As for discussing testosterone and male violence &c &c, I don't see how these can be things people-identifying-as-women-with-or-without-biological-determinants should ignore.
― Also unknown as Zora (Surfing At Work), Monday, 13 February 2012 18:58 (2 years ago) Permalink
We opened up a discussion of "women's issues" to well-meaning dudes and in less than 1 day it's become all about dudes and testosterone and male violence and we're not even talking about women at all.
in my OP, i talked about a number of things, not just male violence. when you argued with me (IN ALL CAPS), i narrowed things down to male violence in the hopes that it might provide a generally agreeable example of a gendered behavior with some relation to biology. maybe this is too "controversial" for this thread, i dunno.
anyway, the thread that this primarily expands out from, the feminist blogs & communities thread, was always open to guys, right?
― Little GTFO (contenderizer), Monday, 13 February 2012 19:00 (2 years ago) Permalink
You seem to inhabit this weird fantasy world where male power is not prized and rewarded at every turn, and female power is not demonised and punished at every turn.
This rhetoric may be emotionally accurate, but it is ott when compared to mundane reality. How so? Because it leaves no wiggle room for so much as one neutral male-female interaction at any time.
Let's say I invent a board game where men players take alternating turns with women players who compete for a share of power. To make this fair (though not realistic) at the start of the game both sides will have a million units of power. The rules will be your rules. At every turn men will be rewarded and women will be punished. We will do this by taking away one unit of women's power and giving it to the men.
After exactly a million turns the men will have two million units of power and the women will have zero.
But it wouldn't matter how many units were involved to start, or what tiny fraction of a unit changed hands at every turn, the end result would always be that the men become omnipotently all-powerful and the women will be utterly, completely, nakedly, and absolutely powerless. This may feel true to you, but this is not the world I live in.
― Aimless, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:04 (2 years ago) Permalink
Zora it's not that I think ppl should ignore it, it just can veer perilously into "but what about teh mens!!!!" territory.
You're right, that this enforcement of "men as perps, women as victims" is a narrative that is deeply dependent on patriarchal and harmful views of both women and men.
It is worth looking at, in that sexual violence (especially as war crimes) is an everyone problem, not just a woman problem.
But one of my problems is, so often when women gather to talk about their problems and the narratives of their own lives, so often that narrative gets hijacked by men who want to substitute their own narratives about women, and I'm deeply tired of that.
― White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:07 (2 years ago) Permalink
P.S. If the idea is to change how men act or think, then such ott venting is self-defeating, because we're not getting any recognition or reinforcement for right actions or right thinking. Whatever we do could not be enough, so why begin?
― Aimless, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:08 (2 years ago) Permalink
Being a tad too literal there Aimy, imho. "At every turn" may be hyperbole, but it's not hard to see that if you replace it with 'frequently' you get a world many of us would recognise.
― Also unknown as Zora (Surfing At Work), Monday, 13 February 2012 19:09 (2 years ago) Permalink
i suspect that both factors play a role, nature & nurture.
i feel like you're talking in circles, perhaps. I think it's important to examine what's at stake in insisting on a distinction like Nature/Nurture.
in almost every case I'd argue it's about preserving access to "nature" as a privileged or objective point of view. The idea of the distinction itself is something culturally given. Which is to say that the distinction nature/nurture always takes place on the side of nurture.
it's not that "nature" or an "outside" to culture doesn't exist (how could culture exist otherwise?) but that we only have access to it, as I said above, as a kind of negative capability. we can't really climb out of the hole, only dig deeper.
― ryan, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:11 (2 years ago) Permalink
Gendered behaviour with regards to biology is *not* "controversial." it's the absolute ur-narrative most cherished creation myth of all time!
What's deeply controversial is to actually say hey, maybe the similarities outweigh the differences, let's look at the science and numbers and find out how much of this is actual fact (not that much) and how much is narrative?
― White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:12 (2 years ago) Permalink
And that game gets played every day, Aimless. It doesn't end up with men: 2 million women: 0 but it does end up with men: £1 women: £0.70 that we've had to fight and march and claw to even get that high.
― White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:16 (2 years ago) Permalink
Being a tad too literal there Aimy...
It has always been my approach that people ought to be given enough respect to take them at their word, to start out by assuming they said what they meant to say. When this approach leads me to a conclusion that seems, shall we say, off kilter, then my approach is to point out where it veered off kilter, as best I can make out. Then that person has the option of either confirming that they said just what they intended to say, or else rephrase things nearer to their intended meaning.
I know this is weird, but it is the best way I know to get at what people are trying to tell me.
