Open Thread: The Disposable Male

A couple of people on the Memo to Feminism thread have been calling for an open thread on ideas of male expendability and the disposable male. So here it is! Have at it.

About ozyfrantz

Ozy Frantz is a student at a well-respected Hippie College in the United States. Zie bases most of zir life decisions on Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, and identifies more closely with Pinkie Pie than is probably necessary. Ozy can be contacted at ozyfrantz@gmail.com or on Twitter as @ozyfrantz. Writing is presently Ozy's primary means of support, so to tip the blogger, click here.

Comments

  1. EE: I must’ve failed spectaculary in how I wrote my comments. I was trying to point out that anyone buying sex from (or rather sexually exploiting) street kids in no way can claim to do so out of care and that the claim that they would be more focused on their own orgasm is as hurtful as it is absurd considering the no-real-choice situation they find themselves in – in no way was it meant as an endorsement of how good they would be! Exploiting people for sex is a vile thing to do and even more so when they’re underage or otherwise have a diminished choice in the matter.

  2. EE do you remember the Movie “How Stella Got Her Groove Back”? It’s about this jaded rich women who lives up a canyon in LA andwho gores to Jamaica for a fling with a local (poor) guy. Of course she isn’t labeled a slimy sex tourist, no, no – it’s told in this Oprahesque, up-beat You Go girl tone.

  3. Oh, and another point – if you use your car to find a streetwalker – the police in many areas can seize it from you and sell it at an auction to line their pockets. Did you know that?

    Still wondering why police go after men with jobs/money to hit with their stings? Would you rather auction off a hooker’s used shoes or a 2006 Corvette? Quick – is anyone here good at math?

  4. I am pretty late to the conversation here – and I think things got pretty far away from the “disposable male” angle – but I enjoyed reading.

    One thing I’d like to point out that basically every single person above has failed to mention:

    Except for very small areas of the world, prostitution is ILLEGAL. And if you are paying a 15-year-old street kid for sex you are engaging in CHILD PROSTITUTION.

    You all are talking like this is some sort of “option” for people. What is wrong with you all? I’m also shocked that me, insensitive and crass as I am, seem to be the only person with a problem with this thinking.

    Now, to tie this back into a “men’s issue” I’d also like to point out that police agencies all over the U.S. have entire vice squads dedicated to prostitution stings that exclusively catch the men trying to buy sex from women. Occasionally they go after the prostitutes themselves, but they find it to be more “effective” to take normally-law-abiding men with jobs and jail them and put them on sex offender registries because they visited a prostitute.

    There are no stings set up to catch women buying sex from men. And even if you’re a woman paying for sex from a 15-year-old street kid, you can be sure the D.A. and his jury will go easy on you – because the boy must’ve wanted it, right?

  5. And some people rationalize their likes into “it’s totally normal to be this way”, and it’s aggravating discussing gender with my boyfriend for this reason sometimes.

    I tell him that allowing boys and men to weak skirts and dresses, without any reprisal, is a good thing…and his reply is that no guy would do it anyways, because they don’t have interest in that stuff.

    Well, check out how many men have long hair versus how many women do – and I bet you, in a less discriminatory climate, it would be pretty much equal – and people wouldn’t die or be unable to gender people.

  6. “Smarter people are just less sex-differentiated in their interests.”

    Or attribute it less weight towards their identity.

    I bet you that people who are not in this smarter category might have androgynous interests, but think better of showing them, because the peer pressure is all they know. Wether they align with the interests they get pressured into, they do it. So you get people who complain they are *forced* to do stuff, like put make-up every day even to run errands. Or look super masculine at all times.

  7. @Cheradenine

    I noticed though, in the Lubinksi & Humphreys study, that while they measure a variety of skills, their gifted/not gifted criteria is strictly based on mathematical ability. Have you come across any papers that are more general?

    I don’t know of any other studies, though Lubinski looked at this question. The mathematically gifted students were smarter than non-gifted students on every single test, including IQ, verbal, and English measures. Math skills were merely the way that the researchers selected their mathematically gifted sample (top 1% in math skills of a larger population). As we know from the study of general intelligence, mental abilities tend to cluster: if you’re smart at one thing, you’re smart at something else.

    The researchers also looked at the top 1% of English, Spatial, and IQ and re-ran their analysis (Table 4). They found that just like with the mathematically gifted students, the students gifted on those other metrics were also more androgynous. Smarter people are just less sex-differentiated in their interests.

  8. With regards to the source of the ‘40%’ of men reproduced claim by Roy F. Baumeister, isn’t this derivable from the fact that Mitochondrial Eve lived several tens of thousands of years before Y-chromosomal Adam? I understand that this is how that statement was derived, as it is a possible explanation for how the vast difference in time between the two is possible. Note that very recent studies have pushed back timeframe for Y-chromosomal adam, so it may not be as true as when Baumeister wrote his speech.

  9. Tracy: OK, now you’ve clarified that people buying sex from streetwalkers and people buying sex from street kids and homeless men would be and should be treated as having the same motivations, regardless of gender. I’ll assume that it wasn’t your intention to leave out that they would have he same motivations (having and being treated as are two different things). I still don’t see how you were arguing for that earlier, but now that you’ve clarified it that is moot.

    My beef is not with you arguing that street kids and homeless men are a different group than streetwalker, but rather the arguments you chose to do so. How those arguments devalue, dehumanize and insults those street kids:

    I’m going to go with the assumption that the street walker wants to stay in business or at least get paid for that session. None of that is necessarily true with a homeless man or a street kid.

    Implying that they don’t want the payment they were promised for the sex. Are they too stupid to act in their own self-interest? Too dense to put in the effort required to get the payment from the people buying sexual favours from them?

    [about a man soliciting streetwalkers] However, unless he finds those things, my understanding is that he’ll find a sexual partner that is into his needs more than his or her own. I find it hard to believe the same is true of having sex with a random homeless person or a street kid and she has to deal with issues of how those men think about sex. Is he going to force her into something she doesn’t want? I mean, my understanding is a number of people in both of those situations have a mental health issues or pent up aggression.

    As the survey notes, there are women doing just this; paying for sex with street kids for money or goods. Arguing that street kid are more into their own sexual needs than their customer’s when they are having sex with them in exchange for the things they need, be it money, drugs, food or shelter is buying into the stereotype that men only care about sex (above food, drug and shelter) and also always are selfish about it. And of course street kids and homeless men are more dangerous than those taking advantage of them.

    I doubt that even if women availed themselves of homeless men and street kids, that the majority of them would be as aware of how issues of gender affect how we treat each other in the sack. I’m wiling to bet that in a majority of the cases, those men would concentrate on their own orgasm as much, if not more so, than the pleasure of their client.

    As the survey have shown, some women do avail themself of homeless men and street kids. You believe that homeless men and street kids are unable to connect the dots between making an effort for the client and thus getting a more satisified client who might be willing to pay more or do repeat business. No, you say that street kids and homeless men would in the majority of cases focus on their own orgasm when someone offered them sex in exchange for the money they need for their next meal, shot, shelter etc. You’re even willing to bet on it. It sounds as if you believe those street kids would jump to the chance of getting laid and that the payment, be it food or money, are secondary. You tried to nuance this by saying that you believe so because you believe those street kids would act in the manner they’re taught by porn and movies. You obviously then doesn’t think the female buyer are able to vocalize what they want from the street kids when they’ve gone to the step of actually soliciting sex in exchange for money or goods from them?

    Are you a homeless man or male street kid I’m supposed to pick up for random sex? It wasn’t a generalization about all men. To say it was is dishonest.
    And it’s not because they are men. If the situation was reversed and this was a random sex encounter with a stranger and I didn’t have sex for a living, I don’t think I would care as much about my partner’s orgasm as my own.

    I would certainly think that a street kid selling sex to a woman for a meal, perhaps the first meal in several days would consider it having sex to live (it’s not called survival sex for nothing) and that that would be a very strong motivation to provide a satisfying service.

    Where is the outrage of soliciting streetwalkers? I don’t see it.

    So you’ve noticed that I haven’t said anything about streetwalkers. That was on purpose because I am not one and hence I refrain from speculating about their motivations and performance.

  10. @ Tracy

    The assertion was, ‘women don’t have access to affordable sex for pay.’

    My response was to point out that women who are looking for the most affordable sex for pay can find it in men and boys who are exchanging sex for survival. These men and boys are obviously sex workers, just the most marginalized and thus the cheapest.

    Now at the time I had no intention of discussing the morality of sex for survival trade however you or daisy came back with ‘that’s not a counter example because homeless men and boys are bad sex partners.’

    Setting aside the fact that she who pays makes the rules, what astounded me, beyond either the classist or misandrous stereotyping, was that the objection to my counter example wasn’t ‘hey that’s not cool because sex for survival is exploitation bordering on rape,’ but ‘hey I don’t think homeless men and boys would preform adequately even when I’m the one providing the necessities for their survival.’

    To be clear I wasn’t ‘trolling’ for a particular response other then, ‘hey, you’re right, there is affordable sex for hire available to women.’

    Which is absolutely true regardless of the ‘quality’ of the product.

  11. “If you are that 15 year old boy and suddenly a woman is demanding that you please her in exchange for food and yet you know nothing about pleasing a woman, what are you going to do? If I was in that situation, I would act out what I’ve seen in movies or in porn. ”

    Maybe it’s me, but as someone who was socialized male, I have never watched porn. I was sexually inexperienced until age 25…after I transitioned. Although I learned to french-kiss at 12, and perfected it at 16, with the help of two girls in weird circumstancial happenings (as in, I was so pathetic I got a pity relationship when I was 16 – possibly because it helped her ‘dating much older drug-dealers’ reputation when I was 16 and as innocent as Snow White).

    So maybe it’s not sure that all 15 years old male-assigned people will have years of porn behind them to ‘guide’ their sexual life.

  12. @Tamen You are concluding that I was making it as an argument that they were different and I am telling you that I was making an argument that the people looking for sex in this manner would be and should be treated as having the same motivations, regardless of gender. Neither the hypothetical man nor the woman is concerned about the health or welfare of the people they are asking to have sex with them. Yet, when I argue that the group I’m told to solicit is not equivalent to streetwalkers for a number of reasons, I get horrified responses of what about the victims. Really? Where is the outrage of soliciting streetwalkers? I don’t see it. But it feels like because I have a vagina, I’m supposed to be thinking about the victims and, to me, that’s further proof that the situations are not equivalent.

  13. In particular when their next meal, hit or buzz depends on it. All things which are much more important to a person seeking and needing them than sex.

  14. Tracy: Well, if you’ve had written your first paragraph rather than those comments saying things like “people who use the services provided by streetwalkers usually don’t care about the streetwalker’s health” as arguments for the difference between them. You still don’t see how I might believe that that means you think that people (which include women) who solicit sexual services from street kids usually care about the street kids’ health?

    As for the street kids and homeless mens only being passive traders of sex, this is belied by the survey’s definition of sexual exploitation:

    Sexual exploitation occurs when youth under age 19 trade sexual activities in exchange for resources, like money, drugs, gifts, food, services, shelter, transportation, or anything similar. This can include commercial sex work in brothels or for escort services, pornography, and internet
    sex, but it also includes what some people call “survival sex,” or providing sex for a place to sleep, or for a meal, or for a ride.

    The thing is Tracy, we’re not talking about a one-night stand here, in which case your point 1) often would apply. Although I know plenty of men who put in effort on ONS even though there is little chance of repeat performance because of their reputation and what that does for their chances to pull a ONS with another woman another time.
    That aside, you seem to assume that those kids would only do it once (or worse – that they’re unable to learn) and that they don’t talk to eachother about this. I also would be careful to assume that 15 years old homeless kids are able to consume much pornography or movies. It’s not hard at all to imagine Steve the street kid telling James the street kid that women will probably pay you extra if you go down on them. It’s harder to believe that James would reply: “Nah, I’ll just play it as in the latest BangBus episode I saw on my laptop.”
    Many of those 15 years old street kids who’ve sold sex to women, be it for food, alcohol, drug or money, very likely have done so many times and/or will do so again and it would be insulting their intelligense to suggests that they aren’t able to pick up on what their client’s want.

  15. typhon blue: I mean I could sort of understand it if either daisy or tracy said:

    “Hey, that’s not an option because sexually exploiting street kids or homeless men just isn’t cool.”

    Excuse me, but as I said upthread, I WAS a street kid, and I assumed that having said so, the rest of this statement was unnecessary.

    No, of course it isn’t cool, and I think I know a little more about that than Typhon Blue does.

  16. @tamen

    The original comment, by typhonblue, that started the equivalence discussion, in response to a comment made by DaisyDeadhead

    ” The way things are set up now, I have to be as rich as Demi Moore to be able to buy a man’s evening services, and I’m not.”

    Or you could promise a meal and a bed to a street kid or homeless man.

    My understanding is a streetwalker is, willingly or by force, actively trading sexual acts for money or goods. A homeless person or a street kid may passively accept such an offer if asked, but is not actively looking for such encounters. If they were actively looking, they would be in the streetwalker category as well and the reply would have been, oh just find a male streetwalker, problem solved. Thus, they are not equivalent to start with. Perhaps the difference between active and passive is bigger in my mind than in reality, but I do see a difference and I personally can’t see how you can conclude from anything I said that I thought the woman cared more.

    In regards to selfishness, my experience is that 1) people in random sexual encounters with little promise of a repeat performance tend to be selfish and 2) people in a disadvantaged position looking to please someone else are likely to cleave to popular portrayals. If you are that 15 year old boy and suddenly a woman is demanding that you please her in exchange for food and yet you know nothing about pleasing a woman, what are you going to do? If I was in that situation, I would act out what I’ve seen in movies or in porn. Surely that is what women want right? I don’t think men are more likely to be violent or self-centered but I do think our society portrays them in that way. And I know when I was growing up, in poverty, I didn’t exactly have the time or knowledge to understand that I didn’t have to follow society’s script for my gender and I don’t expect a homeless man or a street kid to have thought about it either. I don’ t think it’s beyond their understanding or that they are incapable of it mentally, just that they have a f* lot more think about than how society’s views on gender can be pretty messed up and that popular portrayals might be more for show than for pleasure.

  17. Tracy: How about you actually read that survey, I did include a link to it in my last commen. I’ll note that the study do mention what the street kids receive as exchange for sex, money being the most usual, but alcohol and drug coming a close second. Nowhere does it imply that only men pay money for sex with the street kids.

    Earlier in the conversation someone said women who wanted an alternative to a streetwalker already had it, homeless men and street kids. People who use the services provided by streetwalkers usually don’t care about the streetwalker’s health. They don’t concern themselves with how good of a sex partner they personally are, the transaction is about meeting their needs. Often, they don’t make sure their partner has eaten or is in a safe place. It’s an economic transaction, sex for money. So, if it’s to be a real alternative, the woman seeking the services should be able act in the same way. I hate it as much as you do, but I’m no monster for going down that path when investigating equivalence.

    When you use statements like those above, for instance that “people who use the services provided by streetwalkers usually don’t care about the streetwalker’s health”, as arguments supporting the stance that there is a difference between men buying sex from streetwalkers and women buying sex from street kids and homeless men I can only conclude that you think women who buys sex from street kids care about the street kids health. Because otherwise they would be equivalent. Now you say that you don’t believe that, which is all well and good, but it still leaves me puzzled as to why you brought it up as arguments in the first place.

    Do you still stand by your statement that street kids and homeless men who sell or exchange sex for goods care more about their own orgasm than their client’s and they do so more than men in general? (I use ‘more than men in general’ since you were quick to specify to someone earlier that you were not talking about him and men in general).

    It seems like the only thing left in your arguments for a difference is that women don’t/can’t pay with money. The survey lists money as the most common way street kids are paid for sexual favours. I guess food as payment initially were brought up because DaisyDeadhead wanted a cheap alternative – and it doesn’t get much cheaper than a Big Mac.

  18. @Tracy
    “In the case where both parents are alive but are not currently living together, what would be an equitable situation in regards to raising the child?”

    I think to get it right three principles have to come into play: a bias toward equal parenting, with all the flexibility that is bound to require, an insistence on tailoring each arrangement to the specifics of each situation in order to keep things as humane as possible, and real enforcment measures to keep everyone honest – measures to ensure CS is provided, measures to make sure CS is reasonable, measures to ensure it goes to the kids, measures to prevent interference with parenting, from either side.

    Most of the time people work this stuff out equitably and reasonably because they love their children and equal parenting and good respectful relations between the parents are good for the kids. Good laws help there, but their main purpose is for that minority of parents that care more about their own issues than about what’s good for the kids – revenge issues, control issues, greed issues, irresponsibility issues.

  19. “Re: chivalry – the point is that the man’s life is valuable or else it wouldn’t mean anything that he offers to help a (upper class white mother) woman over a canal or in rare cases safety. ”

    Collette, the point you are missing is that this is unidrectional and that unidirectionality is gendered. The simple fact that there is any expectation that the man will make this gesture and none that the woman will is the gendered inequality. The question is not that whether his life is valued or not, it is that his valued less than hers. That is his expendability – he is expendable relative to her. Surely you see that very basic point.

    “As for your obnoxious (but predictable) questions, well, never mind. Somebody else may address it in good faith rather than wasting my time by trying to poison the well.”

    Collette, that is not a contribution to the conversation.

  20. Typhoonblue,

    The elite men, overwhelmingly, didn’t necessarily serve. If they did/do, they receive care other men do not. Whether the powerful man served or didn’t serve, he benefits from being viewed as inherently capable and competent enough to be a soldier (being a man) … even when passing responsibility to less powerful men. In this case being a man doesn’t trump class but it affords by default the cultural view that one is inherently capable and competent. Internalized sexism? Perhaps if addressing any shaming of man’s manhood that exists. But in this case it erases the views on poor men and men of color contributing to the issue, and doesn’t account for the female combatants that theoretically aren’t combatants or the female war-dead. Intragendered classism/racism?

    “The fact that it’s men sending men to die does not negate the fact that men are being treated as expendable. In my mind that fact doesn’t somehow make it all justifiable, in fact it makes it that much more disturbing and sinister.”

    Whether it is justifiable or not doesn’t expound on what is all meant by “men are being treated as expendable” and what is actually at work.

    On the one hand you’re putting forth that men are expendable because we used the draft and you’re writing off the treatment of men of color and poorer men as “internalized sexism,” and ignoring the default of men being inherently capable/brave/competent and thus the only ones capable of achieving the revered combatant status. On the other hand you’re putting forth that American women don’t die enough for you in the forces thus they’re being protected, and ignoring the fact they don’t receive the proper combat training, preparation, and aftercare because they’re “not in combat” (except they are) due to being too weak/incompetant/wussy.

    Clearly they’re both being treated as “expendable” but at different points and for different reasons. It does not pin down what we have to change as far as our cultural views on men to *not* treat them as “expendable.”

    Re: chivalry – the point is that the man’s life is valuable or else it wouldn’t mean anything that he offers to help a (upper class white mother) woman over a canal or in rare cases safety. The point is that the man’s life is valuable or he wouldn’t have to power to determine whether she is worthy or not. The point is that simply saying “expendable” doesn’t do much.

    As for your obnoxious (but predictable) questions, well, never mind. Somebody else may address it in good faith rather than wasting my time by trying to poison the well.

  21. @Jim

    This may be off-topic in that it’s not about the myths, but I’m curious of the response. In the case where both parents are alive but are not currently living together, what would be an equitable situation in regards to raising the child? I agree that the current situation is biased towards the mother, but I’d love to discuss how to make something that isn’t biased along gender or income lines. If it’s off topic, I apologize.

  22. No, you couldn’t have been more right. Ozy’s Law is that every instance of misogyny is equally misandrist. So when a father is separated from his kids, his daughters suffer the loss of their father, and his mother suffers the loss of her granchildren. When he is separated from his kids, a disprotionate burden falls on the mother. And so on.

    You said nothing wrong, Tracy, you nailed it.

  23. @Jim, I’m sorry, I’m not sure of Ozy’s Law…did I say something wrong again?

  24. “That situation pisses me off to no end.’

    Tracy, those situations are really, really good illustrations of Ozy’s Law.

  25. @Tamen,

    No, I’m saying that a woman who exploits homeless people and street kids for sex doesn’t care for them anymore than a man who approaches a streetwalker does and if we want to look at whether or not two options are equivalent, we should keep that in mind. A woman who does that doesn’t care that they are exploited so talking about how exploited those groups are is irrelevant to a discussion of equivalence. I also found the repeated references that the women’s method of payment would be food and a bed to be strange and wondered if it’s because they are women and there’s a belief that women would never be as cold when exploiting people or if it’s specifically tied to the study that typhonblue referenced.

  26. @Jim The issue of father’s rights is a long one. My mother’s best friend from childhood was a close family friend throughout my life. We called her aunt and everything. My “aunt”‘s mother died when she was relatively young. Her father was forced by the state to put her and her sister into foster care (with a female relative but that’s beside the point) because a single man, even if he was the father of the children, wasn’t seen as a fit parent for two young girls. Sure, maybe if they weren’t poor, it would have happened differently, but that’s what happened. That situation pisses me off to no end.

  27. Tracy: The last first: The options for payment for women also includes money, I even said so in the first sentence in my comment. I chose to use food as a payment in my example to highlight the absurdity of the statement that those street kids would care more about their own orgasm than ensuring that their “client” were happy and gave them the food the so desperately needed.

    Do you really believe that women who sexually exploit street kids really care about their victim any more than a male john care about any streetwalker sex worker he purchase services from? Do you really think that women who sexually exploit street kids in exchange for food, bed, money or what not does so for any other reasons than for satisfying their own needs? Do you really think that women sexually exploiting street kids really care about the street kids health (beyond whether they have any STDs?). Do you really believe that women who sexually exploit street kids care about how good a sex partner they are to the street kid in any larger degree than male johns care about how good a sex partner they are? Do you really think women who sexually exploit street kids make sure that the kid is in a safe place or have eaten? Are you saying that women who buy sex from street kids and homeless men for food are doing so to make sure that their “partner” have eaten? And to what extent is it a safe place to be with someone who will only provide you that place if you let them fuck you?

    My reason for wanting to put the above paragraph in all caps is NOT because you try to argue that there is no equivalence between women sexually exploiting street kids and buying sex from homeless men and men buying sex from streetwalkers (by which I presume you mean female sex workers working on the streets), but rather from you painting those street kids and homeless men as selfish (they only care about their own orgasm) and by you implicitly denying that they’ve been exploited (the women care about the kid’s/man’s health, safeness, satiety and about how good sex they provide for the street kid or homeless man) by contrasting them against streetwalker who’s johns don’t care about them! Even going as far to suggest that women paying for sex with food or shelter are actually nurturing them!

    From the survey:

    The 2006 survey of younger street-involved and marginalized youth asked two questions about
    exchanging sex for money or goods: about whether youth had ever exchanged sex with a
    male, and with a female. Just under half of respondents chose to answer those two questions
    (49%), but among those who did answer, contrary to common stereotypes, the results showed
    both men and women sexually exploit youth. Youth of any gender were still most likely to be
    exploited by males (70%), but half
    (50%) of sexually exploited youth who
    answered the questions reported that
    they had exchanged sex for money
    or goods with females.

    http://www.nursing.ubc.ca/PDFs/ItsNotWhatYouThink.pdf

  28. @ f

    “Typhon, ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer. ”

    I didn’t ask a stupid question. I did, however, *answer* a really stupid question.

