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LW Women Submissions: On Misogyny

27 Post author: daenerys 10 April 2013 07:54PM

Standard Intro

The following section will be at the top of all posts in the LW Women series.

Several months ago, I put out a call for anonymous submissions by the women on LW, with the idea that I would compile them into some kind of post.  There is a LOT of material, so I am breaking them down into more manageable-sized themed posts. 

Seven women submitted, totaling about 18 pages. 

Standard Disclaimer- Women have many different viewpoints, and just because I am acting as an intermediary to allow for anonymous communication does NOT mean that I agree with everything that will be posted in this series. (It would be rather impossible to, since there are some posts arguing opposite sides!)

To the submitters- If you would like to respond anonymously to a comment (for example if there is a comment questioning something in your post, and you want to clarify), you can PM your message and I will post it for you. If this happens a lot, I might create a LW_Women sockpuppet account for the submitters to share.

Please do NOT break anonymity, because it lowers the anonymity of the rest of the submitters.


[Note from daenerys- These two submissions might actually be one submission that had some sort of separation (such as a line of asteriks). If I processed them as separate when they were supposed to be a single entry, this is completely my mistake, and not at all the fault of the submitters. Sorry for the confusion.]

Submitter A

Here's a webpage with more on how misogyny works, including examples in the comments of "mansplaining" minimalizing problems.

Under the article, there's a comment about Stieg Larrson's book, originally named "Men who Hate Women."  To see what motivated such a name, I Googled and found this article about his experiences and guilt.  Guilt is something that many have felt and tried to assuage in various ways, including asking for forgiveness.  I've come to the conclusion that we should never forgive, only demand solutions, so as not to suffer continual sinning and forgiving.  With solutions comes absolution, so forgiveness is unnecessary but for allowing the guilty get away with crimes (like the rapists in the article).

The article about Larsson also has a bit about his partner's contributions not being credited to her, which seems to be typical of man-woman partnerships.  Besides seeing it in other stories, I've experienced it in my own life.  I gave my ex much input and feedback for his works, but others will never know.  Meanwhile, he trivialized and hindered my work.  He recently admitted to purposely discouraging me from going to college or doing well while I was there.  I suspected as much, like when he guilt-tripped me the morning I had to cram for an AP exam in high school, BSing that my not celebrating his birthday with him meant that I didn't love him.  This was when he was in grad school -- he knew what he was doing.  He wanted to keep me for himself, and often said so.  That thinking--a woman serving one men--was a justification for him to rape, physically assault, psychologically manipulate, and limit me (such as when or what I was allowed to write).  Similar thinking exists in other persons' head, including in some women who blame themselves if their partners beat them, cheat on them, etc.  But we can't happily serve one being; we absorb, process, and optimize much, much more than one being, who cannot be processed separate from the rest of the cosmos anyways.  Forcing or planning a body to serve just one body (even one's own body) will involve abuse.  

Due to how our bodies work, a person tends to not respect a partner who is focused on pleasing just that person.  Some poor souls are caught in a vicious cycle of doting on their partners, who in turn, don't love them much or disrespect them and eventually leave, giving imprecise, useless explanations like "the person isn't intellectual enough," as can be seen here.  "Someone who loves you" doesn't necessarily love You, but rather a narrow understanding of You.  In other words, you don't love a person you don't know.  

The men who abuse women and claim they love those women do not know those women, any more than my ex understood my work for the-world-as-I-know-it, which is quite different from the world-as-he-knows-it, a world where women are whores when, to me, many women are slaves to idiots who don't know what's good, like people who perceive rape as cool or fun.  My ex wrote a song called, "Son of Whore," basically saying his mother and other mothers are whores, and also called me a whore, though he was the one forcing sex on me.  On other occasions, he claimed I was the love of his life.  You might think my ex was a sociopath, but no -- he's a normal male, working as a university professor.  His thinking, like most humans', is outdated or out of touch with reality; his map misrepresents the territory.  So now he has to deal with losing the love of his life, whom he neither really knew nor loved.  Plus, he has to deal with my corrective writing to prevent him from harming another person.  In that way, I'm still self-sacrificing to make him and his work better.  How sub-optimal of me when I should be focusing on work helpful to more people.



