Have you tried not being so sexy?

The paper this morning had a wire article about the Navy moving to station women aboard submarines. Apparently, male sailors’ wives are objecting, on the grounds that this is “just asking for sexual harassment cases and wrecked marriages.”

On blogs and online networking sites, wives of submariners have warned that the close contact could lead to sexual temptation and other complications.

“I completely believe this would put strain on some relationships because there are trust issues,” said Jennifer Simmons, whose husband serves on a submarine at Kings Bay. “It’s asking for sexual harassment cases left and right. If you’re trying to go through a passageway together, guess what — you’re going to touch.”

You’re going to touch. And that will constitute an irresistible temptation to something that can either wreck a marriage or lead to a harassment suit. (The harassment itself gets glossed over — what really ruins lives is being disciplined for it!)  Sexual harassment cases and ruined marriages don’t come from unscrupulous men, after all; they come from accessible women. No man has ever cheated with a woman who wasn’t anywhere near him at any point, right? QED.

The assumption that men can’t resist inappropriate behavior made me think of SP favorite Lord Saletan, who has rather unsurprisingly revealed himself to be Team Child Rape. For most of Saletan’s article, the main head-smacker is his atrocious fact-checking — he assumes that a 1977 parole report’s reference to “evidence that the victim was willing” means she said yes, when in fact it meant only that she’d had sex before. The trick of dredging rape victims’ sexual history as though it’s relevant is not exactly a 21st century invention, so while the victim’s grand jury testimony made it painfully clear that she did not give consent, she was also made to admit that she wasn’t a virgin. Apparently, in the minds of the people who drew up the parole report, this meant she was probably panting for it. Saletan’s not the one who made this leap — he just let it be made for him, and didn’t bother questioning it, because he’s an intellectually lazy self-satisfied bag of wind.

The point where my eyes stopped rolling and started shooting fire, though, was when Lord S. pulled out this gem:

A guy who goes after 5-year-old girls is deeply pathological. A guy who goes after a womanly body that happens to be 13 years old is failing to regulate a natural attraction. That doesn’t excuse him. But it does justify treating him differently.

See, if you rape a child who looks like a child, the problem is you. If you rape a child who looks like a woman, the problem is that women are just so damn sexy! It’s just a natural attraction that you didn’t regulate, you wicked thing. We don’t condone it, tsk-tsk and all that — but really, did you see the cans on her? What were you supposed to do? Like the Navy wives, Lord S. thinks that just being near women is enough to turn a man into a bonobo. (Note to Saletan: Yes, there may be a moral difference between sex with a prepubescent child and sex with someone who is a willing and enthusiastic participant but immature. Breasts are not that difference. Oh, and this girl was not that participant.)

This isn’t just a problem if you’re underwater or at Jack Nicholson’s house. We’ve recently had a number of dudes dropping in to complain that asking them to be sensitive to women’s boundaries is essentially cock-blocking them. Sure, they say, if they don’t talk to us when we clearly don’t want them to, they’ll be making us feel less threatened in a world where one in six women is the victim of sexual assault — but on the other hand, they won’t get to talk to us, and how is that fair? Nothing interferes with a man’s ability to score like a woman who doesn’t think his ego trumps her safety. Underlying this argument, along with a host of other scuzzy notions, is the same idea Saletan spikes and the Navy wives catch: that taking a “womanly body” out in public is an a priori invitation for male attention. Of course dudes think they can get up in your grill — you’re standing there being a lady at them, after all. And if you’re on a crowded subway car together, you’re going to touch. We all know what that leads to.

The flip side of this charming worldview, of course, is male anger at women who don’t make themselves available — see many of our friends in that now-closed thread — or women who have the gall to have a body they find unattractive. That’s the real problem with feminism, with fatness, with (for some pseudo-enlightened guys) the extremely thin beauty ideal: it’s a boner-killer, and boner primacy is a paramount law of the dude cabal. You don’t have to read very far between the lines of most troll comments to see that’s what it boils down to: how dare you possess a womanly body I can’t or don’t want to fuck.

Then there were the guys who were clutching their pearls (if you know what I mean) in the epic thread, horrified that women might think they were a danger. After all, it’s not their fault that women feel threatened — they’re decent, humane guys. Maybe some men are dangerous, but not them, and aren’t we really creating the problem by not letting them prove how decent they are all over us?

Those guys are right, sort of. There are lots of great men out there — you can tell who they are because when they read that thread, or Saletan’s piece, they go “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?” And it really isn’t fair that sometimes their wives also think they can’t be trusted in a sub with 138 other guys and a lady. That’s not their fault. But it’s also not their wives’ fault, or the ladies’ fault. It’s the fault of a culture that tells all of us, over and over, that men just don’t have the ability to resist. A culture that assumes it’s women’s responsibility to keep themselves armored and invisible, because sexual violence is a direct result of temptation.

In other words, the same cultural bullshit that asserts men’s right to invade women’s personal space and/or fuck 13-year-olds also perpetuates the notion that men are more dick than brain. That’s why they just have to talk to women, when they can see the women don’t want to! That’s why they get addled by a womanly body when they know it comes with a pubescent mind! They don’t have the willpower or intelligence to not act like cavemen, at least not when faced with feminine wiles.

Fuck that noise! The real decent guys sure don’t deserve that. And the pearl-clutchers, the ones who were horrified by our insistence that rape doesn’t occur in the passive voice… well, who says they deserve it either?

In the epic thread (have I mentioned it’s closed?), Kate explained why men don’t get cookies for respecting boundaries:

[A]lthough you can’t be 100% sure you haven’t missed some sort of opportunity, you can be 100% sure that you haven’t contributed to making a woman feel unsafe in public. Why the hell is that not seen as its own reward?

I promise you, guys, you will not miss out on meeting “the one” by erring on the side of caution here. You will still talk to loads and loads of women in your lives, some of whom will be both attractive and attracted to you, and will make their interest clear. You lose nothing by not talking to a woman when you can’t quite tell if she wants to talk — and you gain the satisfaction of helping to create a culture in which women are treated with respect and can feel safe in public. Why do you keep insisting you’re owed more than that?

But what if that’s not good enough for you? What if you’re the kind of self-styled decent guy who still doesn’t feel like it’s fundamentally worthwhile to contribute to a culture where women don’t feel threatened because they aren’t threatened? What reason do you have to forego the rape-joke T-shirts, notice body language signals, object to misogyny, back off when asked to, maintain a comfortable distance, or any of the other little things you can do to bring rape culture down by degrees? If the well-being of women isn’t enough for you, consider this: patriarchy thinks you’re fucking stupid. It thinks you’re a penis without a brain that’s worthwhile and powerful only because women are vaginas without brains and that’s somehow worse. It thinks you’re untrustworthy, that you can’t be left alone with a woman, that you can’t be left alone with a child. Feminists didn’t make that shit up — they’re just noting it and passing it on. You can decide what you want to do about it — but don’t think you can pick and choose which of patriarchy’s mandates apply to you. This is a package deal, my friend. If women’s worth is only in fuckability, then men are just dumb fuckers. We think better of men. Do you?

364 thoughts on “Have you tried not being so sexy?

  1. Yea, I was wondering if you all were going to comment on this article. Sigh. Hate. This. Would say more but have a meeting starting four minutes ago. Nicely articulated, FJ.

  2. Major props to Fillyjonk…amazing post.

    That Slate article still has me wanting to vomit. Throwing aside the misunderstanding of the Polanski case (apparently the author fails to realize that, age aside, drugging someone and then having sex with them after the refuse to consent = rape), you have to wonder how, to use his own words, pathological someone must be to try and justify having sex with a 13 year old girl.

  3. If your husband can’t be in a small room with a woman without sexually harassing her or destroying your marriage, you have bigger problems than opposing equal opportunity for women in the military.

  4. and just to add:

    If you’re are married woman and you can’t trust your husband to be in situations where he’ll be working in close proximity to other professional women, the problem is your husband, not the women. If you can’t trust your husband not to cheat on you given the slightest temptation, you should have been gone. Like yesterday.

  5. My amazingly sweet and cute and shy nerd boy didn’t “miss me” by all the times he respected my boundaries before we finally actually got introduced properly by a mutual friend. He gave me some basis for feeling comfortable enough with him to get to know him better.

  6. Alexandra Erin! We missed you! (Unless, which is possible, you’ve been around and I’ve just been unusually absent from comments threads.)

  7. What everyone said. Plus a standing ovation.

    In addition:
    If women’s worth is only in fuckability, then men are just dumb fuckers. We think better of men. Do you?

    This is stunning and needs to be put on every billboard in the world.

  8. I was in the process of hanging curtains and had another thought:

    WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU WANT TO STAY MARRIED TO A GUY WHO YOU THINK WOULD SEXUALLY HARASS ANOTHER WOMAN? SERIOUSLY!??!?!

  9. “Sexual harassment cases and ruined marriages don’t come from unscrupulous men, after all; they come from accessible women. No man has ever cheated with a woman who wasn’t anywhere near him at any point, right? QED.”

    Well said.

  10. WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU WANT TO STAY MARRIED TO A GUY WHO YOU THINK WOULD SEXUALLY HARASS ANOTHER WOMAN?

    The theory put forth in the post would be that patriarchal culture doesn’t think guys can do any better, and women live in patriarchal culture. I don’t think we necessarily need to judge the ones who don’t question it.

  11. “the same cultural bullshit that asserts men’s right to invade women’s personal space and/or fuck 13-year-olds also perpetuates the notion that men are more dick than brain.”

    I have (as you evidently do) find this kind of thinking an insult to men. After all, if a person is reduced to one body part — and only one function of it — that is pretty damn demeaning. I have never understood why there isn’t a widespread outcry of “sexism toward men” at things like the dumb, hypersexed lug of a hubby with a hot, witty spouse (female, of course), or the euphemism “Gentlemen’s Clubs” instead of “Strip bars”. Things like this demean men, and are an insult to all of the truly gentlemanly, kind, smart, loving men I know.

    In addition, these tropes demean women by implying that the best we can expect of “Gentlemen” is leering behavior, or that women are better off married to any dumb lug out there than (gasp!) single.

    Frankly, both genders deserve more than this kind of crapola.

  12. Awesome, FJ. I’ve been trying, with modest success, to point out to some male friends that patriarchy is bad for them too, because it assumes that they have no self control or ability to regulate themselves. Pointing out to them that they are being insulted has been a good way to get past their defenses. This post will do a lot to help, so thank you.

  13. This supports my hunch that men are the bigger cockblockers. Well played male-moron-author, well played. Props to the authors for exposing them. Sexual Harassment should be this simple. I’ll wear a green circle on my lapel when I’m into a woman (or person of the right category above 18 and in a position to willfully consent), and if she is into me, she can let me know by putting a green square on her clothing. That way I’m not even forcing her to pay attention to me if she doesn’t want to. Bumping into non-green-squared women (or man or intergender) will be considered entirely professional and subject to reasonable behavior. Bumping into green-squared women (or whatever) will be a fantasy come true. Win-motherflipping-win.

  14. Fillyjonk,
    “The theory put forth in the post would be that patriarchal culture doesn’t think guys can do any better, and women live in patriarchal culture. I don’t think we necessarily need to judge the ones who don’t question it.”

    Agreed, but sometimes the logic fail can really just blow your mind.

  15. DH spent 20 years in the Navy and there were women on the ships even back then (he retired in 1994 at the ripe old age of 38). He was a hull tech and had to work on plugged toilets in the womens’ quarters when there weren’t any women in his shop to do the job. He said that one time, one of the women officers wanted to take a shower while he was in there fixing a toilet and he told her that he would come back and finish the job when she was done, and she told him no, that was fine, he could go ahead and work on it while she was showering. DH told her no, he couldn’t do that, he didn’t want any accusations of improper behavior leveled at him by any other enlisted personnel or other officers who might happen by. He left and came back when she was done showering and had left the area.
    Now, he razzed the women in his shop just like he razzed the men (he was an HT1 and in charge of the shop), so if anyone, male or female was new, they might get sent after buckets of steam from the engine room or the keys to start the ship’s engines (when they were already out to sea) or sent to the ship’s doctor for 3 feet of fallopian tube (this was done to one of the new guys, the doctor was a woman). But never did he allow sexual harassment of anyone in his shop, nor did he allow any sexual shenanigans between the men and women in his shop.
    I don’t know how common this was on other ships, or even in other areas of his ship, but if I had been married to him at the time, I would have trusted him not to mess around with the women on his ship.
    If you can’t trust your husband not to mess around on you when he’s in the service (any branch of it), then you have no business being married to him.

  16. Slate is pro-rape all over the place this week

    Slate is pro-hits. I’m boggled that the editorial board at one of the world’s first e-zines hasn’t figured out that you don’t have to be utterly vile to get attention. They’re like an enormous electronic toddler. That’s why Saletan’s still there and why Rosenfeld’s probably not going anywhere.

  17. Someone could tell those Navy wives that US male soldiers are raping US female ones this very minute, in the very wide spaces of Iraq. It has nothing to do with being confined and it is already happening while everyone looks the other way.

  18. Hey, wow, wasn’t expecting a welcome. :) Thanks.

    @fillyjonk:

    No, I haven’t been around lately. I’ve been lurking for a bit, but only a week or so. I have an extremely foggy memory, and if I fall out of the habit of checking a site, I tend to forget about it completely after a couple days. Bookmarks help, but I lost my bookmarks a while back. Kate’s writing about Roman Polanski at Salon shook loose the memory.

  19. The theory put forth in the post would be that patriarchal culture doesn’t think guys can do any better, and women live in patriarchal culture. I don’t think we necessarily need to judge the ones who don’t question it.

    Yeah, I got that, my point was that the attitude I described (staying with someone who you think is going to harass other women) is such a great example of the power of patriarchy. I wasn’t passing judgment; I was just saying “OMG, this is insane, but yet, this is what society tells us is reasonable.”

  20. @fillyjonk: first, i like the article, and am in agreement. however, i do think that it’s worth examining people who don’t question the patriarchal system, and just toe the line. one of mlk’s main points was that the greater evil is perpetrated by those very people, and i think that there’s quite a bit of reason in that. i tell girls not to get boob jobs, not to plaster makeup on, not to be superficial just so superficial guys will like them.

    and the ones that do so anyway, in my opinion, are contributing to the horrible state of gender roles (male as well as female) as much as jackass in a shiny shirt does.

    i also hate the term patriarchy, because i end up being lumped in as an oppressor by virtue of my genitalia when i’m talking to a woman who is less permissive with her social roles than i am. it’s frustrating. my penis is an instrument of liberation, and he gets no respect. :)

  21. I’m happy to see that some women other than myself understand the logic that if you think your husband/boyfriend whatever will fuck around behind your back (or even try to) then you should not be with him. I was beginning to lose hope.

  22. I apologize for not being as lucid as y’all.

    What, because it took you one extra comment to make your point clear? Do you have any idea how many revisions that post went through? ;)

  23. Yes yes yes… for the past couple of weeks, this blog has been making me feel SANE. I’m not crazy for feeling threatened when men catcall me or won’t leave me alone, and I’m not asking for it, and I’m not an unreasonable bitch for wanting to be left alone on the train.

    I once had a man tell me that when I wear cute or “revealing” (tight) clothing in public, then I’m hurting men by making them feel frustrated and angry that they can’t have sex with me. I just don’t know what is wrong with people who think this way.

  24. I have absolutely succeeded at not being sexy, and I have to say it does a pretty good job of warding off all attention.

  25. I have absolutely succeeded at not being sexy, and I have to say it does a pretty good job of warding off all attention.

    And if not being sexy leads to not getting attention, then attention comes from being sexy! It’s logic.

  26. Wow. Just wow. I think I just realized why I’ve had such fear of sexual interaction with men for the past five years. Because a lot of my brain bought into the whole “men just can’t control themselves” idea, and that’s partly why I shy away from men when they show interest in me (granted, not that often because of my intimidating size, but it has happened). Of course, the actions of certain men served to reinforce this idea as well. Add to that the inherent rape culture (which I’ve largely been safe from because of that same intimidating size, but I’m still usually aware of) and yeah. Kinda makes me wonder if I ever should let myself become sexually intimate with a man. x.x

  27. Eureka! I get now why they don’t want women on submarines! It’s because women can’t JUMP OVERBOARD when a man inevitably attempts to harass her sexually! Don’t you all see? IT’S FOR THE WOMENZ!

    *headdesktimes5000*

  28. “I don’t think we necessarily need to judge the ones who don’t question it.”
    For that reason, I’m sure this will not be a popular opinion.
    (And I fervently hope no one goes directly and reflexively to “stop victim-blaming”. I do also realize that what I’m about to raise is a secondary, not primary, point in the post as I’m reading it.)

    Like other commenters (and poster/bloggers), I try to “bear in mind that women do the best they can surviving in the patriarchy.” Of course that’s true. Each one of us is one of those women.

    However, basically, what jennykopinski said upthread. If more of your attention as a woman is diverted toward preventing me, another woman, from realizing economic opportunities*– especially because of that pesky $0.62-0.82-on-the-dollar thing — than it is to actively trying to reduce the sexism in your own personal universe, I don’t see how it’s counterproductive for me to treat you as a deliberate, active adversary. At that point, I don’t really care why you’re attempting to undermine my and like-minded sisters’ opportunities for survival and thriving under the current system. I care that you are making that attempt .

    (*Economic notes are anecdatal; as one dating within the submariner population, I have inside info that there are better scales of both training and pay available on submarines than there are within the general Navy, from which women are currently automatically excluded.)

    The most immediate analogy that comes to mind is GWB and Clarence Thomas. They may very well be acting for different reasons, but their evil end objectives, as well as their results, look to be very much the same.

    Put another way, another woman’s societal right to strike out with a (symbolic) fist? Stops at my face.

  29. i also hate the term patriarchy, because i end up being lumped in as an oppressor by virtue of my genitalia when i’m talking to a woman who is less permissive with her social roles than i am. it’s frustrating. my penis is an instrument of liberation, and he gets no respect. :)

    You do realize, right, that you just did the very thing FJ pointed out in the post? I.e., After all, it’s not their fault that women feel threatened — they’re decent, humane guys. Maybe some men are dangerous, but not them, and aren’t we really creating the problem by not letting them prove how decent they are all over us?

  30. I have no problem with questioning or challenging women who support patriarchal culture, either deliberately or out of ignorance. I don’t think this is the place to judge them or the quality of their relationships.

  31. Sooo… I can think of few things I would like less than being trapped underwater in a (cigar-shaped) box with 399 potential Schrodingerian rapists and *no way to open the lid from the inside.*

    And if *that* isn’t evidence of how not being confident one’s boundaries will be respected makes women afraid, I don’t know what it is.

    Which doesn’t change the fact that the argument for not putting women on submarines is a blinking neon sign of imminent need of a head desk and a martini.

