates within feminism and been part of communities that talk this way for a while now - they are talking about turning over the heterosexist phallic bias of our culture in favor of a view of human sexuality that, informed by the sciences rather than bronze age moralism, is more inclusive of a range of behaviors and does not pathologize everything but PV intercourse within marriage.

Why would such a view be "positive"? I understand "non-pathologising", or "non-kneejerk-negative". Sure, move on from bronze-age moralism. I'm not convinced that "the sciences" have in any meaningful sense informed the Californian hedonism that seems in most cases to be the default substitute though.


And if we're going to talk about 'judgment'- I give about as much of a damn about what two consenting adults are doing with each other for pleasure as I do about what they had for dinner, i.e. not a bit of one, unless biohazardous waste is getting released into the ecosphere in the process. How could I possibly?

Once you've framed the question as one of what "consenting adults do with each other for pleasure", you've ruled the entire domain I'm interested in - larger-scale patterns of incitement, prohibition, perversion and exploitation - out of consideration. "Sex" is now just what people spontaneously do around each other for fun, with the value of "fun" arising from some intrinsic "drive" they possess ab initio. So I agree, you cannot possibly form any meaningful judgements about sex on this basis. That's the hallmark of an efficient ideological framing: it makes everything that it frames seem incontestable and natural. There's nothing to be critical about, no reason to go getting ideas of any kind - and anyone who does is a sinister control freak, who wants to make you share your toothbrush and put surveillance cameras in your bedroom...

nomadthethird
12-09-2009, 01:56 PM
The leap from "sexual reproduction" as fact-of-nature to a "drive that can attach itself to almost any object" crosses a vast chasm of metaphor. I don't accept that "libido" exists in any literal sense. I think it's of very limited usefulness in explaining patterns of social organisation and the real abstractions that govern them.

No it doesn't. It's a scientific fact that you can observe in nearly every species in the animal kingdom.


Advertising. Zoning laws. Romance novels. Prostitution. Porn. Arguments about prostitution and porn. The choreography of striptease. "Dating". Beauty products. White weddings. Sex manuals. "The bedroom". Rock Hudson. Dan Savage. That walk Marilyn Monroe does in "Some Like It Hot". Jokes about prison rape. Battles for control of the connotations of the word "slut". Viagra. Dave Mustaine complaining about how women don't flash their tits at him at Megadeth concerts any more. Sasha Gray, pretending to pretend. Defenders of burlesque insisting that they're not part of "the sex industry". AmIHotOrNot.com.

More bog standard culture theereee. Oh noes, there are pictures of the wimmins on billboards!! The wimmins are having sex on the moving picshurrress!!! Oh noes! Women can't have sex for pleasure, only teh mens do that! Teh mens just take advantage of teh womens, who are weak and frail and asexual, and teh womens just sob and cry about how they really just want to be marriaged or in a relationship before they get laid.


Why would such a view be "positive"? I understand "non-pathologising", or "non-kneejerk-negative". Sure, move on from bronze-age moralism. I'm not convinced that "the sciences" have in any meaningful sense informed the Californian hedonism that seems in most cases to be the default substitute though.

A culture without these attitudes would be sex positive because it wouldn't be predicated on stupid heterosexist bullshit cliches about what women are essentially, what they should want, what men should want. That's not how sexuality works. You're not going to change someone's sexuality by criticising it from afar. It takes a lifetime to build someone's sexuality and you're not going to change it in a couple of paragraphs in New Left Review.

If you reeeallly care about sex workers, or women who work in strip clubs, or whatever, why don't you spend some time and money learning about what motivates the people who work there and their patrons? I assure you that if you want to end this kind of practice, you should not be criticising them from some armchair, but very actively campaigning to end child abuse--which is the ACTUAL cause of sex addiction. This is something the sex-positive feminist movement spends its time on, instead of wasting it get all hot and bothered about what other people do in their spare time.


Once you've framed the question as one of what "consenting adults do with each other for pleasure", you've ruled the entire domain I'm interested in - larger-scale patterns of incitement, prohibition, perversion and exploitation - out of consideration. "Sex" is now just what people spontaneously do around each other for fun, with the value of "fun" arising from some intrinsic "drive" they possess ab initio. So I agree, you cannot possibly form any meaningful judgements about sex on this basis. That's the hallmark of an efficient ideological framing: it makes everything that it frames seem incontestable and natural. There's nothing to be critical about, no reason to go getting ideas of any kind - and anyone who does is a sinister control freak, who wants to make you share your toothbrush and put surveillance cameras in your bedroom...

I never, not once in this thread, used the word "fun", I said PLEASURE, which often has nothing to do with fun, and can mean a whole bunch of vastly different things to different people.

Talking to you about this is like talking to a 15-year-old who has decided that anyone who doesn't put some kind of monastic or legalistic restrictions on their own sexuality is a "hedonist", and that there are only two modes of sexual being--"hedonism" or "asceticism". It's just a massive oversimplification of a whole huge wide range of psychologically motivated behaviors that you just don't seem to understand very well, outside of your preconceived notions of what "proper" sex would be--I'm guessing missionary position after some kind of committment ceremony between differently gendered individuals?

I still don't see any cogent criticisms of sex here. I see a bunch of innuendos about how women shouldn't be exercising their sexuality in public because sexual representations (AS THEY'VE ALWAYS BEEN) are problematic in a culture--as if women aren't entitled to enjoy themselves sexually because patriarchy is in place, and men have already ruined it for them. Since you have no real criticisms I can see, and no positive program for action, it is clear that what you're saying isn't about concern, and it IS about control. The same old phallic song and dance.

nomadthethird
12-09-2009, 02:00 PM
What is the point of talking to people like this? They really believe the Culture Fairy does everything.

It's like talking to a fundie, only possibly even more pointless.

nomadthethird
12-09-2009, 02:09 PM
You know, the irony of your position, and specifically your offhand dismissals of "hedonistic Californians", is that it's the sex negative conservatives with their "abstinence only education" global initiative/agenda that did more damage to this country and the world at large--caused more teen pregnancy, unnecessary abortions, syphilis outbreaks, AIDS infections--and were ultimately responsible for suborning more hedonistic, selfish sexual behavior than any other political group in U.S. history.

And you're telling me it's the Californians (and others) who campaigned for a sane, scientfically accurate approach to sex education that took REALITY into account who are the bad guys?

Please.

poetix
12-09-2009, 03:19 PM
You only think you're arguing with a fundie, because in fact that's the only argument you know how to have. You assume - and require - an antagonist who thinks that missionary-position sex between married couples is God's Law and everything else is filthy and unclean. The fact that I'm not that antagonist, and that that's not my position, has once again escaped your notice.

I find that sex, in my own life and in the (reasonably varied) lives of others I know, is something about which I have fairly mixed feelings. Elements of it are comic, elements are tragic. There is a certain amount of bitterness and grief in there. Has being a sexual being been good for me? Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. I don't believe that having rules about when it's "OK" to have sex will really help to separate the good from the bad. I don't believe that there's a right way to do it that will make everything wonderful. So I'm really very uninterested in trying to define and enforce rules about what kinds of sex people should be having. (Obviously we must treat as criminal violations of others' freedom to decide whether they want to be having it or not).

Where sex is sold, it's sold as something simplified, de-complicated: something about which one will have only good feelings (all the pleasure, none of the complications!). The God-botherers' image of sexual fulfilment as divinely-approved intimacy with a loving spouse is false because it is just such a simplification, a tidying-up of a complex area of life (of course in their own fashion they acknowledge the complexity as well, but as something that has to be prayed about in the hope that it will go away). But rival images of sexual fulfilment (whether Hugh Hefner's or Candace Bushnell's) are equally false, and they all have their own equivalent to the religions' imaginary Daddy In The Sky who smiles on the bliss of those who obey His commands. Part of what I mean, therefore, by being "sex critical" is dismantling the images that hold us captive.

nomadthethird
12-09-2009, 03:54 PM
You only think you're arguing with a fundie, because in fact that's the only argument you know how to have. You assume - and require - an antagonist who thinks that missionary-position sex between married couples is God's Law and everything else is filthy and unclean. The fact that I'm not that antagonist, and that that's not my position, has once again escaped your notice

No, I think you sound like a fundamentalist on this issue because you do. You continually posit some "center" you get to speak from that no one else has access to, where you have the inside story, you're authentic, and no one else is. You get to decide that everyone else in the world who has sex excessively, in your view--or even those who merely talk about sex in language you don't approve of --are "hedonists" who are having sex in some kind of bad faith.

There's that, and there's the special pleading. Culturdidit.

You've provided not one shred of data or evidence for your theories about things like "porn causes rape", and such. These have been mercilessly obliterated by sex researchers in the past 15 years, but I suppose the actual numbers don't matter when you live in Culturdidit bliss.


I find that sex, in my own life and in the (reasonably varied) lives of others I know, is something about which I have fairly mixed feelings.

And? Who doesn't? Do you think you're special in this? This is an entirely trivial point.


I don't believe that having rules about when it's "OK" to have sex will really help to separate the good from the bad. I don't believe that there's a right way to do it that will make everything wonderful. So I'm really very uninterested in trying to define and enforce rules about what kinds of sex people should be having. (Obviously we must treat as criminal violations of others' freedom to decide whether they want to be having it or not).


As I said before, the single loudest voice in the U.S. that speaks up in criticism of the dominant modes of sexual production in this culture are sex positive feminists. In fact, we're the only ones in most cases, since the fourth wave has joined forces with the gay coalitions, to actively lobby for political and legal change. You imagine that somehow being sex positive means that you're not allowed to criticize culture, which is just ridiculous on every imaginable level. But it's standard Zizek-disciple drivel.


Where sex is sold, it's sold as something simplified, de-complicated: something about which one will have only good feelings (all the pleasure, none of the complications!). The God-botherers' image of sexual fulfilment as divinely-approved intimacy with a loving spouse is false because it is just such a simplification, a tidying-up of a complex area of life (of course in their own fashion they acknowledge the complexity as well, but as something that has to be prayed about in the hope that it will go away). But rival images of sexual fulfilment (whether Hugh Hefner's or Candace Bushnell's) are equally false, and they all have their own equivalent to the religions' imaginary Daddy In The Sky who smiles on the bliss of those who obey His commands. Part of what I mean, therefore, by being "sex critical" is dismantling the images that hold us captive.

First, you realize you're talking to a former femme domme/professional switch right? One who actually knows about those worlds, who ACTUALLY lived it, who actually understands firsthand many of the factors that are involved in the psychodynamics of sex work? And that everytime you say something about the world of sold sex, you just sound utterly clueless to me. Like you have no clue what you're talking about. That's because you don't. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, "simple" about what's going on in the psyches or the underground economies implicated in sex work.

There's also nothing inherently "true" or "false" about images, there are just images. This is where you lose me, and anybody else who isn't basing their thinking on some pseudo-spiritual ideal; in any given society, there will be images of sexual fulfilment, pleasure, desire, whatever. These need not be separated into "true" or "false" categories so that we can simplify our arguments--in fact, since images tend to form a part of the feedback loop in the big Desire picture, they are integral to who we are. There is no "real" us hiding somewhere underneath these representations, as nice as it might be to wish there were. All you can do is change, not find some "real you" underneath who you've become. Becoming doesn't end at some magical point. There's no such thing as static, stable identities that exist floating above or below the world of images and biology and physical bodies and anything else you can think of.

nomadthethird
12-09-2009, 03:57 PM
Read Anne Bolin and Patricia Wehelan's sex positive tome/anthropology textbook Human Sexuality and get back to me on how "uncritical" of the dominant culture sex positive feminists are. There are plenty more where that came from, too.

I'm really starting to be amused by the boilerplate Euroacademic "criticisms" of sex and sex positive feminism...first, it's ohnoez!!!! too deconstructive and stuck on dismantling rather than building up. Then it's, ohnoez!!! not critical enough of culture and not based on dismantling enough.

The real issue is that it's not a pie-in-the-sky doctrinaire form of metaphysical woo. That's what they don't like about it.

poetix
12-09-2009, 05:48 PM
No, I think you sound like a fundamentalist on this issue because you do. You continually posit some "center" you get to speak from that no one else has access to

Where do I do this, though? I don't really talk about myself very much at all, or attempt to position myself as being in some "right" place - in the first instance, I don't believe there is any such place. You're the one who wants there to be such a a place, it seems to me, and for yourself to be in it.


, where you have the inside story, you're authentic, and no one else is. You get to decide that everyone else in the world who has sex excessively, in your view--or even those who merely talk about sex in language you don't approve of --are "hedonists" who are having sex in some kind of bad faith.

I don't think I'm critical of excess, as such. One could be a hedonist in principle and very moderate in practice, being easily satisfied.


You've provided not one shred of data or evidence for your theories about things like "porn causes rape", and such

I don't have a strong view on the correlation, or not, between the availability of pornography and the incidence of rape. You do: you think more porn means less rape, i.e. that there's a negative correlation. I gather there are studies that say this. I believe there are studies that say the opposite, too. It's probably sensitive to a variety of other conditions.

I do think that pornography has a part to play in establishing attitudes towards sex, which might affect the way people feel about rape as well. More porn might mean more acceptance of sexual coercion, and less identification of that coercion as rape, for example. In general, porn gives a simplified view of sex: no-one ever says "no" in PornWorld, or even "actually, I quite liked what you were doing just then - could you possibly carry on doing that, instead of moving on to thrusting in and out of my rectum - which, frankly, does next to nothing for me". I'm sure porn performers have the same complex inner lives as the rest of us, but you'd never guess from the product they appear in.


As I said before, the single loudest voice in the U.S. that speaks up in criticism of the dominant modes of sexual production in this culture are sex positive feminists

But they don't. They're massively uncritical - committed, on principle, to not being critical - of the real dominant ideology, which is not the Christian Right's silly attempts to force everyone into chastity belts but the formatting of sex as a commodity. They think that's just cool.


First, you realize you're talking to a former femme domme/professional switch right?

If you say so. Kind of the labour aristocracy of sex work, isn't it? And see what I mean about who wants to be in the position where what they say has some special authority and significance because it's them saying it?


There's also nothing inherently "true" or "false" about images, there are just images.

Those that hold us captive do so because they convince us that they are true, or could be true if we deserved it - which, somehow, we never quite do.

nomadthethird
12-09-2009, 06:20 PM
This just keeps getting better all the time.

I don't presume to know why everyone else on earth does what they do sexually. I'm very interested in understanding, rather than patly dismissing and judging, behaviors. I believe this is an essential step--the first step--in finding a way to change the ones that are causing problems. You can't properly criticize what you don't understand.


Where do I do this, though?

You just called anyone who identifies as sex positive a "hedonist" several times in the thread. Do I need to cut and paste them all?


I don't have a strong view on the correlation, or not, between the availability of pornography and the incidence of rape. You do: you think more porn means less rape, i.e. that there's a negative correlation. I gather there are studies that say this. I believe there are studies that say the opposite, too. It's probably sensitive to a variety of other conditions.

What was it...? four months ago that you were arguing this position pretty adamantly. I never said anything about "cause", just correlation. But there's not a shred of evidence that porn causes rape. There's plenty of evidence that supports the theory that economic, socio-economic, educational, community, and family factors do, though. Tons of it.