.....

Submitter B

[note from daenerys- I think I somehow lost the links in this one. Very sorry!]

“Note that with a lot of the above issues, one of the biggest problems in figuring out what is going on isn't purposeful misogyny or anything.”

Those LWers who define rationality as for “winning” can play self-serving games. I'd like to think there's no such thing as purposeful misogyny, but PUA literature (in addition to other things my body has absorbed in my life) has left no room for that naïveté. To be clear, by "misogyny" I don't mean “hatred of women,” which is a useless definition except for denying it exists. Some PUAs point out they "love" women, like some anti-gays point out they love gays and that's why they're trying to prevent gays from committing sins and thereby damning themselves and/or invoking God's wrath towards society. Similarly, PUAs and MRAs can believe themselves to be saving the world from irrational women. They have fallacious utility-maximization rationalizations, like someone I personally know who justified molestation of his biological daughter, with explanations from "she likes it" to [paraphrasing] “it’ll hasten the child's puberty changes and increase her bust size to make her more attractive to potential male mates.” Other family members, including the victim’s biological mother (abuser’s wife) and paternal grandmother accepted the abuser's rationalizations, and hence did not intervene. The molestation escalated into raping the child, which the family members excused. I’ve seen similar stories in the news, where a naïve consumer of such news might be at a loss for why persons close to the abuser didn’t intervene (e.g. Sandusky’s wife).

So, “misogyny,” to have a definition that points to real phenomena, can be said to be apologetics of abusing females, with messages (not just in natural language) or actions anywhere from seemingly benign and rational to full out demeaning or violent. And many females' brains accept and internalize such messages and actions, hence excusing the abusers, blaming the victims, forgiving abuses rather than taking actions to prevent them, or even letting themselves be abused (under some notion that the dynamics are unchangeable). In this news piece on a school spanking and in its comment field, you can see examples of people rationalizing hitting kids and/or letting themselves be hit, even though, as one commenter pointed out, we don’t use corporal punishment on prisoners.

My grandmother used to beat my younger brother to vent her frustrations with the world, including having to serve everyone while my grandfather stayed on the couch in front of the TV all day because he wouldn’t do “women’s work” and he was retired from “men’s work.” Her brain rationalized the beating as necessary for disciplining my brother, even though the only “disciplining” effects were to force my brother to finish eating what she served him. She has come to regret what she did, but I’m not sure she’s aware of the dynamics behind what happened, including the patriarchal inequity and her brain’s imprecise narrative about making my brother well-behaved.

In case you don’t have much history with abuse, perhaps the phenomena I’m discussing will be more concrete to you if you’ve had experiences dealing with men’s porn and meditate on those experiences. This article, “Being Porn,” refers to women internalizing and enacting men’s porn views, rather than trying to enlighten men so they make better use of resources and don’t become or stay addicted to porn. To be fair, though, it’s difficult to enlighten others if one is not good at brain-hacking herself. For example: On the HLN channel, there was a criminal investigations episode on an Evangelical Christian ex-military man who, addicted to porn, used varying excuses like ‘it’s research to save our sex life and marriage’ whenever she tried to get him to stop. Fed up, she asked for divorce, and instead of going through the pains of divorce, he murdered her and their daughter (age 6) in their sleep, put their bodies in the dumpster at his workplace and pretended they went missing. Cases like that illustrate how apologetics can get out of control (talk about affective death spirals), with a person operating on wrong confabulations upon wrong assumptions, while other not very enlightened persons (like the wife and the Evangelical church she tried to get help from) cannot effectively enlighten the outta control person.

