• Benkei
    735
    Fortunately there are many, many women out there who don't buy into all this conspiracy theory man-hate disguised as the endless war on misogyny.0af

    Interestingly enough I don't read a conspiracy in it if you refer to the type of article that the OP referred to. It seems pretty obvious white men in Western countries have had it very comfortable for quite some time historically speaking. And although many men are aware of that historical inequality and try to remedy existing inequality, a lot of how we treat each other is so automatic and ingrained; implicit association tests reveal this time and again. Even when we rationally pursue equality we are confronted with media that perpetuates gender stereotypes (and racist stereotypes).

    So women can't be strong, should look pretty, should let men talk but may be interrupted themselves, should take care of kids more than men, and still get paid less etc. etc. I don't think we should be defining it as mysogyny but it's definitely socially harmful as it condones a lot of unfairness as "natural".

    And you can test this in your surroundings. Invariably, if you talk about successful women at some point their looks will be discussed. Last month I wanted to talk about Dafne Schippers (a successful Dutch athlete) and one of the first things one of my female colleagues said: "Yeah, she looks pretty good". Really? That comes before being the world champion for the 200 m sprint this year? I consider that pretty telling as it's not just an anekdote but happens constantly in various ways. The message to our kids is: it doesn't matter what you do if you're a girl as long as you look pretty. As a father of one, I find that highly worrying.
  • Benkei
    735
    Also, I'd like to add that this isn't something you can blame people for as this is how culture imprints on our minds. We can't really help it. We can blame people when they are aware to choose not to take it into account. So maybe we should think again when considering that "princess" sweater or another book that has a white hero in it for your kids.
  • John Days
    146
    It had nothing to do with "emphasis".WISDOMfromPO-MO

    Ok, I guess you were using in a different way. I understand it to mean emphasis.

    I've heard plenty of statements about particular things, such as indifference to male rape victims, not being due to misandry.WISDOMfromPO-MO

  • TimeLine
    1.3k
    Also, I'd like to add that this isn't something you can blame people for as this is how culture imprints on our minds. We can't really help it. We can blame people when they are aware to choose not to take it into account. So maybe we should think again when considering that "princess" sweater or another book that has a white hero in it for your kids.Benkei

    Nope. The complex psychological processing that configures and influences cognition is enabled with perceptual plasticity and provides us with the capacity to transcend the limitations of cultural transmissions. We can help it.

    People are or for a moment become aware that there is something deeply wrong with their environment, but they continue following anyway until eventually they go into some auto-pilot mindlessness and completely forget that they have a mind. That is a choice. That can be helped. And that is also why you can think again when considering that princess sweater.
  • Benkei
    735
    Nope. The complex psychological processing that configures and influences cognition is enabled with perceptual plasticity and provides us with the capacity to transcend the limitations of cultural transmissions. We can help it.

    People are or for a moment become aware that there is something deeply wrong with their environment, but they continue following anyway until eventually they go into some auto-pilot mindlessness and completely forget that they have a mind. That is a choice. That can be helped. And that is why you can think again when considering that princess sweater.
    TimeLine

    I think we agree. When I say we cannot blame them; I refer to the subconscious judgments and classifications we render as a result of such cultural imprint. Once we're made aware of the subconscious we do have a duty to rationally correct ourselves. If we then don't there is culpability indeed.

    EDIT: I have the impression that quite a few people also blame (white) men for having those subconscious judgments and classifications in the first place, which is why I raised the point.
  • TimeLine
    1.3k
    I think we agree. When I say we cannot blame them; I refer to the subconscious judgments and classifications we render as a result of such cultural imprint. Once we're made aware of the subconscious we do have a duty to rationally correct ourselves. If we then don't there is culpability indeed.Benkei

    If, indeed, culture imprints these classifications and if we become aware of the subconscious and rationally correct ourselves, does it also become our duty to enable others access to this awareness? Such cultural phenomenon is a product of our learned behaviour and social interaction and communication develops these classifications that in turn transmit these perceptions. It would seem that tolerance to such behaviour would make one just as culpable.
  • Benkei
    735
    If, indeed, culture imprints these classifications and if we become aware of the subconscious and rationally correct ourselves, does it also become our duty to enable others access to this awareness? Such cultural phenomenon is a product of our learned behaviour and social interaction and communication develops these classifications that in turn transmit these perceptions. It would seem that tolerance to such behaviour would make one just as culpable.TimeLine

