Oh! THAT’S What Manners Were For!

A young woman posted a harrowing and depressing personal account on the web, describing the  gauntlet of daily sexual harassment attractive females must endure just going through life. “I decided it was important,” she writes, “because in my own way, I can (unfortunately) point out exactly what is wrong with men when they don’t realize how hard it is to be a woman.  How we do not have equal opportunities and freedoms in everyday life.  How most men, even good caring men, have no clue what we go through on a daily basis just trying to live our lives.”

What follows should make every man angry and every woman angrier, a sickening story of a subway ride that became a nightmare, simply because too many young men think of pretty women as quarry, rather than human beings.

She writes,

“…I often ride the Metro when I commute from North Hollywood to Long Beach in order to save money.  I bring a book, pointedly wear a ring on my ring finger to imply I’m married (I’m not) and keep to myself.   Without fail, I am aggressively approached by men on at least half of these commutes.  The most common approach is to walk up to where I am sitting … and sit down next to me or as close to me as possible, when the train is not crowded and there are many empty rows.  Sometimes an overly friendly arm is draped over the railing behind me, or they attempt to lean in close to talk to me as if we are old friends.”

On this trip, that’s exactly what happens…

“…I was not on the train more than three minutes before three boys who looked eighteen sat in the row behind me and leaned over the seats into my personal space, close enough to breathe on me.  The one with his arm draped over onto the back of my seat asked me—surprise— “what are you reading?”… I told them loudly and firmly that I wanted to be left alone to read my book.  They got angry.  I was told “Why are you going to be like that?  I just wanted to talk!”  His friends start laughing at me and they don’t move, telling me ‘come on! and why are you gonna be like that?’ until I tell them to leave me the fuck alone, stand up, and move to the front of the car near the three other people on the train, a couple and a business man in a suit.  They spend the next two stops shouting at me from the back of the car..”

Finally the teens leave, and then it happens again…

 “…A seemingly normal man enters the train with his bicycle.  At this point I am three rows from the front of the car, another man was sitting near the back of the car, and the rest of the car is empty.  Bicycle Man walks halfway down the row, and settles into the seat directly opposite me…It’s not the first time I’ve been bothered multiple times….So when this man leans across the aisle into my personal space and asks me, yes, what are you reading, I assertively but calmly tell him to please leave me alone, I am reading.  The man stands up, moving to the front and muttering angrily over his shoulder that it isn’t his fault I’m pretty. Yes.  Exactly that.  I am the bad person in this situation because somehow this is all my fault.  I started this by being attractive…”

Then things turn scary..

“…I realize Bicycle Man is not taking it well….talking to himself, becoming agitated… He is glaring at me, and says out loud in an angry baby talk voice “PLEASELEAVEMEALONEI’MREADING.  PLEASE LEAVE ME ALOOOONE!” Then he’s up out of his seat…He begins pacing back and forth in front of his bike, alternating between screaming something about his mother being dead and calling me a slut, a hoe, a bitch.  I am frozen in place….There are four stops left until we reach the main downtown station where there are lights and security officers…and I have no guarantee that leaving to wait for another train won’t motivate him to leave the train as well…At this point he’s punching the walls and doors of the train, screaming at me.  He stares me full in the face and screams, ‘SUCK MY DICK, BITCH! YOU BITCH! YOU STUPID BITCH! YOU GODDAMN HO! IF I HAD A GUN I’D SHOOT YOU! I WOULD FUCKING KILL YOU BITCH!’

This goes on for two stops, and the young woman finally leaves the car and the subway..

“By the time I exited the Red Line and reached my car I could barely breathe and my heart was pounding out of my chest.  Even now, in my own home, my hands are still shaking…”

No woman, young or old, whatever she looks like, should have to endure being treated like this even once. That women are routinely treated in this fashion, and I have no doubt that they are, is a cultural disgrace.

But we brought it on ourselves, you know.

I was once fortunate enough to have a long, private conversation with the late Herman Kahn, widely known in his day as the smartest man in the world. We talked about many things, including traditions and customs, a favorite topic of his as well as mine. “Society keeps making the same mistake, and never learns,” Kahn said. “We discard traditions, rituals and customs because they are old and nobody remembers why they started in the first place. Then, once they are gone, we realize there was a very good reason they existed, and things have gotten worse because the traditions aren’t around any more—the chain has been broken, they aren’t taught or reinforced, and they are gone forever.”

The harassment of women in public is a perfect example. Feminists and the rest of us were happy to discard the traditions of chivalry and etiquette of men toward women, because they were seen as condescending, a way to keep women in their place by treating them as special, different, and ultimately unequal. Prevalent manners had that effect, no doubt, but one of the reasons they existed was to keep men, especially young men, from acting on their mating urges and sexual impulses in overt, offensive and violent ways. Boys were trained from the earliest ages to respect women. You didn’t swear in their presence; you took off your hat; you offered them seats and opened doors. You were never rude or forward with them, and if another male was, you stepped in and stopped him, by force if necessary. Never, never would you strike a woman, or touch her without her permission. These were basic manners, part of civilized society, and when we removed them in the interests of equality, we also gave the barbarians cultural room to run amuck. And they do.

I was around when these traditions were discarded, and I don’t recall any of those pushing to jettison them as remnants of a sexist society pausing to consider that there might be some good reasons to preserve the tradition of being especially polite to those with two X chromosomes. Indeed, those fighting the women’s movement goaded women the other way. “You want equality? Fine. Pay your own damn check. Hold your own damn chair. Take care of yourself. See how you like it.” Nobody had a good answer for them. As Herman Kahn said, we had forgotten one of the reasons those manners evolved, and it wasn’t all just to keep women barefoot and pregnant. Men are jerks and bullies about sex in ways most women are not, and in the absence of manners and traditions of etiquette, reinforced by families and the culture, a critical mass of them will behave like the subway riders who abused the blogger.

Teaching and insisting on manners, civility and respect for women is still the best way to combat this phenomenon, if it is not too late to get the best of the old traditions back, and if women themselves are willing to allow it. I fear that it is too late, and that women fear perceived inequality more than they fear the subway.

In that case, I don’t know what can be done.

You can read the whole post by the molested blogger here.

____________________________________________

Spark and Pointer: Debbie Grossman

Source: Tumblr

Graphic: Thunder Echo

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at  jamproethics@verizon.net.

74 thoughts on “Oh! THAT’S What Manners Were For!

  1. It was not just the women’s liberation movement that made this neo-atavistic behavior possible but the war on poverty which removed the need for men as fathers and providers. When boys are brought up by only women and there is no older man around to teach them both by example and occasionally by force that good manners is the most defining characteristic of a real man then you get this kind of behavior. I was taught this way and it was not only to respect women, but older people, people in positions of responsibility (teachers, police officers, nurses, doctors, et al) and especially strangers because the way you treat them reflects on your family either for good or ill. I know I am an old man now but I think when we get away from manners in small things it makes the larger society smaller and more petty and violent.

    • Oh yes it’s all the fault of some social program that was meant to help the poor. The war in poverty didn’t create single parent families it tried to help them.

      • While I don’t think social programs caused the explosion in single parent families, I think it’s important to at least recognize unintended consequences. That’s the point of Jack’s article, sometimes changes we make to a society for good reasons have exactly the opposite effect as intended. Many social programs, while not the root cause, increase the bad incentives which further drive the problem.

      • Must I trot out all of the mind-numbing statistics which prove the war on poverty has been an expensive failure? List the serious, thoughtful people who have reached this conclusion? It would certainly be quicker for you to point to one or two measures that indicate overall success, and some sort of bang for the buck. Other than ‘tried to help’. Road to hell and all that, you see.

        • I wasnt arguing that was a success. I was trying to make the point that he was useing a social program as an excuse and to make a politcal point. I dont think the abuse of women or the inability of men to be civil to them is something that is performed by men on one asile or the other. I blame it more on the men for the last forty to fifty years being taught that to be a strong assertive male is wrong. The single mother home I dodnt blame on the Johnsons social policies , I blame it on the explosion of drug abuse in our culture in the 1960’s.

        • Should we point out the reasons for that are due to policies that aren’t directly related, like the war on Drugs, and economic policies that cause greater inequality. Sheesh.

    • Full disclosure, I was born in 1980. But it has been my understanding that in the late 60’s and 70’s, marriage fell under the “deconstruction” knife and the idea spread that it was just a cultural construct meant to control women. Also, that divorce wasn’t bad for kids because if it made the parents happy, then the kids would benefit too.