Given that brains perform apologetics, how rational can we be in cultures based more on some men’s analyses than on others’ analyses, esp. when others’ analyses parrot so much of those men’s—in cultures like LW’s? There’s potential for your female narratives project to change LW’s stupid (read: “low-effort thought”) analyses, if the women don’t end up affirming what the men have already said. I’ve seen at least one LW woman use some men’s stupid analyses of creepiness as exclusion or dislike of low-status or unattractive persons. Such over-simplified analysis doesn’t account for what I know, which includes not being creeped out when an unattractive guy touches me in a platonic manner and being a little creeped out when an attractive college dormmate poked me on Facebook and then just stared at me for a long time at a social function—even my gay guy friend indentified that behavior as creepy. (The behavior could’ve been called “rapey eyes” if the guy wasn’t shy but rather objectifying me, like I’ve seen some men do. I give them back the evil eyes to remind them to do no evil, and they turn away in shame. I first learned of the evil-eyes’ effectiveness when I got angry at bullying of my brother when I was first grade.

The evil-eyes was just part of the indignation expression, and uses of it made bullies stop in their tracks. This reminds me of an angry-looking deity in some East Asian cultures, icons of which are customarily put in places of business. I used to wonder why, but now I see it may be to remind people to do no evil.) Back to the dormmate…I decided against getting involved with him, as I already had a bf and a lot of stressful things to deal with, and the dormmate (with his possible obsessive desire and my body’s possible compliance despite my better judgment) would complicate things.

My creepy/danger alert was much higher at a meeting with a high-status (read: supposedly utility-generating, which includes attractive in the sense of pleasing or exciting to look at, but mostly the utility is supposed to be from actions, like work or play) man who was supposed to be my boss for an internship. The way he talked about the previous intern, a female, the sleazy way he looked while reminiscing and then had to smoke a cigarette, while in a meeting with me, my father (an employer who was abusive), and the internship program director, plus the fact that when I was walking towards the meeting room, the employees of the company, all men, stared at me and remarked, “It’s a girl,” well, I became so creeped out that I didn’t want to go back. It was hard, as a less articulate 16 year-old, to explain to the internship director all that stuff without sounding irrational. But not being able to explain my brain’s priors (including abuses that it had previously been too naïve/ignorant to warn against and prevent) wasn’t going to change them or decrease the avoidance-inducing fear and anxiety. So after some awkward attempts to answer the internship director’s question of why I didn’t want to work there, I asked for a placement with a different company, which she couldn’t do, unfortunately.

Given all my data, I can say approximately that identification of creepiness is a brain making predictions about someone’s brain (could even be one’s own brain, being introspective about whether you’re being creepy) running on a stupid/unenlightened/unwise apologetic program that could possibly escalate into actions unpleasant or of low utility to the target and/or to him/her/one’s self (e.g. energy-wasting, abuse, heartbreak, etc.). This analysis is backed up by data from studies I link to in this comment.

Back to LWers’ analyses. Tony Robbins said on an episode of Oprah’s LifeClass that women tend to be too affirming, rather than challenging like men. While I’d like to think that’s not true, since my body’s tendency for as far back as I can remember has been to challenge wrong or unnecessary confabulations (I have to remind my body to be positively reinforcing of good actions), Robbins was talking about the same kind of phenomenon I’m writing about here, which in effect, amounts to women not doing more to move people to become less wrong. Unlike Robbins, though I’d say that this is in part due to women using men’s explanations, with men being less challenging than apologetic. I regularly have to counter BS from men in my life or online. The Chinese equivalent of “bullshit” translated into English is bull fart. Not that females don’t make info-poor, self-serving abstractions in public language.

Comments (469)

Comment author: orthonormal 11 April 2013 04:03:01AM 13 points [-]

Mostly irrelevant question: I found it curious that both A and B used the word "body" in places where I would have expected "self" or "mind" or "person":

Forcing or planning a body to serve just one body (even one's own body) will involve abuse.

While I’d like to think that’s not true, since my body’s tendency for as far back as I can remember has been to challenge wrong or unnecessary confabulations (I have to remind my body to be positively reinforcing of good actions)

Out of curiosity, daenerys, was this a coincidence or an artifact of editing?

Comment author: daenerys 11 April 2013 04:12:05AM *  9 points [-]

After re-reading, I've been thinking these might be the same submitter myself, but having blinded myself to keep people's anonymity, I have no way of finding out myself. There had also been a similar spelling/grammar thing I had corrected in both these entries.

