(c) 2012, Davd
Let me start right out by saying, that if you’re not the kind of man to make New Year’s Resolutions, don’t take this post as a “nag” to make one this New Year’s. Many have been the New Years when i did not make any resolutions myself. But the practice appeals to many, and the reflection that ought to take place in preparation for any promise you make, is both a good thing for men in general and a kind of thinking for which the New Year is a conducive time. If you don’t choose to make any resolutions, i do suggest you reflect on some of the following topics and short of resolving [= making yourself a promise], organize some sort of personal effort for your own good and the good of “the status of men.”
Stereotypically, New Year’s Resolutions are about Doing Something Better: “I will lose weight”; “I will quit smoking”; “I will learn French”; “I will go to church more often”; “I will do my own Income Tax paperwork”; “I will take my Mother out to dinner every Wednesday evening”; “I will watch less TV”; “I will get more exercise”; “I will dress better”—does the list look familiar? I’m going to suggest some resolutions that are more affirming of your manhood, and probably more fun and more satisfying. First, though, some comments on that stereotypical list above, and a few “Do’s and don’ts”.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with making weight loss, exercise, language learning, and cutting back on activities that look like a waste of time, the subject of New Year’s Resolutions. If you yourself want to choose a resolution of one of those types, i suggest you plan how you’ll carry it out, before New Year’s Eve. It’s also a good idea to clarify, with some serious reflection, why you want to do what you’re thinking to make a resolution.
I myself have “lost” about ten pounds since last summer, for instance; and i do intend to continue reducing my weight in the New Year—but it’s a lifestyle adjustment to aging, to slower metabolism with aging, and to lost height with aging, not something i am doing systematically. I can’t predict how easily, nor on what sort of schedule, nor by what practical process i will reduce my weight further—i simply recognize that it would be a good idea to get another ten pounds to ten kilos lighter (but don’t know whether ten pounds or ten kilos is the amount by which i now exceed a roughly-ideal weight for me, given that i do much more outdoor manual work than most men my age.) So i aim, in vague general terms, to lose weight in the coming year, but don’t “resolve” anything about it.
As with losing weight, if you choose to resolve to exercise, learn a language, etc., set up a plan, a set of (approximate) times you’ll exercise and kinds of exercise you’ll do; or a process by which you’ll learn that language. If you believe you watch too much TV, plan-up some substitute activities to do instead—specific kinds of exercise, maybe, or learning a new skill.
Stopping smoking and doing tax paperwork might be poor choices for a New Year’s Resolution, because will-power and self-discipline are not enough, may not be half enough, to carry them out. Nicotine is addictive. Paperwork can require skills that are not easily learned in a hurry, that some people don’t even have the temperament to learn, and that are worth learning if you expect to use them many hours each month, but well may not be worth learning if you expect to use them once a year for a total of a day or two1. It’s a good idea to have expert help learning fancy paperwork skills, and either expert help or a support group when quitting an addiction.
If a resolution to “dress better” or “take my Mother out to dinner” is someone else’s idea, not yours; then i strongly suggest it’s a bad idea for you. (If you’re a salesman or a hotel desk-clerk, for instance, and you think dressing “better”—whatever that means on your job—will improve your work success, then maybe it’s a good resolution for you. In that case, you should have a good visual image of what “dressing better” entails for you specifically, and be able to write something of a plan for carrying it out.)
More generally: Don’t make a resolution because someone else nagged you to! If you’re going to obey someone by doing something (she?) wants you to do—call obedience or compliance by its right name. A resolution is an act of your will. Taking Mother out to dinner every week reads more like an act of her will.
(If Mother has incentives to offer you, or threats even, and if they are legal rather than emotional, then i suggest you might negotiate: Offer, for instance, to cook for her not every Wednesday but two or three days per month, and then clean up the dishes after. But keep in your power, to take a Wednesday when your old buddy from the Army or the university comes to town, and go out to dinner or out fishing with him. And if a month goes by when you cook for her every Wednesday, that’s being extra-nice rather than doing your duty: Keep your promises to significantly less than what you can comfortably do—give yourself plenty of elbow room.)
Make any resolutions age and capability appropriate. At 70, i am not going to resolve to learn Biblical Greek, much as i wish i’d had the occasion and means to learn it before age 40. I have too few years of life-expectancy left now, to be sure i can set aside the required time (and i don’t know in advance how much time would be required); and if i succeed, i have too few years of life-expectancy to make the substantial use of Greek that i could have made starting before age 40. Likewise, if you’re lame in one arm or leg due to past illness or injury—or older than say, 40-50—don’t resolve to take up a sport like judo or gymnastics. I’m very glad i did take up judo—in my early thirties, which is late for competitive hopes, but not too late for the fitness and self-confidence benefits. (On the other hand, if you’re younger than 40, you’re not likely to be able to choose the “grandfathering” resolution.)
Make sure your resolution is possible, at least to the best of your knowledge. For instance, don’t resolve to start a Boy Scout troop or a soccer team on your own. If you make a resolution like that, make it jointly with enough other men to do the job, including a few spare players for the soccer team and at least two spare-and-assistant Scoutmasters (plus people who can do the paperwork required, and a promise of a place to meet) for the Scout troop.
With those comments and cautions, then, here are some “possibilities” for New Year’s Resolutions, if you’d like to make one or two. (Take care not to make too many.) They share the properties of being manhood-affirming, positive rather than negative, and at least potentially good for you. They are not a complete list nor anything near to that; and if readers want to write in suggestions, and resolutions they have made and valued from earlier years—well, i’d always like to learn more about how to affirm and enjoy being a man.
So here are a few of many things you might “resolve”, positively, potentially good for you, and affirming your manhood:
Let your beard grow: Stop shaving it off routinely. As a man, you naturally grow hair on your chin—don’t you? Most men do; and what better simple, nonviolent but assertive way to declare that you’re a man and like being a man, than showing your beard in whatever length and trim suits you best?
This one, i can write about from experience. I’ve had a full beard—of the “Abe Lincoln” sort, approximately—for well over half of my 70 years. As an undergraduate, i was required to take military training, and the military required me to shave; when i left off military training, i soon left off shaving—and never wanted to go back. I’ve made only a few, minor adjustments to the length and “trim” of my beard as it changed from a strong reddish brown to a grey bordering on white. It was never a New Year’s Resolution, it was simply the hair that naturally grows on my chin, trimmed for length and shape. But as a New Year’s Resolution in affirmation of manhood, it suits—and having made it a New Year’s Resolution, you’ve got one more reason not to cave-in if someone starts nagging you to shave.
It’s a fine resolution to make if someone nags you to make at least one resolution—it makes a significant change in your appearance, it affirms your maleness with absolutely no violence (not even “naughty words”), and the failure will be visible to everyone you meet if you don’t keep it.
Letting your beard grow is the kind of resolution that normally has a term of “this year”. A year is usually long enough for anyone who tries nagging you to abandon it, to tire out; and it’s long enough to try different lengths and “trims” (a term that includes shaping the beard’s length and in many cases, shaving around its edges, especially on your neck. I suggest you start by growing a full beard, a little longer on your chin than on the sides of your jaw; shaving the lower part of your neck perhaps, and then if you want to, try shaping how much of your face stays covered.) By the time you’ve had your natural beard for a year, you’ll know how you like it and if you want to keep it; and others will have got used to you as a bearded man.
Join a men’s group—if, of course, there’s one you know of that you like, or expect to like, and can join. If you know two or three other men who’d like to start a men’s group, you can jointly resolve to start one; but remember, don’t resolve the impossible. If you can make a plan of action “toward forming a Men’s Group”, and want following that plan to become a New Year’s Resolution, fine.
There are quite a few possible main-focus types for Men’s Groups. I would urge you to make mutual support—a modest sort of “adoptive brotherhood” that can grow as the group strengthens—one of your purposes; and to meet at least twice a month, preferably weekly.
Learn Judo, or some other demanding physical skill. This is a resolution suited to younger more than to older men. I chose Judo—it wasn’t a New Year’s Resolution, as i recall, but it was a decision to take up the sport for self-improvement—a year or two after becoming Associate Professor at a university with a very good Judo team.
Pick a skill that employs the large muscles, gracefully and with power, and you’ll almost certainly stand and walk better for learning it, and feel “more manly”. (There is one skill that doesn’t fit that pattern, and isn’t masculine any more than feminine, that i do recommend next, for different reasons.)
Take up fine cooking. There’s no basis in anatomy, physiology, or psychology for the notion that cooking is women’s work. There is a basis in pre-industrial history: Women were near the cookstove or cooking fire more of the day and the week, than men were; so they found it easier to do the cooking, than men did. When i had a small commercial herb garden, though, most of the chefs who bought fine herbs from me, and most of the “line cooks” who worked for them, were men. Cooking is men’s work if, as, and when men can find the time and place to do it, which often they couldn’t, back when men hunted and women gathered.
Any skill that produces something valued, tends to be satisfying and enjoyable to do. I don’t enjoy many kinds of “housework”; but cooking’s fun. It’s also assertive to be able to say “I can cook, you sit down and rest” to a woman after a day’s job-work; and it makes much more graceful and effective, your preference not to do the dish-washing or mop the floors. Furthermore, if you are a good cook, you have one less reason to feel dependent on a woman, and one more way to contribute if a group of men are camping out or hanging out.