And actually, people DO say no in porn, but usually it's eroticized. So what? Studies show something like half of women (at least) fantasize about what they call "rape" or what most researchers would call "submission" or "domination." Not unproblematic, of course, But getting rid of porn is not going to change what thousands of years of patriarchy has put asunder. In fact, I'd argue that further stigmatizing public displays of female sexual expression only reinstates the patriarchal status quo. Submission fantasies are complex. And anal sex? So what. Unpleasureable? Says who?


They're massively uncritical - committed, on principle, to not being critical - of the real dominant ideology, which is not the Christian Right's silly attempts to force everyone into chastity belts but the formatting of sex as a commodity. They think that's just cool.

Any examples, or is this just a bald assertion? The sex positive feminists I know don't think sex work is "cool", they think it's a complex issue, and that ultimately the rights and safety of sex workers need to be protected by the government. The real dominant ideology regarding public policy in matters of sex most certainly IS the Christian Right's "abstinence only education" nonsense, which, it has been amply demonstrated (http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=abstinence+only+education+cons), was directly responsible for a huge increase in STDs, teen pregnancy, and abortion over the past 15 years, not to mention the further spread of AIDS in Africa. It will take decades to begin to undo the damage.


If you say so. Kind of the labour aristocracy of sex work, isn't it? And see what I mean about who wants to be in the position where what they say has some special authority and significance because it's them saying it?

Well, I worked at sort of middle-of-the-road place (Elizabeth's, fyi) in the garment district for about six months. Not exactly ritzy as far as dungeons go, on the tame side in terms of services rendered. No penetrative "sex" allowed* (mostly foot work, trampling, leather fetish, lite medical, etc.) so it wasn't anything like streetwalking of course. Dom/mes are nowhere near the aristocracy of sex workers, though: that would be the $4000/night escorts.

Of course, this relatively brief experience doesn't put me in a special position in terms of being "right", but it does give me some kind of insight into the business that you might lack. Sort of the way someone who has played football would probably have a better understanding of its ins and outs than I would, having never even watched a game. I know there's a ball, and a goal, and points, and forwards. That's about it...

*With one exception that I won't get too graphic about, but it's technically illegal so we didn't advertise.

nomadthethird
12-09-2009, 06:54 PM
Can I see some links to studies that correlate rape incidence and porn consumption positively? Thanks.

nomadthethird
12-09-2009, 11:36 PM
Telling, isn't it, that your argument hinges on the fact that prostitution is situated within capitalism, and that this makes it somehow extra-bad--as if your job isn't sitting in the same mire? What makes your job magically transcend capitalism? How are you not a shill for corporate/capitalist interest everytime you wake up and go to work? Why do special rules apply to affluent white males like you and not poorer women who are typically involved in prostitution? Why is their job somehow more capitalistic than yours, or more embedded in ideology? Why would it be infinitely better for them to go work for Pepsi Co. or Viacom (with all of the horrible wrongs they would be contributing to there) than it would be for them to take cash for a blow job?

If this were just about capitalism, the reductio would go like this: we'd all have to stop making money and earning a living now and just go on a hunger strike. The fact of the matter is, this is about sex, not capitalism. The reason people get upset about prostitution is because of the nature of the work, not the fact that money is exchanged in the process, as it is in any other business transaction. There is a deep-seated fear of/bias against women having sex for reasons other than procreation within marriage in our patriarchal culture. There is a deeply held view that women are naturally less sexual than men are, that women in their natural goodness, innocence, and purity can only be coerced into sex (which is low, dirty, bad) against their will. The criminalization of prostitution, and the near universal stigmatization of women who have worked as prostitutes, is an outgrowth of these beliefs. This is where your argument comes from, ultimately, when you strip away the rhetoric about capitalism that could apply to any job. The "criticism" of sex work only works to further stigmatize a group that already faces prejudice at every turn.

As for being name-called a "hedonist", I find it funny that you can't see how easily I could turn this around on you, or anyone with children and a spouse. Since the world is wildly over-populated and can't even support the people who are already here, anyone who is truly interested in the "common" good could never ethically justify bringing more children into the world. The urge can be very strong, sure, but only a moral imbecile would give into it. Your selfish lifestyle choice to have children (who will consume all kinds of resources that could have gone to an AIDS orphan or foster kid) is pure hedonism--an impulsive act based on your own personal pleasure without regard for the common good. Since marriage is the central institution of patriarchy (as you've suggested before, this is the reason why gay people shouldn't be seeking the right to marry), you could only have married for selfish, hedonistic reasons, right?

I didn't do this because it would be ridiculous. Your lifestyle preferences are not "bad", even if I don't personally like them.

And to think-- instead of having a protracted argument over the semantics of the term "sex positive", we could have tried to bridge a gap, create some meaningful unity along a set of axes that we can agree on, and use our time and privilege to find ways to help those in need, like sex workers.

poetix
13-09-2009, 07:40 PM
When it comes to prostitution, the particular horror (for feminists) lies in the notion that women's bodies, and the sexual use thereof, are commodities to be bought and sold. In the acceptance of that notion, and then in its promotion: the claim that this is perfectly OK, no different from any other barter. In the assumption underlying this claim, which is that the proper use of women's bodies is for the sexual convenience of men, in particular men with money (who control, thereby, the resources needed for survival: access to housing, food, healthcare). This is the assumption underlying patriarchal marriage customs, to which prostitution is a supplement, not an alternative.

I don't have the kind of relationship to my own body that would mean that I could accept giving blowjobs as part of my daily work as readily as I can accept writing some SQL to summarize the past quarter's sales figures. The latter makes demands on my time and attention, both of which are certainly precious to me, but it is possible to give one's time and attention to a task and feel that the rest of one's selfhood remains largely uncommitted. It is not possible for my to give my body to someone and feel that the rest of my selfhood remains uncommitted in the same way (I'm not talking about total, lifelong commitment here; just an inability to remain detached, to feel that one has no skin in the game); I feel that I would have to have been psychically mutilated in order for this to become possible. I doubt most women are much different - and this has nothing to do with imagining that women are very especially "pure", or have some special moral instinct with respect to sex.

Perhaps there are some people, men and women, who are just wired differently; it takes all sorts to make a world. But I don't think that prostituted people are generally in prostitution because they're wired differently; I think that in most cases something fairly awful has been done, and is continually being done, to them. In such cases, and regardless of how they rationalise it to themselves, the best thing that can happen is for it to stop. Just give them the fucking money, if they need the money. But stop using them as fucktoys. That's no way to treat a human being.

Perhaps I have already been psychically mutilated, and that is why I feel as nonchalant as I do about writing SQL to report someone else's profits to them. I don't however feel that I need to be especially defensive about it: if someone wishes to say that my work involves exploitation, mental dissociation and a quite unwholesome set of assumptions about what I am for and how my capacities can legitimately be used by those with more power than me, I'm willing to listen. I don't feel that a proper response would be for me to declare myself "work positive" and denounce them for patronising and degrading office workers.

poetix
13-09-2009, 07:50 PM
Equally, as a married person and parent, I've no objection to critiques of both marriage and parenthood - I have a somewhat jaundiced view of both myself. Why should I insist that all of my life choices have been good ones? Many of them have been compromises; some of them (although not, as it happens, marriage and parenthood) have been compromises that I feel quite strongly I should not have made.

nomadthethird
13-09-2009, 09:27 PM
When it comes to prostitution, the particular horror (for feminists) lies in the notion that women's bodies, and the sexual use thereof, are commodities to be bought and sold.

First, feminists are not a monolith, and all feminists do not agree with you on this issue. How about men's bodies being bought for hard labor on construction sites, and so forth? Or don't men's bodies count? I keep forgetting--men can't get psychically damaged, they're intellectually superior to (=less emotional than) women.


In the acceptance of that notion, and then in its promotion: the claim that this is perfectly OK, no different from any other barter. In the assumption underlying this claim, which is that the proper use of women's bodies is for the sexual convenience of men, in particular men with money (who control, thereby, the resources needed for survival: access to housing, food, healthcare). This is the assumption underlying patriarchal marriage customs, to which prostitution is a supplement, not an alternative.

You still don't get it. You're still assuming that only women are being "used" in this situation, and they are the only "used" parties, and that any time a women decides to exercise her sexuality outside of your specifications (a loving relationship, I'm guessing), she's just "being used." Clearly, you don't realize that Johns are often the most vulnerable, sick, and desperate men out there. A lot of them have personality disorders and have extreme trouble negotiating social or romantic relationships. A lot of them have post-traumatic stress from childhood sex abuse or other things (war, for instance). A lot of them are scared silly of women or autistic or just can't get laid otherwise in the way they'd like to. There is no reason to assume that "using" is a one-way street w/r/t prostitution. There are all kinds of arrangements in life that are mutually beneficial, and it is up to x or y person to decide what arrangements they feel comfortable entering into. Nobody’s asking you to become a prostitute or a porn actor if you don't feel comfortable with that.


It is not possible for my to give my body to someone and feel that the rest of my selfhood remains uncommitted in the same way (I'm not talking about total, lifelong commitment here; just an inability to remain detached, to feel that one has no skin in the game); I feel that I would have to have been psychically mutilated in order for this to become possible. I doubt most women are much different - and this has nothing to do with imagining that women are very especially "pure", or have some special moral instinct with respect to sex.

Projection. Speaking from the center again--are you so sure you're the one who hasn't been damaged in some way? Your language here is also telling, when you say you "give" your body in sex? Why must one frame sexual relations this way? You seem hell bent on it. But many people do not frame it this way; many people think of sexual activities as a (temporary and fleeting) sharing of bodily pleasures, not a 'giving' of anything to anyone.

Funny that when people bring up these concerns they don't extend them to include male prostitutes (who exist, you realize…) I turned on the TV last night and saw a documentary series on CNBC called Dirty Money (yes, so dirty that money, dirty with the sweat of a million icky whores), this particular episode being an installment on prostitution. They mentioned the problems that often come along with prostitution (and NOBODY denies that these exist), but they never, not once, mentioned male prostitutes. These poor feeble-brained women were all "tricked" into "giving" their bodies to men-not-their-lawfully-wedded-husbands---and, GASP, the horror--they didn’t even seem that sad or upset up about it! They must be really "mutilated", because they're not neurotic and bourgie about sex.


But I don't think that prostituted people are generally in prostitution because they're wired differently; I think that in most cases something fairly awful has been done, and is continually being done, to them.

You think so, eh? That’s all that matters. Not the mountains of literature and data to the contrary, which indicate that several factors wind up wiring people very differently when it comes to sex, as is the case with any psychological characteristic.


Perhaps I have already been psychically mutilated, and that is why I feel as nonchalant as I do about writing SQL to report someone else's profits to them. I don't however feel that I need to be especially defensive about it: if someone wishes to say that my work involves exploitation, mental dissociation and a quite unwholesome set of assumptions about what I am for and how my capacities can legitimately be used by those with more power than me, I'm willing to listen. I don't feel that a proper response would be for me to declare myself "work positive" and denounce them for patronising and degrading office workers.

No one was being 'defensive' about critiques of economic realities like capitalism. What I was pointing out was the hypocrisy inherent in your sense of moral superiority and outrage. You still don’t understand that sex positive has nothing to do with championing prostitution, as if it’s an entirely "good" thing. It's about refusing to subject women to a clichéd patriarchal stereotype about how women can’t compartmentalize the sex act and their psychic gestalt.

Of all the jobs I've had, domme-ing was by far the most ethically straightforward of them, and the one I probably have the fewest issues with from the standpoint of the "common good." It was by far the most interesting, engaging, and rewarding one in many respects. In fact, I fell into it because I was forced by my own sense of moral outrage to leave a job writing pharmaceutical grants in medical publishing. I was in a managerial position there making a very decent salary--a lot of people would think I was insane for giving up that position-- but the things I was expected to do made me sick to my stomach (one of them being "downplay" the polypharmaceutical implication of Crestor in the kidney failure and death of thousands of people.) There was nothing like this in the dungeon to contend with. There were people (many of whom could never experienced such a thing elsewhere in life) creating a "safe" space in which they could explore the more difficult aspects of their own psychological needs. I don't regret having a role in this for my clients.


Equally, as a married person and parent, I've no objection to critiques of both marriage and parenthood - I have a somewhat jaundiced view of both myself. Why should I insist that all of my life choices have been good ones? Many of them have been compromises; some of them (although not, as it happens, marriage and parenthood) have been compromises that I feel quite strongly I should not have made.

I'm open to hearing critiques of the economic, social, and political situations that often create the incentive for people to prostitute themselves. I'm open to talking about the psychological issues that are common in the world of underground sex. I care about these people very much--this is real to me--and I'm in the middle of changing careers so I can be in a better position to help them and people like them. I'm not open to blanket condemnation of anyone who desires differently from you. (And once again, nobody ever said prostitution was necessarily a "good" choice, just that it’s one among many and it has benefits and trade-offs and downsides for those who choose it.)

poetix
13-09-2009, 10:01 PM
First, feminists are not a monolith, and all feminists do not agree with you on this issue.

It would probably be more accurate to say that I don't agree with all feminists on this issue, since it's the arguments of feminists that have brought me to the position I hold in the first place. I agree with those feminists rather than some other feminists, to the point of agreeing with the first lot of feminists that the second lot aren't much cop as feminists. Not that it's up to me, but it is to some degree up to them, and I take one side rather than another, as little as that matters.

One of the things that interests me about this issue is precisely that it's divisive - it cuts right down the middle of feminism, and separates two really quite radically different views of the world. Choosing the one that's currently not all that hip or popular is one particular way in which I like to make myself obnoxious.


How about men's bodies being bought for hard labor on construction sites, and so forth?

For people on "my" side of the question, it's so unarguably obvious that it's not the same that it's incredibly frustrating when people try to treat the two things as equivalent - we tend to feel they're either arguing in bad faith, or kind of autistic in some way. Men working on construction sites would by and large consider it hugely beneath their dignity to sell their bodies for sex. This is not a mindless prejudice on their part; it reflects their understanding of what sex is, and what the person whose sex can be bought has been turned into.


Projection. Speaking from the center again--are you so sure you're the one who hasn't been damaged in some way? Your language here is also telling, when you say you "give" your body in sex? Why must one frame sexual relations this way?

It's not obligatory. But it's very common, and not only or even especially for women. The body in sex is a body that is open to some other body, whether penetrated (or penetrating) or not. A whole lot of boundaries that usually exist between bodies are suspended in sexual intimacy; that is part of the peculiar joy and strangeness of it. A particular physical apartness and independence is given up, even in the "temporary and fleeting" (a half-truth, this) exchange of pleasures.

In a couple of days' time, I'm going to the dentist. He'll probably do some quite uncomfortably intimate things to the inside of my mouth, and part of why I'm going to let him do them (besides the fact that I need the work doing) is that I assume it's not an act of pleasure for him; if he got off on it too obviously, he'd be done for malpractice. Clearly there are forms of non-sexual physical closeness, in which bodies come into close contact without there being, after all, much skin in the game. What is happening when this contact is sexual - pleasurable, self-shattering - for one party, and not for the other? You may choose to see it simply as a service rendered; but I think that one party is being dehumanized by the other. The user can only accept the detachment of the used because the latter is not altogether real for him.

mistersloane
13-09-2009, 10:02 PM
I've known alot of prostitutes over the years of all genders, and interestingly the one who I think was best at it - i.e. most successful - was a very strange character.