― Aimless, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:16 (2 years ago) Permalink
How about this: is the lack of female-on-male violence (or female-on-female violence), or the perceived lack thereof, purely the result of cultural constructs and received culture?
― valleys of your mind (mh), Monday, 13 February 2012 19:18 (2 years ago) Permalink
OK, Myra Hindley. I can only work up a perspective on violent women by starting with science and building forward, which is why I was looking at testosterone and aggression. I started off by looking for studies on causes of violence so that I could rule biological factors out or in before moving on to social factors. Testosterone is the easy target, being the main biological driver for aggression, according to received wisdom.
Ultimately I would like to understand why this dichotomy of men = x, women = y is what it is, accept I will probably never get there, but I really feel like it has to start off as a gender-blind investigation otherwise it gets too hard (for me) to separate science from conjecture, nature from nurture, and so forth.
Perhaps I need a new thread for Totally Neutral Exploration of Gender Issues.
― Also unknown as Zora (Surfing At Work), Monday, 13 February 2012 19:19 (2 years ago) Permalink
I've just invoked the 70p rule so I lose bcuz we're back to Feminism 101 again.
The nature/nurture argument is important because it always comes back to "can these structures be changed?" and if you are someone who is getting some benefit from those structures, you see no reason to *have* to change. While if you are someone being oppressed by those structures, you HAVE to believe change is possible otherwise you'd put rocks in yr pockets and walk in a river.
― White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:21 (2 years ago) Permalink
― ryan, Monday, February 13, 2012 11:11 AM (6 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
yeah, but i've been saying exactly that all along, only inverted. just because we cannot directly perceive nature, can only see a construction from the constructed position of our own awareness, does not mean that nature is not perceptible, not real, not worth considering.
― Little GTFO (contenderizer), Monday, 13 February 2012 19:21 (2 years ago) Permalink
what counts as violence? can any aggressive or dominance seeking behavior count?
― ryan, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:21 (2 years ago) Permalink
Yes, more women are probably victims. But the numbers of men who've been attacked isn't something anyone even cares to find out about.
why are you bringing this up in this thread though? are you suggesting because sexual violence(primarily towards women by men) has been discussed that we must also acknowledge that men have also been raped? why is this an equivalence that needs stating?
every single time there's a conversation about this topic in a space, this (or something similar) comes up. i used to be on another, much smaller forum, where every time there was a thread about rape or something, the few female participants ended up getting pushed out of the conversation by male participants, who outnumbered them (though that wasn't the determining factor) by a long shot. eventually we just stopped posting in those topics.
if you want male rape to be discussed, then yeah, there's a conversation to be had about that, especially wrt to your point about stereotyping and assumptions. i'm just saying, is this the right place for it?
― gyac, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:23 (2 years ago) Permalink
What lack of female on female violence? Anyone who was ever 12 at an all girl school (I.e. me) will call this statement for the fantasy it is.
― White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:23 (2 years ago) Permalink
this seems a bit unfair, at least as applied to this thread, which was specifically constructed to be open.
― Little GTFO (contenderizer), Monday, 13 February 2012 19:25 (2 years ago) Permalink
i meant controversial wr2 this thread
― Little GTFO (contenderizer), Monday, 13 February 2012 19:27 (2 years ago) Permalink
WCC, if the game doesn't end up men 2 million and women zero, then the rules are different than you expressed them. Also, if clawing, fighting and marching have yielded an improvement, then at some point somewhere men have ceded some amount of reward to women, as opposed to punishment at every turn.
Again, if men are to be denied any credit for ever taking any positive actions in regard to assisting women to overcome this state of power inequality, or for ever allying themselves with justice for women, or for being anything but right bastards who break women's bones to bake their bread, then... I think you're missing an essential trick in getting where I assume you want to go.
From comments you've made already in this thread, I suspect your reaction will be that, just like a man, I am whining to be patted on the head and given credit for being a good boy, while I ought to be inflamed with anger at the INJUSTICE of it all, and if I'm not 100% with you, and can't do right without appreciation, then to hell with me.
The problem with that line of thinking is simple enough. If I must be 100% with you, and if that means I must necessarily think that all men are nasty, unfeeling, power-hungry dealers of injustice who stand on privilege at every turn, then... sorry. I'm a man and there is something unacceptable in that definition of me. Something of a catch-22 you might say.
But, hey, suit yourself.
― Aimless, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:32 (2 years ago) Permalink
Con, this whole "biology is destiny" thing is something that many (maybe most?) women experience, constricting the size and shape of our lives, on an almost daily basis.
It's this hydra-headed thing that no matter how many times you chop off one head, it sprouts another to bite you. So not wanting to engage with that, not wanting to argue it down yet again, is often due to sheer exhaustion rather than a lack of engagement.