    [How many opportunities do women lose to advance in the Navy because they don't have access to the high-profile jobs on submarines? One does have to wonder.]

  32. “But go ahead and judge Saletan though. Dude’s had enough chances.”

    Yeah, he’s always seemed to me to be of the “my POV is the Universal POV” school, so I didn’t exactly start out with a lot of patience there.

  33. Oh. my. God. I so, so love that paragraph – and the rest of the post. And generally the whole discussion. Cause it’s so overdue that this should be brought back into broad daylight … because then, maybe, one day, if I’m lucky, generally nice, gentle and understanding men are going to stop asking me whether ‘this is all in my head’.
    You go on rocking, girls!

  34. i tell girls not to get boob jobs, not to plaster makeup on, not to be superficial just so superficial guys will like them. [...] my penis is an instrument of liberation, and he gets no respect.

    *jaw dropped*

    “I don’t think we necessarily need to judge the ones who don’t question it.” to another woman’s societal right to strike out with a (symbolic) fist? Stops at my face.

    That argument is often used (well, bent out of shape a bit and then used) to argue that no woman should work outside the paid-for-labour sphere. Thank you for not doing that.

  35. Okay, back from the meeting. While reading the thread, I thought of a time when I visited a missionary couple I knew who were living in Russia. It was the summer, and a lot of the young women were wearing short skirts. For the entire two weeks I was there, the wife kept saying over and over, “I can’t believe what these women are wearing. It is such a temptation for my husband.”

    At the time, I felt very annoyed at the wife because I actually had served as a missionary with the husband before they married, and he would have never cheated on her. Recently, however, I’ve been thinking that I fell into the trap of wife-blaming yet again. Instead of judging her paranoia, I started thinking, what is it about the system that she would fear losing him to younger women wearing short skirts. Could it be . . . . hmmmm . . . the unrealistic expectations that women must look and act a certain way to “keep men’s attention?”

    I believe that we need to watch ourselves when we criticize the Navy wives who are expressing their fears. I do believe that their concern shouldn’t get in the way of opportunity for female sailors; however, I think that we could continue to deconstruct the oppressive system instead of question the women who are also victims of this oppression.

    I hope I don’t rile anyone too badly with these comments. In my profession, I need to be very aware of falling into the trap of mother/wife-blaming, so I’m speaking to myself as well.

  36. I tell girls not to get boob jobs, not to plaster makeup on, not to be superficial just so superficial guys will like them.

    And I bet they’re really grateful for your help. It is so very very different from the men who tell girls (girls? seriously? you’re telling minors not to get plastic surgery?) that they should wear makeup to attract men. Sure, it may look to the uneducated eye that you’re both dictating a set of beauty standards that you expect women to comply with, but we here know better, don’t we?

  37. thegnu, in case you haven’t figured it out by now, I let your comment through because you seem to think you’ve finished Feminism 101 and are coasting to graduation, but you actually need to go back and study some more. However, this thread is not actually about you or your penis.

  38. my penis is an instrument of liberation,

    If I ever need to pick a lock to make my escape, I’ll bear that in mind.

  39. Yeah, I had my very own mini-go-round with some guy who came to join Team Child Rape on my blog – and the point that got up my nose most was that he was really clear that he didn’t think 13 with boobs is a child.

    It drove me crazy – the person defined by the observer. I don’t know what the fuck breasts have to do with it; I have very slender, small breasted friends who wear a bra size lower than I did at 13, when I personally was a kid – but are adult women who consensually enjoy their sexualities.

    I hereby observe Saletan to appear to be a wormlike creature. Therefore, it won’t be horribly unethical of me to put him in my compost bin and pile leaves upon him.

  40. I thought maybe you let the comment through so we could make fun of the spelling and grammar. Seriously, how hard is it to capitalize an i?

  41. I’m pretty excited to hear that the US Navy is considering putting women on Subs, my husband is Ex-Navy and I understand that the pay and promotion opportunities are better for submariners because it is such a difficult & demanding position. A while ago I suggested the solution could be all-female subs, and of course this was shot down with “what about the PMS week? They’d nuke Russia because they ran out of chocolate!” (this response not from my spouse – his take was “it’ll never happen, they won’t let it – or they’ll have trouble fully staffing a sub”).

    @thegnu – it is not your place to tell girls or women what to do in order to be attractive. Just think on that for a few minutes. Think real hard. Maybe your Magical Penis of Liberation can help you enlighten yourself?

  42. The Green Circle/Square pins remind me of a Phil Dohanue show featuring Phyllis Schlafly about a million years ago the concerned sexual harrassment in the workplace. La Schlafly’s “solution” to that was for women who were uninterested in being harassed to wear a pin she’d created that said, I kid you not, ‘Lady’.

  43. Heh, I am reminded of a guy I dated very briefly in university: I was beginning to come out of a depressed period, and took the time to put on makeup before we went out. He watched me apply it, heard me say I took it as a good sign that I was enjoying makeup again, then casually remarked he didn’t like makeup on women. Me: crushed. Boyfriend: so not getting laid that night.

  44. RR,
    I’ve said that before, thinking I was gallantly standing up for women against the cosmetic industry. Never when I was likely to get laid anyway though.

  45. “WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU WANT TO STAY MARRIED TO A GUY WHO YOU THINK WOULD SEXUALLY HARASS ANOTHER WOMAN?”

    Hmm…I had a different (equally troubling) interpretation of the sexual harassment comment. I interpreted the comment to imply not that men can’t resist sexually harassing women who brush by them in narrow hallways, but that oversensitive/lying/crazy female soldiers are going to cry “harassment!” every time they brush elbows with male soldiers. I interpreted the word “cases” to refer to lawsuits/complaints rather than actual incidents.

  46. littlem – Agreed. I mean sure, there are societal reasons why, say, a wife would feel comfortable blaming her husband’s failure to keep it in his pants on the presence of women in his environment, but she’s wrong, and I don’t think calling her out on the fact that she’s wrong is a bad thing to do.

    Also blaming sexual harrassment on the presence of women? Sorry, that’s crossed way over into behavior that’s sufficiently fucked up and underminey that it really needs to be called out for the toxic nonsense that it is. Just because you personally don’t want to serve on a submarine and thus don’t consider it important that women be able to does not mean that it’s not important.

    We can acknowledge where problematic attitudes come from and still call them out, even if they come from other women.

  47. @ Lucytoo:

    I think you make a good point, but again, it’s more indicative of the power of the patriarchy than anything else. The idea that women like to cry “harassment” in order to exert power over men is just another urban legend allowed to thrive because of a hateful view of women and a naive view of men.

  48. For a more thoughtful response…

    I’d like to say that FJ’s genius-ness is beyond greatness.

    Additionally, the argument so poorly made by Lord Satan: “A guy who goes after a womanly body that happens to be 13 years old is failing to regulate a natural attraction. That doesn’t excuse him. But it does justify treating him differently.”….is so poorly thought out that the word ignorance doesn’t even BEGIN to define it.
    In his logic, if a 13 year old developmentally delayed/mentally challenged girl has boobs….AND a man finds her sexually attractive…AND he acts on it, we should “treat him differently”? Differently how? Give him a pass because he couldn’t tell by looking that she was a child/delayed? Does that make it all better or does it just excuse his penile reaction? Let’s make the poor little man feel better, ok? Because addressing the real problem of patriarchal dominance is just too difficult. Admitting that your penis is controlled by a force greater than your own mind is a perfectly acceptable part of your nature that it doesn’t diminish your greatness one bit…nuh uh. *eyeroll adfinitum*

  49. Also LOL at “my penis is an intrument of liberation”. No, fool, it’s a body part, and in your case I don’t want it anywhere near me because you are, in fact, a fool.

  50. Yeah, big LOL! on the instrument of liberation thing. I originally skipped the comment after the first line or so, as I don’t need the blood pressure spike, but I’m glad y’all pointed the best part out, so I could go back and enjoy it. How does a person actually type that and then press Submit Comment without realizing just how much we’re going to laugh? And that’s at, not with.

    Ditto on the not wanting it anywhere near me.

  51. I’m of two minds about this, as I am about most things.

    On one hand, I think it’s about damned time.

    On the other hand, I’m terrified that the Navy thinks changing the rule is going to automatically change the culture and that the women submariners are going to be in real actual physical danger without a command structure willing to defend their interests equally.

    I’m not sure how to make that change, but I would not willingly be the first out. The first women always get sacrificed, it seems.

  52. Ugh, I just read Saladtong’s follow-up piece, where he asserts that taking off underwear indicates voluntary compliance. Following the instruction of the Very Important Man whom your mother wants you to impress, who has complete control over the situation (and over you) equals sexual consent?

    Actually, let’s drop the context completely. Taking off underwear in the presence of a man is the same thing as saying “yes”? It must be given equal consideration to the fact that a woman says “no”? I’m sorry, not even actually saying “yes” first is given equal consideration to a woman saying no. But letting that go… does this mean that women who choose not to wear underwear are less capable of withholding consent, or less capable of giving it?

    The number and form of barriers a woman throws up between the world and her sexual self shouldn’t be a consideration to the criminal justice world. If someone takes my car, it’s having permission or not having permission that determines whether or not it was theft, not whether the windows were up or down.

  53. Yes, I have tried not being so sexy. It’s too much hard work. So I gave up. *snort

    Bud Trillin is the bee’s knees. “Baseball. It’s a historical reference.”

  54. @Arwen – Yeah, I had to bow out of arguing with commenters on Polanski threads at a certain point because, as a person who had D cup boobs by the time I was 13, it was bringing back all kinds of bad memories to see men going “well if I feel like fucking a 13 year old I will, boobs make her woman enough for me”. Having spent the years from 9 (seriously, 9 fucking years old this shit started) to 16 or so fending off men who were all “well OK clearly you’re underage and all but damn girl, look at those things! I just can’t help myself!” and having other people who I complained to respond with “well have you tried being less sexy?” I have absolutely zero patience for men like that and would kind of like to push all of them under a train. Except that might not be painful enough for them.

  55. Amazing post, FJ. And this:

    “And it really isn’t fair that sometimes their wives also think they can’t be trusted in a sub with 138 other guys and a lady. ”

    made me think of the “Scott of the Sahara” sketch on Monty Python where the terribly serious movie voiceover talks about the adventures of “three people and a woman”.

  56. don’t think you can pick and choose which of patriarchy’s mandates apply to you. This is a package deal, my friend. If women’s worth is only in fuckability, then men are just dumb fuckers. We think better of men. Do you?

    *cheers*

  57. This article is amazing and I’m so glad I found this site. I came in on thousands-of-comments-day and am really glad I stuck around.

    I’ve seen it referred to as taking the red pill before, this realization we have had where we see the world around us as what is really happening, not what people want to believe. Sometimes it hurts my brain to try to understand how people CAN’T see that this hurts men, that this degrades them and their ability to exert self-control or act like decent humans. It is nice when someone else can put it into (such eloquent) words.

  58. Carla–I completely agree. Read either way, the comment minimizes the problem of sexual harrassment and places blame on victims.

  59. Ugh, I just read Saladtong’s follow-up piece, where he asserts that taking off underwear indicates voluntary compliance. Following the instruction of the Very Important Man whom your mother wants you to impress, who has complete control over the situation (and over you) equals sexual consent?

    Not only that, but said Very Important Man is supposed to be taking modeling photos of you? To launch your modeling career? How are you supposed to know what’s normal?

    Lord Saletan should be ashamed of himself. But he never will, because he’s A Man Who Knows Things.

  60. We can acknowledge where problematic attitudes come from and still call them out, even if they come from other women.

    Absolutely agreed. What I was responding to, though, was responses (later clarified) that seemed to judge the quality of these women’s marriages, or the quality of other marriages that coexist with jealousy or anxiety about fidelity.

  61. where he asserts that taking off underwear indicates voluntary compliance.

    Before that. If she’s not interested in doing sex with me here now, having a vagina is pretty damn misleading of her. Talk about mixed-signals.

  62. Thanks for noticing that this is insulting. I always wondered why men don’t get offended by this depiction of us as unable to control ourselves.

    It does seem to me that if both parties are agreeing that monogamy is a vital part of their marriage, then something is wrong with their marriage if they’re so worried about this. Noting that I am supposing that trust is also a vital part of their marriage.

    But I, of course, have a neurological ‘disorder’ that makes me shockingly naive, and was the only person knows that my spouse regularly spends time alone with an attractive apposite-sex friend and didn’t ask, “Are you cheating?”

    I’d be pretty bloody offended if somebody should say to said spouse, “Oh, it must be nice to be married to somebody who’s frightened of other humans and can’t do small talk, it makes him unable to cheat on you.” Or if one of my dear friends who is a woman should remark, “I feel so much more comfortable now that you’re on medications that make you impotent, since you can’t possibly rape me.” Pretty much the same deal, except distance and walls replaced with other factors. I find the concept of ‘self’ a little puzzling, but I think I’ve got it down enough that I want to be credited with simply [i]not being a brute[i] rather than being involuntarily restrained for your safety.

    My penis is a somewhat absurd-looking appendage.

  63. @Fillyjonk – Yeah, I got that part. It’s a hard line to draw sometimes between criticising a person and criticising their idiotic ideas, especially when it’s not like they came up with those ideas all by themselves.

    Also, not even reading the piece where Saletan says that taking off your panties indicates consent, lest I feel compelled to send him a letter bomb. In my experience, any man who’d make that argument? Just keep him away from kids, is what I’m saying.

  64. i tell girls not to get boob jobs, not to plaster makeup on, not to be superficial just so superficial guys will like them.

    Due respect, but if you’ve not actually been part of a group whose economic worth has, for centuries, been determined largely by their ability to conform their bodies to what men want? You really oughtn’t “tell girls” what to do with their bodies. Actually, no, how ’bout let’s just shorten that to “you really oughtn’t ‘tell girls’ what to do with their bodies.”

    my penis is an instrument of liberation, and he gets no respect. :)

    Would your penis like a cookie?

  65. “If your husband can’t be in a small room with a woman without sexually harassing her or destroying your marriage, you have bigger problems than opposing equal opportunity for women in the military.”

    QFT.

    This was a FANTASTIC piece. While reading it I wondered how much of the hand wringing was *really* by nervous wives. Obviously, there are probably tons out there, but much of this smells like “We have to protect the children” rather than genuine concerns by women married to sexual harassing jerks. It seems yet another way to bar access to military careers to women who desire them. Clearly someone is stirring up the shit pot and encouraging “wives” to co-conspire in this unenlightened campaign. It sounds like fear mongering and seems to be working quite well.

    Having grown up around military communities, I have observed how insular the culture tends to be and how it is NOT very inclusive to single women. It seems like the Hot Lips Hoolification of female soldiers happens the instant they leave boot camp and they are often seen as liabilities in one way or the other. There are just as many cheating, inappropriate behaving military wives (like the ones who often preyed on my 16 y/o cousin while their hubbies were in the field) and the culture tends to encourage and normalize this kind of behavior. The men, who definitely do the bulk of the sexual inappropriate behavior, certainly don’t have the patent on it. There is plenty of sketchiness to go around. And again, this does NOT excuse the behavior in question or the approach they are attempting to take to quash it, I think it’s disingenuous of these “wives” to act as though hanky panky is the domain of single women ONLY.

    I might be off base with my thoughts, but I hope you catch my drift.

  66. If she’s not interested in doing sex with me here now, having a vagina is pretty damn misleading of her.

    I can’t tell you how hard I LOLed at this.

    CassandraSays, I think we’re on the same page. The comments made me uncomfortable but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with questioning the underlying assumptions — since of course that’s what the post is about. :)

  67. Hmm. I’m sorry if I appear to be judging other people’s marriages. What strikes me as the important bit is not the state of their marriages, but the fact that the state of their marriages/jealousy/fear of infiedelity is not public business that the workplace/military ought to be basing policies about.

  68. I thought this was a really good article, and I’m glad to see this type of thing on the internet. I was confused by one thing, though. If I talk to a woman that I don’t know, does that make her feel unsafe?

  69. @aleks: ^_^

    I can’t tell what I love most about the little monster: the sprigs of hair, the fact that its body looks like a scoop of purple ice cream, or its wee little crooked smile.

  70. @Sweet Machine:
    “You do realize, right, that you just did the very thing FJ pointed out in the post? I.e., After all, it’s not their fault that women feel threatened — they’re decent, humane guys. Maybe some men are dangerous, but not them, and aren’t we really creating the problem by not letting them prove how decent they are all over us?”

    no, i campaign for equal treatment for women and men, and i support women in standing up for themselves. i stick up for women whenever possible. i argue with women who think i need to stand up for them when they believe something wrong is happening, and i don’t. i chalk our disagreements up to ideological differences, and they tend to make me out to be a villain for disagreeing, which is crap.

    plus, your argument stinks of the whole thing where if you deny being addicted to something, someone will say, “that’s EXACTLY what an addict would say.” what would someone who’s not an addict say? i’m not trying to prove how decent i am all over anybody, but the term patriarchy can not help but vilify 8-year old boys for their genetics, and i don’t like it.

    @Rosemary Riveter
    @raine:
    “Sure, it may look to the uneducated eye that you’re both dictating a set of beauty standards that you expect women to comply with, but we here know better, don’t we?”

    what i tell girls considering boob jobs is that mutilating their bodies is sick and perverted. doing it for some societally-imposed standard doesn’t make it any better. i mean, grow up. as for the makeup, i normally just say, hey, i think you look better without makeup. and it’s bad for your complexion. to clarify, i normally only say something to a girl if she’s decked out all day, every day, and i feel comfortable with her. i’m free to tell girls that fake tits are ugly, because that’s my opinion. i’m generally more polite if they’re asking about something that is not violently shoved into their body, like a handbag, for example.

    i tell people not to drink water out of plastic bottles that have been sitting in cars all day. i’m also way anti-circumcision, because i think it tends to turn out humans with brutalized sexuality. and i am unapologetic about voicing my opinions about what is and isn’t healthy for society. i’m not trying to make you feel bad about it.

    i just don’t think it’s fair for someone to buy into the patriarchal system wholesale, and then claim exemption from judgment merely because they have a vagina, and are therefore clearly a victim. if you’re conscious of the problem, do what you can.

    @aleks:
    “If I ever need to pick a lock to make my escape, I’ll bear that in mind.”
    haha, cute. it’s much more crowbaresque, if you will. :)

    @CassandraSays:
    the penis thing was mostly a joke, and a play on the abundant positive messages about female sexuality, which also employ as synecdoche the female genitalia. in bad taste, i’m sure, but i deliberately challenge the constant societal message that male sexuality is destructive, because i don’t think it’s a healthy thing to tell little boys, unless you expect them to grow up relating to their sexuality as destructive.