Two variations on fine cooking that have a masculine image and often go together, are [home]brewing and wine-making. I’ve followed both hobbies for decades, and don’t regret it at all. More years than not this century, i’ve never entered a Liquor Store except to get empty cases for my wine—the old cardboard cases gradually get dusty in storage, and during the humid summer months the cardboard may weaken, until after 2-5 years most cases are due for replacement. I brew Cooper’s Stout and amber [“real”] ale most often, and sometimes a “Canadian style” kit from an English firm with the Greek-looking name Doric. I haven’t yet malted my own barley, but if i find more time ….
Among wines, i like a robust flavour, so i make up Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Riesling kits most often, and if i found a modest-priced Shiraz kit i’d try it. I also make dandelion wine, inverting the sugar with rhubarb for a locally-grown must; it takes at least twice as long to ferment [“attenuate out”] as a varietal grape concentrate kit. A pleasant hobby, wine-making, conducive to moderation and to drinking what you really like, that produces welcome, inexpensive gifts, and saves a lot of money relative to buying at the Liquor Store.
Learn a trade. Cooking can be a trade if you take learning it to that extent. Other than cooking, i especially recommend trades that make good use of the large muscles—the muscles that are better developed and usually more graceful in men than in women. (Carpentry, high-voltage electrical work and wire-pulling, much of farming, commercial fishing, logging, masonry, vehicle mechanics, and welding are such trades. Tailoring is an example of a trade, not much followed today, that uses the small muscles more, and might favour women.)
As i first-draft this post, the CBC Radio News has mentioned shortages of trades workers at least four times in the past two weeks. Tradesmen are traditionally more independent, less bossed-around, than most workers, and with a trade, it’s easier to set your own hours of work and how many hours per week you work for pay.
Learning a trade is a young man’s resolution. The next one is for older men:
Dedicate one day a week to grandfathering. This is a little more substantial as a resolution, than most (as is learning a trade); and much more dependent on the co-operation of others. If you like the idea, negotiate with your son or daughter and spouse-thereof, for a regular “Grandfather day” or evening when your grandchild[ren] can expect you to be around for them. Most young-adult parents will be glad to have a day when the children, or even one of them, isn’t their responsibility.
Most fathers these days have paid employment that takes them away from home—just as my father worked as a local truck driver when i was a boy. I saw him most evenings, but almost no mornings—he had to be on his way to work before i usually woke up. Weekends, he liked to sleep in, and often went fishing or tournament bowling or to Elks Club activities, or “took my mother out”, which he couldn’t do on workdays. Grandfather Edd, who was widowed and retired, had more time and patience for me, and was glad of my company partly because he lived alone. (Also, Granps didn’t have to deal with Mother’s nagging and pressuring nearly as much as Dad had to.) I learned more of workshop skills and of math and science, from Granps than from Dad, though Dad knew the science, the math, and most of the workshop skills; because Granps had the time, in larger “blocks” and without distractions from the womenfolk.
It’s entirely OK to choose to grandfather just the boy or boys on a regular basis, and include the girls some times but not other times. Most mothers, from what i’ve seen, would value some female-only time with their daughters, so you “taking the boy[s] off her hands” still counts as a valued favor to a mother. (There can be exceptions where a grandfather and granddaughter share an interest the boys don’t share—in art, history, or music, for instance. In those situations, give the granddaughter special time for those special interests, and if you share other interests with the boys but not with her, give the boys special time for them. It is good for a girl to learn the nature and merits of the male perspective, especially if it can be done via common interest rather than by lecture.)
Grandfathering is especially valuable to boys who have no father at home.
I’m sure i could find more good examples of potential New Year’s Resolutions, but i’m also sure i’d never think of them all; and this post has passed 3,000 words in length already. I encourage readers to write in with your ideas and your experience of resolutions that worked and that didn’t. To finish-up, though, i’d like to mention some good ideas that are too big, or too difficult to plan-for-success, for me to recommend them as Resolutions.
Too Big for New Year’s Resolutions: A few examples of “more substantial” projects—tasks too large to be mere New Year’s resolutions—for teams of men who want to be ambitious.
Increase your social efficiency by sharing cars, a house, or both. It’s possible to live decently well on about $400 per month this way, in a low-housing-cost area, by finding a structurally sound house in need of work, fixing the defects [mostly maintenance if you're lucky or can choose well] and sharing it with 4-5 friends. By living so frugally—and “frugal” does not mean bad or even boring food, nor clothing, nor shelter, nor “wheels”—you gain a whole lot of freedom, autonomy to do the kind of work you like and keep the kind of hours you like. The hyper-linked post gives considerable detail.
Go on to job-sharing by starting a worker-co-operative. This [general type of] project goes well with frugal use of your income, because starting any business often entails months of low income while you establish yourselves. In one of the most famous blogs in the androsphere, The Misandry Bubble, the economist author writes, “A single man does not require much in order to survive. Most single men could eke out a comfortable existence by working for two months out of the year.”. Supposing that to be “full-time” work, an obvious alternative is to work one full-time day per week, or two half-days, etc. While starting a new business, you’re likely to work one or two days a week “for pay” and at least as much more to build up the business in ways that won’t produce immediate income.
Set up a puberty transition program for boys. The Boy Scouts, back in the days when i was one, were fairly close to being such a program, and i wonder if Baden-Powell noticed the separation-mentoring-initiation sequences of pre-industrial tribes where he had been outside England, and designed the Boy Scouts with them, as well as adult explorers, in mind.
The process of winning a Black Belt in judo or another east-Asian martial art, also provides much of the transition experience from boyhood-under-Mommy’s-thumb, to independent manhood. Military cadet programmes contain less, in my view, because they have so strong and explicit a command structure; but they did have much merit in my youth, when they were still all-male. (I’m not convinced that a mixed-sex programme can serve as a puberty transition experience for boys.)
These examples indicate, at the least, that transition programmes exist in ready-to-adopt forms. I can imagine and would encourage, groups of men designing their own, perhaps as a variation on one they know of like the monastic novitiate, a pre-industrial Vision Quest or other transition, or the traditional Boy Scouts; perhaps as a formation and admission programme for a worker or housing co-operative or a Men’s Group; or perhaps “designed from scratch”.
Build your awareness of the politics of gender: This is an effort you can make alone or with other men; and i’d recommend it for a Men’s Group. It’s not something you can set yourself up with a plan to do reliably, however; and so i don’t recommend the overall “awareness building” nor any of the following specifics as a Resolution:
- Take notice of laws you obey because of intimidation (threat of punishment) rather than because you believe they are right;
- Respect yourself at least as much as a woman of equal capability;
- Apply the “reverse the genders test” to Feminist and government gender demands,
- Confront some female-superiority notions women hold, and then agree to tolerate them as long as they allow me equally strong male-superiority notions.
- Refute misandry whenever you know the refutations;
- Seek refutations for misandry in cases where you don’t know them already;
Thirteen has been an unlucky number for longer than my lifetime; and this coming year doesn’t look like it will bring good luck: There are the United States “fiscal cliff” and debt ceiling threats, the debt predicaments in Europe, and some disturbingly low crop harvests (maize and to some extent other grains in the US, apples in Ontario) that are already showing up as much higher prices in the grocery stores; just for instance. The Green Parties look to me to be correct in saying that economic growth is not going to solve our predicament. Frugality and social efficiency are more promising, but they’re not going to be all fun and jollies, especially not at the start.
Resolution, plan, or even mere intention—get together with like-minded men and prepare for a tough year. Going through tough times with good men can be a whole lot more fun than facing them alone, or than what’s worse still, pretending they won’t come until the hardships can no longer be ignored. And the honest, more-self-respect than hubris kind of pride, the memories that you’ll keep the rest of your life, usually come from going through the hard times rather than the easy ones.
Whether or not you “make Resolutions”, be resolute.
1. If you’re thinking, that demanding such paperwork as the duty of every working citizen, is asking too much, i quite agree. It’s one of many ways that bureaucratic government can become abusive. Toward the end of this post, you’ll see another mention of the fact that the laws are enforced by intimidation rather than the free consent of most people, far too often.
2. If the threats are emotional, i suggest you get together with your Men’s Group and work out a way to make yourself insensitive to emotional blackmail.
3. .. and maybe share some of it. New Year’s comes annually, and i might even like to use some of those for New Year’s 2014
4. also, because they had infants at the breast for roughly half their young adult lives, women were ill-suited to do work very far from the home. This was how things were, until infant mortality and more generally, human mortality was reduced by medical and public-health innovations devised mostly by men.
5. Grapefruit also is a good choice for inverting the sugar, and gives dandelion wine a good flavour, especially if it is made sweet, say like an oloroso sherry.
6. .. from womenfolk and small children.
Shame on Feminism, not on us
(c) 2012, Davd
It’s that time of year again: Some Feminists are refusing to set meetings and appointments for December 6th; and if last year and the previous 20 are any indication, we can expect a deplorable multiple murder to be re-framed as something much worse. It will be called “the Montreal Massacre”, which it was not. More people, including more women, survived that shooting than died. Most multiple murders in which fewer than ten times the number killed by Marc Lepine, die, are not called massacres.
Indeed, it is abnormal and tendentious, to treat such a killing as historic. The normal treatment of a despicable deed by a probable madman is to let its memory fade with time. The excessive attention given by Feminists and their allies in the CBC last year, to a multiple murder over two decades past—a multiple murder that has been “topped” by several more-horrendous acts of homicide since then, and hasn’t been copied—seems to be serving some political purposes. The simple inference is that those political purposes do not deserve support.1
Before we “develop that simple inference”, let’s “do the reverse the sexes exercise” and ask, “What about violence by women against men?” Is it treated differently than violence against women by men? Indeed it is—but not by letting its memory fade away naturally.