― White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:35 (2 years ago) Permalink
Aimless I don't argue with ppl who put words in my mouth. Just carry on having your discussion by yourself coz I don't see where you need me in it, considering you've already decided what I'm gonna say.
― White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:37 (2 years ago) Permalink
What lack of female on female violence?
Well, the relative lack of women convicted of violent crimes would be the obvious reference point.
While if you are someone being oppressed by those structures, you HAVE to believe change is possible..
What's sad is the dialogue involving female-on-male violence in relationships has nearly completely been drowned out by so-called "men's rights" people with claims like "when a woman hits a man it's no big deal, but when a man hits a woman it's domestic violence!" I don't think yelling about where blame is placed is helping anyone.
― valleys of your mind (mh), Monday, 13 February 2012 19:39 (2 years ago) Permalink
nasty, unfeeling, power-hungry dealers of injustice who stand on privilege at every turn, then...
I think it's important to realize that men stand on privilege at every turn whether they are nasty, unfeeling, or power-hungry or not. Even ones who are allied with women, working to help women, etc. Like if you can't get that then you will always be having the wrong discussion.
― Melissa W, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:39 (2 years ago) Permalink
It's a numbers game, mh, and it's difficult to say "yes this exists. But can we please not let the narrative of the one place where women are unfortunately in the majority and men in the minority be written exclusively by that minority?"
Exclusively being the operative word there.
Also let's not even open the can of worms that is male on male violence which doesn't even need to be inside a relationship. Intra-sex violence as a real thing in this world.
― White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:44 (2 years ago) Permalink
WCC, you are steering by your own compass and you are locked on to the course it has set for you. Good luck. Just realize that if you place a chunk of ferrous metal near a compass the needle is attracted to that instead of to magnetic north. If you don't notice this you can get pretty far off track.
― Aimless, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:45 (2 years ago) Permalink
WCC, that makes sense, and i'm not trying to get you to engage w it.
fwiw, and i hope this isn't offensive, myths abt "biological masculinity" are another kind of prison. they're a power-granting prison, which may seem like an oxymoron, but they can be brutally rough on men who don't conform. and like i said at the top, we all "fail" to conform (succeed at not conforming!) in various ways.
just so we're clear, i'm NOT in any way, shape or form trying to compare my struggles with supposedly "natural" masculine identity with the awful history of female oppression. i'm very aware that i was born to a position of unfair privilege in this and other respects.
re our differences in this discussion: i'm just kind of a fence-sitter by disposition. i'm the type to try to see merit on both sides of an argument, to find common ground rather than to "take a side". maybe that's annoying to those with more clearly defined positions...
― Little GTFO (contenderizer), Monday, 13 February 2012 19:46 (2 years ago) Permalink
Aimless, Melissa has answered you pretty comprehensively.
― White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:48 (2 years ago) Permalink
It would be cool if people who don't actually want to examine their ideas about gender would do something other than post here, thanks!
― one little aioli (Laurel), Monday, 13 February 2012 19:48 (2 years ago) Permalink
Melissa, you are completely right and it makes me feel kind of like crap every time this point is articulated, because it's a privilege that I'd like to escape in some ways, because there are so many things that I'd like to do or change that it doesn't help with.
That and I would like to believe that there is something to meritocracy, but there are some points in my life where I consciously know it's not personal merit but personal privilege that's influencing things.
― valleys of your mind (mh), Monday, 13 February 2012 19:48 (2 years ago) Permalink
it's important to realize that men stand on privilege at every turn whether they are nasty, unfeeling, or power-hungry or not.
Yes. I would agree with that. Since the privilege is built into the society, the only way off it is to stand outside society. I do that from time to time, but only because I sometimes go wander around the wilderness where there aren't any other people. As soon as I return, I'm back on privileged ground.
Explain to me how I can alter this state and I will attend well to your words. But if there is nothing I can do, then please do not blame me for doing nothing.
― Aimless, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:50 (2 years ago) Permalink
You could stop coming into discussions about sexism and telling women that they're wrong-headed and that you have a clearer view of things?
― Melissa W, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:53 (2 years ago) Permalink
fwiw 2 all my male-identified brothers, you dont have to post in this thread. the world will be okay if you dont share your take on all of this. you will be okay, too. it can be hard to take a step back and just be quiet for a while but sometimes its really worthwhile.
― max, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:53 (2 years ago) Permalink
― gyac, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:23 (29 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
I guess you skimmed over the bit where I said "not for this conversation, I just wanted to get it off my chest" and "perhaps I need another thread."
