Gender Dynamics In a Nutshell

G

There are a lot of conflicting things going on in the realm of gender.

We have women with far greater levels of in group bias, yet people don’t see women as capable leaders.

The “in group bias study” is the not the only study that found the “Women are Wonderful” or “Benevolent Sexism*” (as feminists term it) effect. It’s the only one that used the implicit attitudes test.

We divide people into “patients” and “agents”; we respect agents and we sympathize with patients. If we want someone to stop the wolves we ask an agent but we are more likely to defend a patient from the wolves.

Agent(respect) or patient(sympathy). You don’t get to be both.

How does all of this apply to gender? We slot men into “agents”, which means we afford them respect (if they benefit others) but we also punish them severely should they fail at being “beneficial agents”.

We slot women into “patients” which means we don’t believe they can do much of anything(“hostile sexism”), but should they fail, we try our best to help them(“benevolent sexism”). (And here you go, there’s the answer that seems to be confounding our brightest feminist researchers… why hostile and benevolent sexism are linked.)

Now why do women who are seen not to follow their gender role subject to some censure? Because they’re relinquishing the protection of being a “patient” without having the respect of an “agent.”

And why are men who don’t follow their gender role subject to violent retribution? Because they are relinquishing the respect of an agent without having the protection of a patient.

Now this is all mediated by the fact that it is damn difficult to lose your “patient” status and extremely easy to lose your “beneficial agent” status. That explains why retribution against men is always more severe and more common(when they buck their role**) then retribution against women. (This is commonly termed “femmephobia.”) And women aren’t really being “punished” per se when they leave their gender role; rather they’re losing the protection of sympathy***.

There you have it. Everything you need to know about gender dynamics in a nutshell.

Simple and–sorry to have to say it, traditionalists–utterly fucking arbitrary.

*Male demonization trigger warning for that third link. It’s absolutely hideous.

**Yes, even in the Middle East. Men are shot if they wear women’s clothing. Or emo hair cuts. Or refuse military service.

***Some groups of women have less protection then others because they are perceived as overtly “stronger” and more agent-like.

Alison Tieman
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Alison Tieman

<span class="dsq-postid" data-dsqidentifier="2979 http://www.genderratic.com/?p=2277">62 comments</span>

  • I think in a socity that had no culture, less feminine women would probably be treated like males, expected to hold their own wait. But because of the more feminine ones, and the fact that people generalize and stereotype, this has lead to the cultural assumption that all women need special protection and care. There you have it, instict and culture working together.

  • Typhonblue,

    This is a fascinating post. Very succinct statement of your theoretical framework.

    Your point about femmephobia is interesting. I wrote in an article of mine on Reddit (“Primal Misogyny and Ozy’s Law,” can be found here – http://www.reddit.com/r/GenderEgalitarian/comments/ydohb/primal_misogyny_and_ozys_law/) that many feminists seem to reduce everything down to Misogyny and treat Misogyny as the irreducible primary from which all problems with our gender system flow.

    Your point re. femmephobia backs up a speculation I’ve had for a while… perhaps it is not hatred of FEMININITY per se, but rather a disdain for being a moral patient… for being pitied… being a passive recipient of others’ actions… that ultimately underlies so-called femmephobia. It isn’t a dislike of femininity but rather a dislike of weakness. Our culture does unfortunately package-deal femininity with moral patiency but it is quite possible to prefer agency over patiency and not hate the other components of femininity.

    Also, one thing… in my article “Male Hierarchy and the Oppression of Men” (link: http://www.reddit.com/r/masculism/comments/11w04k/separating_the_boys_from_the_men_male_heirarchy/) I propose a theory as to how our society ended up with the subject-object role system we have now. I’d like to hear your thoughts on that theory. Thanks in advance.

  • Typhon said: “Now this is all mediated by the fact that it is damn difficult to lose your “patient” status and extremely easy to lose your “beneficial agent” status.”

    Indeed! Well said and very well condensed into so few words. i agree with you 100%. The question that I ponder is how to explain the presence of some women with “agency” and some men with “patient” status. It seems likely to me that there is a biological component. What do you think?

  • This model probably has the potential for being very predictive, but I find it to be dissatisfying. I don’t like it. I think that it’s too complicated yet too simple. I’m not sure how it holds up to cross-cultural and historical analysis.

    I think that women’s in-group bias could just as easily be explained as parental imprinting, but we don’t have a good way of finding out because nearly every aspect of childcare is monopolized by women. I think that the privileges that society extends to women makes them become patients instead of agents, which in turn demands more privileges. And this makes it hard for us to truly know whether people’s stereotypes and generalizations would be formed the same way if it weren’t for the privileges being there in the first place. I think there are plenty of ways in which people look to the privileged as their betters. There are black people who feel safer around white people; doesn’t mean that it’s caused by inherent differences between them. Almost everyone “looks up to” tall men – women sometimes find them downright charming just because of their height, even when these men are really assholes.

    I guess what I’m thinking is that it’s both simpler and more complicated still. It’s simpler because it’s probably just pure discrimination and it doesn’t necessarily be that way. It’s complicated because it creates so many consequences for us that it’s hard to figure out where the consequences start and the causes end. Ultimately you’ll see women who use the “tools of the oppressor” to get ahead and in so doing other women will actually view them as having agency (ha!). You’ll see vast tracts of society talk about the self-made success story as the pinnacle of humanity, yet they unquestionably worship the princes and princesses of this world. Then there’s the fact that we generally live up to the role that society assigns for us. Society really is a whole lot like the movie, Trading Places, where people not only view you by your social position, but having the opportunities of that position enables you to live up to it’s potential.

  • You left out the necessary conclusion to make this model feminist-friendly: “Both situations–agents and patients–are all men’s fault, since only men can do stuff.”

  • OO,
    “I think in a socity that had no culture, less feminine women would probably be treated like males, expected to hold their own wait..”

    We’ll never know, since there is no such thing as a society without a culture.

    YAC,
    “that many feminists seem to reduce everything down to Misogyny and treat Misogyny as the irreducible primary from which all problems with our gender system flow.”