I remember them saying to me once that they had no interest in people whatsoever, and I believed them, and thought them sociopathic, literally having an antisocial behavioural trait. Consequently they went on to become one of the USA's Very Famous porn stars.

I always thought it was telling, and felt glad that I'd encountered someone who I think was, well, very close to being a perfect whore. Most other people I know who've done it for any protracted time it fucks up amazingly, but I'm not sure it fucks you up anymore than being a therapist or an analyst.

nomadthethird
13-09-2009, 10:09 PM
Oh good lord you're boring with your "truths"...


I've known alot of prostitutes over the years of all genders, and interestingly the one who I think was best at it - i.e. most successful - was a very strange character.

I remember them saying to me once that they had no interest in people whatsoever, and I believed them, and thought them sociopathic, literally having an antisocial behavioural trait. Consequently they went on to become one of the USA's Very Famous porn stars.

I always thought it was telling, and felt glad that I'd encountered someone who I think was, well, very close to being a perfect whore. Most other people I know who've done it for any protracted time it fucks up amazingly, but I'm not sure it fucks you up anymore than being a therapist or an analyst.

Yes, it's quite certain that the reason why I can be a dom is the reason why I can dissect a cadaver without flinching. And why I like to do it, and find it fascinating instead of repulsive.

I have decided to donate myself to the medical establishment for this reason. You might call it a gift, you might call it a disease. I don't really care. I think people who are squeamish are braindead conformity drones who just don't understand things very well. They don't know that the bacterial cells in their body vastly outnumber the cells that makeup this body. They don't know they're just particles and macromolecules and random stuff that doesn't give a damn about them.

They really beleeve in loooveee, yaaayy!! Grouphug.

nomadthethird
13-09-2009, 10:11 PM
a therapist or an analyst.

which basically = bisexual switch anyway

I've found my calling in life

nomadthethird
13-09-2009, 10:32 PM
Choosing the one that's currently not all that hip or popular is one particular way in which I like to make myself obnoxious.

Everything you've said in this thread is straight out of the right's playbook. Everything. Down to the specific wording. I could be reading an abstinence only health pamphlet.


beneath their dignity

It's beneath mine to work on a construction site and spend the rest of my life at the chiropractor's, fwiw. This particular job also has implications as far as "identity" is concerned; it's considered lowly, backbreaking work that you only do if you absolutely have to, becuase you have no education or skills, and you do it for no longer than you absolutely must. The foreman degrades you. You work in excess of 50 hours a week. You lose your job seasonally and have to sit around on unemployment (very distressing for a lot of people, but especially males) for extended periods of time, probably on schedule I pain meds for all of your injuries and impairments. You are the one who does all the labor, but most of the money goes straight to the "house"--the owner of the company. The owner is your pimp.


A particular physical apartness and independence is given up, even in the "temporary and fleeting" (a half-truth, this) exchange of pleasures.

It is if you're into it. If you're not, nothing happens. You can stare at the wall and wait for it to be over. Whistle. Count backwards from 100 in units of 7.

Perhaps this is difficult for teh mens to understand, because they cannot 'have sex' without being aroused to some degree. Women can, it happens all the time. It's not that hard to figure how female prostitutes (or male bottom pros) shut themselves off from non-existent "pleasure" that they're not experiencing in the first place.


You may choose to see it simply as a service rendered; but I think that one party is being dehumanized by the other. The user can only accept the detachment of the used because the latter is not altogether real for him.

How about the one who's such a loser that s/he has to come crawling to a "mistress" three nights a week to drain his/her bank account dry? How is s/he not dehumanizing him/herself?

grizzleb
14-09-2009, 12:44 AM
Is there actually a default 'human' position anyway? I think the paradox of that kind of statement lies in the fact that it is systems of exchange and such like that do make us human. For example I would call my office job 'dehumanizing' but it's this office job and all the other ones like it that keep the world going. As soon as we step out the jungle and start plowing fields or whatever we're generally engaging in a practise that you could describe as dehumanizing, but this is what sets us apart...

Took me a while to work out who was arguing for what there, all that patriarchy jibes getting thrown about. Howabout a society where power and dominance isn't valorized?

Anywaynomadthethird, you moan about poetix's hidden mystical centres which I agree with, but you have your hidden centre as well with your patriarchy/matriarchy shit. Are there any 'matriarchies' in existence that aren't just some tribe in fuck knows where? And the rest of the world is patriarchy?

nomadthethird
14-09-2009, 01:08 AM
you moan about poetix's hidden mystical centres which I agree with, but you have your hidden centre as well with your patriarchy/matriarchy shit. Are there any 'matriarchies' in existence that aren't just some tribe in fuck knows where? And the rest of the world is patriarchy?

Lulz. Is there something wrong with being a tribe in whothefuckknowswhere? Didn't you just say something about not valorizing power? The only "real" cultures are huge empires, is that what you're implying here?

I simply pointed out that matriarchal cultures--which are more common in non-Western societies--have lower incidence of rape, abuse, sexual inequality, sexual double standards, etc. This is just an anthropological finding, feel free to look it up if you like. It's not some kind of mystical center. Just a model that we can look to for clues on how to move away from the mess we're in now.

grizzleb
14-09-2009, 03:04 AM
I wasn't saying that, I was saying that you couldn't directly compare their situation with ours. It's a different world, a tribe that is studied by anthropologists and the society we are living in now. Beyond simple structure here we live in a totally different way. Not better I hasten to add but different, and to blame all our problems on 'patriarchy' seems a little like jumping to the conclusions you want to. Is it in the interests of men to criminalise a practise they participate in?

I mean, from my standpoint marriage and nuclear families are very much not held with as much importance as they were, casual attitudes towards sex are very much the most common viewpoint nowadays.

You advocate a 'move towards matriarchy' now if by that you mean women at the centre of the household, etc then jesus christ, how far away from that are we? Are families even relevant in that sort of way in the west in the 21st century anymore? I don't really see male centred families as playing a huge amount of importance. I don't see female centred families as being either, and that's precisely my point.

Anyway, I basically agree with you on the actual points being debated. Just get mildly annoyed with having to take the blame for everything again as a white male. Either exploiting women by supporting the sex industry or trying to control them by supporting marriage and so on. meh

nomadthethird
14-09-2009, 03:40 AM
No, grizzle, I wasn't trying to advocate a return to some kind of literal tribal existence where a high priestess oversees all civic ceremonies. I'm simply advocating a return to the idea that women are sexually powerful, that they are sexual agents, and that they are not unilaterally victims of the superiorly animalistic sexual nature of men.

It may help to fill in some background for you: what you're witnessing here is a clash between generations within feminism. Poetix subscribes to what's usually termed "second wave" feminism (as spearheaded by Andrea Dworkin, specifically), which, while most contemporary feminists admire its zeal and efforts, has long since fallen out of favor within the feminist establishment. (More so in the States than in the UK, obvs.) I identify more with the fourth wave of feminists who have merged with the queer activists. Rhetoric has shifted seismically in the past 30 years, so that "feminism" is no longer a movement just about women burning bras, but is about the politics of sexuality, gender, and sexual identity in general.

What Poetix doesn't let on to, and it may be because he doesn't realize this, is that the second wave feminists were by and large 1) white, 2) upper middle class and 3) college educated, all-around privileged women. Their views on sex work largely reflect a class bias that has been around for centuries: the middle class has looked down on those who couldn't afford to cling to their lofty religious-based ideals since forever, and not just on this issue (think single parenthood, etc.) When black women and sexual minorities joined the movement in the late 80s, what had always been taken for granted, dogmatically, by feminists--i.e. the strict structuralist notion that visual representations of women achieving sexual pleasure could only ever exist as being-for the "male gaze", the pleasure of the male viewer, to the exclusion of female viewers--was subjected to closer scrutiny.

The introduction of women of color, who made up the base of sex work in this country (always have and still do), into the debate completely changed the tone of the discussion. Many black women and sexual minorities who refused to call sex workers "traitors", "whores", and other names, and who advocated for the rights of sex workers rather than the abolishment of sex work, caused a huge rift to form in the power structure within feminism. The war rages on, with black feminists and trans/gay/queer theorists on one side, and paleo-feminists on the other. (See if you can't instantly recognize the ways in which class colors this "debate" by checking out the blogs that advocate the different positions.)

This schism has not yet been bridged. I wish it would be, the sooner the better, because every time a feminist accuses another feminist of being not a real "feminist", we lose valuable time and resources on what poli sci majors call a pointless "purity test"--the sure sign of decadence within the ranks.

grizzleb
14-09-2009, 04:06 AM
No, grizzle, I wasn't trying to advocate a return to some kind of literal tribal existence where a high priestess oversees all civic ceremonies. I'm simply advocating a return to the idea that women are sexually powerful, that they are sexual agents, and that they are not unilaterally victims of the superiorly animalistic sexual nature of men.
If you didn't mean that then what has that got to do with matriarchy/patriarchy, which I thought had more to do with family structures etc?
Or is it more to do with exactly what you said, vis a vis women's sexual identity? And like I mentioned, I think that things aren't as bad as you imply. It's pretty much accepted that women are sexual agents as much as men nowadays.


N
It may help to fill in some background for you: what you're witnessing here is a clash between generations within feminism. Poetix subscribes to what's usually termed "second wave" feminism (as spearheaded by Andrea Dworkin, specifically), which, while most contemporary feminists admire its zeal and efforts, has long since fallen out of favor within the feminist establishment. (More so in the States than in the UK, obvs.) I identify more with the fourth wave of feminists who have merged with the queer activists. Rhetoric has shifted seismically in the past 30 years, so that "feminism" is no longer a movement just about women burning bras, but is about the politics of sexuality, gender, and sexual identity in general.

What Poetix doesn't let on to, and it may be because he doesn't realize this, is that the second wave feminists were by and large 1) white, 2) upper middle class and 3) college educated, all-around privileged women. Their views on sex work largely reflect a class bias that has been around for centuries: the middle class has looked down on those who couldn't afford to cling to their lofty religious-based ideals since forever, and not just on this issue (think single parenthood, etc.) When black women and sexual minorities joined the movement in the late 80s, what had always been taken for granted, dogmatically, by feminists--i.e. the strict structuralist notion that visual representations of women achieving sexual pleasure could only ever exist as being-for the "male gaze", the pleasure of the male viewer, to the exclusion of female viewers--was subjected to closer scrutiny.

The introduction of women of color, who made up the base of sex work in this country (always have and still do), into the debate completely changed the tone of the discussion. Many black women and sexual minorities who refused to call sex workers "traitors", "whores", and other names, and who advocated for the rights of sex workers rather than the abolishment of sex work, caused a huge rift to form in the power structure within feminism. The war rages on, with black feminists and trans/gay/queer theorists on one side, and paleo-feminists on the other. (See if you can't instantly recognize the ways in which class colors this "debate" by checking out the blogs that advocate the different positions.)

This schism has not yet been bridged. I wish it would be, the sooner the better, because every time a feminist accuses another feminist of being not a real "feminist", we lose valuable time and resources on what poli sci majors call a pointless "purity test"--the sure sign of decadence within the ranks.If some feminists think that sex workers are morally negative and another feminist thinks that that is a simplistic view, then surely you aren't talking about simply feminism anymore, and are talking about morals?

And lose valuable time and resources against what? You haven't really explained to me what patriarchy consists of in modern western societies really. And what a 'move towards matriarchy' would consist of. I'm not having a go btw, I basically agree with what you are saying. edit: regarding sex work.

poetix
14-09-2009, 06:44 AM
To be fair, my lot did have Audre Lorde (http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=r3Ct8Qw3de8C&lpg=PP1&ots=Xgzhw-ApM8&dq=audre%20lorde&pg=PA53#v=onepage&q=&f=false).

mistersloane
14-09-2009, 09:09 AM
To be fair, my lot did have Audre Lorde (http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=r3Ct8Qw3de8C&lpg=PP1&ots=Xgzhw-ApM8&dq=audre%20lorde&pg=PA53#v=onepage&q=&f=false).

Audre Lourde is fucking brilliant.

nomadthethird
14-09-2009, 12:45 PM
Are you sure Audre Lourde wrote that? It sounds like one of Zhao's new age headtrips.

Mr. Tea
14-09-2009, 02:13 PM
I simply pointed out that matriarchal cultures--which are more common in non-Western societies--have lower incidence of rape, abuse, sexual inequality, sexual double standards, etc. This is just an anthropological finding, feel free to look it up if you like. It's not some kind of mystical center. Just a model that we can look to for clues on how to move away from the mess we're in now.

Where are these matriarchal societies, though? A lot of "non-Western" societies leave us in the dust when it comes to being patriarchal. Do I need to mention parts of Africa where women are routinely raped in their tens of thousands as a tactic of war, or Iran where a rape can result in brutal corporal punishment for the victim? Mass female infanticide/abortion in India, China...?

There may be groups tucked away here and there that are in some sense matriarchal, but I'd guess they probably form minorities even in their native countries.

Having said that, I'm sure one of the smaller African republics has a parliament made up mostly of women, though I've forgotten which one...ring a bell, anyone?

Edit: I hate posting things like this because it always makes me feel like I'm going to be seen as some kind of cheerleader for the Great and Wonderful West...fuck knows, the developed world causes enough problems for itself and for other countries too, I just think it's important not to get beguiled by Orientalism. Though in fairness nomad did say "matriarchal cultures--which are more common in non-Western societies...", not "non-Western = matriarchal". If she could post some concrete examples, that would great.

mistersloane
14-09-2009, 02:33 PM
Having said that, I'm sure one of the smaller African republics has a parliament made up mostly of women, though I've forgotten which one...ring a bell, anyone?

That's Rwanda

nomadthethird
14-09-2009, 03:20 PM
Where are these matriarchal societies, though? A lot of "non-Western" societies leave us in the dust when it comes to being patriarchal. Do I need to mention parts of Africa where women are routinely raped in their tens of thousands as a tactic of war, or Iran where a rape can result in brutal corporal punishment for the victim? Mass female infanticide/abortion in India, China...?

There may be groups tucked away here and there that are in some sense matriarchal, but I'd guess they probably form minorities even in their native countries.

Having said that, I'm sure one of the smaller African republics has a parliament made up mostly of women, though I've forgotten which one...ring a bell, anyone?

Edit: I hate posting things like this because it always makes me feel like I'm going to be seen as some kind of cheerleader for the Great and Wonderful West...fuck knows, the developed world causes enough problems for itself and for other countries too, I just think it's important not to get beguiled by Orientalism. Though in fairness nomad did say "matriarchal cultures--which are more common in non-Western societies...", not "non-Western = matriarchal". If she could post some concrete examples, that would great.

Yes, of course, there are patriarchal societies in the East, too.

So what's your point?

nomadthethird
14-09-2009, 03:29 PM
Here (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=matriarchal+societies+in+history&btnG=Google+Search&aq=f&oq=&aqi=), Mr. Tea. I have class soon, I don't have time to wade through 500 page textbook pulling out examples of matriarchal societies. A google search should suffice.