Violence by women against men does get tendentiously recalled and kept before the public: I can readily think of two names, women who attacked men and whose stories were publicized and discussed at length: Lorena Bobbitt and Valerie Solanas. Probably there are many more, but those two names happen to have been brought back to my attention repeatedly. Lorena Bobbitt cut off her husband’s penis while he slept. “She then hopped in her car, penis in hand, and drove away. As she sped by a field, she tossed the severed appendage out the window.” (Archivist, 2010). Valerie Solanas wrote a short book entitled “The S.C.U.M. Manifesto” in which she advocated killing men; and proceeded to put her argument into action by shooting Andy Warhol and Mario Amaya with deadly intent (see also Dederer, 2004.) Much more recently, Swedish feminists have produced and publicized a video in which Solanas’s ideas are enacted and she is given credit.
Both Lorena Bobbitt and Valerie Solanas have been publicized, and lioness-ized, not by men but by Feminists. Claire Dederer wrote in 2004, “Why the SCUM Manifesto, now? Possibly because Solanas’s crazed rage doesn’t look so crazed anymore. These days, SCUM is no longer scummy. SCUM is transgressive, queer, other-identified. SCUM has its own learned journals, its own coffeehouses, its own university departments, its own bands and movies. The cultural critic B. Ruby Rich noted Solanas’s burgeoning relevance in her 1993 essay “Manifesto Destiny,” which ran in the Voice Literary Supplement. “The 90s is the decade of the Riot Grrrls, the Lesbian Avengers, Thelma and Louise, the Aileen Wuornos case, and Lorena Bobbitt,” she wrote. “There’s something intensely contemporary about Solanas, not just in her act but in her text as well.”
If a man had written an equally misogynist “manifesto”, would he be celebrated in like manner? (Do pigs fly?) Combine the Feminist treatment of Lepine with the Feminist treatment of Bobbitt and Solanas, and “claiming a female privilege to inflict violence” is putting matters quite mildly.
Dederer is not the only writer to link Solanas and her “manifesto” with Lorena Bobbitt. The False Rape Society’s “Archivist” cited several anonymous commentators and Ellen Goodman, approving of Ms. Lorena’s mutilation of her husband; and wrote, “when women shamefully applauded the vile mutilation of another human being — a man who was not privileged, or smart, or wealthy, or lucky — all that men could muster in the face of this fusillade of misandry was a muffled and chivalrous grumble.” That was in 2010. Let’s do better this year.
December 6th is a predictable date for confrontation; and we can start with something Feminists might want us to be ashamed about—but really, they’re the ones who should be ashamed: Men aren’t proud of Marc Lepine. Logically, that does men credit; Lepine did wrong. It makes far less sense that many Feminists seem to be proud of Lorena Bobbitt and Valerie Solanas. Put the three stories together, and the Feminist message seems to be “violence against women by men is unspeakably horrible; but violence by women against men is very often a good thing.” That message is indeed something to be ashamed-of.
I can readily think of one everyday example of young girls practicing that “message”, and one parallel message from race relations 60-100 years ago. Neither makes Feminism look good.
Many of you readers can probably recall a girl kicking a boy in the shins, hard—sometimes i bled from such kicks—and then dancing away singsonging “Can’t hit a gir-rul, can’t hit a gir-rul!” The tune was the one to which children often taunted “Nyaa, nyaa, nya-nyaaaah, nyah!” or “You’re a dirty stinker”—that sort of taunt. The tune and the words conveyed “I can hurt you, I don’t even need a good reason, and you can’t even fight back.” They conveyed privilege.
Such privilege was the norm in “American race relations” for the first half of the 20th Century; i believe history will mark its rapid decline from the Brown v. Board of Education decision (U. S. Supreme Court, 1954.) “Whites” in the Old South and occasionally elsewhere could attack “Negroes” without fear of reprisal, and being on the down side of privilege did lead many Afro-Americans to feel somewhat ashamed of their race (e.g. Clark and Clark, 1947). It was more rightfully, the shame of “White America”. In parallel, the Feminist double standard of gender violence might browbeat some men into a “false consciousness of shame” but rightfully is the shame of Feminism—not of men.
Men aren’t proud of Marc Lepine—but neither should we wear his shame. He was crazy, to use the vulgar everyday word for it (cf. Dutton, 2012); and his actions did not represent anyone else. That’s why the normal treatment of a despicable deed by a probable madman is to let its memory fade with time. Perhaps, in a very humane society, there might be an effort to rehabilitate the madman (or mad woman.)
Feminism “has a moral duty to answer for” any other treatment of Lepine’s crazy shooting. To the best of my knowledge, they have not done that duty. They have not justified the demonstrations, lobbying, nagging, scolding and whining we can expect come December 6th. It is “high time and long past due” that men say so, publicly, clearly, repeatedly—not only for the misuse of the Lepine multiple killing, but for the endorsement of Bobbitt’s violence and Solanas’s advocacy-of as well as actual violence, and for tendentious misandry in general.
If someone asks you some form of “Aren’t you ashamed of what Lepine did?”, i suggest you have [at least] two types of reply to choose from :
“Are[n't] you ashamed of Lorena Bobbitt and Valerie Solanas?” [there are two ways to frame this 'comeback'] or
“I didn’t help him, I didn’t advise him, and I didn’t have responsibility for him in any social-work or psychatric sense. He’s apparently crazy and I don’t know him. How on Earth would I be in line for a murdering madman’s shame?”
If you are in a public confrontation, it might be a good tactic to give the mild, second reply first, and if a Feminist tries to respond with an “all men are guilty” line, then “give her sauce for the goose” by using one or the other form of the first reply.
If someone tries to get you to sign a “White ribbon pledge”, the kind that reads (approximately) “”, i suggest you reply “When that statement reads so that men are as well protected as women, then I’ll give it serious consideration. Until then, it looks like a manifesto for female privilege. Why, other than in Hell, would a man support female privilege?”
If you’re in a men’s-interest group with some interest in advocacy, and you get word another “Montreal massacre demonstration/vigil/…” is forthcoming, you might make up some signs for a counter-demonstration. For a few possibilities, which i expect other men can improve and add-to, you might try:
We have not praised Lepine’s crime. Women have praised Lorena Bobbitt’s. Clean up your act—we’ve got the better record.
Violence against men is wrong—equal treatment is right.
My name is not Marc Lepine
Marc Lepine was a criminal. So was [Lorena Bobbitt, Valerie Solanas, etc.] I won’t blame you for her—don’t you blame me for him.
Feminism should be ashamed of [Lorena Bobbitt, Valerie Solanas, etc.]
… and suppose that your Mother, herself, is a Feminist and throws some old “cow-poop” in your face? Suppose she even says “How dare you talk back to your Mother? The simple answer is “Beats lying!” One more complicated answer is “How dare you try to pressure me to lie?”
This isn’t “Give ‘em Hell.” This is “Give ‘em the truth as best we can state it, with vigor.” If they won’t join us fairly, in the effort to find and speak the truth—then their ticket to Hell is of their own making, or perhaps it’s something they found while shopping. We don’t wish women-as-women ill—we wish evildoers a comeuppance, whatever their sex, we seek to correct their mis-statements; and we seek out, we seek to identify and honour, those women who prefer truth and philios to evil.
Those who do not, we might prudently avoid most of the time, and when confronted by them, refute.
p.s. After the confrontation, if indeed there be a Feminist ‘action’ near you to confront, there is something more important about December 6th, that you might like to celebrate—preferably with a sauna: December 6th is Finnish Independence Day. Since declaring independence from Russia, Finland has managed to keep free for over 90 years, with one of the world’s highest literacy rates and “scholarly output rates” relative to its small population; and in its wisdom did not import great numbers of culturally incompatible immigrants. Finnish men have less than equal power under divorce law, but on one generation-old and one recent report, more than Canadian or US men.
Two four-letter words which symbolize distinctive Finnish social and cultural virtues are Sisu and Teho. Teho translates pretty well as “efficiency”; and our social inefficiency has contributed to the denigration and abuse of men at law. Sisu is not so easy to translate, but combining courage, persistence, and a certain manly disdain for soft living, might come close. The customary way to honour the democratic self-government of that formerly colonized people, is by putting two lighted candles in your window toward the road, from dark until bedtime. That’s what i plan to celebrate December 6th, and how.
“Archivist”, 2010, “This date in history: Lorena Bobbitt sliced off her husband’s penis and exposed the politics of hate.” False Rape Society website, June 23, which url might work if cotwa.org be substituted.
Clark, Kenneth B., and Mamie P. Clark, 1947 “Racial identification and preference in Negro children.” In T. M. Newcomb and E. L. Hartley, eds., Readings in Social Psychology. New York: Holt, Rinehart, Winston. [A classic for showing that black children preferred white dolls and downgraded their own race--in conformity to prevailing cultural biases. Probably would not be replicated today if repeated, due to social change.]
Dederer, Claire, 2004. Cutting Remarks”. The Nation June 14.
Dutton DG. 2012. “A Policy Based On Evidence? Let’s Start With Domestic Violence” Letter to the Editor, Vancouver Sun.>
Griffin, John Howard, 1960. Black Like Me. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Signet paperback, 1961.
