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May 16, 2011

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The counterargument to giving authoritarianism priority is left-wing authoritarianism attitudes to gender roles. Communist regimes had egalitarian gender roles in theory, and even though the practice was less than perfect, they were a lot less restrictive of women than theocratic regimes have been (compare the treatment of women in Afghanistan under the Soviets and under the Taliban) or Eastern bloc attitudes to abortion.

I think the reason that so many different religions approve patriarchy is that in patriarchal societies they were the ones that could gain widespread support. You can see in the New Testament how St Paul's vision of 'neither male nor female' is already getting shut down and turned back into praise of a hierarchical household. The bits of religious doctrines subversive of existing power hierarchies tend to get squashed or explained away very quickly if the religion is going to flourish.

I understand that authoritarianism is unpopular, but I think in some situations it may be adaptive.

Authoritarian societies may have an easier time turning young men into soldiers for instance since they tend to already accept as virtues qualities which are needed for good soldiers. Qualities like conformity, deference to established authority, displaying courage and aggression etc.

Societies which can more easily produce soldiers have an advantage in competing with societies that are less naturally authoritarian.

The counterargument to giving authoritarianism priority is left-wing authoritarianism attitudes to gender roles.

Or right-wing authoritarianism - e.g. Thatcher.

Interesting points, and a lot to think about, but there are a few points I disagree with. First is that I don't think you can make an equivalence of Lakoff's Strict Father model with the Patriarchy. Lakoff probably chose that name for maximum impact, but it is not necessarily rooted in some theory of gender relations, but rather a selection of the most salient example. To use it as a stand in for the Patriarchy misses the problem that the Patriarchy is not simply some sort cabal of strict fathers cracking down on their kids, but a more general attitude that is often absorbed and transmitted as much by women as by men. And, just as an aside, there was a lot of pushback to Lakoff's notions of cognitive frames, and those particular cognitive frames, as being at the heart of problems for progressives.

I can agree more with the idea that the Patriarchy is a set of cultural norms that are passed down unexamined, but (and I sense this is what Fred is most upset about) it is not effective to simply claim that someone is unenlightened and unregenerate because they are opposed to what you think is appropriate, but that one has to acknowledge the good in people and try to build on that rather than create some litmus test. I don't know the groups that are being discussed here, and for me, I would need to know a lot more about the history and background before I would be willing to say that either side is right or wrong in this.

My next problem is that time and time again, oppressed minorities gain ground, but rarely, if ever, become 'enlightened'. This suggests that the challenge is not with replacing the Patriarchy with some other group, but with the problems of asymmetries in power in group interaction. Replacing the asymmetries with other asymmetries doesn't really help, what is required is rather than replacing the asymmetries, creating an understanding of what aspects of asymmetries are needed and how to make them so that they don't have the negative impact.

Lastly, I think that Lindsay are mistating why the Slut Walk gains its power. It is not so much because the participants are rejecting the binary dichotomy of slut/non slut, and just 'getting on with their lives' but more like trying to appropriate the term so as to drain it of the pejorative aspect. As this article notes:

Though some people may find the very name, SlutWalk, abrasive, there was careful consideration of what the initiative should be called. “Slut is a pejorative term, and is thrown at us regardless of our behaviour and dress, so we’re taking it back,” says Jarvis, herself a self-proclaimed slut.

This interview states it more clearly:
SLC: Can you talk about the word “slut”, what it means to you, what it means to people like the cop who made the statement and perhaps what it means to different demographics—male versus female, queer versus straight, etc.
SJFB: Slut to me means a person in charge of their sexuality; someone who chooses to have more than one partner and is not ashamed of it. It's a mentality or a behaviour, not a look. A slut can be dressed in a parka and army boots, but still enjoys sex, whether for work or pleasure. What it doesn't mean is that they are looking for sex from just anyone. Sluts aren't, by our definitiion, indiscriminate.

Officer Sanguinetti—and so many like him—has the traditional stereotype ingrained in his head: a slut is someone who dresses too provocatively, and is in turn asking for sex, from anyone. It's a slur, an insult.

As for what it means to different demographics, from my own experience, more women than men are labeled sluts, but it doesn't mean that fewer men identify themselves as sluts. I'm surrounded by people who are, like I said, in charge of their sexuality and happily embrace the moniker of "slut" and neither view it nor use it as a slur.


I'm not against this, I think that the Victorian notion of woman who are supposed to be weaker than men in all respects EXCEPT when it comes to sex, and they have to stop the men who can't seem to stop themselves is an incredibly stupid and illogical one , but draining a word of the power it has often requires folks to confront the word on a visceral level, and if you are doing that, you have to 'embrace' the word, you don't get to just lead your life as you choose to lead it.

It's the counterpart to the the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euphemism_treadmill#Euphemism_treadmill>Euphemism Treadmill, the http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysphemismus-Tretm%C3%BChle#Dysphemismus-Tretm.C3.BChle>Dysphemism Treadmill. .

What I find fascinating is the number of people (at least in my Baby Boomer generation) who went from Left Wing Authoritarians in college to Right Wing Authoritarians a couple of decades later. Somehow I suspect that what they actually were was neither. Rather, they were people whose personality required them to be (submissive) to an authoritarian philosophy . . . and the selection of the authority was more dependent on their environment than on the content of the authority's position.

I don't have any statistics on how often this happened, vs. how often people who were authoritarians of either stripe became more moderate in their views. (No doubt someone here will instantly come up with a study citation.) But the left-wing to right-wing phenomena sure seems to show up a lot.

On January 24th, 2011, a representative of the Toronto Police gave shocking insight into the Force’s view of sexual assault by stating: "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized".
Having followed this kerfuffle to some mild degree, I have to ask if this generalization is backed by some survey data? Sure, the one guy said this thing, but also said that he was told not to say it. I have no doubt whatever that he was voicing thoughts held by other men on the Toronto Police force, but obviously this is not the official stance, which puts a bald assertion that that is the "Force’s view of sexual assault" on grounds of needing to be supported by evidence. Is there such, or is this simply an exaggeration for effect (which totally undermines credibility)?

I'm completely prepared to believe that such views are widespread, and I'll leap to condemn that, but isn't it wise when making such claims to provide, you know, evidence?

The linked page seems to skip right over that minor need; it just makes the assertion, and then proceeds as if it's supported, or simply fact. It certainly may be fact, but in that case bothering to give a few supporting links would seem trivially easy; the absence is glaring. Presumably there are a multitude of supporting cases? Wouldn't providing links to two or three examples be useful? Wouldn't giving them be trivially easy? (If not, why not?)

But the left-wing to right-wing phenomena sure seems to show up a lot.
People tending to become more conservative (small "c") as they grow older is a phenomenon so old that comments upon it go back to prehistory.

Francois Guisot (1787-1874): "Not to be a republican at twenty is proof of want of heart; to be one at thirty is proof of want of head." Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929): "Not to be a socialist at twenty is proof of want of heart; to be one at thirty is proof of want of head."

I certainly don't agree with these sentiments, but they reflect common observations that, unsurprisingly, people often tend to decide that what they lived with when they were young is Right and Good and should be stuck with, and such people tend to become less radical and revolutionary as they age. "Conversions" are common.

(See David Mamet for this week's flavor. Typically, in my observation, such people tend to have paid only superficial attention to politics in the first place.)

Obviously there are innumerable prominent exceptions to this, as witness all the Old Radicals always around. :-)

Gary:

You ask if this generalization is backed by some survey data?

I don't know what the referrent for "this" is. Which generalization?

I don't think a "stance" against homosexuality, abortion, ordination of women, and other gender-role issues is a true shibboleth, a nearly-meaningless marker for identity. I think firm gender roles are the *point*, and Christianity itself is coming along for the ride.

I think your view is corroborated by the same behavior and opinions among fundamentalist Muslims and Jews. Just as fundamentalist Christians do, they hold their beliefs about gender roles and sexual prohibitions constant while re-interpreting and distorting their religious teachings to fit.

Yet we've all heard innumerable times that women who dress "that way" are "asking for it" -- in other words, that wearing clothing that may be fashionable or attractive or cool or what's clean is considered reasonable grounds for assault, by reasonable and powerful people.

Several things here:

1. Innumerable times? That's a lot, or a little, or some indefinite number in between.

2. "Asking for it" as in "asking to be raped" or "putting herself in a position to be raped"? I ask this because occasionally I see a woman out, alone, after dark, jogging in a relatively isolated and unlit part of town. Asking to be raped? Of course not. Putting herself in a position where she is unnecessarily vulnerable to abduction and rape? Seems to me the odds go up, for stranger assault. Personally, I think the she "asked for it" meme is conflated with the more common defense of consent, although in the context Dr. S uses, I have seen judges and some lawyers make that argument. Rarely and more in past decades than recently.

3. Name three reasonable and powerful people who think that a woman's choice of wear is "considered reasonable grounds for assault." Seriously, who makes this ridiculous argument. Not even the dumbass Toronto police office made that statement.