      This can now be accepted as a bad move by everyone, right?

      • Wrong. I don’t accept that as a bad move. There are many clear sets of circumstances under which children’s lives can be dramatically improved through divorce. My parents divorce literally saved us from a crushing fate. That’s how I saw it when I was 10 and that’s how I see it now. In no way, not for myself, my sister, my brother, my mother or my father, was the divorce a bad move. The bad move was that my father’s 1950’s marriage ethics got in the way of his decision for far too many years before he was able to overcome them and make the best decision for all of us. The people who suffered were my parents, not us kids. We experienced instant relief.

      • Clearly, it’s better for an abusive, alcoholic father/mother to continue to exert influence and control over thir spouse and kids. That’s best for everyoneone!

      • Danielle, and tgt, you are using exceptions to prove a rule, and as long as you are going to do that, you are kind of making my original point for me.

        We HAD divorce before the 70’s. Pointing out alcoholism or abusive situations (tgt), or whatever the “crushing fate” Danielle faced, does not address the cultural shift, because that’s not what the shift addressed.

        The cultural shift of the 70’s is exactly the opposite of what you two are arguing: namely that those extreme situations aren’t necessary to justify divorce. The argument (and I think I made it pretty clear up there) was that there need not be “sanctity” to the pledge of marriage, and that “incompatibility” divorces were good for kids because it made the parents happy. Even if there was no abuse or danger of any kind, parents should follow their hearts and persue new love when they felt like it, because marriage was just an old, paternalistic institution, and kids were just like little adults and would turn out just fine.

        Honestly, you shouldn’t be allowed to even argue that that wasn’t a bad move. Sociologists have been tracking this one. Divorce skyrocketed after the 60’s, kids are much, much worse off because of it, the institution deteriorated, and the fallout is steamrolling youth culture, education, economics, and child safety.

        • Isaac, in the US, divorce rates went up at a faster rate than before beginning around 1962, not “after the 60’s.”

          I frankly doubt that anything as big and complex as nationwide divorce trends has a single cause. But if you insist on looking for just one cause, you should look for something at least a decade older than “the cultural shifts of the 70s.”

          P.S. Jack, I really like the new background art.

        • Um, no. What we’re saying is that the male-dominated, divorce-is-ethically-bad-on-its-face culture allowed for alot of abuse to occur. You pretend it didn’t.

          Are high divorce rates good? No, but that does not mean that legally and socially restrictive divorce would be better. The high rate of divorce is evidence that a large number of the previous marriages were not healthy. The difference now is that we actually recognize the problem.

          I’d also note that the rebellion against patriarchal marriage mainly (1) kept more women single and (2) allowed for more equal partnerships in marriage. Unless you assume that kids are more important than women, this is a no brainer.

          • I’d say that increased divorce rates reflect the reduction in the stigma about divorce, which has swung too far the other way. The stigma served several purposes: it forced those considering marriage to be more wary and committed, and it provided an incentive for couples having problems to work the problems out. The decline in the stigma, combined with increasing tolerance of infidelity in marriage, made marriages more disposable. Yes, unhealthy marriages continued, harming all concerns under the earlier cultural norms, but now a lot of marriages are abandoned when they could be “cured”—the equivalent of shooting people who aren’t terminally ill. And children are harmed as a result.

            • I’d agree, but the answer isn’t making women subservient to men. Feminism wasn’t and isn’t about marriages being silly, it’s about equality and choice, and that applies to marriages.

              • A lot of false dichotomies going around.
                1. Marriage doesn’t make women subservient to men.
                2. You can’t stare in the face of millions of self-serving divorces and push the pendulum all the way over to “but if we didn’t have that, everyone would be in an abusive relationship! No, they wouldn’t.
                3. Barry, I said “late 60’s and 70’s” not just “70’s”. I thank you for sharpening this discussion by finding the exact point at which divorce rates started to rise. (They spiked 15% from 1970 to 1975, so even though my comment was off-the-cuff, I pretty much nailed it, thank you.) If you prefer to say that the cultural shift really had its genesis in the 50’s, that’s probably true too. I wasn’t around then, but that makes lots of sense. It still peaked in the 70s, as did the divorce explosion, and I think it’s pretty naive to assume that a massive cultural change in thoughts about marriage DIDN’T lead to the cheapening of marriage that directly followed. Come on.

  2. I still open the door for women, he’ll I open it for everyone, I offer my seat, and I try to stand when someone walks in the room. I basically ask myself this. How would i woukd I want my sisters or mother treated? If that make me a sexist so be it .

      • Youre just not hanging around the right type of men. The men I work with for the most part would not just stop a man who was abusing a woman but would stomp him into a puddle. But then that would be wrong. 🙂

      • I would have happily intervined. And when i asked her after wards if she was alright i would think she was a bitch when she gave me the cold shoulder. But i wouldn’t call her on it.

  3. There isn’t enough manners in the world which will stop a mentally ill person from misbehaving. They existed pre-feminist movement, and that hasn’t changed.

    As for your overarching point, is feminism to “blame” for men harassing women, as if this was a new phenomena? Only if one had huge amounts of nostalgia, discounted women’s experiences from the past, and never looked at other cultures. Women have definitely reported being harrassed in the past, especially as they attempted to work, they were harassed by unscrupulous bosses, or even the immoral landlord for women who have stayed at home. Strides by feminism to cut out sexual harrassment in the workplace may have (or may not have) shifted some of that to the street, but even now there are efforts by many feminist groups to eliminate forms of street harrassment as well. Other cultures, which are just as feminist as the U.S., if not even more so, have little to no amounts of street harrassment, and other countries, which are more traditional, like many Latin American and Mediterranean countries, have much higher incidents of street harrassment. Feminism isn’t to blame for all of society’s ills.

    • The post did not “blame” feminists at all. If you want to read the posts simplistically, fine: put words in my mouth at your peril. The post said that nobody was thinking about the important functions such traditions served. That is quite true. There is no reason women couldn’t be treated equally and with traditional manners as well, but it would have taken thought on all sides.

      And the issue in the writer’s account was not mental illness. Again, trying to misread posts so as to make it easy for you to make cheap criticism isn’t appreciated, and I won’t tolerate it forever…or much longer.

      • There is no reason women couldn’t be treated equally and with traditional manners as well, but it would have taken thought on all sides.

        Because traditional manners had different rules as to how women should be treated as compared to how men should be treated.

        Of course, instead of revoking these extra-special consideration traditional manners had for women, maybe they should have been extended to men as well.

          • You didn’t swear in their presence; you took off your hat; you offered them seats and opened doors. You were never rude or forward with them

            How about not swearing in anyone’s presence?

            How about offering seats and opening doors for anyone?

            the equal rights movement had it backwards. Instead of everyone being treated like men traditionally were, everyone should have been treated the way women traditionally were.

            • Hawkers of porn and porn-type-things had a field day with feminist movement.
              “If a man can have sex with 50 women and be lionized, then it should be socially acceptable for a woman to have sex with 50 men, and proud of it! It’s…empowering!”
              As if it were somehow empowering for women to ape the worst qualities of men, rather than for men to imitate the best qualities of women instead.

              This is hurting us more than people know. Women have a “civilizing” affect on men. Our moms, aunties, grandmas, and female friends trained us not to act like pigs because they would NOT tolerate our nonsense. Thus, we learn to be gentlemen because if we want a good woman, we have to tame our animal impulses and EARN a good woman by gaining a good reputation.

              Now, a woman who has zero tolerance for sexual overtures from men is a “prude” or worse. Girls dream of being wanted superficially and sexually, because that is what both males and females in their culture are training them to want.
              My Jr. High textbook had a paragraph dedicated to Salt N Pepa, as examples of “feminist icons” who stressed “sexual freedom and individuality.”

              • As if it were somehow empowering for women to ape the worst qualities of men, rather than for men to imitate the best qualities of women instead.

                How is having sex with a large number of people a “worst quality”?

                This is hurting us more than people know. Women have a “civilizing” affect on men. Our moms, aunties, grandmas, and female friends trained us not to act like pigs because they would NOT tolerate our nonsense. Thus, we learn to be gentlemen because if we want a good woman, we have to tame our animal impulses and EARN a good woman by gaining a good reputation.

                Women are property. Men are animals and women are civilized. Men have to be trained by women. You are a sexist idiot.