(Why—and how?—to forestall it)
(c) 2012, Davd
Since i mentioned the Princess Syndrome in my last post, this is a handy time to write something about the syndrome itself, and its unrealism, here on Everyman. Though quite distinct from Feminism, and much older; the Princess Syndrome shares one thing at least with such Feminist achievements as easy divorce: It seems superficially to benefit women relative to men, but when its implications are worked-through, it turns out to produce worse outcomes for both sexes.
Actual Princesses, like actual Princes, are royalty1: They have social license to “put on airs” and be pampered; they are fed, clothed, and housed much better than the general population. It is no great surprise that many girls, if encouraged to see themselves as Princesses who can expect such royal treatment, will accept the encouragement even if the realistic likelihood they will actually “become Princesses” is small. Children seldom if ever learn probability and percentages as early as they learn attitudes.2
Now and then, in folklore and in “the media”, a pretty girl becomes a Princess;3 and those rare cases encourage others to aspire. So do celebrities who are “treated royally”, many of whom come from fairly ordinary origins; and so do folk tales.
Cinderella is arguably the archetype. A pretty girl is held down and forced to work as millions of good-looking boys who happen to be born “lower or working class” must also work, but in her case by a mean-spirited, probably jealous stepmother and step-sisters. Suddenly, just in time for the Grand Ball where the Prince will choose his bride, a “fairy godmother” magically provides her with all the trappings of nobility: Dressed in the perfect gown for the occasion, riding in a fine carriage with suitably elegant servants and horses, she charms the Prince, and with various interludes depending on the folk tale4, marries him and Lives Happily Ever After.
(We should have a serious look at that “happily ever after” ending, and preferably soon, because it is impossibly optimistic—but this blog is about Princesses.)
Cinderella is portrayed as being of good character, in all the versions of the tale i have heard or read. She treats the stepmother and step-sisters, better than they treat her, though she gets less for what she contributes, than they. In other words, she is portrayed as deserving of better (though as surely as “nobody’s perfect”, happily-ever-after is too much better for anyone to merit, as well as being vanishingly unlikely.)
Why are Cinderella’s stepmother and step-sisters jealous? Because of the value of beauty in a pre-Industrial world that was seldom patriarchal-through-and-through, but usually patriarchal in its upper classes—and in which “traditional marriage” prevailed. The less-lovely step-sisters feel that beauty has an outside chance to charm the prince. Good character, which a wise or even prudent Prince would also look for, “doesn’t seem to register with them”; but beauty does.
Good character doesn’t seem to register with the modern “retail sector” either. When i open the weekly advertising “flyer bag” there are usually pages-upon-pages of advertising for women’s clothing and cosmetics5; but i don’t see much advertising for the development of good character6—usually, not any. Then, too, Cinderella had her good character as the story began; the Fairy Godmother provided only the fine trappings.
In 20th Century “affluent society”, parents too-often raised their daughters as princesses (and their sons to be tradesmen or university students, which made more sense.) One seldom heard a boy described by either parent as “my little Prince,” but one often heard a girl described by one parent or both, as “my little Princess.”7 Millions of girls were encouraged to dress-up, fuss over their looks, and generally waste time on impractical matters of mere appearance.8
Among the folk tales they probably heard about how Princesses behave, was “The Pea and the Princess”: A guest in a household much wealthier than average, but not necessarily royal, claims she is a Princess. The hosts provide her with a fine bedroom, including several layers of fine feather quilts as her mattress—but a single dried pea between that elegant mattress and the wooden surface of the bed itself. Next morning, the young guest complains bitterly of the discomfort—and because she does, is acknowledged to be a true Princess: The story teaches that a super-human need for pampering is part of what makes a genuine Princess.
(If i take that story at all seriously, i realize i cannot afford to provide anyone with finer household arrangements than that Princess said were not good enough—in fact, i don’t have nearly so fine a bed myself, as what she complained about. I’d better stay clear of Princesses.)
Understandably, but very sadly, millions of girls took the Princess fuss seriously9. When “Women’s Liberation” arrived on the public-policy scene and then evolved into “Nth-Wave Feminism,” millions of adolescent girls and young women expected to be liberated into privilege, at the least something rather finer than boys and young men of equal ability, effort, and sacrifice had been getting. Equally sadly, they were used to being better pampered than their brothers—so why not better than their husbands, when they married?
One very good reason why not, was a scarcity of young men with the means to pamper: There were, as an educated guess, less than one-tenth [plausibly, much less than 1%] as many young men able to confer great wealth and provide royal pampering, as there were Princess-reared young women expecting it. A marriage-system such as Feminism has made won’t support many Princesses, either: Indeed, it tends to drive away those real Princes who have good sense. Wise Princes will consult expert advisors who know the law, and will make [and insist-on] prudent arrangements before marrying anyone.
As for we men of ordinary rank: Should we who cannot provide royal circumstances and treatment, rush in where even real Princes are wary? Obviously not—a Christian-men’s website described the Princess Syndrome and its effect in marriage, in terms painfully consistent with the folk-tale of the pea under many feather-beds. To briefly quote that post:10
“The principal expression of the Princess Syndrome in marriage is lack of contentment, resulting in bitterness. Recall that the Princess has three defining characteristics:
Raised with an extreme sense of entitlement. Result: The Princess expects to get whatever she wants without any effort on her own part.
Raised with a focus on their “self-esteem,” resulting in pride and arrogance. Result: The Princess believes she deserves better, by virtue of her own perfection.
- Raised with acutely unrealistic expectations about life…. Result: The Princess believes perfection is not only possible in a man, but ordained for her life.
All three of these create a lack of contentment, accompanied by bitterness when the Princess’s impossible demands are not met.”
The links in the quotation lead to further discussion by that writer. [Editor's note: the site which contained these quotes was subjected to constant attacks by women upset with this information being put into the public domain and all posts mentioned here have been taken down. We have copies of the posts stored, so the quotes are valid even though the source has disappeared. You can read about this type of pressure to restrict the publishing of non-politically correct information here. ]
Most of us cannot afford what the Princess Syndrome teaches girls to expect, and would rather be respected by our wives, or remain unmarried, than live with discontent and bitterness11. Very plausibly, some of the “marriage strike” represents men not marrying would-be Princesses, and wisely not. The Princess Syndrome not only teaches girls to expect the vanishingly unlikely, it spoils them for ordinary marriage, which if reared more humbly, they might achieve and enjoy12. Rearing a girl who is not a princess genealogically, to act like one, might seem to offer her more; but in the aggregate, it turns out to produce worse outcomes for both sexes: Millions of young men can find no wife worth living-with, millions of young women can find no husband who even approximates what they were reared to expect..
Which implies, if you’re a girl’s father, that raising your daughter as a Princess will most likely do her far more harm than good; and possibly do some innocent, well-meaning man great harm as well—unless, of course, you are royalty and have the means to maintain a Princess, including an abundance of social ceremonies where she can act nobly elegant and be admired for it.
I do not believe that girls are born with the Princess Syndrome; i believe it is learned. Since it leads to more harm than good, a wise parent—or uncle, grandfather, etc.—will not teach it. Here are my suggestions (admittedly i’m a father who had no daughter and so reared only boys) as to what to teach instead:
First, Treat Girls and Boys Equally: Specifically, if you call your daughter “Princess”, then call your son, “Prince”—and treat him accordingly. If calling your dog-hugging, garbage-can-toting, garden-digging, grubby-kneed, soccer-playing son “Prince”, doesn’t fit—does it fit to treat your daughter like royalty?—and if so, why? Are you preaching female superiority with your actions and language? If so, quit. Treat your girls and boys in ways consistent with equality13.
Second, Treat Beauty as Less Important than Competence and Character: For some reason, this has been easier to do with boys than with girls, in my lifetime (and arguably for thousands of years.) One of the benefits of Feminism, ought to have been the reduction of pulchritude’s excess-value and greater respect for plain and even ugly women whose character and competence make them valuable citizens. Reading the women’s-wear and cosmetics advertising, i’d say Feminism hasn’t achieved that.
Feminism has achieved a set of “Affirmative-Action” programmes public and private, that help girls who want to become educated, enter a profession, even enter a well-paid trade, gain some advantage over boys of equal aptitude. If you have a daughter, steering her into one of those programmes that fits with her aptitudes and interests is better than calling her Princess (If she’s on a good career path that fits her, without one, that’s better still.) In today’s “Western world”, with girls out-numbering boys in most universities, such programmes increase inequality rather than working toward equality, and should be replaced or closed-down; but fathers [and mothers] who can’t achieve such reform and do have daughters, might well make use of them, on the premise that “somebody will.”
Third, Tell Young Girls the Truth about the “Marriage Market”:
Most men are not able to support a Princess. Only a small fraction of men are “high born” or fabulously wealthy—and most of them marry young women who were reared by equally high-born and-or rich parents.
Many men who are half-able to support a Princess are not willing to try. One reason for this is that many men have noticed how many of the two most recent generations of husbands were exploited by their wives. Another reason is that unless one’s social station is exalted enough to employ a Princess (including but not limited to an abundance of social ceremonies where she can act nobly elegant and be admired for it) a wife who lives the virtue of humility is far more pleasant to live with than one who calls her arrogance
Beauty will fade much more quickly than competence. (There is an interesting discussion of this in “The Misandry Bubble”,14 which concludes that modern junk food has made the loss of beauty in early middle age both more abrupt and more extreme.)