The most likely explanation would be if this was one submission that had a separation (like a row of asteriks) that made me end up processing it as two differing submissions when I was moving them all around into similar themes.

If you are the author(s) of this submission, and you don't mind me knowing, please PM me with whether or not this was one submission or two.

ETA: I have updated the OP to include a note that the two submissions may actually be one that I accidentally split in two (or might not be).

Comment author: DaFranker 11 April 2013 06:16:42PM 3 points [-]

Alternatively, they could use a common account (if there is one) or a one-shot sockpuppet for the purposes of PMing you the information while retaining (some) anonymity.

Comment author: juliawise 15 April 2013 02:40:25PM 8 points [-]

I’ve seen at least one LW woman use some men’s stupid analyses of creepiness as exclusion or dislike of low-status or unattractive persons.

I think you're referring to me. You're free to call the analysis stupid if you want, but it was my analysis and my experience, and when I look back the analysis still rings true to me. It was not men's analysis. It was mine.

Comment author: CronoDAS 11 April 2013 06:33:14PM 17 points [-]

Is "contempt" a better word for the attitudes and actions associated with "misogyny" than "hate"? "Hate" seems too active, conscious, and intention-based - it's a strong feeling and when you feel it, you know it.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 11 April 2013 02:17:29PM *  32 points [-]

I noticed that in many descriptions of violence against women, it is emphasised that given person is a normal male. I feel this requires deeper analysis than just saying "I agree" or "I disagree and I feel offended". Different people may translate these words completely differently, so let's think about which translations are correct and which are not.

To make this discussion shorter, let's ignore the part that also women can be violent, only let's only focus on what "normal male" means in this context. Here are a few possible translations. Actually, I just pick two extreme ones, and anyone is welcome to add other options (because I don't want to generate too many strawpersons).

  • A man can be abusive towards his wife/girlfriend/random girl even if he is not a psychopath, even if he is very nice and polite towards all his friends and strangers, if he is a good student, productive in his job, or a Nobel price winner. Towards a specific person in a specific relationship, his behavior may be completely different.

  • Deep in their hearts, all men desire to torture women. Some of them are just too afraid of legal consequences.

Let's say that I agree with the first version, disagree with the second version... and I am never sure which version a person had in her mind when she uses these words without further explanation. A principle of charity points towards the first explanation, but I know there are people believing the second version too. So I would prefer if people communicated more clearly.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 11 April 2013 02:39:16PM 13 points [-]

A man can be abusive towards his wife/girlfriend/random girl even if he is not a psychopath, even if he is very nice and polite towards all his friends and strangers, if he is a good student, productive in his job, or a Nobel price winner. Towards a specific person in a specific relationship, his behavior may be completely different.

A variation:

  • Friends, strangers, and society in general normalize the abuse, spending cognitive effort finding ways to rationalize it. Possibly because he is a good student, etc., they try to fit him into the "good student box" instead of the "wife-beater box".
Comment author: TimS 11 April 2013 03:03:45PM 7 points [-]

There's a halfway point between those extremes:

Many men do what is socially acceptable, and avoid what is social unacceptable. But their reading of what is socially acceptable allows them to do abusive things.

REGARDLESS of whether those men are reading the social norms correctly, there are effective interventions to (change / make more explicit) the norms those men are trying to follow. For example, the Don't Be that Guy campaign in Ottawa, Canada. Alas, I can't find any data that shows effectiveness. But if data showed actual incidence was not decreased by this type of campaign, that would count heavily against my current model of the world - keeping in mind that there are strong reasons to be unsure of the connection between reported incidents and actual incidents.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 11 April 2013 06:27:07PM 13 points [-]

It is significantly more socially acceptable for a woman to hit a man than the reverse. It is more socially acceptable for a woman to sexually assault a man.

It's more socially acceptable for a woman to suggest a man should be castrated, emasculated (a word which refers to the wholesale removal of a man's genitals, incidentally, as opposed to castration, which refers only to removal of the testicles), anally raped, or <insert horrific act here> than any analogous reversal.