Having said this, it is a fair point that, at the margins, there are men whose broad range of pathologies can send the bizarre message to their brains to the effect, "Even though I don't know her, she's dresses up all sexy for me", and the rest is tragedy. Dr. S' thesis seems to omit that men inclined to stranger-on-stranger sexual assault are themselves outliers because of the very nature of their screwed up mental status.

Read the newspaper and listen to the teevee news with an eye to the framing.
Innumerable is exactly right.
Once you realize it you will see it everywhere. Men do violence to women because they are provoked is the message and the myth. If a woman is beaten the discussion is of what she did to provoke him. You may recall a recent beating of a singer.
In the instance of a gang raped child the discussion was all about what she was doing there and dressed that way and how very sad this is for the perps.
Srsly! Look around. It is everywhere every day, day in and day out in our culture. The message is loud and clear.
The push back against the slutwalk message is in a similar vein. "Why don't these women want to take any responsibility whatsoever for their own safety?"
Fancy that, sounds just like the cop who knows it isn't politically correct to blame the victim but in the case of women he and other men make an exception.

In answer to your question, name three reasonable and powerful people.
It is a trick question. There are plenty of powerful judges who have stated repeatedly that the victim brought it on herself by virtue of what she was wearing. None of them are reasonable people, just powerful.
Do a google search. They are quite common.

There's some truth to the proposition that a young woman jogging in a dark and lonely area (in shorts, let's say) is putting herself in a similar position to the middle-aged businessman (in a fancy business suit, say) walking through the same area. The businessman is "asking to be mugged" in the same way as the woman is "asking to be molested".

Neither is "asking for it", of course, but both might reasonably be advised that "at the margins, there are men whose broad range of pathologies can send the bizarre message to their brains" that amounts to "Come and get it".

The idea that we must all take SOME responsibility for how borderline-pathological men might react to what we do or say -- resulting in harm to ourselves or others -- is not outrageous. Except, of course, when it comes to violent political rhetoric. Then the fault lies entirely with the perpetrator of the actual violence, and not at all with the talk that might, "at the margin", have triggered his "broad range of pathologies".

--TP

Neither is "asking for it", of course, but both might reasonably be advised that "at the margins, there are men whose broad range of pathologies can send the bizarre message to their brains" that amounts to "Come and get it".

I submit that the hypothetical mugger has essentially no hope to get off or a lighter sentence because of the hypothetical businessman's "provocative dress", but that the same absolutely, positively cannot be said of the hypothetical rapist vis à vis the hypothetical jogger.

Given that the vast majority of rapes don't involve strangers grabbing women, I don't think focusing on these cases is helpful. Most rapes are committed by an intimate associate of the victim: a boyfriend, husband, or family member. If we're serious about reducing the incidence of rape, we should be focusing on the vast majority of cases that are not stranger attacks.

As one medical professional wrote:

Sexual assault isn't a matter of "she aroused me so much I just couldn't stand it;" it's an act of deliberate violence. The majority of assaults are committed by people who already know the victims. Often the assaults take place at home. Speaking anecdotally from three years of experience as an EMT and an ER worker, most of the sexual assault victims I've seen were wearing jeans, sweatpants, pajamas, even hijab. (Or little footie pajamas with Elmo on them.)

I think this whole notion of "putting herself in a position to be raped" is just nuts from a numbers perspective: being at home, living your life, wearing jeans and pajamas are what correlates with most rapes. So....those victims shouldn't have been at home? They shouldn't have worn jeans or pajamas in their own houses? This is madness.

McKinneyTexas: see this summary of a survey of Londoners in which 28% of respondents thought dressing provocatively meant you should take responsibility for being raped. Unfortunately they don't give the text of the actual questions, but it's still shocking.

"Name three reasonable and powerful people ...."

A week ago, the head of the IMF seemed to be in that category before his alleged maid outfit fetish did him in. What, you're telling me his attorneys aren't going to bring up the coquettish way in which the victim held her feather duster?

Your Honor, the defense calls John Galt to the stand.

Is it true that Miss Taggert gazed longingly but contemptuously at the Chrysler Building you were carrying in your right-front trouser pocket?

Yes, but it was when her Medicare card dropped from her purse, that I knew she had it coming.

Well, anyway, instead of reasonable and powerful people, my inner Groucho decided to run and find some 7-year-old children to fulfill the request.

Does ideological rape count, after the fact of the physical rape?

http://morallowground.com/2011/02/16/douches-du-jour-conservative-douchebags-blame-lara-logan-islam-for-her-brutal-rape/

Why, she deserved it because she was thinking slutty liberal thoughts.

If we're talking simple assault in a sexual context and not rape, we've had stories related to us on these pages about alleged gay men and lesbians being assaulted in the military to enforce unit cohesiveness, for crying out loud.

I'm not sure the story-teller reaches the "reasonable and powerful" requirement, but .... well, I'll stop right there.

magistra: I think those numbers would apply in the U.S., too. Attitudes are changing slowly but I've read many news accounts of females feeling like they were on trial for THEIR actions instead of the accused perpetrator.

Many, many rapes go unreported (ask women close to you if they've ever been raped; you'd be surprised how many women live with this crap). Turb is right, of course, that rape usually takes place in anodyne settings. And, of course, many younger women are raped by their dates and/or boyfriends who don't know what "No" means, regardless of when the word is uttered in the make-out session.

As a footnote, here's this 28% poll number again. 28% believe some women deserve sexual assault, 28% believe Obama is a Kenyan, commie Muslim, 28% believe the U.S. can default on its debt obligations without catastrophe, 28% believe their Medicare is
not a government program, but the other guy's Medicare is a Kremlin plot, and 28% believe just about any fool thing a body can think up.

What should happen to the 28% is what I want to know?

28% is awfully close to the crazification factor....

I don't know what the referrent for "this" is. Which generalization?
As to what "the Force’s view of sexual assault" is.

There's a quote from one guy. It says here that the Force has sworn members 5,710, unsworn members 2,500.

Thus my: Having followed this kerfuffle to some mild degree, I have to ask if this generalization is backed by some survey data? Sure, the one guy said this thing, but also said that he was told not to say it. I have no doubt whatever that he was voicing thoughts held by other men on the Toronto Police force, but obviously this is not the official stance, which puts a bald assertion that that is the "Force’s view of sexual assault" on grounds of needing to be supported by evidence. Is there such, or is this simply an exaggeration for effect (which totally undermines credibility)?

I'm completely prepared to believe that such views are widespread, and I'll leap to condemn that, but isn't it wise when making such claims to provide, you know, evidence?

The linked page seems to skip right over that minor need; it just makes the assertion, and then proceeds as if it's supported, or simply fact. It certainly may be fact, but in that case bothering to give a few supporting links would seem trivially easy; the absence is glaring. Presumably there are a multitude of supporting cases? Wouldn't providing links to two or three examples be useful? Wouldn't giving them be trivially easy? (If not, why not?)

So: still asking that. I'm sure a second and third officer can be turned up -- though there's no suggestion in the text that such exist -- but surely some evidence to back up the evidence as to what "the Force’s view of sexual assault" is should be presented beyond one guy's quote? If so, um, is it somewhere?

This is not a challenge to the notion that there is sexism rife in the Toronto police force. It's a challenge to the notion of presenting accusations and more or less no evidence. (Very simply, when making charges about 5000+ people, it doesn't seem odd to ask for, say, three examples, not just one, or even, say, a survey of a few hundred: does it?)

Gary,

It's intrinsically difficult to demonstrate the existence of an attitude that goes against the official line of any organisation: employees who don't fall in with the company policy on anything tend not to broadcast it. And I don't have time for a lot of looking at specifically Canadian data (not my continent), but here are a few links.

There were allegations last year that Toronto police were threatening to rape G20 protestors. Toronto police have certainly in the past talked about "good girl rape". Their own sex crimes unit quotes statistics about 30% of Canadian men believing that it's a woman's fault if she's raped in certain circumstances, and that 44% of Canadian women who don't report rape do so because they don't trust the courts and the police.

You can possibly argue that it is not the attitude of the Toronto police force as a whole that some women deserve to be raped, but if you're going to argue that it's not the opinion of a substantial minority of the force, then I think we need some evidence that the members of the force are substantially more liberal on these matters than the average Canadian.

Magistra, thanks.

I'm not arguing anything, to be clear. I have no trouble believing in widespread sexism in the Toronto police force, or anywhere else. I was simply saying that when one wishes to agitate people to action over a cause, it's useful to provide evidence.

Name three reasonable and powerful people who think that a woman's choice of wear is "considered reasonable grounds for assault."

This is a direct quote from Dr. S' post. Here is what she said:

. . . that wearing clothing that may be fashionable or attractive or cool or what's clean is considered reasonable grounds for assault, by reasonable and powerful people. That's the kind of thing I mean by "The Patriarchy"

Let's try to reach a consensus here: rape/assault of any kind or character is a horrific crime that should be prosecuted. This is true without making patently untrue statements to dramatize a position. And let's also remember that false allegations of rape are also raised from time to time, e.g. Duke Lacross, and on this subject I will have a bit more to report around the end of July. There is a reason for the presumption of innocence and it applies in this and in all other criminal contexts.

False reports of burglary are also made. but somehow when discussing burglary we never caution people to keep in mind that false burglary reports are made from time to time.