More pretty girls become concubines or middle-aged singles than marry Princes (barons, counts, dukes, earls, etc.)
In All Creatures Great and Small, veterinarian-writer “James Herriot”15 tells of an evening drinking and talking with his future father-in-law, before marrying a woman with both beauty and developed talent. “I had a wife in a thousand,” begins the older, widowed man, and tells of Helen’s mother’s beauty, but even more of her gentle and affectionate nature, her people-sense and nurturant use of it. Herriot remarks of most farmers he met (and as a rural English veterinarian before World War II, he met mostly farmers in his work), that they valued their wives for steady, skillful work, and he felt blessed that his wife was reared by a man who appreciated work, but also more.
So if i have “knocked” arrogance and expecting too much of beauty, in this post, i have not disparaged beauty itself: Rather, i have emphasized competence, fidelity, humility and charity. If your daughter is plain, don’t lie and tell her otherwise—praise her good aspects and encourage them. If she is beautiful, give her beauty a setting like “Helen Herriot’s”: Humility without smarminess, competence and affectionate concern for others—and fidelity.
Don’t burden your son-in-law with a would-be-Princess; try to rear him “a wife in a thousand.”16 You, he, and she will all be better for it.
(Are there six?—or only five?)
(c) 2012, Davd
Some time during my sixties, my sexuality became a vanishingly small part of my life activity both physical and mental, and while i am still male both anatomically and physiologically, my “sexual orientation” has changed to “asexual” from “heterosexual”: The usual meaning of “heterosexual” is so far from my actual orientation toward sex, that i began describing myself as “asexual” or “abstinent”.
Most people to whom i said that, who knew how, and how comparatively seldom, i associate with women, both understood and agreed.
One reason i found fairly ready acceptance as “asexual” may be my age: There is a French folk saying which so far i have met only in translation: When a boy is eight, he thinks his penis is only for urinating; when he is eighty, he knows it.1 Sixty-something is not eighty, but it is much closer to eighty than to eight.
However, asexuality is not limited to the old, nor are heterosexuality and homosexuality the same thing for men as they are for women: The convention that there are two sexual orientations, “gay and straight” or more formally, homosexual and heterosexual, is simplistic nonsense. This can be fairly easily “shown” by reference to differences between the two sexes. Once the misleading habit of treating “sexual orientation” as a dichotomy2 is broken, the addition of “asexual” and the differences between male and female homosexuality, become easier to consider.
Women’s sexuality includes pregnancy and lactation (Morgan, 1973), which men cannot experience. It follows logically, that the two sexes cannot have the same “heterosexual orientation”: Men’s heterosexuality does not include pregnancy nor lactation; women’s includes both3. For example, i read somewhere that most women experience uterine contractions while breastfeeding, and this helps the uteri of brand-new mothers return to a non-pregnant size. Many women also experience uterine contractions while they are involved in adult active-sexuality4. Men, obviously, never experience uterine contractions; those are something we have no way to “do”, nor to feel. Ergo, their heterosexuality is not ours—nor close to being ours.
Plainly, there are other differences between men’s and women’s heterosexuality; uterine contractions were chosen as an example “to show that they differ”, because men don’t have uteri. The other differences are well worth serious consideration—though having reached asexuality in my old age, i may not be the best man to write about them.
If men’s and women’s heterosexuality differ, it becomes not merely plausible but “a corollary”, that men’s and women’s homosexuality differ also. It’s “an obvious inference”, for instance, that some Lesbian women will experience uterine contractions during their erotic episodes5—that if at least some heterosexual women experience them while involved in “sex play” with men, other than penile intercourse; there will also be Lesbian women who experience them during “sex play” with other women; (and since homosexual men cannot experience uterine contractions, their homosexuality is not the same as Lesbian sexuality—nor is it likely close to being the same.) Homosexual men, and Lesbians, have written about the differences; here, it is enough to show that Lesbian and male-homosexuality are significantly different.
That “asexual” might be the same orientation for men and for women, is imaginable; but so is the possibility that the outlooks of asexual men and women differ. It is clear to me that there is an orientation toward sex—toward eros and erotic pleasuring, specifically—that acknowledges the existence of sexuality but genuinely abstains, not by any great effort but by well-established and comfortable habit, from active eros and even from erotic imagery6. One might plausibly reason that this orientation is the same for men and women, or one might plausibly reason that there are two distinct asexual orientations. So far, i have not noticed any urgent reason to pursue this potentially interesting question; hence the subtitle.
I began writing this “reflection” from an awareness that the convention that there are two sexual orientations is simplistic nonsense—and some awareness also that the nonsense can do harm. One misuse of the two-sexual-orientations convention, is the attribution of homosexuality to asexual people: It has been said of many men, “He must be queer,” because they took little or no sexual interest in women. That attribution can do harm in at least two ways: Exclusion from “straight” company, and harassment from homosexuals. Deeming a man to be “asexual” forestalls both such harms, not utterly but “for the most part”—and in the case of harassment, makes the harassment obviously-that, and makes it easier for the man being harassed to demand that it end.
Asexual men are generally accepted in heterosexual men’s groups, and vice-versa7. Deeming a man asexual may group him categorically with the old to some extent—but that’s little or no harm; old men are pretty good company and in some cases, like my late grandfather, excellent company. So if there be a social-policy message here, it’s treat other men as asexual until they demonstrate otherwise by word or deed.
That men’s and women’s heterosexuality are significantly different is also important and also has implications for how we should treat one another. Short of proposing social policy, but pointing to issues where current social policy may err, i would suggest that recognizing two different heterosexual orientations implies:
Explicating our sexuality to women and demanding that it be acknowledged and respected. In particular, women whose appearance, in dress, posture, and “body language”, is such as to “ask for it” in terms of male heterosexuality, should be treated differently in law than women whose dress, posture and body language are modest.8
Recognizing that women’s heterosexuality is quite different from ours, and in particular that it includes pregnancy and lactation. To name just one aspect: Folklore has long acknowledged that mothers can “become so wrapped-up with” new babies as to neglect their husbands and older children, and indeed this is one reason fathers are valuable to the older children.
Examining further and reflecting-upon, variation within heterosexuality (and whether there be similar variations in homosexuality, i will not speculate one way or another.) My own experience, and observation of other men and of women, indicates plainly enough that not all heterosexuals are “equally highly sexed”.
This list may not be complete.
It could be argued that each human being’s sexual orientation is unique to him or her; it is also evident that both the two sexes and the categories asexual, heterosexual, and homosexual are useful “category sets” such that most people can be represented in one category of each. It is evident enough that any person belongs to one sex and one of the three “orientations”; it is less obvious but true-on-reflection, and important, that the “orientations” are not the same for men and women, except possibly asexuality.
“Is he gay or straight?” is a false question. (“Is she Lesbian or straight?” is a different question, and also false, but of much less interest to a men’s website.) Women who impose “gynocentric” notions of sexuality on their perceptions of men are in effect, psychologically abusive. And the most prudently comfortable orientation to assume another man has, until he shows otherwise, is asexual.
Morgan, Elaine 1973 The Descent of Woman. NY: Bantam.
An American Paradox?
(c) 2012, Davd
This post began as a response to an “Outraged Anglican-American Feminist”; and if the Webmaster deems it appropriate and valuable, some of my most general responses to her outrage will appear after the end of the main text.
Suppose Barack Obama wins re-election, and rewards his disproportionately female voter base by making American law and public expenditure even more Feminist than it already is1. The US already has rates of emigration [outbound migration] to States where men have more opportunities and greater rewards for their work—but especially, to where men can expect women to keep their promises and the law to structure the consequences in favour of keeping rather than breaking them—that are higher than in the past; and a majority of the emigrants are men who don’t trust the USA to treat them even almost as well as you American women get treated.
Inequality? Definitely. Favouring men? You might imaginably feel that way, if you are subject to the Princess Syndrome2 [which has much in common with the Apex Fallacy3]; but facts and logic say women are the favoured sex. Take a cohort of boys and a cohort of girls born in 1993, matched in IQ [mean and variance; it should not be necessary to match at the individual scale] and socioeconomic status. Look at how much schooling each cohort has achieved, how many of each are in universities, what jobs are held by those who are already employed.
Take a sample of divorce cases, reverse the genders, delete the decisions, and present them to lawyers “duly anonymized”. Get the lawyers to role-play judge [or ask real judges if enough of them will agree to be research respondents] and have them render their decisions. The women will be less well treated when described as men; the men will be better treated when described as women.
An American [Australian, Canadian,English, Kiwi,...] woman can desert her husband, or commit flagrant adultery; then sue for divorce, and win child custody and support without proving he wronged her even as much as she wronged him before the desertion or the adultery. Thousands upon thousands of women have done so. Can a man do the reverse? Vanishingly seldom, if ever.
Think about that: American (and much “British Commonwealth”) law blesses and rewards women breaking promises, provides far more support for girls than for boys, for mothers than for fathers: Female privilege.
Female privilege is nothing new: When the Titanic sank just over 100 years ago, men were refused lifeboat space to the extent that there were far more empty seats in those lifeboats, as Titanic sank, than there were women and children who had not got off the ship: Even if all the 154 women and children who were lost, had been loaded into the boats, there would have been 250-300 more places for men. At that time, men had some counter-balancing privileges; today, the men’s privileges are gone, the women’s largely remain.
The Obama Campaign proposes to go farther in the pro-female direction, and said to a male voter in the presence of that voter’s wife, in Ohio, as marriage advice: “Just do whatever she tells you to.”