                Now, a woman who has zero tolerance for sexual overtures from men is a “prude” or worse. Girls dream of being wanted superficially and sexually, because that is what both males and females in their culture are training them to want.

                Where before it was men trying to conquer women, now men and women are on more equal footing. That’s a bad thing, because girls who don’t want to put out are called prudes now, instead of being derogatorily called “good girls” in the past.

                My Jr. High textbook had a paragraph dedicated to Salt N Pepa, as examples of “feminist icons” who stressed “sexual freedom and individuality.”

                I can’t find any reference to Salt N Pepa in a textbook, but yes, they were feminists. Absolutely. Instead of being meakly objectified, they came out and expressed their desires just like men would. This isn’t a hard concept.

                • Whoo boy.

                  “How is having sex with a large number of people a “worst quality”?”
                  -Diminished quality of intimate relationships, greater likelihood of abuse, proven lower self-esteem, increased likelihood of STD’s…really, do you educate yourself about the things you talk about, or do you just argue based on what a person like yourself is “supposed” to believe? Promiscuity is generally socially “bad”, and “number of sexual partners” is a reliable indicator of a whole host of social problems.

                  “Women are property…”
                  The hell? Did I say that? Did I even in any way possibly imply that? Play fair. Conversations can’t happen if you lie and make up stuff that I said.
                  Oh, wait…because I said “our aunties and moms and grandmas?” You cannot possibly be stupid. “Our” relatives aren’t “ours” because of the possessive “ours”. You know this. You should be better than this.

                  “Men are animals and women are civilized…Men have to be trained by women. You are a sexist idiot.”
                  -And you are stuffing a straw army. I said men have animal impulses. Assuming that you believe in evolution, I don’t see why you have a problem with this statement. Assuming that you don’t think that men should eat their babies or commit rape, then you should agree with me that acting like an animal is not acceptable for a human. Assuming that you don’t categorically ignore nearly all sociology and gender studies, you will agree with me that women are generally more nurturing, and want stable, quality relationships to a greater degree than men, and persue fewer sexual partners.
                  I am saying that rising to the feminine ideal (a committed relationship with a faithful man) and supressing the supposedly masculine ideal (of a harem), is properly feminist, and goading women into wanting a harem of their own is not. It’s pretty basic, really. If you went around telling women that they aren’t really feminist unless they get penises, would that be empowering? Maybe you think so. I suspect you don’t. Feminism shouldn’t mean being ashamed of feminity. It should be recognizing feminity as equal to masculinity.

                  “Where before it was men trying to conquer women, now men and women are on more equal footing. That’s a bad thing, because girls who don’t want to put out are called prudes now, instead of being derogatorily called “good girls” in the past.”
                  -When did men stop trying to conquer women? In a world where Chris Brown doesn’t exist? What world is that? Is it in your wardrobe? Women are on equal footing legally now, and I guess on network television. In culture, not so much. So I really don’t get your point here. Did the sexual revolution help women? Like, women aren’t objectified anymore? And even if they are objectified worse than ever before, it’s okay because at least no one has to endure being called a “good girl” since everyone’s “putting out” like they oughta?

                  “I can’t find any reference to Salt N Pepa in a textbook, but yes, they were feminists. Absolutely. Instead of being meakly objectified, they came out and expressed their desires just like men would. This isn’t a hard concept.”
                  –(I love this comment because it implies that you searched every Jr. High textbook since at least the eighties. That must have been hard work. You should have asked me how old I am; it would have narrowed down your research. They were in my 5th grade history book, if it helps, in the section on the 80’s/90’s)
                  Sooo…Salt N Pepa were feminists? Because they acted like men? You wanna die on that hill? 🙂
                  “Meekly objectified” is all SnP ever were. They were talented, but no one names them among the great emcees of the 90’s, because they were sex symbols. They used nasty talk to sell records, and now they are like 45, looking for love on a Z-level reality show and getting rejected for liposuction because they aren’t really very overweight. Also, Salt’s ideal man is someone who remembers her name. Great feminists. Move over Susan B. friggin’ Anthony.

                  Also, that’s not how the (very sexist) record industry works. Female artists who actually say what they want to and have, you know, principles and stuff, are out there. There’s Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys, Queen Latifah back in the day I guess. I would consider them feminists, but Salt N Pepa were the opposite of that. They said whatever sold records, and there’s no way to really know if they meant any of it, because every other sex-symbol superstar says exactly the same thing. The stripperific sexuality of pop stars (even the male ones) is far beyond what a typical person actually wants, because of the male-dominated music industry, not because pop-stars are all super-feminists. This kind of thing is bad for feminism, bad for women, and good for those who exploit, marginalize, and otherwise objectify women.

                  • “How is having sex with a large number of people a “worst quality”?”
                    -Diminished quality of intimate relationships, greater likelihood of abuse, proven lower self-esteem, increased likelihood of STD’s…really, do you educate yourself about the things you talk about, or do you just argue based on what a person like yourself is “supposed” to believe? Promiscuity is generally socially “bad”, and “number of sexual partners” is a reliable indicator of a whole host of social problems.

                    I can make the exact same arguments (Swapping STD’s for all other transferrable diseases) for friendships in general. This mad an old and busted argument, and then accused me of not being educated. Irony.

                    “Women are property…”
                    The hell? Did I say that? Did I even in any way possibly imply that? Play fair. Conversations can’t happen if you lie and make up stuff that I said.
                    Oh, wait…because I said “our aunties and moms and grandmas?” You cannot possibly be stupid. “Our” relatives aren’t “ours” because of the possessive “ours”. You know this. You should be better than this.

                    You picked out the wrong part as problematic: “[I]f we want a good woman, we have to tame our animal impulses and EARN a good woman by gaining a good reputation.”

                    That’s treating women like property. I stand by my statement.

                    “Men are animals and women are civilized…Men have to be trained by women. You are a sexist idiot.”
                    -And you are stuffing a straw army. I said men have animal impulses. Assuming that you believe in evolution, I don’t see why you have a problem with this statement. Assuming that you don’t think that men should eat their babies or commit rape, then you should agree with me that acting like an animal is not acceptable for a human. Assuming that you don’t categorically ignore nearly all sociology and gender studies, you will agree with me that women are generally more nurturing, and want stable, quality relationships to a greater degree than men, and persue fewer sexual partners.
                    I am saying that rising to the feminine ideal (a committed relationship with a faithful man) and supressing the supposedly masculine ideal (of a harem), is properly feminist, and goading women into wanting a harem of their own is not. It’s pretty basic, really. If you went around telling women that they aren’t really feminist unless they get penises, would that be empowering? Maybe you think so. I suspect you don’t. Feminism shouldn’t mean being ashamed of feminity. It should be recognizing feminity as equal to masculinity.

                    No strawman anywhere. That women are more nurturing than men in general does not support your distinction that men are animals that women need to civilize.

                    Evolutionarily, the female ideal is NOT a committed relationship with a faithful man. Have you looked at social structures among even primates? From 1 male/multiple female to 1 male/1 female to multiple male/multiple female to all the above combinations, but with either the female or male going behind the other’s back for more partners. Female promiscuity is rampant.

                    You’re comment about a penis being required for feminism only shines light on one thing. You think nurturing is tied with femininity like is not having a penis. This simply isn’t true. I stand by my characterization of your statements.

                    “Where before it was men trying to conquer women, now men and women are on more equal footing. That’s a bad thing, because girls who don’t want to put out are called prudes now, instead of being derogatorily called “good girls” in the past.”
                    -When did men stop trying to conquer women? In a world where Chris Brown doesn’t exist? What world is that? Is it in your wardrobe? Women are on equal footing legally now, and I guess on network television. In culture, not so much. So I really don’t get your point here. Did the sexual revolution help women? Like, women aren’t objectified anymore? And even if they are objectified worse than ever before, it’s okay because at least no one has to endure being called a “good girl” since everyone’s “putting out” like they oughta?

                    So many things are wrong and stupid here. Men still try to get women, and women still try to get men, but it’s above board and isn’t about dominance. Women have more choices. I never claimed that men no longer want women.

                    Culturally, women are on much more equal footing now than in the past. Before, a female lawyer was a joke. Now, if you make a female lawyer joke, you’re called out.

                    Yes, women are still being objectified, and that’s not great. It also was occurring previously. The difference now is that some people call out objectification instead of assuming it is good.

                    Did you notice how you switched from objecitification occurring to it being worse than before? Yes? Well, you need to back that up.