    And it was an answer. There are plenty of low cost ways women can sexually exploit men and boys even if they don’t want to pay for a plane ticket.

  29. @typhonblue and @tamen

    Earlier in the conversation someone said women who wanted an alternative to a streetwalker already had it, homeless men and street kids. People who use the services provided by streetwalkers usually don’t care about the streetwalker’s health. They don’t concern themselves with how good of a sex partner they personally are, the transaction is about meeting their needs. Often, they don’t make sure their partner has eaten or is in a safe place. It’s an economic transaction, sex for money. So, if it’s to be a real alternative, the woman seeking the services should be able act in the same way. I hate it as much as you do, but I’m no monster for going down that path when investigating equivalence.

    Also, why is it that the options for payment by the women are food and a bed, things that are considered to be more nurturing, and not cold hard cash? Is that due to the study?

  30. @B-Lar, I personally definitely think the “expendable male” thing is a thing in the world. I am just unconvinced by the evopsych explanations.

  31. Typhon, ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer. I mean, you were basically trolling by suggesting something you personally find offensive; so I don’t see why you’re shocked that the discussion went in an absurdly offensive direction.

  32. @ Daisy – When I was 18, two of my close freinds worked for a male escort service. They were “encouraged” to get physical (with ladies!) if they wanted to earn extra cash and declined after a couple of softcore jobs because it was starting to get a bit too real. This was not a brothel, but I think its a good example and quite frankly if you cant find a man to pay for sex then you aren’t trying hard enough. The internet is a powerful search tool.

    Fact: as long as humans have sex and need moeny, there will be members of both sex who will have sex for money.

    @Typhon I just spent the last 24 hours thinking about what you said, and you might well be right. Perhaps that is an expression of depression… I had always thought of it as liberating, but there is and element of low self worth there that needs to be addressed as maybe I have been deluding myself.

    Reading more comments, overall, I still am not convinced that society does not percieve men as more expendable than women biologically or otherwise although perhaps thats something to do with my own neurosies rather than the propositions/arguements.

  33. Tracy: I’ll have to concur with Typhonblue here, this statement about street kids and homeless men being sexually exploited in exchange for food, place to stay and money:

    “I’m wiling to bet that in a majority of the cases, those men would concentrate on their own orgasm as much, if not more so, than the pleasure of their client.”

    elicited a big WTF! from me.

    You later said that you didn’t mean to generalise about all men, only about those street kids and homeless men who prostitute themselves for food, roof ove their heads or money. Many of these kids are, as noted in that paper Typhonblue linked to, underage. Are you seriously suggesting that the specific segment of men (street kids and homeless men) are more sexually selfish than men in general? That they care more about the sex they’re getting than the food, place to stay that they’re offered in exchange?! Words almost fail me.
    Don’t you see that that is blatantly classist? Did you think that the pushback you received on that statement were because the men here were insulted on their own behalf?

    I’ve never been homeless nor a street kid, but I have no problem imagining that if you as a 15 year old homeless boy need and want food so bad that you’re actually agreeing to have sex with some woman who promise to give you food if she can fuck you then you would be pretty focused on her’s demands and her satisfaction/orgasm because if she’s not happy you’re probably not getting your food – which, remember, you were so desperate to get that you were willing to let someone fuck you for it. It’s not like they’ve just missed lunch and can grab a Snickers until dinner if their “client” won’t give them food because they were not happy with the performance.

  34. Tracy: male prostitution is nothing new, just more invisible. And willingfully or forced, they are professionals and dependent on their skills. So I guess they will know how to give one+ orgasm to their clients.

  35. Daisy: about the brotheel for women, look for Heidi Fleiss. I read she wanted to open a stud farm. I dont know how far she is in the project.

  36. Hey, Typhon.

    I just wanted to let you know that even were I so inclined (and I’m not), I would never, ever, EVER try and push you around. You have a pretty formidable personality — and that’s a compliment. I’ve never met anyone who projects their will quite as well as you do.

  37. @ myself

    “It just sort of breaks my brain that this whole conversation actually happened.”

    I mean I could sort of understand it if either daisy or tracy said:

    “Hey, that’s not an option because sexually exploiting street kids or homeless men just isn’t cool.”

    But no. It’s not an option because ‘street kids and homeless men are selfish sexual partners. Even when the woman is paying and setting the terms.’

  38. @ tracy

    This was your original statement.

    “I’m wiling to bet that in a majority of the cases, those men would concentrate on their own orgasm as much, if not more so, than the pleasure of their client.”

    Is there some reason why a homeless man or a street kid is going to focus on their own orgasm more then the woman who’s paying for their food and shelter? Is there some reason why she can’t say ‘I orgasm or you don’t eat/get kicked out?’

    More to the point, is there some reason why I should give a fuck about women sexually exploiting homeless men or street kids for sex not feeling satisfied?

    I mean, my god… look at the entitlement on display here.

    The original complaint was: a poor women can’t pay for sex because male hustlers are too expensive.

    I alluded to the fact that some women are managing to purchase sex with street kids and homeless men (who are thus, by default, sex workers) by offering meals or providing shelter. Which is, if you think about it, pretty damn cheap.

    But that wasn’t good enough because the women who are sexually exploiting a vulnerable segment of the population are *obviously* not getting what they want out of it because said exploited men and boys are *obviously* too selfish to focus on the women’s needs. (Why homeless men are boys are singled out as somehow uniquely sexually selfish–if this really wasn’t a generalized statement on all men–I don’t know.)

    Could you fucking imagine this conversation if it was about homeless women or female street kids? Could you imagine a man saying ‘well, that doesn’t count as affordable prostitution because homeless women and girls are obviously too selfish to focus on a man’s needs.’

    It just sort of breaks my brain that this whole conversation actually happened.

  39. IDK, maybe it’s because I’m younger and am internet savvy with a black belt in google-fu, but the idea that male prostitution is nowhere to be seen is a little silly. It’s just not very public. So the whole argument seems sort of moot.
    http://www.top100maleescorts.com/topmaleescorts/index.php?p=StraightMaleEscorts

    There’s also apparently a place called Shady Lady Ranch in Nevada with legal male prostitution.

  40. And it’s not because they are men. If the situation was reversed and this was a random sex encounter with a stranger and I didn’t have sex for a living, I don’t think I would care as much about my partner’s orgasm as my own.

  41. @Gaius Are you a homeless man or male street kid I’m supposed to pick up for random sex? It wasn’t a generalization about all men. To say it was is dishonest.

  42. Oh, and @Tracy:

    “I’m wiling to bet that in a majority of the cases, those men would concentrate on their own orgasm as much, if not more so, than the pleasure of their client.”

    Please remember you’re on a blog called “No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz?”

    Doesn’t seem like the best place to throw down some misandry, unless you’re looking for a fight.

    If you are, you’ll certainly get it from me.

    My record with my partner? [She] had 40 orgasms in 30 minutes.

    My orgasm count at the end of the night? 1.

    And this is by no means rare or exceptional for us.

    Take your generalizations elsewhere.

  43. …I think this thread started going off the rails right around the time they started talking about pink guns.

    Speaking of which, there are a couple of gun stores where I live. Purely by chance I walked into one (I had been invited shooting by a friend for the first time in my life and we were buying ammunition), and I noticed a hunting rifle with hot pink camouflage pattern. It was chambered for .30-06, if I recall correctly.

    Now, my feelings on guns: guns are weapons of ATTACK, not DEFENSE. You remember the Giffords shooting? The one guy who HAD a gun didn’t use it, because he didn’t want to get shot in the confusion and couldn’t be sure of his target. The incident ended when someone TACKLED THE SHOOTER. In the last five years, I have yet to see a single story in which “So-and-so defends home from robbers with shotgun.” You know what I see instead? “So-and-so, 14, killed in shooting.”

    Unless you’re planning on ATTACKING SOMEONE, guns are USELESS. The two most useful defensive weapons are parkour (for running away really fast) and martial arts (which you always carry with you and with which you can disarm or disable a man with a knife — or a gun, if you’re very lucky — see the Giffords shooting).

    Nevertheless: I WAS TEMPTED TO BUY THAT HOT PINK CAMOUFLAGE HUNTING RIFLE.

    To paraphrase: “A man walks down the street [with that gun], people know he’s not afraid of anything.”

    A cookie to whomever can tell me the source of that quote WITHOUT AN INTERNET SEARCH OF ANY KIND (come on: if I can recall it from memory, you can too).

  44. DDH, you know the best part – a grandma doesn’t have to worry about spoiling a treasure like that! Not that there’s any hope of avoiding it. It’s all good for him, like vitamins.

  45. I’ve got you one up on getting casual sex partners for women: Craigslist’s casual encounters. I do believe professional sex work used to be discretely offered as well. And I believe there are plenty of other sites where you can contact sex workers. I think this is how many sex workers operate nowadays, especially the ones that cater to middle and upper class.

    Reading an IAmA of a male sex worker on reddit who caters to both males and females, he says that he has yet to find many female clients.

  46. “But that doesn’t mean it’s something positive that should be celebrated.”

    I agree completely. What I celebrate is only that everyone gets an equal chance to protect themselves from violence. Historically women have been denied that by a number of means. Lower status men too, by law, but even high status have generally been denied that by unbending custom and conditioning.

    Besides that we all have an equal duty to maintain the security of our communities – normally we hire that done, but that is delegating our authority, not our responsibility – and women need to shoulder their share of that too.

  47. @ Jim
    “And wishing it [using physical force] were not necessary, that it is some kind of “tragedy’ that it is, is just idle posturing. ”

    Sure, the reality is that violence exists and that we must often meet that violence with more violence if we are to keep the world safe. I have no illusions about that. But that doesn’t mean it’s something positive that should be celebrated.

  48. My contribution to Jim’s subject: DADDY POSITIVE PHOTO OF THE DAY:

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150299526118549&set=a.10150299501618549.338272.629963548&type=1&theater

    Son in law with grandson. 🙂 (makes gurgly grandma noise) Ain’t they just so cute? (preen) 🙂

    Good idea, lets talk about the daddies now!

  49. Seattle is a little cheaper http://www.thestranger.com/personals/

  50. @ tracy
    I’m not bashing feminists but if you insist that what I said came across that way then feel free to scratch the word “feminist” from my last comment. My point was entirely another and that was that using physical force in reference to guns is a bad thing – even if women do it.

  51. I just checked, and damn, it is PRICEY to go to New Zealand. 🙁

  52. …primary parent bullshit, child abduction (women get a lot of that too) and the related bigoted weirdness about men around children in public.

  53. New tangent back to male disposablity – let’s talk about fatherhood issues – mommy blocking, child custody awards

  54. “Okay, where is that male brothel again? Just one. A brothel servicing women, ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD?’

    DDH, I think her point is that there is one big one, world-wide called the Street. All a woman has to do is bat her eyes. It does seem to work that way in bars. But that only works up to a certain age, and not for women of a certain age.

    @Tracy
    “Women feeling comfortable with the use of physical force is not itself necessarily a feminist idea …”

    I get what you are saying, but I think it is a victory for feminism, or a feminist victory. People should be able to do their own killing. Anything else ranges from serfish dependency to denialism to pedestalization and privilege.

    And wishing it were not necessary, that it is some kind of “tragedy’ that it is, is just idle posturing. the world is full of humans and as long as it is people are going to need deadly force to protect themselves. That’s just what it’s like living among humans.

  55. @ Daisy

    http://www.ndtv.com/article/world/new-zealand-to-have-its-first-male-brothel-for-female-clients-41808

    “I said, most women would want someone who knows what they are doing, and I compared it to getting their hair styled.”

    Apparently the women who are exploiting and raping street kids find their sexual performances to be at least adequate. But maybe not. Perhaps we need a government program to address the issue of raped male street kids not adequately addressing their female rapist’s needs.

  56. Typhon Blue: There is no prostitution gap

    Are you serious?

    Okay, where is that male brothel again? Just one. A brothel servicing women, ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD?

    Just. One.

    Name and address please…..purely for verification purposes, of course!

    TB: Oh, and as for the ‘street kids and homeless men are dangerous’ argument,

    I didn’t say this, so I hope you are not directing this at me. As a former ‘street kid’, I know better.

    I said, most women would want someone who knows what they are doing, and I compared it to getting their hair styled. I am sure some street kids can style hair too, but I am not going to trust them with that either.

    BTW, I have been told not to continue this line of discussion and that it is irrelevant. It will be interesting to see if you are instructed likewise, TB. 😉

  57. @typhonblue Feminism doesn’t even have to be brought up. He assumed that more handgun sales were tied to a rise in violence or were being bought with the intent to cause more violence, not, for instance, a rise in people going to shooting ranges or other sports. If I said more men were buying guns or knitting needles, we wouldn’t say anything about masculinism. Let’s put it another way, if I said that more left-handed people were buying guns, would we mention anything about it being tied to increased acceptance of left-handedness? Just because the word woman appears in the subject doesn’t automatically make it feminist.

  58. @ Tracy

    His exact statement was:

    “I realize that taking on male-stereotype behavior also brings on negative results but lets not celebrate that as some sort of feminist victory.”

    That could easily be read to mean ‘let’s not celebrate women’s violence as feminist’. How is that anti-feminist?

    What if I said ‘it’s a feminist victory that more women are killing their family members’… does that sound like a positive statement towards feminism?

  59. @ Jim

    Which is worse? Being shot in the head or living the rest of your life in an oubliette?

    @ The Availability of Cheap Male Prostitutes

    My point is that there are women *RIGHT NOW* buying sex for the cost of a meal or a place to sleep. So the whole issue of affordable prostitution for women is not only irrelevant to this thread but complete nonsense. There is no prostitution gap and if women want a greater variety of prostitutes to service them, then they better start voting with their pocket book.

    Oh, and as for the ‘street kids and homeless men are dangerous’ argument, well, actually, considering how society views their deaths (more like pest control then murder) I think they are more in danger from violence by their clients then their clients are from them.

    @ tracy

    “I’m wiling to bet that in a majority of the cases, those men would concentrate on their own orgasm as much, if not more so, than the pleasure of their client.”

    First of all, where are you getting this notion that non-prostitute men are less responsible for their female partner’s orgasm then their female partner’s are for theirs? In fact I think the reality is that men are simply expected to orgasm through PiV and if they don’t (which many don’t, in fact some of your ex partners, tracy, may not have come and hid that fact from you by faking it) there’s something wrong with them. Imagine if society had decided there was only one way a woman could orgasm? (Even if you argue that there is pressure for women to orgasm through PiV, at least there is the expectation that they often won’t.)

    To understand this imagine a situation in which a man admits to his female partner that he doesn’t orgasm through PiV with her. How do you think the average woman reacts to this revelation? Does she take responsibility for his lack of an orgasm? Does society expect her to take responsibility for his lack of an orgasm?

    As for street kids and homeless men ignoring the pleasure of their client in favor of their own, I imagine the prospect of not getting the meal or a place to sleep would tend to mitigate towards them paying more attention to her pleasure then their own. Particularly if she makes them eating for the first time in weeks or not freezing to death contingent on her getting an orgasm.

    ” that is hardly an argument that people, including women themselves, don’t view women as capable of using force.”

    This is really interesting. Since, you’re apparently advancing the unexamined assumption that a female street prostitute is somehow more dangerous then a male street prostitute. Be they homeless or street kids.

    Isn’t saying that buying into the social view that women are incapable of using force?

    BTW, Cheradenine, you got it right.

  60. The attitude “women can do everything men do” is from way back, not recent. And the masculist movement has no reach the way the feminist movement has. Such that everyone who’s not under a rock has heard of girl power, and associates it with feminism (rightly or wrongly).

  61. @typhonblue

    Women feeling comfortable with the use of physical force is not itself necessarily a feminist idea yet unreal man decided to act like I said it was some sort of “feminist victory.” If I had said that I love the fact men are doing something that they traditionally have felt they couldn’t do, would he have replied in the same manner, substituting masculinist for feminist? Maybe I’m wrong and the answer is yes, but I somehow doubt it.

  62. @ tracy

    “Do you want a serious answer or do you want to bash on feminists some more?”

    Er… where did unreal man bash on feminists in his statements? Maybe he’s a pacifist?

  63. It’s a little off topic I know, but for the interested:

    http://www.snowflakesinhell.com/2008/09/08/promising-statistics/
    http://www.vcstar.com/news/2007/sep/30/women-take-aim/

    Unfortunately, the first article doesn’t cite sources in regards to the claim that women are better additions to the community so I don’t know if that’s based on evidence or stereotype. But it seems that a fair number of the purchases are tied to sports and hunting use, not just self-defense.

  64. @unreal man
    Do you want a serious answer or do you want to bash on feminists some more?

  65. Unreal man: I realize that taking on male-stereotype behavior also brings on negative results but lets not celebrate that as some sort of feminist victory.

    True, here in the south, it is usually the right wing women with the guns… it has taken on a cultural significance, which is interesting in light of the whole “delicate southern white women on smelling salts” prototype. Now, its delicate southern white woman, WHIPS OUT pink pistol, balances parasol, and shoots the illegal immigrants robbing her car in the shopping mall parking lot.

    Something like that.

  66. “I love the idea that women are feeling more comfortable with the idea of using physical force”.

    Charming. Do you also love the idea that women are using guns more? People reaching for weapons is a tragedy no matter what the reason behind it.
    I realize that taking on male-stereotype behavior also brings on negative results but lets not celebrate that as some sort of feminist victory.

  67. Yeah, if only to deal with the insects.

    I think it kind of is mandatory, if only as a group identity thing.

  68. Jim, I think every woman in the south has a gun… it might be mandatory, actually. 😉

  69. I initially thought you were a moderator, since you were sounding so authoritative about the topic there.

    Okay, apology rescinded. I’m easy.

  70. Cheradenine says:

    @Daisy: Nice strawperson dramaturgy. I didn’t ask you to apologise for commenting, I merely pointed out that I wasn’t “erasing your feelings” by commenting on something else. Please leave the drama llama at the door — and don’t impugn Ozy and Noah (they’re the only ones who can ban people around here, and it’s a power they rarely use).

  71. “Do you have actual numbers of purchases or only the delta? I mean, I love the idea that women are feeling more comfortable with the idea of using physical force, but a 600% increase when we start with 2 is only 12 and that is hardly an argument that people, including women themselves, don’t view women as capable of using force. Through self-selection or unconscious bias, this means a number of women who otherwise would be great a force-related career are denied the opportunity. The same happens in women-dominated fields.”

    I wish I had some solid numbers. i can’t even remmber where I heard this. It just lodged in my
    memory. anyway your second pooint is really important – a 1,000 increaseover nothing is still negligible.

    On the bias against using force, boy I see that all over. I love to watch those home renovation shows where the project involves bashing out a wall or two.the couple starts in and there is alawys this moment, however subtle, where the women finds out how easy it really is to swing a sledge hammer and bash something into oblivion. For one thing it’s very personal when the light blinks on in someone’s mind, but also there’s the joy of seeing someone find a freedom they didn’t know they had.

  72. And the reason I was talking about someone else’s, is because their experience was relevant to the topic of the thread, whereas I don’t see how your feelings are. Feelings which, you know, you’re entirely entitled to and I don’t seek to erase. They just have no bearing on The Disposable Male.

    Okay, I apologize for commenting. Better?

    Shall exit thread now. Better?

    I know from… um… other experiences, elsewhere, on other blogs (whistles dixie, looks heavenward) that refusing to say these things can get you banned, so let me hurriedly apologize for upsetting the applecart and frightening the horses. I happen to think the concept of the always-sexually-ready male IS structurally related to “The Disposable Male*, and I thought that is what Jim, Gaius and I (in particular), were just discussing. If this is improper, again, my heartfelt apologies.

    Unless you’re at Twisty’s, Second Wavers are on probation, always, and I have to keep remembering that. Duly noted.

  73. Cheradenine says:

    (sigh) I knew yall would argue, even about something as overwhelmingly obvious as this point. I think this is called “not arguing in good faith”… come on. It feels like you can’t grant ANY feminist a point, even when she’s right.

    That’s probably because you keep changing your point, which, you know, talking of “not arguing in good faith”…

    For example:

    “You don’t need to be as rich as Demi Moore to travel abroad.”
    Well, I never have. I wouldn’t have a clue. I am referring to me and average working class women like me.

    Whereas, a moment ago, you said:

    Where is the class of men who do this for a living, at a middle-class affordable rate?

    Presumably because I demonstrated that middle-class woman were finding men perfectly affordable, you shifted the benchmark from middle-class down to lower-class?

    Why are you trying to invalidate my feelings about this?

    I’m not trying to invalidate your feelings. I am merely talking about someone else’s, which is not the same thing at all — although they are often confused. And the reason I was talking about someone else’s, is because their experience was relevant to the topic of the thread, whereas I don’t see how your feelings are. Feelings which, you know, you’re entirely entitled to and I don’t seek to erase. They just have no bearing on The Disposable Male.

    Are you saying I am wrong, and this option DOES exist? Okay, where? As I asked, where is the brothel filled with men ready to service women?

    I don’t know where the local one is, or whether it exists or not. Schala claims you can find them in the local paper. Me, I have no idea, and wouldn’t argue whether or not they exist locally to you, personally, because I don’t live near you and have no interest in brothels. However, they do exist in some places, and I gave examples of several locations where men are famously available to rent for $20 and women flock there to take advantage of their services. I did this because we are discussing male disposability, not Whether Daisy Can Hire A Man. And according to the Canadian research, the rent of men by women for sexual services is not limited to “exotic holiday destinations”, but also exists in cities in Canada — and I strongly suspect that if it happens in cities in Canada, it happens in cities in the USA.

    And the reference to Demi Moore is called hyperbole. You know that.

    Perhaps if you used less of it, you would be a more effective communicator? Or, at the very least, receive less push-back? Because, after a certain point, hyperbole stops being about making a sentence sound more interesting, and starts becoming intellectually dishonest — for example, if you make it sound like an option is only available to super-rich women, when in fact, that option is apparently within the means of a typical Canadian secretary.

  74. Women are already the largest growing demographic in handgun purchases in some places supposedly. Not my thing, but they think it is for them.

    Do you have actual numbers of purchases or only the delta? I mean, I love the idea that women are feeling more comfortable with the idea of using physical force, but a 600% increase when we start with 2 is only 12 and that is hardly an argument that people, including women themselves, don’t view women as capable of using force. Through self-selection or unconscious bias, this means a number of women who otherwise would be great a force-related career are denied the opportunity. The same happens in women-dominated fields.

    Yes, I personally want to get past the belief that men and women are so incredibly different that they have to be on the opposite sides of just about everything. Does that mean I think every woman will suddenly love watching football and that every man will take up knitting? No. But I hope it leads to an understanding that individuals choose which activities they want to participate in and that we should not decide for them based on their gender. And I want to acknowledge the pressures put on people to stick only to their gender-approved interests list and that within a “gendered” interest area, the default way of acting may not be gender equal. I shouldn’t feel like I have to engage in male posturing to enjoy a game of football (although I actually do enjoy that). And I want to find ways to combat those things.

  75. Pink handguns are promoted I bet. Because some companies think that women won’t buy if it’s not pink. And that women WILL buy if it’s pink. At least noticeably more.