(So why isn’t Michelle Obama the candidate? Doesn’t Barack Hussein practice what he preaches? Wouldn’t surprise me if he does, in which case, we might see the First Lady behind that presidential desk five years on. Perhaps that’s the plan for 2016, and they want to get four terms to FDR’s three—if the USA should last so long. Glubb, cited below, found that empires tend to last about 250 years; the USA began about 1776. Sixteen Obama years would end in 2024-5, which is about when Glubb’s finding would lead you to predict the US empire will collapse… but i speculate … and digress.)
Suppose that at the end of US Election Night next month, B. H. Obama has won re-election. What will the men who would have been nice blue-collar and white-collar husbands back when marital fidelity had the support of law and adultery was cause not only for divorce but for loss of custody of children—even adultery by mothers—what will those men do who no longer have the choice of Marriage 1912, and know that Marriage 2012 is biased heavily against them?
Some will emigrate. A friend i used to meet in Ontario and later in Vancouver BC, is now working in Saudi Arabia, and before that, worked in Korea as a computer programmer. A German-born friend who used to live in Victoria, is now working on Okinawa as a translator. I read similar stories from the U$A on men’s websites there: Asia, Latin America, even parts of Africa and the Middle East, will see American men with good degrees in productive fields, and high-skill tradesmen, arrive seeking a life safe from burdens of proof against false accusations and safe from “divorce theft”, a world where they can have a 90% or better chance of fathering their children from weaning to maturity.
Some will convert to Islam. A young lad who came to my forest and prayer garden for a 3-5 day retreat, told me about how he, a lonely university student 5000 km from home, found so much welcome in that city’s mosque and so little in ordinary student life, that he spoke the ritual words “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His Prophet.”
… and though he was still a rank beginner as a Muslim, felt content with his choice. This lad was not a devout, faith-before-World Christian if he was even Christian enough to go to church once a month, before conversion… but he was a potential Christian, and the face of our faith that he saw, neither welcomed him nor valued him as much as it did “lasses” with his level of charm and talent. Islam did.
I’ve read some allegations that your President is really a Muslim; if so, he hides it very well. Nothing i’ve read about Islam would bless a man telling a husband to do whatever his wife tells him to. The Muslims i’ve known well enough to speak with, and two are women physicians (at least one is a man and a physician, another an engineer—Islam educates its smart children of both sexes and very often does it well), all value men; and in Canada anyway, value men about equally with women, given about equal capability and humanity. Obama’s Feminism is not consistent with being a good Muslim, from which i infer that he isn’t one.4
What your President and Feminist politicians generally, seem to be, is preparers of the ground for Muslim proselytizing. The more the State takes from men and gives to women, the more the State deems men guilty and women innocent until proven otherwise, the more Islam looks like an island of hope in a sea of abuse. The island is growing, Islam is larger than Christianity outside Europe and America, a few more years, perhaps just one more election of Feminist-biased government, will [i estimate] make it larger than Judaism or Buddhism “in America.”
You American women had a great deal, back in 1950-75, and you threw it aside trying to get an impossibly better deal. Now the evidence is coming in, that the deal is impossible, but instead of seeing reality, you are feeling aggrieved.
But let me not be too categorical: Many American women, like you, are feeling aggrieved when the Christians among you should feel ashamed of so much privilege. Some women are seeing the change rather accurately, and realize that if they want the many good things that a faithful marriage can provide over a woman’s adult life, they can make them much more likely by finding some way to assure good men of their willingness to make their marriage one of committed fidelity, which civil marriage is not. Some join Christian sects [usually called "churches"] that strongly support lifetime marriage. Some will join Islam.
I would even forecast, with perhaps the same assurance as a weather forecast, that increasing numbers of American, Australian, British, Canadian … women will join Islam as a way of giving young men an assurance of fidelity that once was given by entering civil marriage.
Your outrage reads to me as neither Christian, nor justified, nor even in your own selfish interest. It is consistent with what Glubb describes as typical of the higher-class women of a failing empire.
Aprés vous, le deluge; aprés le deluge, nous.5
[name withheld] wrote:
> As a woman of about your age I can be pleased that younger women have
> fewer hurdles than my generation had, but they still don’t have equality.
Apex fallacy: You compare the x’th percentile woman with the x+yth percentile man. Younger women have fewer hurdles and more help climbing over them, than young men; and that is a more appropriate basis of comparison than “feelings”.
In fact, women have not so much equality as favoured treatment. If you want equal outcomes while men work longer hours at more hazardous, less pleasant jobs, you want privilege. With that privilege, you can expect fewer men working hard to please women, and more men converting to Islam.
> We are still in a time of change with many feelings about
> what is fair, appropriate or possible.
Ah, so desu ka! There is that word men use so rarely and women so often: Feelings. What you feel is a vastly inferior guide to social policy and social action, than facts and logic. I am reminded of Marie Antoinette, who despite her graceful and delicate name, was [i read in Wells, 709-713] a somewhat heavy headed Austrienne in fact.
> I think I could go on for pages,
> but I don’t have the time, even though I am feeling the outrage that
> might otherwise motivate me to spout more.
I appreciate that admission: Outrage is indeed a feeling, imho egregiously inappropriate in context; an example of the gynocentric feelings-first-bias and its potential to misguide.
Some prudent reasons why today’s men shouldn’t do what many late-Sixties men did
(c) 2012, Davd
I’ve written several blogs this year in support of modesty and prudence. Many of you have probably noticed that these themes conflict with “the Sexual Revolution”, which began while i was a university student: One of the main motivations for taking part in “the Sexual Revolution” was impulsive erotic pleasure.
(Pause for the resounding chorus of “Duuuuuuhhh!”.)
Am i one of those strange characters who hates pleasure? No … I’m one of those quantitative characters who reminds students to calculate-in the hangover when assessing the pleasures of drink, and analogously for sexual pleasures.
What you can suffer in consequence of sexual indulgence is slower to take effect than a hangover, and longer lasting, and more harmful by far1. In some cases, men find themselves taxed for decades to support a child they may or may not have sired and will have no chance to father. In some cases men find that they are “found guilty of” sexual assault, rape, or some similar charge, when a woman who gave ample indication of consent at the time, changes her mind later. In at least as many cases, men find months later [only weeks later in the case of gonorrhea] that they have acquired a loathsome disease; and this blog will focus on that aspect of “the delayed consequences.”
All these risks, and especially the risk of a loathsome disease, are much greater today than they were in the early years of that Sexual Revolution. The “Revolution” began in the latter 1960s, according to most accounts; but its foundations were in place before and during World War II. The principal foundation was penicillin.
Penicillum is a genus of mould. It exudes a substance which kills bacteria. Alexander Fleming, a Scots scientist, discovered Penicillum killing a sample of Staphylococcus bacteria in his hospital laboratory; so he filtered a broth culture of the Penicillium mould, and called the “filtrate”, “penicillin”. A few researchers studied its effect on bacteria and other disease agents, but it did not become widely used, partly because it was costly and tedious to produce.
World War II gave the United States and its allies a strong incentive to improve penicillin production: Penicillin was very effective at preventing wound infection. With war wounds as an incentive, production was improved: Wikipedia states, “During World War II, penicillin made a major difference in the number of deaths and amputations caused by infected wounds among Allied forces, saving an estimated 12%–15% of lives”. By 1944, the supply was large enough that penicillin was publicly advertised as a cure for gonorrhea.
After the war, it was confirmed that penicillin would also cure syphilis, the other major “VD” [for “venereal disease”, the euphemism used for Sexually Transmitted Diseases two generations ago].
There are three main motivations for sexual restraint: Moral standards, fear of pregnancy, and fear of what was then called “VD”. 100 years ago, they “worked together”: Casual sex was disapproved-of morally, it could lead to unmarried pregnancy, and it could transmit “VD”. Penicillin, when it came into use 60-70 years ago, provided a back-up to condoms, as protection from “VD”: If the condom failed, penicillin could cure the infection.
Condoms were called “prophylactics” in the 1950s, because they forestalled both “VD” transmission and pregnancy. They became widely available at modest cost during the 1930s, but many people felt they detracted from the pleasure of intercourse—plus which, they were known to fail.
People tend to agree with moral standards that prescribe prudent avoidance of risk, even if they do not support the philosophical or religious doctrines from which those standards came; and they tend to keep with moral standards once they have accepted them. People who accepted moral rules against sexual license because those rules were prudent, tended to keep accepting them for some years after the risks that had called for so much prudence, had been “technologically fixed”—especially since the condom “fix” was not 100% reliable.
Penicillin became the standard cure for STDs by some time in the 1950s. It amounted to a “fix” for the disease risk involved in condom failure, but not the pregnancy risk nor the “lack of feeling” bother of condoms. When “the birth control pill” entered mass production in the early 1960s, it seemed as if only morality remained as a reason for sexual restraint—and many young
people, in the process of deciding their moral standards, found sex more appealing than restraint, once the “Pg and VD dangers” seemed to be removed.
During the 1960s, penicillin did indeed cure syphilis and gonorrhea, in nearly every case; “the Pill” was effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy, and “the Sexual Revolution” was announced and discussed in the mass media. It seemed then that the practical reasons for moral restraint were gone—even as the forces of epidemiology and “Evolution by Natural Selection” were quietly bringing them back.
