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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Why can't a man be more like a woman?

"Coming home from very lonely places, all of us go a little mad: whether from great personal success, or just an all-night drive, we are the sole survivors of a world no one else has ever seen." - John le Carre


The culture of masculinity costs all too much to ignore | Cynthia Cockburn and Ann Oakley | Comment is free | The Guardian

"If men committed as little crime as women it would pay for the deficit. They can change: testosterone need not mean violence"


"A pair of women telling men they ought to behave more like women. It's like some kind of post-feminist mobius strip"

"A woman wakes up in the morning, in a house built by men. She starts the water to boil on a stove built by men, and sits at a chair and table, put there by men, to read a newspaper written, in part, by women…but printed and delivered by men…whoops…Time to take a shower. She turns a faucet handle installed by a man, and lo and behold…out comes HOT water, delivered by a vastly complicated water system, built by men. She drives to work, on roads built by men, powered by petroleum, drilled and refined and delivered by men. She arrives at an office building built by men. Walks to her desk, fires up her computer, and glances out her window at a city… She has NO IDEA what men actually do. Yet, according to her, and the media she consumes, men are assholes."

"People need to understand the way some feminist 'analysis' works. If you've ever come across post-modernist 'thinkers', you'll have an advantage here. It's basically a 'bait and switch' strategy, but with the affirming the consequent logical fallacy thrown in for free:

1. First of all, take some concept that is used in everyday life, say 'masculinity'. It's important that you use an everyday word, or this won't work.

2. Then create a stipulative definition, such as 'masculinity' means a certain idealised, structural role within a male-dominated power system (the 'patriarchy'). It works better if you don't make it that obvious you're using said definition, because otherwise people might ask "Why would a social scientist be interested in masculinity-as-you've-defined-it? Surely it'd be more interesting and useful to actually research what 'masculinity' means to various people rather than arbitrarily imposing a definition?"

3. Assume that the 'patriarchy' exists everywhere, and refuse to consider the question the (crucial) difference between men as a group dominating, and the dominant group being composed of males. 'Patriarchy' used to refer to the traditional father-as-head-of-household idea, which clearly was males as a group being dominant. These days, it seems to involve a simple logical fallacy of assuming that A -> B (powerful people tend to be male) implies B -> A (male people tend to be powerful). 'Patriarchy' now exists, apparently, wherever you have more men than women in positions of power and authority.

4. Make it unclear whether you're using your stipulative definition or the everyday one. Make all sorts of factual-sounding claims about 'masculinity' that aren't factual at all, but trivially follow from your stipulative definition and are thus vacuous. Thus, people will think that "Masculinity plays a part in promoting warfare" is actually saying something, but since you've defined 'masculinity' in terms of its promoting warfare, it's vacuous, and bears no relationship whatsoever to masculinity as people themselves understand it (or at least, that is yet to be established).

5. Take the resultant dissent as proof of the 'backlash' against your views, and that the 'patriarchy' is trying to silence female voices, or some other victim-stancing nonsense.

All in the game, y'all..."
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