    @Sweet Machine:
    “thegnu, in case you haven’t figured it out by now, I let your comment through because you seem to think you’ve finished Feminism 101 and are coasting to graduation, but you actually need to go back and study some more.”
    i see a whole lotta anger in these here parts, and i’m not even trolling. i hope you realize that my point about receiving misplaced blame and anger is not entirely off-base. i don’t need to be associated with any group whose that directs vitriolic anger at anyone who disagrees on minor points like makeup. my goal is not to be a feminist, it’s to be a fully actualized compassionate, helpful human being, and i have failings.

    “However, this thread is not actually about you or your penis.””
    as a matter of fact, i think this thread IS about 15% about my penis by content, which is a pretty noteworthy for a penis, by any reasonable standard. i’ll keep all further jokes to myself, though. cheers.
    -nathan

  71. “Sorry dear, I couldn’t help it, I was in the same room with a vagina… what was I supposed to do?”

    and

    “sorry dear, I couldn’t help it, I mean SHE WALKED RIGHT PAST ME!!”

    Is really being presented as an argument against allowing a sizable portion of the military access to a particular job function?

    *headdesk*

    ps: Hi Alexandra Erin!

  72. it’s much more crowbaresque, if you will. :)

    Yeah, that’s all you get. Bye.

    i think this thread IS about 15% about my penis by content

    Because you’re just SUCH A GREAT FEMINIST if only us ladies would GIVE YOU A CHANCE

  73. i’m free to tell girls that fake tits are ugly, because that’s my opinion.

    You’re not free to comment on anyone else’s body, particularly a woman’s breasts. Just because something is your opinion doesn’t give you the right to talk about a woman’s body as if you were ordering a steak.

  74. If I talk to a woman that I don’t know, does that make her feel unsafe?

    1200+ comments for you in the other thread.

  75. In case anyone else wonders:

    Synecdoche (pronounced /sɪˈnɛkdəki/ si-NEK-də-kee; from Greek synekdoche (συνεκδοχή), meaning “simultaneous understanding”) is a figure of speech[1] in which:

    * a term denoting a part of something is used to refer to the whole thing (Pars pro toto), or
    * a term denoting a thing (a “whole”) is used to refer to part of it (Totum pro parte), or
    * a term denoting a specific class of thing is used to refer to a larger, more general class, or
    * a term denoting a general class of thing is used to refer to a smaller, more specific class, or
    * a term denoting a material is used to refer to an object composed of that material.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synecdoche

  76. Shorter thegnu: My opinions are the most bestest ones and if you disagree, well, you’re not a fully actualized human being like me.

    Check, got it. Won’t be reading your comments anymore.

  77. Check, got it. Won’t be reading your comments anymore.

    His ass won’t be commenting anymore. OH LOOK SYNECDOCHE I’M SO SMART

    (Re: feeding the banned troll, though, everyone can always and forever feel free to kick people around after they get themselves axed. It’s fun and it’s informative for folks who might be interested in making the same mistake.)

  78. Carla
    You’re not free to comment on anyone else’s body, particularly a woman’s breasts.

    What I want to know is why I (yes I) feel compelled to do so at all, even when the best-case-scenario is her laughing instead of beating me up. Fucking weird instinct.

  79. Thanks, FJ. And he used a big Greek word to ensmarten us! What a guy! Where might I have come across the word “synecdoche” before…oh yeah, when I was getting a degree in literature! I guess that means my opinions are the bestest ones too! Y’all better start agreeing with me; I know literary terms and I’m not afraid to use them!

  80. Synecdoche was also a popular indie movie a few years ago. So anyone with an interest in pop culture might have, you know, encountered the word in passing as well.

  81. @TheGnu – the only thing worse than a misogynist is a misogynist who cloaks his misogyny in a veil of “self-actualization” and concern. And walking around telling “girls” what you think of their makeup and bottled water drinking habits? That just makes you a smug asshole.

  82. what i tell girls considering boob jobs is that mutilating their bodies is sick and perverted. doing it for some societally-imposed standard doesn’t make it any better. i mean, grow up.

    So, do you do this for piercings, tattoos, and hair dye, too, or just the body modifications that squick you personally?

  83. I love when guys try and pretend they’re supporting women when they say stuff like “I don’t like the look of makeup” or “fake breasts are ugly/gross.” It’s like, don’t you understand that, for some of us, looking attractive for men (whatever that means) isn’t a goal? If one more dude starts waxing poetic about how he’s a feminist because he doesn’t believe in fake breasts, I’m freaking out.

  84. hell yes. this is very well done. thank you for making this argument so plainly and intelligently, without bullshit and gross leaps of logic. it needs to be heard.

  85. FJ, you are my fave. That’s it. That’s exactly it. You and I are not responsible for making Schrödinger’s Rapists of men. We are not responsible for categorizing them with the dumb beasts of the field. We are not the ones insulting their self-control or intelligence. We are not the ones implying they think only with their “instruments of liberation.” (Oooh, new euphemism. I’m a romance novelist, so this is always a good thing for me.)

    And men wonder why we’re so damned angry? Frankly, I wonder why they aren’t rising up in fury, too.

  86. I don’t think make-up and surgery are ugly. I think they are irrelevant. Especially to me. People should be happy however they are but that’s pretty ideological and unlikely. If a nip and a tuck make a person happy, then by all means. However, nipping tucking beautifying to create a look you weren’t born with seems like a very personal decision that should be carefully weighed and more so for the more permanent affects.

    Discussing 13 year olds as turn ons cannot be done in a short statement as Saladtong has realized. Like people can see that a kid is blooming but kids are not sexy. Kids are like awesome just the way they are in a completely different aesthetic light even if they look like their mom. 13 year olds are not the only folks with signs of hormones that need to be protected. As a dude, I think there are enough opportunities for sex that trying to anticipate whether the other person will regret said liaison is worth it. Also, inmates, fellow soldiers, and serving professionals should get special consideration because as adult as people think they are right now the American adult screws everything up by screwing carelessly and mixing rank structures muddies the idea of voluntary consent.

    It would be really awesome if people on submarines figured out what the rest of society hasn’t settled on. And when the occasional romp happened, it would be awesomer still if everyone was cool about it because it was voluntary and respectful and treated as such. I encourage women bumping into me in small spaces with or without underwear (as a nod to a previous comment) and I understand that consent is still a separate thing. But bumping into me and choosing to disrobe are quite agreeable and if I can make that more convenient for busy women who have agendas that don’t include sex with me, it’s still a win-win.

    If the military hasn’t figured out how to train with enough discipline to have co-ed submarines, at what point do we hold their lack of awareness of reality against them? If they treat female servicemen so poorly, how are they representing in the presence of non-American women? That’s a bad advertising campaign for the rest of us.

  87. Yeah, it’s still commenting on women’s bodies, whether or not you love implants or think they are “gross.” It’s not okay to say so, either way. Nobody asked you (of course it’s different if you *are* asked, but that’s not the case here, and I have doubts that many of the “girls” whom thegnu graces with his fully actualized viewpoint actually give a crap what he thinks).

  88. “I think that we could continue to deconstruct the oppressive system instead of question the women who are also victims of this oppression.”

    gillyweed, first of all I don’t perceive it as a binary in either sense.
    1) We can continue to deconstruct the oppressive system in addition to questioning women who are its victims — which, I reiterate, are all of us.

    Also, a question doesn’t need to be an attack.
    I don’t know any facts other than the ones you’ve presented about the minister/wife situation.
    However, if you thought it was your place (again, I don’t know anything else about the situation including whether it affected you at all), I don’t see anything wrong with a mild inquiry like “He’s never cheated on you – what would make you feel like he’d be tempted?” to at least encourage her to question her own assumptions. Maybe she’s never done that.

    2) There is nothing in the “human behavior rulebooks” that says a victim cannot also be a perpetrator.

    I don’t think the analogy is exact — I didn’t read anything in your comment that said the younger ladies’ attire had anything to do with their employment, whereas in the situation with the Navy wives there appears to be a clearer relationship — but just to use your example, with all the remonstration not to judge a wife who sighs repeatedly about how other womens’ short skirts are such a temptation for her husband, how is the wife*not* judging and blaming the very women wearing the skirts?

    (Especially if the man in question has the character you say he has — and especially when those women may not even be thinking about her husband, but just going on about their business?)

    Further along those lines, I say, tongue partially in cheek, what about the menz?

    I take particular issue with women immediately and exclusively blaming other women, instead of examining their husbands’/boyfriends’ behavior (which it sounds like the lady in the case you present didn’t do for whatever reason, since your characterization of the man in question clashes so directly with her concern as she expressed it) or the culture that makes such incidents so widespread, when incidents of and related to harassment arise.

    I understand the impulse — I live in this culture too — but that doesn’t mean I have to condone it.

    (In the case of the military wives, I’d be doubly insulted if I were a female ensign — is the wife under the impression that I, as an enlisted person, can’t tell the difference between a space-limitation-based tight squeeze and an active grope or series thereof?)

    I have to resort again to personal anecdata. If my employer requires all female employees to wear skirted suits (I prefer pants because my particular knees are not the type that miniskirts favor), and a male colleague of mine is making repeated comments about how I appear in my suits such that it arguably creates a hostile work environment for me, and that colleague’s wife contacts me to complain about how I am tempting her husband by appearing in my suits, my first thought (and possibly, depending on circumstance and relationships, my first response) is going to be that that wife’s primary problem is *not* with me.

  89. But, like…what if I want to get implants to appeal to women? Do lesbians not exist in your universe? Also just FYI, “girls” do not generally get implants what with “girls” being, you know, female children.

    Also LOL, penis as crowbar. I bet you use yours with about as much finesse, buddy.

  90. i’m not trying to prove how decent i am all over anybody, but the term patriarchy can not help but vilify 8-year old boys for their genetics, and i don’t like it.

    Oh my god, he’s right! It’s the term patriarchy that vilifies a whole gender! I mean, sure the patriarchy itself vilifies a whole gender, but it’s the girl gender so it doesn’t count.

  91. @CassandraSays –
    *rofl* at your crowbar analogy (my eyes! my eyes!) and many thanks for your topical back.

  92. I realize that I’m coming into this conversation very late, but I would just like to add that I served in the Navy for 9 years, during the time when women were first allowed to serve on combatant ships, and the things these wives are saying are no different than what was said back then. Somehow the Navy survived that transition and it will survive this one, and it will be a better force for it.

    Will there be sexual harassment, adultery, and just plain more sex in general if women are put on subs? Yes, but only because people are people and sex is what they do. The men who will commit adultery with their shipmates were not keeping it in their pants before. Anyone who’s been on a Navy port visit in Thailand will tell you that. I heard the phrase “it doesn’t count if you’re on deployment” more than I care to remember.

    I personally cannot wait for subs to open up for women. It’s what I wanted to do when I served, but wasn’t allowed. I’ll be cheering louder than anyone when this stupid policy is changed.

  93. @littlem – I take great pleasure in being openly mean to clueless entitlement-having men. It’s fun, no?

    And no problem. I can’t remember exactly what industry you worked in but do seem to recall that it was a dudely one, and really, those of us who do work in such environments do tend to get particularly impatient with other women excusing men just about anything if they can manage to blame it on another woman (music biz, oy, why must you be so sexist?).

  94. I wish I’d caught that there was a new post earlier – there are way too many comments already for me to get through them all before posting myself.

    Anyway.

    I simply can’t understand any model in which women are supposed to change our behavior because men are (apparently) incapable of controlling themselves. This includes situations like the one in FJ’s (fabulous) post above, denying rape because a woman (or girl) isn’t a virgin, explaining away harassment because I was wearing a low cut shirt. It’s not an excuse – none of it is! Ugh.

    (BTW, I am currently reading T.D. Jakes’ “Woman, Thou Art Loosed!” for a class on women and religion in contemporary America and am already disturbed by the idea of a man writing a book on how women should deal with trauma, especially sexual trauma.)

  95. SM, you are so right. I know that I spend most of my time trying to make 8-year-old boys feel bad. It’s practically my reason for living. Sure, the fact that I have two young children who both happen to be of the boy persuasion makes it tough sometimes (sometimes when they look at me plaintively and ask, “Mommy, why are you vilifying our gender?” I don’t have a good answer), but it’s required by the Official Feminism Membership Committee, so I forbear.

  96. Being a feminist means you hate men. This is evidenced by the lack of heterosexual relationships of the four bloggers. Oh wait…

  97. SM – A lot of such men don’t seem to be able to tell the difference between “spitting mad” and “mocking without mercy”. Apparently they were born without a sense of irony, poor dears.

  98. Hm. Can I get a 3-feminist handicap for being socially disabled, and maybe a step-by-step manual on ball-busting? If it’s formatted as a children’s book that’d be okay, and then I can pass it along when I’ve mastered the skill.

  99. According to AnnieF your toaster will be crowbar shaped, which means it will be a lot more useful for ball busting than for toasting bread. So basically you’ll have to use it to earn it, which I believe is known in these parts as naked short selling.

  100. Ha ha @phoquess . I didn’t mean to type female servicemen. I started with sailor and then thought soldier and then tried for something more inclusive to marvelous fail. I meant to say female servicemen, female serviceladies, male servicemen, male serviceladies and any other employees of our armed forces. That’s so much more inclusive.

    I jest in my own way but I’m strongly individualistic and I like that there are blogs out there that challenge common pigeonholes.

  101. Hey, if we have the Navy present anywhere, what IS the proper terminology for Navy enlisted men and women? I’ve heard seamen, but obviously it lacks inclusiveness, and seapeople sound like something that belongs in Harry Potter.

  102. @Lucy Too, I read it the same way you did – not that the sailor’s wives thought that their husbands would actually harass, but that those evil female sailors would feel harassed, even though the sailors didn’t do anything except tell them not to wear makeup or get breast implants or drink out of plastic bottles, and then they would file charges and get the precious little male snowflakes in trouble. Equally troubling, equally a product of a fucked-up culture, just in a different way.

  103. A really great post.
    Yes, men should be outraged that they are characterized as animals that can’t help themselves. But if they “can’t help themselves”, then they don’t have to take responsibility for their actions.

  104. @Starling I believe the appropriate term is sailor, although I’m not in the Navy so I could be wrong.
    However, I find it telling that the general term for Air Force personnel (as one myself) is Airman. Not Airperson, or any sort of gender-neutral term.

  105. @LouiseJones
    Bingo.
    Which is why, IMO, so many men who cling to patriarchal privilege don’t mind being characterized as dumb fuckers – being seen as having a thinking brain and the ability to make choices (in this area only, of course — otherwise they know what’s best for the rest of us) would actually make them accountable.

  106. I really have nothing super-original to say except yes, yes, yes, YES and yes. And thank you.

    I cannot wait until all these posts are compiled into a book and handed out in schools.

  107. littlem: Menz can’t help themselves! It’s biology!

    Which was, at first, why women could not be allowed out of the house alone. (They’ll be raped! Menz can’t help themselves! It’s biology.)

    Then, why women had to cover themselves head to toe. (They’ll be raped! Menz can’t help themselves! It’s biology.)

    Then, why women don’t belong in the workplace. (They’ll be raped! Menz can’t help themselves! It’s biology.)

    Then, why women don’t belong in the military. (They’ll be raped! Menz can’t help themselves! It’s biology.)

    Now, why women can’t be on submarines. Why men indulge in sitting around, leering at passing women. Why women have to tolerate cat-calling. Why married men cheat. Why film directors drug thirteen-year-old girls. (Menz can’t help themselves. It’s biology.)

    I wonder how any decent or self-aware man could trot out that ridiculous justification with a straight face. Of course the menz can help themselves. They. Just. Don’t. Want. To.

  108. littlem, I agree. I think there are a lot of people who prefer to have an easy out so much that they don’t think about the implications (i.e. that they’re calling themselves dumb).

  109. Hmmm.. I haven’t read the comments yet, so I do not know if anyone has made this observation. Apologies if someone has already. I feel the need to say here that I support women on submarines and in any military job for which they are qualified (and I am a military brat too).

    Yes, the patriarchy thinks men (individually and as a group) cannot control their urges. Yes, the way that the Navy wives made their point was less than stellar. They do, however, have a point but not for the reason that they have alleged.

    People (women and men), put together in situations where there is great stress and all members of the team depend upon each other for life or death, develop a relationship that is very different from that with their spouses. There is a shared experience there that is difficult to relay to the spouse, and the spouse can never share. Many times, these relationships continue as friendships and all is right with the world. Sometimes, they deepen into love affairs.

    Despite the status of the marriage, on a long deployment that risk is magnified simply because the spouse is no longer a daily part of the man’s (or woman’s) life. When women became police officers and fire fighters, wives objected for the same reason as the Navy wives. There were and are affairs and so on, but not for the reasons they gave. Well, some men are slaves to their carnality, as are some women, so I am sure that there is some of that as well. The real risk, though, is that shared experience that cannot be explained nor shared with the spouse. I am saying spouse specifically, because this is an experience in which both female and male are participating — either or both could be married.

    The problem with these relationships is that they are not the odd ‘hookup’ in port – short in duration with carnal relief as its purpose. The context is truly emotionally bonding, so there is a dimension of emotion there that is far worse from the spouse’s viewpoint.

    With respect to sexual harassment, it is also a fact of life in the military. You don’t need to put women on a sub to get it. It has been there since forever. It is not a new thing. The military’s response has been… Well… mixed (I am being kind). Have a conversation with a woman in the military today, and find out what her experience is.

    There is no way through this. If women and men are going to be in mixed combat units, there will be sex (between consenting adults whether married or not). There will be love affairs. There will be harassment. The latter is a crime. I believe that adultery may still be a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (not sure — if someone who knows is reading this, please step up). But no one has EVER been able to control sex and adultery in the history of humankind — not with threats of hellfire and damnation or the power of a divorce court. Any given individual needs to take decisions knowingly, and accept the consequences (that is, be faithful and don’t have sex with the person you are finding incredibly wonderful; or have sex and potentially trash not only your marriage but also a potentially a friendship).

    So… Yeah… The ladies have a point. But does that mean that 1/2 of the population must be locked out of the opportunity to fight for their country? No…

    –Andy Jo–

  110. Marvelous post! My brother and his girlfriend met because they both have the same job in the Navy -aviators!- and yet they are still able to carry out their duties in a mature fashion. They’ll be on separate carriers, so I’m sure that he’s going to cheat as soon they get onto separate boats. (BTW, my brother and I had a big discussion and aviators call the carriers “boats” while everyone else calls them “ships!”) *snark, of course Or maybe they’ll do just what they’re assigned to do…

    Seth Strong, very funny, but AnnieF wins the award tonight.

  111. Shit, I leave for my history 230 class and I come back and there’s been a new comment explosion!

    First off, it’s been mentioned in the comments some, but fucking hell, hello heterosexism!

    Also, Aleks, I almost peed my pants, no fucking joke. I’m glad SP has suddenly exploded and that we gained you and Grafton and several other awesome commenters.