Funny how that works.

One would almost think it had something to do with patriarchy. Almost.

The slut lives in HIV housing, don't ya know?

Except that she doesn't.

And maybe she had a kid at 15 years of age, your Honor. Just saying.

The jury will disregard that remark and whatever winking went on afterward.

Plus, those chambermaids are nuts, according to Ferris Bueller's home room teacher, who should know.

You'd think the IMF chief and alleged perpetrator being a French socialist would be enough to give the poor woman a leg up with the Republican elite. Instead, they'd like another leg over and the square corners on their bottom flat sheets redone, but only if she bends over far enough for the view.

In our filthy, scum-sucking Republican culture that we've handed over to the racist Murdochian media vermin, she might as well start looking for new digs.

I predict a mistrial for the accused, and the victim ends up being characterized by Eric Cantor in the run-up to the 2012 election as Barack Obama's commie, Kenyan, Muslim, African, AIDS-carrying, deficit-causing, foodstamping, abandoned ex-wife.

Plus, Erick Erickson is about to announce his candidacy for the U.S. Senate.

Look it up.

He's got his wife moving the bodies of the murdered Census workers from her clothes hamper to the trunk of Moe Lane's low-mileage Hummer for later deposit upRedstate.

I really do hope the jig is up this Saturday, like the man says.

Spare me the murderous American future.


"I think this whole notion of 'putting herself in a position to be raped' is just nuts from a numbers perspective: being at home, living your life, wearing jeans and pajamas are what correlates with most rapes. So....those victims shouldn't have been at home? They shouldn't have worn jeans or pajamas in their own houses? This is madness."
Yes, yes, yes. I've been saying this (publicly and privately) for twenty years. I'm not sure it's made much of an impression.

And the very sad reason for this is the little we've done to fight sexual violence against women in the last thirty or so years is, unfortunately, very small compared to the true scope of the problem.

Which is to say, we haven't really reduced the actual rate of sexual violence against women and because of this, it remains a deep and constant fear for women. And because of that, women themselves have strong emotional incentives to externalize those fears onto something they feel they can manage. Worrying about dark parking lots and such may be frightening and exhausting, but it's nevertheless not nearly as frightening and exhausting as worrying about one's own home and workplace.

Given that, of course, men are generally utterly blind to the ubiquity of sexual violence against women (both because, as the privileged, they're naturally blind to sexism in general but also because recognizing the problem is both horrifying and implies a social responsibility), and because men have a patriarchal vested interest in emphasizing the danger and incidence of stranger rape; then basically nearly no one is willing to truly admit to the simple truth that you stated: most sexual violence against women (and children) occurs in familiar places by people known or close to the victim.

So, you know, the entire popular rhetoric about rape is basically a sham. I don't at all mean to invalidate the experience of people who have been assaulted by strangers. But those are the minority of rapes and yet the public discourse about rape is 98% about stranger rape. Thus, the context itself is deeply flawed; it presents a very distorted picture. If you recognize this, then you might be better able to understand why all these myths about rape are pernicious and zombie-like...this exists mostly in the realm of psychology and fantasy. It's not about what actually happens in the real world to real women. It's a shadow-play of power relationships, fear, denial, and propaganda.

You can see this clearly whenever one of the periodic panics erupt like the preschool sexual abuse epidemic or the satanic ritual abuse epidemic. We're just not very much at all within the realm of empiricism and rational public policy and law. We're still lost in the dark territory of the id and the police officer was speaking from there.

"Given that, of course, men are generally utterly blind to the ubiquity of sexual violence against women (both because, as the privileged, they're naturally blind to sexism in general but also because recognizing the problem is both horrifying and implies a social responsibility), and because men have a patriarchal vested interest in emphasizing the danger and incidence of stranger rape; then basically nearly no one is willing to truly admit to the simple truth that you stated: most sexual violence against women (and children) occurs in familiar places by people known or close to the victim."

I don't know about "men". I do know that I find the discussion, even here, leaves out the most pernicious of defenses I have heard and object to. The things I spent my life making sure my daughters wren't exposed to.

The uncle who was a little off, the friend of the family who always wanted to take the girls for ice cream after a t-ball game, the neighbor who was too happy to watch the kids while you ran errands. My friends and I talked about those people, who to avoid, keep an eye on, and when something happened who to tell the cops about.

I am not sure "men" are blind as you think.

I also have heard the worst and most evil defenses in family and friend rape cases. The uncle whose defense was that his 10 year old niece always jumped in his lap when he came over, the 12 year old who wore her pajamas when the family friend stopped by to visit, the thirteen year old who clearly seduced the thirty five year old mailman because she wore her swimsuit and paraded around the yard under the sprinkler, what's a guy to do?

I just constantly wonder what part of this "men" are blind to? I'm not. Sociopaths are.

"most sexual violence against women (and children) occurs in familiar places by people known or close to the victim."

And since we're discussing being blind and men and blame....

Men are far less trusting of other men's motivations with women than women are. My personal experience is that women I have known too often put themselves in potentially compromising situations because they place too much trust in someone they don't know very well, or imagine they do.

I can't recount all of the conversations I have had or know about where a man has gently warned a female friend that a certain guy might not be as great as they think, to be refuted with the classic "oh you don't know him like I do". Trust me we know him like you don't.

Men are in general more skeptical, they say things that are intrepreted as blaming the victim like tone down the clothing, meet in a public place, don't tell them where you live until you know them really well, take your own car for the first several dates, because we DO understand that most rape is by someone you know.

Ask your male friends who not to get drunk with alone, they'll probably have a list, and you will be surprised who it will contain that you have known a long time.

Women want to feel safe, and (my opinion) tend to trust more than men. It makes them even more vulnerable to these sociopaths. But men are not blind, or hiding, they generally don't get listened to on the subject though.

Remember, there's no patriarchy!

Example 1 of the non-patriarchy:

Margaret Hartmann —The Badminton World Federation has been searching for a way to drum up interest in female players before the 2012 Olympics. Its solution: Force women to play in skirts to create a more "attractive presentation." Amazingly, officials insist this isn't sexist.
The new dress code will finally go into effect on Wednesday after widespread complaints led officials to postpone the May 1 start date. Currently many women play in shorts or track pants. After consulting with a marketing firm, it was determined that players at the upper levels of the sport need to look more feminine to attract fans and sponsors, according to the New York Times.

There's nothing wrong with playing in a skirt, and some players already do. However, many object to having skirts foisted on them when it does nothing to improve their performance and may make them less comfortable. The policy is also offensive to some Muslim players. Pakistan's badminton federation is refusing to adhere to the dress code because, "our religious beliefs and norms do not allow our lady players to wear skirts."

Example 2:

Margaret Hartmann —Despite an overwhelming amount of evidence that suggests a New York police officer raped a woman in her apartment while his partner stood guard, today the two men were cleared of all charges except three counts of "official misconduct." The outcome is profoundly disturbing, and sends the message that if a woman decides to go through the horrific ordeal of prosecuting her attackers, she still won't get justice — particularly if she's accusing two NYPD officers.

In December 2008, officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata responded to a 911 call from a cab driver who had an intoxicated woman in his car. The 27-year-old woman had gone to a Brooklyn bar to celebrate her recent promotion with friends. The officers took her back to her apartment where, she threw up and then blacked out. The N.Y. Daily News reports:

She said the officer tried to lift her up before she blacked out. When she woke she was in bed and heard sounds of "Velcro ripping" and realized "somebody was rolling my tights down my legs." Then, she said, it happened.

"I woke up to being penetrated from behind," she said. "I woke up because the action of his penetration was so hard that my head was moving toward the window [at the head of her bed] like it was going to go through it."

The woman said she had no way to fight back "because I was so intoxicated, I was dead weight ...I couldn't say or do anything."

Surveillance footage shows the officers returned to her apartment three times that night, and there's a recording of a fake 911 call they made to justify going back to the apartment. The defense claims that on their fourth visit the woman "became flirtatious" and Moreno "succumbed" to physical contact with. He says that he cuddled with her in bed while she was wearing only a bra, but they didn't have intercourse.

One juror told the New York Times today that they found the men not guilty on the more serious charges because there wasn't enough evidence:

"I did think that they might have had sex, but that doesn't mean that they did have sex," he said. "There is nothing to substantiate this. There's no DNA, there's no proof in any way that they had sex."

Yes, the woman took a shower the next morning, so there's absolutely no way to know what happened. Well ... there are plenty of other facts that could convince a reasonable person that the woman is telling the truth, but as numerous media reports have reminded us, she allowed herself to get drunk, so we can't trust a damn thing she says.

CCDG

My experience is not that women are actually (in general) more trusting of men than men are.

In my experience, women get pressured - overtly and subtly, specifically and generally, and by all genders - to believe that we should put others wants above our own needs. Up to and including being pressured/told/chastised that we owe it to men to put up with the kind of behavior that should signal red flags to anyone. All of which leads to women making decisions that may seem naive from the point of view of many men.

This is one of the things Gavin DeBecker does a good job of laying out in The Gift of Fear - the fact that the social requirement for women to always be nice leads to women constantly silencing that inner voice that warns us of possible danger.