    I'll have to respectfully disagree for the simple fact that it is so omnipresent that a certain tolerance is requirement to function in society. It's in everything; why do we dress the way we dress? Why do we have make up, botox, facelifts, breast implants? Plus, why not adhere to all these gender stereotypes when it works for a significant part of society (beautiful women, rich white men, powerful athletes, popular movie stars, etc. etc.)? You cannot expect people to wage that uphill battle all the time.
  • 0af
    44

    I understand. I don't disagree with anything you say. But there are some who do indeed simply "invert" the situation. I recently saw a cartoon on Facebook (a woman's post) of women splashing beneath a waterfall of male tears. How can such sadism be justified if men are not (in the context of this half-joke) the cause of all the suffering of the world? It was Eve. Now it's Adam's turn. Surely all things would run smoothly and innocently if there were only females, right? Of course that's a silly idea that few would seriously endorse, and yet the man-hating jokes seem to suggest the fantasy of an impossible guiltlessness. This fantasy is itself perhaps a colonizing phallus.

    As to the beauty issue, I think it's worth noting that men are also harshly judged. Perhaps women (if I may risk a generalization) are less visual in their evaluation of the worth of men than men are not only in their evaluation of the worth of women but also (admittedly with important exceptions) of the worth of other men. People can have different feelings about that fact, if it is indeed a fact. Of course rudeness sucks. The focus on the runner's beauty is a bit laughable. On the other hand, that's sexuality for you. Is there any dispute that many women will choose for a mate a somewhat inferior mind in a sufficiently superior body? I think of Schopenhauer's notion that the brain and the genitals as opposite poles, the first for culture and the individual and the second for the species. As I see it, it is part of the cruel comedy of life. Ideally, we can get a certain amount of control and be less rude. But we can't eradicate this injustice entirely, not unless see become pure mind. Even then style and charisma would be accused of unjustly usurping the position of content.
  • WISDOMfromPO-MO
    512
    Interestingly enough I don't read a conspiracy in it if you refer to the type of article that the OP referred to. It seems pretty obvious white men in Western countries have had it very comfortable for quite some time historically speaking. And although many men are aware of that historical inequality and try to remedy existing inequality, a lot of how we treat each other is so automatic and ingrained; implicit association tests reveal this time and again. Even when we rationally pursue equality we are confronted with media that perpetuates gender stereotypes (and racist stereotypes)...Benkei

    Everybody is stereotyped.

    "All men are jerks" seems to be a popular stereotype.

    If you want something from the media, there's all the men in advertisements being portrayed as Pavlovian dogs in the presence of attractive women.

    Yet, you never hear that part. You just hear how women are being objectified, or something like that.

    And now we have a writer saying that men being stereotyped is entirely the result of misogyny and has nothing to do with any beliefs, feelings, attitudes, etc. about/towards men.

    So women can't be strong, should look pretty, should let men talk but may be interrupted themselves, should take care of kids more than men, and still get paid less etc. etc. I don't think we should be defining it as mysogyny but it's definitely socially harmful as it condones a lot of unfairness as "natural"...Benkei

    But, according to the aforementioned quote, men should be strong, men should sacrifice their bodies, men should be assertive, men can't be trusted with kids, a man should have a job and a woman should not have to support him, etc. are the result of our hate for women. In other words, condoning unfairness against men as natural is a sign of the oppression of women.

    And you can test this in your surroundings. Invariably, if you talk about successful women at some point their looks will be discussed. Last month I wanted to talk about Dafne Schippers (a successful Dutch athlete) and one of the first things one of my female colleagues said: "Yeah, she looks pretty good". Really? That comes before being the world champion for the 200 m sprint this year? I consider that pretty telling as it's not just an anekdote but happens constantly in various ways. The message to our kids is: it doesn't matter what you do if you're a girl as long as you look pretty. As a father of one, I find that highly worrying.Benkei

    And unattractive men are on a level playing field with attractive men?

    I can think of plenty of examples where women's accomplishments are celebrated with no reference to their looks. ESPN spends plenty of airtime covering the University of Connecticut women's basketball program, and in that coverage I have never heard any reference to anybody's looks. I could think of plenty of other examples, I'm sure.

    And if we are going to talk about physical beauty and sex/gender, let's not forget that men are judged by the attractiveness of their wives/girlfriends. And I think that it is safe to say that a lot of women exploit that. But if you say that a beautiful woman will only marry a "successful professional" and won't marry a plumber you will be told that she is doing what she has to do because she is oppressed for being female.