Lourde might well be brilliant, but you wouldn't know it from that chapter. That was some Oprah book club caliber inanity, right there.

You might want to pathologize anyone who desires or gets off differently from you, and that's your prerogative. But sexuality, by definition, is based on the deepest psychological needs a person has. Lourde's continuous assertions that her own sense of sexual euphoria and the feelings it is based on are more "erotic", more "true", more "real", and "deeper" than everyone else's is just plain nonsense.

In my group therapy, there was a woman who had a very hard time trusting people, especially in her sex life but also in general. She did not have a long term partner, and found all sorts of ways to avoid getting mixed up in a relationship. But where did this come from? Was it because she was shallow and fake and merely seeking inauthentic "sensations"? No. Her mother had set her on fire when she was 3 years old. Her step-father and brothers raped her on a daily basis for years. This person has very deep feelings associated with her sexuality--like we all do--they're simply different from yours. She was stuck in a cycle of repetition compulsion, as is common in abuse victims. This, though, was a good sign: it meant she was at least trying to break through and grow out of her regressed patterns.

Sexual dysphoria is as authentic as sexual euphoria, and the feelings associated with ANY person's sexuality are deep, real, and as authentic as anyone else's.

grizzleb
14-09-2009, 03:34 PM
You ignoring me?

nomadthethird
14-09-2009, 03:37 PM
Sorry, no. Just busy.

Matriarchal simply means a form of society that a) is not centered around monotheism, b) does not exclude women from prominent positions of power, c) has no history of oppressing women and excluding them from landownership, priesthood, scholarship, etc., d) where women are considered sexual agents and often seen as the dominant partner in a sexual relationship (in direct contrast to our patriarchal view that women are always already dominated by men), and probably a few other traits I'm not remembering at the moment.

Our culture is nowhere near "matriarchal", although strides have been made away from traditional patriarchy.

You can look up the terms online, you'll find lots of info.

grizzleb
14-09-2009, 03:38 PM
Here (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=matriarchal+societies+in+history&btnG=Google+Search&aq=f&oq=&aqi=), Mr. Tea. I have class soon, I don't have time to wade through 500 page textbook pulling out examples of matriarchal societies. A google search should suffice.

Lourde might well be brilliant, but you wouldn't know it from that chapter. That was some Oprah book club caliber inanity, right there.

You might want to pathologize anyone who desires or gets off differently from you, and that's your prerogative. But sexuality, by definition, is based on the deepest psychological needs a person has. Lourde's continuous assertions that her own sense of sexual euphoria and the feelings it is based on are more "erotic", more "true", more "real", and "deeper" than everyone else's is just plain nonsense.

In my group therapy, there was a woman who had a very hard time trusting people, especially in her sex life but also in general. She did not have a long term partner, and found all sorts of ways to avoid getting mixed up in a relationship. But where did this come from? Was it because she was shallow and fake and merely seeking inauthentic "sensations"? No. Her mother had set her on fire when she was 3 years old. Her step-father and brothers raped her on a daily basis for years. This person has very deep feelings associated with her sexuality--like we all do--they're simply different from yours. She was stuck in a cycle of repetition compulsion, as is common in abuse victims. This, though, was a good sign: it meant she was at least trying to break through and grow out of her regressed patterns.

Sexual dysphoria is as authentic as sexual euphoria, and the feelings associated with ANY person's sexuality are deep, real, and as authentic as anyone else's.

Right, because there isn't a 'neutral' sexual position/seat in the first instance. If you exist as a sexual being there is an element of it that is constructed by your experience and impressions in childhood or so on - whether you are what we would call 'well adjusted' or a 'nymphomaniac' or whatever, there's always an element of it that is fixed based on experiences. What should be aimed at is your sexuality being something that does not pose any major problems for you/ people around you/ something you are comfortable with...

grizzleb
14-09-2009, 03:44 PM
Sorry, no. Just busy.

Matriarchal simply means a form of society that a) is not centered around monotheism, b) does not exclude women from prominent positions of power, c) has no history of oppressing women and excluding them from landownership, priesthood, scholarship, etc., d) where women are considered sexual agents and often seen as the dominant partner in a sexual relationship (in direct contrast to our patriarchal view that women are always already dominated by men), and probably a few other traits I'm not remembering at the moment.

Our culture is nowhere near "matriarchal", although strides have been made away from traditional patriarchy.

You can look up the terms online, you'll find lots of info.
I dunno, I guess the reason all that bothers me is again that it sets one sex above the other, (a move towards the female as dominant partner). A move towards that is just another step in the sexual war of attritition that's been going on forever. it benifits no-one for half of everyone to feel aggrieved. I don't really benefit in any sense from my society being 'patriarchical' in origin, so why do many women still fell aggrieved? When most people of both sexes say that things should basically be equal?

nomadthethird
14-09-2009, 03:54 PM
I dunno, I guess the reason all that bothers me is again that it sets one sex above the other, (a move towards the female as dominant partner). A move towards that is just another step in the sexual war of attritition that's been going on forever. it benifits no-one for half of everyone to feel aggrieved. I don't really benefit in any sense from my society being 'patriarchical' in origin, so why do many women still fell aggrieved? When most people of both sexes say that things should basically be equal?

You're still missing the point. The point is not to move to a literal structural governmental matriarchy. The point of looking at matriarchy (and the reasons why rape is less common there, sexual equality is more easily achieved politically, and such) is as a point of reference, a place to take cues from regarding what works from within that model. We can simply discard whatever doesn't work (no need to favor women over men in government, say.)

Nobody's saying women should be 'dominant', just that we should go back to a sort of matriarchal stance on female sexual power--i.e. that it's as real and potent as male sexual power, that women can act sexually, that women are not simply fantasms or apparitions of the male gaze, etc.

Mr. Tea
14-09-2009, 08:43 PM
Here (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=matriarchal+societies+in+history&btnG=Google+Search&aq=f&oq=&aqi=), Mr. Tea. I have class soon, I don't have time to wade through 500 page textbook pulling out examples of matriarchal societies. A google search should suffice.

Well I wasn't after an exhaustive list, I just thought you might be able to point to one particular (extant) group.

Mr. Tea
14-09-2009, 08:54 PM
Nobody's saying women should be 'dominant', just that we should go back to a sort of matriarchal stance on female sexual power--i.e. that it's as real and potent as male sexual power, that women can act sexually, that women are not simply fantasms or apparitions of the male gaze, etc.

Is it really the case that female sexual power, as you put it, is not recognised? I mean, look at how many sex toys are marketed at women, condoms with ribs or dots 'for her pleasure', all kinds of pills, potions, lotions, lubes...

...or is there some problem here with the degree of commercialisation? But it's hardly as if male sexuality is not commercialised (porn, anyone?).

poetix
14-09-2009, 09:59 PM
What is sexual power? I've never really correlated sex with power - for me, power formats sex according to its imperatives, not the other way around. So when people talk about female sexual power, are they talking about female power over sex - control of the institutions and discourses that determine how sexual experience is formatted? Or are they talking about some way of being powerful that arises from one's sexual being?

Audre Lorde says that eros is a source of power because it unifies experience, connecting sensual experience with the most deeply felt reserves of selfhood. Eros associates and connects what power puts asunder; it is an impulse towards integrity. (This notion runs counter to the sexual pessimist tradition according to which sexuality disturbs and destroys integrity). It is a wellspring of agency because it knits together a self-being that possesses the integrity necessary for action, and because it is a source of (practical rather than theoretical) self-knowledge. In this view, whatever disrupts integrity and promotes dissociation is antithetical to eros, and weakens agency. This is a concept of "female sexual power" that is concerned with overcoming the forces that fragment and dislocate women's selfhood. It is closely related to the rhetoric of Black national liberation (Fanon, for example), which regarded colonial occupation and exploitation as promoting the division and dis-integration of whole societies as a deliberate strategy for weakening resistance.

How might one talk about "sexual power" - male of female - without recourse to this metaphorics of unity and disunity?

padraig (u.s.)
14-09-2009, 10:12 PM
That's Rwanda

tho tbf it's not a parliament of "mostly women", it is 45/35 in a parliament of 80. actually, there is a law in the Rwandan constitution which guarantees 30% of the seats in parliament to women. that makeup also - I believe - somewhat accurately represents the gender ratio of Rwanda, which is a better higher female to male than the world norm as a result of many men & boys having been killed in the genocide or the last 15 years of on/off wars that followed (women as well of course, just not as many).

also, I haven't followed this entire debate but, Mr. Tea, I'm not sure you quite have a grasp on what the term "Orientalism" entails. matriarchal societies, it depends on what you mean by that. I don't think there have been many that were dominated by women in the way that cultures have been ruled by men but there are plenty of examples where things were more even - where women held some kind of power whether it is/was through lineage, property ownership, religious or political authority, etc. The Iroquois are an example I can think of off the top of my head, tho certainly there are many more. tho that's also not say that matriarchal societies are 1) common or 2) necessarily "better" than those run by men.


I don't really benefit in any sense from my society being 'patriarchical' in origin

are you serious man? you're far less likely to be attacked, especially to be the victim of rape or spousal abuse. there are numerous professions you'll find it relatively easier to go into, & you're more likely to be better paid once you do. you're also far less likely to suffer from sexual harassment at work. I could go on, but what's the point? it's true that the patriarchy isn't as clear cut in the modern world as it likely would be in a society being studied by an anthropologist but it's pretty laughable nonsense to say it don't exist or that it have enormous impact. come on now.

padraig (u.s.)
14-09-2009, 10:30 PM
just that we should go back to a sort of matriarchal stance on female sexual power

I'm also not a fan of the concept of literal "matriarchy" any more than other inherently unequal arrangement, but that comment (whatever semantics bollocks Poetix wants to get into about the definition of "power" & Fanon & whatever) essentially, as I understand it, it really just means women as agents of their own destinies/sexual agendas.

nomadthethird
14-09-2009, 10:31 PM
I've never really correlated sex with power

Yes you have, several times in this thread--you've correlated sex with male power over and over. You've never (once, that I've seen, anywhere) correlated this same sort of sexual power with women.


- for me, power formats sex according to its imperatives, not the other way around. So when people talk about female sexual power, are they talking about female power over sex - control of the institutions and discourses that determine how sexual experience is formatted? Or are they talking about some way of being powerful that arises from one's sexual being?

People are talking about the fact that in a vast network or system of exchange, women exist as full sexual subject and agents, to the same extent that men do. Women are desiring producers to exactly the same extent that men are. They are workers in the same desire factory men work in. Some might think this type of agency doesn't extend very far even for men; fine. I'd disagree, because I don't think desire is predicated on a lack, but that it's always implicated in "constructive" projects (some very difficult to understand or parse, yes, definitely). Ultimately, the impetus behind talking about female sexual power (women as desiring producers within desiring machines) is based on a wish to reverse the believe/insistence that women are "not sexual subjects", as some psychoanalysts who shall remain nameless have suggested (and which has been the dogmatic refrain of paleo-feminists since the 50s.)


Audre Lorde says that eros is a source of power because it unifies experience, connecting sensual experience with the most deeply felt reserves of selfhood. Eros associates and connects what power puts asunder; it is an impulse towards integrity. (This notion runs counter to the sexual pessimist tradition according to which sexuality disturbs and destroys integrity). It is a wellspring of agency because it knits together a self-being that possesses the integrity necessary for action, and because it is a source of (practical rather than theoretical) self-knowledge. In this view, whatever disrupts integrity and promotes dissociation is antithetical to eros, and weakens agency. This is a concept of "female sexual power" that is concerned with overcoming the forces that fragment and dislocate women's selfhood. It is closely related to the rhetoric of Black national liberation (Fanon, for example), which regarded colonial occupation and exploitation as promoting the division and dis-integration of whole societies as a deliberate strategy for weakening resistance.

Integrity? What? Disconnection? Disconnection from what? Their authentic innercore slash Ursprung of Dasein? Fascism. "Selfhood"? I thought you didn't believe in individuals/individual selves? Honestly, I have no idea what you're talking about here and I suspect you don't really either, but it sounds nice, and the sentences are well-written.


How might one talk about "sexual power" - male of female - without recourse to this metaphorics of unity and disunity?

Easily and without complication.

nomadthethird
14-09-2009, 10:34 PM
tho that's also not say that matriarchal societies are 1) common or 2) necessarily "better" than those run by men.


They are necessarily lower in rape, incest, child abuse, and many other female-victimizing criminal behaviors.


I'm also not a fan of the concept of literal "matriarchy" any more than other inherently unequal arrangement, but that comment (whatever semantics bollocks Poetix wants to get into about the definition of "power" & Fanon & whatever) essentially, as I understand it, it really just means women as agents of their own destinies/sexual agendas.

Yup, exactly. Not difficult to understand, was it?

mistersloane
15-09-2009, 12:02 AM
Integrity? What? Disconnection? Disconnection from what? Their authentic innercore slash Ursprung of Dasein? Fascism. "Selfhood"? I thought you didn't believe in individuals/individual selves? Honestly, I have no idea what you're talking about here and I suspect you don't really either, but it sounds nice, and the sentences are well-written.



I think you're being a bit harsh here. Poetix tried to explain Lourde's worldview admirably and witchily - I certainly couldn't have done that. I think Poetix really did know what they were talking about, however much it might clash, on first read, with stuff. Lourde's stuff is as hermetic as Mary Daly. I recommend the poetry : I used to sit with someone who would read her out loud to me and we would both weep with laughter; no disrespect to Audre; I used to weep with laughter at Plath as well. You have to find your own entertainment without a TV.

nomadthethird
15-09-2009, 12:39 AM
I think you're being a bit harsh here. Poetix tried to explain Lourde's worldview admirably and witchily - I certainly couldn't have done that. I think Poetix really did know what they were talking about, however much it might clash, on first read, with stuff. Lourde's stuff is as hermetic as Mary Daly. I recommend the poetry : I used to sit with someone who would read her out loud to me and we would both weep with laughter; no disrespect to Audre; I used to weep with laughter at Plath as well. You have to find your own entertainment without a TV.

Well, they were honest questions... I understand Poetix was explicating Lourde's work, but I don't think what she believes passes a cursory "is this similar to Heideggerian crypto-fascism?" test... which is a problem for me. I strongly disagree with what I've read so far of Lourde's worldview, or any worldview centered on a version of "authentic selfhood". I think these kinds of ideas are politically very sinister, when you scratch through the veneer of moralism and grandiloquence.

I think her writing style reminds me of bell hooks or Toni Morrison, so I can see how you'd like her for that.

mistersloane
15-09-2009, 12:50 AM
Well, they were honest questions... I understand Poetix was explicating Lourde's work, but I don't think what she believes passes a cursory "is this similar to Heideggerian crypto-fascism?" test... which is a problem for me. I strongly disagree with what I've read so far of Lourde's worldview, or any worldview centered on a version of "authentic selfhood". I think these kinds of ideas are politically very sinister, when you scratch through the veneer of moralism and grandiloquence.

I think her writing style reminds me of bell hooks or Toni Morrison, so I can see how you'd like her for that.