I note, for example, that you feel comfortable taking women aside and telling them that certain men are dangerous, but apparently do not refuse to socialize with such men - in mixed comapany or otherwise - yourself. What exactly do you think this tells women?

I am not asking this to pick on you or claim that I know what you should have done in each situation (or even claim that I am accurately characterizing these situations), but rather trying to point out that men's public silence on other men's behavior makes it much harder for women to defend - or even believe in - their right to be treated well.

I suspect that the women you were trying to warn often instead heard you explain to them that you thought it her responsibility, and hers alone, to deal with him - and that, just as you wouldn't give her public support now - you wouldn't be giving her any public support in the event that she was unable to handle him.

I also point out that simply asking that she take your word for it, rather than giving her the evidence that would let her make her own informed opinion on the matter, is hardly the type of thing to make it easier for her to make smart choices for herself. In fact, all that you are really doing is telling her she should trust you instead of another man. Which I should think is obviously self-defeating and contradictory if one's goal is her empowerment.

And as for "you don't know him like I do" - since men will often open up emotionally to women more than they will with other men, there may often be some truth to that. It's also part of the romantic myth of woman being man's salvation, which is just another facet of women's needs being less important than men's wants; it's often not that she doesn't see danger, it's more likely that she doesn't see unacceptable or unavoidable danger, as "saving" men is her job/duty as a woman.

Chances are, the women in question do not always believe you are wrong exactly, it's more that they won't ever say "but if I don't give him a chance people (including myself) will think I'm a complete bitch." Or, sadly, they don't actually think they can get/deserve better. "You don't know him like I do" is usually one of those social lies that very few people mean completely and exactly.

@Jennygadget:

Well said.

My experience is not that women are actually (in general) more trusting of men than men are. [...] Up to and including being pressured/told/chastised that we owe it to men to put up with the kind of behavior that should signal red flags to anyone.

My experience agrees with the above. I find this to be quite substantially worse in the Army as compared to when I was a civie. Not that this surprises me at all. The audience participation portions of some sexual assault prevention training I've been through while I've been in has managed to surprise me, though. Not in a good way either. *shudder*

I note, for example, that you feel comfortable taking women aside and telling them that certain men are dangerous, but apparently do not refuse to socialize with such men - in mixed comapany or otherwise - yourself. What exactly do you think this tells women?

I was tempted to comment on this assertion too - it did seem to be implying that either sociopathic men always and unheedingly open up to any and all other men (who don't see the need to do anything about confessed rapists or suchlike, besides pulling aside women to vaguely and vainly warn them against the n'er-do-wells), or they just exude some mysterious vibe that's somehow unmistakeable if you're male, yet completely imperceptible if you're female.

Under the circumstances, I have trouble seeing how anyone could think that the ideal solution would be for women to let a random, self-selecting subset of men dictate to them who they can spend time with, where they can do it, and how they can dress while doing so. Both in terms of empowerment and because of how self-contradictory it is.

"I was tempted to comment on this assertion too - it did seem to be implying that either sociopathic men always and unheedingly open up to any and all other men (who don't see the need to do anything about confessed rapists or suchlike, besides pulling aside women to vaguely and vainly warn them against the n'er-do-wells), or they just exude some mysterious vibe that's somehow unmistakeable if you're male, yet completely imperceptible if you're female.

Under the circumstances, I have trouble seeing how anyone could think that the ideal solution would be for women to let a random, self-selecting subset of men dictate to them who they can spend time with, where they can do it, and how they can dress while doing so. Both in terms of empowerment and because of how self-contradictory it is."

I will start by just conceding my first point above, my experience may be limited and women, in general, may be just as distrusting of men as men. It just hasn't been my experience.

As for this, there is a huge chasm between sociopathic men baring their souls to other men and admitting rape, and men exhibiting questionable behavior in front of other men that they wouldn't in front off someone they were dating.

The leap here is confusing. I am either hiding known sociopathic offenses or relying on vague mysterious vibes to dictate behavior to women. In a world where any action is perceived as one of those two things why would a man try to be helpful at all?

Men interact with other men everyday in ways that may or may not be visible to women, or a particular woman. The way they treat coworkers, peers or people that work for them. The way they have a short temper with adminstrative staff that they perceive as being in a more menial function. The way they berate people that work for them publicly rather than privately.

You learn a lot about someone playing basketball with them, how they deal with frustration, how often that turns into violence, how many times you get the next day reaction of "sorry, you know how I get sometimes" until you just don't play anymore if they are playing.

And yes, the bar talk that is a little too misogynistic, too much bragging, too demeaning to women, and that doesn't have to be in social situations you choose to be in.

I know many people who are of my acquaintance that I would never go to dinner with. That eitheer from work, or friends of friends, or friends of family I have gotten to know better than I would like to over the years. None have confessed to a rape in my presence, there are more than one or two that I would warn someone to be careful about.

I am sure I couldn't react to the situation any other way in good conscience despite your objections.

I would note that my comment was in response to:

Given that, of course, men are generally utterly blind to the ubiquity of sexual violence against women (both because, as the privileged, they're naturally blind to sexism in general but also because recognizing the problem is both horrifying and implies a social responsibility), and because men have a patriarchal vested interest in emphasizing the danger and incidence of stranger rape; then basically nearly no one is willing to truly admit to the simple truth that you stated: most sexual violence against women (and children) occurs in familiar places by people known or close to the victim."

Yet, when presented with what I perceive is a reasonably normal situation that men do recognize these risks and try to, in several examples, watch or warn for them, then they become a:

"random, self-selecting subset of men dictate to them who they can spend time with, where they can do it, and how they can dress while doing so."

So men are blind or bad.

Well, I think your comments above do suggest you're more than a little unaware of the experiences of women in this culture, though I'd have hardly gone so far as to call you outright blind to them.

OTOH, the comment I was (second-hand) responding to effectively did amount to you accusing women of being categorically blind, with your proposed solution apparently being that the poor naive souls listen and defer to those well-intentioned males blessed with the sight (and insight) that they lack by virtue of being female, and trustingly heed said males' controlling advice on how to conduct themselves in public (and private).

I'd certainly not say men in this society are limited to being either bad or blind in re: this general subject, but I would argue that such a dichotomy was far and away the easiest interpretation to draw based on your portrayal of the matter.

"I'd certainly not say men in this society are limited to being either bad or blind in re: this general subject, but I would argue that such a dichotomy was far and away the easiest interpretation to draw based on your portrayal of the matter."

I suppose if you start in the middle and take what I said out of the context of what was said previously that might be the easiest interpretation.

However, I might point the huge space between "categorically blind" and "more trusting of mens motives", and the ease with which you assigned the most extreme interpretation to almost every sentence I wrote.

All the way from men hiding knowledge of rape to the expectation that women would heed this "controlling" advice like it was an order.

Yet, here:

they're naturally blind to sexism in general but also because recognizing the problem is both horrifying and implies a social responsibility),

points out an expectation of a social responsibility for men to do something that is always somewhat vague and unattainable.

Yet it seems every attempt to try and be helpful gets rebuffed with this kind of reaction.

Even that conversation that went,

"this guy might not be who you think he is"

"You don't know him like I know him"

with a little more detail, might be empowering, as information is power. So I'll keep giving it a try when I think it's warranted.

And just to be clear, I will continue to tell my friends that it's a bad idea to walk through certain parts of Boston in a business suit, and my son that he should carry most (but not all) of his money in his shoe if he's going to be bar hopping in certain parts of town and not to flash a roll of cash outside certain places on the strip in Vegas, and keep his money his money in his front pocket in the casino along with his id because pickpockets are better at back pockets, and lots of common sense things. The same as I tell my daughters common sense things about dating. I am not sure when that turned into a bad thing.

Even that conversation that went,

"this guy might not be who you think he is"

"You don't know him like I know him"

with a little more detail, might be empowering, as information is power. So I'll keep giving it a try when I think it's warranted.

Except it wouldn't. This is the crux of the problem with what you're suggesting. It's not that you're inclined to warn someone that they're putting themself into a hazardous circumstance; that's good and just and right. It's that you're asserting you should do it because women are not as capable of judging their own best interests as you are. The issue is not that you'd warn someone who was behaving recklessly that they ought to exercise more caution, it's that you categorically assert that women, by virtue of being women, are not capable of exercising the same amount of caution that it would be obvious to a man to exercise.

It's not empowering to have such an exchange as you suggest because you've stated up front that you assume the women need masculine insight such as yours to overcome their inherently overtrusting natures, and will blindly put themselves in danger when deprived of it. Under such assumptions, a statement that you'll provide the knowledge they cannot glean for themselves is not a statement that you'd empower them; it's a statement that you would protect them from themselves while maintaining their dependence - because you've declared up front that their need for such guidance is because they're women, and in that case no amount of coaching can correct the 'fact' that "men are far less trusting of other men's motivations with women than women are". If the best they can hope to achieve is to realize that they need your insight to protect them from their natural naivete, your giving it to them is, well, the opposite of empowering.

It's that you're asserting you should do it because women are not as capable of judging their own best interests as you are.