    I have noticed the same thing. They seem to regard misogyny assome kind of primal substance that cause behaviors and informs structures, rather than the reaction it most often is. The advantage to that of course is that those who cause misogyny are excused and those reacting in a misogynist fashion are blamed.

    This of course chimes with Typhon’s agent/patient model, with feminists applying the traditionalist paradigm she outlines.

    dungone,
    “I think that women’s in-group bias could just as easily be explained as parental imprinting, but we don’t have a good way of finding out because nearly every aspect of childcare is monopolized by women…”

    I don’t think this has as much explanatory power as Typhon’s model. Your model would yield a system in which authority figures were granted special protections and exemptions, and there are real world examples of that, in plenty. And I can’t see how your model accounts for damseling.

  • @YetAnotherCommenter, Ozy’s Law does in fact reduce all misandry down to misogyny. She’s playing a gynonormative shell game with Patriarchal oppression, redefining men’s issues when they come up, but then diving into dismissal of “oppression olympics” when anyone does question the idea that women have it unequivocally worse and shuts down any observation that isn’t made from within a feminist framework.

    perhaps it is not hatred of FEMININITY per se, but rather a disdain for being a moral patient… for being pitied… being a passive recipient of others’ actions… that ultimately underlies so-called femmephobia

    Perhaps it’s not disdain for being a moral patient at all. The struggle for gay men’s rights are anything but the right for men to become moral patients in this society. We can dismiss that right off the bat, it’s just absurd. I will leave it to gay men to explain why in their own words, though.

    The hatred of the feminine among men has everything to do with the privilege of women to receive men’s favor. And here’s where Ozy’s law really falls apart. Misandry and misogyny aren’t interchangeable explanations for the same thing. The hatred of the so-called feminine traits in men has nothing to do with hating feminine traits in women. The same exact person, feminists in fact more often than anyone else, can frequently be observed worshiping the same exact trait in a woman that they simultaneously vilify in men. In fact, this doesn’t just go for feminine traits in men, but masculine traits as well. Men can be demonized for the same exact masculine traits that are celebrated when a woman exhibits them.

  • @ dungone

    “become moral patients in this society”

    Often a disadvantaged group will be initially disadvantaged by being seen to have more agency then those oppressing them.

    Until they correct this perception of hyperagency they are denied sympathy.

    The gay liberation movement very much embraced “moral patiency” in it’s aims; It asserted that being gay was not a choice(agency) but a biological fact(patiency).

  • @ Copyleft

    “You left out the necessary conclusion to make this model feminist-friendly: “Both situations–agents and patients–are all men’s fault, since only men can do stuff.””

    I lol’d.

  • “Men can be demonized for the same exact masculine traits that are celebrated when a woman exhibits them.”

    You mean being assertive and able to stand your ground?

    If a trans woman exhibits those behaviors, she’s showing she’s “really a man” “invading women’s space”.

  • “The gay liberation movement very much embraced “moral patiency” in it’s aims; It asserted that being gay was not a choice(agency) but a biological fact(patiency).”

    The doctrine of “inherent” or “God-given” rights, the Tea Party position, is based on moral patiency. I can’t see much difference between “born this way” and “just by virtue of existing”.

    In fact the model of individual rights, negative rights and limited government, is all about being left in peace by society and its agent, the government.

  • The gay liberation movement very much embraced “moral patiency” in it’s aims; It asserted that being gay was not a choice(agency) but a biological fact(patiency).

    That in itself is merely a question of objective fact and is largely irrelevant to agency. Whether or not it’s a choice for gay men is no different than whether or not it’s a choice for heterosexuals to be as they are. If gay men claim to have no agency in that, then neither do straight men. The response to any issue where men have a problem with unfair treatment in relationships with women would be summarily dismissed by telling these men to become gay. Oh wait – that pretty much is how it is. If a guy can’t get laid, maybe it’s because he might be gay, right?

    The point is, men are seen as “passive” patients merely for refusing to go out and break their own backs just to hand the fruits of their labor to women. And the gay rights movement has actually asked for very little from society beyond being left alone to determine their own relationships. Part of the idea that they can “change” their sexual orientation is driven by the very idea of men as having hyper agency and the whole entire reason for tradcons insisting that gay men change their sexual preferences is so that these men will be taken to task in order to benefit women somehow. Because gay men still work the same jobs, fight the same wars, and pay to be members of the same churches as straight men would. The only thing missing from the entire picture is that gay men aren’t benefactors to women. Men who wish to be stay at home dads, who want the right to raise their own children, have actually asked for more far more privilege than gays ever have.

  • @ dungone

    “That in itself is merely a question of objective fact and is largely irrelevant to agency. ”

    It doesn’t matter if it’s an objective fact; what matter is that the attitude prior to it becoming accepted was that homosexuality was chosen thus an aspect of agency. (In fact you could say that proves my point. The opposition essentially made up shit about gay people having a choice in order to “agentify” them in a situation where they had no agency and justify their moral condemnation.)

    If they weren’t embracing moral patiency as a counter-measure, they would have said something like “even if homosexuality is a choice, it’s an acceptable one.”

  • If they weren’t embracing moral patiency as a counter-measure, they would have said something like “even if homosexuality is a choice, it’s an acceptable one.”

    I’m pretty sure that they said that, too. But it doesn’t change the fact that their movement can’t be faulted for embracing what is by most indications an objective truth. It wasn’t embracing patiency, just common sense. The way the opposition portrays them is irrelevant.

    It seems to me that whether a man is portrayed as having agency over anything at all is so far removed from reality that it doesn’t even matter. We need to come up with separate terms to have a discussion about this – to disambiguate real agency and socially assigned agency or the lack thereof.

    In fact you could say that proves my point. The opposition essentially made up shit about gay people having a choice in order to “agentify” them

    In that sense we are in agreement. That they make shit up being the key part of it. Let’s talk about real agency, though. Feminists and tradcons deny the real agency that women do have, agency which women actually exercise with impunity, because for various reasons they want make men servile to women in order to control men. Men’s movements generally have never denied the real agency that they do have and have never asked for the sort of special privileges that are granted to women in society. That’s really the main difference that I see between the gay rights movement and feminism.