Yeah, I'd defend her poetry; what works on the personal doesn't necessarily transfer out of that. We liked her jus cos she was such a fucking goth, which is where she'd differ I think from hooks or Morrison. I mean, bell didn't get out the house much but she did actually go out occasionally; you know Audre spent 6 hours doing her hair and then rang off being able to come out with some lame excuse.

nomadthethird
15-09-2009, 01:01 AM
Yeah, I'd defend her poetry; what works on the personal doesn't necessarily transfer out of that. We liked her jus cos she was such a fucking goth, which is where she'd differ I think from hooks or Morrison. I mean, bell didn't get out the house much but she did actually go out occasionally; you know Audre spent 6 hours doing her hair and then rang off being able to come out with some lame excuse.

haha! I wouldn't have guessed from that but yes I will read some of her poetry. bell hooks is an interesting case--she has her twee new ageisms and moments of metaphysical grandiosity that sort of repulse me, but as far as understanding culture goes, I think she's aces. She's really good at balancing the dual factors of race and class (as in hip-hop) without forgetting one or overemphasizing the other. Also good at using theory without excessive jargonizing. There's some good stuff on youtube.

Uggghh, gotta force myself to study for exams (already! two of them and two quizzes this week...)

mistersloane
15-09-2009, 01:19 AM
haha! I wouldn't have guessed from that but yes I will read some of her poetry. bell hooks is an interesting case--she has her twee new ageisms and moments of metaphysical grandiosity that sort of repulse me, but as far as understanding culture goes, I think she's aces. She's really good at balancing the dual factors of race and class (as in hip-hop) without forgetting one or overemphasizing the other. Also good at using theory without excessive jargonizing. There's some good stuff on youtube.

Uggghh, gotta force myself to study for exams (already! two of them and two quizzes this week...)

I had Christmas with bell once, in England, it was lovely. You're bang on the money about the assimilation of theory without resort to jargon
'intelligence is the ability to communicate'.
Give them hell with the exams:)

poetix
15-09-2009, 08:26 AM
People are talking about the fact that in a vast network or system of exchange, women exist as full sexual subject and agents, to the same extent that men do.

This is not in dispute, but it is difficult to make sense of. What is a sexual subject? (What, especially, is a "full" sexual subject?). We have the beginnings of an answer here:


Women are desiring producers to exactly the same extent that men are. They are workers in the same desire factory men work in.

but this metaphysics of desire - and it is a metaphysics - doesn't do a lot of explaining for me. "Desire factory"? I mean, I know how this kind of language works in D&G, it just seems utterly fanciful to me as a description of social reality.

"Paleo"-feminism has a theory of female agency, but it also has a theory of what stifles, disrupts, misdirects and exploits female agency. That is, there's a structure/agency dialectic at work, and a corresponding "pessimism of the intellect" (which scans structures) and "optimism of the will" (which demands their revolutionary transformation by some political subject). It's not possible, politically, to sustain this kind of extreme division for very long, because "optimism of the will" can't by itself orientate the political subject it calls for. What happened, I think, to 2nd-wave feminism was that it fell captive to a reactionary subjectivity of its own making: optimism of the intellect (agency is everywhere, reality is just one big desire factory), pessimism of the will (universal suspicion of any egalitarian political subject, or any conception of political truth).

It's useless, finally, to try to resuscitate the 2nd-wave feminists' frenzy and outrage, as admirable as it was. I like those contemporary feminists who remain ferocious and intransigent in their militant opposition to "sexist shit", a lot more than I like those who think that pole-dancing can usefully be theorised as an expression of female sexual agency. But their ferocity nowadays doesn't count for all that much; at most, it serves as an outward and visible sign of what the 2nd-wave feminists always believed in, which was that the political agency of women under patriarchy exists and manifests itself as rebellion against reactionaries. To say that they "denied" female subjectivity is baffling, really: what they denied about it was not that it existed - they embodied it, in action - but that it was identical with the expressions of female selfhood sanctioned by patriarchy and upheld by the state.

nomadthethird
15-09-2009, 01:25 PM
This is not in dispute

It was, and it often seems that (at this rate, esp) it will be forever.


but this metaphysics of desire - and it is a metaphysics - doesn't do a lot of explaining for me. "Desire factory"? I mean, I know how this kind of language works in D&G, it just seems utterly fanciful to me as a description of social reality.

It's just a metaphor that works. I tried explaining what I meant without recourse to this sort of explanation, but that wasn't good enough for you. I don't think that this language is any more or less fanciful than talking about "authentic" "selves" who are in "union" with "whatever" who are full of "integrity" or something, anyway.


It's useless, finally, to try to resuscitate the 2nd-wave feminists' frenzy and outrage, as admirable as it was. I like those contemporary feminists who remain ferocious and intransigent in their militant opposition to "sexist shit", a lot more than I like those who think that pole-dancing can usefully be theorised as an expression of female sexual agency. But their ferocity nowadays doesn't count for all that much; at most, it serves as an outward and visible sign of what the 2nd-wave feminists always believed in, which was that the political agency of women under patriarchy exists and manifests itself as rebellion against reactionaries.

Finally, something we can agree on.


To say that they "denied" female subjectivity is baffling, really: what they denied about it was not that it existed - they embodied it, in action - but that it was identical with the expressions of female selfhood sanctioned by patriarchy and upheld by the state.

Hmm...I didn't say they denied female subjectivity, though--which is different than sexual power, I'd think. "Subjectivity" is a rationalist abstraction, sexual power is more like unconscious bedrock in the Id, which of course remains opaque to rational discourse.

I would say that what the 2nd wave failed to account for was the extent to which they had themselves internalized patriarchical imperatives and "sexist shit", so that they didn't realize when they were going around echoing it, and thus reinstating phallic discursive biases and oppression. Critical discourse and negotiation of what things like subjectivity, agency, and such get to mean given all sorts of constraints (like capitalism, etc.) are obviously progressive and important and I wish there were more of both. But reflexive tribalism doesn't get us anywhere, and is almost always based on some kind of unavowed, unconscious internalized imperative from the dominant culture.

nomadthethird
15-09-2009, 01:50 PM
I had Christmas with bell once, in England, it was lovely. You're bang on the money about the assimilation of theory without resort to jargon
'intelligence is the ability to communicate'.
Give them hell with the exams:)

Wow Christmas, that's fun...(thnx btw).

grizzleb
15-09-2009, 03:38 PM
are you serious man? you're far less likely to be attacked, especially to be the victim of rape or spousal abuse. there are numerous professions you'll find it relatively easier to go into, & you're more likely to be better paid once you do. you're also far less likely to suffer from sexual harassment at work. I could go on, but what's the point? it's true that the patriarchy isn't as clear cut in the modern world as it likely would be in a society being studied by an anthropologist but it's pretty laughable nonsense to say it don't exist or that it have enormous impact. come on now.
Where I'm from, men are far more likely to be victims of violence and murder than women, many times over. But is that OK because it's not sexual violence? Also, I know guys who've been abused by their female partner, I've had impetinent sexual comments made about me in my workplace before and nobody gives a fuck, cause I'm a guy it's not important or real. Plus if I have a child with a woman she has far more rights over custody than I do. It's not clear cut at all, and men draw the short straw just as much. In this case should men fight 'matriarchy' and 'reassert their hidden nurturing instincts'?

nomadthethird
15-09-2009, 04:52 PM
Where I'm from, men are far more likely to be victims of violence and murder than women, many times over. But is that OK because it's not sexual violence? Also, I know guys who've been abused by their female partner, I've had impetinent sexual comments made about me in my workplace before and nobody gives a fuck, cause I'm a guy it's not important or real. Plus if I have a child with a woman she has far more rights over custody than I do. It's not clear cut at all, and men draw the short straw just as much. In this case should men fight 'matriarchy' and 'reassert their hidden nurturing instincts'?

Don't even try to trot out these lame Bill O'Reillyisms here because they won't work.

The fact that men kill each other is not an excuse for their killing of women. Your logic is spurious. These are separate issues, but both are ultimately related to patriarchy and its structural tendency toward violence predicated on power structures/imbalances related to income gaps and so forth.

It's just as illegal for women to sexually harass men as it is for men to harrass women at work, and if you have been harassed, you have every right to sue. You're much more likely to win your suit than a woman is, though. As you are in a criminal rape case with a male perp, btw.

Women do not have "more" custody rights, they simply often have fewer hours at work, and make less money, so they often get longer stays in custody battles because the father would be more likely to be "absent" and at work during critical points in the child's day.

grizzleb
15-09-2009, 05:24 PM
I just don't accept it as ultimatley lying at the foot of men. And I don't really see much difference in terms of the word between 'men' and 'patriarchy'. They both basically signify the same thing, albeit in a roundabout way. The world works this way not because men are dicks but because there's a tendency of everything towards an element of harshness and unfairness. Women don't really have an easier time than men, or a more difficult one. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

nomadthethird
15-09-2009, 05:33 PM
Patriarchy does not just equal men. Everyone is implicated in patriarchy. It's no one individual or group's fault. It's a tradition that can be traced back centuries. We all need to participate in change, for the mutual benefit of everyone. It certainly will benefit men as well as women to do this, fwiw--because men ARE objectified in this culture as well as women, and expected to live up to a bunch of stupid stereotypes and gender role prescriptions and so forth...I'll give you that.

grizzleb
15-09-2009, 08:29 PM
Ah cool so we basically agree then. Dunno why patriarchy is relevant as a term then tho. Might as well say capitalism or whatnot. I always felt the implication whenever that word was used that it was something I had some interest in which fucked me off.

BTW - my arguments there weren't to show that guys get a worse time or whatever but that this 'I'm more downtrodden than you' attitude is part of the problem. Some people like being the persecuted cause it gives them the moral high ground (an easy place to occupy).

We're all complicit.

Also - gender roles make things easy for alot of people. Agree of disagree? Obviously they are daft but you can see why they have proliferated from a social perspective.

Mr. Tea
15-09-2009, 09:27 PM
are you serious man? you're far less likely to be attacked, especially to be the victim of rape or spousal abuse. there are numerous professions you'll find it relatively easier to go into, & you're more likely to be better paid once you do. you're also far less likely to suffer from sexual harassment at work. I could go on, but what's the point? it's true that the patriarchy isn't as clear cut in the modern world as it likely would be in a society being studied by an anthropologist but it's pretty laughable nonsense to say it don't exist or that it have enormous impact. come on now.

This is all true. But it's also true that men are more likely to suffer depression or other mental illness, abuse drink or drugs and kill themselves. Boys do less well than girls at school in almost every subject and the fact that men commit the majority of crime and make up almost the entire prison population is so obvious as to be hardly worth mentioning. So it's not really the case that Western society exclusively benefits men at the expense of women.

Edit: partial x-post with grizzleb.

poetix
15-09-2009, 09:50 PM
Hmm...I didn't say they denied female subjectivity, though--which is different than sexual power, I'd think. "Subjectivity" is a rationalist abstraction, sexual power is more like unconscious bedrock in the Id, which of course remains opaque to rational discourse.

In what sense, then, can an "unconscious bedrock in the Id" be parlayed into power?

Lorde has an account where eros supports the construction of an agentic selfhood, knitting together something that can know itself and exercise agency, by convolving elements of experience that would otherwise remain separate and compartmentalised (life of the senses over here, life of the mind over here). Her account is strongly conditioned by organicist assumptions, so that the end-point of this process of construction is a "whole" and "authentic" self; and I'd want to inflect that in the direction of a more truth-procedural account, in which the coming into being of the erotic subject isn't a repair job done on a broken whole but the unfolding of something novel and slightly monstrous.

However, I would think of this unfolding as a coming to truth (as the coming into being of a truth) rather than a coming to power (the actuation of a latent force, "sexual power" as a form of energy stored in the id and waiting to be released). Libidinal bricolage is not a power among earthly powers, a force capable of acting on or against the forces that shape our social world. Its strength lies in its ability to bind together an integral being that is not plastic to those forces, not readily reshaped by power, without the integrity of that being depending on its relationship to any ground or unifying principle (it hangs together somewhat like a poem, or a theorem).


I would say that what the 2nd wave failed to account for was the extent to which they had themselves internalized patriarchical imperatives and "sexist shit", so that they didn't realize when they were going around echoing it, and thus reinstating phallic discursive biases and oppression.

One important insight of the 2nd wave was that the real battle was not between a sexual mainstream and this or that sexual counterculture - that the countercultures and the mainstream were already in a symbiotic relationship, and shared many of the same constraints and assumptions - but between female intelligence and misogynist stupidity. They forcibly shattered the constraints of tribal loyalty that bound them to stupid misogynists in the peace movement, on "the left", and in radical circles generally. They stopped agreeing that it was as cool to be fucked by those guys as those guys thought it was.

The retort this disloyalty earned them was that they'd gone over to the other side, become stuffy moralists and "strange bedfellows" with the Right, stopped being true radicals or whatever because of their hostile, unnatural, probably "bourgeois" and "counter-revolutionary" habit of valuing their own intelligence and trying to use it to its fullest extent. This was always a pretty shabby accusation, but it's been useful over the years in helping to enlist countercultural intellectuals to an anti-feminist backlash. A lot of the milieu in which 3rd-wave feminism (such as it has been) took form was shaped by this backlash; which is one of the reasons I think why there is so little real understanding of the context and import of 2nd-wave feminist thought, and so much polemical misprision along the lines of "Andrea Dworkin said all heterosexual intercourse was rape".

nomadthethird
15-09-2009, 10:43 PM
Grizzle, yes, gender roles reelly used to benefit people a long time ago, when we lived a different way, in pre-history, about 100,000 years ago. Now, not so much.


In what sense, then, can an "unconscious bedrock in the Id" be parlayed into power?

In what sense does a postively charged proton get "parlayed" into power? It doesn't. I don't really understand what you're asking, but I also don't believe power "gets parlayed" on the level of the unconscious. I don't believe it's eternal either--it's unstable and moves around a lot and we don't really understand it yet, sort of like particles on the quantum level.

You're assuming power is only an effect of rationalist subjectivation. I strongly disagree with this assumption.


Lorde has an account where eros supports the construction of an agentic selfhood, knitting together something that can know itself and exercise agency, by convolving elements of experience that would otherwise remain separate and compartmentalised (life of the senses over here, life of the mind over here). Her account is strongly conditioned by organicist assumptions, so that the end-point of this process of construction is a "whole" and "authentic" self; and I'd want to inflect that in the direction of a more truth-procedural account, in which the coming into being of the erotic subject isn't a repair job done on a broken whole but the unfolding of something novel and slightly monstrous.

However, I would think of this unfolding as a coming to truth (as the coming into being of a truth) rather than a coming to power (the actuation of a latent force, "sexual power" as a form of energy stored in the id and waiting to be released). Libidinal bricolage is not a power among earthly powers, a force capable of acting on or against the forces that shape our social world. Its strength lies in its ability to bind together an integral being that is not plastic to those forces, not readily reshaped by power, without the integrity of that being depending on its relationship to any ground or unifying principle (it hangs together somewhat like a poem, or a theorem).