I don't read it that way at all; I read it that he believes that he has information that the other person (who happens to be a woman) does not possess.

Just as, one would hope, that if you see smoke curling out of an attic window across the street, you'd run across to warn the inhabitants. Not because they're weak, unobservant females, but because they're not privy to some vital information that you are privy to.

And, conversely, one would hope that you wouldn't refrain from hurrying over with a warning on the grounds that feelings might be hurt.

A whole lotta parsin' going on.

I thought about the question 'if you would warn someone about person x, why wouldn't you shun them?' I had to take a beat to think about it, but a lot of behavior, while it doesn't rise to the level of refusing to deal with someone, still merits a 'well, if I were you' kind of warning. If you think about it, it is probably more common to see something that you might warn your friends off, but it wouldn't rise to the level of trying to take greater action. Perhaps that is an inherent wimpiness, and we'd be better if we took it to the mattresses and tried to run a place out of business if we didn't want to eat there, or made sure that a person who behaved in a way we felt was problematic would not only be persona non grata for us, but for any of our acquaintances if they wanted to stay acquainted with us. Still, the certainty that requires, as well as the emotional commitment to make sure that you had those lines drawn and everyone knew them seems pretty exhausting to me.

In the spirit of parsing:

I suspect that if CCDG had a gay son he would, as a father, just as carefully advise his son about a suspect prospective partner.

Would CCDG then be accused of some other categorically assertion, when really he's just showing a little overweening (from his child's perspective; Daa-add, I can handle this!) concern?

Also, let's say your (male or female) front doorbell rings and upon opening the door, you are greeted by three neighbors, all gentlemen, the first of whom speaks, concern dripping from every word: "Yes, I'm Iago Haskell, from just down the street, and these two gentleman are, respectively, Uriah Heep, and Gollum Breitbart, both neighbors as well, and we don't mean to pry, but if we're not mistaken, there seems to be smoke curling from the attic window on the north side of your house (here, Heep adds, in a hiss, "and where there is smoke, there is usually fire", punctuated by a snort that sends the contents of his right nostril dribbling over the upper lip that has curled into a spasm of fake obsequiousness, revealing yellow, rotting teeth).

Breitbart offers a ghastly smiling-with-his-mouth-while-his-eyes-are-busy-working-overtime, bobbing and weaving nod by way of neighborly support.

Whaddya do first? Check for smoke? Call the fire department? Remember what your mother said about checking out the messenger's provenance?

Or maybe you are sister Susie from "The Sweet Smell of Success" being double-teamed on the boyfriend advice by Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis) and your over-protective brother J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster).

Which one of those messengers would you trust?

Falco, the Gollum of the show, of whom Hunsecker says (more of less): "That syrup your giving out, Sidney, should be poured over waffles, not J.J. Hunsecker."?

Or that ruthless maneuvering swine of a concerned brother, Hunsecker himself?

It's that you're asserting you should do it because women are not as capable of judging their own best interests as you are.

To be honest, I'm not seeing this.

Basically, as I read it, CCDG's essential point is this:

I am not sure "men" are blind as you think.

Which, IMVVHO, is likely so.

I could be wrong, but I'm not seeing CCDG saying all that much about what women's experience is, or ought to be. I'm seeing him share what his own experience is.

You may or may not agree with the conclusions he draws from his experience, but as a set of basic data points I'm not sure there's a lot of value in arguing against the experience itself.

Listening is a two-way street.

Plus, to some degree he's not talking about Womankind, he's talking about his daughters. Maybe paternalism from actual paters gets a pass.

Also:

Fred goes on to develop his theory that it's "really" about how evangelicals read the Bible, but I will take the (for me) radical step of disagreeing with him.
...
I think firm gender roles are the *point*, and Christianity itself is coming along for the ride.

I'm having a "stop, you're both right" reaction to this.

Firm gender, and other social, roles are of a piece with a basically authoritarian stance to the world, and life. The "way that evangelicals read the Bible", same same.

As Clark notes, the canonical evangelical reading of the Bible is to take it at face value, often at the level of individual verses or small groups of verses, often in the English translation. Sometimes in specific English translations, like the King James, or in the context of specific annotations, like in the Scofield Reference Bible.

Here is Paul, in Romans 1:26-1:27:

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Clearly, based on this passage, when it comes to homosexuality, Paul appears to be agin' it.

But what is the context of this passage? What behavior is Paul actually talking about? What is he saying in the original Greek?

And for that matter, on what authority is Paul speaking? Paul is often a particularly difficult voice, because he swings between statements of deep and profound spiritual insight, and cranky grandpa Pharisee lawyer bile, often within a couple of sentences.

Is this one of Paul's "I have this from the Lord" statements, or one of his "I personally don't stand for this" moments?

To make that kind of analysis requires you to place yourself in a position of making a personal judgement about something that Paul, the great apostle of Christianity, said in a letter.

And that's several steps too far for most evangelicals.

Paul said it, they believe it, and that's good enough. It's an intrinsically authoritarian hermeneutic.

I don't think that firm gender roles are actually the point. I think they, along with the reading of the scripture, and a million other social and cultural expressions, are functions of a basically authoritarian stance toward life.

I'm not sure what the roots of that, in turn, are. It might just be neurological wiring. I don't know.

But I'm not sure you can say that one expression of that basic point of view is the one that motivates all of the others. It's all of a piece. IMVHO.

It's an intrinsically authoritarian hermeneutic.

I mostly agree with you here, russell, but there are other things at work. I think that taken in bulk, evangelicals (of which I count myself one) tend to focus on bibilical passages that support them in their mission of being Righteous, while ignoring other passages (sometimes in very close proximity to the ones they hold most dear) that caution moderation. So, you've got Romans 1 quoted, but right next door you've got Romans 2:

1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

and then later on in Romans 11, another passage that rarely gets sway:

17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.

That last more or less illustrates how I see myself: that I have no right to hold myself as better than anyone else, and have no esteem for myself in matters of faith.

And there's much, much more than these. Paul was an odd duck, and at points he seems to take some pains to deliver of the same kind of cultural regulation that is in the Old Testament, even while actively scrapping bits of the Old Testament. I don't fully understand Paul, and it's doubtful to me that anyone else really does; not fully.

I like Romans 2. I think I'll get a t-shirt with the text printed on it. I know some people who need reminding. (Not that I'm passing judgement on them, mind you.)

It's that you're asserting you should do it because women are not as capable of judging their own best interests as you are.

To be honest, I'm not seeing this.

Basically, as I read it, CCDG's essential point is this:

I am not sure "men" are blind as you think.

...except he chose to follow it up by asserting:

Men are far less trusting of other men's motivations with women than women are. My personal experience is that women I have known too often put themselves in potentially compromising situations because they place too much trust in someone they don't know very well, or imagine they do.

But for that first sentence, I'd agree he's only describing his personal experience. But that categorical doesn't really require, well, any special parsing to reach the conclusion he's making comments on the experience of women at large. That he followed this up with

Women want to feel safe, and (my opinion) tend to trust more than men. It makes them even more vulnerable to these sociopaths.

didn't exactly do anything to disabuse me of this (straightforward) reading...

What about this?

I will start by just conceding my first point above, my experience may be limited and women, in general, may be just as distrusting of men as men. It just hasn't been my experience.

Fair enough, though that was an awfully wiggly concession.

I don't fully understand Paul, and it's doubtful to me that anyone else really does; not fully.

He was a fanatic, fundamentalist, self-righteous Pharisee who encouraged and condoned the stoning of Christians, and then in mid-life had an ecstatic vision of Christ which among other things left him blind for a period of time.

He then went off by himself for several years to do nothing but study and pray, during which period he apparently had experiences that he took as personal transcendent revelations. After checking in with the other apostles to make sure his understanding wasn't totally insane, he then spent the rest of his life on a remarkably vigorous campaign of evangelism, covering much of the then-known world.

Self-funded by tent-making, natch, so that he would be beholden to no-one.

Along the way, he wrote a considerable amount of what became the new testament.

No matter how you look at the guy, or what you make of what he had to say, he was a remarkable character.

He's a difficult voice, not least because he's extreme in every way. You don't get off easy with Paul, he was not a man given to half measures.

The guy that I find really amazing is Ezekiel. At what he understood to be god's direction, he placed a brick on the ground, put an iron pan next to it, and lay down facing the brick and the pan every single day for 390 days.

Then he did the same thing from the other side for another 40.

For 14 or 15 months, he laid down next to a brick and a pan, each and every day. And ate a nice multi-grain bread.

His friends and neighbors were supposed to understand from this that their city and nation were in grave danger.

The human experience of the divine is amazingly various, and often extreme, and also often inexplicable. To seize upon a fragment of a letter written two thousand, or four thousand, or six thousand, years ago as being proof of a "hierarchy of divinely ordered relations" seems kinda sketchy. To me, anyway.

Not that I hear anybody arguing the opposite, just thought I'd make that point.

Likewise, people's understanding and experience of living in a given social context is various, and nuanced, and complex.

I fully agree that women have historically, and still to this day, live in a position of significant disadvantage. I agree with this because I see it in the lives of the women around me. My wife, my sisters, my nieces, my friends. Women today have ready access to many things that used to be largely beyond their reach, but there are about a million ways in which they're still playing catch up.