  • @ dungone

    ” The way the opposition portrays them is irrelevant.”

    It’s relevant to the social attitudes that were projected upon them.

    “We need to come up with separate terms to have a discussion about this – to disambiguate real agency and socially assigned agency or the lack thereof.”

    How about agency and “hyperagency?”

  • So where do political lesbianism and political pansexualism fit into this? The former faces more of a backlash than born-this-way sexuality-isms, perhaps because it describes lesbianism as a matter of agency, but does the latter face much of a backlash, except from monosexual lesbians tired of guys hitting on us and monosexual gays tired of girls hitting on them?

  • “How about agency and “hyperagency?”

    I like this because it looks like it applies to lots of instances where this is going on. It applies certainly to the double-bind black men get caught in, it describes a lot of what is going on with anti-Semitism. Demonization looks like a component of marginalization.

    You may baulk at describing “white, cis, heterosexual males” as marginalized, but when you look at the legal and other disabilites, it’s not so farfetched.

    And this explains also the corresponding insistence on hypoagency for women. It’s a component of privielge.

  • @Typhonblue – I am curious what you think about the possibility of there being a biological piece to all of this. We know now that pre-natal testosterone is related to gender identity and those girls who get high levels of testosterone priming in utero go on as adults to have less “feminine” identity. These are what we usually call the “Tom Boys.” Males who receive higher levels of the testosterone in utero are more likely to reject feminine components in their identity later in life. Could it be that our biology also sets us up for later “agency” or “patient status?” I can’t imagine it not playing a role. What do you think?

  • @ Hackberry

    I think biology comes into play in how we define _why_ men or women are “agents” and “patients”.

    You could say men have more perceived agency because they have more muscle mass. Or you could say women have more perceived agency because they give birth.

    And then there’s the question… is this black and white thinking a permanent feature of human psychology? Or is it a manifestation of some sort of psychological damage?

  • Black and white thinking is a feature of immaturity. It is a regression into false simplicity. It is a form of laziness.

  • Imo it comes from a desire to simplify everything, and a lack of critical thinking. In fact a lack of a desire to even possess critical thinking, and anti-intellectualism.

  • “Recognizing the agency and patiency of everyone may be an aspect of psychological maturity.”

    It’s simple grammar.

    Which reminds me – gender and agency – across Indo-European there is a pattern in which the marker for accusative case (direct objects and destinations basically) is very similar to the marker for neuter gender (inanimate objects). Make of that what you will.

  • One thing that puzzles me:

    It seems that men are more likely to face severe trauma, particularly battlefield trauma, and afaik are more likely to receive minimal screening and minimal care for ptsd. But womyn are much more likely have ptsd, almost three times as likely in the United States. Why?

    Is this because of more willingness to diagnose womyn than men? It’s consistent with the agent/patient theory, but seems inconsistent with the way ‘hysteria’ has been used to silence/punish womyn, never to create space for womyn.

    Is this because there’s actually more trauma against womyn than men? It’s consistent with radfem theory, and I’m open to the idea that our society massively underreports violence against womyn and girls [certainly, most of my friends have faced sexual violence and severe physical violence], but it also underreports violence against men and boys.

    Is this because of learned helplessness? Possibly. I can’t rule that out.

    Is this because of some kind of biological difference? Possibly. I know that my hormone levels affect my ability to cope, though having high testosterone levels didn’t help *my* ability to cope. I recall reading that high glucocorticoid and mineralcorticoid levels could cumulatively aggravate stress response and worsen ptsd, so there *are* some hormonal influences.

  • Dungone, quoted-” The same exact person, feminists in fact more often than anyone else, can frequently be observed worshiping the same exact trait in a woman that they simultaneously vilify in men. In fact, this doesn’t just go for feminine traits in men, but masculine traits as well. Men can be demonized for the same exact masculine traits that are celebrated when a woman exhibits them.”

    This, in a nutshell, is my biggest problem with feminism. In fact, its my biggest problem with a *lot* of “isms”, the inherent hypocrisy of their adherents.

    Men create Internet “jailbait clocks” for underage actresses-men are evil.
    Women show up in throngs to cheer tor Taylor Lautner and Justin Bieber-“What, nothing to see here.”

    Men brag about “conquests”, using the most generic of details-men are evil.
    Women make Facebook pages and Powerpoint treatises about their own “conquests”, while adding pictures and full names and detailed descriptions of the mens’ skill levels-“What, nothing to see here.”

    Men create Facebook pages about women who have treated them badly, while only posting full names and contact information for convicted offenders-men are evil misogynists
    Women make dozens of Internet pages about street harassers and “no good men”, adding as many pictures of various “no good” men as possible-“What? They’re bad, are you questioning me? I don’t care if I added a dozen pictures of a guy on this site because he ‘did me wrong’ in our relationship, but you were there at his commitment ceremony with his fellow gay porn star and lover. I say he did me wrong, so I’m right!”

    20-something year old men have sex with teenaged girls, who they met in adult venues-paedophiles
    30-40-50-something year old women have sex with their middle-school students-“Move along, nothing to see here.”

    Male bosses yell at work-insensitive, oppressive patriarchs
    Female bosses yell at work-“What, she’s being assertive!”

  • @Marja
    “Is this because of learned helplessness? Possibly. I can’t rule that out.”

    I would say that this is it. Plus a dash of ignoring vulnerable men.

    A sense of agency during traumatic events helps a person cope and is protective against psychological harm.

    Emphasizing a group’s victimhood and passivity also, ironically, creates victims.

  • @Typhonblue

    “Recognizing the agency and patiency of everyone may be an aspect of psychological maturity.”

    That’s an interesting idea. I’d be curious to hear more about this. What do you see as human maturity and how does the agency/patiency play into it? Is a mature woman going to be different from a mature man? Vica versa?