    It's all due to misogyny, remember.
  • 0af
    44

    I wonder if you've considered a related issue. As I see it, people are largely attached to gender and racial identity. Many women (including my wife) take a certain pleasure in being non-male. It's part of their identity. I think it's the same with race. So on the one hand we have this fantasy of the individual without gender and color and on the other hand we have identities constructed in terms of positive stereotypes.

    Here's an idea I found in some comment somewhere that's worth considering. Let's consider a male-to-female trans person. If there is no female essence, then what does it mean to "really" be a woman? What does it mean to desire the female pronoun? "I'm a she." What is this she? There was also the case of a "not really black" person identifying as black. So there seems to be a real ambivalence on the liberal side. Clearly it's considered bad form among many of my fellow liberals to conspicuously enjoy being male and/or white. It's treated as if one is flashing "wealth" (privilege). But if celebrating one's femininity or blackness, etc., isn't also the flashing of privilege, this suggests (among other things) a subtle devaluation of femaleness, blackness, and otherness in general, among the very people who would be most ashamed of such a thing. To protect otherness from legal inequality is only decent. But to protect otherness from cultural criticism seems condescending. Incidentally, this is why I won't want anti-male talk censored. First, it allows me to sort potential friends. Secondly, it's a confused form of flattery. Insult them (men). Wish pain on them. They are strong enough to take it. In short, it betrays...penis envy?
  • 0af
    44
    In other words, condoning unfairness against men as natural is a sign of the oppression of women.WISDOMfromPO-MO

    Good post. I found this quote to be food for though, though I think you mention it ironically. What hasn't been talked about much is self-oppression. Sartre comes to mind. If I'm oppressed, then my failure is not my fault. As you say, everyone is stereotyped. There is systemic oppression of women, of men, and even of the individual as such. Strong individuals of either gender manage to swim against the current. Weak individuals of either gender will stress systemic injustice in order to justify passivity. "The game is rigged." Of course the game is (partially) rigged and life isn't fair. I believe in voting to make the game less rigged and the individual freer. I'd be ashamed to deny the genius or character of someone because of some kind non-essential otherness. Most thoughtful people probably would be. Beyond the question of empathy, it would also indicate stupidity on my part. Sexism (classic or virtuous) is group-think. The individual melts into the group and its stereotypical personality (emphasis on the positive stereotypes.) The essence of my "gripe" (to the degree that I take such time-killing griping seriously) is the constant reduction of individual dignity and the distinct critical mind to guilt-innocence vice-virtue of groups. "You can only speak if you are purple or round. If you are green and rectangular, don't bother. We have found that green and rectangular types are colorist and shapist to the core. They are therefore excluded."
  • praxis
    383
    You cannot expect people to wage that uphill battle all the time.Benkei

    We could promote the expectation that they should, and practice it ourselves.
  • Benkei
    735
    I wonder if you've considered a related issue. As I see it, people are largely attached to gender and racial identity. Many women (including my wife) take a certain pleasure in being non-male. It's part of their identity. I think it's the same with race. So on the one hand we have this fantasy of the individual without gender and color and on the other hand we have identities constructed in terms of positive stereotypes.0af

    I suppose the difference is between asserting one's identity freely and having it imposed by society through subtle and not so subtle expectations and (moral) norms. Only when we're capable of letting go of harmful expectations can a person be free to have their own identity.

    It does make me wonder if and to what extent many people would then feel lost? Do we need some level of gender stereotyping to socially function?
  • Benkei
    735
    But, according to the aforementioned quote, men should be strong, men should sacrifice their bodies, men should be assertive, men can't be trusted with kids, a man should have a job and a woman should not have to support him, etc. are the result of our hate for women. In other words, condoning unfairness against men as natural is a sign of the oppression of women.WISDOMfromPO-MO

    I don't agree with how she worded it but if I interpret it charitably I suppose her point is that it all boils down to gender stereotpying (instead of mysogyny) and that's a result of juxtaposing men and women. So when I say "women should be [x]" its corollary "men should be [y]" is probably implicit and vice versa. (Don't cry cuz you're a guy --> I'm a girl so I can cry).

    If she didn't mean that, I'll have to disagree with her conclusion. On the other hand, it could be an exercise in purposefully interpreting these situations from an overt women centric point of view as an active rebellion against a society that is still mostly male centric.There's also some sense to it if we accept most social power still resides with men and as such all gender expectations are by and large imposed by men as a result of how they view women; the expectations on men resulting from this would then be entirely our own doing. It's not insensible to me but if that's her point it wasn't clear.
  • TimeLine
    1.3k
    I can think of plenty of examples where women's accomplishments are celebrated with no reference to their looks.WISDOMfromPO-MO

    When you think of a good woman who is highly intelligent, perhaps prone to philosophy and science and hangs out on philosophy forums, what type of woman do you see?