That said, the idea of a Patriarchy seems, to me, an overly simplistic lens for thinking about any of that.

People exploit power for their own advantage. They resist efforts to reduce whatever advantage they hold. When all else fails, they'll appeal to authority to justify their privileged position.

That's true when the issue is gender, or money, or race, or whatever.

I think we all agree that how any woman - or any person - dresses or presents themselves socially is not a justification for any form of violence.

I also think that, frex, CCDG taking his daughter aside and suggesting that she not put herself in a vulnerable position with certain other people is not, ipso facto, proof that he thinks he knows better than she does because he's a guy.

With respect, the capital-P Patriarchy seems, to me, to be as limiting a lens for thinking about and understanding the facts on the ground as, frex, a conservative evangelical's frame for reading Paul's letters. They both seem, to me, to constrain the discussion, because they both assume some of the conclusions they set out to prove.

That's how it seems, to me.

What about this?

I don't see how that contradicts envy's point at all.

Look, we're not talking about a tiny tiny group of people. If CCDG was trying to infer conclusions about Puerto Rican lesbian anthropologists who grew up in Montana based on his lifetime observations of members of that group, then his 'eh, maybe I have mysteriously encountered a non-representative sample but in my experience, they are X' argument would fly. We're talking about half the population of the human race. CCDG has probably met thousands of them. And he's not five years old either: he's spent decades interacting with an absolutely enormous group of people. And based on those decades of experience with thousands of women, he thinks that women are more trusting than men. This is not a sampling problem.

An old conservative white guy writes that "women tend to trust more than men". When someone points out that this kind of sexist argument sounds an awful lot like the patriarchy rearing its ugly head, a bunch of guys who rarely agree fall over themselves insisting that there's no sexism here. Right. OK then. Glad we've got that cleared up.

A German (local, Berlin) politician used the Roman (half) verse "The root supports you" (Die Wurzel trägt dich) on campaign signs a few years ago. Without any context or explanation. It took some time before the origin got deduced. The guy named Wruck since then had the nickname Wurzel-Wruck. In Germany this also carries a mental image of a person looking like http://media.buch.de/img-adb/02894681-00-00/gesammelte_werke_68_der_wurzelsepp.jpg>this or http://csimg.pikengo.de/srv/DE/00006526b001lxpmh6/T/110x110/C/FFFFFF/url/a2cks02jhyxxx5-wurzelsepp.jpg>this.

CCDG has a point. Certainly society encourages them to be 'more trusting' (using the quotes because I'm not sure that is the precise words I would use but it is something like that) If CCDG wants to argue that women are somehow more trusting and just can't help it, we might part ways, but acknowledging that they are, and not being specific about _how_ they got that way seems to be a place where we can agree. After all, didn't we have a whole song and dance about how wearing party dresses was like holding a gun to a woman's head? I'm not sure about the calibre involved, but surely, notions that femininity implies less aggressiveness or there is a different frame between the stern father and the nurturing mother must be at least be some type of projectile weapon.

I may be confusing CCDG with McT, but I thought that both of them have written about the intelligent and competent women in their lives and have not been dismissive. Admittedly, as Sartre pointed out, saying Jew are smart is just as prejudiced as saying they are stingy, but I think CCDG has enough sense to not have thought something like 'wow, for a woman, she's pretty smart'. That envy wants to tee off on CCDG and claim that clearly stated caveats are 'awfully wiggly', I guess the bunch of guys oughta let CCDG take his lumps and not say anything, cause anything is better than actually trying to discuss it.

CCDG has probably met thousands of them. And he's not five years old either: he's spent decades interacting with an absolutely enormous group of people. And based on those decades of experience with thousands of women, he thinks that women are more trusting than men. This is not a sampling problem.

Having met thousands of women and knowing enough about those same women to comment on their powers of observation in the realm of the opposite sex are not, in my somewhat limited experience, interchangeable at all.

...a bunch of guys who rarely agree fall over themselves insisting that there's no sexism here.

Turb, since you quoted me for the lead-in to the comment containing the above, I'm assuming I'm a member of the "bunch of guys" you're referring to. If so, I'd like you to point out where I insisted that "there's no sexism here."

Turb, since you quoted me for the lead-in to the comment containing the above, I'm assuming I'm a member of the "bunch of guys" you're referring to.

You assume incorrectly.


Certainly society encourages them to be 'more trusting'

Cite please?

"And based on those decades of experience with thousands of women, he thinks that women are more trusting than men. This is not a sampling problem."

No, it is not a sampling problem. It was simply pure sexism on my part. Insert at top of comment where I put the other concession.

Then read the rest. It makes no difference to the rest of my points.

Certainly society encourages them to be 'more trusting'

Doesn't this contradict CCDG's point completely? I mean, his whole point is that many many men know all about who the 'bad' men are and constantly try to warn women who rebuff their advice. That sounds to me like society is encouraging women to be less trusting and that women are refusing to be less trusting because they are innately more trusting.

You assume incorrectly.

Well, then, um ... let that be a lesson to you! ...or something.

I mean, his whole point is that many many men know all about who the 'bad' men are and constantly try to warn women who rebuff their advice.

I think his point is that, in his experience, some men have suspicions about some other men and sometimes try to warn women they know well about those men and those women are often resistant (all of which may still be sexist).

That sounds to me like society is encouraging women to be less trusting and that women are refusing to be less trusting because they are innately more trusting.

You seem to be equating some men with society in that formulation, Turb.

That said, the idea of a Patriarchy seems, to me, an overly simplistic lens for thinking about any of that.

People exploit power for their own advantage. They resist efforts to reduce whatever advantage they hold. When all else fails, they'll appeal to authority to justify their privileged position.

That's true when the issue is gender, or money, or race, or whatever.

But . . . in regards to gender politics, that's what patriarchy is.

You seem to be equating some men with society in that formulation, Turb.

Yes, for good reason. CCDG repeatedly wrote unqualified statements about "men". Not "some men". Not "a few people that I ran into this one time", but "men". When I review his comments below, the only conclusion that I can come to is that he believes men's greater mistrust is extremely pervasive; if you don't assume that, none of these comments make sense at all.

I am not sure "men" are blind as you think.

I just constantly wonder what part of this "men" are blind to? I'm not. Sociopaths are.

Men are far less trusting of other men's motivations with women than women are.

I can't recount all of the conversations I have had or know about where a man has gently warned a female friend that a certain guy might not be as great as they think, to be refuted with the classic "oh you don't know him like I do". Trust me we know him like you don't.

Men are in general more skeptical...Ask your male friends who not to get drunk with alone, they'll probably have a list, and you will be surprised who it will contain that you have known a long time.

But men are not blind, or hiding, they generally don't get listened to on the subject though.

But men are not blind, or hiding, they generally don't get listened to on the subject though.


When any women can "ask their male friends who not to get drunk with alone" and get a list, that means that CCDG believes this a very pervasive phenomena. And that in turn means that society is constants encouraging women to be less trusting through "all of the conversations that [CCDG] has had or know about...".

I think his point is that, in his experience, some men have suspicions about some other men and sometimes try to warn women they know well about those men and those women are often resistant (all of which may still be sexist).

I think if you go back and re-read what CCDG wrote, you're not going to find that italicized text anywhere there, unless you generously insert it for him. If you take what he actually wrote, well, it wasn't me who was engaging in freestyle parsing.

That sounds to me like society is encouraging women to be less trusting and that women are refusing to be less trusting because they are innately more trusting.

You seem to be equating some men with society in that formulation, Turb.

Second verse, same as the first.

But it's all within the context of his admittedly limited experience, as qualified and conceded in his later statements, so "men" = "some men" and "women" = "some women" unless Marty both claims to know everyone and explicitly says that he is speaking about everyone.

And "all of the conversations that [CCDG] has had or know about..." are all of the conversations of the specific type of which he is speaking that went the specific way he described, not all of the converstations he has ever had or known about, so, again, a very limited context not representative of all of society.

Second verse, same as the first.

Sure, if you ignore his later clarifications and concessions.

I think if you go back and re-read what CCDG wrote, you're not going to find that italicized text anywhere there, unless you generously insert it for him.

Conversely, if you ungenerously insert all, even if only to yourself, you can get a meaning that's obviously inconsistent with a great deal of what CCDG has said.

This gratuitous insertion of meanings that are manifestly outside of the original meaning (even if it needed further explication on the part of CCDG to emerge) is kind of offensive; I think the implicit assumption of all is, after the fact, much less faithful to what CCDG said he meant than the insertion of some has turned out to be.

I'm inclined to be more forgiving of hsh's sin than of yours, because hsh is paying heed to the later clues of CCDG's intent.

If you already knew that, and are simply re-arguing about your original interpretation of CCDG's point, I'm not sure what the point of that is. If you are instead arguing with CCDG about what he actually meant, that seems rather pointless as well.

And, to be clear, I'm not saying that Marty doesn't have a distorted view on the subject at hand. I'm only pointing out that he has admitted that he's only speaking about his perceptions of his own personal experiences, which may be a completely useless thing to discuss, or maybe not. Either way, the point is simply that Marty isn't trying to assert truths about all of humanity as divided along lines of gender, as he has admitted very explicity and as it seems some people are ignoring.