  • I am enjoying this thread and these ideas. I can’t help but think that if we could teach our young people about these ideas it might help them greatly in their growth and understanding. Instead we have pep rallies for girls and blame the boys.

  • @ Hackberry

    It certainly would go a long way to actually changing the negative aspects of gender roles.

    ” Is a mature woman going to be different from a mature man?”

    Probably. I imagine women and men will have different strengths(in aggregate) to bring to the table. And different vulnerabilities.

    “What do you see as human maturity”

    Being able to break the cycle of blame.

    I think this gender dynamic can also explain the lower levels of own-group bias in men(and competition). I imagine the Agent-Agent pairing is the one least likely to involve sympathy.

    As well as the “moral” supremacy of women. Strong people are measured by the weak.

  • dungone,

    First, about Ozy’s Law, let’s quote Ozy and Noah on the subject:

    “Based on this, we have proposed a rule of thumb called Ozy’s Law: It is impossible to form a stereotype about either of the two primary genders without simultaneously forming a concurrent and complementary stereotype about the other.

    Or, more simply: Misandry mirrors misogyny.

    This isn’t to say that in any given case, the misandry and misogyny are necessarily equivalent. Sometimes they are, other times one or the other definitely predominates. But they’re always paired.”

    Source: http://www.alternet.org/story/156194/what_about_the_men_why_our_gender_system_sucks_for_men%2C_too?paging=off

    In and of itself, I don’t see how Ozy’s Law is gynocentric or how it reduces misandry to misogyny. All it says is that sexism towards one sex will necessarily impose sexism of some sort on the other sex.

    Now, if Ozy personally engages in gynocentric/gynonormative reasoning which reduces misandry to misogyny, then Ozy is making a mistake. But I don’t believe that this mistake is due to Ozy’s Law. Rather, I believe that mistake is probably due to other factors (perhaps Ozy’s own ideological commitments but there are other potential explanations). Indeed, if applied as written Ozy’s Law would be a safeguard against the reduction if misandry to misogyny… it would encourage people to see them as being organically related (i.e. feeding off each other).

    Also, in my experience, the hatred of feminine behavior in men isn’t about a female attempt to monopolize being the recipients of male benevolence. Benevolence granted by a more-traditionally-masculine male towards a less-traditionally-masculine male is, unfortunately, quite rare, so I don’t see how there’s anything that needs to be safeguarded from competition.

    When a man displays feminine behavior, the slurs and insults aren’t JUST allusions to femininity, but also to weakness, and sometimes the ‘weak’ slurs AREN’T gendered. “Wimp” and “shrimp” and “loser” aren’t gendered in the way that “sissy” and “pussy” and “girly” are. So I think what we are seeing is evidence weakness ITSELF is disdained INDEPENDENTLY from femininity (or, perhaps, that people don’t necessarily think that a “loss of masculinity” is automatically a “gain” in femininity).

    Of course the notions of weak/strong and feminine/masculine interact significantly. My contention is we can’t entirely reduce one to the other – they can be evaluated independently.

    You are right that men can be demonized for the same masculine traits that are celebrated in women. I agree! But that’s not surprising… we live in a society where people have very different moral belief systems and frequently disagree. Not only that but people can be very inconsistent with their own nominal beliefs. Trying to gauge the “socially average belief system” is a very, very hard thing to do, to say the least.

    Ginkgo,

    Thanks for your observations in your reply to me, however I need to register a disagreement with your following statement:

    “The doctrine of “inherent” or “God-given” rights, the Tea Party position, is based on moral patiency.
    In fact the model of individual rights, negative rights and limited government, is all about being left in peace by society and its agent, the government.”

    I find it surprising that you refer to the Classical Liberal political tradition of Individual Rights as the “Tea Party” position, especially given that this position has plenty of other exponents like (for example) John Locke. I can’t help but think you used the mention of the “Tea Party” as a smear against Classical Liberalism.

    That said, speaking as an advocate OF the Classical Liberal position, you are totally misunderstanding it by associating it with moral patiency (that said, you are correct in associating many of the claims of the gay rights movement with the Classical Liberal tradition of individual rights).

    Moral agency is the perception of individuals as having free will and the capacity to initiate teleological action (and be responsible for its consequences, pro or con). This is IN FACT characteristic of Enlightenment/Classical Liberal thinking (it is also the basis of Austrian School economics, which is very classical liberal in orientation).

    Moral patiency, at least in the degrading/”objectifying” sense, is a denial or diminution of this to some degree; from seeing them merely as a stimulus-response meat-machine (example: B. F. Skinner), seeing them as a social construct mind-controlled by their relationship to the means of production (example: classical Marxism), seeing them as a social construct so damaged by the Patriarchy that they are incapable of rendering informed consent to engage in heterosexual intercourse (see Andrea Dworkin), etc.

    Take one look at the history of political-economic thought throughout the 20th century.. I cannot think of a single systematic political ideology which denies classical liberalism without making individuals moral patients (in the degrading/objectifying sense) to some degree. On the other hand, classical liberal political philosophers have generally been unanimous as to free will and the value of human thought/reason (the two issues are kind of interrelated).

    A statement about someone’s nature, or an acknowledgement that people HAVE a nature (and the Natural Rights position depends on this) does not depend on moral patiency (in the objectifying sense). Moral patiency, in the sense of how we’re using the term, requires diminution or denial of moral agency (because yes, everyone is a moral agent and a moral patient in the literal sense, we can both act and be acted upon… it is only when the capacity to act is denied that things become degrading). The existence of human nature doesn’t do that – indeed, pretty much all Enlightenment thinkers defend free will as part of human nature.

    You are correct that individual rights/negative liberty is about safeguarding the individual from violent/coercive interference from other people, including organizations such as the State (and all human institutions are reducible to people). But this is not based on moral patiency. Quite the opposite! The entire rationale for safeguarding the individual from force/fraud/coercion is precisely because of the fact that human agency is celebrated and revered in the Classical Liberal tradition! Individual rights exist to safeguard the proper sphere of moral agency.