    Now, could someone please explain it to me, because it might be too late or I might have missed a chapter of feminism 101, but how is a penis in any way a tool of liberation? I didn’t get that fucking comment at all!

    And finally, this is how deep patriarchy goes guys, I sometimes actually find myself thinking that the menz brains must actually work differently. They cheat and fuck everything, it seems at times. They rape 13 year olds because of the boobies. I occasionally think, “men must think differently, there’s no way they can be thinking like I do and still doing this shit.” And suddenly despite how stupid it is, I could understand how it was possible for men to see us as entirely different from them.

    Bonus: Today before my history 230 class we were discussing english classes. One guy said that the classes he took were taught by a feminazi because they read “Pride and Prejudice” and the teacher said things like, “look at what a strong woman she is.” I tried to explain how it felt to be in history classes and such and never discuss strong women, but constantly talk about strong men. He told me I needed to consider the historical context. All I’m saying is, if you’re going to teach Paul Revere, then you better be teaching about fucking Sybil Ludington, too.

  112. Seriously, I think we’re all too damn tired at this point for real gut-level anger.

    Cause believe me banninated jackass, if we were angry? There would be no doubt.

    Alexandra Erin said:

    The number and form of barriers a woman throws up between the world and her sexual self shouldn’t be a consideration to the criminal justice world. If someone takes my car, it’s having permission or not having permission that determines whether or not it was theft, not whether the windows were up or down.

    just repeated for awesomeness.

    Anon, fellow Shapelings.
    DRST

  113. Sorry, Andy Jo. People cheat for many reasons – true – but having consensual sex is pretty much something one can control. Adults are supposed to be responsible for their actions and behaviours. To suggest otherwise lays blame on situations, not choices made by adults. I kinda expect my husband not fuck other women. When, if, he does, it’s not the other woman’s fault. He kinda expects that I’m not sleeping with other women, too. Again, I screw up, MY bad. No one else’s.

  114. DW, I’m pretty sure AJ meant that the chain of command couldn’t prevent Lt. Amy and Lt. Patrick from cheating, not that Amy and Pat themselves weren’t responsible.

  115. If so, I read the comment with a totally different intent. I still feel the same way about my comment after re-reading AJ’s, though.

  116. Thank you alibelle. As I told FJ on the thread where we’re picking on my main man Nate Silver, I’m here collecting anecdotes and data to try and figure out how in the hell I’m going to relate to female students when I have them.

    As for the liberty stick, it frees us from having to sit on gross public toilets most of the time.

  117. volcanista: “I think there are a lot of people who prefer to have an easy out so much that they don’t think about the implications (i.e. that they’re calling themselves dumb).”

    That’s all over the culture. I’ll take things too literally and do this thing where somebody’ll say, “Oh, it’s not your fault,” and I’ll start to panic because oh shit if it’s not my fault then i can’t help it and that means the same damn thing might go wrong at any moment at random i hate not having control this scares meeeeeeee….. and so on.

    People are not, in general, keen on seeing the implications of what they say, and they are over-keen to divest themselves of responsibility. I am mystified, since recognizing that it’s your fault means seeing your own power. No?

    I’m sure you’re right, but it may be that it’s not so much that these people are excusing themselves from responsibility — the “Menz can’t help themselves” bit might be some knee-jerk and thoughtless defense of an “It’s women’s fault!” statement, rather than a stand-alone idea?

  118. Andy Jo–I hope that when you say sexual harassment is a “fact of life” you mean only to say that the military is bad at handling this issue, not that sexual harassment is inevitable and unchangeable?

    Some people respond to shared stressful experiences by sexual bonding. Some don’t. Some bring their marriages closer by relying on the non-service member spouse to provide a safe place to tell their stories, somewhere they can admit fear or heartbreak or disgust or the other things they feel they can’t express at work. Some cherish the complete break between their work and their home. Those who have trouble bonding fully with spouses because the spouse can’t understand the stress of the job–well, that’s a huge issue for a marriage, whether or not there’s another person waiting in the wings.

    Military deployment is notoriously difficult for families. But there’s a lot of variation in the ways that individual people and individual relationships work or don’t work in the face of deployment.

    I’ve worked at Army bases all over the US. My job included personal interviews delving into the reasons for service members’ divorces and estrangements. (Yeah, that was depressing.) The new love interest was seldom the deciding issue, and those relationships often ended with the deployment. The stress-caused estrangement from the spouse who doesn’t understand seemed to be the major issue, not the stress-caused bonding with others.

  119. “As for the liberty stick, it frees us from having to sit on gross public toilets most of the time.”

    I just choked on water, you’re endangering my life, and making me come close to wetting myself. That might get you banned.

  120. my penis is an instrument of liberation

    OMG, you guys, it’s like Good Luck Chuck but instead of finding true love we will find post-feminism!

    God damn this is an excellent post. But don’t read the comments. ;)

  121. DW — you are making my point for me. I said people can take the decision to do whatever and take the consequences.

    Overall, in the population, however… Sex happens. The only ones who can control what happens are the individuals and they can control themselves — but they can’t control the rest of the world.

    I expect my husband not to cheat on me, and he expects me not to cheat on him. It is up to each of us to take that decision, or take the consequences.

    Any large group of people will feature, in the aggregate, individuals who will (in this particular case) be faithful and those who will not. Behavior of a group is not predictive of individual behavior.

    –Andy Jo–

  122. Andy Jo,

    You could also say that the shared experience of work, that your spouse can’t relate to, makes you closer to co-workers. I understand that it could be a much more intense situation when in combat, but it could happen in any work situation.
    Given this logic, women couldn’t work anywhere if men are present.

    Put this in a different context. The librarians wives don’t want women working in the library because then the men will be close to women that are bending over and they might touch when they have to pass in the stacks.
    Sounds kind of dumb, doesn’t it?

  123. Starling — I meant that sexual harassment exists. It is a crime, but it happens in the same way that rape exists and theft exists and terrorism exists. The military’s response (as I pointed out) has frankly been poor. It will never be eradicated in either the military world or the civilian world because there is an endless supply of creeps (of both sexes) within the human population. We still need to treat it as a crime — not just a matter for civil litigation.

    My mother used to work in the Legal Office on an air base. Her stories were sometimes blood-curdling. There is no excuse for that stuff.

    Note that I did not say “always” in anything I said. Sometimes, stuff happens. I say that because I have seen it. I have seen similar situations in the civilian world – think long business trips and long working days. The bevahiour of groups suggests that there will be affairs. Each individual person takes the decision to have one him or her self.

    Individual couples divorce for their individual reasons. As Tolstoy said, “unhappy families are each unhappy in their own way” — my apologies to Tolstoy if I have messed up the quote. I mentioned that sometimes nothing happens and all is right with the world (which is the scenario you paint above).

    –Andy Jo–

  124. alibelle: “I sometimes actually find myself thinking that the menz brains must actually work differently.”

    According to any number of egg-spurts, they actually do. There are visible morphological differences concerning how much of your brain is comprised of pretty pink goo (women generally have more) vs. greyish-brown goo. If you drop it in formaldehyde the pink turns white, which is why it’s ‘white matter’ and ‘grey matter.’

    I am not sure how this, with the pretty pink goo doing integrated sorts of processing and the nasty grey doing localized processing, accounts for the wanting to fuck everything. It gets even weirder if you believe Dr. Simon Baron Cohen’s ‘Extreme Male Brain’ theory of autism yet also notice that autistic men are disproportionately disinterested in fucking things.

  125. Louise Jones —

    It was not so long ago that women’s work was relegated to all-women professions and all-women workplaces. Men were disallowed from even entering some of these confines. In fact, in a bizarre example of reverse-discrimination, the job of operating-room nurse was confined to women – as if there were no qualified men. We could go on for days about surgeons and god-complexes, but that is neither here nor there.

    Yes… It is possible for one to feel closer to one’s co-workers. Within the set of all offices everywhere, I can say with confidence that affairs happen there. All that I said was that in cases of life-or-death the RISK (not a fact, a risk with a probability of ocurring somewhere between 0 and 100 percent) that emotional bonding will occur is higher. I can honestly say that I do not see any of my co-workers risking their life to save mine – nor have I EVER had the chance to test that hypothesis (and I hope I never have to).

    Yes… It would be irrational to exclude male librarians for crossing paths with female librarians in the stacks, or assume that male librarians would grope the female librarians. Remember also that I said the wives had a point but it was NOT the one they mentioned. They completely missed the plot.

    I also said that we must NOT exclude 1/2 of the population from serving their country.

    –Andy Jo–

  126. I’m told by people much more on top of this than me to be dubious of Simon Baron-Cohen’s autism work. He’s apparently a cherry-picker. (Also, one time he thought one of my college professors was dead when he wasn’t. Awkward!)

  127. Eh, we understand so little about how the brain works that I wouldn’t trust those theories, plus it just seems like it’s an excuse for me to go around randomly fucking anything that looks like a vagina (which can apparently include toasters). Even if it were true that their brains worked differently I’d still expect more from them.

  128. I encourage you to continue to be dubious of Simon Baron-Cohen. He is less annoying to me than Tony Attwood, but he’s still some sort of celebrity with interesting gaps in his work. The gender gap among autistics is probably an issue of diagnostics. It is easier to ignore Simon Baron-Cohen when you realise that he is Sasha Baron Cohen’s cousin, and find that you can’t stop picturing him as ‘Borat.’

  129. Well, it’s demonstrably true about the white/grey matter stuff. We could demonstrate it by plopping our brains down on tables and looking. But the stuff about knowing what those types of tissue really do, well. I have my doubts. Evidently when transsexual people take hormones to transition their respective amounts of grey and pink goo switch over from being normal for their birth sex to normal for their real gender, but I’ve never run across a transsexual person who said they noticed a change in their own cognitive function. I have known plenty of people who’ve noticed changes in their own cognitive function, though.

  130. Andy Jo–
    I think it’s problematic to suggest that there’s something inevitable or natural about men or women turning from a spouse to rely on a coworker while deployed or in other intense situations. When it happens–and it does–it’s not simply a result of men and women being stuck too close together. Relying on coworkers is natural and inevitable, but having that reliance bleed into a spouse-like relationship is not, and I think it usually indicates an underlying problem in the marriage.

    I’ve done the whole life-or-death bonding-with-coworkers thing. It’s bonding. It’s not love nor sexual attraction, and it’s an imperfect substitute for either of those things. It’s described it as a brotherhood for a reason–that’s the best description of the closeness you feel. The men whom I regard as brothers regard me as a sister. (You can tell by the obnoxious pranks.)

    Even if submarine deployments cause extraordinary stress to marriages, the solution isn’t to forbid women on submarines. It’s to encourage the military to find ways to allow communication and face time with family members left at home. The wives have a point in that submarine deployments are hard for marriages, but not in that women coworkers are themselves a threat.

    I understand that you’re describing a phenomenon rather than justifying it, but I think we want to be certain that the solution is clear: preventing women from serving wouldn’t solve the problem or change the problem. So doing so is not merely discriminatory, it’s dumb.

  131. go around randomly fucking anything that looks like a vagina (which can apparently include toasters).

    ZOMG nightmares tonight.

  132. Do men’s brains work differently?
    Maybe.

    Or maybe…..there is a different set of expectations for them?

    If society accepts that “manly men” only think of beer, boobs, sports and food, then are they just living up to that standard?

    What if we set the bar higher?

  133. Honestly, I’m probably going to have nightmares tonight about hot toast coming out from between my legs, so it’s no less than you guys with your vulva toaster talk deserve.

    Louise Jones, I think that’s the whole point of the post. It’s easy to forget that feminism benefits men, but this is a pretty great example of it. And really it might not be a concrete benefit of it to men, but in the end it will help us all be fully actualized human beings. Because we all aspire to be like thegnu. :)

    Also, Fillyjonk, um, score! This post rocks it pretty hard.

  134. @ Louise – I don’t think there’s anything sexist in thinking that there are differences in brain chemistry and workings between men and women. I think there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence (aside from the “hurr hurr men like beer and women like shoes” ones) about how men and women solve problems differently. Moreover, I don’t doubt that some of those differences are from evolutionary changes between the sexes (things women need to be able to think more clearly about to protect offspring, for example). What’s sexist is that assuming that difference is one of rank. Just because my brother and I have slightly different brains doesn’t mean either of us thinks better than the other. We just think differently. We solve some problems differently, and yet there are plenty of things we think about the same way as well (and part of that is from growing up together too, some differences in problem solving can be linked to how one was taught by their parents).

    It makes sense that aside from superficial physical differences, there are other physiological differences between men and women. Again, this doesn’t mean a certain kind of brain is better than another. That would be like saying my brain is better than someone who has synesthesia. Our brains simply work differently, that’s all. Heck, sometimes I wish I had synesthesia. It would be totally cool to taste chocolate every time I read a lowercase h (I knew someone online who claimed that). But it still wouldn’t make my brain any better or worse if I did.

  135. I have a friend who was not only in the Navy, but on a Sub for almost 10 years. He tells me he thinks the rule against women on Subs is stupid. Subs are *tiny* inside (ever been inside one during your local Fleet Week?), and that even if a man and woman wanted to make nookie, their isn’t any private enough place for it. He also told me that if a sailor was going to cheat on his wife, he was going to do it weather or not they were females on the boat with him. If their were no willing women on board, he’d go hook up with someone during shore leave.
    So when I hear women talking about how much they don’t want their husbands serving on Subs with women, I always bring that argument to the table.

  136. We here at Chez Morte (3 adults) would like a vulva shaped toaster. We would like to know if we could combine our Feminist Points in order to receive one? Also? Are the vulva shaped toasters suitable for bagels?

    One of the major reasons I did not join the military upon graduation from high school was that I could not serve on a submarine. My father, an ex-submariner gave me a “reason” I have never been able to forget. If they let women serve on subs? Their tampons would clog up the plumbing. I am not kidding.

  137. Starling — Nothing that I have said indicates that we should ban women from submarines. I copy my last sentence…

    “But does that mean that 1/2 of the population must be locked out of the opportunity to fight for their country? No… ”

    You are right — If there is a lack of trust, there is a problem. Or maybe the spouse is jealous. Or maybe he or she has a reason to be worried. I agree with you that the military needs to address it differently. But this is an imperfect world, so closing our eyes to what MIGHT POSSIBLY (though not necessarily) happen does not help to handle whatever comes of this decision.

    Let’s look at it another way. We can say with confidence that a certain proportion of the poulation is homosexual therefore, we can also say with confidence that there are gay men in the military. There are therefore also gay men in the Navy, and also there are likely gay men on subs. The anti-gay crowd says that having gay men on board would hurt “unit cohesion”, and would make straight men uncomfortable. Well… No. There is NO exploding epidemic of straight men running away with gay men, or of units refusing to work with the gay guy. If we dig hard enough to find a case could we find one? Maybe (you can find pretty much anything if you look hard enough – or you can make up a story), but empirical evidence tells us that gays are more frequently than not accepted in units, and that COs are having to find reasons to KEEP them and seeking not to apply the old “don’t ask don’t tell” BS. This is an example of what NOT to do, because it puts the burden on the gay service member to “pass”, and it gives others a “pass” if they harass him or her. We (as a society through our government) failed to look at what the consequences of the silly-assed idea known as don’t ask don’t tell.

    Back to women. Would a sub turn into an underwater orgy if women were on board? No… Would there be an explosion of infidelity? No. Would there be individual affairs? Yes. You can’t control this behavior in the aggregate. Would the risk be higher on a sub than in the accounting department of a major corporation? I am saying probably so, in the aggregate, but it would differ sub to sub depending upon the makeup of the crew and how the commanding officers deal with these situations (as Vesta pointed out).

    I really still fail to see where we are in disagreement.

    –Andy Jo–

  138. Louise Jones: “If society accepts that “manly men” only think of beer, boobs, sports and food, then are they just living up to that standard?”

    I might be crossing into that unwanted “what about the menz!” territory, but it not only accepts it, but demands and enforces it.

    I remember when I entered high school my older brother took me aside and told me how to properly gender myself, so as to avoid getting beaten up and embarrassing him. I decided to opt out of that one and eventually discovered that the androgynous ‘goth’ look caused people to yell ‘psycho faggot’ at me but not actually touch me so long as I was careful not to get caught alone. I also remember my brother, many years later, getting drunk and crying to me about how fucked up all that was, how shitty it was for me and how everything about his relationships with his girlfriends, manly-man friends, and himself was pretty fucked up during that time.

    I have no idea how all that might have worked out for me if I’d felt I was actually [i]capable[/i] of fitting into the don’t-get-beat-up don’t-embarrass-me behavioral standard prescribed.

  139. Grafton, that’s the thing that really makes it hard for me to believe that the menz brains work differently in any real substantial way that can be measured in everyday life. There are too many different kinds of men, and so many who are really putting up a false front. I also don’t think your comment is being all “but what about the menz,” because this article is about the menz. It was also an interesting parallel with what I’m sure some of us have experienced as women growing up, being told to be “girly.”

  140. I know (or have read, anyway) that there are observable biological differences between male and female brains, but I also know that I see an awful lot of people who look at similar or identical behavior in groups of men and groups of women and then characterize it completely differently in order to fit the notion that Men Are From Omicron Persei 7 and Women Are From Omicron Persei 9.

    For example, in SurveyFail, where the “scientists” looked at the phenomenon of straight women enjoying erotic material featuring two male figures as something bizarre and transgressive that could only be explained by likening it to straight dudes who like “tranny porn” (or whatever highly scienterrific term they used for it).

    Couldn’t it be explained by the same reasoning that porn featuring two women together appealed to heterosexual males? No, it could not. Because men’s brains and women’s brains are too different. QED.

    I’m inclined to believe that software is more important than hardware. Women and men might be running on slightly different hardware, but the operating system is the same and we receive a lot of the same programming. But people will see what they want to believe.

  141. Cath – I’m glad I’m not the only one! I actually spent a few minutes Googling to see if I could find a screen capture of him with his dukes up, so I could turn it into a macro: “These are not the instrument of liberation.”

  142. “Men Are From Omicron Persei 7 and Women Are From Omicron Persei 9.”

    The author is from Fozbeen, planet of reactionary psuedoscience! Whip out your magic ray-gun! Attack wombs at the ready! STOP HIM.

    Alibelle, I’m curious about being told to be girly, and being told not to be ‘too girly’ and what all that crap means for women growing up. I had this weird experience at my old job where one woman was pregnant and didn’t want to know the sex from the ultrasound, and all the other women complained about it endlessly because they couldn’t choose a gendered gift for the baby shower. They actually settled for giving the shower after the baby was born so they could give gendered gifts. And after the (female) baby was born, they teased the mom all the time about girl’s gender-expression — ‘girly’ moms having ‘tomboy’ daughters and not knowing what to do about it, and vice versa, and how the girl would almost certainly grow to be a tomboy just ’cause the mom wasn’t and things always work out awkwardly. WTF?