In reality, penicillin’s victory over STDs (as we call them today) was quite temporary. Bacteria evolve very quickly, and a very few of those bacteria responsible for syphilis and gonorrhea—and chlamydia—turned out to be resistant enough to penicillin to survive treatment. They multiplied, the bacteria who died obviously did not multiply—and so, penicillin “selected for varieties of STD bacteria that were resistant to it”.
Even worse was the arrival of a devastating viral STD. AIDS was first reported in the USA in 1981 and named in 1982; Wikipedia estimated it reached the United States in 1969 and reports the HIV virus was first identified in Africa in 1959 or 1960. Penicillin is not effective against viruses.
During the 1970s, the “height of the Sexual Revolution”, AIDS was “unknown to science”; and HIV, the virus that causes the disease, was not thought of as a public health threat in Europe or the Americas. Syphilis and gonorrhea were the “VD”s usually named.
If penicillin-resistant strains of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia bacteria were noticed, they were known to be very rare. For anyone who wanted an excuse to play around sexually, it was easy to treat “VD” as curable, pregnancy as preventable, and the technologies that cured and prevented, as durable.
By now we should know better—but many people don’t want to know better. In 1965-1980, that sexual spontaneity was a whole lot safer than it is today, for good epidemiological reasons. There were two well-known “Venereal Diseases” as of 1970, which penicillin could cure; in 2012 the list of “STD”s numbered a dozen at least, perhaps as many as 15. Many, especially gonorrhea, are resistant to penicillin and many more recent antibiotics in the bacterial cases; while dangerous virus STDs include herpes [known in 1970 largely in connection with “cold sores”], plus AIDS, whose existence hadn’t even been documented back then, and the carcinogenic “Human Papilloma virus”2.
Middle-aged adults who formed their morality when penicillin did cure VD, are just as inclined to “social and psychological inertia” as were their parents and grandparents whose morality was formed when penicillin was a laboratory curiosity and treatments for “VD” were miserable and unreliable. They may be sensitive to the emotional, career, and financial dangers of promiscuity; but they are disposed not to notice news that penicillin has long since failed to cure many strains of gonorrhea, and many successor antibiotics are well along in the process of “selecting for varieties of STD bacteria that are resistant to them”.
Many young adults who know the story of the Sexual Revolution want their turn to have the fun that many of the previous generation-or-two had. The implication of epidemic STD spread combined with “selection for resistance”, is that there is no such turn available for them: The conditions of 1965-80 were unique. Antibiotics, especially penicillin, were recent arrivals then, and most disease-bacteria populations had scant resistance to them. STDs [then known as VDs] were not as widespread in the population.
Today, “due to” the more promiscuous behaviour of the post-1965 generations, STDs are very widespread and antibiotics are not at all sure to cure them. Catching one in the early “revolution” in 1965-75 was not that likely for those who had 2-5 “partners” per year; and the ones most often caught were easily treated. Today, there is a longer list of common-STDs3, the risk of catching at least one of them is much higher, and the difficulty of curing several is far higher than in 1970.
Most revolutions last months or years rather than decades; and the “sexual revolution” was already longer than most political revolutions by 1990. Most revolutions end-up more like they began than like “the height of them”, and the “sexual revolution”—we may hope—is doing the same. To continue the promiscuity of the peak years, would entail a baleful toll of misery and early death.
Prudence is one of the Four Classic Virtues, which predate Christianity. (The other three are Fortitude, Justice, and Temperance.) Like the other Classic Virtues, prudence is honoured because long human experience has shown that “it works” for the general social good and the individual’s long term well-being. Applied to sexual pleasuring, it counsels fewer rather than more ‘contacts’, with more rather than less acquaintance before the eros begins. Applied to the civil marriage of the early 21st Century, it counsels “when in doubt, don’t marry—and without a supporting faith or primary-group4 social community, doubt is usually appropriate.” (With regard to false accusations, it counsels chaperonage—and modesty.)
The “logistic growth curve” of STD infection rates and resistance to antibiotics, has given men decades to learn prudence, at gradually increasing risk to those who don’t learn. Prudence is not always the most pleasant lesson to accept, but the alternative of infection—or of “divorce theft”, or false accusation—is much worse.
(c) 2012, Davd
As i drove past Mac’s Farm, i saw the sign, leaning against a big round hay bale, “Give Thanks.” Totally conventional in the week running-up to Thanksgiving Day, but somehow, it didn’t seem to me like it was as apt, as valuable as Mac usually is.
Mac’s sign faced an important highway, with hundreds, probably a few thousand cars and trucks going by it every day. For instance, when i drove by and saw that sign, i couldn’t look closely enough to see if it was on an old tarp, a bedsheet or a sheet of plywood—because the traffic needed my attention. Mac had a guaranteed, large readership, and the great majority of those readers were people he didn’t know.
That sign was Mac’s preaching for the week—at least, he’s never preached in his church, that i know of. He plays the organ and does it well, he makes announcements and visits people with problems and the shut-ins—in Orthodox terms, he’s a deacon but not a priest.
Thanksgiving Day is a political holiday, more than a religious one. I’m sure it enjoys much more support than it meets opposition among Christians and their churches, and i am not trying to oppose the holiday nor the idea that we should stop and think of what merits our gratitude. If Mac had put up a sign asking “What Are You Most Thankful For This Year?” i would have thought those words, a good message to the passing motorists.
What bothered me about the words “Give Thanks” was that they read as a command, not a statement nor a question. As a Deacon, as a farmer with occasional hired help, Mac is sometimes entitled and called to give orders—but not to large numbers of passing motorists.
Some of those driving by might be going to or from a hospital with serious health worries, or to see someone who might be dying. Some might be going to or from a murder trial; there was one in the local news that week. To be told to “Give Thanks,” relative to what they were thinking about as they passed, could be inappropriate or even cruel—not for everyone, perhaps not for the great majority, but when we preach, we should aim to serve all who hear—or read.
“What Are You Most Thankful For This Year?” is a question that a troubled person can read and accept. It might take his mind off the present pain and back to some good things that have happened since last Christmas. And if someone is really “down”, he—or she—can simply answer, “Nothing.” The question doesn’t demand the impossible. The command might, from some people who are really hurting.
But maybe there’s something even better to say, if you put up a Thanksgiving sign; i’ll leave it up to you to assess: What if Mac had written “This Year I’m Thankful For a Fine Crop [of whatever came in best].” Or for a new member in his church, or the improvements to the Community Hall—I don’t read his mind (and consider it forbidden [as sorcery] to try.) Telling all who pass what you are most thankful for, is a way to spread the spirit of the holiday and show some of those who hear or read, a cause for thanksgiving they may also have, and not noticed.
These are not boom times, and there are good reasons to expect less rather than more in the coming years, from Government and from “the economy”. Workers are suffering pay-cutbacks, lower pensions, and even a pay freeze is a decline in “purchasing power” when prices are rising—as they are at the fuel pump and the grocery checkout. Governments are cutting spending and raising taxes. It will not be fun, having to live on less if we live by money—but Jesus did say, “You cannot serve both God and Mammon.” Maybe if we notice that what we and our neighbours are thankful for, is more-and-more local and personal and friend-to-friend, and less-and-less bureaucratic and financial—maybe that is one good way to redirect our thinking toward what He had in mind all along.
This year, i’m thankful for a fine crop of cucumbers and tomatoes—garden scale, not farm scale—and how well some of the ash and maple and oak trees in my eco-forest are doing, and the addition of a few really good apple varieties to the orchard, and the prospect of a Men’s Support Group starting in the area. Sure, there are things i am not thankful for, things i wish had gone better and people who disappointed me. Those things are problems to solve or lessons to learn—when this holiday’s past.
So my advice, to you who spread a Thanksgiving Day message, is to encourage others to see what can be cause for thanksgiving in a time when Worldly distractions are losing their luster and their size. Do it with your own example, or a question, as suits you best.
Let’s not forget our brothers born, and formed in friendship. I pray for you men who read this, that you have Brothers to be thankful for this autumn, and more of them next year.
(c) 2012, Davd
Feminists complained loudly and C.B.C. reported their complaints as normal reasonable reaction, when MP Rona Ambrose, Minister responsible for the “Status of Women” portfolio, voted in favour of a private member’s bill to form a committee to review the legal definition of human life (which presently states that a foetus becomes a human being only when it fully leaves its mother’s body)
Such Feminists are doing much more harm to the moral and philosophical status of women, by forcing selfish lies1 into the legal system; and Ambrose, by voting to reconsider the legal definition of human life, is raising that same moral and philosophical status of women, or at least, working-to.
Consider “Four Foetal Facts”: Four statements so obviously true that anyone trying to deny them looks very foolish:
* A foetus is alive.
* A foetus is animal life rather than plant, fungus, bacteria, etc.
* Zoologically, a foetus belongs to the human species.
* A foetus is genetically and anatomically distinct from its mother.
Ergo, a foetus is a distinct human life. Even in utero. And it is very easy indeed to go on to what was obviously true to Christians for centuries, that “a foetus is a human being.” The only quibble against that corollary is sociological, not medical: A foetus has not yet developed a human social personality (which same can be said of a newborn baby.)
So what do you call a distinct living member of the human species, if not a human being? In his novel 1984, George Orwell called them unpersons. People who fell out-of-favour with the ruling [clique], or who offended against its most anxious demands, were not only transported or executed out of the population, they were also expunged from the historical records. Winston Smith, the chief protagonist of 1984, worked in a bureaucratic section that did the expunging.