    Either she is ugly or old, at which point no one really cares. Or she is attractive. But when the latter, such attributes no longer exist in her because an attractive woman cannot also be a good woman who is highly intelligent. Suddenly, the woman gets bullied and harassed by men who try to dominate her, make her feel inferior by saying comments that damage her confidence to silence her to submission, either that or she puts up a fight to save herself, her identity and who she is. Women are not allowed to be who they are without being forced into a category because as Benkei pointed out, perceptions are epistemic for the most part. This is the same with men, that strength is depicted physically rather than mentally, that turning the other cheek is a sign of weakness and it is why I said that masculinity studies is just as necessary as feminist studies.

    I highly doubt you "see" the actual person that she is and would be motivated by a number of other reasons to make it worth your while to get to know her as a friend.

    I'll have to respectfully disagree for the simple fact that it is so omnipresent that a certain tolerance is requirement to function in society. It's in everything; why do we dress the way we dress? Why do we have make up, botox, facelifts, breast implants? Plus, why not adhere to all these gender stereotypes when it works for a significant part of society (beautiful women, rich white men, powerful athletes, popular movie stars, etc. etc.)? You cannot expect people to wage that uphill battle all the time.Benkei

    There is a fine line between tolerance and becoming disillusioned; morally speaking, if there is a crime, inaction can make one just as guilty despite being able to say "I didn't do it". A woman can wear some make up when they go to an evening out, wear a swimsuit in public, but tolerance to botox, lip jobs and breast implants? No, such tolerance breeds dysfunction in society and eventually, as I said earlier, you end up a mindless drone and disillusioned yourself. Indeed, there is a level necessary, but if you are aware of this reality where people become entrenched with the belief that somehow how they look matters and forget everything else - a world where the amount of money spent per year in the USA on lipstick alone could feed and provide reproductive health to women in the global south - your place in tolerating this would, as you say, prove there is culpability indeed.
  • 0af
    44
    I suppose the difference is between asserting one's identity freely and having it imposed by society through subtle and not so subtle expectations and (moral) norms. Only when we're capable of letting go of harmful expectations can a person be free to have their own identity.

    It does make me wonder if and to what extent many people would then feel lost? Do we need some level of gender stereotyping to socially function?
    Benkei

    A very deep issue. Here's part of the trickiness. Identity is largely about preference, and this largely involves a preference with respect to friends. If I'm a "macho" guy, then maybe I don't choose insufficiently "macho" friends. Maybe I crave traditionally female characteristics in a mate, perhaps to "live out" my own traditionally feminine characteristics that I consciously repress. The differentiation and specialization of organs comes to mind. A perfectly symmetrical relationship may involve both partners in certain blind-spots. Both also enjoy their own "gender" play via its recognition by the other: the roles depend on one another. Anyway, individual freedom involves the freedom of preference. It's reasonable to strive for equality before the law, but it's unreasonable to demand that everyone LIKE everyone else equally. These preferences are "harmful expectations." In a pluralistic society, we are battered by a thousand competing visions of the virtuous person. To me this is just the cost of freedom. The individual can sometimes tame this chaos, but think such an individual tends to do so most radically in terms of an individualism that abandons its identifications with groups. For instance, a female writer might resent her gender being mentioned in reviews. She might not want to have this role of representing her gender emphasized. Such a role is ultimately duty (be a role-model and don't just write whatever the hell you want to write.)

    I know lots of sensitive people who wrestle with feelings of guilt or alienation. They want to be good people, but they receive endless conflicting messages about their guilt and their duties. I sometimes feel like the only sane person in a mad house. On the other hand, this is at the cost of me being "cynical" or "selfish" or "irresponsible" relative to the spirit of the times. My "sanity" is dark in a world that craves some universal source of light. I see ambivalence that refuses to recognize itself as such. To some degree we want to be objectified and dominated and cherished as objects. We want to be children again, guiltless and safe in a world where no one is allowed even to think that we are inferior to them. Wolves daydream about the lives of sheep, etc. There's violence and the desire to dominate hidden in the desire to end all domination.
  • 0af
    44
    Many times I have heard it said that MRA's, including female MRA's, are misogynists. I have seen/heard words and actions that left me almost convinced that feminism--at least at this point in its evolution--has nothing to do with women or equality and is purely an ideology through which people are seeking power by any means, including lying, demonizing their opponents, deluding themselves, etc.WISDOMfromPO-MO

    Your point about female MRA's is interesting. Presumably the female MRA is a gender-traitor. But the apparent fact that only women can be gender traitors suggests to me that men, more than ever, symbolize the universal. Man does not exist. To be a man is (to some degree) to have no fixed nature excepting perhaps the guilty autonomy that feminism needs from men. To be clear, I absolutely support individual freedom and equality before the law. I like proud, strong, capable women. So in some sense I'm a "feminist," though that word has been stretched too thin. I have to stress this because our polarized culture is drenched in a "with us or against us" attitude.