                    The last clause is the worst. It uses the words in my argument, but completely ignores the meaning of what I said. I never claimed that everyone was putting out or that they should be putting out. I said that the new attacks based on non promiscuity are essentially the same as the prior attacks on promiscuity. I stand by that as well.

                    “I can’t find any reference to Salt N Pepa in a textbook, but yes, they were feminists. Absolutely. Instead of being meakly objectified, they came out and expressed their desires just like men would. This isn’t a hard concept.”
                    –(I love this comment because it implies that you searched every Jr. High textbook since at least the eighties. That must have been hard work. You should have asked me how old I am; it would have narrowed down your research. They were in my 5th grade history book, if it helps, in the section on the 80′s/90′s)
                    Sooo…Salt N Pepa were feminists? Because they acted like men? You wanna die on that hill?
                    “Meekly objectified” is all SnP ever were. They were talented, but no one names them among the great emcees of the 90′s, because they were sex symbols. They used nasty talk to sell records, and now they are like 45, looking for love on a Z-level reality show and getting rejected for liposuction because they aren’t really very overweight. Also, Salt’s ideal man is someone who remembers her name. Great feminists. Move over Susan B. friggin’ Anthony.

                    I did not imply that I looked up every textbook. Did you know there’s such a thing as the internet now? I have pretty good google-fu, and I couldn’t even find someone else pointing out this was in a textbook. I was looking to find how the connection was made in the textbook, but that I couldn’t find it is pretty decent evidence that it doesn’t exist. Unless you can find a real reference, your example has to be treated as incorrect or misremembered.

                    Also, 5th grade is not something that’s considered junior high.

                    Onto the substance, saying that Salt N Pepa were “meekly objectified” is beyond the pale stupid. They had active lyrics that turned the game around, objectifying men. They were active in their desires and lyrics. They chased instead of being a prize. Were they objectified by some people? Yes. So has been every celebrity in history. Their lyrics were raunchy? So were lots of rap lyrics in the 90s, do raunchly lyrics mean someone is sitting back and letting people do whatever those people want? NO.

                    Everything else in the post is an ad hominem attack, so I’m not going to bother with it. Your example was horrible, and to defend it, you had to use special pleading, you had to use ad hominem attacks, and you had to completely redefine words.

                    Also, that’s not how the (very sexist) record industry works. Female artists who actually say what they want to and have, you know, principles and stuff, are out there. There’s Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys, Queen Latifah back in the day I guess. I would consider them feminists, but Salt N Pepa were the opposite of that. They said whatever sold records, and there’s no way to really know if they meant any of it, because every other sex-symbol superstar says exactly the same thing. The stripperific sexuality of pop stars (even the male ones) is far beyond what a typical person actually wants, because of the male-dominated music industry, not because pop-stars are all super-feminists. This kind of thing is bad for feminism, bad for women, and good for those who exploit, marginalize, and otherwise objectify women.

                    Really? Salt N Pepa were not sex symbols by any means, so that blows up the entire argument. Past that, there’s an ongoing argument over whether pro-sex women are a benefit or a drag for feminism. The argument is really only ongoing as the con side uses slippery slopes, false comparisons, and strawmen, but it is ongoing.

                    What’s really bad for feminism is claiming that attractive females must be negative sex symbols.

                    • Well, tgt, this argument reached the point at which the number of bizarre things you are saying has exceeded my capacity to respond in an afternoon. So…you win?

                      I can’t resist. I’ll pick a few, though:

                      -In my school, 5th grade was part of the Jr. High. My elementary school was called a Primary School and had grades K-4.
                      -“Salt N Pepa were not sex symbols by any means, so this blows up the entire argument.” Well, you made my head explode, but that’s about it. I mean I don’t even…I’ll just refer you to YouTube I guess.
                      -Your point about lawyers completely veered off-topic too. This entire discussion was about how women being Paris-Hiltonesque in promiscuity does not empower women. Who has a problem with women lawyers? How am I supposed to respond when you do this?
                      -Saying that a man needs to “get” or “earn” a good woman cannot possibly, to any rational person, equal saying “women are objects.” If you actually “stand by” that assumption by me, then I throw up my hands. Also, I “have children” which by your logic means that I consider them objects, too. This is just sad.
                      -“What’s really bad for feminism is claiming that attractive females must be negative sex symbols.”
                      Once again, no one said this. “Attractive female” and “sex symbol” are two separate things, which is why they are two different phrases. Please try to argue against the real me, and not the imaginary me that you see in front of you.
                      -“Men still try to get women, and women still try to get men, but it’s above board and isn’t about dominance.” Good heavens. Think about what you just said. Nelly swiped a credit card between a woman’s buttocks on MTV, and THIS MAN HAS 3 GRAMMIES. But sure, men don’t want to dominate women anymore. We fixed that with the sexual revolution. I just, I give up.

              • So, if women are responsible for civilizing men, does that absolve men of responsibility for their uncivilized behavior? You are making it sound like because women have fallen down on the job of keeping you in check, we should just expect and accept what we get in terms of public behavior. If you have an arguement that makes sense, it has become lost is what tgt called the sexist idiot part of your theory.

                • I don’t know why you would make that assumption.

                  Everyone is responsible for their own actions, and also, people have the responsibility to influence one another for good. Those are two separate concepts that coexist very well together.

                  If my Mom hadn’t taught me to respect women, I’d still be responsible for DISrespecting them. Those are not mutually exclusive.

                  tgt, in the face of all reality, is advocating that the new normal of female role-models publicly claiming to ENJOY bad male behavior (calling themselves bitches proudly, etc.) does NOT encourage or endorse bad behavior (like men and other women using the word “bitch” to describe women more.)

                  I’m arguing that it does both. Neither of us is even hinting that anyone should “accept what we get” as the behavior is reprehensible. We are arguing over the cause of it.

  4. This is generally known as the fence post fallacy. Someone buys an old property which has two fence posts in the middle of a the field. He can’t figure out why anyone would put them there. So he goes to his neighbor to ask for some help in pulling out the fence posts, at which time his neighbor points out, someone put them there for a reason. Until you can at least come up with a reason for them being there, I think you might want to reconsider pulling them out.

    In general our society has made a lot of progress on economic, equality, and racial issues by taking risks and making changes. We should continue to be willing to do that, but you need a better reason then ‘I don’t understand why it’s done that way’. Until you can explain why people choose to behave in a certain way, then you really should reconsider changing it.

  5. It sounds like the second person in the account was mentally ill, and not very much could have helped him. His mental illness manifested this time in the form of harassment against the author of the piece, but he didn’t sound as if he had it altogether. Manners probably would not have helped, as I indicated above.

    Feminists and the rest of us were happy to discard the traditions of chivalry and etiquette of men toward women, because they were seen as condescending, a way to keep women in their place by treating them as special, different, and ultimately unequal….These were basic manners, part of civilized society, and when we removed them in the interests of equality, we also gave the barbarians cultural room to run amuck. And they do.

    I’m sorry if misinterpreted the words that you wrote. It seemed from what I quoted above that you thought feminism was responsible for the degeneration of manners that used to exist in the mythical past. My apologies. I’m unsure of how one could go about get the “best of the old traditions back”? Which traditions? Is it the ones that you quoted? You didn’t swear in their presence; you took off your hat; you offered them seats and opened doors. You were never rude or forward with them, and if another male was, you stepped in and stopped him, by force if necessary. Never, never would you strike a woman, or touch her without her permission. Why can’t we do these things for both men and women? I always make sure to open doors for people of both sexes, give up my seat to those who seem to need it more, and refrain from cursing around in public and those who would be offended. That should be a general rule for anybody, not just for men.

    • Why can’t we do these things for both men and women? I always make sure to open doors for people of both sexes, give up my seat to those who seem to need it more, and refrain from cursing around in public and those who would be offended. That should be a general rule for anybody, not just for men.

      Totally agreed.

    • Agreed. One set of good manners was eliminated, and nothing was added. And of course, it isn’t that you don’t treat women like the author of the post was treated—you don’t treat anyone that way. But women already don’t treat anyone like that; its the men who need new/old habits.

      But what part of “and the rest of us” eluded your grasp? If 100% of a group is responsible, as this suggested, no one segment can be fairly said to have been blamed.

      • One set of good manners was eliminated, and nothing was added.

        No, one very, very flawed set of manners that applied to one sex was changed to generally apply to everyone, but it didn’t stick with everyone.