In his novel Mandingo, Kyle Onstott called them niggers. His story is set in the Southern U.S.A. during the time of African slavery; and slave-owners eased their already [crippled] consciences by deeming “niggers” to belong to a different species from the human. Onstott not only caricatures the deliberately bad, self-serving reasoning of the slaveholders, he chooses as his African hero a Mandingo, which people he identifies in his preface as a Hamitic [and therefore Caucasian rather than “Negroid”] sub-race. Human-enough biologically, “niggers” were excluded from sociological humankind at that time and place. More specifically, Mandingo [today often spelled Mandinka] were of the same race, if not the same average skin tone, as the slave-owners who contrasted them with “humans”.2
Canadian law, if the CBC Radio News report was accurate, calls them non-persons, distinct from unpersons in not yet having had a social existence; distinct from racial outcasts in having half their genes from the women in whose uteri they depend for survival until they are ready to be born.
Feminists, or at least, too many Feminists, perform mental contortions to exclude foetuses from humankind.
The Christian tradition knows better. Consider the story of the unborn John-the-Baptist leaping for joy in his mother’s womb, when Mary, pregnant with Jesus, visits [Luke 1: 39-45]. That is the action of a person, not a parasitical blob—and John’s mother Elizabeth so understands it when it happens.
A fair-minded Christian observer would call the unborn whose humanity is denied, victims of evil. Men who sire, and are denied the opportunity to father, might also be victims of the same evil.
In standing for truth against evil, Minister Ambrose is better serving the status of women, than those who insist on self-serving falsehoods.
1. An academic qualification is in order: I use the word “lies” based on the obviousness of the four foetal facts. It is very difficult to reconcile these evident facts with the notion that highly intelligent Feminists could fail to know they are facts and that they are relevant. Anyone who knows them, and their importance, and denies or dances-around the conclusion that a foetus is indeed a human being, is thus and thereby lying.
2. What Adolf Hitler and his Nazis did to the social identification of Jews was more complicated, and went beyond attempting to exclude them from humanity, to what the psychoanalytically-minded might call projection of evil onto its victims. I haven’t noticed Feminists accusing foeti of evil.
The Publication of Private Undress is Anti-Social
(c) 2012, Davd
CBC News recently reported that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, also known as Prince William the second-generation heir to the Throne and his wife Kate, have sued a French magazine for publishing photographs of the Duchess’ uncovered upper body, which photographs were taken by means of a telephoto lens at very long distance, without consent, while the couple were vacationing at a private chateau. In other words, some photographer found a way to photograph private undress which would have been invisible to the naked eye and not clearly visible to an ordinary pair of binoculars, and some redactrice was greedy-and-insensitive enough to publish the photographs, thus making public what was proper, modest private behaviour—but would be improperly immodest if repeated in public.
It is thus la redactrice and the magazine that have been immodest, not the Duchess. The sneak-photographing invaded privacy and that, plus the “imposition of publicity on private conduct”, is the key issue—not whether other women of the Duchess’ age might choose to “go topless” in public places, nor what public places ought to allow women “topless”1.
Since la redactrice has invaded privacy and exposed conduct which was modest enough as intended but immodest in print, to the immodesty of print, without consent, the matter might even be criminal; and whether or not it be in France, an “exemplary shaming” seems to be desirable.
I suggest la redactrice be sentenced to some messy and unpleasant but useful work, such as cleaning pig stalls or sorting kitchen garbage, said work to be done in her office clothing and photographed, with the photographs published as she published the sneak-photos of the Duke and Duchess. Readers are invited to suggest even better forms of Public Shaming if they occur to you.
I further suggest that any and all co-workers who suggested or encouraged the publication be sentenced similarly, with shaming and publication in proportion to the initiative they took in publishing the sneak-photos and their rank in the administrative hierarchy of the publication. If the magazine be a corporation, i suggest the corporation be sentenced to pay the costs of and publish the results of an interfaith conference in pursuit and support of the restoration of modesty and fidelity.
We learn nothing of merit from the publication-without-consent of a private scene. Duchess Kate is now royalty and a “public figure”, but public-figures are entitled to privacy so long as their actions in private are proper and not contradictory to their public roles, and royalty especially so since dignity is important in their public roles. Married couples of all social classes and occupations sometimes wear less in private than they would in public—there is nothing distinctively royal to be shown and nothing improper to be exposed. If her [and his] anatomy is normal [as all indications be], its exact details are none of our business.
It is not immodest for the Duchess to be in whatever state of undress in the private company of her husband the prospective future King. In all probability, she and he were both conceived by parents who, at that moment-of-conception, were completely naked—and in completely private spaces. All you who read this have probably been totally naked at least once a week, this year, even if you are sexually abstinent—at least, i hope you bathe weekly or oftener. The magazine had no more business publishing photographs of the Duchess privately sunning her upper body, or bathing if that were what she was doing, than it has of photographs of you or me in our tubs and showers.
Private conduct can legitimately be made public when there is an over-riding public good-purpose served, the usual examples probably being criminal investigation and trial. Snooping with telephoto lenses to catch public figures wearing less than they do when they know they are in public, is the opposite of a good purpose; it is an attack on the public virtue of modesty. Public display of the reproductive organs—and lactation is part of the reproductive process—tends to be socially disruptive; and the Duke and Duchess are quite right to condemn the publication of private undress.
I’m not eager to see either the sneak-photos, nor even the photos of la redactrice undergoing public shaming—but in the interests of modesty, she should be shamed.
(c) 2012, Davd
Me-thinks it’s time to raise a somewhat academic and difficult topic—not difficult for men to accept so much as difficult to do well.
One reads frequently on men’s websites, complaints that the androsphere is all talk and most of that talk goes nowhere. Perhaps quantification, “of all things”, may furnish some of the answers to those complaints, and strengthen our criticism of Feminism’s unjust and even socially destructive aspects.
Let’s use as a first example, one of the common acronyms of the “androsphere”, NAWALT: “Not All Women Are Like That. To me, it’s obviously true; but not very informative. For instance, my sister1 wasn’t most of the things men find abusive and call “That;” while our mother was many of them—so my sister improved on our mother in many respects, and i honoured her for improving and still do. Our paternal grandmother had very few “Like Thats” (and was a Pentecostal preacher when very few women were. Her church had about the same proportion of men in its congregation as others of the denomination; which it wouldn’t likely have had if she were “Like That.”) She, and my sister, got honoured for her many virtues and few faults.
Two exceptions are enough to confirm “Not All …” They didn’t provide men other than me and my brother-in-law with much help in planning their lives, though. If we could improve on “Not All …” by estimating a percentage of women who “Are Like That”—who would divorce a man for disobedience, who would get pregnant on the sly and sue for child support, who would falsely accuse a man of rape, etc. ad. naus.—those percentages would be much more valuable than “Not All”.
We could, seriously, get to work on estimating some of those percentages. It’s the kind of research that sociology as i learned it in graduate school, naturally and normally does. As may be obvious to many of you reading this, there’s a risk that women who have man-unfriendly qualities or tendencies will lie about them if asked directly2; so to the extent we “use survey research” to estimate the prevalence of the “Like That” qualities, the more promising approach is likely to be gathering men’s experiences and perhaps, public records of some of the “… Thats.”
Beyond estimating percentages, we could go on to estimating correlations. What observable “properties” of women are good predictors of “trouble”, of marital fidelity, of a good co-worker (and for some men, a good “mistress”?) If you have a business and hire employees, what are good predictors that a woman will get along with a man-boss, do good work at whatever tasks you want to hire done, be off-work relatively seldom … some of these “employee qualities” may have different correlations among women than among men3. Again, there is a risk of lying if we ask women directly about their less-than-noble qualities, so to estimate their correlations with things men can often observe, as to estimate their prevalence, the more promising approach is likely to be gathering men’s experiences and perhaps, public records.
(Those readers who have studied social-statistics, survey research, or both, probably have heard the maxim, “Correlation is no proof of causation.” There are techniques, not perfect but worth using some times, for getting some indication of causation in surveys; and there are experimental techniques, some of which can be embedded in survey research, for getting rather good evidence of causation. And even when causation is quite unknowable, correlation can have great “indicative value”: If wearing padded lingerie and extra high heels goes with lack-of-fidelity, which-caused-which might be worth knowing, but the warning not to place one’s trust is just about as good when one doesn’t know4.)
I’m not going to try to design “research studies” in this short posting; i think what’s above indicates that the research will be hard, challenging work, and i also believe that the suffering men have gone through in recent decades, could be significantly and valuably reduced by quantitative statistics on “the Thats.” Hard though the work will be, it’s well worth doing. If enough other men take an interest in doing the research, then i can probably offer some useful participation. (I’ve sent my “curriculum vitae” to the Webmaster, to back up my claim to competence; and he’s welcome to share the information in it with serious, interested men—and men-friendly women.)
Quantifying “man-unfriendly” qualities in populations of women, and their correlations, is not a substitute for replacing man-unfriendly laws, bureaucracies, and practices. Removing misandry from laws and from public policies and practices, is just as valuable as removing racial discrimination—and just as morally necessary to any society that seeks to be decent rather than oppressive. It could well be that credible quantitative estimates of important kinds of misandry and their correlations, would help get those changes made.
Just for instance, i would confidently predict ["hypothesize"] that where divorce is granted only for grievous fault and marital fidelity is supported by public policy and practice, divorces are rarer and more men are willing to marry…
… which could even be good for many women—especially the kinds of women wise and prudent men prefer.