These things happen regularly without comment or outrage in our society.

I'm curious to know what exactly your model of the world is.

Comment author: maia 12 April 2013 01:01:38AM 6 points [-]

It's more socially acceptable for a woman to suggest a man should be castrated, emasculated ...

This is true in my social circle, but I'm not at all confident that it is true in most.

It is more socially acceptable for a woman to sexually assault a man.

This is not true in my social circle. Again, not sure about others.

These things happen regularly without comment or outrage in our society.

Again speaking for my own social circle only: Things like this are generally said in jest. My guess is that it is more acceptable to joke about this because it is less of a serious problem than male-on-female assault/rape.

But, I'm not convinced at all that this is typical.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 12 April 2013 03:19:15AM 12 points [-]

Wedding Crashers. Yes Man. 40 Days and Nights (although in that case, there was a bit of popular backlash).

I'm not going to go through cases for the first thing you quoted.

But it's not limited to speech. If a woman hits me, most witnesses will assume I deserved it; I did or said something they didn't see. If I hit a woman - well. Men who have called 911 after being assaulted by their wives or girlfriends frequently find -themselves- locked up.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 12 April 2013 03:33:19AM 16 points [-]

The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker is an interesting example. He starts by explaining that he became fascinated by finding out how to predict threat levels because his mother was extremely violent. The rest of the book assumes that an aggressor will be male.

The Emotional Terrorist and the Violence-Prone by Erin Pizzey is her account of starting one of the first domestic violence shelters in the British Isles, and being surprised to find that a bit over half the women were habitually violent themselves. I've heard confirming information from at least one other source. This doesn't mean you should assume that any women who reports violence in her marriage is partly at fault-- note that the odds are close to even.

I think women who are domestically violent against men are a serious problem, and it's going to take a lot of men speaking up (something which is quite difficult, and not just because of feminists) to get any sort of a solution.

Comment author: TimS 11 April 2013 06:30:57PM *  1 point [-]

It's more socially acceptable for a woman to suggest a man should be castrated, emasculated (a word which refers to the wholesale removal of a man's genitals, incidentally, as opposed to castration, which refers only to removal of the testicles), anally raped, or <insert horrific act here> than any analogous reversal.

What on Earth makes you think that I find that dynamic acceptable? Non-consent is non-consent.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 11 April 2013 06:41:20PM 7 points [-]

I didn't imply you find it acceptable. The question was, if you think social acceptability is predictive of behavior, do you expect to see more violence against men than women - that is, should you expect that violence by women against men is a larger social problem, given that it is more socially acceptable?

Comment author: TimS 12 April 2013 01:51:58AM 4 points [-]

I see what you are asking. I think my most relevant response is that I don't think the word "more" in the quoted text is accurate.

The Steubenville victim got death threats from people who knew her. Someone making the unacceptable comments you describe would generally be faced with awkward silence.

Incidentally, I'm no fan of speech codes, but I suspect ridiculous overreactions to stupid speech happens with somewhat equal prevalence on both political extremes. One ridiculous overreaction is too many, of course.

Comment author: DaFranker 11 April 2013 07:14:57PM *  4 points [-]

OrphanWilde: [Factual, empirically-testable claim that:] For Set A: X > Y
OrphanWilde: [Query:] (For Set A) Does X > Y imply f(X) > f(Y)?
(got downvoted)

Response: I don't find X acceptable. (Edit: Or perhaps: "I don't find (X > Y) acceptable.")
(got upvoted)

Someone is being misread and uncharitably misinterpreted here.

Edit: Here's a translation of my pseudologic above:

[Factual Claim] For some culture: Social acceptability of female-to-male violence ("X") > Social acceptability of male-to-female violence ("Y")
[Query, perhaps rhetorical?] Does the social acceptability of gender-to-gender violence ("X" and "Y") correlate with the actual frequency of corresponding gender-to-gender violent actions ("f(X)" and "f(Y)")?
[Implication] If so, we should expect that X > Y ==> f(X) > f(Y) ; that is, we should expect that there are more female-to-male acts of violence than the reverse, by this logic.