        And of course, it isn’t that you don’t treat women like the author of the post was treated—you don’t treat anyone that way. But women already don’t treat anyone like that; its the men who need new/old habits.

        Um… some women do. It’s considerably less common, but that doesn’t make it nonexistent.

        • Ok. It is rare enough that it would be considered aberrant. Show me a blog post or news story about a handsome young lad being serially harassed and threatened by a gang of teenage girls on the subway, and I’ll publicly recant.

          • Um…serially isn’t necessary. A lone woman invading a man’s space and assuming the man has to pay attention to her, and then calling him names when he refuses is enough. I’ve seen that myself… though I can only pinpoint one time, so I say these women exist… it’s just orders of magnitude less common.

            Because it is considerably less common and the differences in power between men and women socially, it’s considerably less of an issue, but that doesn’t mean we should pretend that there’s an inherent difference between the sexes here that applies across the board.

            • Well, when talking about societies, you have to generalize.
              It doesn’t do any good to draw on statistically rare exceptions.

              If women, in general, are seen as sexual conquests by men, in general, and the same is generally not true in reverse, than some kind of cultural code designed for men to teach them to respect women is a great idea.

              Is chivalry perfect in application? What could be when talking about large groups of people? The fact that some feminists got offended by chivalry doesn’t outweigh the much greater harm done to a lot more women by treating chivalry like a stupid relic.

              It’s easy to forget generally that in most pre-Christian morality, women were not even taken seriously as human beings. The Romans thought they were imploded males. Chivalry represents a gigantic leap forward in culture, just by advancing the idea that women were equally human and ought to be respected. It didn’t take rapacity out of human nature; it just contained it. If you trash it, rapacity resurfaces.

              Unrelatedly, Kanye West is a top-selling artist. Heard his new song, “My Favorite Bitch?” The one he wrote about his own girlfriend?

              • Well, when talking about societies, you have to generalize.
                It doesn’t do any good to draw on statistically rare exceptions.

                Therefore, women should stay at home because they are better care givers than men.

                Just because something has been traditionally true and/or may be true on the grand scale does not mean a general rule should be created to enforce the difference.

                If women, in general, are seen as sexual conquests by men, in general, and the same is generally not true in reverse, than some kind of cultural code designed for men to teach them to respect women is a great idea.

                Agreed, but that doesn’t mean the cultural code that was created is good for women.

                Is chivalry perfect in application? What could be when talking about large groups of people? The fact that some feminists got offended by chivalry doesn’t outweigh the much greater harm done to a lot more women by treating chivalry like a stupid relic.

                2 rationalizations and an unsupported claim. Nice!

                It’s easy to forget generally that in most pre-Christian morality, women were not even taken seriously as human beings. The Romans thought they were imploded males. Chivalry represents a gigantic leap forward in culture, just by advancing the idea that women were equally human and ought to be respected. It didn’t take rapacity out of human nature; it just contained it. If you trash it, rapacity resurfaces.

                I’m calling complete bullshit. In Christian society, women were not equally human. This is pure revisionism.

                Also, even if chivalry was an improvement on previous culture, that doesn’t make it either right or good. For instance, Jim Crow was an improvement on slavery.

                Unrelatedly, Kanye West is a top-selling artist. Heard his new song, “My Favorite Bitch?” The one he wrote about his own girlfriend?

                You realize that actually is unrelated, right? That there is mysogeny currently is not evidence that things are worse now than before.

                • “Therefore, women should stay at home because they are better care givers than men.”
                  ————-No, but a woman’s choice to stay at home should be not be considered in any way inferior or less feminist than a choice to work- and right now, unfortunately it is.

                  “Just because something has been traditionally true and/or may be true on the grand scale does not mean a general rule should be created to enforce the difference.”
                  ————–Who says there should be a rule that women should stay home? Is that even part of chivalry? Chivalry isn’t even rules anyway so much as a cultural attitude.

                  “Agreed, but that doesn’t mean the cultural code that was created is good for women.”
                  Maybe it isn’t. Then tweak it. Use social sciences and prove that holding doors open for women hurts women. Prove that the word “bitch” is empowering. Tossing out centuries-old traditions because they’re old is dumb, though, so let’s not do that.

                  “I’m calling complete bullshit. In Christian society, women were not equally human. This is pure revisionism.”
                  ———–And I’m calling “I knew you’d say that, because most people don’t really know their history on this one.” But don’t accuse ME of revisionism. I was paraphrasing that famous Bible-thumper, Bertrand Russell, who said:
                  “In antiquity, when male supremacy was unquestioned and Christian ethics were still unknown, a man who took women seriously was somewhat despised.”
                  Also the Bible: “There is neither male nor female. We are all one in Christ Jesus.”
                  Of course Christian societies did not achieve perfect equality overnight. But women and men are equal in the Bible, and Christian societies had the Bible, so they achieved equality better than others and advanced the cause, making it possible for us to…well, we still don’t have perfect equality.

                  “Also, even if chivalry was an improvement on previous culture, that doesn’t make it either right or good. For instance, Jim Crow was an improvement on slavery.”
                  ————-Well…I totally agree with you about this. But I believe that chivalry is good for purely objective reasons based on my own observation and sociology, not just because it’s better than life was for women pre-slavery.

                  “You realize that actually is unrelated, right? That there is mysogeny currently is not evidence that things are worse now than before.”
                  ————-I say it’s relevant. Jay-Z, Kanye and Eminem, etc. are universally accepted icons of culture. They endorse Pepsi, they become principal-for-a-day in schools, they grace the covers or our most popular magazines, and they are hella sexist.

                  Don’t make me bust out the real top-50 internet search terms next. 🙂

                  • “Therefore, women should stay at home because they are better care givers than men.”
                    ————-No, but a woman’s choice to stay at home should be not be considered in any way inferior or less feminist than a choice to work- and right now, unfortunately it is.

                    That’s a non sequitur. We’re talking about your belief that it doesn’t matter that men and women are not homogeneously opposed.

                    “Just because something has been traditionally true and/or may be true on the grand scale does not mean a general rule should be created to enforce the difference.”
                    ————–Who says there should be a rule that women should stay home? Is that even part of chivalry? Chivalry isn’t even rules anyway so much as a cultural attitude.

                    Strawman. This was part of the above argument. The point was that just because there are differences on average between the sexes referring to a given topic, we shouldn’t create rules that separate the sexes based on that topic. Rules include cultural expectations. Chivalry is rules for behavior that treat the sexes differently based on the idea that the womenfolk are weak and need to be protected by big strong men


                    “Agreed, but that doesn’t mean the cultural code that was created is good for women.”
                    Maybe it isn’t. Then tweak it. Use social sciences and prove that holding doors open for women hurts women. Prove that the word “bitch” is empowering. Tossing out centuries-old traditions because they’re old is dumb, though, so let’s not do that.

                    We did tweak the cultural code. We removed the unsupported parts that assumed women are weaker than men, as these parts are inherently bad. They falsely reinforce an incorrect stereotype.

                    Holding doors for women does not inherently hurt women, just like holding doors for men does not inherently hurt men. Only holding doors for women and not men creates an unjustified difference that negatively affects our culture.

                    The traditions aren’t getting tossed because they are old, and noone has claimed such. Please argue with the actual arguments instead of creating strawmen.

                    “I’m calling complete bullshit. In Christian society, women were not equally human. This is pure revisionism.”
                    ———–And I’m calling “I knew you’d say that, because most people don’t really know their history on this one.” But don’t accuse ME of revisionism. I was paraphrasing that famous Bible-thumper, Bertrand Russell, who said:
                    “In antiquity, when male supremacy was unquestioned and Christian ethics were still unknown, a man who took women seriously was somewhat despised.”
                    Also the Bible: “There is neither male nor female. We are all one in Christ Jesus.”
                    Of course Christian societies did not achieve perfect equality overnight. But women and men are equal in the Bible, and Christian societies had the Bible, so they achieved equality better than others and advanced the cause, making it possible for us to…well, we still don’t have perfect equality.

                    That pre-Christian era was male dominated does not say that the Christian era was not male dominated. The comment from Russell was wrong. Your comment that men and women are equal in the Bible is beyond stupid. Men have rights over women all over the place. The testimony of women is not considered valid. Yes there are passages that claim equality, but they are undercut by all the passages and processes that define inequality. A women must be subservient to a man like a man is to Jesus. Sure, that’s equality.