  143. Huh. A vaginal toaster would come in handy during those late nights when there’s not much to snack on.

    I have two sons, and all they hear from me is how the patriarchy is bullshit, how men are privileged, and how we live in a rape culture. They’re now quite the experts in pointing out sexism, misogyny, objectification, etc. Maybe someday they’ll graduate to Aleks’s level.

    I’m more concerned with their not becoming rape-y assholes than I am with their feeling “okay” about their gender.

  144. Okay, so I seriously think that the next museum that displays “The Dinner Party” (famous feminist art installation, featuring vulvas on everything) should have vulva-shaped toasters in the gift shop – they would be so beautiful!

  145. Tinfoil Hattie,
    I certainly hope your sons treat every woman in their lives better than I’ve treated some in mine. I’m glad that I’m coming across well here, but in the real world I say things that online I stop and erase before hitting submit, and otherwise act in ways that seen from afar (discussing abstractly here, reviewing post-catastrophe) are clearly uncool. Rape or any sort of physical abuse, no no no, I have no such urges and my mom would strike me down with lightning, but I do my share of general douchery, and up until a few years ago I even did it with a smug sense of satisfaction because I thought I was such a goddamn sensitive gentleman.

  146. So many good comments. I’ll only add that I find it particularly funny in the Navy article that so many people assume that they’ve eliminated the possibility of sex by confining a bunch of men together in close quarters for a long period of time.

  147. On brain differences:

    Let us not forget that gender isn’t necessarily binary, therefore brain differences cannot be binary either. If we use the idea that men and women think differently to say there is a right or wrong way to think depending on your gender then it is a dangerous concept. It is more likely that there is a spectrum of ways people think and we all fall somewhere on that spectrum.

  148. Simon Baron-Cohen’s theories only sound reasonable to me if you read his name as Sasha Baron-Cohen and assume he’s performing a comedic skit. Perhaps Sasha suggested the research ideas and his cousin has no sense of humor and assumed he was being serious?

    I agree with Grafton here – men are firmly steered towards the beer/fucking/sports paradigm of manliness by social pressure, and I think any interest they demonstrate in those things (other than fucking which is a basic human drive that most humans, though not all, have) should be viewed with just as much skepticism as women’s supposed automatic preoccupation with shoes. There’s very little that’s “natural” about any of this. Sure, there may be some differences in physiology, but there’s a whole lot of social programming in there too, and if the physiology really was the most important determinent of behavior you wouldn’t have so many androgynous goth boys and tomboyish girls who’d rather play soccer than play with dolls. I don’t think these are examples of people with unusual brains for their sex, they’re more examples of individuals in whom for whatever reasons the programming didn’t entirely take.

  149. Grafton, you seriously don’t even want to get me started on “girly” and “tomboy.” I took a tools and tech class at my university and the Professor was trying to get us to hold hands while one of us turned a crank that would deliver a mild electric shock to us all. I wasn’t interested because while working on a project for the class I had shocked myself already. When I refused he responded with, “Come on Ali, you’re a tomboy, give it a try.” Seriously? I know plenty of boys who would refuse electric shocks. That’s just one example that stands out in my mind. It’s definitely a WTF?!? situation. And it’s pretty much the core of sexism, which killed me because that teacher was constantly trying to not be sexist. *Eyeroll*

  150. That’s just weird. In all the times I’ve applied a mild electric shock to myself, people have said, “Ha-ha!” or “G, you are using your intelligence to be stupid again,” but never, ever, have they said, “Heavens! How manly and dashing!”

    I have been cheated.

  151. *sheepishly admits to never having heard of Sybil Ludington*

    At least in my day, my history textbooks dutifully included some information on famous women and other minorities during each chapter/timeperiod/whatever, but they were always thrown into a special sidebar at the end of the chapter, making them feel REALLY tacked on and just there to be “politically correct”.

    Only a much smaller number of figures made the main textflow.

  152. On brain differences: My friends who study the evolution of behavior and have a neuroscience bent to their research tell me that there’s at least one study reporting that men’s brains have more neurons than women’s, and women’s neurons are more interconnectd than men’s. No idea what that means in terms of function, if anything. bellacoker’s point is a really good one, too, that gender is messy (and sex is, too, for that matter), and I don’t know how fully that has been explored.

    Starling: I wonder how any decent or self-aware man could trot out that ridiculous justification with a straight face.

    Perhaps it’s my bias as a biologist, but the “It’s biology!” claim usually makes me feel that the speaker is ignorant and/or misunderstands biology. It depresses me that I know many biologists and other academics – whom I expect to know better by virtue of their expertise – who trot out that same justification, or make statements conveying comparable lack of awareness.

  153. Any idea what the official exchange rate is between instruments of liberation and vulva toasters?. Reckon i could probably round up a few “crowbars” using my mad ballbuster skillz.

    gnuboy , i know you are banninated but in the vain hope that you might , you know, actually fucking listen to women for a change, here’s the news buddy – it’s not all about you and your penis. Hard to believe i know but seriously, you are the patriarchy.
    There is no comparison between women being raped, harrassed and abused and your ickle hurt feelings when you get called on your privilege.

    thanks for playing though.

  154. “My friends who study the evolution of behavior and have a neuroscience bent to their research tell me that there’s at least one study reporting that men’s brains have more neurons than women’s, and women’s neurons are more interconnectd than men’s.”

    Ok, I must to admit to being enough of a geek that I find that really interesting. Especially since what that suggests is that women are more flexible/creative and men are more efficient/specialized.

    But I do have to follow it up with my main problems with studies like this – or, rather, how they are often spun (usually by non-researchers):

    Firstly, that the brain changes a lot throughout one’s lifetime. Our brains are very different in infancy compared to childhood compared to adolescence compared to adulthood. That’s part of why it’s so powerful, the brain is extremely adaptable.

    Secondly, that kids learn gender a lot earlier than most people think they do. It’s not just that we treat even infants very differently based on what we think we know about their gender – it’s also that a significant portion of children as young as 9 months can not only differentiate between genders, they can also apply that knowledge to imaginative play – and, one assumes, their own behavior as well as social interactions.* And pretty much all children can do this by about the time they start walking/talking. The brain does a hell of a lot of growing in the first few years, and it’s not just a matter of learning early that pink is for girls and blue is for boys. How we socialize and play with children – and how they socialize and play with each other – this stuff could easily have a profound impact on the brain itself.

    So…comparing adult brains doesn’t necessarily tell us a while lot about what is encoded in genetics, gender wise. Although I still think that it’s interesting and useful to study.

    I also have to mention my third pet peeve: since we focus so much on the differences, we often lose sight of the fundamental truth that we are more alike than we are different. Generally speaking, the difference between the average man and the average woman (when it comes to things like intelligence and I’m guessing the brain structure as well) is smaller than the standard deviation among the population overall. It’s not just that these average differences are useless when dealing with individuals, it’s also that they are pretty close to useless when it comes to large groups of people as well. And yet we insist on basing all sorts of decisions on the idea that men’s and women’s brains are wired drastically differently.

    *I don’t remember the name of the study, but it was discussed in the show “The Human Baby.”

  155. I have nothing to add but applause. This was absolutely brillz.

    Oh, and happened to glance at the Schrödinger’s Rapist thread…1,000+ comments? Holy frick, no wonder it was closed! That’s not a thread, it’s a monster!

  156. For my sins, I’ve spent some time on subs. Australian subs have mixed crews, as do Israeli, Swedish etc etc boats. But they didn’t long ago, when I was aboard.

    Being Hi-Tech vessels, they often had civilian contractors on-board. People who where experts on sonars, computer combat systems (my area), various weapons etc. And guess what? Some of these “scumbag civilian contractors” were *gasp* female.

    There is *no* privacy on board subs. But it’s over-rated, as everyone’s lives depend on everyone doing the right thing in an emergency (and for us, that meant “doing what we’re told, instantly, and getting out of the way”). Yes, there were problems with sanitary pads – disposal of waste is not trivial on a sub – but mandatory depo shots before boarding prevented menstruation.

    As regards male vs female neuro-anatomy, autopsies of miscarried children show sexual differentiation in the brain at 26 weeks after conception. There’s more at puberty, but something really interesting happens: trans people whose brains are cross-sexed still get the same increased differentiation, even though they have the wrong hormone mix. So while hormones set the pattern in the womb, they have a different effect later.

  157. “As for the liberty stick…”

    … to continue the metaphor, could we then call vaginas “liberty bells” ?

  158. Ohhhh, I’m SO pleased I found this website a few months ago. I feel like I’m sticking my head into a big comforting bowl of reality trifle everytime I visit – Fan-bloody-tastic stuff.

  159. As far as brain differences go, the thing is that we have no way of knowing whether the differences between the sexes (or genders–I wonder how much actual science has been done to figure out if these differences are sex-related or gender-related, and how one would go about doing that) are something innate, if you will, that happens because of hormones and chemistry and DNA, or if they are a reaction to the environmental conditioning we receive throughout our lives. If men are taught to think and behave one way, and women another, surely that is going to have an effect on our brains, since one of the neat things about brains is how adaptive they are.

    And since it’s impossible to raise even one human being outside any cultural influence, to say nothing of enough of them to constitute a useful sample size for an experiment, there’s really no way to prove it either way.

    But what is proven, over and over and over again, is that any average difference between the sexes will always be smaller and less significant than the range of differences between individuals.

  160. Fillyjonk, this is incredible writing, and a really fitting follow-up to everything that’s been happening here this week. Awesome.

    If women’s worth is only in fuckability, then men are just dumb fuckers. We think better of men. Do you?

    This is henceforth my go-to post for people who accuse feminists of being man-haters. I’ve never seen it spelled out so clearly.

    AnthroK8, I think I would actually rather die than be trapped on board a submarine with hundreds of men deeply marinated in the macho ideal and no way off if it alll started to go wrong. (I’d also be in the navy, which given my anti-authoritarian streak would be…unfortunate) But as Nia pointed out, male soldiers rape female ones on land as well, and no one does anything to help them either. It is so hypocritical for people to pretend that it’s once the women get on a submarine — THAT’s when the problems will start!!!!1

    Before that. If she’s not interested in doing sex with me here now, having a vagina is pretty damn misleading of her. Talk about mixed-signals.

    aleks’ one-liners bring me great joy.

    What strikes me as the important bit is not the state of their marriages, but the fact that the state of their marriages/jealousy/fear of infiedelity is not public business that the workplace/military ought to be basing policies about

    YES

    But, like…what if I want to get implants to appeal to women? Do lesbians not exist in your universe?

    Oh, silly CassandraSays. Lesbianism only exists for men “discussing” male/female interactions as an insult they can throw at any women who are proving insufficiently pliable. The idea that I simply do not and will not ever give a shit about what men think of me (sexually or otherwise), and that all I want from them is to stop making the world unsafe for us and stop opposing measures to make us equal and then just leave me the fuck alone is an unthinkable thought. I cannot exist, and so I do not exist. On with the discussion; the man has more to tell you about yourself!

    Starling, in NCIS (yes, I totally am quoting it as a reference source; I am that person) they say “sailor” a lot, both when speaking of and to men and women.

    I feel like I’m sticking my head into a big comforting bowl of reality trifle everytime I visit

    Lololol. Yes, exactly that.

  161. I promise you, guys, you will not miss out on meeting “the one” by erring on the side of caution here. You will still talk to loads and loads of women in your lives, some of whom will be both attractive and attracted to you, and will make their interest clear. You lose nothing by not talking to a woman when you can’t quite tell if she wants to talk

    This is the key point in the something near what, 1400 posts generated by a message which boils down to, don’t poke someone who doesn’t want to be poked, and don’t tell me you don’t know who they are! I don’t (too many don’ts?) identify with the actual original post so much since there is no mass transit within 5 states of where I live – where I’m from women drive their cars to work! I actually might prefer a woman with a car! The subway/train/bus thing is outside my experience. I will tell you this though, I’ve never had a good relationship that didn’t spark INSTANTLY .. and if it doesn’t, move on bro (I say to myself) Friendships for me don’t go any further, ever. Lightning strikes or it doesn’t. (for me). I probably have many other poor reasons for trying to find the ‘one’, but they hopefully don’t involve violating personal space. That’s just rude. And those arguing that it isn’t .. well, that’s just ruder!

  162. There has been a lot of really interesting work on how sexual differentiation affects the brain during development in male and female fruit flies, which are useful models of neurological development, due to sex-specific protein differences. I’m too worn out after last week to discuss it here because I don’t have the energy to explain how it’s different from “the menz can’t help themselves. it’s biology!”, but anyone interested/of a scientific bent can google “drosophila fruitless”, particularly the mutants paper by Stephen Goodwin. It is really fucking interesting.

  163. Unless of course that “toaster” happens to be a Six or an Eight.

    Damn. Someone beat me to the BSG reference.

    Topic: this post is perfect, FJ. Thank you. I think by reading this blog lately, I’m earning lots of extra Sanity Watchers flex points. Lord knows I need them.

  164. Wow, FJ, right on the mark. I was very nearly distracted from a toasted bagel by the power of your words!

    Thinking about how patriarchy hurts men, I have three male friends who teach either elementary or middle school. All three are shining examples of how men should behave towards women, and all three are married to proud feminists. The one who teaches middle school always jokes about being the only man on staff–he thinks that young kids need good role models, especially of how to behave towards the opposite sex. The sad thing is, that the two who are elementary school teachers have to be very, very careful because of assumptions about how badly men behave. The second grade teacher, for example, never ever hugs students because, as he puts it, a male elementary school teacher is seen as a pedophile until proven otherwise. I remember giving my second grade teacher, Mrs. Byrd, a hug every afternoon when I said goodbye–the fact that I remember her now with such clarity tells you what kind of person she was. My third grade teacher, Mr. Knight, was also amazing…but no hugs. Instead we got little presents for winning academic achievement games…I remember that I once won a kids’ comic book version of Poe’s “The Goldbug” for listing out the most words with oo’s in them. The point is, kids need role models of both genders. Period.

    I hope no one ever told Mr. Knight he was a weirdo for teaching third grade instead of being a lawyer or an accountant. I bet they probably did, because I’m willing to bet there were even less male elementary school teachers in the 80s than today. He was one of only two that I remember at my elementary school, the other being the awesome! art teacher.

    One of the things that we most want elementary school children to learn is kindness and compassion toward other human beings! School systems both want male teachers and then are slightly suspicious of their life choices because they have freely entered into a poorly-paid “women’s profession.” In all three cases, these men chose careers as educators because that’s what THEY WANTED. That’s what we’re supposed to do, right? Find the right career for our temperaments and values.

  165. Emmy: I wrote a HS history paper analyzing my school textbook. My 16yo self thought it was so witty for observing that the women-and-minorities-in-the-sidebar were figuratively and literally marginalized. *hollow laughter* (By that point, I really wanted to be gone from there.)

    Caitlin: Yes, I was thinking about that too. I expect my reaction was “if the military can be so demonstrably bad at dealing with rape and harassment when the parties are *not* in a cigar-shaped box underwater, how unreliable will they be when the parties are?”

    My dad was a career USAF officer, and can’t see him tolerating inappropriate/ illegal behavior in his shop. Much as I trust and love my dad, I wouldn’t want to have to rely on the individual officer when I should be able to trust the chain of command all the time, no matter what.

  166. Because someone asked upthread… The US DoD uses the term “warfighter” at present to refer generically to service members in the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force. By service, I believe it’s soldier, sailor, Marine and (yes) airman.

  167. “Warfighter” sounds really, really… Bush-era. OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM! Is staffed by WARFIGHTERS.

    Other things it sounds like:
    A monster truck smackdown.
    A comic book series that eventually got dropped by Marvel.
    Something my brother would have come up with to name his Lego creations when he was about four.

    I have no illusions regarding the purpose of a military, but there’s something not quite right about the idea of some WARFIGHTERS in a UN Peacekeeping force in Kosovo.

    I’d settle for servicemen and women or servicemembers, if it were me deciding.

  168. Alibelle, I’m 40 years old, went to a progressive-to-a-fault elementary school and never, until today, heard of Sybil Ludington. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.

  169. I don’t know. The “but it hurts men, too!1!!” argument is sexist in of itself: yeah, sure, women are raped, murdered, discriminated against, have their self-esteem eroded, their sexuality exploited, their gentalia sewed shut – but the REAL kicker is that men are being told they’re stupid.

    I mean, I get where you’re coming from, and I know it’s tempting to use this argument, because of course men are only hurting themselves by being sexist assholes, but how feminist is a man going to be if he needs to convinced that there’s something in it for him if he stops objectifying, demeaning and raping women?

    It seems like a such double-edged sword to me, a way to draw attention away from the real problem, which is how what men do hurts women, rather than how it also happens to hurt themselves a little.

  170. “WARFIGHTERS! FIGHTING WAR!”

    “Um, isn’t this meant to be an operation to win over hearts and minds and restore freedom* to an oppressed country*?”

    “….WARFIGHTERS! FIGHTING. WAR!”

    *I hope yous can hear the irony

  171. I hold out hope that the feminist movement will send me a waffle iron that creates waffles with a complete diagram of female reproductive anatomy for my 50th birthday. (The ovaries tend to soak up maple syrup really well).

    When I’m 50, SuperHeroPrincess will be 14, and I’m sure this will be instructive (and not the first time she will have seen a complete diagram of female reproductive anatomy).

    Kidding aside, FJ, this was amazing.

    And when it comes to the question of “WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU WANT TO STAY MARRIED TO A GUY WHO YOU THINK WOULD SEXUALLY HARASS ANOTHER WOMAN?”

    There are many, many reasons why people stay married. Or together, even if they aren’t married. That’s a good question. But the reasons why people (not only heterosexual couples) stay together are complicated, illogical, irrational, and yet, most often, the best they can do in the moment, given how they are viewing their options.

  172. Also, re: Sybil Ludington (who I also had never heard of):

    She rode 40 miles, more than twice the distance of Paul Revere, into the damp hours of darkness. She is also known as the “female Paul Revere”.

    She managed to defend herself against a highway man with her father’s musket.

    Sweet mother of god. She rode twice as far and DEFENDED HERSELF AGAINST A HIGHWAYMAN and SHE is the FEMALE Paul Revere? Get the fuck away from me, Western society, I can’t even.

    (I have that quote in my head now about how no one ever said Bob Dylan was “the female Joni Mitchell”.)

  173. Bush and Co. not do irony, Caitlin. Did you not see him in his flightsuit? Does Cheney look like a man with a functional sense of humor that doesn’t involve torturing something to you?

    (Someone posted a picture of Bush’s Mission Accomplished landing in flightsuit at Jezebel and wow, did not need to see that with the package all framed. Blech. Between that and the Ralph Lauren Photoshop disasters I’m ready to lose my breakfast.)