This gratuitous insertion of meanings that are manifestly outside of the original meaning (even if it needed further explication on the part of CCDG to emerge) is kind of offensive; I think the implicit assumption of all is, after the fact, much less faithful to what CCDG said he meant than the insertion of some has turned out to be.

Yes, but. The beauty of language is that, despite its fundamental ambiguity, there are commonly-understood meanings. One such conventional understanding of unmodified plural nouns is that they are speaking in general. (To say nothing of the fact that Marty proceeded to say things like, ya know, "in general".) Hence, my "insertion" of all isn't really, well, an insertion, because that's how English works. Whereas assuming he meant, um, "some men in general" doesn't exactly parse. At all. Hsh's inserted meaning is less forgivable than my uninserted meaning. And insistence that Marty conceeded his questionable categoricals are kinda undermined by him making statements that we should assume in retrospect that his statement "was simply pure sexism on [his] part", but that this "makes no difference to the rest of [his] points". I.e., I'm having trouble seeing that the concession of his categoricals as sexism means anything if he still feels we should take at face value and as a useful commentary his assertions that in general women are naturally more trusting of men, that they should pay more heed to well-meaning men who try to tell them how to act, and that they just won't because they are (by nature or nurture) too trusting.

This leaves aside entirely his fascinating insistence that his assertion that women should pay more heed to self-identified well-intentioned men's advice on who to associate with, what to wear, and where to go is empowering...

Both Envy and Turb.

So, in the end my basic point was to object to the categorization of all "men" here:

Given that, of course, men are generally utterly blind to the ubiquity of sexual violence against women (both because, as the privileged, they're naturally blind to sexism in general but also because recognizing the problem is both horrifying and implies a social responsibility), and because men have a patriarchal vested interest in emphasizing the danger and incidence of stranger rape

as blind, privileged and patriarchal using my personal experience as counter example. So, I get from the objections that any hint of a broad characterization about women is sexist, should we agree that the above is also sexist?


Whereas assuming he meant, um, "some men in general" doesn't exactly parse. At all. Hsh's inserted meaning is less forgivable than my uninserted meaning. And insistence that Marty conceeded his questionable categoricals are kinda undermined by him making statements that we should assume in retrospect that his statement "was simply pure sexism on [his] part", but that this "makes no difference to the rest of [his] points".

I'm not assuming a "some in general" formulation. I'm replacing "in general" with "some" based on later clarifications. The sexism on his part, or at least a big piece of the sexism on his part, was his generalizing from his limited experience. (Isn't that one of the ways -isms work?) So, again, it seems no later clarifications will be accepted, since he's admitting to what he did and retracting it. Whether it "makes no difference to the rest of [his] points" is another matter.

The beauty of language is that, despite its fundamental ambiguity, there are commonly-understood meanings.

So, it's the commonly-understood meaning that trumps CCDG's actual intent? The commonly-understood meaning decides what anyone who ever said anything meant? Good to know.

I think the commonly-understood meaning is full of crap, myself, and should not be trusted.

One such conventional understanding of unmodified plural nouns is that they are speaking in general.

Sure. But they could be speaking in general about some population of people with which CCDG is familiar. Go consult your commonly-understood-meaning dictionary on that and tell me what it says, please.

In general, meaning in every situation, when people go consult their commonly-understood-meaning collection and proceed to lecture me on what I really meant, I ask them to fold said collection until it's all corners, and, well, consult the storehouse for the rest.

The above is not meant to claim that words don't mean anything, or that there isn't any importance at all to how words are used, but rather to point that on occasion some (or more) people express themselves badly, clumsily, incompletely, or otherwise inconsistently with what they actually meant to communicate, and that the courteous thing to do is to not assume that your interpretation is the correct one and insist to them, even after repeated clarifications, that you know what they meant and they don't have any say in the matter.

Speaking in general, I mean. This might not be what you're doing, envy, but my storehouse of commonly-understood meanings says it is.

But . . . in regards to gender politics, that's what patriarchy is.

That's true, but all of human life is not reducible to gender politics.

Look, here is the thing that I disagree with in Doc Science's thoughtful and interesting post:

I don't think a "stance" against homosexuality, abortion, ordination of women, and other gender-role issues is a true shibboleth, a nearly-meaningless marker for identity. I think firm gender roles are the *point*, and Christianity itself is coming along for the ride.

Bolds mine.

IMVHO, maintaining firm gender roles are not the thing that motivates more authoritarian readings of the Bible. Or any of a million other social and cultural expressions.

There are a lot of dimensions in play, and I don't think any single one of them can be isolated and said to predominate.

That's pretty much my entire point.

Regarding CCDG's comments, he initially weighed in here to object to this:

Given that, of course, men are generally utterly blind to the ubiquity of sexual violence against women

Patriarchy or no patriarchy, I'm not sure that the general utter blindness of men to anything, including sexual blindness toward women, deserves the status of "given, of course".

If the objection is to CCDG's apparent overgeneralization, perhaps a look in the mirror is in order.

Nobody is saying that sexism doesn't exist, nobody is saying that women do not deal with huge social and cultural disadvantages.

The only thing *I'm* saying is that, IMVHO, Doc Science's focus on the gender dimensions of the issues she's discussing lead her to conclusions that are, again IMVHO, incorrect. At least as regards the very specific case of evangelical Biblical interpretation.

The question that nobody on the thread (I think) has picked up on is the one raised by Frank Shannon.

Social and cultural norms -- even crappy, inequitable, harmful ones -- don't succeed by chance. They do so because they are, to some degree or other, adaptive.

They solve a problem. Often poorly, but they solve a problem.

The fact that gender roles are used to give men greater power than women is a reality. A crappy reality.

But it may be that efforts to change that will only succeed to the degree that we understand the function it fulfills.

Asserting that the "adaptive function" of firm and unequal gender roles is "it gives men power and they like it that way" is an interesting proposition, but it assumes an awful lot of bad faith on the part of not quite half the human population of the earth.

Perhaps there's more to it than that.

But it's all within the context of his admittedly limited experience, as qualified and conceded in his later statements, so "men" = "some men" and "women" = "some women" unless Marty both claims to know everyone and explicitly says that he is speaking about everyone.

hsh, are you saying that CCDG has specifically retracted or qualified every single one of his statements that I quoted in my last comment to be about "some men" and not at all about 'many' or 'most' men? I don't think he has. If he did, then his comments don't make any sense at all.

Even if he has, "some men" might very well mean "most men". I mean, if 40% of all men are constantly telling women 'you are being too trusting', then, yeah, that constitutes society encouraging women to be less trusting.

I think you and CCDG are trying to have it both ways. CCDG comes out swinging making wild expansive unqualified claims about all men. He doesn't just make one; I've listed over half a dozen. His claims are so universal that he dares every woman reading his comments to ask any men they know and claims they'll find evidence he's right. When he gets called on it, you come out of the woodwork insisting that he wasn't making universal claims at all but was making very narrowly targeted statements about his own experience that in no way reflect larger social trends at all. Is this behavior what Bush the elder used to refer to as 'cheat and retreat'?

I am not sure "men" are blind as you think.

I think it's safe for me to just challenge the initial categorical.

I just constantly wonder what part of this "men" are blind to? I'm not. Sociopaths are.

Not really stating anything, asking for clarification of above. "I'm not" is pretty specific.

Men are far less trusting of other men's motivations with women than women are.

Already retracted.

I can't recount all of the conversations I have had or know about where a man has gently warned a female friend that a certain guy might not be as great as they think, to be refuted with the classic "oh you don't know him like I do". Trust me we know him like you don't.

Pretty specific to me and people I know.

Men are in general more skeptical...Ask your male friends who not to get drunk with alone, they'll probably have a list, and you will be surprised who it will contain that you have known a long time.

Very specific to envy.

But men are not blind, or hiding, they generally don't get listened to on the subject though.

Again, reinforcing my point against the original cateegorical.

Again, what about this?

I will start by just conceding my first point above, my experience may be limited and women, in general, may be just as distrusting of men as men. It just hasn't been my experience.

And this?

No, it is not a sampling problem. It was simply pure sexism on my part. Insert at top of comment where I put the other concession.

And how is it that I'm "coming out of the woodwork?" What does that mean? Have I never commented here, and, if I hadn't, should that invalidate what I have to say?

"Men are in general more skeptical...Ask your male friends who not to get drunk with alone, they'll probably have a list, and you will be surprised who it will contain that you have known a long time.

Very specific to envy"

This however, was something that, while I wrote it as a specific to envy, I do believe is more generally true. If I need to take lumps for it being somehow sexist I will. I think that it is more genraly true than not that a circle of people would have some people in it that men would identify a being less trustworthy. I have no idea if there are equal judgements formed by women.

I forgot to paste in this to start off my last comment:

When he gets called on it, you come out of the woodwork insisting that he wasn't making universal claims at all but was making very narrowly targeted statements about his own experience that in no way reflect larger social trends at all.

Pretty specific to me and people I know.