                    Also, we actually are talking about Christian society, not the words of the Bible. Superfail.

                    “Also, even if chivalry was an improvement on previous culture, that doesn’t make it either right or good. For instance, Jim Crow was an improvement on slavery.”
                    ————-Well…I totally agree with you about this. But I believe that chivalry is good for purely objective reasons based on my own observation and sociology, not just because it’s better than life was for women pre-slavery.

                    That you have other reasons does not make this reason any more valid.

                    “You realize that actually is unrelated, right? That there is mysogeny currently is not evidence that things are worse now than before.”
                    ————-I say it’s relevant. Jay-Z, Kanye and Eminem, etc. are universally accepted icons of culture. They endorse Pepsi, they become principal-for-a-day in schools, they grace the covers or our most popular magazines, and they are hella sexist.

                    *Sigh*. Again, that X exists now does not mean X is worse now than before. This is basic logic.

                    Don’t make me bust out the real top-50 internet search terms next.

                    I’d say you shouldn’t, as they won’t say anything about mysogeny being worse now than before.

                    • –The original discussion (based on the blog post itself) is about manners, specifically giving certain kinds special preference and respect to women, not equally given to men. Anything reaching beyond that is the real straw man, which is why I can’t have a conversation with you if you keep wildly interpreting basic manners in the worst possible, straw-iest way. “Not walking in front of a lady” or “not using crude language around a woman” is a correct and exact explanation of the kind of ideas we are discussing. “Women are inferior and need to be protected by big, strong men” is not an accurate discription, it’s painting something in the worst possible light, and as long as you debate this way, an honest discussion is impossible. You have to respect and deal what the opposing side is actually presenting- that’s the whole point of even opposing “straw men.”

                      –Chivalry has been tweaked, as happens to most traditions, but at some point in the past 30-40 years, it was completely tossed out. Tweaking is good, tossing out is bad. I don’t see what’s so hard to understand about this.

                      Calling women “the weaker sex,” for example, was a bad idea, justified by chivalry. We don’t do it anymore, and if we hadn’t dumped civility and tradition altogether, we still wouldn’t be doing it. We could have evolved to consider feminity just as “strong” as masculinity, and adjusted our language accordingly while still respecting women. Instead, we tossed out any sort of extra consideration towards women and just declared that women are just as masculine as men, and they can take anything we can dish out, freeing men from any responsibility to respect or even acknowledge feminity. That’s not a good trade-off.

                      –You completely miss the point about Christianity and culture, or else just have your fingers in your ears. Bertrand Russell was a historian and logician who spent countless hours learning about history, so maybe he knows something you don’t, or was just a more honest atheist? It’s not just him you know, it’s kinda the well-understood history of the world.

                      Christianity emerged, and with it the teachings of the Bible, which influenced culture in the direction of equality of sexes (and charity/agape/human rights, but those are intertwined). It’s not that complicated. Of course society remained male-dominated. It STILL is. But progress happened as Christian mores influenced more of the world, which ended up being mainly the West. It’s not really up for debate.

                      And it’s really MORE about the Bible than it is about what you call “Christian culture,” which isn’t even a thing. There are thousands of cultures heavily influenced by Christianity, but there technically is no culture of Christians, any more than there could be a culture of ninja assassins. Christianity is a personal commitment to a set of ideals, obeyed in a matter of degrees by each individual.

                      –The words of the Bible are the only source of the teachings of Jesus, the guy who is kind of central to “Christianity”. Hence, it’s the only real unifying thread to what you call “Christian culture”. Rather than being a “superfail”, I’d say it’s a bit relevant, and the Bible’s words about women are more relevant than anything else to Christian influence on culture.

                      Speaking of which, you’re ignorance of the Bible is showing. “A woman’s testimony isn’t valid?” Umm, maybe not in Sharia law, but in the Bible, yes it is/was. Even according to the Law of Moses, which was a civil code for a country, and not a reflection of God’s heart/will anyway, according to Jesus. “A woman should submit to a man as a man submits to Christ?” Sure, but in context, husbands and wives and all Christians submit to EACH OTHER (Eph. 5:21) because submission (yielding to the interests of others) is a defining Christian characteristic. I can understand you not knowing that, since you don’t seem to have learned anything about the Bible from Christian (or accurate non-Christian) sources. Extremist atheist types love the “submission” passage (out of context) because it looks sexist if you don’t know what “submission” means in the Bible, sure. Men are told to love their wives, but it doesn’t mean that women are not supposed to love their husbands. Women are told to submit to their husbands, and men are also supposed to submit to their wives. Submission, (hupotasso, and a few other Greek words used in the Bible) means to yield/cooperate, and is a trait expected among all Christians, like love or forgiveness. Again, I don’t expect you to know that, because I suspect that you are the sort of person who only reads about Biblical studies in the context of “getting some dirt on Christianity.”

                      You’re like a guy who learned all he needs to know about the Middle Ages from watching Monty Python.

                      “If X exists now, it does not mean that X is worse than it was before.”

                      But if X (woman-hating, universally loved cultural icons) hardly existed before to any degree, and does now in abundance, then it’s relevant as information that can enter in to the discussion. I’d think that would be basic logic.

                      I sorry that I don’t think you’re really trying to engage here. I think you just want to “win” the argument by rhetorical force. Not sure what can be accomplished then…

                    • Isaac,

                      –The original discussion (based on the blog post itself) is about manners, specifically giving certain kinds special preference and respect to women, not equally given to men. Anything reaching beyond that is the real straw man, which is why I can’t have a conversation with you if you keep wildly interpreting basic manners in the worst possible, straw-iest way. “Not walking in front of a lady” or “not using crude language around a woman” is a correct and exact explanation of the kind of ideas we are discussing. “Women are inferior and need to be protected by big, strong men” is not an accurate discription, it’s painting something in the worst possible light, and as long as you debate this way, an honest discussion is impossible. You have to respect and deal what the opposing side is actually presenting- that’s the whole point of even opposing “straw men.”

                      I don’t think you understand what a strawman is. Nowhere have I claimed your argument is that “women are inferior and need to be protected by big, strong men”. What I have said is that these manners are based on that idea and continue it. I am accurately representing your position and explaining the problems with it. You just invented a position for me to knock down. What you did is a strawman.

                      –Chivalry has been tweaked, as happens to most traditions, but at some point in the past 30-40 years, it was completely tossed out. Tweaking is good, tossing out is bad. I don’t see what’s so hard to understand about this.

                      Slavary has been tweaked, as happens to most traditions, but at some point in the past 200 years, it was completely tossed out. Tweaking is good, tossing out is bad.

                      See how ridiculous that is? You actually have to defend your positions instead of appealing to tradition.

                      Calling women “the weaker sex,” for example, was a bad idea, justified by chivalry. We don’t do it anymore, and if we hadn’t dumped civility and tradition altogether, we still wouldn’t be doing it. We could have evolved to consider feminity just as “strong” as masculinity, and adjusted our language accordingly while still respecting women. Instead, we tossed out any sort of extra consideration towards women and just declared that women are just as masculine as men, and they can take anything we can dish out, freeing men from any responsibility to respect or even acknowledge feminity. That’s not a good trade-off.

                      Calling blacks “apes,” for example, was a bad idea, justified by racists. We don’t do it anymore, …

                      I don’t think I have to continue that one, as it follows as above. In this case, you are (unintentionally?) claiming that women are weaker than men. It’s like you haven’t thought through any of your points.


                      –You completely miss the point about Christianity and culture, or else just have your fingers in your ears. Bertrand Russell was a historian and logician who spent countless hours learning about history, so maybe he knows something you don’t, or was just a more honest atheist? It’s not just him you know, it’s kinda the well-understood history of the world.

                      Direct appeal to authority. Judge the words and reasoning, not the source of the words.

                      Christianity emerged, and with it the teachings of the Bible, which influenced culture in the direction of equality of sexes (and charity/agape/human rights, but those are intertwined). It’s not that complicated. Of course society remained male-dominated. It STILL is. But progress happened as Christian mores influenced more of the world, which ended up being mainly the West. It’s not really up for debate.

                      I have never claimed that women under Christianity weren’t better off that pre-Christianity. I have claimed that that is irrelevant. to whether chivalry is something we should have now. People were better off when Shellfish were taboo compared to prior to that, but that’s not evidence that we shouldn’t eat shellfish now.