    Also, I have a picture on my HD of a Hello kitty pink rifle, a real one.

  76. @DDH
    “Wasn’t it PT Barnum who said, you get what you pay for? LOL”

    HAHAHA! It’s like free advice, worth exactly what you pay for it. I was going to avoid making a remark about the downside of having to take the passive trole and wait ofr the other siode to make the overtures, like a filter-feeder in the incoming tide, like an *oyster* (Oh no he didn’t!), but on second thought, naw not going to avoid it. Rock on.

    @Tracy
    “Can’t we agree that the way these scenes are presented in movies is an issue for both genders? It leads to the belief that men are expendable, just another cog in the machine, AND leads to the belief that women aren’t guards/soldiers/etc. The damage women face by being left out of these scenes is no more theoretical than the damage done to the average guy on the street. ”

    Here I agree with you 100%, including the periods, commas and quotation marks. This comes down to a question of citizenship, full citizenship. Is that where you were headed with that? That’s where I want to take it.

    And it’s not just the access to jobs that you cite, it goes further into a sense of full personal investment in society instead of just finding one’s only little cranny and exploiting it for a lifetime. It goes even further, into the empowering experience of getting comfortable with weapons and taking responsibility for the violence it can take to defend yourself – how much of the sense of vulnerability women so often report would melt away if they had this experience? (Women are already the largest growing demographic in handgun purchasses in some places supposedly. Not my thing, but they think it is for them.)

  77. @Daisy

    There are less real pros who know what to do with men’s long hair, too. Because there is less demand.

    Men have joined online communities to warn about certain places, as a ‘don’t go there, they’ll chop it all off’ warning. Because as much as some hairdressers are vehemently opposed to short hair on women, same with long hair on men.

  78. @Schala
    So you believe the BS Hillary Clinton said about widows being the real victims of wars, because they survive their husbands?

    No I don’t. Nothing I said would even hint that that was true. If we want to stop the world from viewing men as “expendable,” we have to allow women to step in that role. Doing so also helps combat that notion that all women are incapable of filling these roles. We get to combat two damaging gender stereotypes in one go and we’re still fighting over whether or not one gender is a victim in this.

  79. Jim: But now let’s go one step further – why is that the case? Isn’t there as much female demand for sex as male? Why isn’t there a market of pay-for-sex male whores? Could it be that there’s no money in it, that women don’t pay because they don’t have to, they can get it for free most of the time?

    Wasn’t it PT Barnum who said, you get what you pay for? LOL

    Well look at my analogies. Women used to get their hair done by their sisters, too. Then, the lady on the corner that their mama took em to. Then, their friend they met at work, whose hair they liked… and some still do. Its easy, after all. But SOME WOMEN looked at a magazine and went “Whoo!” and found someone to do it LIKE THAT.

    I think we need more magazines, explaining to women, how it might be. Actually, I think lots of women KNOW THAT ALREADY and try to judge men ahead of time, by whether they will deliver the great hairstyle, and when it turns out they can’t even cut bangs, become LIVID. (raises hand)…I don’t mind telling you, I wouldn’t be married 24 years to my first OR second husbands.. its just the naked truth.

    Women need to get the word out and discuss this issue more often. And banish the sentimental idea that something is wrong with you (slut!) if you want an expert. Women buy fancy vibrators already… whats up with that? Its just one more step to get somebody to hold it for you, isn’t it?.

    It will be a BIG hurdle for us, but I am convinced it is a necessary one. We have male strippers and centerfolds. it is almost like nobody wants to take that final step. Maybe when there are legions of widowed baby boomer females, some enterprising capitalist will set up the “Rooster ranch” in Nevada, where regular gals like me could pass through on their way to visit the grandchildren. 😉 Now, THATS a vacation! 😀

  80. “Why is it that the one gender’s damage is more real than the other’s in your arguments. Why aren’t they equal?”

    So you believe the BS Hillary Clinton said about widows being the real victims of wars, because they survive their husbands?

  81. Escort is code to avoid the illegality of prostitution. But in practice, it’s the same deal. It’s like saying no, it’s not butter, it’s margarine! Because butter is illegal or something.


  82. “Someone in another thread said that men were disposable because they were killed en masse in movies. Again, laughable, they are at least PRESENT. Women aren’t usually even seen as ABLE to fight.’

    Kita, WTF? “They were at least PRESENT” WTF is that supposed to mena, that men derived some advantage by being able to particiapte? Oh goodee, we get to go along!! and that womenwere hard one by by being excluded?

    Can’t we agree that the way these scenes are presented in movies is an issue for both genders? It leads to the belief that men are expendable, just another cog in the machine, AND leads to the belief that women aren’t guards/soldiers/etc. The damage women face by being left out of these scenes is no more theoretical than the damage done to the average guy on the street. Women are being denied access to jobs they want because the people who do the hiring can’t picture them in that role or refuse to allow them to be “expendable.” And, in regards to the draft, we currently are talking about theoretical and emotional damage. Why is it that the one gender’s damage is more real than the other’s in your arguments. Why aren’t they equal?

  83. Yes, escort is just code. Rekers’s rent boy was a male escort, and Rekers paid a lot more than standard fare to have said rent boy go on his trip around Europe. For the reference, Rekers is a very well-known anti-gay activist, and luggage-gate is that (he said he needed help with his luggage, ahem).

  84. Gaius: Granted: different people are different. Some people are, or would be, perfectly fine with that kind of sex. If so, more power to them. If you are one of those people, you have my condolences that there is not a larger network of professional men to meet your needs.

    That said, I find the (likely hyperbolic) talk of promising a meal to a street kid or homeless man somewhat offensive. In the second place, someone who is desperate for food and/or homeless will not necessarily be in any condition to provide satisfying sex (in my experience, people who don’t know their partner and are desperate to please tend to flail around erratically). But in the FIRST place, I feel that good sex goes hand-in-hand with food and comfort, and to hold food and comfort IN EXCHANGE for sex is… somewhat reprehensible to me.

    I agree. Optimally, as many men do, I think women would prefer to develop a working relationship with one person… I go to the same dentist, the same doctor, the same car mechanic, and it seems sensible that this is a job for one skilled, compatible individual, not just some kid off the street.

    I don’t see anything bad about that. People are too uptight about sex.

    I read the Tarot, and I also do “trades” for services! I recently scored a beautiful decorated cake that I could never have afford myself! 😉

    And yes, I was 100% serious… I realized in discussions with my good friend, Renegade Evolution, that my old objections to sex work as a second waver, were gender-based. I resented that prostitution was all women, servicing men. In fact, much of second waver theory is based on the idea that men have a “sex class” of women always-available for them, like slaves. Only if you think all men would like a slave (and yes, I did think that for awhile), does this theory hold up. But since there didn’t seem to be any males in the 70s who would willingly serve as slaves (or at least, I didn’t meet them until I moved to San Francisco from Ohio!) — I thought all men considered themselves above such things. I was quickly educated.

    And in much futuristic fiction, this is not considered such a far out idea.

    When men started admitting that they “needed” intimacy (as you just have) before they could enjoy sex, I was actually shocked and surprised. Remember, I am 54. And if you can freely admit this, then I can admit: I don’t. I tend to ‘separate’ sex and love, like many men, and always have. I don’t think I should be condemned for saying so, since men usually haven’t been (except by religion).

    Schala, not talking about an “escort” but a sex worker, period. I am not Cinderella and I don’t want to be escorted anywhere. (Or is “escort” just code?) And I don’t want subterfuge, I want a laundry list, as you get when you go to The Hair Cuttery: bangs $3, Trim $10, shampoo $5. Etc. I don’t see why sex can’t be made-to-order like French fries. Only sentimental puritanism continues this silliness over the subject.

  85. “Someone in another thread said that men were disposable because they were killed en masse in movies. Again, laughable, they are at least PRESENT. Women aren’t usually even seen as ABLE to fight.’

    Kita, WTF? “They were at least PRESENT” WTF is that supposed to mena, that men derived some advantage by being able to particiapte? Oh goodee, we get to go along!! and that womenwere hard one by by being excluded?

    Two things:
    first, that is the most romantic, wooly-minded, Arthurian-Victorian notion of war I have come across in a very long time. It is as stupid as peole moaning about how high-alitude bombing is not “very fair” or “sporting”. I mean WTF?

    Secondly, and this is very common is discussions like this, you seem to be either equating or perhaps even saying that some emotional or theoretical harm to women is greater than actually phyical death is to men.

    This is gross privilege talking, for two reasons. One is that this privileges woman’s feelings over a man’s very life, and the second is that it betrays a mentality so removed from phyiscal danger that fades from awareness, and only emotional pain remains as a threat in the world.

  86. “(sigh) I knew yall would argue, even about something as overwhelmingly obvious as this point. ”

    DDH if your point is that it’s harder for a woman to find a prostitute than for a man. Well yeah. No argument form me. Look at the size of the two industries. Simple.

    But now let’s go one step further – why is that the case? Isn’t there as much female demand for sex as male? Why isn’t there a market of pay-for-sex male whores? Could it be that there’s no money in it, that women don’t pay because they don’t have to, they can get it for free most of the time?

  87. “I’m wiling to bet that in a majority of the cases, those men would concentrate on their own orgasm as much, if not more so, than the pleasure of their client.’

    Tracy, if you seriously think straight women put much effort or thought into their men’s orgasms, you probably have never been married to one. Mine put some effort in and considered herslef unusual, and even then I couldn’t sse much that she was doing. (And that wasn’t naything about her personally; she was clearly being restrained by a gender scriopt.)

    “Demi Moore has enough to buy the services of seven and a half million men (based on the $20 a pop figure given in one of those articles).”

    She’s done with Ashton Kutcher these days, isn’t she? Can I have him next?

  88. (sigh) I knew yall would argue, even about something as overwhelmingly obvious as this point. I think this is called “not arguing in good faith”… come on. It feels like you can’t grant ANY feminist a point, even when she’s right.

    Cheradenine: You don’t need to be as rich as Demi Moore to travel abroad.

    Well, I never have. I wouldn’t have a clue. I am referring to me and average working class women like me. I am simply saying that I would like the options that men of my economic level enjoy. Why are you trying to invalidate my feelings about this? Are you saying I am wrong, and this option DOES exist? Okay, where? As I asked, where is the brothel filled with men ready to service women? Do you see that there is NO SUCH THING? Why can’t you simply admit my point, in this regard?

    And the reference to Demi Moore is called hyperbole. You know that.

  89. There are male escorts, who are heterosexual or bisexual, and who don’t cost 1000$ a night. You don’t need to go to Grand Hotel to see one. Just look in your local city newspaper ads.

  90. @Daisy:
    Speaking as a cissexual, heterosexual male (in my late twenties), I would NEVER proposition a woman strictly for sex. Passionate one-night stands can actually be fun, but for me, sex must have a significant or personal context to be satisfying, and a strictly economic transaction is insufficient personal context for satisfying sex for me. Likewise, for me, sex based on an economic exchange feels crass. If I were sexually deprived, I’d prefer a date with Rosie Palms. And if I were sexually deprived AND desperate for human contact, I CERTAINLY wouldn’t want the simulated affection of a prostitute (note: this is not to denigrate prostitutes, but I find it hard to believe that they have opportunities to form genuine attachments to clients).

    Granted: different people are different. Some people are, or would be, perfectly fine with that kind of sex. If so, more power to them. If you are one of those people, you have my condolences that there is not a larger network of professional men to meet your needs.

    That said, I find the (likely hyperbolic) talk of promising a meal to a street kid or homeless man somewhat offensive. In the second place, someone who is desperate for food and/or homeless will not necessarily be in any condition to provide satisfying sex (in my experience, people who don’t know their partner and are desperate to please tend to flail around erratically). But in the FIRST place, I feel that good sex goes hand-in-hand with food and comfort, and to hold food and comfort IN EXCHANGE for sex is… somewhat reprehensible to me.

    Once again, if this was a hyperbolic statement used to condemn prostitution, I understand.

    That said, I, personally, do not find fault with sex workers. For one thing, the mere fact that don’t find transactional sex satisfying sex doesn’t devalue people who don’t mind it. Likewise, the mere fact that I feel that sex based on an economic exchange feels crass doesn’t mean that it IS crass: for other people, it could be a satisfying interaction. Finally, sex workers can easily see themselves as fulfilling a vital, or at the very least much appreciated, social role, and may derive fulfillment from that.

    It’s just not my speed.

    The reason I bring this up is because one of your arguments is that these services are available FOR MEN, but there are, in fact, men who do not care for them, and if that sort of thing would meet your needs, I would happily trade spots with you, as it were.

  91. Cheradenine says:

    @tracy According to the linked report, 1 in 3 surveyed males were, as you put it, “already in the position of exchanging sex for money or goods” (or even something as basic as shelter). I don’t mean to put words into Typhonblue’s mouth, but my personal reading was that she was using slightly satirical means to point that frequently-ignored fact out, rather than arguing for “equivalence” or seriously advising anyone to go hit up homeless men or boys for sex. (Even if the report suggests some women are doing just that.)

    Of course, I may have misread her point. But regardless of whether that’s Typhonblue’s point or not, it’s my point, and this is, after all, the disposable-male thread, not the but-women-can’t-find-prostitutes-if-they-want-them thread.

  92. @valerie I said that they don’t have the same economic incentive to not commit crimes. Your refutation doesn’t disprove that, only shows that they may have other incentives to not do so. Streetwalkers often have the same limitations of resources, and, as Cheradenine pointed out, are homeless themselves.

    @Cheradenine, while there may be overlap, that doesn’t mean they are equivalent. Telling someone who doesn’t have access to prostitutes that they could just sleep with a homeless person or street kid suggests equivalence and that was the problem I have with the argument. It ignores a whole bunch of issues, including the fact that whether willingly or by force, a prostitute is already in the position of exchanging sex for money or goods.

  93. @tracy

    A homeless man will rapidly be removed from the population if he fails to maintain a minimum level of not killing people… homeless people don’t have many resources that they can use to conceal evidence, and, unlike the homeless person, society expresses more than a passing interest in the death of someone not in the underclass.

    This is, quite simply, an unproven assumption that delineates threat levels along class lines.

  94. Cheradenine says:

    @tracy, @f: yeah, unfortunately not everyone feels the same way. What’s missing from the discussion about how “a street walker needs to maintain a minimum level of not killing the people who buy her services that a homeless man or a street kid does not” is to examine the assumption that these groups don’t overlap. Put another way: street walkers may be homeless, and homeless males may be streetwalkers (or otherwise sexually exploited).

    I believe this is why Typhonblue raised the subject as, on another thread, she linked to It’s Not What You Think, a survey of sexually exploited “street-involved” youth in British Columbia which reported that half of sexually exploited youth were exploited by females, and that male youths were as likely to be exploited as female youths (slightly skewed by age, with it more common amongst younger males and older females).

  95. @f yeah, I have problems with the coercion too, but was afraid someone would say “well, that’s just you.”

  96. @unreal man, sorry, I thought you were using him as a source for your post. Here is his speech, which Sam and I were talking about earlier: http://www.psy.fsu.edu/~baumeistertice/goodaboutmen.htm

    @Discussion about buying sex: Y’all, there is no way I am going to coerce a homeless man into fucking me by offering him a bed and a hot meal. Seriously. I’d rather become a prostitute and rely on my clients for some human contact, than that.

  97. @typhonblue

    I don’t see how a street kind or a homeless man or a hustler is going to be any more dangerous then a street walker.

    A street walker needs to maintain a minimum level of not killing the people who buy her services that a homeless man or a street kid does not. True, it’s always possible that a prostitute’s customer might be mugged or be forced to do something he or she doesn’t want, but unless you prove to me that a large number of these sessions turn out poorly, I’m going to go with the assumption that the street walker wants to stay in business or at least get paid for that session. None of that is necessarily true with a homeless man or a street kid.

    This just may be a prejudice of mine, but I doubt that even if women availed themselves of homeless men and street kids, that the majority of them would be as aware of how issues of gender affect how we treat each other in the sack. I’m wiling to bet that in a majority of the cases, those men would concentrate on their own orgasm as much, if not more so, than the pleasure of their client.

    It’s not the same at all, and to say it is is just silly.

  98. @f
    Ok thanks, I see but I haven’t read or heard Baumeister and so I can’t comment on that.

    “If women are really constitutionally incapable of stunning creativity [citation needed] don’t we belong in the home raising children and not worrying our pretty little heads about politics or science?”

    Wow, hold on a second. I explicitly said that it is NOT because women aren’t capable of the same accomplishments of men. That’s the misogynist myth I was referring to. My point was that the reason why women have not accomplished as much is because it wasn’t beneficial/necessary for them or at least not as beneficial/necessary as it was for men. Just a fleeting glance at our supposedly progressive society shows that it’s much the same today. For a woman, physical appearance is extremely important in accomplishing personal fulfillment. Her success in the professional world is only a help to the extent that it gives her access to the circles in which powerful men reside. That might be an explanation (“might” I stress) why so many career women only go so far before they meet an even more successful man and drop out of the profession. The same kind of stranglehold is on men.

    That doesn’t mean for one second that we should live by those standards today or in the future – just like we should not strive to live by natural selection because it’s cruel and ruthless. A civilized society must overcome those obstacles. But knowing what they are and where they origin is crucial in overcoming them.
    You see, we’ve reached a kind of stalemate with gender equality. That’s because many of the injustices today are happening without awareness. Even among many feminists, there is a strong patriarchal drive underneath it all (hence this blog). If we want to progress we must realize that that drive might not be cultural in origin. Educating ourselves in this way is our only hope.

  99. @ unreal man, just for example, Baumeister repeatedly namechecks the idea of “the men’s sphere” and “the woman’s sphere” of action. That idea dates way back into ye olde prehistory… indeed, before culture itself…

    Oh no wait, it was actually constructed in the 19th century in order to explain the changing world of work. And feminist scholarship that used it as a critique has been consistently slammed for ignoring the very different experiences of working-class women, women of color, and basically any other woman who didn’t inhabit the gilded cage of “ladyhood”: http://www.history.ku.edu/faculty/warren/Warren_Separate_Spheres.pdf

  100. unreal man, here ya go: http://noseriouslywhatabouttehmenz.wordpress.com/2011/09/13/open-thread-the-disposable-male/#comment-12625

    I think my main issue with ideas like Baumeister’s is, if they’re true then why work toward equality at all? If women are really constitutionally incapable of stunning creativity [citation needed] don’t we belong in the home raising children and not worrying our pretty little heads about politics or science? If it’s pragmatic to see some men as expendable, why shouldn’t we keep sending those guys out to the slaughter or letting them starve on the street? After all, Baumeister says that’s what made our culture successful (a massive post hoc ergo propter hoc) so why mess with a good thing?

    Eh, I personally don’t feel the need to get into the weeds on some of the other issues with his speech, including how the “not motivated to do x” part completely ignores proven effects such as stereotype threat, or his citation of men’s and women’s magazines and their subject matter to, ahem, demonstrate that men and women are interested in different things. That shit is weak, especially if what he is actually trying to prove is “It’s biology, you guys!”

    I also do not think he has the anthropological data to back up his views on culture and the patterns it supposedly tends to have.

  101. @f Well it’s good to be skeptical. I’m afraid I just don’t have the time to weed through hundreds of comments to find one specific one. If you could give me a short version that would be nice.

    You said “this stuff” ignores cultural variety. What cultural variety? What about the period before we had a culture – which is by the way many times longer? Culture shaped itself around our species not the other way round. Sure, today’s culture has a certain amount of influence on us but that is a relatively new phenomenon.

    I don’t like the implications behind these arguments either. Hell I hate them. But that doesn’t mean they’re not true. If we really want to have any hope in achieving equality, then we must first realize how bad the situation is and how hard the struggle really will be before we can improve it. We need to know what we’re up against before we can fight it.

  102. Cheradenine says:

    @Daisy:

    As I said, women need to be rich, but men don’t.

    What do you mean by “rich”? You actually said “as rich as Demi Moore” before. I don’t know how rich Demi Moore is, but she shows up on a list of “The Richest People In The World 2011” so I’m going to say really very rich.

    Oh, wait, I’ve found an estimate of her wealth: $150m.

    You don’t need to be as rich as Demi Moore to travel abroad. In fact, in one of the articles I linked to, the prostitutes referred to the situation as “Canadian Secretary Syndrome”. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the average Canadian secretary is not Demi Moore rich, or even rich at all — except in the sense that all of us in the first world are, compared to those being exploited in the third world.

    Demi Moore has enough to buy the services of seven and a half million men (based on the $20 a pop figure given in one of those articles).

  103. @ unreal man, my point is simply that under the circumstances, theories that seem to explain human sexual habits mostly in terms of reproductive economics seem… lacking to me.

    See also my comment about evo-psych just-so-stories in general, when I was talking to Sam about Baumeister’s speech. You know, the book Sex At Dawn, which Dan Savage got so giddy about because it totally confirms his ideas about nonmonogamy etc? Used exactly those kinds of justification to explain that men get off on sperm competition and cuckolding, women tend to lose sexual interest in a committed relationship, blah de blah, with exactly the same types of evo-psych tales.

    I really just don’t consider any of this stuff to be a sufficient explanation. It ignores cultural variety, lays on the pseudo-logic pretty damn thick, cherry-picks examples. I’m skeptical.

  104. @f

    “Anyway, I suppose I can imagine how some of the stuff talked about may have shaped human culture along the way. But I’m not convinced reproductive economics is the key to what’s going on here, at all. Particularly now that “have sex” has not equaled “chance of reproduction” for nearly half a century now (THANK SCIENCE). And even before that, a woman’s monthly cycle means that an egg is most likely to be fertilized within a teensy, 24-hour window of time (OK, so the fallopian tubes will keep sperm viable for a 3-7 day period, so that ups one’s chances of fatherhood a bit…) Basically the human fertility rate is hilariously crappy; a couple that is actively fucking each others’ brains out and monitoring cycles in the hopes of conceiving a child will still only have a 15%-25% chance of conceiving within a monthly cycle. It can easily take a healthy, fertile couple a year to get knocked up”

    You’re not convinced? Then give us counter arguments. Because the rest of you said above confirmed, not contradicted what I said. For example that healthy couples only have a 15%-25% chance of conceiving within a monthly cycle. You completely forgot that the man could be copulating with hundreds of women in a month. The “bottleneck” is with the human female. Even an average man could easily fertilize thousands of women in his life. Try that the other way round.

    Someone else said that my comment above painted women as gatekeepers of sex. Well you’d have to explain to me what exactly is a gatekeeper. If you mean the one who decides if sex takes place, that’s largely circumstantial. And circumstances typically resulted in women having the final veto but not always. And I suspect men behave much the same way when the circumstances are reversed.

  105. As much as my boyfriend thinks that “I’m doing this to pay for my studies” is never true, I think it can very well be true in many cases, and an avenue rarely afforded to men.

    @Daisy

    I’m sure that if enough of a market manifests itself about wanting male prostitutes giving heterosexual services, there will be affordable ones that will pop up. Because homelessness and McDonald’s are pretty often not 1st on the list of men as means of subsistence.

    Similarly, a male market for tights for men, which became known because of online retailers forums, in 1999, has created a huge male-tights market. Now companies selling just that alone are pretty successful.