Of course it is rooted in your own experience. But do you think it is generally true for other people? If you think it is an idiosyncratic experience, then I don't see why you'd bring it up as it is irrelevant. If you think it is universal, then it is very relevant, but then it is not "pretty specific to you and people that you know".

Very specific to envy.

No, that is simply not true. When you ask every woman reading this post to ask her male friends something and verify that you are correct, you are making a claim about nearly universal behavior. That claim may be rooted in your own experience, but it is a universal claim. Own it. Take responsibility for it.

I mean, you don't know a damn thing about envy. How can you possibly know how her friends will respond unless you're assuming that any woman's male friends are likely to respond in the same way? Unless you're making a universal claim....

Again, reinforcing my point against the original cateegorical.

Sure, you are making a universal claim here.

"Again, reinforcing my point against the original cateegorical.

Sure, you are making a universal claim here."

No, I am refuting a universal claim here.

"Own it. Take responsibility for it."

Already did, we good?

No, I am refuting a universal claim here.

CCDG, when you say "men are not blind, or hiding, they generally don't get listened to on the subject though", you are making a universal claim. That does not mean that you're not also refuting a universal claim. These are not mutually exclusive statements.

Look, when you claim that many many men are telling women to be less trusting, that's not a claim about your own personal experience. That's a claim about how our society operates. If it is not, then it completely fails as a refutation.

"Look, when you claim that many many men are telling women to be less trusting, that's not a claim about your own personal experience. That's a claim about how our society operates. If it is not, then it completely fails as a refutation."

At the end of a long list of things that I think are pretty interesting to discuss I am not going to quibble much over:

"they generally don't get listened to on the subject though".

Ok, it's universal, it's true, IMO, and, IMO, it doesn't diminish the first half of that sentence at all. I should have separated them by a period and added a wry smiley after the end of the second sentence to complete the thought process.

If it is not, then it completely fails as a refutation.

A counter-universal is not necessary to refute a universal. If only some men are not blind to, say, acquaintance rape, then it is not true that men universally are blind to acquaintance rape.

Now, did he overstep in making that point by over-generalizing on a number of related points? Yes. Did he later pull back on those over-generalizations? Also, yes.

I think that it is more genraly true than not that a circle of people would have some people in it that men would identify a being less trustworthy. I have no idea if there are equal judgements formed by women.

You have no idea? Really? You have a strong opinion about how men would respond but you couldn't even guess as to how women would?

I don't think this makes any sense given your earlier claim that "men are in general more skeptical"...I mean, you clearly do have an opinion about how women would respond and you think it is less skeptical.


A counter-universal is not necessary to refute a universal.

I'm looking at what CCDG actually wrote. What he actually wrote was a universal statement. Do you disagree with that? If not, I can't see how your statement is relevant to this discussion.

If only some men are not blind to, say, acquaintance rape, then it is not true that men universally are blind to acquaintance rape.

Do you really think so little of the people writing here that you feel the need to belabor the distinction between collequial writing where 'all men' is assumed to mean a large fraction of men and formal arguments where 'all men' means each and every single man in existence? Do you honestly believe that such comments advance the discussion?

Now, did he overstep in making that point by over-generalizing on a number of related points? Yes. Did he later pull back on those over-generalizations? Also, yes.

No, he has not. See his 1:47pm comment.

What he actually wrote was a universal statement. Do you disagree with that? If not, I can't see how your statement is relevant to this discussion.

I don't disagree, but it's relevant because you wrote this, you know, the thing I quoted when I wrote that:

If it is not, then it completely fails as a refutation.

-----------------

Do you really think so little of the people writing here that you feel the need to belabor the distinction between collequial writing where 'all men' is assumed to mean a large fraction of men and formal arguments where 'all men' means each and every single man in existence? Do you honestly believe that such comments advance the discussion?

Okay. How about this: if a significant number of men do not meet some criterion, even if only a large minority, it is incorrect, or at least unclear, not to qualify the use of the word "men" when saying that men meet that criterion.

No, he has not. See his 1:47pm comment.

The comment that included this, which speaks to what I think was the problem with Marty's generalizations to begin with?

I have no idea if there are equal judgements formed by women.

Now, I agree that that's, I don't know, a weird or goofy thing to write, but that doesn't mean that he isn't backing off of his universal claims about the trusting ways of women. It's just a clutsy way of doing it, I think.

Now that I've been so responsive, how about you address this, Turb?

"Again, what about this?

I will start by just conceding my first point above, my experience may be limited and women, in general, may be just as distrusting of men as men. It just hasn't been my experience.

And this?

No, it is not a sampling problem. It was simply pure sexism on my part. Insert at top of comment where I put the other concession.

And how is it that I'm "coming out of the woodwork?" What does that mean? Have I never commented here, and, if I hadn't, should that invalidate what I have to say?"

I don't disagree, but it's relevant because you wrote this, you know, the thing I quoted when I wrote that:

If it is not, then it completely fails as a refutation.

No, your comment is still not relevant. My original point was that CCDG could not refute envy's claim by talking exclusively about his own experience and not trying to generalize at all. At least using colloquial english rather than formal predicate logic.

Okay. How about this: if a significant number of men do not meet some criterion, even if only a large minority, it is incorrect, or at least unclear, not to qualify the use of the word "men" when saying that men meet that criterion.

I think this sort of pseudo-academic posturing is profoundly unhelpful. If you want to talk about statements that people have actually been written down here, I'm game, but I'm really not interested in applying odd abstract standards to precisely this discussion (and no other: you've never raised this point in any other discussion and I doubt you'll do so in the future).


that doesn't mean that he isn't backing off of his universal claims about the trusting ways of women.

Again, I don't believe CCDG has backed off from his claim that "men are in general more skeptical". Can you cite specifically where he did so?

"Again, what about this?

I think I addressed it here.

And this?

I can't tell if CCDG is engaging in sarcasm there (in which case I don't think it helps your argument) or if he's agreeing with me. If he's agreeing with me, I'm not sure I understand what you're complaining about.

And how is it that I'm "coming out of the woodwork?" What does that mean? Have I never commented here, and, if I hadn't, should that invalidate what I have to say?"

Eh, it was just a turn of phrase. Why are you so fixated on it? Expending all this passion and energy on a harmless five word phrase just seems so wanton.

I think this sort of pseudo-academic posturing is profoundly unhelpful.

It wasn't my intent to posture, pseudo-academically or otherwise. Whatever, I'm dropping it.

Why are you so fixated on it? Expending all this passion and energy on a harmless five word phrase just seems so wanton.

Huh? I didn't realize I was "so fixated" or "expending all this passion and energy."

Again, I don't believe CCDG has backed off from his claim that "men are in general more skeptical". Can you cite specifically where he did so?

I think this would be the third time, but:

I will start by just conceding my first point above, my experience may be limited and women, in general, may be just as distrusting of men as men.

Whether or not you like the logic of this statement, as you stated in your earlier comment, based on your expanded formulation of Marty's experience with women, relying on the assumed fact the he's met lots of them and therefore must know how trusting they all are, the fact remains that is clearly a retraction of his previous generalization.

This whole thing boils down to Marty responding to this:

Given that, of course, men are generally utterly blind to the ubiquity of sexual violence against women (both because, as the privileged, they're naturally blind to sexism in general but also because recognizing the problem is both horrifying and implies a social responsibility), and because men have a patriarchal vested interest in emphasizing the danger and incidence of stranger rape;

by saying that he and other men he knows aren't blind to sexual violence other than stranger rape and, futher, that he and others have warned women about the potential for it. Then he follows up with a bunch of silly stuff about how men know more than women do about other men and blah, blah, blah. He gets called on the other silly stuff about blah, blah, blah and retracts it in pretty simple language.

Now, he could have made the point very well that he and other men he knows are not blind to other-than-stranger rape and, in fact, have warned women about it without all the silly stuff that made him sound sexist even without being blind to other-than-stranger rape, but he didn't, so he had to go back and retract the silly blah, blah, blah.

That's how I see it by reading what he actually wrote. Maybe you read it differently, but I don't think my reading is at all unreasonable, Turb, so I'm leaving it at that.

me too.

Expending all this passion and energy on a harmless five word phrase just seems so wanton.

Hopefully this was said ironically. Because no one does expending all this passion and energy on a harmless five word phrase like the OW commentariat. I include myself, of course.

The above is not meant to claim that words don't mean anything, or that there isn't any importance at all to how words are used, but rather to point that on occasion some (or more) people express themselves badly, clumsily, incompletely, or otherwise inconsistently with what they actually meant to communicate, and that the courteous thing to do is to not assume that your interpretation is the correct one and insist to them, even after repeated clarifications, that you know what they meant and they don't have any say in the matter.

Well, I agree. And had his clarifications not also included the language I mentioned above which undermined self-same clarifications, I'd agree that I was being discourteous with continued insistence that the original plain-read interpretation was still as or more relevant than the later, revised, more charitable interpretation.

Basically, I agree with Turb that the above-referenced comment-and-concede was an instance of trying to have it both ways.

Because no one does expending all this passion and energy on a harmless five word phrase like the OW commentariat.

Truer words never. (I too include myself. Obviously.)

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