    The main point I want to make is about the sexism in feminism. As soon as a sophisticated feminism makes room for those women who enjoy being objectified or taking a traditionally feminine role, it's already just individualism. Do your thing, sister. What solidarity is left except for the sharing of genitals? (So reproductive rights seem like a logical, non-paranoid goal for a non-sexist feminism. Individuals with the uteruses that value their have a well-defined goal here, namely access to body-specific healthcare.)
    But the sexism in feminism is a vision of the abstract protagonist Woman and her ancient foe Man. She must be rescued from the dragon. Although she is secretly magical and superior, she is everywhere in chains. Of course every particular woman has a duty to advance our spectral protagonist, just as every man has a duty to repent and be baptized for his existence as a cell in the Great Satan, Man. This is all terribly oppressive and stereotyping. If a woman fails to achieve her goals, no doubt Man has a hand in it. If a man succeeds, he cheated. So failure and success are distanced from individual effort. Of course there has been systemic sexism and perhaps still is. But leaning in to it at this point may be counterproductive. Supposedly the goal is a gender-blind society, which would involve women also being viewed as universal, autonomous, guilty-worthy adults. But this would be the death of feminism, or at least of its justification. Does feminism really strive for its own obsolescence? Consciously, perhaps. But in some feminists (the "morbid" conspiracy-theory types who find a male hand in everything wrong with the world), there is perhaps the all-too-human terror in the face of freedom.
  • Shodah
    1
    It seems pretty obvious white men in Western countries have had it very comfortable for quite some time historically speaking
    But this is already an oversimplification, because there are some obvious ways in which men have it statistically "worse" than women, such as in rates of incarceration, suicide, homelessness, etc.

    I really don't see the use of the "privileged/oppressed" dichotomy as an analytical tool for gender issues. It scarcely predicts what one would expect to see in reality if it were true (though of course, feminists adhere to it because of politics rather than empiricism).
  • Jake Tarragon
    322
    Is feminism a sort of tribalism?
  • WISDOMfromPO-MO
    512
    It seems that we have people saying here that procedures and products to enhance physical attractiveness are an instrument of the dehumanization and oppression of women.

    They leave out the fact that men are also investing in things like cosmetic surgery because attractive people have higher incomes.

    Forget for a minute about cosmetic surgery that costs tons of money. Think about all of the advertisements targeting men with promises of solutions to gray hair, hair loss, low testosterone, etc.

    There are even men suffering from eating disorders due to body image issues.

    Yet, apparently we are supposed to believe that it is all due to our contempt for and hate for women.

    I don't see the correlation.

    No evidence has been presented that shows that it can all be traced back to misogyny.

    And has anybody else noticed that no matter what ideal physique is presented or pursued it is called misogyny? If black men like women with excess body fat, we are told that that is compromising women's health to satisfy men. If Hollywood presents thin women as ideal we are told that that causes body image issues and eating disorders in women.

    It is horrible that girls and women feel like they have to compromise their health to please and appeal to men.

    But is it any different for men? We have men literally destroying their brains playing the game of American football. I think that it is safe to say that a lot of football is boys and men meeting the requirements to be considered masculine and that girls and women encourage it.

    Yet--again--we are somehow supposed to believe that all of it is due to systematic, widespread, epidemic, often subconscious contempt for and hate for women. And--again--evidence showing that all of it leads back to such misogyny is not presented.

    If the physical ideal that women are asked to meet varies that seems to me to suggest that our obsession with pleasure and our culture that requires people to compete with each other probably has as much, if not more, to do with it as any misogyny.

    If we are being honest we will recognize and acknowledge that the most talented, most dedicated, hardest working, etc.--the most qualified--people often don't get the admission to college, jobs, promotions, loans, public offices, etc. Even straight white men lose to less-qualified people. Yet, apparently we are supposed to believe that everything is rigged so that being female and average looking keeps you oppressed, dominated/subjugated, etc.

    Again, this whole misogyny paradigm is extremely oversimplistic.
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