    This can scarcely be described as a worldview based on moral patiency. Indeed, it is because moral agency is regarded as utterly sacrosanct that the Classical Liberal tradition advocates negative liberty and a small, unobtrusive State.

  • Based on Ozy’s comment that zie used to not believe in male privilege but now does I think it’s safe to say that zie has become more gynocentric since writing ozy’s law.

  • I don’t want to dwell too much on Ozy’s Law, but I’ll just restate my opinion that it’s nothing more than an equivocation. It’s a clever way of saying “The Patriarchy hurts men too.” From the very beginning it has been used to dismiss the call for an alternative to feminism. I never saw it as anything more than a moderator’s ruse to control the debate. It’s perfectly in line with what I’ve come to see as the feminist modus operandi.

    All it says is that sexism towards one sex will necessarily impose sexism of some sort on the other sex.

    There is absolutely no reason to make that assumption. The heuristic is dogmatic and lacks adequate proof. What’s worse, it’s a necessary component to erasing men’s issues. Examples of this is the way male suicide is equivocated with female suicide attempts, or the way male life expectancy is equivocated with female pregnancy. Remember, when Ozy talks about it, it’s Ozy’s rule. When you talk about it, it’s the Oppression Olympics. I’m just calling the bluff.

  • How about agency and “hyperagency?”

    @Typhonblue, I’ve noticed some people taking it literally. As in, hyperagency really means you have control over everything, you are the Patriarch incarnate, the devil himself. They see it as a double edged sword at best. But it also doesn’t help us when we’re quoting a feminist who uses “agency,” or even when we’re talking among ourselves and we’re not sure what the other person really means. I think thread serves as an example. And we haven’t even run into the liberals and libertarians yet, who will try to tell us what they think of all this and make stupid assumptions about what we’re saying.

    I think that there are huge differences to be had here. Hyperagency is one thing when you believe it yourself, causing you to self-sacrifice on behalf of others. It’s another thing when hyperagency is assigned to you by others in order to vilify you for things that are have nothing to do with you. Hypoagency is one thing when it’s used to grant special privileges to a group of people who refuse to take any personal responsibility over their own lives whatsoever and are effectively blackmailing society to wait on them hand and foot. Hypoagency is an entirely different matter when it’s used to attack an entire group of people who do, in fact, take personal responsibility over themselves, by accusing them of not. We can then look at the way gender plays into both. Males are accused of hyperagency, as a bad thing, and also accused of hypoagency, as a bad thing. Women are granted hypoagency as a means to gaining privilege, while women’s own hyperagency (think childcare, hypergamy, consumerism, etc) is dismissed as irrelevant.

  • dungone,

    I know you don’t want to dwell on Ozy’s Law, but let me just say one thing:

    When a principle/idea is misused or abused in some way, the abuse itself does not discredit the principle/idea.

    In my experience, Ozy’s Law is a valuable heuristic. Simple example – the Slutwalk protests objected to the idea that woman is “asking to be raped” if she dresses like a “slut” and thus she’s responsible. What’s the underlying assumption about male sexuality, here? Specifically, that men are drooling bestial animals unable to control themselves at the sight of cleavage, and who are far too controlled by their genitals to actually have a degree of (gasp) individual responsibility for their actions.

    In short, the misogyny was underpinned by misandry.

    You can attack Ozy’s misuse of Ozy’s Law and I won’t object at all (since I don’t know enough to comment), but the misuse of an idea doesn’t prove the idea itself wrong. In my experience, I’ve found it generally correct.

  • As I said, the heuristic is an equivocation and nothing more. Its not being misused, as there is no way to use a fallacy correctly. In the case of slutwalk, the fact that there is a level of psychosis and man hatred there does not prove that the misogyny is real, but rather it discredits it the premise of the protest to begin with. Its nothing more than a feminist Carinvalle and I won’t be surprised if in coming years they add floats and a costume judging contest. Among the causes of female slut shaming is female bullying and sexual competition, and among the complaints of the protesters is that they don’t want to take any sort of responsibility for their own safety. We don’t need to apply some sleep org of Eastern philosophy of lying vs yang to try to seek out hoe the universe is balanced out through a series of counteracting forces. We just have to look at the actual causes of things and learn how to actually differentiate them by their underlying causes, not by the effects, even if its tempting to equivocate.

  • Sandy knocked out my power for a week!

    Anyway, IMO when many people talk about gay being a choice vs being something someone is born with, it’s missing the point that IMO the right winger types are trying to make. That if to be gay is acceptable then more people will be open about their gayness. That being openly gay allows for other people to be openly gay too. To choose that gay lifestyle sort of thing. Because for right winger types, sort of controlling your urges and deflect them to another avenue is more important than doing what’s right for one’s inner self. It’s favoring the tradition over the personally satisfying. It’s about conformity to that tradition. That THIS is how one grows personally.

    Now, for me, I think the notion that either people are BORN gay or CHOOSE gay is a false dichotomy. To me, people are born with sexual lust imprinted inside them (save for some people, they are cool too, it’s all good to me) and how one is allowed to manifest that sexual lust is determined by society. Anyway, I’ve talked about this before on the various blogs we all visit. I call it polysexuality. I mean humans fuck animals, plastic, etc.

    And just quickly, I tried Ozy, and IMO it’s clear she doesn’t know what the hell she is talking about when the topic is men. Sorry but the idea of some college girl less than half my age telling me what’s it’s like to be a full on adult man is ridiculous. And in Ozy’s case, it shows. Maybe she can talk about her life and her interactions with the young men in college she encounters but college life is nothing like adult life..at least where it matters. IMO most college kids are … kids. Kids grow up. Kids change. Yes, maybe I’m ageist towards young people but on the topic of wisdom and life experience and talking about observations you’ve made, time in the field matters.

    Sorry for the tangent. I have guests here (people still have NO POWER!) so I’m just posting here taking a break from RL. Carry on.