  106. Cheradenine: I don’t know about “locally”, but traditionally when women want to buy a man for sex, they travel abroad to a location

    As I said, women need to be rich, but men don’t.

    Typhone blue: Or you could promise a meal and a bed to a street kid or homeless man.

    tracy: Doesn’t that feed into the belief that men are always sexually available?

    Yes, it sure does.

    And like many men say, it would be nice to have a professional. Where is the class of men who do this for a living, at a middle-class affordable rate?

    Bottom line: Men have this luxury and women do not.

  107. @ tracy

    I don’t see how a street kind or a homeless man or a hustler is going to be any more dangerous then a street walker.

    “However, unless he finds those things, my understanding is that he’ll find a sexual partner that is into his needs more than his or her own.”

    I’m having difficulty parsing your meaning here. However I imagine the one paying for the act, the meal or the bed is the one determining the sexual things that are done/not done.

    “Is he going to force her into something she doesn’t want?”

    Er… how is this danger any different the other way round? Unless we automatically assume that women are somehow less capable of forcing people into sexual acts they don’t want.

    An assumption that is, by no means, safe to make.

  108. @Skidd et al., regarding reciprocal altruism in vampire bats:

    D’awww!

    …okay, carry on with the discussion.

  109. Well, at least in the case of vampire bat sororities, there is no genetic relation between them. It’s reciprocal altruism, but it’s very interesting. http://www.bio.davidson.edu/people/vecase/Behavior/Spring2002/perry/altruism.html

  110. @typhonblue

    Well, I think a man could just as easily find a sexual partner. I mean, there are a lot of women out there who actually just want to have sex. It’s just that they aren’t always the woman the interested man wants to have sex with or she feels compelled by conventions to not make it clear that she’s available and they miss an opportunity.

    One problem with the solution that you suggest is that it’s much less safe. Sure, in some areas, men who frequent prostitutes take on some risk, both in regards to disease and crime. However, unless he finds those things, my understanding is that he’ll find a sexual partner that is into his needs more than his or her own. I find it hard to believe the same is true of having sex with a random homeless person or a street kid and she has to deal with issues of how those men think about sex. Is he going to force her into something she doesn’t want? I mean, my understanding is a number of people in both of those situations have a mental health issues or pent up aggression.

  111. “Altruism exists in a fair number of species…”

    Skidd, that’s what Dawkins claims, but on closer inspection most of that altruism turns out to be nepotism. There’s an evolutionary advantage in helping your kin but a disadvantage to helping competing kin groups. ( I shudder to think what it says about a person who thinks nepotism is altruistic. What a lonely, lonely life….) Among humans it’s called amoral familism.

  112. @ tracy

    “Doesn’t that feed into the belief that men are always sexually available?”

    It’s a counter to Daisy suggesting that buying male sexual companionship is more expensive then female.

    I don’t believe it is. In some cases it’s as cheap as promising a bed or a meal.

  113. Cheradenine says:

    I can’t buy a man (where is the local male brothel?

    I don’t know about “locally”, but traditionally when women want to buy a man for sex, they travel abroad to a location where a) they’re unlikely to run into anyone they know, and b) they can purchase a man’s services dirt cheap because of global financial inequities. The euphemism is “romance travelling”.

    Historically, southern europe was popular (the term “gigolo” came from somewhere…) and nowadays the Caribbean, Africa (particularly Senegal and Kenya), and even the Middle East feature highly.

  114. @typhonblue Or you could promise a meal and a bed to a street kid or homeless man.

    Doesn’t that feed into the belief that men are always sexually available?

    I am probably missed something, but I still don’t understand why most of the arguments assume that our main purpose on the planet is to reproduce? Why are we reducing human beings to their biological reproductive purposes?

  115. @ Daisy

    ” The way things are set up now, I have to be as rich as Demi Moore to be able to buy a man’s evening services, and I’m not.”

    Or you could promise a meal and a bed to a street kid or homeless man.

  116. Actually wolves finally kill and eat them, and so do wild dogs, but I bet you are right that they try as long as they can to feed and protect them, while they can keep up.

    (Animal behaviorist here) — Not necessarily “kill and eat” – cannibalism is unheard of in these instances (it’s all to easy to spread disease and parasites that way).

    Altruism exists in a fair number of species (Vampire bats do it as a matter of course), but Elephants and cetaceans in addition to species like African Wild Dogs and Spotted hyenas have very, very close social behavior.

  117. @superglucose
    By the “disposable male” I’m talking about how as a man, I have to be very careful to maintain a relationship. I have to protect my source of sex because *if she denies me I may never find another one.*

    Wait, hold on a minute. What are you talking about? You can buy them! As an older woman, I have much more to worry about if MY spouse is gone… I can’t buy a man (where is the local male brothel? Never heard of one, except marketed to gay men), even a quickie for $20, which yes, really would be enough for me. The way things are set up now, I have to be as rich as Demi Moore to be able to buy a man’s evening services, and I’m not.

    I’m sure if I look up your town on the internet, the directions to the local cathouse are right there. Buy local, think global!

  118. “Human reproduction is really inefficient.”

    Not inefficient enough for the sake of the planet, but that’s another discussion.

    That’s interesting about old wolves wandering off. That’s very human too. I guess euthanasia eating only comes into play when the pack has to roam widely over a poor habitat.

  119. @ f

    “And suffice it to say, if people are just having all this sex in order to keep the earth populated, we are terrible at it.”

    Not only that but once women *do* conceive something like 80% of conceptions are aborted naturally and without the mother ever knowing.

    Human reproduction is really inefficient.

  120. @ Jim

    It’s fairly well documented that wolves will attempt to take care of members of their pack even if those members aren’t capable of taking care of themselves. I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t a cost benefit analysis there or that particularly injured/elderly/emotionally damaged* members of the pack just wander off into the wilderness to die alone as to stop being a burden.

    *One particularly sad story involved a elder female wolf who lost her mate; despite her daughter’s attempts at keeping her engaged in the pack(including, interestingly enough, sharing the younger male wolf she’d taken as a mate with her mother), she ended up wandering off to her death.

  121. Actually wolves finally kill and eat them, and so do wild dogs, but I bet you are right that they try as long as they can to feed and protect them, while they can keep up.

  122. @Jim, add in the apparent fact that in some societies where food is scarcer and work is more physical for women as well as men, women menstruate about 4 times a year instead of 12: http://www.gladwell.com/2000/2000_03_10_a_rock.htm

    Plus the widespread practice of prolonged breastfeeding as a form of birth control in some places: http://www.springerlink.com/content/l2l78126xl5h1013/ just for example…

    And suffice it to say, if people are just having all this sex in order to keep the earth populated, we are terrible at it.

    (I feel I should add a DISCLAIMER that this is no reason to slack off on modern, effective birth control, y’all.)

  123. @ Jim

    “Treasuring elders, especially the crochety useless ones, is pretty basic in distinguishing us from animals.”

    Actually, there is another species that takes care of the elderly and infirm.

    Wolves.

  124. @Typhon:

    What follows is by no means an attempt to engender discussion, but for the sake of humor, I feel compelled to add it:

    “The woman is in unearned debt to… whom? The man who died in her stead? Society in general? Other men? How is this debt cashed in? What is the expectation of the woman who is saved by a man’s sacrifice? Is the debt transferable? Is it some kind of lifetime annuity paid out by the woman to a man or men?”

    The snarky answer to these questions is, “Pay it forward.”

  125. @ Paul

    Do you know what’s really amusing about one of the studies cited that ‘proved’ lesbian parents are better then heterosexual parents?

    One of the conclusions of the researchers was that the results may be due to the fact that lesbian parents actually pursue more shared parenting after ‘divorce’. In other words, embedded in the ‘evidence’ that lesbian parents are better is a strong implication why. Lesbian parents don’t try to oust the other parent out of their child’s life when their relationships end.

    So, in truth, what that study really could be supporting is a presumption of shared custody post divorce for all parents for the benefit of the children.

  126. “Personally what this tells me is that we humans are social creatures and we have sex because it’s fun. ”

    But that’s SODOMY!!! You will burn burn burn!

    The effective birth rate for a woman is about one kid a year. So that means you could get by with about a three week rut once a year. But we don’t do it that way do we, and not by some “cultural construct”.

    “….sex as entertaining social activity…”

    People in non-foraging societies tend to forget how much time you have on your hands in those conditions. (C omplex industrial and agricultural socieites are very clever at wringing a lot of work out of a lot of people.) It usually doesn’t take all your time to get even surpluses of food, and usually the supply of food is not determined by how much time you put in to the search, but by all sorts of other factors. People don’t spend all their time getting their grunt on, they often spend it on religion, but still.

  127. @ Collette Wedding

    “We have powerful men *forcing* less powerful (poorer, men of color) men off to die in wars about which the powerful may not be entirely honest, but not women, as other men decide to go fight in wars (and women, though theoretically they aren’t to engage in combat).”

    No one’s arguing that it isn’t elite men who are treating disenfranchised men as expendable. However this could easily be considered a form of internalized sexism on the part of elite men. Just like women do the majority of FGM in africa; there were Jewish enforcers in concentration camps; and some black people owned slaves.

    The fact that it’s men sending men to die does not negate the fact that men are being treated as expendable. In my mind that fact doesn’t somehow make it all justifiable, in fact it makes it that much more disturbing and sinister. And it deepens the question of ‘why?’ Why do elite men seem to share no compassion or concern for the men they are in power over?

    Also, in some cases, the elite class of men died even more often then the lower class soldiers under their command. Look at the death rates for officers in World War One. It was, I believe, several orders of magnitude *worse* then that for the enlisted men. And the officers almost universally came from the upper classes.

    “So if we know women are engaging in combat but neither receive credit nor often the proper training and arms, are those women *not* disposable? So … what exactly is at work here and what do we mean by disposable?”

    As far as I can tell the deaths coming out of the US’ various wars abroad are disproportionately male. In other words they don’t reflect the proportion of female soldiers in the military. So female soldiers *are* being protected by their femaleness.

    If the deaths were disproportionately slanted in favor of women, then I think you would have a case.

    “People bring up disasters (such as the Titanic, or the Hudson River apparently) as examples, but the entire point is the man’s life *is* valuable or else it wouldn’t mean anything and now the woman (like the child) is in unearned debt.”

    The woman is in unearned debt to… whom? The man who died in her stead? Society in general? Other men? How is this debt cashed in? What is the expectation of the woman who is saved by a man’s sacrifice? Is the debt transferable? Is it some kind of lifetime annuity paid out by the woman to a man or men?

    Or are you suggesting that the expectation women feel grateful to the men who sacrifice their lives for them makes the whole thing misogynist?

  128. @Gaius, as mentioned above re: Baumeister’s speech, I found the arguments contained within (some of which are in unreal man’s post as well) to be pretty unconvincing. I also find it interesting that Baumeister’s speech is apparently convincing to someone like Sam, for example, because genetic research backs it up. Whereas unreal man says, we don’t particularly need a cite for “40% of men have tended to reproduce, historically” because look at how convincing these arguments about sexual economics are! It’s the circle of liiiiiiife…

    Anyway, I suppose I can imagine how some of the stuff talked about may have shaped human culture along the way. But I’m not convinced reproductive economics is the key to what’s going on here, at all. Particularly now that “have sex” has not equaled “chance of reproduction” for nearly half a century now (THANK SCIENCE). And even before that, a woman’s monthly cycle means that an egg is most likely to be fertilized within a teensy, 24-hour window of time (OK, so the fallopian tubes will keep sperm viable for a 3-7 day period, so that ups one’s chances of fatherhood a bit…) Basically the human fertility rate is hilariously crappy; a couple that is actively fucking each others’ brains out and monitoring cycles in the hopes of conceiving a child will still only have a 15%-25% chance of conceiving within a monthly cycle. It can easily take a healthy, fertile couple a year to get knocked up: http://www.babyhopes.com/articles/howlong.html

    Personally what this tells me is that we humans are social creatures and we have sex because it’s fun. Any theory of human society that seems to be based more on sex as reproductive tool than on sex as entertaining social activity, is suspect in my eyes.

  129. Mother’s day rolls around and everybody is all about how awesome mom is, father’s day comes and we see articles like this: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/07/are-fathers-necessary/8136/

  130. “Somehow, in these “chivalric” ideals, men become not worthy of having doors held, of evacuating in a timely fashion, of…well, of basic courtesy. ”

    Chivalry has become synonymous with ‘serving the nobility’ at some point. It wasn’t any more “because they are weaker”, but “because they deserve it, as your better”. The way Bruce Wayne deserves Alfred’s services.

  131. TB, that’s sounds plausible. One of the problems seems to be reductionism is measuring “child care”. Care of a six-month old is different from care from a two years old is different for tending to a six year old and wildly different from dealing with a tweener.

    Goshawk,
    “Think about “chivalry”. Feminists, as I count myself (though I’m sure I’m a bad feminist in someone’s book or other =P), rightly reject chivalry for the way it puts women on a pedestal and makes women into weaker beings to be coddled and protected.”

    The movement has a very mixed record on rejecting chivalry, mainly because a lot of what the woemn in the movement took to be normal protections were in fact functions of chivalry not afforded to men.

    “I also object because something to me seems wrong with arriving at a door first and waiting for one of the guys with me to open it.”

    Hey, if he’s junior to you, he damned well better get that door!

    ” If an older gentleman is in the plane that just made an emergency landing, how is it right that I, an able-bodied young woman, should be evacuated first?”

    This is an aspect of Western culture I find sub-human frankly. Treasuring elders, especially the crochety useless ones, is pretty basic in distinguishing us from animals.

  132. In discussions of male disposability, I often find many erase the experiences of sub-groups of men (and women and owmen in general, but more in a minute) and generally lack the deep analysis it deserves for an honest, productive discussion. Not because people don’t want that but, I believe, because we take so much for granted about what culture tells us or conversely ignore what culture tells us if a certain conslusion makes sense. In this case North American (only because I don’t want to bog everything down, haha.).

    Take the draft and chivalry, for example. We have powerful men *forcing* less powerful (poorer, men of color) men off to die in wars about which the powerful may not be entirely honest, but not women, as other men decide to go fight in wars (and women, though theoretically they aren’t to engage in combat). At the same time, we have a culture that valorizes the soldier by default and considers a fallen soldier a hero; this is in part what motivates many to go fight. More still, we have a military culture that is disgustingly lacking in sufficient aftercare, at times insuffient protection (physical, otherwise), and lacking care specific to women and non cis-men. So if we know women are engaging in combat but neither receive credit nor often the proper training and arms, are those women *not* disposable? So … what exactly is at work here and what do we mean by disposable?

    On chivalry: I’ve seen the role of “men” in chivalry likened to treatment of “black people,” implying we don’t not value “men’s” lives and politeness towards men, which I’ll use as a jumping off point. If we’re not valuing the man’s life or the man enough to be polite to him, then why is power allocated to him for deciding a woman is worthy to begin with? People bring up disasters (such as the Titanic, or the Hudson River apparently) as examples, but the entire point is the man’s life *is* valuable or else it wouldn’t mean anything and now the woman (like the child) is in unearned debt. This isn’t Oppression Olympics-baiting, either, I’m expressing what I find problematic with how this is characterized. It doesn’t mean I don’t find silly, wrong, and controlling, either, because it is. But again … what do we mean by disposability? The other issue are the class, ablist, and race elements for both the men demonstrating chivalry (the black man forced to sit in the back is nothing, the white man choosing to give up his seat for the *white* woman is great) and the women on the receiving end or not (certain white, upper-class women that have children). Again, what do we mean by disposable? And what is really at work here.

    Just some thoughts.

  133. @all:
    Is anyone going to address Unreal Man’s post on the economics of sexual availability? Or would that be off-topic?

    The only reason I ask (and here I admit to ignorance and inexperience) is because it jives with my experience to an extent.

    On the other hand, it could be un-nuanced (although he admitted it was a large scale trend), and it sounds suspiciously like “women are gatekeepers,” which I’ve seen debunked before. Likewise, it could be but one of many competing trends.

    Any thoughts?

  134. @ Jim

    As far as I can tell, a world wide survey of child care found that in most societies a significant fraction of adult-child interaction is between men and children alone. It usually hovers just under one third, while women and children alone is a bit over one third. While the remainder is both women and men together with children.

    Also, in hunter gatherer societies men do more childcare then in any other society. In fact there are, amazingly enough, some societies in which baby care is considered men’s work.

  135. @ Jim

    Sorry! I should have clarified that the quote was from something Sam linked to. (If you scroll up you’ll see where it comes from.)

  136. @Sam
    “First let’s deal with the issue of men’s peripheral role in the natural scheme of things. The male biological role in reproduction is minimal, and in all known societies the male role in child-rearing is insignificant compared to the female role.”

    Are you just quoting someone to ridicule their position or is this realy you saying this? In a lot of well-known societies the mother’s role in raising boys bascially stops at weaning, and it completely stops at adolescence, far short of effective reproductive age. Just what activities do you include in child-rearing? There’s a lot more than shoving a breast in thier faces.

  137. I remember asking my Mom why the ship’s crew in some old movie were saying “women and children first” when I was little. She told me that it was because of old-fashioned ideas that women were weaker than men, so the men were being generous and noble by giving up their spots. I half-accepted it at the time, thinking that it *was* very noble and nice of the men. But I remember frowning, because when I thought of myself in that situation I thought of myself giving up my seat in the lifeboat for someone else, because *I* was nice and noble too. But somehow, the rules of “women and children first” didn’t allow for that. I wasn’t old enough to think it through clearly, but the idea of some poor man I didn’t know staying on a sinking boat while I had to get on the lifeboat stuck with me with a sort of vague disquiet in the back of my mind.

    Think about “chivalry”. Feminists, as I count myself (though I’m sure I’m a bad feminist in someone’s book or other =P), rightly reject chivalry for the way it puts women on a pedestal and makes women into weaker beings to be coddled and protected. I also object because something to me seems wrong with arriving at a door first and waiting for one of the guys with me to open it. Why would I do that? If an older gentleman is in the plane that just made an emergency landing, how is it right that I, an able-bodied young woman, should be evacuated first? Why would I expect my (male) date to walk around the car to open my door when I can just do it myself? Somehow, in these “chivalric” ideals, men become not worthy of having doors held, of evacuating in a timely fashion, of…well, of basic courtesy.

    The thing is, the discussion is all about who’s hurt more by this, who gets more status, who made it happen. But that’s not how we approach the issue in real life, as far as I can tell. We approach this in terms of *ability*, like B-Lar mentioned in his earlier comment: he is stronger, tougher, more able to resist cold and pain, so he should bear the discomfort or danger in place of those less able. And that is an *admirable* sentiment, one I get behind fully – after all, I am in the military. =P The problem develops when we start automatically assigning gender to either side of that equation: [MAN] is stronger, tougher, more able to resist pain/discomfort, so [MAN] should do so in order to protect [WEAKER] women [/children/infirm]. Then, usually, we start assigning value and shame appropriately, because we are judgy monkeys.

    The sentiment that the strong should care for/protect the weak isn’t something I think anyone is disputing. It’s just that the assumption has been gendered (see: the military service discussion) for so long that if a man falls on the “wrong” side of that equation, he’s either pitied (cf. men w/disabilities) or vilified (cf. every insult ever thrown at a boy who can’t/won’t fight), and if a woman falls on the “wrong” side she’s either a butch dyke, or it’s a damn social tragedy that she should HAVE to. [Yes, there are exceptions. Women who are on the care/protection side get points for being strong and, more rarely, men who refuse to fight or become involved in that culture are praised for levelheadedness or enlightened thinking.]

    If it is okay (admirable) for the strong to sacrifice themselves for the weak, does that necessarily imply that the “weak” are of more value? And in what sense? Are they more valuable in a social sense – for example, warriors can be a kind of one-trick pony. You need them, but historically a knight is only really good for whacking other knights with sticks (or Visigoths, whatever), and the only use a soldier has is for protection from the worst (war, natural disaster, etc). Society’s functioning depends upon the “protected”, if you want to look at it that way. So is the nobility of protection conferred by the high-status “weak” only as an incentive for the “strong” to protect them? OR do the strong seek to protect through some natural desire to demonstrate their strength and prowess, and we call that a noble endeavour because it is the high-status “strong” who engage in it?

    To be clear, I don’t think there’s a cut-and-dried answer to that question. I think it’s probably a little of both, and likely pointless to wonder which. But I really think that if we can bring the logic more to the front, remove some automatic gender assumptions, and examine how class enters into this, that we can do some good on this front.

  138. @ Sam

    “First let’s deal with the issue of men’s peripheral role in the natural scheme of things. The male biological role in reproduction is minimal, and in all known societies the male role in child-rearing is insignificant compared to the female role.”

    Wow, did they have to start off their ‘analysis’ with a load of bullshit?

  139. Wow, Kita and Heather really opened up this thread with a bang.

    “Why not draft nobody? Oh wait we already do that.”

    Are you familiar with the term conscientious? Men do not have the freedom of conscience to be a pacifist in our society when they are forced to register for Selective Services (i.e. the draft). Women do not need to promise the government that they will sacrifice themselves if called upon in order to participate in our society, but men do.

    Incidentally, women received the right to vote a long time before society saw it fit to give that same right to the young men they were sending off to war. There are still people alive today who were drafted to go fight a war they did not agree with and didn’t have the right to vote against. Do you remember the old military refrain, that if you don’t like it you can write your senator? That was a message that was given to young soldiers who were not allowed to vote.

    “It’s like hunting ethics.”

    Great, then it’s like hunting ethics. But that just means you have even more reason to acknowledge the expendable male as a legitimate experience for men in our society. Sure, we’re left with more “does” to go around for the hunters to keep hunting. Tell that to the dead stags. What what makes a woman’s womb more valuable than a man’s life?

    @f., great points.

  140. “Similarly, “historically 40% of men have produced offspring”… I would still love to know where this comes from. ”

    We don’t even need sources to see that this must be true. Only the numbers might vary. I know many people here hate reducing things to biology but how about taking it a step further and reducing biology to economics. More precisely, competition for resources. In any competitive environment, the outcome is a function of 1) the availability of the resources, 2) the demand (i.e. how many want it how badly). Now lets look at men and women. The vast majority of men have a heterosexual drive to reproduce (doesn’t matter if it’s 90% or 98%). That drive is more or less constant in those men assuming their adult and healthy. That’s the demand side of the competition – around 90% of men want to reproduce (or have sex) pretty much all the time.
    Compare that with availability – how many women want to reproduce how many times in their lives (and/or how often are they able to reproduce).

    As you can see, the demand is overwhelmingly greater than the availability.The result is accordingly much tougher competition and far fewer winners. Hence, for most of our existence, the majority of men were reproductive failures. With women, for the same reason, this is not so.

    Once you understand this, everything about the gender dynamics makes sense. Men take more risk. The reason is again economically clear. Because, when the odds are against you, taking risks is the smart thing to do. That explains why women are more risk averse – because the odds are in their favor. For women, economically, it was always wise to not stand out and not swim against the stream. Being average produces female reproductive winners, but with men it produces reproductive failures.

    This also explains why men have historically accomplished so much more in terms of creativity and innovation. Not because they can’t (the misogynist myth) but also not because they weren’t allowed to (the feminist myth) but simply because they didn’t have to. For most women it was economically not sensible to pursue great accomplishments (especially the risky ones like discovering new continents).