― Also unknown as Zora (Surfing At Work), Monday, 13 February 2012 19:54 (2 years ago) Permalink
Con I recognise that the myths about biological masculinity are another kind of prison - I keep repeating that patriarchy hurts men, too line and I deeply believe it.
If you're a natural fence sitter, I understand. And so long as your argument is and/both I'm prepared to accept that and/both intersection of nature and nurture is the most likely explanation of most human behaviour. So I think I understand yr viewpoint a bit better now?
But it's unfortunate that "nature" argument is something I get hit in the face with repeatedly while nurture isn't slapping me, I'm likely to be a bit partisan.
― White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:54 (2 years ago) Permalink
I think we should all create socks and have this convo with our gender-identities undisclosed. See what happens.
― Also unknown as Zora (Surfing At Work), Monday, 13 February 2012 19:56 (2 years ago) Permalink
just to clarify my post upthread i think both/and is as simplistic as either/or.
― judith, Monday, 13 February 2012 19:59 (2 years ago) Permalink
Dudes who are feeling defensive about yr Privilege, what can you do to help?
1) you can recognise and acknowledge that privilege instead of pretending it doesn't exist or that everyone has it. This is a massively helpful first step.
2) you can check your privilege BEFORE you step in to tell women How The World Works.
3) you can actively work to change the future world by trying to dismantle privilege of all kinds. This is the scariest and hardest bit
(this is also the checklist I try to follow when thinking about mine own race privilege and class privilege so I'm not recommending anything I dont try to do myself. Try being operative word)
― White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 20:01 (2 years ago) Permalink
Mr Butler maybe you wanna come up with a 300 word essay on the intersectionality of nature and nurture with extra points for each 20th Century French philosopher you can squeeze in a reference to, but for now I'll take and/both as a less simple simplification than either/or?
― White Chocolate Cheesecake, Monday, 13 February 2012 20:05 (2 years ago) Permalink
acknowledging one's own privilege doesn't invalidate your problems or travails. when women (or anyone) argue about privilege with you they're not saying you, yourself, are a terrible awful oppressing human being - it's a structural issue. but the existence of privilege should not be the thing we're arguing over, it's a very basic thing to acknowledge. and fervently denying that it exists or nitpicking when people exaggerate just seems like a deliberate waste of time and is v annoying to women who encounter that sort of thing every day.
working against privilege => working towards genuine meritocracy?
― first period don't give a fuck, second period gon get cut (lex pretend), Monday, 13 February 2012 20:08 (2 years ago) Permalink
ha just had momentary panic that this was the girls-only thread! phew
okay, touche. point taken. i'm v interested in this stuff, and get carried away. i recognize, though, that my tendency to spout off is perhaps a reflection of masculine entitlement, so i could probably stand to be a bit less assertive in this context...
― Little GTFO (contenderizer), Monday, 13 February 2012 20:11 (2 years ago) Permalink
not really got anything to say but this thread looks interesting and i have 1 pot of tea and 2 eyes to read with. :D
― a hoy hoy, Monday, 13 February 2012 20:12 (2 years ago) Permalink
would probably say that your ability to be fence-sitty on this issue is also reflective of privilege - you can afford to be, b/c the consequences of not taking a side don't actually affect you directly
― first period don't give a fuck, second period gon get cut (lex pretend), Monday, 13 February 2012 20:13 (2 years ago) Permalink
― iatee, Monday, 13 February 2012 20:14 (2 years ago) Permalink
I am glad for that question mark. thx.
For clarification, I think there is nothing about being a woman that necessarily stops a woman from seeing things clearly, and if I have ever made any claim to knowing what's correct better than women do, I apologize and retract that claim as not just wrong, but deeply blindly stupid.
I'm not sure your suggestion would be sufficient to eradicate my position of privilege, tho.
― Aimless, Monday, 13 February 2012 20:16 (2 years ago) Permalink
Nothing could eradicate your position of privilege. Bar some sort of mass revolution, that is yours to keep. It will only help eradicate people (me) from feeling a deep irritation at the sight of your posts.
― Melissa W, Monday, 13 February 2012 20:21 (2 years ago) Permalink
Now, is it ok to disagree with a woman about something that woman said? Or is that off-limits?
― Aimless, Monday, 13 February 2012 20:25 (2 years ago) Permalink
interesting to me that some men are so irritated at the notion that they are in a default position of power. guys, power is awesome! i think everyone should be able to enjoy power as much as possible. i mean, not power at the expense of others, though i wonder if there is any other kind when it comes down to it?
― lil kink (Matt P), Monday, 13 February 2012 20:26 (2 years ago) Permalink
misread this as "2 eyes to roll with"
― max buzzword (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 13 February 2012 20:27 (2 years ago) Permalink