  • @debaser71, FWIW I’ve met many adults who are grandparents yet themselves have the life experiences of a 15 year old. It leads me to conclude that popping out units does not an adult make. Rather than imagining Ozy as someone who hasn’t matured yet, I can see her being the same way when she’s 80, going on about the glory days of Third Wave when feminism had principles, before the Fifteenth Wave came along with all the strange ideas of a new generation. The more things change, the more they stay the same. If someone other than a minor wants to be treated like an adult, I say make like a Cleveland bus driver and give them what they want. It’s infuriating to me when feminists who lost their virginity last week start to lecture me about relationships, when women who half-heatedly asked 1 guy out on a date in their entire life talk about how they really, truly have a grasp on the male gender role. But they do. For what it’s worth, I have my financial life together, so one of life’s great ironies to me is that I have a bunch of since-divorced and single mother ex girlfriends who come around begging me for “loans” and overnight wire transfers that are unlikely to ever be re-payed. Funny how, way back when, they all presumed to lecture me about being a responsible adult. Now they presume to tell me that I am “lucky” and refusing to give them handouts means that I’m just selfish and not a real friend to them. It’s just simple entitlement.

  • YAC,
    “I find it surprising that you refer to the Classical Liberal political tradition of Individual Rights as the “Tea Party” position, especially given that this position has plenty of other exponents like (for example) John Locke. I can’t help but think you used the mention of the “Tea Party” as a smear against Classical Liberalism.”

    Hmmmm….how do you know I mean “Tea Part” as a smear? Yes, they certainly have some very questionable positions, but they are right in principle on limited government and personal liberties, and I think you would agree that’s what we are both talking about when we speak of Classical Liberalism.

    I don’t mean it a as smear at all, but just as a quick and easy label to refer to that ideological orientation, the same way I wouldl call a certain personality type”Joan Crawford”.

    Ozy’s law – I’m not sure where I stand on that. I don’t think it’s inherently gynocentric as she stated it, but the way she applies it sure seems to slant gynocentric. It doesn’t have to make all misandry underlyingly misogynist any more than it makes all misogyny underlyingly misandrist. But I haven’t really given it a lot of thought.

  • Typhon Blue: Often a disadvantaged group will be initially disadvantaged by being seen to have more agency then those oppressing them.

    Agreed… and this also reminds me of the recent online argument I had about gay men being the fashion designers… that was because (mostly heterosexual) women LIKED their work and therefore installed them as the masters of fashion (over straight men and ALL women). As a group, they would not have the power they have unless women bought their products in huge amounts. However, many Second Wavers (and some Third Wavers, truth be told) like to give this as an example of women’s oppression: “More men than women are fashion designers!” –as if the job has been historically off limits to women (like being an architect or cop or something), when in fact more women have been in the fashion, tailoring, make-up and stylist professions than probably any others except maybe nursing.

  • I don’t know what si oging on . SWAB also has a comment missing.That last comment was in reply to this one of Daisy’s:

    Typhon Blue: Often a disadvantaged group will be initially disadvantaged by being seen to have more agency then those oppressing them.

    Agreed… and this also reminds me of the recent online argument I had about gay men being the fashion designers… that was because (mostly heterosexual) women LIKED their work and therefore installed them as the masters of fashion (over straight men and ALL women). As a group, they would not have the power they have unless women bought their products in huge amounts. However, many Second Wavers (and some Third Wavers, truth be told) like to give this as an example of women’s oppression: “More men than women are fashion designers!” –as if the job has been historically off limits to women (like being an architect or cop or something), when in fact more women have been in the fashion, tailoring, make-up and stylist professions than probably any others except maybe nursing.

  • @Typhonblue – Yes, I agree with you. This conversation reminds me of the work of Robert Moore on masculine maturity. Moore identifies four archetypes and links them to masculinity. (king, magician, warrior, lover) He then shows the likely development or stalls of each archetype and looks at the mature outcome and also the shadow outcome. I think it’s a five book set but the real pearls can be found in the audio of him teaching the course at the University of Chicago.

    I would love to see us work out a good theory of male and female maturity and then teach that to our young people when they are ready to hear it. This tabula rasa thing has got to go. Now.

  • “I would love to see us work out a good theory of male and female maturity and then teach that to our young people when they are ready to hear it. This tabula rasa thing has got to go. Now.”

    It SHOULD be tabula rasa in as much as your genital configuration shouldn’t limit, preconceive or force you into a set of roles with you kicking and screaming. It should entirely be a choice. Maybe a choice informed by constraints (peer pressure etc), but not constraints in the choice itself. None should be forbidden to men, nor women, nor people who identify as neither, or both.

  • ” This tabula rasa thing has got to go. Now.”

    It was a useful trope back when the idea of eqaulity was new, a couple of centrueis ago. But it is frankly oppressive now. it erases people and thier own lives. how’s that for newspeak? But it’s true.

    People are non-neurotypical. People have different genders, different sexual orientations, on and on and on. and none of that is one the table for someone else to come and socially reconstruct to suit their pet ideology.

  • BTW Hackberry, I got a lot out of that book. Thanks for reminding me.

    On the project you mention of male and female maturity, one good approach I have seen used is to inventory stories in various cultures and folklores. I saw a very good book that took this approach to psychological insights, using stroies like the Ugly Duckling to explain how you grow, first by surviving and then by thriving, and how the skills and attitudes you need for one are not the same as for the other. It’s Jungian, I guess.

    another one that used the same method was Unholy Hungers, about the psychological reality behind vampire stories – basically they record Cluster B disorder people who live off of other people’s life force.

  • @Ginkgo – Glad you know the Moore material. I also found it very helpful. Thanks for the ideas about using stories. I love the title “Unholy Hungers.”

    @Schala who said: “It SHOULD be tabula rasa in as much as your genital configuration shouldn’t limit, preconceive or force you into a set of roles with you kicking and screaming.”

    Who said anything about limiting people based on genitalia? We should limit individuals based on their strengths and weaknesses. If a woman can pass the physical test to be a fireman then good for her. If not, then you need to find another job. No more special treatment based on genitals like we have today. May the best person get the job. Right now that is far far from the case with women, blacks, and an array of others getting special treatment.

