Home > Uncategorized > Two articles on feminism

Two articles on feminism

January 21, 2015

I’m neck deep in writing nowadays, but I wanted to share two extremely interesting and provocative pieces around women which come at feminism with from very different angles.

First, this essay, entitled If we liberate men’s sexuality, the war against women can end (hat tip Susan Webber), was written by a professional dominatrix, which is always an eye-opening perspective. She suggests that if we promote a new kind of feminism which she calls intersectional feminism, rather than depending on the old-school moralistic feminism, then we have a better chance to reach men, especially the men who might otherwise join the extremist misogynistic “men’s right’s” movement or become part of the vile pickup artist movement.

I think she has a bunch of interesting points. It is clearly true that men are boxed in in terms of their sexuality just as women are, and for men that don’t fit the standard mold it amounts to a kind of torture; the answer then is to promote a kind of sexual license for all people, not just women. Also, I think she’s absolutely correct to focus on sexual frustration as a major cause of all sorts of bad things. It’s not just about competing for jobs with women, it’s also about not getting laid.

Second, this Science Friday piece (hat tip Thessy) on the perceived requirement of innate genius as an obstacle for women in various fields. I wrote about this issue recently.

In particular a caller named Emily tells the guests how she was a straight A student at NYU, who graduated summa cum laude, and was passionate about philosophy, but was told by her advisor that she “just didn’t have what it takes” to go on to graduate school.

I cannot tell you how many people I know who have gone through something similar. And, I might add, such stories, which are generally completely unreported, flies in the face of ridiculous claims such as those made in this recent New York Times opinion piece that sexist mistreatment in science is minor and anecdotal.

Last thing: it’s cool and interesting how many conversations are being conducted around these important issues. I see it as progress just to be able to assume that other people I run into are sufficiently aware of the issues to talk about them, including my teenage sons.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. January 21, 2015 at 8:51 am
  2. January 21, 2015 at 9:10 am

    Your first link sounds interesting, but unfortunately does not point to any article.


  3. kwillcox@shore.net
    January 21, 2015 at 9:15 am

    Interesting piece. My only reservation is that TG people are really unhappy, with an incredible suicide rate. We should always make a special effort to make them feel comfortable, and welcomed, and be available to support tham as necessary. To a lesser extent, gay folks have a very high suicide rate, and perhaps they too need to be comforted and welcomed, simply as a matter of being a good person.


    • Auros
      January 21, 2015 at 3:09 pm

      I think in general, it’s a pretty good bet that { people who are stigmatized, subjected to arbitrary malice, and taught to hate themselves } will have higher suicide rates than those who aren’t, and that declines in the rate at which people treat Group X with stigma and arbitrary malice, and tell their children who might turn out to belong to Group X that Group X is evil and perverted, will correlate with a decline in the Group X suicide rate.

      This frame can be applied to pretty much any of the classes encompassed by the universally beloved acronym.


  4. kwillcox@shore.net
    January 21, 2015 at 9:16 am

    The article was available on Google search


  5. cat
    January 21, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    “It’s not just about competing for jobs with women, it’s also about not getting laid.”
    IMHO its about not having comping mechanisms for being frustrated regardless of why. Life is unfair and capricious yet most people manage to deal with it with out lashing out against imagined slights.


  6. January 21, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    Given what we are told, it’s not clear whether Emily is a victim of gender discrimination or a victim of grade inflation. There are a number of straight A students (of both genders) in my department whom I would not recommend for grad school no matter how passionate they are about math. Then again, C students at NYU would generally be able to get As here without breaking a sweat.


  7. Dennis
    January 22, 2015 at 11:03 am

    “If we liberate men’s sexuality, the war against women can end”

    First of all, “war against women”, really? Is there a war against women? Is there any evidence of that? Or is it another click-bait title, devoid of meaning?

    Second, Margaret Corvid is essentially a data scientist – she’s on the ground, interacting with men, testing and trying different things. But she made a classic mistake of data scientists, namely she overfit. She came to a conclusion based on a small, highly biased data sample, and extrapolated it to describe behavior of entire male gender, US politics, and Elliot Roger rant. But just because the men she interacted with has specific kinks that were generally not fulfilled in their life, these kinks are still outliers, and the men who want to “redefine what it means to be a man” are still remain a small minority, not a sign of some great trend.

    Third, she misunderstands the pick up movement. It is exactly what she talks about at the end of the article – to provide sexual freedom of sexual expression for all genders, and to enable truly satisfying intimate relationships with as many beautiful people as possible. But the author looks at it through archaic remnants of moralism, describing it as “vile brew of manipulation and gaslighting techniques”. I think the author needs to analyze her own position about these issues, and realize that men’s rights movement is a movement for all – men and women too, and true sexual liberation will be possible only when we openly talk about these issues, and not just blame men for all problems.

    However, I doubt it will happen – when you start the article with “war on women” you probably getting paid per click. My theory is that the article was a replacement for actually having something meaningful to say.