    For the record, these are large scale dynamics. They don’t say anything about individual men or women – only the broad average tendencies that manifest themselves on a social scale.

  141. “a man can fertilise a woman, go out and die for his country and a baby will regardless result. ”

    And my point is that that is not successful reporduction. Reproduction is not successful until the “baby” grows up and has more babies of her own. That is the point at which reproduction is successful, at which you have a viabnle population. Not before.

    “The same cannot be said for the vice versa. ”

    Oh how rosy a view of war and human history! At the crude level we are talking, women are fungible between communities. They get raped, kidnapped over the dead bodies of their menfolk and only if they are very lucky are any existing children of their’s allowed to live. That’s why your own females are not as crucial to group survival as you are making out. (Well – one proviso – for real group surivival, you need some of your own women to enculturate your newly “recruited” women, or your goroup changes beyond recognition. But that requires only a small cadre of women, maybe on the order of the number of surviving men required.) And it doesn’t even have to be war. It can be the simple mechanics of men controlling land tenure (since they seize, hold andmkae the land productive in the first case). women have to marry away and marry in to other communities all the time anyway. The patrilocal genetic pattern of Europe’s populations reflect these realities.

  142. @ myself

    “Before you give in to it”

    Oh, awkward. I should have said, ‘give in to the negative thoughts that seem to be affirming your lack of self worth.’

  143. @ B-Lar

    “One day I might give a woman a baby, and my purpose to society will be complete when I die defending them on the street.”

    To be honest, it sounds like you might be suffering from some depression. Before you give in to it, look up some of the studies of the worth of fathers to children.

    Yeah, children can grow up. But they are at a severe detriment. Men are needed; evolutionarily they are not expendable. If they were their children would grow up just fine without them. And they don’t.

  144. Re: male peripherality, I’m with you, Jim. Humans are a very cooperative species. Our kids grow up slowly and are resource-intensive. As far as I’m given to understand it’s sort of an extremely recent development that only up to two adults are involved in the rearing of a child.

  145. @Jim,

    OPINION: We are all animals. Males in the vast majority of species only need to be around at point of conception in order to create babies.

    When I talk about the reproductive value of individuals to governments or societies, this is it. a man can fertilise a woman, go out and die for his country and a baby will regardless result. The same cannot be said for the vice versa. Its Biology. A fundamental difference of the sexes that can feed a percieved difference of societal value.

    I get the feeling A LOT that the only things I am good for are reaching for things that are up high, opening things that are too tight, or suppressing inconvenient emotions so that other people arent subjected to them. One day I might give a woman a baby, and my purpose to society will be complete when I die defending them on the street.

  146. “So, whichever way you turn the problem, the imbalance of “reproductive success” – female centrality/male peripherality – appears to be a fundamental variable that human societies need to address.”

    Sam, the notion of male peripherality is the crux of the problem here. Males are not peripheral to reporduction in any dioecious species, by definition, but in humans the reproductive equality of input goes much, much further. there is the hormonal participation in pregancies that males experience. It’s not generally recognized because the work is recent, but it is real. I have experienced it. It is one par with the hormonal effect and strength of falling in love. Then also in all but post-industrial societies both sexes rely on each other for basic life support. A lone, unsupported woman can almost never survive pregancy let alone bring a child to maturity, let alone the severla needed just to achieve simple population maintenence. That’s a long way from peripherality.

  147. Cheradenine says:

    Anyone else got anything?

    Well, I think people have already raised (non-soldiering) dangerous working environments, societal views on men who are victims of violent crime, “women and children first”-style self-sacrifice, Sam’s point about men feeling “unnecessary” and not desired for their own sake, as well as the media-portrayal stuff.

  148. Cheradenine says:

    I see a number of people making the comment that since women have wombs and one man can inseminate multiple women, that justifies keeping them home.

    Perhaps I missed an example — it’s quite possible — but I don’t see that. Observing something isn’t the same thing as justifying it. At most, I think people are saying, “societies have in the past attempted to justify X via Y”, this is different from saying, “I think X is justified because of Y”.

  149. f,

    oh, sure, functional explanations of evolutionary cultural adaptations are usually problematic, not just in this respect. That said, it’s one thing to present interpretations of such patterns, and another to state that genetics show that, in the course of human evolution, only half as many men as women have reproduced. It would be good to see the source of that statement, of course, but as we are able to trace our genetic origin through mitochondrial DNA to a very small number of ur-mothers, I assume that it’s very much possible to trace paternal pattern similarities (or relative lack thereof).

    “I am weirdly reminded of those early feminist works that claimed to have discovered just oodles of former matriarchal societies, which were obviously paradises, because estrogen. I mean, yes it’s good to have scientific/historical backup for one’s gender theories, but only if that backup is rigorous…

    Fair.

    But since you mention matriarchies – the Mosuo matriarchy/matrilinial society seems to deal with male expendability (and the according aggression by expendable males) not through enforcement through other males but by providing relatively easy access to extramarital sexuality (which, according to a book by a Brazilian doctor appears to be preceded by a mating ritual playfully reinforcing male dominance for *both* women and men), a system that apparently disguises actual fatherhood from men.

    So, whichever way you turn the problem, the imbalance of “reproductive success” – female centrality/male peripherality – appears to be a fundamental variable that human societies need to address.

  150. On the 80/40% issue, I don’t think you have to posit widespread Mongol-style rape or polygamy or any of those high-drama scenarios. You just have to remember that chidlbirth used to be realy dnagerous and women died all the time. Men didn’t have to be polygamous to have two or more wives, they just had to outlive them. there’s a reason there is an Evil Step-mother trope in folklore but no equivalent Evil Step-father. People had step-mothers, lots of peopl. It was a standard feature.

    “Similarly, “historically 40% of men have produced offspring”… I would still love to know where this comes from. ”

    I think it had to do with patterns of genetic diversity in populations, twice as much mDNA variation as dicversity carried on the X chromosome. Here’s a good blog to make a bleg, if anyone care to: http://dienekes.blogspot.com/ (I don’t.)

    “Woman will always have reproductive value to governments and to society. Man will not. ”

    This applies to cod or herring and maybe cattle but not to humans. This is the right-wing formulation of a radfem meme. Single motherhood only works in societies with a Virtual Father, as we do in this one. It works if the woman’s clan is willing to raise the child and feed, clothe and house them as she cannot possibly do in her own. And oh by the way, the same is true for single fatherhood. It only works when there is a Virtual Mother in the form of household appliances, packaged food, no need to spend hours carrying water of gathering firewood.

    Also, what Goshawk said, every word. You took the words right out of my mouth.

  151. @Tracy, you’re making the mistake of assuming we’re talking about what the reality is rather than what the reality is perceived to be. The disposable man has nothing to do with what is reality but rather what reality is perceived to be: men are viewed as disposable, as interchangeable, and as non-unique individuals. For another example as to how: look at the Cock’s Rock series. Women’s genitals are considered mysterious and wonderous and amazing and how do those things work anyways? (answer: stick a bunch of nerves in a hole, set to “pleasure” when touched, aaaand go (obviously vastly oversimplified but tbh sex is one of the mechanically least interesting aspects of the human body))

    Compare that to men, who obviously only care about one thing: being touched on the penis. Which is the same for every man because no two men like different things… leading men to be non-unique, where as some women like X, some like Y, still others like Z…

    Is this reality? Good heavens no! But this is the popular perception of reality.

    Just like it is a common perception among men that they are “disposable.” Because while many women and many feminists see the whole “Men get drafted and sent into combat” as “Man that’s so unfair! How come WE can’t do that? They’re saying we’re not capable!” men see it as “Man, that’s so unfair! How come WE have to do that? They’re saying that they get to decide if we die in some foreign country!” “How come there are so many male mooks? Men are overrepresented!” “How come there are so many male mooks? They just like killing men!”

    As a great example: take the movie Sucker Punch (which is supposedly about female empowerment). Female protagonists mowing down obviously male mooks. How many of you think the opposite would fly for a second? How many feminist blogs would light up in protest of this obvious propagation of violence against women?

  152. Oh, and I didn’t mean to leave out the “male protagonist as faceless vessel for asskicking abilities” and “endless disposable hordes of male mooks” media-criticism stuff, but those are things I personally would like to hear more about in order to really get it.

  153. @machina, I must’ve been misreading you here: “historically based around men providing large amounts of resources to their families, such that a minimum wage was naturally set at such a rate that would also provide for their wife and children.”

    Eh, whatever, when it comes to understanding these types of topics I tend to do better with concrete examples. So far, for the “disposable man” I’ve filed away the following ideas:

    – soldiering (large numbers of young, possibly economically disadvantaged men being asked/required to kill and be killed)

    – primogeniture (keep in mind that some “losers” in the primogeniture system, like English aristocrats’ second, third, etc. sons, were expected to make their fortunes by… going to war)

    – polygamous groups like FLDS abandoning their young men in order to secure their own access to more, and more desirable women

    Anyone else got anything?

  154. f. I didn’t mean to imply that men could necessarily provide for their wife and families. Are you arguing against the idea that infant and child mortality rose as wages fell, meaning that wages were controlled over generations? I don;t know what you’re actually arguing here.

  155. I see a number of people making the comment that since women have wombs and one man can inseminate multiple women, that justifies keeping them home. Treating all women the same because a portion of them are able to have children just seems wrong, as wrong as viewing men as expendable.

    7.3 million US women between the ages of 15 and 44 suffer from an impaired ability to have children. That’s 11.8% of women in that age group. Number of married women between 15 and 44 who are infertile, meaning they are unable to get pregnant after 12 consecutive months is 2.1 million or 7.4% of married women in that age group. So, we are willing to say to millions of women who might not be able to have kids and who are willing to fight, I’m sorry, you can’t do that because you have a womb?
    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/fertile.htm

    Defining man or womanhood based on the goal of perpetuating the human race seems, to me, to be part of the issue. Yes, we tend to have a biological drive to do so, but we are also so much more than that. I, as a woman, don’t have any more responsibility to provide the next generation of humans than a man does to sacrifice himself for the “greater good.” Many will choose to do those things, but that choice alone shouldn’t define womanhood or manhood.

    Also missing from the conversation about who will raise the children are the women who have reached menopause, the men who, for one reason or another, are unable to fight, and older children who are still too young to go off to war.

    As for the portrayal of large groups of men in movies and tv being shot and killed, I’m all for making that group 50% female. I think it’s a necessary step towards true gender equality.

  156. “Hah, Schala, I don’t know. It is an attractive theory for all those of us who tend to go against the grain, isn’t it?”

    Out gay and lesbian, and trans people, tend to have standard deviations above average IQ. It’s a self-selection bias maybe, but being abused that much needs quite a lot of willpower to resist I guess. It’s like going outside knowing you’ll probably get shot.

  157. Hah, Schala, I don’t know. It is an attractive theory for all those of us who tend to go against the grain, isn’t it?

    But you could just as easily make the claim that high-IQ people might be better at recognizing and exploiting societal norms to their advantage…

  158. “High-IQ people tend to be androgynous? Would be curious about any studies on that.”

    I’d think that high-IQ people tend to go against the grain more often than low-IQ people, because you can do a cost-benefit analysis on a deeper level than “people like me less, this is bad!”

  159. I see the military draft/probability of dying in war (in North America, and specifically, the US) as primarily a *class* issue, not a gender issue. The vast majority of soldiers serving in the military and killed in modern wars (if we’re talking about the present) are the lower income/undereducated/underemployed who see the military as a good opportunity for training, education, and decent pay or have historically placed high value (as in the South) on service to country. This group of people is also heavily recruited by the military to fill up the current “volunteer army”, sometimes with coercive and shady practices and incentives designed to appeal to those with limited options to rise in an alleged “classless” society).

    I am against war in principle, but I’m also a realist, and don’t believe that miltary conflict is going to end in my lifetime. However, I AM in favor of compulsory military service for all citizens of a certain age, both male and female, with no exceptions or “out” for those with money and influence. In this way, “serving our country” becomes a larger concept, not just fancy political rhetoric, and engages ALL strata in society in having a personal stake in foreigh policy (and the human costs of war…it’s easy to send someone else’s spouses and children to risk their lives), provides a shared experience for people of different backgrounds to work together, and might offer another way to undertake public works projects “at home” (and hey, we’ve got a lot of need) in times of peace. This model is in place in many European, Scandinavian, Asian, and other countries all over the world.

    In other words, no one is expendable…everyone is a potential contributor to society at large and to a community and family at home. If we’re talking expendability though, it’s usually much more of a class issue than a gender issue. Upper class citizens and their reproductive ability are valued (“We need more educated people to have more kids! The dumb/lazy/poor/brown people are outbreeding us”, “Tilson Beauregard III is NOT going into the Air Force…he would be wasting his education and potential there.”, “Oh no, all these Ivy League-educated women are ‘opting out’ of the workforce to become stay-at-home moms, but they will raise good children”) and that of the lower class is not (“These poor people need to stop fucking if they can’t afford to have children!” “Send these inner city juvies to the Army…basic training will set them straight and give them some discipline.” “These black/brown people need to be incentivized to get married and stop screwing around; single parent kids are a drain on society”). “Expendability”, like most of these things, is a complex web of social attitudes, historical factors, and intersecting race/class/gender buckets that is hard to untangle.

  160. machina, would you care to spell out where exactly you are getting your claims that historically, men received enough wages to support their families? And I mean, are you talking about nuclear family units or extended families here? Was it a majority of men? Across class lines? In what time periods? As you can see just from this page, the very definition of “salary” has evolved greatly over time: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salary

    Let’s talk about actual history here; the model of how wages are decided upon, as elucidated by John Locke, did not necessarily have much to do with how a 15th century serf in Russia, or a Dutch burgher centuries later, got paid.

  161. Sam, I have to say I read the Baumeister speech and was thoroughly unimpressed by a lot of his points. I couldn’t help seeing it as a series of just-so-stories, retroactive justifications for the status quo. Treating “human culture” as a monolith is also something I consider pretty bizarre. Not to mention that human history is anything but a controlled experiment where you can make a claim like, “The cultures that have succeeded (all of them? this man is a psychologist, not an anthropologist) have used this formula, and that is one reason that they have succeeded instead of their rivals.” I mean… has he done a comprehensive study of which cultures have succeeded, shown that they all tend to fit this specific pattern, and shown that some which failed didn’t organize themselves in a similar manner… or something?

    I am weirdly reminded of those early feminist works that claimed to have discovered just oodles of former matriarchal societies, which were obviously paradises, because estrogen. I mean, yes it’s good to have scientific/historical backup for one’s gender theories, but only if that backup is rigorous…

  162. f. No, the WoN is probably most influential economic treatise in history.

  163. Hugh, f, Ozy,

    thanks for already mentioning the Baumeister speech. I’m also not sure where he got the data from as it’s not sourced in the speech available, but I’m disinclined to believe it’s all made up, as it does indeed present a, I believe, more parsimonious explanation for historical and currently visible social practices than any other alternative explanation I’ve seen so far.

    If you check out this (radical feminist) analysis of “why men rule”, it also goes a long way of supporting the expendability problem, and how it created “the world we live in”. The comments explicitly address the problem of how that could or could not be avoided in today’s “non-magic” world.

    http://www.reclusiveleftist.com/2006/05/07/the-origin-of-male-dominance

    I’ll have to look it up, but last year, there was a point in one of Clarisse’s threads last year at which we came pretty close to narrowing the issue down to one or two main aspects.

  164. Cheradenine says:

    Regarding that video, I don’t think it demonstrates male disposability or is relevant to this thread, and contains some disingenuous implications.

    For example, it implies that she was found innocent and released because of “battered wife syndrome”, but that’s not actually true. As a point of law, Kiranjit Ahluwalia was convicted of manslaughter (for which she was sentenced to several years in prison), after her original conviction of murder was overturned on grounds of inadequate counsel. She was released because she had already served that time by the point at which the original conviction was overturned in favour of the new one.

    Futhermore, despite the technical-looking diagrams in the video and suggestion that she went off to research chemical weapons, these news reports indicate she soaked a blanket in petrol and set it alight. Which is also, you know, horrific, but doesn’t display quite the same kind of long-term calculatedness implied by the video. This was after ten years of abuse, after she’d already tried running away once, and attempted suicide twice.

  165. Cheradenine says:

    Oh and @Skidd, @Goshawk, I wanted to particularly thank you for your contributions to this thread.

    Wiiiiinding way back up-thread, I wanted to address a couple of other things:

    prison sentences seem to be generally shorter where the victim is male.

    Or if the perpetrator is female: Racial and Gender Disparities in Prison Sentences, Gender Differences in Criminal Sentencing, etc.

    And, on the subject of disposable males in film, a couple of people mentioned this in passing, but I wanted to go over this a little: Women can, and do, fight (and with skill and effectiveness) in films all the time. The Matrix, Kill Bill, Kick Ass and Ultraviolet have already been mentioned, let’s add Alien/Aliens, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Serenity, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Salt, Sucker Punch, Ghost in the Shell, Alias, La Femme Nikita, Dark Angel, Xena, Charlie’s Angels, Tomb Raider, Elektra, Buffy, Hanna, Miss Congeniality, Tank Girl, Red (bonus points for being past retirement age while kicking ass!), TRON: Legacy, Scott Pilgrim vs The World, Watchmen.

    And that’s just the first that come to mind. Now, you can certainly argue if you like (but it would be off-topic for this thread) about how some of the representations in those films suck, but you can’t realistically argue that they don’t exist.

    Now: all these women are either protagonists, or major characters. In this day, both men, and women can be Ass Kicking Major Characters.

    However, women are pretty much never generic cannon fodder. So far, we have exactly one example (in a relatively obscure — though I do like it myself — Japanese anime).

    Note: Arguing that this implies people think women aren’t capable is a non-starter: Clearly, there are many examples listed above of women being capable, and cannon fodder aren’t expected to be capable, only to be empty targets for annihilation. Everyone knows Bad Guys Can’t Aim.

    Related points from an earlier thread:

    Now, finally, here’s an interesting thing I’d like to see more discussion of, because it’s more of a constructive thing than Complaining Futilely About What Is 🙂 Movies that address these issues in some way?

    In the previous thread, Clarence rightly pointed out that Source Code has an interesting take on the concept (I don’t want to get too much into it for spoilers reasons).

    Hmm. It’s often the case, with many issues, that comedies can flag up issues that aren’t addressed elsewhere. Some people find this offensive — “how could you joke about X?” — but the role of the jester in speaking uncomfortable truths in the guise of comedy is a valuable one with a long history.

    So — Austin Powers: The Henchman’s Wife, and John Smith’s Bachelor Party.

  166. RE: Unreal Man’s Video: I would not be surprised if there was a crimal case in the future where battered husband syndrome was brought up as a defence. It makes sense. If there can be mitigating circumstance for murder, disabling or genital mutilation for women then the same must logically apply to men.

    The precedent has been set and whatever the author of that video may think, the courts must deliberate fairly and consistently or lose the faith of the populous.

    Violence perpetrated by Men/Women against Women/Men or indeed against another Man/Woman is unnaceptable but guilt is mitigated and punishment lessened in situations of great personal stress.

  167. Also y’all, could we get a bit more specific about the cultural contexts involved in these comments? Skidd mentioned the Lost Boys from polygamous FLDS compounds, for example, and that’s something that is easy to get a handle on and discuss in detail. But when we’re talking about “historically men this” and “well in Europe* that” I think it gets awfully easy to ignore other people and go grasping for counterexamples that can come from literally anywhere.

    At this juncture I have to point out, machina, your characterization of Historical Europe doesn’t sound like any history course I’ve had, and isn’t a lot of Wealth of Nations a set of prescriptions to improve the way societies deal with financial issues? Just sayin…

    Similarly, “historically 40% of men have produced offspring”… I would still love to know where this comes from. If it can be sourced, I have a few alternate explanations beyond the good old mainstay of “hypergamy”.

    *not actually a particularly culturally homogenous place!

  168. @Cheradenine

    Ozy used ‘slutty’ to mean ‘promiscuous’, but can it be a reclamatory use when you’re speaking for others? I tend to avoid it unless talking about myself, as value judgment is often implied.

    ANYWAY.

    Anyone going to address unreal man’s video above?

  169. @ Noah, yes, seriously. This thread is getting mildly silly. Quite a shame when people like Gosling have contributed some really excellent stuff.

  170. Reading through the comments here I see lots of talk about the way things should be, and ways that we might change the current situation to become a better one for everyone. There are some little things that will always get in the way of this though.

    Woman will always have reproductive value to governments and to society. Man will not. The simple reason being that if we ever needed to repopulate #see various deer metaphor/baby generation maths far above#. If you are sending soldiers out where there is a high likelihood of death, although both Man and Woman can fight with ferocity it makes sense to send the Man, because in a biological reproductive sense he is MORE EXPENDABLE than Woman.

    When making a generalisation about which sex will withstand physical environmental pressures to higher tolerances, Man will typically be selected. Therefore Man typically works in more dangerous environments than Woman, perhaps not because he is more expendable but because he has a greater chance of withstanding the physical pressures. If Man dies in this environment then it is unfortunate but not indicative of expendability. He is doing a job that he is more physically suited to than Woman.

    As a man, I am taught to protect those who I percieve a being weaker than me. By taking this standpoint I make no judgement about what this “weakness” is comprised of but I see that I am capable of withstanding cold better so I offer my girlfriend my coat, or I see that I am more capable of withstanding physical pain so I put myself between an attacker and a female victim.

    These ideas might be distasteful to some, perhaps because I am propogating the myth that women are weaker… They may be the result of societal pressures or outdated practices as opposed to right thinking although they do no extend only to women, but to children, the elderly and to other men also. I hold on to them because they make sense of a harsh world and I hope that if I was in a situation where I was weak and needed help, with someone who could help me, that they would.

    Perhaps the question at the beginning of this post should have been “Are Men More Expendable Than Women, And If So What Does That Mean For Society”

  171. Cheradenine says:

    Slightly OT, but @Glove:

    ‘Slutty’? Not cool.

    “Slut” isn’t a bad word. Some people mean it in that way — just as some bigots mean “queer” to be a bad word. Yet, many people celebrate and are proud of their queerness — and that applies to sluttiness too. Events like Slutwalk, books like The Ethical Slut, and so on, are all examples of “positive sluttiness”.
    [end digression]

  172. Just a comment about voting rights as an argument:

    In my country, following a law of a public (for men) draft system in 1901, voting rights for men to the national government were established in 1907 after the principle of “One man, one gun, one vote.” Meaning that some men that e.g. hadn’t served the military, didn’t pay taxes (poor and/or unemployed), or were sentenced to prison, weren’t allowed to vote.

    In 1919 equal voting rights for men and women were established. The requirement for men to have done military service lasted another 4 years, though.

    So, men got voting rights 104 years ago. Women got voting rights 92 years ago. How come that the 12 years in between still seems to carry more weight in the debate than the 9 decades that since has passed?

    “People ARE STILL ALIVE that were born during the time women couldn’t vote. It wasn’t that long ago” someone wrote above.
    Yes, and people are still alive that were born during the time men couldn’t vote. So what was the point again?

  173. Cheradenine says:

    @Ozy:

    Guys, I’m pretty sure that the people using the term “patriarchy” here are using it in the “sexist society that disadvantages both men and women” sense, not the “men rule everything” sense.