                      And it’s really MORE about the Bible than it is about what you call “Christian culture,” which isn’t even a thing. There are thousands of cultures heavily influenced by Christianity, but there technically is no culture of Christians, any more than there could be a culture of ninja assassins. Christianity is a personal commitment to a set of ideals, obeyed in a matter of degrees by each individual.

                      Equivocation. Christian culture is a shortcut for many cultures influenced by various versions of Christianity. In general, they are not pro-women. Also, you started the Christian culture thing by talking about chivalry rooted in christianity. You made the rules, you’re stuck with them.


                      –The words of the Bible are the only source of the teachings of Jesus, the guy who is kind of central to “Christianity”. Hence, it’s the only real unifying thread to what you call “Christian culture”. Rather than being a “superfail”, I’d say it’s a bit relevant, and the Bible’s words about women are more relevant than anything else to Christian influence on culture.

                      Your interpretation of the bible, even an accurate interpretation of the bible, has nothing to do with the culture around christianity. You claim to be a biblical scholar, so there’s no excuse for you. Supderduper fail.

                      Speaking of which, you’re ignorance of the Bible is showing. “A woman’s testimony isn’t valid?” Umm, maybe not in Sharia law, but in the Bible, yes it is/was. Even according to the Law of Moses, which was a civil code for a country, and not a reflection of God’s heart/will anyway, according to Jesus.

                      Christian culture. There’s a reason that Jesus was first seen by women when he rose in the various accounts, and that people did not believe the women.

                      “A woman should submit to a man as a man submits to Christ?” Sure, but in context, husbands and wives and all Christians submit to EACH OTHER (Eph. 5:21) because submission (yielding to the interests of others) is a defining Christian characteristic.

                      *sigh*. There’s a greater context of submission, yes, but why is the female called out there in needing to submit to her man? Why is property to go to sons and not daughters? This isn’t difficult stuff. It’s also what people took from the bible.

                      I can understand you not knowing that, since you don’t seem to have learned anything about the Bible from Christian (or accurate non-Christian) sources.

                      I knew the reference, it just didn’t matter. I also have a pretty decent understanding of the bible. The son of an ex-Jesuit who taught religion during the son’s formidably years should have a decent understanding.

                      Extremist atheist types love the “submission” passage (out of context) because it looks sexist if you don’t know what “submission” means in the Bible, sure. Men are told to love their wives, but it doesn’t mean that women are not supposed to love their husbands. Women are told to submit to their husbands, and men are also supposed to submit to their wives. Submission, (hupotasso, and a few other Greek words used in the Bible) means to yield/cooperate, and is a trait expected among all Christians, like love or forgiveness. Again, I don’t expect you to know that, because I suspect that you are the sort of person who only reads about Biblical studies in the context of “getting some dirt on Christianity.”

                      More of the same from above. Men and women are both supposed to submit to Christ, but women are supposed to submit to men in ways men aren’t supposed to submit to women. Your reading is the new agy reading, and doesn’t jibe with how it’s been taken over the past couple of thousand years.


                      You’re like a guy who learned all he needs to know about the Middle Ages from watching Monty Python.

                      Said from the guy who thinks that Christianity has held men and women completely equal.


                      “If X exists now, it does not mean that X is worse than it was before.”

                      But if X (woman-hating, universally loved cultural icons) hardly existed before to any degree, and does now in abundance, then it’s relevant as information that can enter in to the discussion. I’d think that would be basic logic.

                      Uh huh. “to any degree”. So there were no misogynistic icons in the 40s and 50s? Do you really want to make that claim. Think about it a second. We also have considerably more icons now that run a wider gamut, largely due to technological advancements. Would a squeaky clean icon show that morals have improved? No.

                      I sorry that I don’t think you’re really trying to engage here. I think you just want to “win” the argument by rhetorical force. Not sure what can be accomplished then…

                      I’ve engaged. I’ve explained when your arguments are invalid, sometimes using evidence and sometimes by pointing out the invalid structure of your arguments. What you have done is repeat invalid arguments, lie about my positions, and generally behave like someone who is guided by faith, while paying lip service to logic. If I can dismiss your arguments on technical grounds, that’s evidence that YOU are the one who is not engaging.

  6. While the conduct mentioned above is inexcusable, we should get to the root of the problem.

    And the root is that our society has failed to embrace sex equality with respect to dating. The expectations of men and women concerning dating are different. Men are the ones who have to pursue women in order to have a relationship. Men are the ones who have to face rejection. Women are not expected to carry any water when it comes to starting a relationship. They are discouraged from pursuing a relationship.

    This blog has information on the dating disparities between men and women.

    The Black Pill .

  7. I’m not at all sure that there’s anything that happened to that woman that wouldn’t have also happened – and just as commonly — in the 1950s, and other times before modern feminism. This famous photo from the early 1950s wasn’t intended as being about sexual harassment (at least, according to the woman in the photo) – but that’s how millions of viewers took it, which I think says something about women’s experiences in the 1950s.

    In the 40s through 60s, one of the most frequent magazine cartoons showed a secretary being chased around a desk by her boss; there were probably tens of thousands of these created. Maybe the cartoonists were making up the attitude that women in the workplace were fair game for lecherous male co-workers, and that attitude wasn’t shared anyplace else, but I doubt that.

    In the end, there’s no way to know if sexual harassment has become less or more common. The main way we measure how often sexual harassment (on the street or in the workplace) happens is by looking at surveys and lawsuits, and no one did surveys about sexual harassment back then, nor were there lawsuits before it was made widely illegal.

    Somewhat related, this is one of my favorite political cartoons I’ve ever drawn, although it’s never been reprinted (probably because of all the swear words). All of the dialog is based on real reports of street harassment.

    • Nailed it. What’s happening now is that women are speaking up about it, and are able to reach a larger audience who believes them. It might have been considered inappropriate to touch a woman without her consent in the past, but it was also considered a joke to talk about it, and women were supposed to take it.

      Now, it’s still considered appropriate, but not as many women feel they have to take it, and more men will believe the women and support them. Throw in an increase in communication and the ability for individuals to communicate to a mass audience without going through a male media filter, and it looks like things have gotten worse.

      • We have sociology to tell us that things have gotten worse, we don’t need to only rely on blogs. Things have gotten worse in the culture.

        In the workplace, in the lawbooks, and in many other arenas we have improved some things through enforcement. But the battle for the hearts and minds (and on the streets), not so much I think.

          • The same way sociology does everything?
            By surveying, comparing crime rates, making the nesessary adjustments, etc?
            Like, for example, how the rape rate has been increasing over the last generation, even as other kinds of violent crime have gone down?

            http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED293015&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED293015

            I could go on, but I think “women are getting raped more” is a pretty good indicator for now.

            • It’s not even clear from the abstract that paper comes to the conclusion you draw from it; the author, Paul Cameron, was expelled from the American Psychological Association for bad research; and the paper doesn’t appear to have ever been peer-reviewed.

              Measuring rape prevalence is incredibly difficult, and people spend entire careers doing it. There’s no effective way of directly comparing the rape prevalence of two different eras, because — then as now — the majority of rapes are never reported or measured.

              • Yes, I think it is very likely that any perceived increase in rapes is just an increase in rapes reported. Cultural outrage over rapes is greater than ever; credibility and respect given to rape victims is greater than ever; the stigma of rape is generally less; sexual harassment laws have helped. It’s tough to prove, as you say, but I would be shocked if the incidence of rape has not abated significantly

              • Oh I agree, and it doesn’t even reflect on feminism/male-female violence when you include things like prison rape and child abuse.

                I can’t accept that the data means nothing, either, though.
                This 2008 report seems to indicate that we haven’t even been measuring sexual/domestic abuse properly, and that it’s kind of an epidemic and worse than everyone thought:

                http://www.hrw.org/news/2008/12/18/us-soaring-rates-rape-and-violence-against-women

                Besides, an decrease in rape rate (if that were happening) can reflect changes in law enforcement, reduced social stigma, etc…and have nothing to do with men wanting to rape less, or acting out on a desire to rape less.

                • Crime rates have gone way down over the past few decades, mostly because of law enforcement.
                  I would expect rape statistics, such as they are, to reflect that as well (though sometimes they don’t).
                  I also offer that we haven’t gotten nicer, smarter, more civil, or more loving, and that covering up social/moral decay with technological advances or by incarceration can only go so far. The data doesn’t tell us everything, but what emerges from the data does scare me.