Weren't you just the one blowing your referee whistle over fanciful metaphysical language? There's nothing in the world more frivolous than this mumbo-jumbo about "truth procedures", especially when you, as you are doing here, try to somehow smuggle "libido" (which you've already claimed you didn't believe in) into the mix through the backdoor, and in probably the most peculiar, convoluted manner imaginable. What is "libidinal bricolage", anyway? I've never heard this term before. If libido has no power, how does it "bind" anything? What you're saying seems pretty incoherent. Poems don't "hang together" in any meaningful sense, either. This is very typical of you, though--resort to great big metaphors where you can't explain something so they can do all the work for you.


One important insight of the 2nd wave was that the real battle was not between a sexual mainstream and this or that sexual counterculture - that the countercultures and the mainstream were already in a symbiotic relationship, and shared many of the same constraints and assumptions - but between female intelligence and misogynist stupidity. They forcibly shattered the constraints of tribal loyalty that bound them to stupid misogynists in the peace movement, on "the left", and in radical circles generally. They stopped agreeing that it was as cool to be fucked by those guys as those guys thought it was.

The retort this disloyalty earned them was that they'd gone over to the other side, become stuffy moralists and "strange bedfellows" with the Right, stopped being true radicals or whatever because of their hostile, unnatural, probably "bourgeois" and "counter-revolutionary" habit of valuing their own intelligence and trying to use it to its fullest extent. This was always a pretty shabby accusation, but it's been useful over the years in helping to enlist countercultural intellectuals to an anti-feminist backlash. A lot of the milieu in which 3rd-wave feminism (such as it has been) took form was shaped by this backlash; which is one of the reasons I think why there is so little real understanding of the context and import of 2nd-wave feminist thought, and so much polemical misprision along the lines of "Andrea Dworkin said all heterosexual intercourse was rape".

Errr...no. Not even close. Which country are you talking about here? Not the U.S. Nobody accused the second wave of being bedfellows with the right at the time when their wave coalesced, and in fact they quickly ascended to become the power structure within the movement--in fact, they remained there for a good 20 years. Once they'd reached the top, they shouted down any viewpoint that didn't serve their interests, they actively worked to keep minorities out (because these women tended to disagree with them on key issues like sex work and porn), and they have a long history of being anti-trans bigots. You have no clue what you're talking about here, but it's a nice effort.

People say Andrea Dworkin said terrible things (including, on several occasions, telling people to their faces that, if they were in heterosexual relationships and having penetrative sex, that they were "rapists or whores") who knew her personally, Poetix. I went to a college where half the faculty had known her to some degree, been friends with her, or worked with her in some capacity for years. She said and did some really mindbogglingly weird things, including becoming a cheerleader for different brands of colonialists, in her later years. Many people within the movement actually thought she'd gone certifiably insane at a certain point in her life. Which is sad, especially because she did initially have some good points to make. I mean, I know you like her, but come on, how blind can you be to the faults in her logic...

nomadthethird
15-09-2009, 10:51 PM
Some of the first books to go when Canada passed the MacKinnon/Dworkin legislation on obscenity/porn were ... you guessed it ... Dworkin's books themselves.

Beyond those, guess who the main targets were of these new laws? Gay and lesbian book distributors. Not mainstream porn outlets. Not mainstream porn distributors. Gay BOOK distributors.

This is exactly what MacKinnon's opponents in the U.S. predicted would happen.

Did rape rates go down in Canada since this legislation passed? Did violent crime go down? Did *anything* change? Nope! In fact, some of the numbers have gone up.

But now you can't buy Dworkin's books*, and if you're gay, you can't buy a book of erotic photos. Or sell it.

*This may have changed by now...not sure.

nomadthethird
15-09-2009, 11:08 PM
Oh how I wish I had a copy of Intercourse so I could post a list of the choicest quotes from it. Here are a few of her best in general:


"Intercourse is the pure, sterile, formal expression of men's contempt for women..."

O it is is it? Chuckle.


Seduction is often difficult to distinguish from rape. In seduction, the rapist often bothers to buy a bottle of wine.


Lulzzzz.


No woman needs intercourse; few women escape it.

Speak for yourself.


You think intercourse is a private act; it's not, it's a social act. Men are sexually predatory in life; and women are sexually manipulative. When two individuals come together and leave their gender outside the bedroom door, then they make love.

With on the first part but then...Erm...okkaayy.


Women, for centuries not having access to pornography and now unable to bear looking at the muck on the supermarket shelves, are astonished. Women do not believe that men believe what pornography says about women. But they do. From the worst to the best of them, they do.


This is a flat out lie, and she's too smart not to know it is. In all kinds of cultures, women not only had access to pornography, it was plastered and stuccoed out in the wide open for everyone to see. Pompei anyone? Greek urns anyone? Cave paintings anyone? Far more graphic than what's on our supermarket shelves.


A commitment to sexual equality with males is a commitment to becoming the rich instead of the poor, the rapist instead of the raped, the murderer instead of the murdered.

Downright scary.



Only when manhood is dead - and it will perish when ravaged femininity no longer sustains it - only then will we know what it is to be free.


WTF. I mean, yeah, gender is constructed but...umm...dead?


Men know everything - all of them - all the time - no matter how stupid or inexperienced or arrogant or ignorant they are.

Ha, well...

grizzleb
16-09-2009, 11:48 AM
I don't mean that people in general benefit from gender roles, but that they make things simpler for people in the sense that people have a few fixed ways they are supposed to act etc. If you are gay you act camp, that's not something that's 100,000 years old - I'd say thats pretty modern. I'm not saying it's good or whatever, and it extents beyond simple gender or sexuality. If you are this class you act this way etc.

BTW I'm not stereotyping - all gay guys don't act camp. But lots do.

nomadthethird
16-09-2009, 03:31 PM
I don't mean that people in general benefit from gender roles, but that they make things simpler for people in the sense that people have a few fixed ways they are supposed to act etc. If you are gay you act camp, that's not something that's 100,000 years old - I'd say thats pretty modern. I'm not saying it's good or whatever, and it extents beyond simple gender or sexuality. If you are this class you act this way etc.

BTW I'm not stereotyping - all gay guys don't act camp. But lots do.

Sure, of course.

See, gender stereotyping was something the 2nd wave hadn't learned to turn the dialectic on entirely yet. They had a couple of pet peeves when it came to basic stereotypes of women as unintelligent or docile, but a statement like Dworkin's about seduction is telling: "Seduction is often difficult to distinguish from rape. In seduction, the rapist often bothers to buy a bottle of wine."

What's happening here is she's bought into a whole bunch of really heinous stereotypes based on phallic male-power or "androcentric" thinking regarding sexuality, where the assumption is that only men can seduce women, women are always the passive recipients of male sexual interest, men are sexual agents and women are not, women have no interest in sex and cannot actively participate in the seduction ritual, etc. In reality, women seduce men all of the time...hell, some of them even pay for the bottle of wine (or the jug of Crystal Palace, or whatever). The rites and rituals of seduction have very little to do with male power, as any biologist will tell you, and rely almost exclusively on the position of the female (of almost every species) as sexual "chooser". I would argue that where rape is occuring or has occured, the word "seduction" has no place, and does not apply, to the sort of tactics employed.

On top of that, she's conflated the act of sex upon being seduced, if a woman should choose to have sex with her seducer, with the act of being raped. This is a logical fallacy called "equivocation", i.e. sliding from one definition of a term to another mid-argument.

Of course, date rape exists, and it is important to point out the fact that many date rapists come across, on the surface, at first, as "nice guys" who buy flowers and do and say all the "right things." But it's important to examine the ways in which certain feminists completely bought into the idea that men were all-powerful.

It's funny. Dworkin often gets accused of being a foaming-at-the-mouth misandrist. But really, it's women Dworkin dislikes--she hates the fact that they aren't the male power double, and that many of them are disinterested in becoming just like men, some kind of "default" "human" "subject" who gets to rule over a domain.

poetix
16-09-2009, 04:18 PM
Charles Olson on how poems hang together (http://www.poetspath.com/transmissions/messages/olson.html): "Then the poem itself must, at all points, be a high energy-construct and, at all points, an energy-discharge".

Much of the anti-Dworkin stuff recited by Nomad here is familiar and at best half-true; the quotations are massively out of context (and assumed, erroneously, to be bald assertions of fact rather than witty expressions of saeva indignatio - Dworkin without hyperbole would not be Dworkin, but you do have to know how to read it), and the business with Canada's obscenity laws has a lot less to do with Dworkin and MacKinnon's framing of the Minneapolis Ordinances on pornography than opponents of the latter would like you to believe (they weren't great laws, but they included no provision for the impounding of books for suspected obscene content).

nomadthethird
16-09-2009, 09:45 PM
Charles Olson on how poems hang together (http://www.poetspath.com/transmissions/messages/olson.html): "Then the poem itself must, at all points, be a high energy-construct and, at all points, an energy-discharge".

Much of the anti-Dworkin stuff recited by Nomad here is familiar and at best half-true; the quotations are massively out of context (and assumed, erroneously, to be bald assertions of fact rather than witty expressions of saeva indignatio - Dworkin without hyperbole would not be Dworkin, but you do have to know how to read it), and the business with Canada's obscenity laws has a lot less to do with Dworkin and MacKinnon's framing of the Minneapolis Ordinances on pornography than opponents of the latter would like you to believe (they weren't great laws, but they included no provision for the impounding of books for suspected obscene content).

Oh jeez...if Charles Olson says it, it must be true!

First, I don't care what context you put those quotations in, they're still a bunch of garbage. Second, Dorthy Parker is witty. Oscar Wilde is witty. Andrea Dworkin makes weak arguments that come from weak standpoints and attempts to make them seem "important" and "politically vital" by chocking them full of loaded language. I can think of some famous orators of the 20th century who used the same techniques. It doesn't make me all that persuaded that what they had to say was worthwhile or interesting. It was just loud with lots of fricatives.

As for the MacKinnon laws...they're basically textbook crap legislation at this point. They're given as a example, at every stage in the process (from drumming up public interest to drafting to lobbying to finally passing and enforcing) of what not to do if you really want a law to succeed instead of fail at its stated goals. It doesn't matter that these laws made no provision for the impounding of books--this was the actual result of passing the law, because the legal establishment/gov, when given this sort of leway, uses it to persecute minority groups, not the mainstream. And porn is mainstream.

nomadthethird
17-09-2009, 01:43 PM
This is all true. But it's also true that men are more likely to suffer depression or other mental illness, abuse drink or drugs and kill themselves. Boys do less well than girls at school in almost every subject and the fact that men commit the majority of crime and make up almost the entire prison population is so obvious as to be hardly worth mentioning. So it's not really the case that Western society exclusively benefits men at the expense of women.

Edit: partial x-post with grizzleb.

Exactly, men lose out just as much as women do, and possibly even bigger in some respects, when you have a gender "binary" system. Your examples are much better than Grizzles'.

grizzleb
17-09-2009, 10:33 PM
Your examples are much better than Grizzles'.Cheers, haha. Didn't realise I was competing.

zhao
18-09-2009, 10:04 AM
i want to say something politically incorrect in jest, but can not decide what.

poetix
18-09-2009, 12:50 PM
Jokes about menstruation are always a winner.

Mr. Tea
18-09-2009, 01:12 PM
Only feminist menstruation-positive jokes please.

nomadthethird
18-09-2009, 01:17 PM
Yeah, I like those.

It's like, what happens when women "get hormonal", really? They eat something calorie dense or perhaps get curt with the douchebags in their life to whom they've been trained to defer in all things. (Nothing worse than a woman with opinions, especially one who thinks she might know better than a man. She must be on the rag...)

When men "get hormonal" there's a body count.

padraig (u.s.)
18-09-2009, 02:25 PM
Only feminist menstruation-positive jokes please.

examples, please.

Mr. Tea
18-09-2009, 02:29 PM
examples, please.

Um...err...damn, you called my bluff.

grizzleb
18-09-2009, 02:34 PM
Yeah, I like those.

It's like, what happens when women "get hormonal", really? They eat something calorie dense or perhaps get curt with the douchebags in their life to whom they've been trained to defer in all things. (Nothing worse than a woman with opinions, especially one who thinks she might know better than a man. She must be on the rag...)

When men "get hormonal" there's a body count.
It's less bloody though.

nomadthethird
18-09-2009, 02:50 PM
It's less bloody though.

Harhar. Bodily functions are hilaaarious. (Almost as funny as puns...)

Did I stumble into the middle school cafeteria or did I wake up on the wrong side of the short bus again today?

grizzleb
18-09-2009, 02:52 PM
C'mon, it's just a shit joke. Lighten up. You just called guys murderers in jest.

Mr. Tea
18-09-2009, 02:58 PM
Did I stumble into the middle school cafeteria or did I wake up on the wrong side of the short bus again today?

Zhao started it!

nomadthethird
18-09-2009, 03:10 PM
C'mon, it's just a shit joke. Lighten up. You just called guys murderers in jest.

I wasn't joking.

grizzleb
18-09-2009, 03:15 PM
i wasn't joking.
:d

Mr. Tea
18-09-2009, 03:26 PM
Dunno about you, grizzle, but I've killed thirty or forty people already today and it's only half past four. What kind of man are you, FFS?

nomadthethird
18-09-2009, 03:36 PM
I mean, I realize that many people feel a lot of anxiety about bodily fluids/functions, and often the only thing to do to alleviate anxiety when you can't do anything else is to laugh.

But I'm not anxious. I'm ok with bodily fluids. And with bodily functions.

Your veins are full of blood right now. Also, I don't think men realize this, but menstrual fluid isn't really "blood" per se, it's the intrauterine lining, which includes but is not limited to blood (one connective tissue among a bunch of other random tissues in this lining).

The point was never that "all men kill", the point was that male androgens are linked to aggression and violence. Positively, without a doubt. Sex offenders, murderers, serial killers, rapists, prison inmates--all have abnormally high concentrations of testosterone in their systems. Hence the introduction of "hormonal castration" of sex offenders in the form of progesterone shots (which don't work, btw...not in the slightest...recidivism rate remains the same...far too high).

luka
18-09-2009, 03:44 PM
i have no opinion

nomadthethird
18-09-2009, 03:46 PM
i have no opinion

Thanks for checking in, now I can proceed with my day without any lingering questions...

grizzleb
18-09-2009, 03:46 PM
I think the reason you said Mr. Tea's points about why men get a bum deal too in this world were better was because that it painted men to some degree as social failures, people who need 'brought back up' to the level of women, whereas my post painted them as simply unlucky victims of a fairly arbitrary world, as much as you want women to be.

nomadthethird
18-09-2009, 03:48 PM
I think the reason you said Mr. Tea's points about why men get a bum deal too in this world were better was because that it painted men to some degree as social failures, people who need 'brought back up' to the level of women, whereas my post painted them as simply unlucky victims of a fairly arbitrary world, as much as you want women to be.

It takes a village to raise a bunch of male losers, Grizzle.

Where were you during the Clinton administration? Living in a cave?

Mr. Tea
18-09-2009, 04:08 PM
I think the reason you said Mr. Tea's points about why men get a bum deal too in this world were better was because that it painted men to some degree as social failures, people who need 'brought back up' to the level of women, whereas my post painted them as simply unlucky victims of a fairly arbitrary world, as much as you want women to be.