    Actually, I’m disinclined to believe that’s what Heather means when she links to a photo of a collection of Old White Men(tm). It seems she very much believes in the Men Rule Everything For The Benefit Of Men sense of the word (ex. “Just because you think something is a benefit to women doesn’t mean men in charge of these things would see it your way”).

    Of course, when maintaining this viewpoint, it helps to ignore all the evidence of how the system harms men, and instead repeat the “but all those men getting killed or injured is because Teh Menz think women are inferior!” mantra (ex. “men in charge have decided that women are still unfit”).

    Incidentally, although typically (the rules vary from country to country, of course — I’m not American) women aren’t “supposed” to fill hand-to-hand combat roles, in practice, contingencies of war mean they nonetheless do participate in every type of combat:

    The rules of the US armed forces over the deployment of women on the front line could not be more crystal clear. Set out in 1994, they allow women to work in all areas of the military, with the one exception of ground units engaging in direct combat. The only problem is that this definition, admirably precise and legalistic though it is, has increasingly little to do with reality.

    If you are one of the more than 235,000 women who have been on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan in the last decade, then the idea that you are being shielded from the brutality of direct warfare may sound to you like a pretty sick joke. As Laura Browder, an academic at the University of Richmond in Virginia, puts it: “When women are serving as handlers of explosive-sniffing dogs, kicking down doors, doing searches, conducting IED sweeps, then yes, they are very much in combat.” — US military: ‘Women are very much in combat’

    Also, Heather: “Your fantasyland where women are refusing to do it because we don’t want to chip our nails” — I don’t recall anyone saying this? Or anything even implying it? If you want to contribute constructively to this discussion, please don’t muddy the waters with such ridiculously odious straw arguments that attempt to place nonexistent misogyny upon those who disagree with you.

  174. @ Kita
    Some of what you said makes me sick! The ignorance!

    ““I don’t think the idea that men need to put themselves in danger more than women is still very prevalent,”

    Need I remind you of the Hudson river crash? “Women and children first” As usual, and unlike your derailing oppression Olympic arguments, this is a recent event. The message this sends to men is very clear: “Your lives are worth less than womens’ lives”. Every man knows this subconsciously or consciously since early childhood.

    How you can measure this against any other form of oppression I can’t understand. How does ANYTHING measure up to self sacrifice????

    As a personal statement, I would happily take every unfairness that women get today (including the fake ones) along with the right to vote if I could be valued as much as today’s (voting) women are.

  175. @ Ozy

    ‘Slutty’? Not cool.

  176. I’m seeing a LOT of talking past each other in the comments here. Like a lot a lot.

    A number of people seem to be saying “Oh, so you’re saying women have no problems and men get all the shit!” and being told “No I’m not, you’re the one saying men have no problems and women get all the shit!”

    So, just to clarify, anyone making the case that there are no dangerous or damaging gender roles programmed into men, or anyone making the case that there are no dangerous or damaging gender roles programmed into women, please speak up and let us know.

    In the absence of anyone speaking up saying that that’s their opinion, let’s all just take a deep breath and go “Okay, my bad, perhaps I misunderstood or mischaracterized someone’s position.” If you don’t have the maturity to do that, this may not be the conversation for you.

    Please note, BTW, that I am not talking to everyone in this thread; I think some interesting and substantive points are being made by a number of folks. I just think that MORE interesting and substantive points might be made if some people weren’t talking past each other. Thanks. 🙂

  177. Cheradenine says:

    @Hugh, as a non-gender-stereotypical person who spent a lot of time as a child at activities organised by the National Association for Gifted Children, I’d be fascinated if there were a link between the two (it’s something I hadn’t considered). I noticed though, in the Lubinksi & Humphreys study, that while they measure a variety of skills, their gifted/not gifted criteria is strictly based on mathematical ability. Have you come across any papers that are more general?

  178. @ozy & Hugh

    There was a blog post on the ‘sex at dawn’ blog i believe that also refers to the 40% number. Though an alternative hypothesis was provided to polygamy – mainly that in our mutual multipartner past a women’s natural proclivity for high testosterone males during ovulation would naturally result in only fraction of the males producing offspring.

  179. One thing that springs to mind when we talk of disposability of men is, in my area, Lost Boys.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_boys_%28Mormon_fundamentalism%29

    Lost Boys are boys who are born into FLDS polygamist cults (think Warren Jeffs). Many people protest the terrible treatment of the young women in these groups, and it’s absolutely reprehensible, but the flipside is that many young boys are kicked out of their families and thrust into mainstream culture without any resources. They are not physically killed, but disposed out of the community and left without any resource.

    In my area – Southern Utah – it’s not terribly uncommon. Wikipedia suggests a number between roughly 400 and 1,000 boys being banished from their communities. I think numbers could possibly be higher. Yes, I know, this is an incredibly sexist, literally polygynous cult – but it’s real and it happens in the US and Canada (My mom personally worked with a whole slew of Lost Boys from the great white north), TODAY.

    …And it’s so funny we talk of women’s suffrage here… In the US, It was only in 1971 that 18 year old men (who could be drafted and die for their country) were given the right to vote. That’s what, 51 years after women were given the right to vote?

  180. @Xakudo

    High-IQ people tend to be androgynous? Would be curious about any studies on that.

    Lubinski & Humphreys (full text) studied samples of gifted and non-gifted students. They found that the interests of the gifted kids had lower sex-differences, and were shifted in the direction of the other sex. For instance, gifted males were less interested in sports, hunting, and fishing than non-gifted males, while gifted females were more interested in those subjects than non-gifted females.

    Typical gender differentiating attributes (e.g., interest patterns) were less stereotyped in gifted boys and girls; […] Regardless of the dimension used for selecting highly gifted students, high ability students display less stereotypic interests. They diverge from the norm of their gender in the direction of the opposite sex. […] The findings reveal that gifted females, even in the 10th grade and 1960, reject traditional career paths and probably find certain components of these occupations aversive. […] Less stereotypic behavior “simply” seems to be a corollary of intellectual giftedness in general.

  181. Wow, Goshawk’s post really nailed it for me, particularly those bits about the military devauling Goshawk and her comrades as either less suited to soldiering or more expendable. It demonstrates that double-standards do, in fact, cut both ways.

    …a point only exemplified by Typhon’s response: “It’s funny how these chivalrous… persons… in their zeal to justify their misandry pretty much dismiss and minimize the pain of women who will loose husbands as less real somehow then the pain of men losing a wife.”

    In part, Goshawk’s post emphasizes just how constructed gender roles truly are.

    “You’re a woman and you want to fight? Of course not! Women don’t fight! They raise children and play with dolls and their deaths are more tragic.”

    “You’re a man who wants to be [insert non-manly role here]? Of course not! It’s a man job to fight and die in manly fashion, to put women and children first!”

    For those who weren’t paying attention, everything after “Women don’t…” and “men don’t…” is socially constructed.

    In my world, if you want to fight for your country, fight for your country, and more power to you — UNLESS there is evidence that you won’t be able to meet transubjective standards for participation in combat. If you can’t stand the sight of blood and can’t aim a rifle, you probably won’t do well in the infantry.

    But should the presence of transubjective standards for soldiers lead to discrimination along gender lines? HELL TO THE NO! To my knowledge, nowhere is it written that there aren’t almost as many, if not AS many, women out there who would do just fine in the military. Individual variation often trumps gender variation: one of my female coworkers is one of the most psychologically stable people I’ve ever met and does 8 mile runs for fun.

    She’d probably make a better infantryman [used in the gender-neutral sense] than a lot of people who serve today, and if she wanted to serve, why not encourage her?

    Because doing so would threaten the security of the weak-minded mouth-breathers who are dependent on the existence of essential binaries for their peace of mind.

  182. @Hugh:

    Polyamory may result in gender parity among high-IQ nerdy people (someone should do a study on that), because they are more androgynous.

    High-IQ people tend to be androgynous? Would be curious about any studies on that.

  183. @ Ozy

    “As Typhon says above, human children generally have the best outcomes with multiple people contributing to their raising; children are very resource-intensive.”

    I’m also pretty much convinced that many men go through a hormonally induced broody period sometime in their late twenties, early thirties and start getting agitated that they don’t have kids. Mother Nature has Her tendrils in them too.

  184. Hugh: I know. I can’t find a cite on where Baumeister got his data from, though, which makes me extremely suspicious. Most of the sources that mention that fact cite, well, that speech.

    As I’m sure you know, Hugh, the plural of anecdote is not data. 🙂 You might as well take Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day as proof that men are naturally monogamous. A few extremely slutty men, especially if they put the women back in the pool of available women once they’re done having one-night-stands, doesn’t necessarily mean that humanity in general will end up polygynous. As Typhon says above, human children generally have the best outcomes with multiple people contributing to their raising; children are very resource-intensive.

  185. Schala said:

    My boyfriend likes to think that the “wider population” that PUA and game and the rules etc only concerns bar-going people, which he thinks is marginal, like 10% of people. And that the rest of the planet is more enlightened, not bar-going, and not believing even half the BS the media force feeds us.

    I’m more cynical though. I believe they represent more like 50%.

    I’m with you, Schala. The general population is a lot closer to Jersey Shore or Jerry Springer or even Idiocracy than to the sort of people who post on this blog. Many of the sorts of folks who post here easily have an IQ around 130. That’s 2% of the population.

  186. And yet another ranty point against Mr. Coren.

    Is he really arguing that the death of a son or husband is less painful to a family then the death of a daughter or wife? I think that’s absolute bullshit.

    What he’s really saying is that the death of a woman is abstractly more important to society then the death of a man. But if the people who it’s abstractly more important to are not friends or family members then they can go fuck themselves. Because the only reason it *is* more important to them is because of their own selfish myopic value system.

  187. @Hugh

    While it’s true that men are hugely valourised and praised for dying in these ways, they’re still dying! It’s hard to argue that these men benefit from the patriarchy when the patriarchy is responsible for their death.

    This. Let’s take a society where the men are in charge of households and treat women like crap. Yet a large percentage of men dies in war or gang violence. Feminist theory looks at this society and says that men are “higher status.” Yet personality, I think it’s pretty low status to be consigned to death!

    Rather, we should say that the variance of status is wider in men, or we should say that men have more of one kind of status, while women have more of another kind of status.

    P.S. Comment in mod due to the limit of one link (which can be changed in the WordPress setttings).

  188. It’s funny how these chivalrous… persons… in their zeal to justify their misandry pretty much dismiss and minimize the pain of women who will loose husbands as less real somehow then the pain of men losing a wife.

  189. Though between him not liking overly long arguments and not believing it’s even a problem (it’s just crazy people on forums/blogs, not real people in real life, so he says), discussing those issues live with him is boring, and sometimes irritating.

  190. @ goshank

    “Even contrived cultural denial should not prevent us from admitting that the death of a daughter or a wife is different from that of a son or a husband.”

    Well, gee, thanks Mr. Coren. Since you’re unlikely to have a husband it’s good to know you think your pain from losing your wife would eclipse my pain from losing my husband.

    Nice to see him dismiss something he’ll, in all likelihood, never experience.

  191. My boyfriend likes to think that the “wider population” that PUA and game and the rules etc only concerns bar-going people, which he thinks is marginal, like 10% of people. And that the rest of the planet is more enlightened, not bar-going, and not believing even half the BS the media force feeds us.

    I’m more cynical though. I believe they represent more like 50%.

  192. Thanks goshawk. Both for what you do, and for cutting through the BS to get to the heart of the matter.

  193. The 40% figure is a misinterpretation of a speech by Roy Baumeister:

    Recent research using DNA analysis answered this question about two years ago. Today’s human population is descended from twice as many women as men.

    I think this difference is the single most underappreciated fact about gender. To get that kind of difference, you had to have something like, throughout the entire history of the human race, maybe 80% of women but only 40% of men reproduced. “

    40% is simply a possibility. The point is that twice as many women as men reproduced. The actual split could be 80/40, 90/45, or 60/30.

    Ozy said:

    I do think that a Genghis Khan scenario is unlikely in a feminist utopia– I mean, Genghis Khan was incredibly sexually successful because of institutionalized rape, and as diverse as the feminist movement is I’m pretty sure we’re all against institutionalized rape.

    The point of the Genghis Khan example is to demonstrate the ability of men to inseminate multiple women, and the potential for high reproductive variance between men.

    Since (most of?) that sex wasn’t consensual, it isn’t a good demonstration of hypergamy, and I agree with you that it wouldn’t occur in a feminist utopia. Yet if he switched to an example like Wilt Chamberlain, his point would stand: feminists have not addressed this sort of phenomenon.

    I think the “a few men polygynously have all the women” model is unlikely in the extreme, from my observations of how polyamory works in the real world (gender parity) and the general idea that most people would rather have a relationship with someone who actually has enough time for them.

    Polyamory may result in gender parity among high-IQ nerdy people (someone should do a study on that), because they are more androgynous. A woman like you might have the same level of sociosexuality that your male peers have, but in the wider population, that may not be true. In the wider population, women have lower sociosexuality and higher selectivity, resulting in a higher chance of a polygynous winner-take-all outcome (e.g. Wilt Chamberlain).

  194. @goshawk:
    I’ve nothing to add. I think you’ve just hit it on the head, and with a background to back it up that I do not have. Thanks much.

  195. “At least in terms of gender/sex and military service, military culture has adopted views and policies that do the least credit to both men AND women.”

    +1.

  196. dancinbojangles says:

    @goshawk

    You’re absolutely right, and your words are given further weight by your personal stake in the matter. It’s disgusting that someone’s sacrifice and sense of duty should be so maligned due entirely to her gender, and no misogynist idea is ever without its misandrist counterpart.

  197. Heather said: “Oh right, the right to vote. I guess things are equal for everyone who has the right to vote then. When do you suppose men will get the right to vote?”

    Let’s not confuse having the right to vote with your vote actually meaning as much now as it did a century or more ago.

    Heather said: “WAIT WHAT?! They’ve had it for THE ENTIRE last century? AND BEYOND?! Well christ why on earth are y’all allowing this military thing to HAPPEN?!”

    Just who is this “y’all” that are allowing anything to happen? Last I looked, Washington was run by a power elite that does what they want, regardless of what the general public may or may not wish. Further, quite a few women as men vote for the same sorry assholes who keep these shitty policies in place.

    Strawman. Blowing. In. The. Wind.

    Don’t blame it on “y’all” if that means men. Blame it on a broken political system that has no real accountability, nor respect for We The People with the exception of which side of the faux two-party system will win the next national election so they can continue to do exactly jack and shit.

  198. dancinbojangles says:

    But the thing is that it’ll take a while for that expectation to change, even if measures are instituted immediately. Even with extra incentives to women, more men will undoubtedly sign up for a while, just by sheer inertia. The expectation is there, and will be for the time being. Railing against each other for the language we use will only cost us allies. One of the driving themes behind this blog is that men, being about half the voting public, are a political force to be reckoned with. However, women and feminism are, too. We should forgive the use of terms and ideas we might consider outdated in the interest of a common goal.

  199. The entire last century? And I thought the US were 36th on life expectancy (Canada is 11th). Not that they had hit 100 years+ for men.

  200. As a currently serving female soldier, I come over all kinds of choked-up rage every time this conversation happens (at the subject, not the people usually), so I often find it hard to participate coherently. Hopefully this time I’ve managed it. Now, as a caveat, I’m Canadian, so a lot of the US issues don’t apply to me personally. Canada has no draft (though it has been implemented twice, during WWI and WWII, via the War Measures Act, it was *wildly* unpopular and quickly ended both times). There are no professions in the Canadian Forces that are closed to women (wait, I lie: we cannot be Roman Catholic chaplains). Women are not excluded from combat.

    Yet we still have our fair share of really gendered public commentary on women in military roles. Two execrable instances come to mind: one was the death of Trooper Karine Blais, or more specifically, the article Michael Coren wrote about her death. [http://www.torontosun.com/comment/columnists/michael_coren/2009/04/18/9153761-sun.html] For those who wish to avoid aneurysm, he lamented that we were sending “a young girl dressed up as a soldier” [AUGH!] to die in a far country, and pointedly commented that when he talks about fighting men, he means MEN, because the wimmins just aren’t suited for it. A second instance was an “academic” article (which I will do my best to find again), not specific to Canada, discussing the fact that while, unfortunately, we all let women into the military now, we haven’t discussed the terrible impact of sending MOTHERS off to die. And let’s face it, even pre-motherhood female soldiers are just full wombs waiting to happen, so just treat all female soldiers as mothers, k? And obviously, mothers in combat means the end of well-adjusted children, collapse of society, dogs and cats living together, etc.

    Both of these moments are rage-inducing to me. Half of my rage is personal, because you are telling ME that I and MY SISTERS-IN-ARMS are less capable, less worthy of respect as warriors, and valuable only as potential baby-makers. Cue me frothing off to beat up a heavy bag and probably wreck my manicure.

    But the other half of my rage stems from the incredible way these two concern-trolling articles DEVALUED my male comrades. What, Mr Coren, so somehow it’s not a tragedy when beautiful young MEN “who should be laughing with college friends rather than fighting theocratic madmen” die young and senselessly? According to Mr Coren,

    “…Even contrived cultural denial should not prevent us from admitting that the death of a daughter or a wife is different from that of a son or a husband. Women nurture, give birth, care in a way that is unique. Quite simply, they are different from men.”

    In other words, when our nurturing mothering women die in uniform, it’s a TRAGEDY (which, if you read between the lines of his article, it definitely reads like a “failure to protect” aimed at men to me), but when men die in uniform it’s, well, it’s bad, but, that’s their job and they chose it, so give him a medal and frame his picture and MAN UP, son.

    And in the second article, with its long and involved hand-wringing about the negative effect of absent or dead or wounded or disabled mothers on their children, about the ethics of sending mothers out to die…was there a single mention of the fact that our countries currently send thousands of FATHERS to run these same risks? I think this blog’s readers can answer that question even without seeing the stupid article. (Cannot find! Anyone know the one I’m talking about?)

    At least in terms of gender/sex and military service, military culture has adopted views and policies that do the least credit to both men AND women. Women are told they cannot serve the way they want (or shouldn’t be, depending on the country), because we are weak/incapable and ought to be protected and we have valuable body parts. Flipside of the same coin, men are told they must volunteer their bodies and that their deaths are numbers, not tragedies – or if they are tragedies, they’re usually framed as celebrations of manhood. Both of these are harmful. Both of these are linked. If we can frame the conversation as “every soldier’s death is a tragedy, and every (volunteer) soldier’s death is a sacrifice to be honoured; every civilian should be protected from war, no person should be forced to engage in war” I think we would ALL be better off.

    TL;DR – Military culture’s approach to women vs. men in service is often the worst of all options, let’s make the future policy discussion about “people who volunteer to serve vs. people who do not”, without shame attached to either.

  201. @dancingbojangles

    Yeah, that’s the overt solution. The deeper one is to remove the social expectation that men be more expendable then women entirely. Selective service for men only is only one manifestation of that dynamic.

  202. Edit. “Not so for women.” Should be “Not so for men.”

  203. dancinbojangles says:

    @typhonblue

    So the solution to this would be to let women serve in the military in all capacities, and to compel them to register for selective service, right? Excuse me if I’m wrong, but that seems to be exactly what @Heather is suggesting, too.

  204. @ Heather

    “When do you suppose men will get the right to vote?”

    On average? Universal suffrage for men happened about a generation before suffrage for women.

    But that’s irrelevant to the issue at hand. The fact is that our current Patriarchy–the one we live under and have to deal with–has decided that granting men the right to vote is effectively contingent on their willingness to make themselves available for military service. While granting women the right to vote isn’t.

    Is it not interesting that this Patriarchy sees women as capable adults when it comes to the right to vote but incapable children when it comes to the expectation of serving the state in combat? In other words our Patriarchy recognizes women’s adulthood when it comes to the benefits of citizenship, but somehow forgets about it when it comes to the responsibility of selective service.

    Not so for women. Perhaps because expecting a citizen to take on the burden of selective service requires the government to treat said citizen as… oh… somewhat expendable. In fact all the situations in which the government expects citizens to take on the responsibility of citizenship tend to require the government to set aside *protecting* those citizens from harm. In those situations the government(and society) seem loathe to set aside protecting women in order to enforce women’s responsibilities to the state and its citizens. At least compared to men. (For example, in criminal wrongdoing. Men are given more custodial sentences and longer for the same crime and similar backgrounds as women.)

    @ Ozy

    “Guys, I’m pretty sure that the people using the term “patriarchy” here are using it in the “sexist society that disadvantages both men and women” sense, not the “men rule everything” sense.”

    I’m letting Heather explain how she’s using the term.

  205. dancinbojangles says:

    @ozy

    True enough, perhaps we should all consider patriarchy and kyriarchy equivalent, in our minds. I’m sorry, but I’m just baffled as to what we’re all arguing about. It’s like we’re trying to get a road paved, but the teamsters won’t work with the transportation authority because “screw those guys.”

  206. Guys, I’m pretty sure that the people using the term “patriarchy” here are using it in the “sexist society that disadvantages both men and women” sense, not the “men rule everything” sense.

  207. @typhonblue

    Oh right, the right to vote. I guess things are equal for everyone who has the right to vote then. When do you suppose men will get the right to vote?

    WAIT WHAT?! They’ve had it for THE ENTIRE last century? AND BEYOND?! Well christ why on earth are y’all allowing this military thing to HAPPEN?!

  208. dancinbojangles says:

    @Heather

    You’ve hit it on the head! Women are valued less IN CERTAIN RESPECTS. However, what we’re talking about right now, the crux of the issue, is that men are also valued less IN CERTAIN RESPECTS. Once again, there is no calculus to determine which is worse. Dying on the battlefield or being maimed by a freaking landmine no doubt sucks a lot. Not being considered fit to serve your country also sucks a lot. I don’t believe @typhonblue is saying that women have it free and easy, rather that the detriments to a woman’s perceived competence also come with benefits to her life’s perceived value, with the reverse being true for men, and saying everything is the fault of the patriarchy is a very thinly-veiled blame-game.

  209. @ Heather

    “The patriarchy as you are intentionally failing to understand it is not accused of treating women as subhuman but of treating women as childlike, weak, and good for sex and having babies.”

    Is this the same Patriarchy that granted women the right to vote?

  210. To be honest I think there is another factor here besides ‘The Patriarchy thinks women are inferior soldiers’.

    Throughout history powerful people have considered serfs, peasants, soldiers of other ethnicities and races to be ‘inferior’ to soldiers of nobel and colonial blood(and that their customs and attitudes were disruptive to the esprit de corps), yet they still managed to put these ‘inferior’ soldiers on the front lines of their wars.

  211. @typhonblue

    The patriarchy as you are intentionally failing to understand it is not accused of treating women as subhuman but of treating women as childlike, weak, and good for sex and having babies. Just because we aren’t seen as cannon fodder doesn’t mean we’re being treated like equals. There are many many ways to devalue a person.

    Your willful ignorance does not change the facts.

  212. @ Heather

    “Perhaps, then, you ought to question whether the powers that be really consider military service a punishment or something that gives them honor, strength, masculinity and shouldn’t be challenged, weakened, or disrupted by the presence of women.”