  174. And Caitlin, I had that same reaction. Why the heck isn’t Sybil Ludington in the history books and having songs written about her and Paul Revere as a frickin’ side note?

  175. then characterize it completely differently in order to fit the notion that Men Are From Omicron Persei 7 and Women Are From Omicron Persei 9.

    See, this is why we missed you, AE!

  176. Cassandra, I thank god every day that I have never seen Bush in a flightsuit and have only a hazy idea what Cheney even looks like. Those seem more like blessings now than ever.

    liz, seriously. If we go by the wiki articles (which is obvs not peer-reviewed) she rode for longer, did it aged 16, defended herself against a highwayman, and did the whole thing spontaneously rathered than because she was ordered to. She also did it all by herself, which Paul Revere definitely didn’t. So why in under god is he immortalised and she mostly forgotten? Could it because he is *dun dun dun* a man? Who can say?

    (Also, please note that on her entry, which opens with a comparison to him, it says that she was congratulated by friends, neighbours and George Washington, while on his entry her ride is dismissed in one sentence in the “Myths and Legends of the Midnight Ride” section with “the only evidence for Ludington’s ride is an oral tradition”. Because sure, the deeds of men and women are written down completely proportionately and there’s no way such an impressive act would have been poorly recorded. Why, my history lessons were positively full of the stories of women who performed acts equal to or more impressive than those of men, particularly when the women in question were young, poor, women of colour, disabled, trans or gay. We sometimes had difficultly fitting in stories of straight well-off ablebodied cis white men around them.)

  177. I know that no post can be every post, but I don’t understand why you mention it. I’m basically trying to say that the argument is anti-feminist, in which case it surely has no place in any post? Or is it the basic position you disagree with?

  178. Men’s and women’s brains may be “wired differently”, and we each may have different impulses, desires and needs.
    But societal conditioning influences whether or not we act on our urges and what we consider to be “normal” or acceptable behaviour.

    The messages I see being sent to men are that it is “normal” for them to think only with their dicks because that is just how they are. And it is “normal” to be attracted to female bodies, even if those bodies are only 13, and acceptable to act on those urges because, really, you can’t help yourself. You can’t be held responsible.
    And it’s not really rape if you “seduced” her by getting her drunk and high.
    And if a 13 year old is willing, then it is OK to take advantage of her immaturity, because a “real man” wouldn’t turn down sex with a female (if she’s hot).
    And having women on the sub, or otherwise in close proximity to you, is going to bring out your “natural” urge to hit it with your crowbar.

    I find this depressing. And now I’m hungry for waffles.

  179. “Warfighter” sounds really, really… Bush-era. OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM! Is staffed by WARFIGHTERS.

    Other things it sounds like:
    A monster truck smackdown.
    A comic book series that eventually got dropped by Marvel.
    Something my brother would have come up with to name his Lego creations when he was about four.

    I cannot believe “euphemism for penis” didn’t make this list. (Although I’m not sure “liberty stick” can be topped.)

  180. If I’m being an asshole, BTW, feel free to call me on it. It’s not my intention, though – I’m genuinely confused – but I’m not a native speaker and know that I can come off as cold without meaning to.

  181. Lisa, Feminism is about equality for both genders. And sexism massively hurts men, having an ideal standard of how any gender is supposed to behave is bad. Rape is not the ONLY feminist issue, it’s just a huge one. I mentioned upthread being called a tomboy and how that should mean I was willing to take an electric shock, how does that translate to men? If you can’t take an electric shock you’re a ‘pussy’? Men’s issues intersect with women’s issues, they don’t stand completely seperate all by themselves. And I think you could find some connection between men raping women and the standard that’s been set up for men to be hyper manly and sexual.

    Re: All the Sybil Ludington stuff, I’m so glad I could introduce her to more people. I just learned about her like last month, and it certainly wasn’t in my American History class. I had to search out a book about women during the American Revolution to find her.

    Also I remember those little sidebars, I think that sends a nice message as well, “Those Feminazis wanted women in their books, but we know they won’t read through and see that we included women. Let’s point it out to their little female brains.” Gag.

  182. Oh also, she tricked a group of british soldiers trying to attack her house on night when her father was gone by having all her brothers and sisters turn on the lights in their house and march around with rifles on their shoulders. :)

  183. I hate to admit it, but I’ve heard the term “warfighter” enough that its impact is muted. Kind of like the Department of Homeland Security, a phrase I’ve always thought sounded like it belonged in the Empire Strikes Back but one that no longer makes me dissolve into giggles.

    The naval rank equivalent of a private is a seaman (well, a private first class; an E-2), and the Air Force equivalent is airman, which doesn’t strike me as quite so bizarre. Since I believe your E-2s are addressed by rank + last name, it means that the female sailors and airmen are addressed as Seaman Smith or Airman Smith, which would be desperately weird.

    Makes the Army seem normal, almost.

  184. I’m basically trying to say that the argument is anti-feminist, in which case it surely has no place in any post? Or is it the basic position you disagree with?

    I’m not Fillyjonk, but yeah, it’s the basic position. I don’t think it’s anti-feminist to point out that Patriarchy Hurts Men Too — it’s anti-feminist to make it all about how it hurts men, when obviously, the lion’s share of the damage is being done to women. But you know, patriarchy does lots of different kinds of damage to all genders, and the fact that some are more egregious than others doesn’t mean the less egregious ones never deserve a mention.

    For instance: Patriarchy supports rape. Patriarchy also supports women feeling compelled to get cosmetic surgery. Should we never discuss cosmetic surgery– or body image issues at all — because that’s clearly not as big a problem as rape? What about men who get beaten up for failing to conform to gender expectations — do we discuss that because it’s rooted in misogyny, or ignore it because it’s men being physically hurt? Etc.

    Patriarchy is a truckload of suck. We can be pissed about everything it does to hurt human beings, including how it encourages us all to have shamefully low expectations of straight men (and forget that gay men exist), without shortchanging anyone.

  185. I’m not Fillyjonk

    But since you’re gchatting with me in another window I think it can be assumed that you speak for me. :)

    Lisa, if it helps, the phrase “same cultural bullshit” in the post is linked to a great post by Ampersand, who is almost always pitch-perfect in saying “what about men” without saying “WHAT ABOUT THE MENZ??”

    Making feminism about men only would, I agree, totally warp feminism and limit its effectiveness. But as long as it’s true that sexist expectations and norms hurt men as well as women, making feminism about women only does the same thing.

    You can’t unwarp only one side of a dented coin. Feminism can’t solve patriarchy by refusing to look at huge portions of the problem.

  186. But Fillyjonk, every time you link to Alas, god rains money on a porn king, right before killing a kitten. So how can we trust Barry’s well-reasoned arguments?

    Just wanted to get that out there before someone else did. Please don’t make me dig up links to the 90 other times we’ve had that conversation here.

  187. jennygadget, slythwolf: Excellent points, all. I would add that the medical and research perspectives will also differ, and the interests of the people who run studies will have a very important impact on how they spin it. Not to mention the pressure to come up with papers that will generate attention, regardless of merit. If there’s any truth to the idea that humans innately diferentiate everything, it’s really really impressive that we’ve been able to use logic to realize that those differences often don’t matter, and that people like FJ can articulate that so brilliantly.

    I think one of the points I wanted to make last night was that even if there are some detectable differences that turn out to be “real” between men’s and women’s brains, there’s a long damned way to go from what happens among neurons to what happens in society, and “it’s biology!” is a claim that just doesn’t hold water. (At least, to me!)

    Also, jennygadget: thanks for mentioning the show where you saw some of that info; I’m finishing up my dissertation right now but would love to track it down when I have more time.

    Caitlin: I believe in the power of model systems, but I have to say, Drosophila are hugely different from us, and I’d urge caution in how we try to carry over information from them to us. (This is one of my soapbox issues; I know you weren’t saying that Drosophila Are Like Us, but it’s something I argue with my coworkers about a lot and it’s almost reflexive for me to say something, for those who do say that sort of thing.)

  188. I assume tomorrow’s entry will be about the Pepsi I-phone app? I love their attitude ‘of course its discriminatory but we meant it to be funny’ so its okay. right?

  189. I love the idea of “The Midnight Ride of Sibyl L.”.

    Awesome post, as always. And I read through all the comments, so I have nothing new to add, except to warn people that KY jelly isn’t tasty even on Vulva toast.

  190. In my own experience (anecdata alert) having a neurological condition (multiple sclerosis) that has caused some disability has made me more aware of the plasticity of the brain. I have been working with a physical therapist to try to make myself less right-handed, because my right hand is numb and weak and I drop things and break them all the time. And while it is extremely difficult to change something like which of your hands is dominant, I have found that repeated mindful practice has made it possible (well, maybe not to *change* my handedness, but to change my automatic responses). Not only that, but it has gotten easier over time, which makes me wonder if I am perhaps forming new neuron connections in my brain?

    Which is all to say that even if men’s brains were radically different, which I don’t believe is true, it is not necessarily the case that saying “I can’t help it, that’s just how my brain works!” is a valid defense of bad behavior.

  191. And let me be clear that I don’t think that trying to change your handedness is a good idea; I think my brain is willing to work with me on this because there is a clear reason for it, unlike when children used to be forced to be right-handed because left-handedness was “of the Devil.” Goodness knows if I hadn’t dropped numerous glass thingies that break into umpty-trillion pieces, I wouldn’t be trying this.

  192. When men and women work together, men lose contreol of their evil penises of DOOM.Therefore, the only way to keep the women safe is to not nallow them to work. Everybody knows that!

    The walking vagina-temptations have to be locked away from the evil penises of DOOM.There is no other way. After all, we all know that no man could ever be expected to keep his evil penis of DOOM from raping one of those walking vaginas. They have no control over its evilness! It’s like one of those evil alien-posession, only there is no way to get rid of it!

    Therefore, it is all up to the women to keep their walking vagina-selves away from the men. If that means women not being allowed to go anywhere men are, well, that’s just the price they pay for being safe. The only reason we try to keep them locked up in their houses with no choice is because we want to stop rape. No other reason! Why are you mad at us? We are just trying to protect you!

    And really, if you insist on going out and working and interacting with men anyway, well than really, it’s your own fault that you get raped. You know men can not control the evil penis of DOOM. How dare you put them into a position where they have to even try! Don’t youunderstand how hard it is to fight the evil penis of DOOM and lose? How can you force all the poor men to live with the guilt? Isn’t it bad enough that they have to spend their entire live with a penis of DOOM?

  193. Lisa – how the fuck is “patriarchy hurts everyone” antifeminist?

    On the Paul Revere thing – the research I did once upon a time suggested Revere was actually not all that important on the actual night of April 18th (my birthday!). He was one cog in a big wheel, really, and the primary reason he is remembered is that he was famous for other things and well-connected (though I think he died broke?) so his name was still known years later.

    Also perhaps Longfellow found it easier to rhyme Revere than Dawkins or Ludington. (Longfellow’s “Tales of the Wayside Inn” which included the big poem about Revere is key to the spreading of the legend of Revere and the Midnight Ride, and this was around the 100 year centennial of the Revolution, in the late 1800s, during a big wave of nationalist fervor in the wake of the Civil War, so it was a lot more about romanticizing the past than recording history.)

    Also, yanno, male.

    DRST

  194. They’re both instruments of liberation and made of doom. They’re Schrodinger’s cock. Certainly that seems to be how men wish us to believe they experience their own genitalia, as a constant surprise that it’s impossible to plan for or around.

  195. but how feminist is a man going to be if he needs to convinced that there’s something in it for him if he stops objectifying, demeaning and raping women?

    Here’s the thing: there are tons and tons of men out there who are never going to identify as feminists or even come close to it. But I think it’s possible that those men might be convinced to stop objectifying, demeaning, or raping women for utterly selfish reasons — and I’d rather they did stop, period. FJ is addressing the troglodytes on other threads who specifically CAN’T be arsed to care about not hurting women unless they get a cookie. They *already* don’t think it’s worthwhile to give a shit about women. FJ’s post says, essentially, Well, if you only give a shit about yourself in the first place, maybe you don’t realize that this bullshit we’re complaining about makes you look bad too. Therefore even if you’re some selfish git, you should STILL want women to be treated better. (You selfish git.)

  196. Certainly that seems to be how men wish us to believe they experience their own genitalia, as a constant surprise that it’s impossible to plan for or around.

    CassandraSays, this is my new favorite saying ever.

  197. “Patriarchy thinks you’re fucking stupid.”

    Brilliant post, and I especially love how this point boils it down. Sure, it might feel great to coast through life knowing that your penis simultaneously opens nearly every door of opportunity for you AND is a built-in scapegoat when you just can’t muster up enough self-control to stop yourself from groping a woman, ignoring a “No,” or cheating on your wife. But the flip side of that is, you accept yourself as nothing but a walking, brainless penis. How are feminists seen as the bad guys when we demand more than that from men?

    Also, Grafton, thank you for this: “…recognizing that it’s your fault means seeing your own power. No?” That…has just changed how I view every mistake I have ever made or will make. Wow. Thanks.

  198. Cassandrasays, um, I might love you. I’m now picturing men in suits with calenders writing in “10:00 sudden erection will require me to fondle assistant, then meeting with the man in charge, 10:30.” Or another disturbing image, penises as infants, crying and such.

  199. I confess – I did not read all of the comments because I’m avoiding the douchebaggery above, but I will read them later, I am sure.
    I mostly wanted to post because I am SO glad to hear that they’re finally looking to let women on subs, but also incredibly pissed for the reasoning people are using to fight against it.
    My husband is in Public Affairs in the US Army, and if anyone else has ever heard anything about public affairs, they may have seen the same things I have – many of the people are lecherous and some marriages don’t last through a deployment, and barely any make it through without damage – and my husband has talked about all of the people he knows who were harassed while they were deployed or even here in the States while working. It’s awful.
    However, my husband and I got married when I was 18 and he was 22. He was gone from a week after we got married until 1.5 years later, and we only saw each other a total of 25 days during that time. He never cheated, and I trusted him not to cheat, even though he worked with some ridiculously beautiful women.

    The thing is: even if you hear stories about the harassment and affairs and indecency, if you cannot trust the person you are married to or in a relationship with, it is NOT other people’s fault if the person you are married to or in a relationship with violates your relationship to harass someone or cheat on you. It is your significant other’s choice to take those actions. If they can’t handle being around the opposite sex without doing something indecent, then something is not right with them.

    That’s all. It just drives me crazy when people act like women are at fault for men cheating, or vice-versa. It’s a choice.

  200. Alibelle – You know I’m willing to cut teenage boys some slack on the “holy shit what is it doing, not now, this is not the time!’ front, but I really do think that grown men should have grown accustomed to things by a certain point and learned to work around the startling fact that arousal happens.

  201. “Listen my children, and let’s not quibble…” ::grimaces::

    That would be a really cheesy opener, right? Just confirming.

  202. Certainly that seems to be how men wish us to believe they experience their own genitalia, as a constant surprise that it’s impossible to plan for or around.

    See, now I’m imagining the male equivalent of menstrual product commercials. With some chipper announcer saying “Don’t let your ERECTIONS get in the way of your life! Try duct tape!” (or whatever. I don’t know. I don’t got a man part.)

  203. “Don’t let your ERECTIONS get in the way of your life! Try duct tape!”

    You would not have said that if Feminism wasn’t about hating men.

  204. Yes, there were problems with sanitary pads – disposal of waste is not trivial on a sub – but mandatory depo shots before boarding prevented menstruation.

    Am I the only one who finds the concept of forcing women to undergo mandatory hormone maniuplation to be extremely disturbing? Worse still, it’s mandatory hormone manipulation TO SOLVE A TRASH PROBLEM. Do they also advocate Lupron shots to stop men from having nocturnal emissions and creating laundry problems?

    Also, have they never heard of using cloth pads or menstrual cups? Enforcing the usage of those seems like a much more reasonable solution than attempting to override a chunk of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis. Not to mention that about half of women will still menstruate even with Depo, and that some women will bleed more heavily because of it… but why use logic when we’ve got pharmaceuticals?

  205. A Sarah:

    A story that is fictionalized to prove a point is called a fable, and a story that is even more fictionalized is called a fibble.
    I am going to talk about Ludington, Sibyl.

  206. Re: Menstrual pads and the like
    I am absolutely opposed to anybody forcing anybody through a hormone treatment they do not want. Especially if it is for “convinience” sake.
    That said, My life has become so much easier since I started taking the pill without breaks. No three to four days of agony every three weeks. But not everybody has (suspected) endometriosis, so I wouldn’e expect people to do the same just because it has helped me.

  207. LOL! Well, criminy, aleks, I didn’t mean the sticky part of the duct tape would be in direct contact with… erm… that is… it’s just that I was envisioning some harness type jobber. Just because one can make ANYTHING out of duct tape, you know? So I figured one could probably make some sort of Erection Management System.

  208. my penis is an instrument of liberation, and he gets no respect. :)

    You know what’s an instrument of liberation?

    A pen is.

    /so sorry
    //The hammer is my instrument of liberation

  209. Army men are really scared of vaginas and the horrible things they can do. I read in BUST a while back that in New York women who were in the guard had to take a pregnancy test every six months or so, and I think if they were pregnant they were immediately discharged. Hormone injections taken willingly can be awesome, but forcing them on people when we’re still learning the effects they can have on some people is ridiculous.

    Though, I’m honestly terrified of men and their crying baby penises now thanks to Cassandrasays, so I guess it’s only fair.

  210. FJ, that’s marvelous! “Fibble” = LOVE.

    (I’m… perhaps… a bit… unenlightened as to the… er… meter there. But no matter. I’ll figure it out.)

    (Hey, is it meter or metre? Google is no help.)

  211. I liked what Aleks and Griffen had to say, but this –

    Don’t worry, we’ll send you the manual, it has pop-up pictures.

    – I actually laughed until I couldn’t breathe then did that wheezy whistling intake of not enough breath thing; eyes hurt.

    being seen as having a thinking brain and the ability to make choices (in this area only, of course — otherwise they know what’s best for the rest of us) would actually make them accountable.

    This is why “men can’t cook” and “men can’t do housework” and all that other stuff, too. It works really well, and women help enforce it. Including women who say the are feminists. Hell, I have enforced some of it from time to time – such as being in charge of a social life, mainly.

    @Morte: Perhaps they can issue Keepers and Mooncups to all female sailors.

    @Lauren: And yet, Viagra.

    @Fillyjonk: Excellent post. Thank you. Someone else once said “Chauvinist men do a better job of misandry than feminists ever could.” I think it was lj user biascut.

  212. Yeah, Will Saletan does have that “I am a paragon of rationality, and aren’t I clever?” thing down cold. This Polanski article gave me the biggest WTF?!? yet from his articles. (It’s like it was such a fun little logic game that he doesn’t notice what he is SAYING about, you know, a real actual children traumatized by rape.)