                  Let’s say that all of the spikes in rape (even the year-to-year ones) are the result of more women reporting rape, and the rape rate has stayed more or less the same over 50 years. In the last 50 years, we’ve added 3-strikes laws, increased life-expectancy by 8 years, increasing the share of senior citizens who generally don’t commit much crime, and quadrupled the percentage of Americans in prison. Shouldn’t rape, reported or not, be WAY down?

                  • Yes, but the number of rapes that we legally consider rapes has gone WAY up. Fifty years ago, spousal rape wasn’t a crime at all, and although acquaintance and date rapes were in theory crimes, in practice very few people considered them to be rape, most of the time. As I understand it — and I could be mistaken about this — most of the rapes that people reported to the police fifty years ago were stranger rapes. And (here I’m on firmer ground) stranger rapes have always been a small minority of the total rapes that take place.

                    So we have two trends going in opposite directions. Violent crime in general has gone down, and I expect that if there were some way to consistently measure rape prevalence over fifty years, that would have gone down to. But the other trend is that a much larger proportion of rapes are now recognized as rape, , and thus more likely to be reported.

                    I don’t think the statistics are meaningless. But I think they all have to be approached with great caution. And, unfortunately, I doubt there is any meaningful way of comparing rape prevalence over the course of multiple decades.

                  • You’ve basically made the opposing case.

                    Violence down, but rape reporting up. Why could that be? Same reason spousal abuse has gone up. It’s not because men have lost respect for women, it’s because women can much, much more easily and safely report the crimes. They’ll be supported by some (though not all), instead of being laughed at. You know how there weren’t any gay people in the 50s? This is the same thing.

    • But your mistake is in trying to relegate that kind of sexism to the 1950’s or earlier.
      It’s WORSE now, not better.
      I know, hard to believe, because we don’t have (as many of) those sexist advertisements that we love to pass around online. The (fallacious) conventional wisdom is that women were “barefoot and in the kitchen” then, and then the sexual/feminist revolution fixed that. Wrong.

      What’s more indicative of culture, print ads, or the music that everyone buys/listens to? The best-selling male artists boast about smacking their bitches around, and some of the best-selling female artists are bickering over who’s the “biggest bitch in the game.” Because “bitch” is a BADGE OF HONOR now.

      I wasn’t around in the 50’s, but I assume that Buddy Holly didn’t have 99 problems but a bitch ain’t one.

      • Women are still barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen…more so than before.
        Self-esteem for girls has measurably plummetted.
        Relationships are measurably less satisfying. You could complile a dictionary-sized book out of all the sociology showing ways that women have been increasingly worse-off since the 60’s.
        We fixed the misogyny in the law books, but in the culture it’s gotten worse.

        • Well as I pointed out with the link above, women are getting raped more. Seems relevant.
          You could read Naomi Wolf’s really depressing article about her investigation into how porn culture hurts relationships/courting.
          Here’s one on how women are increasingly less happy since 1970, as men have gotten more happy:
          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marcus-buckingham/whats-happening-to-womens_b_289511.html

          Or the countless studies on how divorce harms kids, and how divorce skyrocketed in the 70’s, so that now fewer kids have a dad and mom, which is statistically the best arrangement for them.

          But I’m not the only one who can use Google. When I make those kinds of blanket statements, it’s because I’ve been interested in these kinds of things. I want to know if the direction we’re going in is the right one. I wouldn’t confidently say anything about this subject if I didn’t have a general idea of the data on what I’m talking about…

          • Of course, you do realize happiness is relative, right? This could be nothing more than a semi-inevitable consequence of having higher expectations than before, sort of like how an “improving” society with rising expectations might be unhappier than a “static” one with no expectations. And of course, considering that you do agree that men and women do seem to differ at least a bit on average, the drop in happiness relative to men might be nothing more than what you would see in any two population sets which differed psychologically on average. In fact, the authors of the study themselves point out that women might simply be more direct about their level of happiness nowadays. Also, I wonder if the trend would still hold if we could extend back to, say, 1940.

            Here’s some other explanations for the data that don’t necessitate growing misogyny: http://www.freakonomics.com/2007/10/01/why-are-women-so-unhappy/ (Levitt also links to an NYT article, written by the same guys who did the study on declining female happiness, pointing out that your interpretation of the divorce data is not necessarily correct).

            Here’s the actual article your link is talking about: http://bpp.wharton.upenn.edu/jwolfers/Papers/WomensHappiness.pdf (note that the graphs suggests more of a tendency towards parallelism and/or convergence, as opposed to men getting off on the unhappiness of women)

      • Print ads? I didn’t refer to print ads anywhere in my post, so I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

        Nor is it true that “everyone buys” the music you’re talking about. The top selling song of 2011 was Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” for example, and didn’t use the word “bitch” anywhere. That’s hardly uncommon – although there are some pop artists who have extremely misogynistic lyrics, there are many more who don’t.

        And it’s not like there weren’t misogynistic pop songs before the 1970s. The Beatles’ “Run For Your Life” is fully as misogynistic as anything Jay Z has recorded.

        In the past, it was perfectly legal for a husband to rape his wife. That’s one of many, many improvements that have been made in the last 40 years. So no, I don’t find it at all clear-cut that society is more misogynistic now.

        • The misogyny in pop music today centers on rap and hip-hop, and this is indeed a cultural problem, both a reflection of attitudes in one part of the youth culture and a driver of it; I don’t think a “they did it too” Beatles reference fairly addresses the issue. [“Run for Your Life” was clearly the Beatles taking on an alien identity for dramatic effect: nobody who heard that song then or hears it now could honestly think that the Fab Four were endorsing hunting down and killing girls. Or did John really think he was a walrus?]

          • First of all, it’s not quite as fictional as you think; John Lennon admitted that he abused women.

            All that “I used to be cruel to my woman, I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved” was me. I used to be cruel to my woman, and physically — any woman. I was a hitter. I couldn’t express myself and I hit. […] I will have to be a lot older before I can face in public how I treated women as a youngster.

            No, he didn’t hunt down and kill women, but he clearly had some serious issues with violence towards women, and I think that comes through in John’s chosen lyrics in “Run for your Life.”

            (I say “chosen” rather than “written” because some of the lyrics were swiped from an Elvis song, which itself swiped from “I Want To Play House With You,” written by Cy Coben, which used the line “I’d rather see you dead, little girl, than to be with another man.”)

            More importantly, that something is fiction doesn’t mean it can’t be misogynistic. Plenty of the rap and hip-hop that has been correctly criticized for misogyny involves the performer taking on a fictional identity for dramatic effect. The “well, it’s just fiction” excuse (which Eminem has often used in interviews) really misses the point of the critique.

            I do agree that some hip-hop artists write material that is misogynistic, and yet still becomes very popular, and this is a disturbing problem. But contrary to what Issac suggested, that isn’t the music “everyone” listens to; it doesn’t even represent all of hip-hop music. Nor does it mean that the current era is more misogynistic than the past.

            • By the way, I think that a song could be written in which the character is saying hateful or misogynistic things, but the song itself isn’t misogynistic, but instead has greater depths – it’s saying something about the character, or turns into a critique of misogyny. But I don’t think that’s a trick that “Run for your Life” pulls off.

              In Sondheim’s “The Ladies Who Lunch,” JoAnne at first seems purely condescending and above-it-all – and misogynistic, if you think women can be misogynistic – as she sneers at the ladies around her. But by the fourth verse, she’s seamlessly switched to the bitter self-hatred that was underneath all along: “And here’s to the girls who just watch / Aren’t they the best? / When they get depressed / It’s a bottle of Scotch / Plus a little jest. / Another chance to disapprove, / Another brilliant zinger…”

              There’s a lot going on in that song, and it rewards multiple listenings. I really can’t say the same for “Run for your Life.”

              • I like “Run for Your Life,” always have. Great energy, great vocal, like the the pop on “en-DA”. There’s no more reason to think the Beatles were really approving of the violent attitude of the character who sings the song than there is to conclude that they wanted to write paperbacks books.

  8. Her story angered me, too. But all is not lost — there is hope. I take a bus 5 days a week from downtown LA almost to Beverly Hiils. It passes a couple of high schols and a middle school, and is usually crowded. I see teen-agers (TEEN-AGERS!!!) habitually offering their seats to older women and pregnant women — and often to elderly men. Ordinary kids, from “poverty” and middle-class strata, mostly Latino in this part of LA. I know we old farts are supposed to be down on teen-agers, but I like these kids. (You suppose their parents are doing something right?)

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