    Yes. They must consider registering for the Selective Service to be a honor. In fact all honors are usually bestowed with threats of jail time if the honoree refuses to comply.

    “The arguments go: “women are weaker””

    So what? If female soldiers die faster then male soldiers the obvious solution is to use more female soldiers. The patriarchy that so values men over women hasn’t figured this out?

    “men will try to save the women”

    Why would a man bother to save someone he finds less valuable then himself? This makes no sense in the context of Patriarchy.

    “women lack the emotional constitution to deal with battle”

    Why should anyone care if more women suffer from PTSD then men? The patriarchy hasn’t realized that women’s emotional states are irrelevant to using them as cannon fodder?

    “women are too nurturing to fight”

    Then they can die until they learn to be less nurturing. The patriarchy shouldn’t give a flying fig how many women are killed before women learn to adapt.

  213. dancinbojangles says:

    @Heather:

    All these are totally true, but the solution is exactly the same: Let women fight! We’re all chafing under the same bullcrap, but having a disagreement as to whether it’s a more musky or nutty flavor. It’s like the hunter conservationist and the eco-hippie arguing over animal rights. Either way, the animals get saved, so why bother yelling at each other? Same thing here. We all agree that women should serve, so… maybe get that done?

  214. @ myself

    “even made the right to vote contingent upon being made available to combat service”

    Come to think of it, the right to vote for men *is* contingent on being made available to combat service. If men do not register for selective service they can be charged with a felony. Convicted felons loose the right to vote.

  215. dancinbojangles says:

    @tu quoque
    Excellent point. A system requiring pregnancy would be barbaric, and everyone sees that, but why not a system that requires death, killing and suffering? Honestly, I’m coming around to the view that the system should be abolished, and another, fairer and more gender-egalitarian method for conscripting in a time of need be established.

  216. @typhonblue

    Perhaps, then, you ought to question whether the powers that be really consider military service a punishment or something that gives them honor, strength, masculinity and shouldn’t be challenged, weakened, or disrupted by the presence of women. Just because you think something is a benefit to women doesn’t mean men in charge of these things would see it your way. In any case the overwhelming arguments for keeping women off the front lines and out of selective service aren’t “women are more important” whether you choose to interpret it that way or not. The arguments go: “women are weaker” “men will try to save the women” “women lack the emotional constitution to deal with battle” “women are too nurturing to fight” These are arguments to our incompetence, not importance.

  217. It’s funny that people try to downplay the harm of selective service because we don’t currently have a draft and therefore, supposedly, it has no effect on men’s lives.

    It’s very existence effects men’s lives because it subconsciously serves to define what manhood is for men.

    I would ask anyone who sees no problem with selective service without a draft if they be okay with a reproductive selective service were women could possibly be forced to bear children in times of low or negative population growth, as long as a “draft” for such an enlistment was not currently active.

  218. @ Heather

    “Are you trying to tell me it’s women who are deciding how the military is run?”

    Actually I’m alluding to deeper flaws with the whole concept. The concept of a patriarchy that is unequivocally oppressing women (and benefitting men) that grants women the right to vote but does not expect combat service. While it retains expectation of combat service for men.

    Seems sort of… contradictory. You would think that a patriarchy that was unequivocally about oppressing women and benefitting men would have expected combat service of women while denying the right to vote or, maybe, even made the right to vote contingent upon being made available to combat service.

  219. @typonblue

    Are you trying to tell me it’s women who are deciding how the military is run?
    http://www.defense.gov/dodcmsshare/newsphoto/1998-02/971218-D-9880W-094.jpg
    Yes, yes, clearly it is women. I see their tits poking out from under those medals! They probably all get together and talk about how best to sacrifice soldiers for the sake of the secret underground matriarchy!

  220. Well you see Typhon, when women were fighting for the vote they were doing it because it was an important cause that was worth fighting for.

    /sarcasm
    The draft and selective service?Well, that got lost in the shuffle. I mean, women were totally thinking about it really hard for a while you know, but then they were so distracted by the pink doilies they were knitting, that they kind of just forgot about it. I’m sure that society will discover this imbalance soon and correct it though.
    /end sarcasm

  221. @ Heather

    “Your fantasyland where women are refusing to do it because we don’t want to chip our nails is trumped by the reality where the men in charge have decided that women are still unfit.”

    Hm. Well, that’s odd. The men in charge saw fit to grant women the vote but not institute the draft for women?

    Aren’t these the same ‘men’ who’ve oppressed women throughout time?

  222. dancinbojangles says:

    @Heather:

    That wasn’t my suggestion at all! I only meant to suggest that women should have the same right to serve that men currently have, as well as the same responsibility to serve when necessary. Solving that would simultaneously address both the issue of women being valued less than men in some areas AND the issue of men being valued less in others. Additionally, I never said that women should be solely responsible for changing the selective service system, only that it should be changed. In fact, we seem to agree totally, as far as I see it! I never suggested that women don’t want to serve, or that they’re unworthy of serving, but that they should be allowed to serve. I’m sorry, I just don’t see where this is coming from (assuming, of course, that you’re referring to my previous comments).

  223. Heather:
    Why not draft nobody? Oh wait we already do that.
    I’ll concede that to you the day that Selective Service registration is either done away with or becomes a requirement for all adults in the 18-25 year old range.

    James A. Landrith Jr.
    A little known fact about Selective Service registration is that for those who fail to register, it can be used to deny them access to public services and in some cases, prevent employment. It is actually a very serious issue for those who oppose being forced to register for potential slavery.
    To be exact males who don’t register for SS may be subject to:
    Having their college applications automatically rejected.
    Being ineligible for government financial aid.
    Losing out citizenship opportunities
    Disqualification from eligibility for government jobs
    Prison term of up to five years
    Fine of up to $5,000

    And this stuff is if right on the SS Registration pamphlets that are available at most local post offices.

  224. f. That was mainly taken from Wealth of Nations.

  225. Kita. Cool theory. One problem.

    What do you say about all of the current conflicts in the world where men have literally gone to die in droves – in africa, in the middle east, recently in the balkans, wars which have always been accompanied by reporting which emphasizes the deaths and rapes of women, but largely excludes similar reporting of male victims?

    What do you say about the reality that men, when forced to fight at pain of death or imprisonment or torture, that are STILL fighting these conflicts every day in the world, are considered fair game because they have donned the “mantle” of a soldier? Have you ever thought critically about how the very identity of being a soldier or a warrior is linked to manhood, and that this has continually informed the dichotomy between civilian and soldier? Between woman and man? Between unacceptable and acceptable targets in conflict?

    Let me break it down for you: Since war has been fought, it has been primarily men that have been fighting it. Most of these men had no fucking choice in where they fought it, or how they fought it, or how they subsequently died. It speaks much to these men’s disposability that since war has been discussed, the act of battle itself has been valorised, glorified, and hailed in hymn when that very act involves men either dying, or shooting, stabbing or dismembering each other.

    Yet, that act of violence is only glorified when it has involved the killing of “soldiers” – of men on fields of battle. When that violence spreads to cities, involves groups of people other than young men – women, children, elderly, the infirmed, then that act of war becomes a war crime.

    What we fail to realize when we discuss war crimes and war itself is that the act of killing another person on a field of battle should not be lauded. It should be as morally reprehensible as the shooting of a civilian. Yet, because we have constructed masculinity and the soldier identity the way we have, the only truly moral way to kill another human being has traditionally been (and traditionally continues to be) killing another man. Bonus points if you die in the process of mowing down as many other human beings (men) as possible. You’ll probably get a medal for it. (Posthumously, but that shouldn’t ruin the fun.)

    If that doesn’t convince you how men have been considered, and still are the disposable sex, then I want to know what you’re smoking. It must be some good shit.

  226. @Kita:
    Please feel free to rejoin the debate when you are able and ready. While I do not agree with you, I value your voice here. I loathe echo chambers. 😉

  227. Men are disposible =/= men are not seen as valuable.

    Men’s value is dependent on their disposability.

  228. I don’t even really know how to respond to the twisted logic contained in the notion that women should muscle their way into the selective service to prove they are just as willing to fight as men when women don’t even currently have the legislative power to “muscle” their way into being allowed in the infantry, which we’ve been trying for quite a while now. It may surprise some of the men here that women don’t actually currently have the power to obtain our desired equality on the battlefield. Your fantasyland where women are refusing to do it because we don’t want to chip our nails is trumped by the reality where the men in charge have decided that women are still unfit.

  229. @Gaius:

    To address you and Typhon at the same time: there have been historical examples in which men proved their masculinity IN COMBAT by KILLING OTHER MEN.

    To mirror what dancingbojangles has been saying to Kita, historical examples, while informative, do not automatically indicate things about our current culture, and the further in the past they are, the less relevant.

    Frankly, I think there are plenty of examples within the more recent and relevant past to uphold the argument. Many of the popular reactions to the case of Catherine Kieu Becker (who mutilated her husband) are indicative, for example, compared to how people react when women are mutilated.

  230. Everyone, thanks for the discussion. As it’ll soon be bedtime for little Kitas, I have to duck out. And seeing that I’m the only one available to argue the other side of this debate, I fear it may become a bit of an echo chamber after I’m done. Boo.

  231. @Gaius – I’m not sure that is a meaningful argument. Yes, it’s cultural pressure, but it doesn’t demonstrate “male expendability.” Serving in the military was also not the only way to prove your masculinity, and certainly not the point of large scale wars.

  232. @Kita:

    Uh, so…everything’s fine now that we can vote?

    I believe all he was saying was that the women voting issue is fine now that women can vote. I find that hard to disagree with.

    That’s totally not still an issue that’s present in many people’s minds and gets joked about frequently and is still an issue MANY WOMEN the world over still face?

    People joke about it intra-culturally because it is considered so obvious that women should be able to vote. The exception to this is perhaps some nutjob extremists, but they hold zero sway over our culture, and we can be as afraid of them as we are of radfems that think the world should be cleansed of men.

    And women’s oppression in other cultures does not automagically have any relevance whatsoever to women in our culture simply because they share the same plumbing. Or put another way: women’s oppression in other cultures is not women’s oppression in our culture. There can be similarities and relationships in some cases, but that is not automatically the case. And hijacking other people’s oppression to make yourself appear more of a victim is distasteful, dishonest, offensive, and disrespectful to the people that actually do experience that oppression.

  233. @Kita:

    To address you and Typhon at the same time: there have been historical examples in which men proved their masculinity IN COMBAT by KILLING OTHER MEN.

    If that’s not a situation that encourages devaluing male life (as little more than a notch on your weapon of choice), I don’t know what is. “Kill or be killed” is a lot of cultural pressure to deal with.

  234. The idea that men must *do* something to earn their sexual identity is an aspect of male expendability.

    The fact that manhood is earned is simultaneously about males being expendable(if you haven’t earned your manhood you’re worthless) and womanhood being less valuable (because placing is better then just showing up.)

  235. dancinbojangles says:

    @Hugh:

    Exactly. This is a negative-sum shitstorm, so solving the situation would be positive-sum!

  236. “it comes totally from the idea that men are “protectors” of those who are lesser than.”

    The idea of Man As Protector and the idea of Man As Disposable are not opposed to one another. Often the ways men are obliged to protect others are to sacrifice themselves, e.g. in a war, by letting women get off the ship first, etc.

    While it’s true that men are hugely valourised and praised for dying in these ways, they’re still dying! It’s hard to argue that these men benefit from the patriarchy when the patriarchy is responsible for their death.

  237. dancinbojangles says:

    @Kita:
    Historical justification aside, it is a fact that men die more in combat and in the workplace than women, and people are pretty much ok with that. That is all that’s really meant when referring to expendability, and surely you can’t suggest that it isn’t a problem. Yes, women have problems, and yes, problems men face may have their roots in outdated ideas about the genders. However, “stop thinking about women as sub-human” is NOT a solution to “working conditions in certain jobs suck” much less to “at the government’s behest, a man MUST report for life-risking duty.” A woman’s dignity may not be held in high esteem, but a man’s life is also not held in very high esteem. Why bother arguing about the degree, nature and historical roots of the shit that’s raining down on us all, or debate whose shit most deserves to be stopped first, or who has historically had the most shit poured on them (borrowing Ozy’s terminology)? It’s counterproductive and infuriating.

  238. Just a note on the biology re: teratogenic factors.

    First, that doesn’t necessarily refer to something that affected gametes – sex cells. I’m supposing a teratogenic effect could emerge that way, but it also turns up through later environmental effects on the embryo as it develops. It’s developmental and not genetic. The accumulation of these in the male and female bodies and the effects on future offspring are not equal.

    Secondly, although there’s a bit more processing post-puberty (and some competition between would-be-ready eggs, which might mitigate some problems), women have all the eggs they’re going to produce before they’re born. Men produce new sperm throughout their lives in enormous quantities.

  239. @Schala – that comment you quoted was in response to what superglucose seems to be thinking, I don’t ascribe that to anyone else here.

  240. @Gaius – not at all. My argument is more like this – historically, men had much more value than women. They were the opposite of expendable, when compared to women. Even now, we still have a hard time considering women full people, with the rights and responsibilities of adulthood. And that currently, there is no “disposable male” – if anything, it comes totally from the idea that men are “protectors” of those who are lesser than.

  241. “Women and children first”

    The fact that this is considered a noble principle in our society is proof of male disposability.

  242. @Kita:

    Forgive if I’m misinterpreting you, but your argument sounds a bit like “men are expendable because women could do it all themselves anyway (though it would suck), if need be.”

    Again, forgive me if I’m misrepresenting your argument, and please correct me if I’m wrong.

  243. “Uh, so…everything’s fine now that we can vote? That’s totally not still an issue that’s present in many people’s minds and gets joked about frequently and is still an issue MANY WOMEN the world over still face?”

    That’s a strawman. No one is saying that. And you might think that people here are saying “feminism has done everything, now we have equality, go away”. But that’s not what’s said.

    What’s said is that we need true equality, everywhere, and feminism does some of it wrong, we need a better movement for it, which masculism is only the counterbalance that was glaringly missing before. We probably need a better egalitarian gender-neutral name that can deal with all sexism and gender-issues, and maybe promote co-ed space (like bathrooms, lockers, shelters) as more normal (people have generally bad ideas about it through simple prejudice rather than experience, even if for some it is experience).

    We need to deal with the rape of men, trans women, genderqueer people and female perpetrators. We need to recognize that DV is not only ‘men’s violence against women’. We also need to do this in countries where feminism has done minimal or no progress, no problem there.

    We don’t want to ban feminism, we want it to be inclusive. Womanism and trans feminism are filling certain niches that mainstream feminism has left hanging. Masculism does the same.

  244. dancinbojangles says:

    @Kita
    It’s not about forgetting the past, really, it’s just that women do in fact have the vote now, and continue to make progress in relevant areas. The fact that the world isn’t perfect for women doesn’t mean that it IS perfect for men, and trying to make the world better for men doesn’t exclude making it better for women. Invert either of those statements and they’ll still be true.

  245. Regarding my single parent comments: First, it is possible to raise a child alone, it’s just seriously unpleasant and it truly does “take a village” to do it right.

    @typhonblue “Let’s use an equation. Let say every child needs two adult units worth of labor to survive. We have 99 women, each with a baby and one man without a baby. That means the colony needs 198 units of labor to keep their children alive and have 100 units of labor. Thus the outcome is going to be a lot of dead babies.

    If you don’t like that, talk to mother nature about why you think making human babies the most resource-intensive babies on the planet was a mean thing to do.”

    That’s not how communal resources work.

    I realize this is a bit of a derail on our comment topic, so I’ll save any further comments for another time.

  246. Basically, two or more people will do a better job (regardless of their sex or even wether they’re romantically or sexually together) than one person…because it’s basic math. We can only give labor to some extent and at one place at a time.

  247. @superglucose – I’m saying that “women weren’t allowed to vote until 90 years ago” doesn’t prove anything or have any merit TODAY because that is not an issue women are facing TODAY. This is why I have such a huge objection to what you’re saying. This is entirely a strawman argument.

    Uh, so…everything’s fine now that we can vote? That’s totally not still an issue that’s present in many people’s minds and gets joked about frequently and is still an issue MANY WOMEN the world over still face?

  248. @ozy, I am also skeptical of that 40% number. If only because, why would any statistic like that hold true “historically”… what, across all of history? In all the world’s cultures, despite incredibly different marriage and childraising norms? Genghis Khan (if it was in fact his DNA being spread all over the damn place; till his body is found we’ll never know if it was definitely him) is a huge genetic anomoly. The same research that discovered that one incredibly widespread mutation in Asia, also found teensy tiny patterns of various diverse Y chromosome mutations in Western Europe.

    I see absolutely zero biological reasons why men should be the expendable sex.

  249. “Uh, because women can’t take care of babies without men? Pose that situation to any single mother and you’ll get a different answer.”

    By all measurable criteria, single parenthood just can’t do it as effectively. If it means that you have to work full-time AND raised the kid at the same time, pretty much impossible unless you happen to have THE schedule that fits exactly and perfectly around school, including sick days and off days for school calendar reasons (and 3 months of vacations).

    And if you’re not there, let other people do it, you’re not raising the kid, you’re paying for someone else to raise the kid – someone who has much less invested in your kid being good later on.

  250. @ Kita

    >Uh, because women can’t take care of babies without men? Pose that situation to any single mother and you’ll get a different answer.

    Derail. Still, I’ll bite. How is a woman supposed to supply the extra child care needed to help another woman out with her child when she has to take care of her child as well? There isn’t enough labor resources to go around.

    Let’s use an equation. Let say every child needs two adult units worth of labor to survive. We have 99 women, each with a baby and one man without a baby. That means the colony needs 198 units of labor to keep their children alive and have 100 units of labor. Thus the outcome is going to be a lot of dead babies.

    If you don’t like that, talk to mother nature about why you think making human babies the most resource-intensive babies on the planet was a mean thing to do.

  251. dancinbojangles says:

    @James:

    I absolutely, totally agree that enlistment is the best option, and it should be the only option under the vast majority of circumstances. It just feels a bit off not to prepare for the unlikely event of a symmetrical war, though. Right now we have perhaps two tons of prevention, and that’s way too much, but surely an ounce is called for?

    Anyway, I don’t want to get into it, let’s just do the agree to disagree thing (as much as I dislike that term), shall we?

  252. @Kita, that’s not what I said at all. I’m saying that “women weren’t allowed to vote until 90 years ago” doesn’t prove anything or have any merit TODAY because that is not an issue women are facing TODAY. This is why I have such a huge objection to what you’re saying. This is entirely a strawman argument.

  253. I also think that chivalry is a major outgrowth of the disposable male concept– women are weak, so men are supposed to die to defend them or to protect their honor. Classic example of Ozy’s Law here. 🙂

  254. @superglucose: “In a word? No. Women’s rights aren’t an issue I can get all excited about in central Africa or Afghanistan as long as they’re still having issues with *clean water and food supplies*”

    So essentially you’re saying the fight of feminism is over and is totally pointless anywhere but central Africa and the middle east? If that’s your claim, you’re clearly not living in reality and our conversation is over.

  255. Sam: Do you have a cite for the “40% of men reproduced” stat that looks at the original study? I haven’t been able to find one myself, and that makes me highly suspicious that it’s actually bullshit.

    I do think that a Genghis Khan scenario is unlikely in a feminist utopia– I mean, Genghis Khan was incredibly sexually successful because of institutionalized rape, and as diverse as the feminist movement is I’m pretty sure we’re all against institutionalized rape. 🙂 I think the “a few men polygynously have all the women” model is unlikely in the extreme, from my observations of how polyamory works in the real world (gender parity) and the general idea that most people would rather have a relationship with someone who actually has enough time for them.

  256. dancinbojangles says:

    @Typhonblue:

    Good point, it would probably be good to avoid the biological justification in arguments. Kinda falls into the “mansplaining” thing, as well as (pre)historical justification for present bullshit.

  257. @typhonblue – “I disagree that men are expendable is a biological reality. Men are not expendable because men are needed to help raise children. 99 women and 1 man realistically means 99 women, 1 man and 99 dead babies after the first year.”

    Uh, because women can’t take care of babies without men? Pose that situation to any single mother and you’ll get a different answer.

  258. While I respect your opinion @dancinbojangles, I served myself and I would never wish to FORCE anyone to do that under threat of jail or gunpoint. I did it because I wanted to, not because a gun was put to my head. I do believe that separates us from those who would wish to hurt us in the future.

    In the Gulf War, the vast majority of troops opposing the allied forces were Iraqi conscripts with little to no weaponry on the front lines. They were mowed down like grass. It was shameful.

    Not a single U.S. troop was a conscript then and we were opposing what was the 3rd largest military force in the world at the time.

    We don’t need slaves to protect our nation. We need people who WANT to do it.

  259. @Kita:

    “Are you seriously making this argument? People ARE STILL ALIVE that were born during the time women couldn’t vote. It wasn’t that long ago. ”
    The oldest people in the world are 110 years old. Let’s look at what the world looked like in 1900, eh?

    In the year 1900 there was no such thing as an Airplane. In the year 1900 cars were extremely rare, and horses were the most common form of transportation. In the year 1900, bloodletting was still considered an acceptable form of medical practice. In the year 1900 the United States finished anexing Cuba and the Phillipines by taking them from spain. According to you, *because there are people who are still alive when this was true* it’s important? Are horses still important means of transportation?

    “People were still alive when X happened” doesn’t mean that X is still relevant today. Outside of underdeveloped nations, there is *no question* as to whether or not women should be allowed to vote, so WHY DO YOU BRING IT UP?

    “Can you really be a citizen without the right to vote? ”
    In a word? Yes.

    In more words? Yes, and if you have never heard of a nation that granted citizenship while not having a form of direct or indirect democracy then for all your vaunted historial knowledge you sure know nothing.

    “And don’t you think it’s meaningful that you had to add “in any of the major western powers” … because women are still seen as subhuman in many parts of the world.”

    In a word? No. Women’s rights aren’t an issue I can get all excited about in central Africa or Afghanistan as long as they’re still having issues with *clean water and food supplies*

    And yes, the problem I have with what you’re saying is that it’s full of non-sequitars. Similarly, once upon a time there was no minimum wage in the US, CLEARLY THAT MEANS I AM CURRENTLY BEING OPPRESSED BY THE WAGE SYSTEM.

  260. @machina, ummm, citation please on that “historical Europe” you are talking about? Prior to the Industrial Revolution, many people didn’t even work for wages at all, but in terms of subsistence. Later on, of course, entire families worked in the factories, including children. It’s only quite recently that children are expected to get an education and enjoy childhood rather than earning their keep. Minimum wage is similarly a recent invention. And the class of women whose husbands had the means to maintain their lifestyle as housewives devoted to the domestic sphere, has always been tiny.

    You could make an interesting case for primogeniture as a societal institution that made plenty of men “disposable” actually. Not the oldest son? Um, goodbye and good luck, because you sure aren’t getting a cut of Dad’s farmland.

  261. dancinbojangles says:

    @Sasha:

    Haha, yeah, I can just imagine a game where half the enemies are women, but they’re all dressed in chain-mail bikinis!

  262. Also, I think there are two things being argued here.

    The promotion of men as expendable as a cultural norm and the idea that men are expendable is a biological reality.