    • Auros
      January 22, 2015 at 3:23 pm

      There is an active campaign (organized through the religious right and parts of the Republican Party) to roll back women’s rights to control their own bodies and gain equal access to the fruits of our economy. It also manifests as a reactionary ideology, fighting against feminist men and women’s efforts to alter cultural expectations about how domestic labor should be divided, how we should react to men or women who defy gendered expectations about what activities they’re interested in (especially the mockery of men who are into “feminine” things), etc.

      Labelling this as “the war on women” does bother me a little bit. It sounds hyperbolic to my cool-headed, policy-wonkish, center-left ears. Although people do occasionally die in this conflict (in particular, poor women who can’t access proper healthcare, plus there’s the occasional act of terror by a nutcase inspired by anti-abortion ideology). But this isn’t exactly intended by reactionary ringleaders.

      On the other hand, the organized right wing gets away with totally ludicrous propaganda all the time (death tax! death panels! atheist muslim! etc). And they certainly show no restraint in trying to tag religious pluralists with the crimes of Muslim nutcases. At some point, when you’re facing a revolutionary faction that cannot be reasoned with and knows no restraint, you have to start picking where you want to try to “remain pure”, and where you have no choice but to compromise. The occasional bit of hyperbolic naming seems OK to me, if it helps grab the attention of middle-of-the-road, low-information voters, and thus prevents America’s Fidesz from destroying the Republic.

      As far as the idea that the PUAs are trying to “enable truly satisfying intimate relationships with as many beautiful people as possible”… Aside from the fact that this framing of the issue as a numbers game is, itself, extremely problematic (not all men want “as many beautiful people as possible”, some of us are seeking quality rather than quantity; women generally don’t appreciate being tallied up like points; popular standards of beauty are both unreasonable and conflict with many men’s actual attractions; etc), it is way, WAY too easy to find deeply misogynistic threads in the PUA community. There are people mixed up in PUA stuff who really are well-intentioned, but a large portion of the folks involved have a very zero-sum framework, and sometimes come out and admit what they’re up to. (Note that I had to point to the Internet Archive for that thread. I think the page was eventually pulled down when the scum responsible for it realized that admitting their true thoughts in public was a bad idea. You can find links, quotes, screenshots, and general discussion of that particularly egregious example on various other blogs. And there’s plenty more where that came from — like, almost any random mouth-emission from Roissy.)


      • January 23, 2015 at 9:27 am

        Apropos Fidesz, while their actions are problematic, one needs to understand the collective memories of Hungarians under Communism. IMHO, Fidesz is a 100 times better than Communism, and I say that as a refugee from Hungarian Communism. BTW, Jobbik (right or better) is the Fascist party.

        With that said, we have in the US, fortunately, no equivalent of Fidesz, Jobbik, or Communist parties. While many on the right like to think of the current administration as Communist, and many on the left like to think of Republicans as Fascist, neither comparison comes close to what the situation is/was in Hungary and Eastern Europe.


      • Dennis
        January 26, 2015 at 8:05 am

        @Auros – not sure why you think this is so problematic – I’ll admit that I would rather have more good friends than fewer ok friends. If anyone finds this to be “extremely problematic” , well, I 100% disagree.


        • Auros
          January 26, 2015 at 11:40 am

          So now “enable truly satisfying intimate relationships with as many beautiful people as possible” is morphing into “more good friends”? … Interesting.

          There are definitely some people mixed up in the PUA scene who just want to help people get over social anxiety. But the over-arching ethos, with its battlefield language (targets, field reports), the manipulative tactics taken from advertising and sales, and all the ev-psych BS… pretty clearly elevates getting laid over any kind of recognition of women as people with separate agendas and interests, or any interest in collaborating with them and treating them as equals.

          One does not hear about PUAs going out to “pick up” new friends, to enjoy a fun evening playing a board game, or discuss the latest sportsball game. And if a PUA did just want to meet somebody who shared an interest, they would not apply the same competitive, dehumanizing frame, where they’re trying to psychologically manipulate somebody (negs, NLP, routines, all the rest) into doing something they wouldn’t choose enthusiastically based on their own agenda and motivations.


  8. LOM
    January 22, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    “It is clearly true that men are boxed in in terms of their sexuality just as women are, and for men that don’t fit the standard mold it amounts to a kind of torture; the answer then is to promote a kind of sexual license for all people, not just women.”

    You remind me of my libertarian friend who is convinced that poverty would disappear if only we destroyed the welfare state. Unfortunately there is tension between liberty and equality, and complete sexual license would probably increase sexual inequality rather than diminish it.


  9. February 3, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    “If we liberate men’s sexuality, the war against women can end”

    surely, liberating it except for the obstructions erected against that of the patriarchal kind.

    “Last thing: it’s cool and interesting how many conversations are being conducted around these important issues. ”



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