Your point about the prevalent legal culture re. custody battles in divorce cases was well made, certainly. And I notice nomad patly dismissed it, just as I've seen her patly dismiss it in the past.

nomadthethird
18-09-2009, 04:15 PM
Your point about the prevalent legal culture re. custody battles in divorce cases was well made, certainly. And I notice nomad patly dismissed it, just as I've seen her patly dismiss it in the past.

This is because it gets tossed around by stupid groups like Pat Robertson's, and The Promise Keepers, and people on this message board, even though statistically there's little to the claims.

The laws regarding marriage and divorce and child custody are a bunch of labyrinthine weirdness: yes, of course. Do courts tend to favor mothers in custody battles? Yes. Do children tend to prefer to live with their mothers when given the choice between the mother or father? Yes. Do mothers tend to expend more time and energy in the care of their children than fathers do? Yes. Is this entirely "fair" or "good"? No. But does this mean men are actively "discriminated" against in the legal process? No.

In fact, since men in every relationship tend to make more money, they actually have a much better chance, legally, of getting what they want, since they have the resources to drag out the legal battle much longer than their wives (in many circumstances) could.

In the U.S., most parents who are both working get joint custody, end of story. Equal time, distributed over weeks, alternating weekends.

The remedy to all this, if you're a man or woman and don't want to deal with custody battles in court? DON'T GET MARRIED. DON'T HAVE KIDS.

grizzleb
18-09-2009, 04:38 PM
I was a young child during the Clinton administration.
In a far off country.

Yeah, you ignored alot of my other points. You really don't like men do you?

Mr. Tea
18-09-2009, 05:15 PM
This is because it gets tossed around by stupid groups like Pat Robertson's, and The Promise Keepers

Just because you don't agree with some of the groups that draw attention to this issue, or even if they're manifestly stupid, that doesn't mean there isn't an issue there.



The laws regarding marriage and divorce and child custody are a bunch of labyrinthine weirdness: yes, of course. Do courts tend to favor mothers in custody battles? Yes. Do children tend to prefer to live with their mothers when given the choice between the mother or father? Yes. Do mothers tend to expend more time and energy in the care of their children than fathers do? Yes. Is this entirely "fair" or "good"? No. But does this mean men are actively "discriminated" against in the legal process? No.

We've been through this before...it's got more to do with (non-) enforcement of visiting rights that with who 'gets' the kids after the divorce.



In fact, since men in every relationship tend to make more money, they actually have a much better chance, legally, of getting what they want, since they have the resources to drag out the legal battle much longer than their wives (in many circumstances) could.

This could be different in the US, but in the UK the gender pay-gap is smaller than a lot of people think, and is mainly accounted for by the relatively small number of top executives whose earnings are pretty irrelevant to most working men and women. Though of course more women work part-time, admittedly, which leaves more time for actual parenting.

But all this is by-the-bye...can you not see why it gets people's backs up when they mention important issues and you dismiss them as "bullshit Bill O'Reillyisms"? I know you're not a fundamentalist on this - you just said "men get screwed over by the system too, on some issues worse than women", in so many words - so why not engage a bit rather than dismiss? All too often you sound a bit "Well you're a man, what have *you* got to complain about?"...now I know you well enough to know you usually think about things a bit deeper than that, but do bear in mind grizzle is a n00b, eh?



DON'T GET MARRIED. DON'T HAVE KIDS.

Works for me.

nomadthethird
18-09-2009, 06:08 PM
Is there some kind of proof or statistical evidence that the court doesn't "enforce" custody arrangements, or is this just something people say because it sounds like it could be true? I'm not sure about the U.K., but I'm positive that in the U.S. this is not a big problem; everything gets litigated to death here. You could go to jail for not following a custody order, it happens all the time.


Yeah, you ignored alot of my other points. You really don't like men do you?

Don't. Feed. The trolls.

grizzleb
18-09-2009, 10:14 PM
Fuck, the stupid shit you say to people on the internet. Yeah there was probably no need for the man jibe.

peece

Slothrop
18-09-2009, 11:11 PM
It's funny. Dworkin often gets accused of being a foaming-at-the-mouth misandrist. But really, it's women Dworkin dislikes--she hates the fact that they aren't the male power double, and that many of them are disinterested in becoming just like men, some kind of "default" "human" "subject" who gets to rule over a domain.
This seems to be a bit of a standard trap for 'progressive' politics and thought, though? Opressor / opressed is a subject / object relation, hence there's a tendancy to generalize opressors into morally culpable rational agents and the opressed into mechanisms that respond to environmental conditions. I always kind of suspected that it was more prevelant in marxist thought and class politics (cf the way that you never hear anyone not working class described as 'a product of their environment') than in feminism owing to the fact that there are a lot more women involved in feminist academia than there are blue collar workers in marxist academia... but then I know very little about either so I might be way off.

padraig (u.s.)
18-09-2009, 11:17 PM
just for the record I didn't say either of these 2 things:


So it's not really the case that Western society exclusively benefits men at the expense of women.

specifically, the word "exclusively".


should men fight 'matriarchy' and 'reassert their hidden nurturing instincts'?

your sarcasm is lame and toothless, friend.

this:


This is all true. But it's also true that men are more likely to suffer depression or other mental illness, abuse drink or drugs and kill themselves. Boys do less well than girls at school in almost every subject and the fact that men commit the majority of crime and make up almost the entire prison population is so obvious as to be hardly worth mentioning.

these all seem to be largely self-inflicted problems tho, yes? & likewise the more likely to be murdered bit - by other men, men killing/attacking women is surely much more common than the other way round. (the one exception might be the bit about school, tho that's a tough one to call as a large portion of education policy makers - the administrators, deans, etc. as well as theorists - are male. I'd be interested to find out if getting better grades/test scores actually translates into more opportunities at higher education, access to better jobs, etc. for girls. It may, I've no idea.) anyway, no one's saying men don't have plenty of problems, that we aren't objectified, alienated, heaped with social expectations, etc. just that, yunno, there's a pretty unequal balance of power - more unequal in some places than in others - and that it generally, not always, favors men. tbh I'm not sure how it's possible to argue otherwise.

padraig (u.s.)
18-09-2009, 11:32 PM
Positively, without a doubt. Sex offenders, murderers, serial killers, rapists, prison inmates--all have abnormally high concentrations of testosterone in their systems.

the link between excessive testosterone & violence (tho surely sometimes this is an advantage - I wonder if any studies have been done on the testosterone levels of soldiers in or shortly after combat? or in veterans once they've returned home? nomad or anyone else?) or sexual crimes is clear, but "prison inmates"? that's an enormously broad category including a ton of nonviolent offenders. anyway I have a hard time believing that statement - for sex offenders, alright, but the rest? surely numerous violent crimes are caused by a whole host of factors, some of which have little or nothing to do with testosterone. it also kinda seems like letting people off the hook - like, it wasn't me, it was the hormones.

grizzleb
19-09-2009, 12:47 PM
your sarcasm is lame and toothless, friend.

My point there was that such imprecise dogmatic language frequently serves no other function than to get peoples backs up. Have political ideas dammit - say what you mean and what you want. If you just admitted that your concept of matriarchy has no real relevance in the dialogue we are having - why use it at all?

nomadthethird
19-09-2009, 04:55 PM
This seems to be a bit of a standard trap for 'progressive' politics and thought, though? Opressor / opressed is a subject / object relation, hence there's a tendancy to generalize opressors into morally culpable rational agents and the opressed into mechanisms that respond to environmental conditions. I always kind of suspected that it was more prevelant in marxist thought and class politics (cf the way that you never hear anyone not working class described as 'a product of their environment') than in feminism owing to the fact that there are a lot more women involved in feminist academia than there are blue collar workers in marxist academia... but then I know very little about either so I might be way off.

No, I think you're right, and I think your point applies to feminism and to Marxism--although more on the theory end than the practice end.

Padraig--the "prison inmates" thing would most likely apply across the board, because high testosterone levels are found even in white collar criminals. "Risk taking" and "risk seeking" behaviors (like, say, Madoff's scheme, embezzling funds from a Fortune 500 company, making shady hedge fund deals, etc.) are overwhemingly prevalent in people with abnormally high testosterone levels.

As for the completely ludicrous notion that criticizing patriarchy or mentioning matriarchy equals hating teh mens...There's nothing "dogmatic" about pointing out that in traditionally matriarchal cultures, you don't see nearly as much rape, violent crime, and sexual inequality. It's just a fact. There's nothing dogmatic about suggesting, as Padraig did earlier, that matriarchal cultures are hardly cultures where women existed as a dominating force in anywhere near the sense that men do now in our patriarchal culture. Really, what are named "matriarchal" societies are usually just cultures that were/are more egalitarian in all sorts of sane, logical, practical ways.

I don't understand where this thread is going. It's devolving rapidly.

grizzleb
19-09-2009, 06:07 PM
But that's just it, either it has no relevance to our current political situation, or it does and it isn't anything to do with the words matriarchy and patriarchy.

Anyway, you've consistently throughout this thread dropped snide hints that your motives aren't purely based on finite political issues. As for the implication that all criminals have higher levels of testosterone, it's also true that alot of criminals have a high incedence of pre-frontal cortex damage in the brain which affects impulse control, so to imply that the male sex hormone is a bad one and by logical extension that men in general are bad is a bit shite.

There are many positives in risk taking the like anyway, I'm sure they don't have to be pointed out.

nomadthethird
19-09-2009, 06:46 PM
What are you talking about?

Patriarchy DOES have "relevance" to our current political situation, since it IS our current political situation. Matriarchy DOES have "relevance" to our current political situation insofar as it is a counterexample of what's possible when power isn't unequally distributed along the lines of gender (and given to men almost exclusively in certain matters) in a society.

I certainly have not made any such "hints" about anything. Anything I've had to say I've stated plainly and unequivocally.

There are very few positives to pre-frontal cortex damage, but beyond that, you're wrong--nobody "extended" anything logically to say that "all men" are bad. I simply pointed out that criminals are almost exclusively men with exceptionally high levels of testosterone.

The "positives" in risk taking are far from self-evident.

padraig (u.s.)
19-09-2009, 08:41 PM
If you just admitted that your concept of matriarchy has no real relevance in the dialogue we are having - why use it at all?

eh? who admitted what exactly? The problem isn't "imprecise & dogmatic language" but, rather, your poor grasp on what are, frankly, two quite essential terms if you want to discuss gender. it's not like I'm bedazzling you with, I dunno, abstruse dialectics or a bunch of crit theory mumbo-jumbo (not my dept anyway). get a dictionary & use it.

I always say what I mean.

nomadthethird
19-09-2009, 11:35 PM
Btw, I think Grizzle meant to say pre-frontal cortex dementia up there, which is different from damage, and ultimately has more to do with sociopathy or psychopathy than it does violent crime per se--two different but often overlapping domains, those.

Mr. Tea
20-09-2009, 05:01 PM
these all seem to be largely self-inflicted problems tho, yes? & likewise the more likely to be murdered bit - by other men, men killing/attacking women is surely much more common than the other way round. (the one exception might be the bit about school, tho that's a tough one to call as a large portion of education policy makers - the administrators, deans, etc. as well as theorists - are male. I'd be interested to find out if getting better grades/test scores actually translates into more opportunities at higher education, access to better jobs, etc. for girls. It may, I've no idea.) anyway, no one's saying men don't have plenty of problems, that we aren't objectified, alienated, heaped with social expectations, etc. just that, yunno, there's a pretty unequal balance of power - more unequal in some places than in others - and that it generally, not always, favors men. tbh I'm not sure how it's possible to argue otherwise.

This seems to be coming close to fallaciously painting "men" as a monolithic entity that creates "its" own problems. Yes, of course most politicians are male, as are most people who hold a lot of power in some way or other (directors of big companies, media magnates etc.) but if, for example, some law or budgetary decision is made which leads to the economic degeneration of part of a city, which in turn leads to an increase in gang activity which leads to young men being more likely to either commit or become the victim of violence, it doesn't really make sense to say "men" have brought this on themselves because most policy makers are male.

Come to think of it, one of the people commonly held most responsible for much of the social ills in this country over the last 30 years was a woman (dear old Maggie T., of course).

Though you're ultimately right, of course, that there's a very unequal balance of power - I certainly wasn't trying to argue otherwise, because this would clearly be futile.

padraig (u.s.)
20-09-2009, 08:10 PM
This seems to be coming close to fallaciously painting "men" as a monolithic entity that creates "its" own problems.

I wasn't getting at anything so complicated as all that. just that when someone says "men are more likely to be victims of murder", well, yes. by other men. so it seems rather a silly argument to make against the existence of what might be termed patriarchy, if you see what I mean. depression, suicide, etc. are less clear cut but at the very least it seems hard to pin on them on any one thing in particular, whereas, say, the overwhelming majority of sexual assault can be pinned on dudes. not all dudes, of course.

I mean, I'm not a great expert on gender studies or feminist theory, I just try to use my common sense. I think there's a difference between saying that most power structures are largely - not totally - male, both in #s & character, and saying that men cause all the world's problems. the latter being a classic distortion of feminist critiques tho innit - i.e. they just hate men kinda thing, like our boy the grizzla.

I don't think that men don't always muck things up so terribly, or really any more than women would/do, just that a significantly fairer balance of power couldn't help but be an enormous improvement.

grizzleb
20-09-2009, 09:56 PM
Yeah, that bit about the prefrontal cortex I remember reading about a few years ago so it might have been discredited. Quick google shows plenty articles linking prefrontal cortex damage to crime though.

http://www.autismwebsite.com/crimetimes/00b/w00bp1.htm
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/09/970913073401.htm
http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1737651

etc

Anyhoo - I'm not saying that the power balance isn't generally male in alot of cases. What I was saying is that patriarchy is a fairly blunt term and no amount of shouting 'its patriarchy dammit' is going to get away from that.
The problem I have with your attitude is that you attribute any statistical imbalance in favour of men as a cynical one engineered by men, and any imbalance in favour of women as merely accidental, or even better, as something which is only a side-effect of earlier exploitation by men.
If I told you the 50% of child abuse cases are by women you would probably say that this is due largely to social reasons, not anything wrong with the female brain, or hormones or whatnot, and I would agree with you. The problem is you don't seem to want to extent the same courtesy to men.

padraig - the question I pose to your statement that 'patriarchy and matriarchy being essential to discuss gender' is - in whose lexicon? If we don't look at how words are used then it's easy to scapegoat and hide things under the rugs.

And you probably do damage to your (worthy) cause by reeling out tired old jargon like that.

At what point does patriarchy cease to be our current situation? When the statistics for everything aren't identical?

Anyway...It's an interesting discussion, I apologise if I got anyone's back up!!.

nomadthethird
20-09-2009, 10:17 PM
Uuuggghh.

NOOO. You still don't get it. I'm really beginning to think is a futile discussion. I NEVER said patriarchy was "engineered" by men. As with any longstanding cultural tradition, patriarchy is something that largely came into being as a product of a bunch of accidents--cultural, social, economic, agricultural, evolutionary, biological, historical, military, etc-- which added up over time and coalesced into one significant factor unto itself.