  • I am reading Kay Hymowitz’s book “Manning Up”–and its just awful. Awful.

    Does anyone recommend any good (not dumb or mean, but GOOD and analytical) reviews of the book from a Men’s Rights perspective? I’ve read some of the nastier ones (Spearhead), but I am looking for a thoughful one to quote… not too many insightful reviews on Google. (and most of the links are from women’s or feminist blogs.) I found GMP’s review: http://goodmenproject.com/families/manning-up-womens-rise-mens-demise/ which although accurate, is decidedly lackluster, needs oomph.

    In short, my own criticism would be that certain male cultural pursuits are blasted unmercifully by the author, as proof of men’s immaturity, but she doesn’t list similar/equivalent traditionally-female pursuits as equally dorky or gross, i.e. romance novels, National Enquirer, Lifetime network, soaps, QVC, Farmville, Kate Hudson, etc. I would say these are equivalent to Maxim, World of Warcraft, Spike TV, sports, Adam Sandlier, buying ‘toys’.. and so forth.

    Aside: It is interesting (and a good example of her bias) that she calls men’s stuff ‘toys’–although I think QVC sells women ‘toys’ too, yes? (I tend to call the QVC stuff “gimcracks”–a word I love to find an excuse to use!) The “toys” insult is part of her whole thesis that contemporary men are children, not grown up. ( the meaning of her title “Manning up”)

    Also, I am doubly offended when anyone says (for the 1000000th time) scifi and fantasy belongs to men or is a man’s thing. Fuck her. Is not!

    Anyway, if anyone knows of any good reviews, let me know.

  • @ Daisy

    “Also, I am doubly offended when anyone says (for the 1000000th time) scifi and fantasy belongs to men or is a man’s thing.”

    ಠ_ಠ

    Really? Really?

    Ursula Le Guin. C J Cherryl. Tanith lee. Even Margret Atwood (I’ve been told that “The Handmaiden’s Tale” was also mocking radical feminists.) Hell look at all the female writers submitting Sci Fi short fiction to Clarkesworld.

    And her saying fantasy is “male” is insane. The readership for fantasy is majority female.

    And I read romance. As a genre it tends to be awful; I can’t stand any books where the female main is basically a sack of wet labia… but there is some good stuff.

  • Ginkgo,

    Just wanted to reply to you. Sorry if I seemed to immediately assume the use of the term “Tea Party” was done in an hostile fashion. Thank you for clarifying your stance and I apologize for misunderstanding.

  • I pretty much agree with typhonblue’s model.

    It also explains why “don’t be a girl” is an insult among boys. It doesn’t mean that boys hate girls. The “Women are wonderful effect” shows that they don’t. Boys are assumed to be more agentic than girls so a boy acting passive or fearful or soft is a boy not expending full effort or reaching their capacity.

    It’s essentially the same insult as “Don’t be a child.” If a woman said that to a man it doesn’t mean that either of them hate children. It means that the man is not fulfilling his potential.

  • Great article,
    this study about gender as a factor in prison sentencing seems sort of relevant.
    http://www.eoef.org/uimages/File/Ages%20of%20Chivalry,%20Places%20of%20Paternalism_Gender%20and%20Criminal%20Sentencing%20in%20Finland_htm.pdf
    Apparently, gender bias in prison sentencing may shrink the more gender equal labour and family care are. In Finland (featured in the study) gender disparity in sentencing may even be non existent and is certainly much less of a factor than in the US.
    This seems to be related to social policy that allows men and women to take part in child care and participate in the labour market more equally, softening rigid ‘male provider female nurturer’ sex roles. There is apparently a reluctance to send parents of either sex to prison, as well as other social biases that you would (sadly) expect in sentencing. [there are differences in the justice system punitive vs restorative and no jury trial in Finland]
    It is also mentioned in the paper that working class women (in 19th Century Canada) were treated harsher by courts as they were behaving in a manner thought to be ‘unfeminine’ for the protestant middle class mores of the time.
    I would like to say that although there is probably some biological component to these gender dynamics, I don’t think its anything even approaching the main cause.
    I think that this hypo/hyper agency split in the west is caused by the solidification of family structure. With the ‘women are the wards of men’ public/private separate spheres ideology. All this lack of agency stuff was crystallized by that.
    Also this type of hypo/hyper split is similar in some respects to the ideology that characterises relationships between peasants and landowners in a feudal system (Noblesse oblige etc) and might be adaptable to explaining aspects of these relationships.

  • @gjdj who said: “It also explains why “don’t be a girl” is an insult among boys. It doesn’t mean that boys hate girls. The “Women are wonderful effect” shows that they don’t. Boys are assumed to be more agentic than girls so a boy acting passive or fearful or soft is a boy not expending full effort or reaching their capacity”

    Very good point and well said.

  • YAC,
    “Just wanted to reply to you. Sorry if I seemed to immediately assume the use of the term “Tea Party” was done in an hostile fashion. Thank you for clarifying your stance and I apologize for misunderstanding.”

    Any misunderstanding was down the tone of my reply. I did read your comment as being hostile in any way.

    Daisy, I understand your sadness. bUt, um, look at the big picture.

    OTOH, this is the big picture:
    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/10/the-gops-geography-and-the-confederacy.html

    This is Andrew Sullivan’s comparison of the geography of the Republican ascendancy and the Confederacy. Notice how closely they match. He says it comes down to a Cold civil War. I think that is a good description of the problem.

    Maybe if the US had done what was needed to make Reconstruction work we would be past all this. I miss old Uncle Billy.

  • WOW, that is some map.

    Yeah, quite so. The election was/is also about “code”–such as Deb calling herself a “children’s advocate” which to her meant… children’s advocate. But to the Tea Party Republicans, its BLACK children who need advocating for, and all they hear is “more government services”… likewise Deb is in Spartanburg instead of Greenville, which signals “black”–since Spartanburg has a black mayor and has a higher percentage of African Americans.

    You are correct, its the politics of race for sure, but an onlooker not familiar with the local “code” or local politics, would not necessarily get that. So it doesn’t get reported that way.