    But I can’t hate on him too much, because occasionally, he does say something in a clever way that makes me go, “I’m glad someone gets that and said it.” Up today on Slate, in response to a study in which the authors’ conclusion was that boys shouldn’t be vaccinated for HPV because, since girls should all be getting it, the boys won’t need it:

    “In other words, boys don’t have to get vaccinated for the same reason they don’t have to wash dishes, do laundry, buy birth control, or think about other people in general: Girls will do it for them.

    Why do HPV vaccines work better in girls than in boys? Because they were designed for and tested in girls. It’s true that HPV affects girls more than boys, but the same can be said of pregnancy. There’s still a male in the equation somewhere. Boys certainly share the pleasure. Why not share the responsibility? And what about that infant respiratory condition? Shouldn’t men do their part to prevent it?”

    This is also the kind of thing where I’m glad a man says it, because a woman who said it would just be being a worked-up feminist, so why listen to her? (Sigh.)

  213. I used to take Depo and it’s evil. If I was on a sub full of men after a shot of Depo I would kill all of them and giggle. I had PMS for the 3 years I was on the stuff.

    It seems to me that it would be more dangerous to have women on Depo on subs than potential plumbing problems. Or at least it would be more dangerous if it was me.

  214. Hormone injections, or the implant, make me a raving psycho hosebeast. I begged my doctor in tears to remove the implant because it made me even more insane than the pill did. Urgh.

  215. Men are our natural allies, not our enemies. The trick is to convey that to them.

    Men may listen to this crazy-talk about feminism, but the cultural force of misogyny is loud and strong. They hear us say, “You jerks, stop it,” but they also see the movies and hear songs and read books that suggest a completely opposite viewpoint: that masculine men do certain things, and that real women (as opposed to Humorless Bitch Feminists like ourselves) appreciate the behavior we call demeaning and oppressive. I think that’s why some of the guys on the other thread kept asking, “But what if the woman I want to talk to is different?” What they were really saying: “Aren’t you feminists an outlier population? Don’t most women agree with what I’ve been told my whole life?”

    What FJ has done is offer them something they can evaluate from their lived experience. They don’t know whether to listen to us or to all those women who love Tucker Max. But we can say, “Look, their viewpoint of the world implies this about us (something you can’t identify as true or false) and this about you (which you can identify as true or false).” By expanding the discussion of patriarchy to things that men themselves experience, we give skeptics the tools to evaluate our arguments.

    Yes, that’s irrelevant if we want to focus only on women. But what we identify as rape culture is not simply a feminist problem. It demeans men as well as women. It is a driving force in the homophobic behavior that cost Matthew Shepard his life. It has economic and cultural costs. It perverts justice and injures children. (It is not responsible for swine flu, last I checked. But just wait.) What we are talking about is a blight on the entire population, not 51%. It’s enforced and perpetuated by the entire population. So recruiting the others whose lives it has affected is simply common sense. It doesn’t imply that what they’ve suffered is more important than what we’ve suffered. But it reminds them–and reminds us–that in the fight against a cultural tradition that devalues dignity and freedom, we should all be allies.

  216. Not to mention, Lauren, that not even all women with endometriosis get relief from the Pill, or from Lupron for that matter. Why, it’s almost as though medications work differently in individual women!

    (OT: I have endo too, so while I think it’s great that continuous BPC works well for you, I am also really frustrated with the general attitudes toward endo treatment. It’s really rather medieval. I like not being in pain too, but I also like having an alternative that includes preserving hormone functionality. Some women don’t care, and others may prefer to turn off their hormones, but I disapprove of the way it’s seen as a universal solution.)

  217. Ailbhe, don’t you see? Viagra is the natural progression of things when you have an evil penis of DOOM. After it has controled your life from the beginning of puberty, when it suddenly doesn’t anymore, you don’t know what to do with yourself. Clearly, men who take Viagra to give their evil penis of DOOM back control over their lives are clearly suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. They have been in captivity for so long, they grew attached to their captors (Emotionally, I mean. Obviously physical attachment is the root of the entire problem.)

  218. Someone asked waaaay up-thread if adultery is still illegal according to the Uniform Code of Military Justice: it is.

    KH – there is a department concerned with servicemember health, it’s called “Warfighter Performance”. Penis euphemism indeed.

    Now I’m going to check my kitchen is clear of appliances resembling vulvas, I don’t want my husband getting electrocuted when his manly liberation stick compels him to stick it in anything resembling ladybits.

  219. Loved the article and the ensuing discussion. Syd’s comments on elementary school teachers and the Louise/Amy Jo exchange stood out a lot for me.

    And then this from Starling:

    “Men may listen to this crazy-talk about feminism, but the cultural force of misogyny is loud and strong. They hear us say, “You jerks, stop it,” but they also see the movies and hear songs and read books that suggest a completely opposite viewpoint: that masculine men do certain things, and that real women (as opposed to Humorless Bitch Feminists like ourselves) appreciate the behavior we call demeaning and oppressive. I think that’s why some of the guys on the other thread kept asking, “But what if the woman I want to talk to is different?” What they were really saying: “Aren’t you feminists an outlier population? Don’t most women agree with what I’ve been told my whole life?”

    I can’t speak for other guys, but for me, yeah, that sounds exactly like my experience.

    -Dan

  220. @Jennygadget Thanks for bringing up the information about how early interaction can have a profound effect on the brain and how it works later on in adult life. I knew I had read something similar some time ago, but my searching hasn’t brought anything up.

  221. “As regards male vs female neuro-anatomy, autopsies of miscarried children show sexual differentiation in the brain at 26 weeks after conception.”

    That doesn’t surprise me. I don’t doubt that there average neurophysiological differences between the sexes, I just think that they aren’t all going to turn out to be what we think they are. Case in point – the one big neurological difference between male and female infants/toddlers that every mother I know swears by, that is in fact documented, and that is extremely unlikely to be influenced by culture in any way: girls reach developmental milestones earlier than boys. (on average, of course)

    Every single one of the 9 month olds I mentioned in my previous post were female. (At least, that’s what the one study found.) About a third of the female population, so about a sixth of the population overall. And I’m guessing this has as much to do with how they conducted the test as it does with when kids start to recognize gender. The ability to engage in imaginative play is one of those milestones that girls reach earlier than boys. (again, on average)

    “So why in under god is he immortalised and she mostly forgotten? Could it because he is *dun dun dun* a man? Who can say?”

    Well…I would guess it might have something to do with Paul Revere being a fairly prominent member of the community while she was not – but then, that’s also related to him being a man…so, yeah.

    “Not only that, but it has gotten easier over time, which makes me wonder if I am perhaps forming new neuron connections in my brain?”

    From what I understand about how the brain works: yes. And probably losing old ones as well – the ones that used to tell you other hand to do the reaching. Interesting fact: younger teens have more neuron connections than adults. As you develop into an adult, your brain starts to favor certain neuropathways and loses some of the ones that it doesn’t favor (all based on feedback, presumably).

  222. “But Lauren, what about those that are ‘instruments of liberation’ …”
    When we perform the Freedom Symphonies, we’ll still have to seat them behind the tubas, Lu.

    There’s no room in the string section, not even behind the world’s smallest violin.

  223. I’m a former female sailor (USS Roosevelt) and I have to say that on ships, women are just as bad as men when it comes to, um, well, impropriety. You’d be surprised at the number of married women who come home from deployment pregnant (who weren’t pregnant before they left.)

    My husband is still in the Navy, and honestly, if I can’t trust him to be around other women, we have bigger problems. Besides, if he’s wanting to cheat, there are plenty of ports even if there aren’t women on his ship.

  224. Men may listen to this crazy-talk about feminism, but the cultural force of misogyny is loud and strong. They hear us say, “You jerks, stop it,” but they also see the movies and hear songs and read books that suggest a completely opposite viewpoint: that masculine men do certain things, and that real women (as opposed to Humorless Bitch Feminists like ourselves) appreciate the behavior we call demeaning and oppressive.I think that’s why some of the guys on the other thread kept asking, “But what if the woman I want to talk to is different?” What they were really saying: “Aren’t you feminists an outlier population? Don’t most women agree with what I’ve been told my whole life?”

    And that is the primary reason, other than the please-don’t-get-in-the-way-of-another-woman-making-a-living-for-herself one, I believe it so necessary to challenge women who only blame other women for male transgressions while simultaneously failing to challenge men involved in said transgressions (see upthread for long-winded initial argument).

    If their evasion of accountability is reinforced by other women, men will continue attempting to evade accountability.

    A story that is fictionalized to prove a point is called a fable, and a story that is even more fictionalized is called a fibble.
    I am going to talk about Ludington, Sibyl.



    whoa.
    *genuflects*

  225. I hate what gnu said, and almost hate to waste a bit of this thread on him, but I want to say it anyways.

    How some guy thinks talking to some girl about not plastering on make-up is feminist is beyond me. I’ve read studies about how women who wear makeup get a job they’re applying for at an alarmingly higher rate than women who don’t. How do you know what’s empowering for a woman and what isn’t, you aren’t that person?

    I wear a little bit of makeup – I look younger than I am and it does help sometimes. But I am a lazy girl and sometimes I get razzed by my family in those time I don’t wear makeup, and I’m also one in the process of trying to love myself the way I am, so attention brought to that that pisses me off, too – it’s all ready a can’t win. The important thing for me is that I am navigating this world, with one restriction, I don’t need a man telling me his wonderful advice on hwo to solve the problem when really all he’s offering is another restriction…goody now there are TWO sets of rules…isn’t life EASIER NOW! He just doesn’t see it that way because…HE’S NOT A WOMAN AND DOESN’T NECESSARILY KNOW
    WHAT IT FEELS LIKE.

    I’ve met so many guys like him, who think they’re so above it all and lives for women would just be so much better if they could learn the lessons he’s lived. I say “it works for you, dude, happy for ya…don’t be offended if I say it doesn’t work for me.” I had to comment on Gnu because I know people like him, oh lord do I.

  226. MA,
    From a guy’s perspective, girls (I say girls because this is from long ago) are being brainwashed to do all these silly things to themselves and don’t know how great they naturally are, and some of the pressure is supposed to be to look good for guys right? so it’s our duty to tell them that we like them just the way they are and they don’t need to cover or cut themselves. And just maybe she’ll like me for appreciating and cluing her in to her own natural beauty. Seemed to make sense at the time.

    With the advantage of 10 lonely years of retrospect and regrets, I realize that that’s patronizing and presumptions as all get out, it’s acting like her babysitter, that she’s a fully actualized person who gets to decide what’s important to her and evolve on her own.

  227. Aleks, I understand the good intentions that certain guys have behind telling women that they don’t need to wear make-up for guys, that guys like you appreciate them just as they are. But if I don’t wear make-up because you told me you like me better without it, that’s still doing something for you. It apparently doesn’t occur to a lot of men that there are many women who make decisions entirely independent of what men will think, women who just like wearing make-up, or saw their mothers wearing it and figured that’s what you do when you’re an adult or thought, “Wow, I am so not going to bother with all that hassle when I grow up,” or saw their mothers not wearing it and followed suit or thought, “Hey, maybe I’d like to try this.”

    I also tend not to take men who have a comment on women’s grooming habits too seriously because I know very few men who remotely know anything about the beauty process, so their critiques of women’s appearance are often way, way, way off the mark. I have to laugh when men tell me things like “You’re lucky you don’t need to wear make-up” when I’m actually wearing a FULL FACE of make-up, but I’ve applied it such that it looks natural. If men don’t know what women are actually doing to themselves to look a certain way or not look a certain way, they really ought to just STFU. It would be like me knowing nothing about football deciding that I could make an analysis of the plays.

  228. @liz. I noticed but I didn’t want to hear the 6 or 8 jokes again (not your fault, but a concern of nonetheless). It’s not only nerdy, it leaves out 3s. And what about the President’s assistant, that was a toaster too. There, I pre-empted the Battlestar Galactica references and acknowledged your contribution. That’ll have to do for now. I’ll go back to comment lurking now.

  229. right but aleks, you seem chill. Gnu was saying “if you’ve bought in to the patriarchy, ur part of the problem, too…etc.”…not so chill.

    I guess I can relate it to F.A., it sounds like something that is a process, not immediate, and may take some time to truly understand and integrate. I don’t like my process to be turned against me as not the right way of being a feminist, or that I’m not as evolved by a guy. It feels like the same put downs others give, just coming from a different direction.

    You are cool, I’m just trying to make my persepctive, and how I really feel when I hear stuff like that, crystal clear.

  230. Lucy, I hope that I conveyed my slightly more mature understanding of this phenomenon and that at present time I do STFU.

  231. MA,
    Apparently I was unclear, and I apologize for that. I meant to show that this (telling girls how it is and how it ought to be) is immature and stupid, and that I no longer do it.

  232. Seth,
    I’m not into religious fanatics like the Threes, and Tori was smoking hot but not assigned a model number so she didn’t fit for the throwaway one-liner. Also, terrible personality. I am doing my best to be a good feminist ally, but I fully reserve the right to choose which cylons I’m attracted to.

  233. The Department of WARFIGHTER Performance…

    How is it possible I didn’t see that phallic reference from a mile away? I am blaming it on the stomach flu, because it’s dead obvious.

    Also… I have to admit I would be really, really embarrassed every time I picked up the phone and had to make a call if that was the area of the military I served in.

    “Hello. This is Dr. AnthroK8 calling from the Office of Warfighter Performance. Your test results are back and we would like to you return this call as soon as you can.”

    No, no. There’s a better way to manage that.

    Also:

    In addition to Liberty Stick, Paul Revere’s House Of Misplaced Revolutionary War Metaphors provides with these options:

    Emancipation baton.
    Consciousness raising baguette.
    Freedom finial.
    Parity newel post.
    Equity pillar.

    Oh, I could do this all day. But I can’t, for I must grade, flu notwithstanding.

  234. This is from a bit upthread, but in light of the discussion of the inclusion of women’s achievements in US public school textbooks I was totally jazzed (hands and all) that my chemistry text for my college class credits Rosalind Franklin right along with Watson and Crick in a discussion of DNA. I’d never ever seen her credited in a textbook before and I nerdgasmed.

    @Fillyjonk, re- your Ogdenian verse: O.M.G. Will you be my Yoda???

  235. More about men’s and women’s brains being different: science reporting is frequently craptastic! Any study of a difference between groups will show the variation between the groups (intergroup variation) and within each group (intragroup variation), yet it’s usually the intergroup variation that makes the headlines and subsequent discussion.

    (Also sometimes the reporting says something *completely* at odds with the original study, but that’s a whole nother problem.)

    Imagine research showing that men’s and women’s heights are different. We get an average height for each group out of this (headline: MEN TALLER THAN WOMEN BY THREE INCHES), but can easily perceive that there’s a huge overlap, and that many people are a height that would be usual for men or women.

    Imagine, on the other hand, research showing that men have XY chromosomes and women have XX. There, the overlap is very small, but still does exist, both because combinations other than XX and XY do occur, and because occasional women are XY and occasional men are XX.

    Without knowing at least the intergroup variation *and* the intragroup variation, we can’t get any sense of how big the overlap is. Brains are probably a lot more like height than like XX/XY, but we can’t find that out without going to the original studies.

    I don’t think it would make science articles dull or too long to report this stuff. How many words would it take? Arrrrgh. Did I already say ‘craptastic’?

    And then the supposed biological differences are used to support the kyriarchy. Double arrrrgh!

  236. I’m glad we’re still talking about brain differences, I had something else to say and was worried that the conversation had moved on while I was asleep.

    I think that men and women probably do have brain differences, but I’m more concerned that those differences will be used to reinforce gender essentialism. If people believe that men are more let’s say aggressive because their brains make them that way, and aggressive people make better sales people, then why would they even think of handicapping their business by hiring female salespeople? They wouldn’t. Even if they have proof that individual ladies are kick-ass salespeople that proof will be balanced against scien-terrific proof that they are outliers and might lose their mojo and become not aggressive enough at any moment. It’s just a return to “women aren’t suited for certain professions.” in a new suit.

  237. Oh oh! Also it is important to sell men on feminism by making them see what is in it for them, and not just expecting them to be good people who want to make the lives of women better.

    Because . . .

    – it’s true.

    – what feminism is fighting, in general, I’m not trying to speak to the motivation of every feminist everywhere, is the cultural idea that women should subsume our needs in the needs of men; it is intellectually dishonest for us to turn around and ask them to do the same for us just because it makes our struggle easier. Sometimes men and women will be on the same sides of an issue, sometimes we will be on opposite sides, but we all have to fight our own fight.

    – it places feminists in a position of strength, “let us help you liberate yourself from this bullshit patriarchy”, instead of a position of weakness, “don’t you want to help a little lady out?”

    and most importantly
    – people are motivated by things which affect them, personally. We can make great changes is we see how those changes will benefit us, but it is nearly impossible to change just because someone else wants us to.

  238. I’m just gonna say that subsumed women don’t even do it right for me. I had a woman friend in a relationship who really wanted to get uber-traditional and it’s what she wanted and it still wasn’t what she wanted in the long run. Subsumption is bad for people. She didn’t want to hear it in a strange role reversal which has gotta be a clue how insidious some things are (she wasn’t like that before we got hitched either, she was very independent and that was part of the attraction) You’ll get used to hearing this from me but if it isn’t win-win then instability is gonna come from where you least expect it. I love volunteering to give consideration to people I care about and to give respect to my equals, but you put me in a room full of authority… It wasn’t much of a surprise when the relationship sprung a leak. It wasn’t designed right and subsumption muddies honest interactions and destroyed our ability to look at each other as equals. We ended up having real lopsided views because we were having very different experiences. One down and hopefully none to go, I don’t need it, I don’t want it.

  239. “I think that men and women probably do have brain differences, but I’m more concerned that those differences will be used to reinforce gender essentialism.”

    As they often are. Which is, btw, another pet peeve of mine.

    I get not wanting to force people to be something that are not or do something that they hate – but lets say science that DID show that boys suck at language and girls suck at math (or vice versa – whatever, none of these are true, they just happen to be things that many people think are true). Does that mean girls shouldn’t take math classes and boys shouldn’t take English classes? (or vice versa?)

    Or does it simply mean that we should take individual differences into account when coming up with teaching strategies? Don’t we owe it to our children to help them overcome their weaknesses as well as helping them discover their strengths? But no, for some reason gender differences (real and imagined) are used to justify the status quo, not inform our methods of education.

  240. I feel like I’m sticking my head into a big comforting bowl of reality trifle everytime I visit.

    New tagline? “Shapely Prose: like sticking your head into a big comforting bowl of reality trifle”

  241. Damn, that was supposed to be a quote! I did the html tags and everything! Blast!

    (Also, I would totally get my breasts removed, as someone suggests upthread; but no-one will do it for me because I’m not trans* enough for them. Fuckers.)