I'm not at all surprised that 50% of child abuse is at the hands of women. Not one bit. I've heard it suggested by psychiatrists/psychologists who treat victims of sex abuse that it's likely that child molestors are nearly 50% female as well. I wouldn't blame these crimes on ANYBODY but the women themselves, and on the families they come from (and then, in a larger sense, their communities and societies). Abused people tend to become abusers.

But you also have to put that statistic in context, too: women statistically spend far more time alone with children, so they also have far more opportunities to abuse children. So, given the limited amount of opportunities men have to abuse children, they actually abuse children a disproportionately large amount of the time.

nomadthethird
20-09-2009, 10:22 PM
Research has concluded that there IS something wrong with some men's brains, and with some women's brains (but far, far fewer of them), when it comes to violence and psychopathy. It has also concluded, in the case of men, but not in the case of women (though there is some evidence that female criminals also have higher levels of testosterone than average), that male criminals--but not ALL men--probably have something wrong or abnormal going on within their endocrine system.

Get your facts straight. Nobody is saying that all men are bad because some men have pituitary problems, for fuck's sake.

grizzleb
20-09-2009, 10:25 PM
Nope, look again, 50% by single mums. There will be plenty of two parent households where this is going on, so technically more women. Again, you jump to point out that men are the baddies. When I basically said all those things you did about women (though not in as many words).

I don't think this is going anywhere, you're missing my point too. I agree with:

NOOO. You still don't get it. I'm really beginning to think is a futile discussion. I NEVER said patriarchy was "engineered" by men. As with any longstanding cultural tradition, patriarchy is something that largely came into being as a product of a bunch of accidents--cultural, social, economic, agricultural, evolutionary, biological, historical, military, etc--

It's this bit
which added up over time and coalesced into one significant factor unto itself.

How can it actually become something which seperates from all the accidents? I don't agree with this monolithic thing you call patriarchy. That's basically it.

It's like Capitalism for Marxists. Yes you 'want to fight Capitalism', but what do you actually want? You want fairer wages for workers, you want less bonuses for bankers, etc. Well say that! Because ideological language does nothing to help your cause. Anyway, you don't agree so whatever.

grizzleb
20-09-2009, 10:26 PM
Research has concluded that there IS something wrong with some men's brains, and with some women's brains (but far, far fewer of them), when it comes to violence and psychopathy. It has also concluded, in the case of men, but not in the case of women (though there is some evidence that female criminals also have higher levels of testosterone than average), that male criminals--but not ALL men--probably have something wrong or abnormal going on within their endocrine system.

Get your facts straight. Nobody is saying that all men are bad because some men have pituitary problems, for fuck's sake.

Get your facts straight.

I didn't dispute any of that from a factual point of view. It's the context with which it's put that I have issue with.

nomadthethird
20-09-2009, 10:28 PM
Nope, look again, 50% by single mums. There will be plenty of two parent households where this is going on, so technically more women. Again, you jump to point out that men are the baddies. When I basically said all those things you did about women (though not in as many words).

I don't think this is going anywhere, you're missing my point too. I agree with:

NOOO. You still don't get it. I'm really beginning to think is a futile discussion. I NEVER said patriarchy was "engineered" by men. As with any longstanding cultural tradition, patriarchy is something that largely came into being as a product of a bunch of accidents--cultural, social, economic, agricultural, evolutionary, biological, historical, military, etc--

It's this bit
which added up over time and coalesced into one significant factor unto itself.

How can it actually become something which seperates from all the accidents? I don't agree with this monolithic thing you call patriarchy. That's basically it.

It's like Capitalism for Marxists. Yes you 'want to fight Capitalism', but what do you actually want? You want fairer wages for workers, you want less bonuses for bankers, etc. Well say that! Because ideological language does nothing to help your cause. Anyway, you don't agree so whatever.

What on earth does "50% by single mums" mean?

That is not even a statistically possible measurement.

Can I have some sort of link to your sources, btw? Where are you getting this information?

There won't be "technically more women" doing anything, unless you can prove there are with some kind of verifiable, accurate, and trustworthy statistical data.

Get a clue, Grizzle. Men do statistically commit the vast majority of violent crime on earth. If that makes them "the baddies", then so be it. It's not my damn fault.

Patriarchy IS NOT "MONOLITHIC". It's a widely used, broadly applicable, not even slightly contested term from anthropology. Beyond that, I've given you ample detailed and specific examples of what I mean by it, and what needs changing in our culture. Please tell me this is a joke and you're not serious right now...

nomadthethird
20-09-2009, 10:34 PM
I didn't dispute any of that from a factual point of view. It's the context with which it's put that I have issue with.

What "issue"??? How can you possibly have an issue with facts simply because you don't like how they sound? I'm sorry this conflicts with your mental image of how the world is, but men with higher testosterone levels are more likely to commit crimes. Criminals, on average, have much higher testosterone levels than men who are not criminals, who have testosterone levels nearer the 50th percentile.

There is no issue to take with this information. Unless you have some sort of data or you've found some sort of methodological problems within the research (I dare you...)

grizzleb
20-09-2009, 10:38 PM
http://divorcesupport.about.com/od/equalparenting/f/equalparenting1.htm

Yo I read it on dis yall. I couldn't find the original source but whatever.

I don't have a problem with these facts - the question is why are you presenting those bits of information at all? In what way are they relevant?

Fuck it, you're not even remotely interested in listening to what I'm saying.

nomadthethird
20-09-2009, 10:39 PM
I'm presenting them because they are relevant and important.

Oh good lord, what a load of shit that is...a bunch of info about "fatherless homes" from studies that don't control for class and economic factors...brilliant!

Edit: By the way, that "statistic" about single mothers being 50% of the abusers was from a study done in one county in one state in the midwest. Hardly something you could generalize to the national level, and honestly the source was biased as hell to begin with...of the "poor women who don't get married to teh mens before they have sex are teh EVIL and TEH BADDDNESSs!!!" variety.

grizzleb
20-09-2009, 10:40 PM
61% of all child abuse is committed by biological mothers
25% of all child abuse is committed by natural fathers
Statistical Source: Current DHHS report on nationwide Child Abuse

nomadthethird
20-09-2009, 10:42 PM
Link please.

Here's (http://familycourtcrisis.wordpress.com/2009/09/10/h4a-hrefhttpjusticeposterouscommothersversusfatherswit hwhomarechildrenmothers-fathers-children-risk-abuse-nis3-motherabsent-families-examined-dastardly-dads-blogah4pchildren-living-mothers-experienced/) some interesting info. (Gleaned from here (http://dastardlydads.blogspot.com/2009/09/another-look-see-at-nis-3-or-what-do.html).)

Regardless, we could spend all night finding conflicting data, but there's no point. Of course women abuse their kids. I've never said they didn't. I even said up there that women make up about 50% of all child molestors.

So what's your point? Annnddd??

You make no sense, Grizzle. You really have no coherent argument to make.

grizzleb
20-09-2009, 10:50 PM
My point wasn't that women abuse more kids or they're bad. I'd attribute any difference down to purely social factors, economic or chance. You want to report the facts (which I don't dispute) that men are perpetrators of more violent crime and you don't seem to say that social factors are more than likely causes. It's guys and their fucked up testosterone. What relevance does it have to the conversation about male power structures anyway? Surely men being not in control of their own violent impulses totally negates the argument that there are deep rooted 'thingies' called patriarchy which are the real causes of rape. The links I posted about pre-frontal cortex damage were accurate but it doesn't really have any sway over what was being discussed.

nomadthethird
20-09-2009, 10:52 PM
Yes it does hold sway. Biology is always with us, Grizzle, whether you like it or not.

I know that is not a fashionable thing to say. I know it's not going to win me any friends in the lit crit theeree community. And I don't particularly care.

nomadthethird
20-09-2009, 10:55 PM
Anyway, nobody said that because testosterone is implicated in violent crime that criminals have "no control" over their actions.

You're making quite a leap there.

grizzleb
20-09-2009, 10:56 PM
It's a thoroughly determinist way of looking at things. Surely you would admit that

nomadthethird
20-09-2009, 10:59 PM
No it isn't. There are many factors that 'determine' our behavior, biology being only one---but a powerfully, extremely significant one. One that we can't escape, no matter how hard we try. One that, even if we modify it, we can never entirely circumvent.

It's no more "deterministic" to say that biological factors are part of what determines or affects human behavior than it is to say that social factors do.

grizzleb
20-09-2009, 11:16 PM
Can you point me in the direction of some information about patriarchy as an anthropological term?

The wiki page concentrates on the feminist theory aspect.

nomadthethird
20-09-2009, 11:19 PM
Why don't you try google?

"patriarchy" "anthropology"

Try google books even. You'll find plenty.

grizzleb
20-09-2009, 11:22 PM
Cheers. This article seems to marry with what I've been saying



I want to argue something completely different. I want to reject the concept of patriarchy as at best a muddled term simply mean women’s oppression (in which case it cannot explain this oppression), and at worst a completely idealist notion which has no basis in material reality. I want to show that it is not men who “benefit” from the oppression of women but capital. I want to look at the way in which the family has changed, and how as it has changed women’s conception of themselves has also changed. Hopefully that will demonstrate that women’s continued oppression is not the result of male conspiracy (or an alliance between male workers and the capitalist class), but of the continuation of class society in every part of the world. It follows that I shall argue the “socialist” countries have no more in common with socialism than they have with women’s liberation.

http://www.isj.org.uk/?id=240

nomadthethird
21-09-2009, 03:04 AM
That article is pretty lame, I'm sorry. It posits an even vaguer notion of "Capital" in place of a widely observed anthropological FACT called patriarchy. And it doesn't "marry" with anything you've said; it directly contradicts a lot of it, actually.

You STILL can't get what the meaning of a basic term is, and how it applies to the world, without adding a whole bunch of baggage about how you're personally getting "blamed" for things.

For the last time, nobody, but nobody, said patriarchy was "a male conspiracy."

Frankly, this shit is remedial.

poetix
21-09-2009, 05:55 AM
"Patriarchy" is not only male dominance, but male dominance according to a particular distribution of power among the dominant/dominated. Not all males are dominant under patriarchy, but masculinity (a specific coding of maleness particular to patriarchy) is the medium through which dominance is transmitted from the top of the power hierarchy to the bottom; those who are in dominant positions within the overall power structure tend very strongly to be male (and, when not male, to reproduce masculine patterns of power ownership and use). Alongside this comes the coding of femininity as a set of attitudes, relational patterns etc. deemed appropriate for the dominated. (This is why "feminisation" is a considered bad thing to happen to a male person under patriarchy; to be in default of masculinity is to risk significant loss of status relative to the hierarchy).

The word "coding" is important in the above paragraph, which isn't a set of assertions about what men and women are really like: instead, it's a set of assertions about a set of assertions (more strongly, performatives) about what men and women are really like. Patriarchal codings of masculinity and femininity define stereotyped patterns of power relationship: force versus cunning (Henry Rollins's "All women are evil, all men are morons"), predation versus manipulation and so on. These stereotypes are writ large, in bold colours, in cultural representations of masculinity and femininity, but the representations are a sort of kids' Sunday cartoon supplement version of the actual dynamics. Real men and women behave in all kinds of interesting ways. But patriarchy persists as a social form by imposing a set of norms relative to which the behaviour of real men and women is judged, deviations noted and disciplined and so on.

Patriarchy has an interesting and slightly strange relationship to capitalism, since the latter doesn't actually require strongly hierarchical power relationships in order to function, and is at best parasitic on existing gender roles, divisions of labour etc. - increasingly, the behaviours, attitudes and coping strategies of the dominated (traits of the patriarchal stereotype "femininity") are being urged on the male workforce, for example.

nomadthethird
21-09-2009, 12:56 PM
But Poetix, you just called all men baddies! How dare you?

Grizzle, next time you might want to read the studies you post before you post them. Here are the "conclusions" from the pubmed study you posted:


Clinically significant focal frontal lobe dysfunction is associated with aggressive dyscontrol, but the increased risk of violence seems less than is widely presumed. Evidence is strongest for an association between focal prefrontal damage and an impulsive subtype of aggressive behaviour.

That's an important part of the study, you know. The results.

nomadthethird
21-09-2009, 01:40 PM
And just so you know, the reason all of the information about brain damage and aggression online will tend to be close to a decade old is because that hypothesis has mostly been picked apart at this point.

Sure, global, traumatic brain injury can drastically change a person's personality. But there's little evidence that the "aggression" evident in an adult's behavior is the result of a single focal brain injury. If this were the case (if damage to certain parts of the brain could cause otherwise good people to become violent and aggressive), you'd expect to see a huge discrepancy in the levels of violence among epileptics versus the general population, since epileptics tend to have all kinds of damage to the corpus collosum, often from an early age, and often extremely severe in nature. But you don't observe this. Epileptics, if anything, are somewhat less violent than average.

It's actually been suggested that brain injuries are likely to be noted in aggressive or violent men (more typically than 'violent' women, who exist in far lower numbers) because aggressive, violent men are more likely to do rash, impulsive things that cause them to injure themselves--for example, get in bar brawls, or fights, or fall of a building while drunk, or get in a drunk driving accident, or an accident while speeding, etc.

nomadthethird
22-09-2009, 02:47 AM
Ortner examines the process of state formation, with particular regard to its effect on gender ideology. She analyzes the widespread ideology that associates the purity of women with the honor and status of their families. This pattern is evident in Latin America and the Mediterranean, and in societies of the Middle East, India, and China. Broad similarities exist in these varied societies. Ortner questions why the control of female sexual purity is such a ubiquitous and important phenomenon. She notes that all modern cases of societies concerned with female purity occur in states or systems with highly developed stratification, and they bear the cultural ideologies and religions that were part of the emergence of these states. She argues that no prestate societies manifest the pattern linking female virginity and chastity to the social honor of the group. Thus, concern with the purity of women was, in Ortner’s view, structurally, functionally, and symbolically linked to the historical emergence of state structures.

The rise of the state heralds a radical shift in ideology and practice, with the emergence of the patriarchal extended family in which the senior man has absolute authority over everyone in the household. Women are brought under direct control of men in their natal families and later by their husbands and affinal kin. Ideologically women are thought to be in danger, requiring male protection; they are idealized as mothers and for their purity.

One of the central questions in the anlysis of the impact of state formation is the role of hyper gamy (up-status marriage, usually between higher-status men and lower-status women.) Ortner suggests that a significant development in stratified society involved the transformation of marriage from an essentially equal transaction into a potentially vertical one, where one’s sister or daughter could presumably marry into a higher stata (wife of a nobleman, consort of a king.) Hypergamy may help explain the ideal of female purity because concepts of purity and virginity may symbolize the value of a girl for a higher-status spouse. Thus “a virgin is an elite female among females, withheld, untouched, exclusive.”

From "Gender, Property, and the State" in Gender in X-Cultural Perspective

Really worth reading...lots of good stuff on north Indian dowry wife burnings, throwing widows on their dead husband's funeral pyres (alive), lots of interesting stuff in that chapter alone. Patriarchy should be crystal clear after you're finished. If it's not then I don't know what to tell you.

grizzleb
22-09-2009, 11:43 PM
Yeah that sounds interesting, I'll have a stab at that when I've got more time. I've not read any argument thus before.