  • YetAnotherComment:
    Your point about femmephobia is interesting. I wrote in an article of mine on Reddit (“Primal Misogyny and Ozy’s Law,” can be found here – http://www.reddit.com/r/GenderEgalitarian/comments/ydohb/primal_misogyny_and_ozys_law/) that many feminists seem to reduce everything down to Misogyny and treat Misogyny as the irreducible primary from which all problems with our gender system flow.
    Although I don’t think Ozy’s Law perpetuates this I do think you have a valid overall point. This is how you get conclusions like homophobia against men being misogyny (but rest assured homophobia against women is not misandry) or that mistreating fathers is a side effect of trying to impose parenting on women or the reason that male victims are ignored isn’t because men aren’t allowed to acknowledge their pain in certain way but because being victims “makes them into women”.

    Give them enough time and they can turn anything that harms men around into how that harm to men is just a side effect of the primary goal of keeping women down. And even some of those who support the idea of Ozy’s Law, whey they encounter someone who says something that may look like they are question the “fact” that women have it worse rest assured they (and even Ozy has done this a time or two) will quickly fall back into the mindset the hatred of women is the basis of all gender mistreatment and oppression (and for the record according to them men can be oppressed over any measurement under the sun EXCEPT for gender).

    Daisy:
    Agreed… and this also reminds me of the recent online argument I had about gay men being the fashion designers… that was because (mostly heterosexual) women LIKED their work and therefore installed them as the masters of fashion (over straight men and ALL women). As a group, they would not have the power they have unless women bought their products in huge amounts. However, many Second Wavers (and some Third Wavers, truth be told) like to give this as an example of women’s oppression: “More men than women are fashion designers!” –as if the job has been historically off limits to women (like being an architect or cop or something), when in fact more women have been in the fashion, tailoring, make-up and stylist professions than probably any others except maybe nursing.
    Funny isn’t it? When men are trying to bring up things that are harmful to them we are told that we contributed to it ourselves and need to do something about it ourselves but when it comes to women all of a sudden they had absolutely nothing to do with the architecture of their own pain. Pretty much in line with what TB is saying about men being agents and women being patients.

    Pretty much on the money with that map Jim. And yeah Romney did win NC and SC….

  • Daisy:

    About people who describe scifi and fantasy as being a “man’s thing”, it is my experience that most of them have no actual interest in these genres beyond having something to complain about. They see a few of the big movies that get made and a few highly visible franchises, but they’ve never even considered picking up an actual scifi novel. They don’t really interact with scifi/fantasy fans (or they do and don’t know it), they let their perceptions be shaped entirely by media representations of “geek culture”. I’ve run into plenty of people who love to breathe fire about the need for more women in these genres, and pretty much all of them just give me a blank look when I start mentioning authors and titles (my personal favorite was a women’s studies major who did not realize that feminist scifi was already a thing). They don’t see research and understanding as prerequisites to outrage.

  • […] Por Typhonblue Hay muchos conflictos en el reino del género Tenemos mucho más sesgo de grupo , pero aún así la gente no ve a las mujeres como líderes capaces. El “estudio del sesgo de grupo” no es sólo uno de los estudios encontrados en el efecto “Las Mujeres Son Maravillosas” o “Sexismo Benevolente” (como las feministas lo llaman). Tan sólo es que es usado en el test de actitudes implícitas. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15491274 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12088246 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_are_wonderful http://pwq.sagepub.com/content/35/3/530.full Nos gustaría dividir a la gente en “pacientes” y “agentes”, nosotros respetamos a los agentes y tenemos simpatía por los pacientes. Si queremos que alguien detenga a los lobos le pedimos a un agente, pero tenemos mayor tendencia a proteger a un paciente de los lobos. Agente (respeto) o paciente (simpatía). No puedes tener las dos cosas. ¿Cómo se aplica esto al género? Encasillamos a los hombres como “agentes”, lo cual significa que les damos respeto (si eso beneficia a otros) pero también los castigamos severamente si es que ellos llegan a fallar en ser “agentes que nos benefician“. Encasillamos a las mujeres como “pacientes” lo cual significa que no creemos que ellas puedan hacer mucho de cualquier cosa (“sexismo hostil”), pero si ellas fallan, hacemos nuestro mejor esfuerzo en ayudarlas (“sexismo benevolente”). (Y ahí lo tienen, esa es la respuesta que parece escaparse de las investigadoras feministas más brillantes… porqué el sexismo hostil y el benevolente están vinculados.) Ahora, ¿Por qué las mujeres que son vistas como que no siguen su rol de género sujetas a mayor censura? Porqué ellas no renuncian a la protección de ser una “paciente” sin tener el respeto de un “agente”. Y ¿Por qué los hombres que no siguen su rol de género son sujetos a retribución violenta? Porqué ellos están renunciando al respeto de un agente sin tener la protección de una paciente. Ahora esto es mediado por el hecho de que es muy difícil perder tu estatus de “paciente” y es extremadamente fácil perder tu estatus de “agente que nos beneficia”.  Eso explica porqué la retribución en contra de los hombres siempre más severa y más común (cuando fallan en su rol**) que la retribución en contra de las mujeres. (Esto se llama comúnmente “femefobia”.) Y las mujeres realmente no están siendo “castigadas” per se cuando dejan su rol de género; en lugar de perder su protección causada por la simpatía*** Ahí lo tienen. Todo lo que necesitas saber sobre las dinámicas de género en un resumen. Los simples y – lamento decirlo, los tradicionalistas – lo encontrarán demasiado arbitrario. * La demonización masculina gatilla una advertencia para el tercer vínculo. Es absolutamente horroroso. ** Si, incluso en el Medio Oriente. Los hombres son disparados si usan ropa de mujer. O peinados emo. O si se rehúsan al servicio militar *** Algunos grupos de mujeres tienen incluso menos protección que otras porque son percibidas como claramente “más fuertes” y más parecidas a los agentes. http://www.genderratic.com/p/2277/gender-dynamics-in-a-nutshell/ […]

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