  242. I found this post via StumbleUpon (and loved it, obviously), and then spent the next hour or so on this website. While your whole campaign is rational and obvious to me now, thank you for pointing it out. I’m a teenage girl, a small teenage girl, and I think my weight could go down. I think my mother needs to lose weight and that some of my teachers could to. While it’s hard to reverse a whole 17 years of thought process, you’ve sent me very well on my way. I realize that my mother eats right and exercises and is healthy and beautiful, and the same applies for all the women out there who I think or had thought could do with a scale and a few less drive-in trips.

    Thank you, sincerely, for making me feel ignorant and prejudiced. It was just the wakeup call I needed. You’re doing great work. If you can show a teenage girl how to think more kindly, you can do just about anything.

  243. Dear Dog, this comment thread has gone berzerk since I last stopped by!

    @Katherine It’s definitely the bat wings that make your monster cool. The crooked smile is nice too.

    As for the whole @thegnu thing, that was weird. I mean, I got that the penis as an instrument of liberation thing was meant to be a joke but still weird.

    I’ll agree with him about one thing – women CAN reinforce the patriarchy, though not for the reasons he gives.

  244. Maya! Rockin’! Welcome! Sweet! I hope that you’re thinking more kindly of yourself as well as the rest of the world–that was my greatest struggle, anyway. But I’m pretty sure this is the only body we get issued, for richer or poorer, in sickness or health, and it’s a great pity to spend life fighting it or trying to “fix” it instead of loving it as it is.

  245. Elysia: Well, yes. They are small flies for one thing, and their sex determination system that leads to the sexual differentiation I mentioned is very different to our own. I was offering it as one example of an area where interesting and rigorous science has been done on the biological basis of observed “male” or “female” behaviour, since the discussion was about whether such science existed/was reliable for humans.

    Am I the only one who finds the concept of forcing women to undergo mandatory hormone maniuplation to be extremely disturbing?

    No, I am right there with you because that shit fucked me up. It changed my appetite, it made me 20lb heavier (which I have btw never lost, so I think it changed my set point), and it made me tired, irritable and moodswingy all the time. I took the pill for years with no ill effects, but depo messed with me. Plus it absolutely did not stop me menstruating. So what do they do, up the dose? Making it mandatory is SO WRONG. But hey, if we’re solving (minor) problems with compulsory hormone alteration, why don’t we chemically castrate the men as someone suggested upthread? Solves that potential harrassment issue straight away.

    This is why “men can’t cook” and “men can’t do housework” and all that other stuff, too. It works really well, and women help enforce it.

    Yup. My girlfriend occasionally proudly reports that her dad has started helping round the house (from a standing start of doing nothing) and how he can do the laundry now, or cook dinner, or iron or whatever. And it’s like, honey, your dad is a computer programmer for the local government, I cannot believe you are seriously telling me that a 50-something man has learned to use a washing machine like it’s an achievement. He could do it all along; he just didn’t feel like it and he didn’t have to. That is bullshit. Stop acting like it’s reasonable. (She does not appreciate this. Whatever.)

    I was totally jazzed (hands and all) that my chemistry text for my college class credits Rosalind Franklin right along with Watson and Crick in a discussion of DNA.

    Oh thank fuck! This question came up in my GCSE with two spaces for names. I wrote Watson and Crick to get the marks, and then I wrote “AND ROSALIND FRANKLIN!!!!” in huge-capital-exclamation-mark-fury, because fuck it, she died as a result of all the x-ray work she did so those guys could go “hmm, that totally looks like a double helix”. And she didn’t get the Noble Prize. What the hell?

  246. Also, serial posting because I can’t leave a misspelling of Nobel Prize uncorrected. Bad scientist, Caitlin. Bad, bad scientist. /gone

  247. @Caitlin: The awesome Rosalind Franklin didn’t get the Nobel Prize because they are not awarded posthumously. She died in 1958, and Watson and Crick didn’t get the Prize until 1962. Now, since the double-helix paper was published in 1953, there is a valid argument to be made that the Prize *should have been* awarded earlier.

    As for Franklin deserving her share of the Prize – abso-freaking-lutely! No questions about it!

  248. With apologies for the drive-by pedantry:
    if you’re interested in the biology of sex (in)differences, you must must see the work of Anne Fausto-Sterling.

    Hope it’s not a netiquet breach that I’m putting her webpage in this form so you’ll go there if you click my name.

  249. Good lord. I go away and fight with my friends about your earlier posts and there’s a NEW one with hundreds of comments. *smile*

    I loved this, by the way, and only wish I had gotten here earlier enough to try and compete with aleks in best comeback for the “instrument of liberation”.

    slythwolf: But what is proven, over and over and over again, is that any average difference between the sexes will always be smaller and less significant than the range of differences between individuals.

    Yup. And (as you and others mentioned) add in whether gender tracks with sex on this and the fact that it’s rounding off to a binary that isn’t really accurate…

  250. @Caitlin, re men doing housework, it is amazing how quickly they can master it if required.

    One thing I really loved about having twins was that it forced my husband to become equally capable at the various aspects of infant care — he couldn’t just hand the baby off to me for everything, because I was busy diapering/feeding/bathing the other baby. I then spent most of my second pregnancy on bedrest for medical issues, so my husband didn’t have much choice about learning to grocery-shop, or doing the dishes, or running the vacuum cleaner, or cooking supper. Our current household dynamics aren’t split 50-50 given that I’m a lightly employed freelancer/SAHM, but he takes on a much larger share than do many other men in the same situation, and doesn’t expect a cookie for “babysitting” his own children for an afternoon.

    I don’t necessarily recommend twins or second-trimester preterm labor as tools for the achievement of domestic equality, but it was a nice silver lining.

  251. Aleks: With the advantage of 10 lonely years of retrospect and regrets, I realize that that’s patronizing and presumptions as all get out, it’s acting like her babysitter, that she’s a fully actualized person who gets to decide what’s important to her and evolve on her own.

    Yay for this. I am going to try *again* with some certain friends I’ve been fighting about all this stuff with recently (yup, in part sparked by the uber-posts!) and try putting it this way, and try forcing them to read this post of FJ’s! Of course I’m almost certain that me suggesting the people in question read something results in only a desultory skimming with pre-made opinions ready to be deployed at selectively misunderstood snippets, and most likely in just spewing out those opinions after *not reading* it, or perhaps only the title. Grump. Can but try I guess!

    Also, yay Maya! I so wish I had found a site like this when I was 17, as it may well have saved me a LOT of heartache (and from causing a lot of heartache to others, my mum included). Of course the first time I ever went on the net was when I was 16, and it didn’t have as much cool stuff on it then. *Feels age*

  252. Zenoodle, if you’re going to quote me it’s important to do so in context . . . I said
    “actualized” in reference to something gnu said, I would never use such language on my own.

  253. WTF, for half of that post I thought you were talking about the XKCD post’s comments being closed (because I am too lazy to check the URLs of most links when I’m not in a link-clicking mood), because it’s utterly incomprehensible to me that anyone would disagree with the guest post.

    What the hell, world?

  254. Noted Aleks, but I got what you meant :-). I have a personal theory that Goobrain (as I have dubbed him) is some kind of life coach and/or PUA type, hence his silly-speak. I recognise his brand of arrogance from a particular fuckwit a friend of mine ended up dating after she went to him for ‘tapping’ therapy. Yes, not only did he offer weird pseudo-therapy, he used it to hook up with women who were already vulnerable. Neatly tying him into his other role as a PUA/shagging guru person… who set up horrible ‘lair’ websites (an eg of a tagline: “from geeks, to geeks who get laid”) with nasty message boards, all dressed up as self empowerment for shy boys. If it really had been the latter, fine, but it was actually all about ‘the game’ and reinforcing rape culture and entitlement. Grrrrrrrr. Oh and that fuckwit turned out to be dangerous for my friend. *Smashes items*

  255. Erm. I just clicked on Goobrain’s name to seeif he had a website and it’s for a band. The forthcoming album being tentatively entitled: She Bleeds.

  256. Caitlin — My amazing Chem teacher (a fabulous Welsh lady who everyone loved and who also took no shit from us as a famed ‘naughty class’) made sure we ALL knew about Rosalind Franklin. She had us watch that dramatisation with Juliet Stevenson as RF, and drummed it in that she was doing all the hard work (the film touches on it, but like, it’s still a kind of ‘renegade boy scientists caper about and have a grand discovery’ film). It was also in our A level textbooks, but I think we did a more progressive (in several senses of the word) course than most exam boards offer!

  257. I don’t know how you insensitive people can carry on as if nothing has happened, when the worst thing ever has happened, and Rush Limbaugh can’t have a football team, which crushes both his and MLK’s dreams.

  258. “This is why “men can’t cook” and “men can’t do housework” and all that other stuff, too. It works really well, and women help enforce it”

    If my partner didn’t cook. I probably would exist solely on things I could forge at gas stations at 3am and double fudge cupcakes from Barnes & Noble.

  259. If my partner didn’t cook. I probably would exist solely on things I could forge at gas stations at 3am and double fudge cupcakes from Barnes & Noble.

    Dude, this is so true for me it’s not even funny. (Okay, it’s funny, but only because you are naturally funny — not because I don’t sometimes literally subsist on one middle-of-the-night meal of stuff foraged from gas stations if left on my own.)

  260. Snarkymachine, FJ: me too! Though I make good puddings, my boyfriend mostly makes sure I’m fed properly at decent times. Case in point: I’m working today and had to come in early for my shift at the last minute because someone was ill. No time to buy/make lunch because obviously I was not organised enough to have prepared anything last night or this morning… so he brought me food to eat while I’m here. Admittedly, he’s seeing me later and so it’s also going to benefit him by way of me not biting his head off thanks to HungerRage, but still. Yay!

  261. Great article ;-) Gives me a couple interesting thoughts though…

    in light of the Schroedinger’s Rapist article, this makes it sound like military wives see their own husbands as constant potential rapist/harassers that are only under control at home; that or they see the rest of their own gender as sultry temptresses who will lure their husbands away with a flash of perfect hair and a polished smile and a “welcome aboard”.

    On another hand, there’s a certain amount of news trickles that seem to point to some amongst our soldiers raping considerable numbers of women in the countries we’re occupying or have fronts in; the military wives may feel that since our women are in theory on the same side as our men, it just doesnt serve our purposes to put them at risk… better save that for our opponents wives and daughters.

    Hell, they wont let me in the military; overriding fear is that I’ll utterly destroy all forms of unit cohesion, even if I just hold a translators desk job; apparently all the straight men who are already surrounded by women in service will either be horribly shaken to the core and unable to fight because I would have a man waiting for me at home, or the overriding fear is that the military wives would see their returning manicured husbands properly moisturized and willing to talk about their feelings. Yet they’ll publically decry the inclusion of people who are allowed to show their patriotism by service; I dont get it. If I present a shitshow of horrors for their men, imagine what life must be like around the gender most of them are actually attracted to?

    “…she was also made to admit that she wasn’t a virgin.”
    What if the young woman’s prior sexual experience had also been a rape? (which, given her age, it would have automatically been had her partner not also been an adolescent) Does that give everyone around her license to rape her again because since she was no longer a virgin she wasnt sacrosanct?

    “— or women who have the gall to have a body they find unattractive. ”
    “Honestly, Baron, I believe the Fembots are the best choice” pops to mind.

    “crowbar”.
    eek.
    Shit, I locked my keys in the car… luckily, I have a penis. (The one thing I would NEVER want to use as a crowbar… my gods that would hurt.) (But then again apparently I can use it to make a lonely sailor/pilot/soldier lay his duty down to do what I tell him to… yes, sounds hot, but sadly not a part of what passes for reality.)

    Im hoping this is the right way to word this, as I dont mean it to cause any offense; but Im perplexed why, in the name of sexual harrassment, that women would be trying to block other women’s equal opportunity for military service; something about that bothers me.

  262. mickey, I…did not know that. I don’t know how it escaped me, but it did. Learn something new every day in here!

    doesn’t expect a cookie for “babysitting” his own children for an afternoon

    Seriously. Why does this even happen?

    Zenoodle, woo! I’m so glad she is being taught in school, at least a bit. My own biology teacher taught us about her, and she was OUTRAGED that Rosalind wasn’t one of the answers to that question. Yeah righteous outrage!

    the military wives may feel that since our women are in theory on the same side as our men, it just doesnt serve our purposes to put them at risk…

    Matt, US soldiers also rape female soldiers (and sailors and Marines and…) in countries they’re occupying or have fronts in, and in miltary bases in the US and abroad. That’s part of the point — this isn’t a new risk/situation, it exists already and apparently people don’t give a shit about it, so why suddenly kick up when women get the opportunity to gain more prestigious jobs and titles and higher pay? Hmmm. I can’t imagine.

  263. Caitlin:

    Thank you for your answer to Matt’s question, that was a mental step that I had not taken either.

    Bella

  264. Great article. 100% agree. But don’t insult bonobos, they’re the ones with minimal sexual dimorphism who settle territorial disputes with lesbian orgies. Pan trogladytes are the chimps who act like the popular perception of human males with no sexual self-control. Look it up.

  265. It’s something, isn’t it? It’s hard in many cases to -not- conclude that yep, it’s the power dynamic that they’d like to preserve, pure and simple however inchoate and inarticulate that impulse. (re the commenter who likened it to Jim Crow)

    Others? I have no fucking clue. I gather that there is apparently some Seekrit Male Socialization Klub–I mean -besides- the overt ones offered for ridiculous prices to uber-zhlubs by the likes of Ross Jeffries and Mystery and such–that insists that when it comes to Teh Wimminz, one must “always be closing;” if you pass up any opportunity to Make A Move, all the muscles go out of your cock, or something. Especially if your friends are watching. Plus, going to an event actually structured for people who want to meet other people would be, like, admitting you need help, right?

    As someone who got more or less the standard female socialization + introvert + no real incentive to go after men in any case, this has always baffled me.

    And I mean: fucksake, it’s not like I don’t fucking get how hard it is to meet people, -women-, hello. Women who “just want to be friends;” women who stand you up; women who huddle together with cliques of their friends in the bar all night, all with their backs turned outward; women who give you the runaround because they, too, have the socialization that you recognize oh so well of “never say no directly, because that would be too confrontational, and smile harder to make up for it.” And yes, the mixers and such can be extremely forced feeling and dorky. I KNOW.

    Yes, I sometimes talk to strangers, the ones -I- want to talk to (and who want to talk back). Yes, I don’t live in a hole, thank you, and believe me, it’s damn hard to drag myself out of one a lot of the time, what with the chronic depression/anxiety and shit. Yes, it’s frustrating as all hell.

    And somehow, I do all this -without- the expectation that the world will or -should- cater to my demands because I am a heterosexual male (i.e. the center of the universe), because, oooops, I’m neither.

    Top that off with the het men in question continuing to pull the same bullshit on me as anyone else because no one is exempt, really, and it’s not like the assholes listen to what you want anyway, and it’s generally safer to -not- go “actually I’m a dyke” to such people because hey! whole new level of potential shit! and you know something? My sympathy, it is limited.

  266. Caitlin: that was precisely my point; and believe me, Im all for equal service and equal pay. I am in no way threatened by anyone making as much or more than I do, whatever their apparent or identified gender. What troubled me most is that the initial post was talking about how that statement came from women (the military wives who feel putting women on the ships will endanger their relationships)… that to me just confounds the whole thing, especially if as you say its an issue of income, the women potentially being blocked from serving on the ships are being blocked by women. That was the part I was failing to get.

  267. “Hey, if we have the Navy present anywhere, what IS the proper terminology for Navy enlisted men and women? I’ve heard seamen, but obviously it lacks inclusiveness, and seapeople sound like something that belongs in Harry Potter.”

    I just found this blog today and hadn’t planned on commenting on anything until I read more. I tend to lurk moar. However, I wanted to answer Starling’s question from way back. I tried to read through all the comments after it but I didn’t get very far (it be late). So if someone has answered please forgives me.

    A little background:
    I was in the Navy for 9 years. I worked mostly with men because my rating (job) was male dominated (Fire Controlman) and had recently opened to women. The first ship I was stationed on had just been refitted to allow female sailors (it mostly deals with disposal of sanitary needs) and I was part of the second group that arrived. I served on 3 ships (2 deployments) and multiple shore installations in my time.

    At any rate in the Navy the terms typically used are service member, sailor (soldier refers to the other armed forces including the Air Force), and if you are stationed together shipmate (not necessarily on a ship mind you). Seaman is actually a rate (rank) denoting the first 3 (lowest) pay grades.

    E1-Seaman Recruit (all members in boot camp)
    E2-Seaman Apprentice (graduation of boot camp, contract may specify E4 upon completion of service school)
    E3-Seaman

    *I’m glad I found this blog. Curse my need for sleep!*

  268. “If women’s worth is only in fuckability, then men are just dumb fuckers. We think better of men. Do you?”

    Classic.

  269. This post pleases me. You know what else pleases me? Grafton. Grafton pleases me. I think I have a guy-crush on him.

    As for brain-sex differences, I can personally attest to them being 150% true. As soon as I started my transition, I immediately starting loving football, having previously found it tedious. And then I went out and started 64 bar fights AND WON.

    But seriously, I think (and… I read somewhere during my edumacation, god, I wish I could give you a reference, but I can’t! how embarassing) hormone-balance deals with one thing: physicality. The only thing that wangs this up is pre-menstrual dysphoria (which, oh Jesus, why does it even need to happen) but that only shafts your mood, not your predisposition towards liking or doing certain things.

    Also, [b]Spliffe[/b]?
    [i]But don’t insult bonobos, they’re the ones with minimal sexual dimorphism who settle territorial disputes with lesbian orgies. Pan trogladytes are the chimps who act like the popular perception of human males with no sexual self-control. Look it up.[/i]

    Dude, seriously, thank you. Bonobos♥

  270. I cannot wait for hubs to get home tonight so I tell him I missed his instrument of liberation today. He’s an electrician so he might think I’m talking about his ohmmeter or something.

  271. I have clearly spent too much time teaching in East Asia, because I read “electrician” as some sort of liberty rod maintenance engineer.

  272. wow, this is fantastic writing paired with incredibly clear and cutting analysis. this is the first time i’ve seen this blog or this author, but i’m subscribing to the rss immediately! color me impressed!

  273. I think there has been, is, and always will be a sense of entitlement from both sexes, including guys who feel insecure. What needs to be done is a general societal change that teaches respect and accountability regardless of sex.

  274. well if everyone is so upset about women being on submarines why can’t they have submarines exclusively staffed by women?

  275. Ooh, good point Eliza! Maybe we should also hook up POC with their own drinking fountains too, so that no one is upset by them sharing with white people.

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