    I disagree that men are expendable is a biological reality. Men are not expendable because men are needed to help raise children. 99 women and 1 man realistically means 99 women, 1 man and 99 dead babies after the first year.

  263. dancinbojangles says:

    @machina:
    It’s not that men weren’t disposable, it’s that they’re families were, and are, as well.

  264. @ f

    Indeed. The entire argument is bullcrap. Environmental toxins affect men’s fertility and their offspring as well. In fact there’s some science that suggests the effects are *worse* then those on women.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080217133251.htm

  265. @Gauis

    haha, oh geez, video games. If there’s one form of media I have serious issues with the portrayal of women, that’s probably one of them. Although even there progress is being made.

    I’m pretty sure at least part of my kneejerk reaction to how ladies are dressed in video games is “How the fuck is she wearing that is still able to move about normally.” though. 😛

  266. dancinbojangles says:

    @James:

    I disagree. We should limit Congress’ ability to institute a draft, certainly, but it would be irresponsible to have no measures in place for creating a large standing army, in the event one is needed. Totally in agreement though that services such as financial aid for college should not be contingent on having registered. I have a friend, in fact, who was denied financial aid outright because he had never registered. Totally unfair, and not to anyone’s advantage.

  267. “@Schala:
    SOMEONE reads TvTropes! :P”

    Yes, I’m addicted to the site, find it’s true in many places.

  268. People are not deer. Human societies in the past were not like deer societies. Humans have rarely had any problems with fecundity. Starvation and disease, leading to staggeringly high infant and child mortality, were and still are quite commonplace. European societies were historically based around men providing large amounts of resources to their families, such that a minimum wage was naturally set at such a rate that would also provide for their wife and children. If the minimum wage dropped below this, their children would starve, the working class would shrink, competition for labour would increase and wages would rise. So men were not disposable to their families or to the reproduction of societies in the way that polygynous males are in other species.

  269. dancinbojangles says:

    I imagine that workplace safety may be a less divisive issue than the draft, though. Dangerous workplaces are overwhelmingly populated with men, but that isn’t in any way the fault of women, it’s the fault of crappy workplace safety. This is one thing that can surely be addressed in a non-confrontational manner. Let’s push for better workplace safety regulations and more union rights, eh fellas?

  270. Heather said: “Why not draft nobody? Oh wait we already do that.”

    Indeed. Of course, that doesn’t stop the U.S. government from continuing to coerce adult males between 18 and 25 to register for the draft. For those who missed it, Capitol Hill did in recent years, revisit the idea of calling for a draft as a means of alleviating the stress that multiple deployments are placing on the armed forces.

    A little known fact about Selective Service registration is that for those who fail to register, it can be used to deny them access to public services and in some cases, prevent employment. It is actually a very serious issue for those who oppose being forced to register for potential slavery.

    Let’s get rid of it altogether. It continues to hurt some men even today.

  271. @Schala:
    SOMEONE reads TvTropes! 😛

    What you said reminds me of something I brought up in the other thread.

    Imagine the lobby scene from the Matrix. Now imagine that all the guards are women. People would be up in arms. But because the guards are men, they are expendable.

    @Sasha:
    Speaking as a male, I found the lobby scene in the Matrix (and films like it) to be appalling. Likewise, I dislike any video game or film that doesn’t valorize the willingness to risk your life.

  272. Biologically, men clearly are the disposable sex. One man can have many more children than a woman, and there’s really nothing to argue about. Just look at the sons and grand sons of Genghis Khan –

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/02/0214_030214_genghis.html
    “An international group of geneticists studying Y-chromosome data have found that nearly 8 percent of the men living in the region of the former Mongol empire carry y-chromosomes that are nearly identical. That translates to 0.5 percent of the male population in the world, or roughly 16 million descendants living today. “

    Historically, only about 40-45% of men reproduced, compared to about 80% of women. This has only changed in recent – small family patriarchy – history, and now at least self-reported numbers for women and men tend to be equal. Small family patriarchy is about to end. Where do we go from here? Back to Genghis Khan? Or to feminist utopia where there’s no incongruency of desire between women and men and the human polygyny-factor will always equal one? No one really knows, but I think there is a subconscious knowledge among men that whatever happens will deeply affect them, and as I said about two weeks ago in the “Why we fight”-thread-

    “And with respect to masculinity and men, I think the *fun-da-men-tal* fear is that most men cannot believe they can be wanted when they aren’t needed. And that is, I believe, because, however much we are influenced by our sexuality, we aren’t in tune with our sexuality, and we do not, on a very existential level, believe that women could possible want us the way we want women.

    And as we all know liking oneself is the first step of being liked/wanted by other people. Whatever men say, I’m fairly certain that that’s a messahe they have internalised.

    And it is this message that makes them cling to a world in which they’re neeed, because they can’t fathom one in which they’re wanted.

    Making men believe we’re not going to end up in a Genghis Khan scenario is probably one of the most important ways to help come about anything like the feminist utopia. Yet so far, sorry, feminists are – in general – not doing a very good job at making men feel wanted…

  273. dancinbojangles says:

    @f.

    Exactly. It’s unfair for women to be treated as baby factories, and for men to bear the brunt of military deaths. These are not mutually exclusive problems, but interlocking ones.

  274. I bring you THIS, a letter received by Andrew Sullivan at his blog, and a perfect illustration of the interlocking ridiculousnesses being talked about here: http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/09/why-shouldnt-women-serve-in-combat.html

    I served six years, from 2002 -2008, and made multiple tours overseas. I served honorably alongside women, who were every bit as ferocious and competent as any drill sergeant could hope to train. There is no appreciable difference in performance that so many fear.

    Yet I must dissent against women serving in combat at this time.

    Our current ammunition is composed of depleted uranium. Uranium is a pyrophoric teratogenic agent. The former means that when a round is fired, microscopic amounts of the bullet are burned and ablated off as it passes through the air. This is regarded as a feature, rather than a flaw. But it also means that the soldier that fires the round will ingest tiny amounts of uranium compounds through inhaling the air the bullet passed through.

    This is where the second classification comes into play. Teratogenic agents remain in the body and generate biological abnormalities. For adults, this is essentially not an issue. But it is for developing embryos. As the compounds remain in the body, a female veteran could see immense complications if she chose to have a child, seeing immense spikes in the chances of birth defects. Fallujah saw birth defects and early-life cancers increase by a factor of 15 times following combat in that city.

    This is the breaking point for me. It is one thing for a woman to freely choose to sacrifice for her country. It is another for all her children to go through life with afflictions and deformities for decisions made before they were conceived.

    How is this ridiculous and how does it tie into the idea that men are more expendable?

    First off, female soldiers are seen here as not primarily soldiers, but as future mothers. The fact that childbearing is a choice is alluded to, but then ignored. Woman = womb, we can’t risk our precious wombs in combat!

    And secondly, guess what else is affected by depleted uranium? YER SPERMS. Men are taking exactly these gonad-related risks for our country every day. Yet somehow this is totally OK, where it would be completely unacceptable for women to do.

  275. I am, by the way, not referring to you specifically in the last comment Kira, just common attitudes I see from femenists and masculists both.

  276. Kita
    “I don’t think the idea that men need to put themselves in danger more than women is still very prevalent,”
    That does not, however, mean they are “expendable.”

    I just clicked the “male disposibility” tag here and look there’s an article about a dangerous workplace that is predominantly male-filled that risks the health of men. http://noseriouslywhatabouttehmenz.wordpress.com/2011/08/21/guernica-magazine-expose-burn-pits-dangerous-to-soldiers-civilians/

    What else does saying “it’s totally okay for a guy to risk his health but not a woman” mean but “expendable”? You might not agree on the word, but you’ve already conceded it’s not fair. You seem to be again implying that the ladies have it worse.

    And you know what, in some situations you may be right. The kyriarchy could be said put women at disadvantage in situations that are also unfair men, while still letting them retain the “better” position, as it were. We could get into nitpicky detailed arguments about what double standards are worse for men vs. women but again…not productive.

    I understand you’re frustrated, but I don’t feel like anyone’s asking you to “ignore the current paradigm”, as it were. I feel like it’s more them asking you to see that, er, “their side” is full of inequities too and as the femenist movement is making progress on women’s issues, men’s issues are left behind.

    But hey, I don’t claim to speak for men. Anyone here can offer their perspective?

    You may be frustrated by this, but you know what frustrates me? People to entrenched on “their side” of the idea that they don’t realize that we really should be working towards “our side”.

  277. dancinbojangles says:

    @Heather:

    Well yeah, but I’m not gonna rule it out as a future necessity. Naturally, avoiding a war is the best option, but it’s not always possible. Men still have to register with selective service in the event of a future disaster, why not women too?

  278. @Kita

    Men are the faceless mooks no one cares about if they die.

    In Noir, the 3 heroines face hordes, literally hordes of faceless men, and a few leader of both sexes. There’s nuns (thus all women) in the end (last 2 episodes) who are treated as faceless mooks, this was a first to me. They die as anonymously and without expected emotion from the viewer, just as the men did.

  279. @dancinbojangles:

    Why not draft nobody? Oh wait we already do that.

  280. dancinbojangles says:

    @Superglucose:
    You hit the nail on the head. Women being denied rights was a terrible thing, but it’s a problem which has been solved. Women deal with a lot in life, certainly, but that doesn’t mean that such issues as inequality in the draft, workplace death, suicide rates and longevity are not problems. Surely we can address these real issues while also crusading against rape culture and its ilk. I’ve heard many times that it’s not about pinning a medal on the person with the most oppression, but often it seems that’s exactly what’s happening. Men have problems too, and saying they’re not as bad or irrelevant will only serve to make people angry and, more importantly, alienate them from feminism and other activist movements. I mean, how many rapes or domestic assaults equal a combat or workplace death? Nobody has the right to make that kind of calculation.

    @Heather: A valid point. However, regardless of the reasoning behind wars and other such deep issues, the effect is that the vast (VAST VAST) majority of men do not enjoy any benefit from the current system. Those at the top of governments and military institutions may indeed see the world in the way you described, but an 18-year-old draftee who will never see his home or family again gains nothing from being drafted, and he certainly doesn’t go into battle in order to put women in their place. So, yes, women may not fight in wars because of stupid, misogynist reasons. That doesn’t change the net result of men as a whole being devalued. I think history has shown that the best way to prove women aren’t inferior is to give them the chance to prove it themselves. Why not allow women to be drafted, and show that their patriotism and courage is equal to that of men?

  281. @Sasha – regarding this “This is the point you seem to be missing. We’re not longer in the era of world wars. It’s unfair to expect men to put themselves at risk and go into more dangerous situations than women. It’s unfair that terrible dangerous work conditions for a women are taken with more sympathy than those of men (this is very present today in certain industries).”

    I don’t think the idea that men need to put themselves in danger more than women is still very prevalent, we’ll have to disagree on that. Many women want (and take advantage of) jobs that are dangerous. Yes, we do have a terrible societal expectation that men will be “tougher” and endure those painful or stressful jobs more easily than women. That does not, however, mean they are “expendable.”

    But we are in agreement, this shouldn’t devolve into the Oppression Olympics – I feel like that gets tossed in my face whenever any discussion of privilege gets going. I feel like MRAs are frequently asking me to ignore the current paradigm (kyriachy) and essentially all of human history and focus on a few issues where men are seen as disadvantaged to women. For example, the disposable male myth, to me, seems to be saying “Yes, we got to fight in wars, and often gained citizenship through fighting, we got to vote, and were generally seen as total humans and women didn’t, but it really sucked that we had to fight.” Yes, yes of course it did, the draft sucks and is awful, but it doesn’t mean that things are as bad, or worse for men than for women. That’s just being silly, in my mind.

  282. @Gauis

    You have some great points, especially on how ideas about women are more commonly debunked than that of men. I think it’s possibly because in this case the expendibility of men can/is often propped up as a positive trait of the male identity.

    I feel this is why it’s important to tackle these issues from both sides at once simultaneously. “Girls can be kickass too.” seems to also lead to stupid ideas like “Weak girl characters are unfemenist.” or “Good girl characters are always strong.” or my least favorite melding of stereotypes where an conventionally unnatractive male character who is for example intelligent is acceptable to show, but the women are always sexy, attractive AND smart. Minefields of terrible implications to both genders.

    I feel like “Anyone can be kickass.” is a more acceptable goal. As well as “Anyone can be soft spoken/compassionate/nice.”

  283. One area where this applies is sentencing: prison sentences seem to be generally shorter where the victim is male.

  284. Kita
    “The fact that it was “unthinkable” to many people was because women were seen as childlike non-adults that needed protection, much like children, not that they were so magical and special that they were more than human and deserved to be treated specially.”

    Yes, this is true. And to a point, still is. However!

    “Nowadays where we strive for equality, this is seen as expendibility.”
    I’m sorry you’ll have to explain more, this isn’t clear to me.

    This is the point you seem to be missing. We’re not longer in the era of world wars. It’s unfair to expect men to put themselves at risk and go into more dangerous situations than women. It’s unfair that terrible dangerous work conditions for a women are taken with more sympathy than those of men (this is very present today in certain industries).

    At the same times it’s totally unfair that women are seen as weaker. The reason for male expendibility, as it happens, isn’t exactly great for ladies either. Does this help?

    I feel like this argument can quickly devolve into “WELL WE HAVE/HAD IT WORSE!!!111!!!” That doesn’t seem productive. This idea that men are the strong and women are the weak hurts everyone, and I feel like looking for solutions to dissolve this idea for good would be a start though I admit I have no idea how you’d even begin to break this down for an audience — it’s a nuanced, subtle inequity.

  285. @Gaius – we may not agree on everything, but we certainly agree on how we’re going to get there 😀

  286. I think the notions that “women are weak” and therefore “men are expendable” are interlinked problems.

    At the same time: whilst we are working towards eliminating the notion that women are weak (indeed, eliminating the notion that women are a homogenous group in general), less work has been done to dissuade us of the notion that men are expendable.

    Some cultural examples from the other thread:

    How many films do you see in which a largely male group of security guards or common soldiers is mowed down by male (and often female) characters?
    * The Matrix (Trinity in the lobby scene)
    * Ultraviolet
    * Kick-ass
    * Kill Bill

    It goes without saying that if we eliminate binarism, essentialism, generalisation, and modernism (the notion that value is nonsubjective, exemplified by the following quote from Tolkien’s The Two Towers: “Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves, and another among Men. It is a man’s part to discern them…”), we eliminate both the idea that women are weak and men are expendable.

    The silver bullet, in this case, is education: you have to teach children to THINK, to not to be so intellectually weak that reality frightens them unless it falls into nice, neat binaries.

  287. There’s possibly counter-examples to this (media or games where the intent of the game is to specifically target women), but just throwing this out there:
    http://www.heybabygame.com

  288. @superglucose – I missed this gem –

    “Finally, I can’t stress this enough, while you seem to harp on about how women aren’t citizens, let me ask you: when was the last time someone actually said that women aren’t citizens in any of the major western powers? Sure, women couldn’t vote about a hundred years ago, but they were still considered citizens. They were still counted in the census and still counted towards representative seats… and even in the first couple decades of the US had the right to vote (though it was later taken away from them).”

    Are you seriously making this argument? People ARE STILL ALIVE that were born during the time women couldn’t vote. It wasn’t that long ago. Can you really be a citizen without the right to vote? And don’t you think it’s meaningful that you had to add “in any of the major western powers” … because women are still seen as subhuman in many parts of the world.

  289. @Sasha, I feel like you’re saying “infantry was seen as expendable” – I’ve never said anything like it wasn’t true.

    “The idea of a woman risking herself like that was unthinkable (well, to a point — ladies were ambulance drivers sometimes, and that got pretty close to the front lines), socially. Probably not because of any flattering or positive reasons, but the fact remains.”
    The fact that it was “unthinkable” to many people was because women were seen as childlike non-adults that needed protection, much like children, not that they were so magical and special that they were more than human and deserved to be treated specially.

    “Nowadays where we strive for equality, this is seen as expendibility.”
    I’m sorry you’ll have to explain more, this isn’t clear to me.

  290. @superglucose – so tl;dr of your argument is…? I make crappy arguments because women are currently citizens therefore history doesn’t matter?

    I never said anything like what you said, quit putting words in my mouth, THAT’S hostility.

  291. Kita — in some ways the men that did go off to war were disposible. Depends on what they did and their position, but the majority of unexperienced men simply ended up in infantry. I don’t think it’s too cynical to say that the average man on the front lines was pretty disposible. The idea of a woman risking herself like that was unthinkable (well, to a point — ladies were ambulance drivers sometimes, and that got pretty close to the front lines), socially. Probably not because of any flattering or positive reasons, but the fact remains.

    You seem to be conflating expendibility and status. Surely men AT THE TIME were seen as superior to women in pretty much every way (except for the skills needed for “women’s work” something not held in particular esteem even today). They had more rights as you mention. But this has nothing to do with disposibility.

    This however, is of the past. We’re talking about present, I think?

    I feel like male expendibility has the same roots as antiquated ideas like “ladies are only good for this and this”. Having women not being good for anything but babies and compassion, you leave the responsibility on the man, putting him in situations with more risk. Nowadays where we strive for equality, this is seen as expendibility. If we’re all truly equal it’s not very fair to have this kind of attitude towards men and not towards women, after all. It’s the attitude that stems from putting “women and children” in the same category. It’s unfair to both genders, but I feel like it’s one of the more subtler ingrained ideas that’s harder to get rid of, simply because it’s usually framed as a positive trait of male identity — “brave” “resilient” “not weak”.

  292. @ Heather

    “After all, the idea that women were in fact serving their *own* interests is laughable at best.”

    And the idea that the men who were dying in wars for societies in which they didn’t have the vote for their *own* interests is also laughable.

  293. @Ozy:
    Thanks much! 😀

  294. Someone in another thread said that men were disposable because they were killed en masse in movies. Again, laughable, they are at least PRESENT. Women aren’t usually even seen as ABLE to fight.

  295. @Kita You are absolutely and completely off-base in your arguments. Even if you are correct, your reasoning is completely out of left field. Allow me to explain.

    “I think the very myth that there is such a thing as a disposable male is completely ridiculous. ” First of all, you are telling me that feeling disposable because I am a male is completely ridiculous and that I *am* valued. What’s important about “The Disposable Male” isn’t whether or not I AM disposable, but whether or not I FEEL disposable. It’s the same thing: if I feel invisible I’m going to act out… *whether or not I am actually visible or not.* My perception of how the world perceives me is equally important to how the world perceives me.

    “Oh, yes, women weren’t citizens BUT MEN FOUGHT IN WARS therefore women were more valuable? PREPOSTEROUS.”

    First, women are currently citizens. We’re not talking about whether or not men were disposable 600 years ago because frankly, I don’t care. I wasn’t alive 600 years ago and what happened then is important to know but quite frankly, and maybe I’m insane to think this, I don’t believe that I need to worry about King Henry IV dismissing his son Henry V from the government. I don’t think this is a problem that needs correcting.

    What is important isn’t what happened eighty years ago, but *what is happening now.* Right now, women are citizens with equal rights to anyone else, at least in the USA. If you don’t believe that, well, you’re flat out wrong. Protected rights ARE granted to women under the constitution… so you’ll have to explain how society by and large doesn’t treat women as people. Yes, the burden of proof is on YOU with this one. Where are women not citizens?

    By the “disposable male” I’m talking about how as a man, I have to be very careful to maintain a relationship. I have to protect my source of sex because *if she denies me I may never find another one.* I’m talking about how the government has decided that it’s ok if I die in massive pain ten thousand miles from home and anyone who loves me, but no, we can’t risk the WIMMENZ! They’re too important!

    “Oh right, there’s also the myth of female sex scarcity. Lots of men are available to fuck any woman who’d want it. Therefore there must be lots of “extra” males who aren’t important enough to get sex (due to the myth that is hypergamy), and they’re all disposable, right?”

    You’re going about this the entirely wrong way. If a woman and three men have sex, there will only be one child per year (outside of twins). If a man and three women have sex, there will be three children per year (outside of twins). It’s not a question of female sex scarcity, it’s the fact that a man can impregnate multiple women, so it’s OK if you kill off the men. That’s seen in ecology all the time: in deer hunting you always hunt the bucks because the doe are off-limits… and the doe are off-limits because 5 doe can be impregnated by 1 buck, but 5 bucks cannot be impregnated by 1 doe.

    So yes, men are extraneous up to a point. In a room of 30 women and 5 men, you have the potential for 30 children. In a room of 5 women and 30 men, you have the potential for 5 children, meaning that 25 (actually 29) of those men are extraneous and disposable. It’s ok if they die or if they suffer debilitating injuries because *they aren’t necessary* for reproduction.

    I really hate that you were so hostile about how I feel because that means my response may be more antagonistic than I intend, but I want you to know that your reasoning is blinded and poor. Through your response I almost feel like the only reason you post here on this blog is to point out to all of us “misguided” men that actually our lives are perfect and we should be spending more time focusing on how unfortunate the lives of women are and how bad women have it. I’m not saying you feel this way, I’m saying that this is how your post comes across and you should probably double-check to make sure that you don’t actually feel this way.

    Also with regards to women not being citizens and this is a crime… well have you ever read or seen Starship Troopers? Basically in that world, the only way to be a citizen is to serve in the military. You know, it actually seems *fair* to me that the only people to enjoy the rights of being a citizen are the ones who are going to be asked to fight and die for everyone else. Right? No. But fair.

    Finally, I can’t stress this enough, while you seem to harp on about how women aren’t citizens, let me ask you: when was the last time someone actually said that women aren’t citizens in any of the major western powers? Sure, women couldn’t vote about a hundred years ago, but they were still considered citizens. They were still counted in the census and still counted towards representative seats… and even in the first couple decades of the US had the right to vote (though it was later taken away from them). If you’re going to make arguments, make *good* arguments. You could be right, but you actually need to demonstrate it for me to agree with you.

  296. Men were sent to war and women left at home because women were considered weak, unable to fight, and necessary for *breeding more men to fight for the country.* It’s like hunting ethics. You kill stags but not does because if you kill does, the deer die out and what will you hunt? However, it does not follow that men are therefore disposable and women valuable. It could just as easily be postulated that men’s offspring and wars are so valuable that women must be kept away from the causes to avoid screwing them up and in the home caretaking the men’s progeny. After all, the idea that women were in fact serving their *own* interests is laughable at best.

  297. Historybuff says:

    I think the main issue with the idea of the disposable man is that while men were considered “disposable” they were also seen (and still are) as having more potential than women. Thus, only decent schooling for men, and only decent occupations for men. Women and girls historically were seen as burdens, whereas men and boys were more percieved as having some weight and value in the world, whether with brains or the ability to generate income via a trade.

    In all honesty, the idea of women being able to have that same value is relatively new in our history.

  298. Oh right, there’s also the myth of female sex scarcity. Lots of men are available to fuck any woman who’d want it. Therefore there must be lots of “extra” males who aren’t important enough to get sex (due to the myth that is hypergamy), and they’re all disposable, right?

  299. I think the very myth that there is such a thing as a disposable male is completely ridiculous. Oh, yes, women weren’t citizens BUT MEN FOUGHT IN WARS therefore women were more valuable? PREPOSTEROUS.

    Women weren’t even seen as COMPLETE PEOPLE, much less with the rights and responsibilities that come with voting or being a citizen.

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