[Response] I don't find the fact that (female-to-male violence is socially acceptable) acceptable. (Or perhaps that it's more acceptable than the reverse, but I doubt that would be the intended meaning. )

( Anyone else notice that the response, while probably true and definitely admirable, does not engage in any way with the point? Anyone else notice that the one that points to a flaw in the earlier logic gets downvoted, while the other that responds with something barely related but applause-lighted gets upvoted? Anyone else notice that I got downvoted at first for attempting to point this out (the last two sentences)? )

Comment author: OrphanWilde 11 April 2013 08:20:14PM 3 points [-]

I don't think my interpretation was uncharitable; I think TimS indicated that reducing social acceptance/increasing social stigma for male-on-female violence would result in less violence, and if this didn't work, his model would be challenged. (Or are you saying I was being uncharitably read? Having reread my comment; my point wasn't very explicit at all, and kind of begged for an uncharitable reading. So I don't hold the uncharitable reading against anybody.)

(Incidentally, don't worry too much about the upvotes/downvotes in this post, they're not necessarily indicative of the reasonableness of your position. There are definitely people who have very firmly taken sides, and are upvoting/downvoting anything they perceive to be on or supportive of the opposing side. Environmental hazard of touchy social issues, not much you can do.)

Comment author: westward 11 April 2013 07:15:13PM 1 point [-]

What is this "social acceptance" you speak of? Is it defined by some authority? How is it measured?

I'm not trying to be snarky, I've just been listening to A Human's Guide to Words and this term doesn't feel well defined.

Comment author: TimS 12 April 2013 01:46:23AM *  8 points [-]

From the "How to Change Your Mind" sequence: Lonely dissent doesn't feel like going to school dressed in black. It feels like going to school wearing a clown suit. (In other words, "leaving the pack" vs. "joining the rebellion")

What is this "social acceptance" you speak of?

The first rule of human club is you don't explicitly discuss the rules of human club.

Is it defined by some authority?

There is no authority with the power to define, despite the best efforts of Dear Abby and others.

How is it measured?

With great difficulty and much controversy.

Comment author: [deleted] 12 April 2013 01:52:35AM 4 points [-]

In terms of HGW, the concept is too complex for an intrinsic definition, but there is this thing that exists in the social dynamic that can be pointed out and named as "social acceptance".

Call it SA(behaviour). ~SA(b) predicts Ostracized(Perpetrator(b)) and related phenomenon with higher probability than SA(b), which in turn predicts Encouraged(Perpetrator(b)).

Comment author: army1987 12 April 2013 06:32:39PM *  2 points [-]

To make this discussion shorter, let's ignore the part that also women can be violent, only let's only focus on what "normal male" means in this context.

I also have objections due to the ambiguity of that word (and its antonym) in a different dimension: is that supposed to mean ‘typical’ or ‘functional’? I think that most people would agree that it's common for men to be abusive, but wouldn't agree that it's desirable for men to be abusive. (In this particular post, it clearly means the former, but it's so common for that word to be used to sneak in connotations in order to induce the reader to commit the naturalistic fallacy that I'd rather less ambiguous words were used instead even in these cases.)

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 12 April 2013 08:48:36PM 7 points [-]

You might think my ex was a sociopath, but no -- he's a normal male, working as a university professor.

My best take on what "normal" means in that sentence is "not obviously weird or dangerous, and not an especially rare type". However, it's ambiguous-- it could mean "a very high proportion of men who appear normal are that abusive".

I don't think the poster has a clear idea of what sociopath means, since one of the things many of them are good at is passing for normal.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 11 April 2013 03:22:05PM 2 points [-]

It may also be that the speaker is themselves uncertain. That is, I might have convincing and emotionally salient evidence of the former and less-convincing but still emotionally salient evidence of the latter, and therefore have high confidence in the former and lower confidence in the latter (and similarly low confidence in the negation of the latter). In that case, communicating more clearly won't necessarily help you be sure which version I have in my mind... I have them both in my mind, to varying degrees.

Why is this a particularly important ambiguity for people speaking to you to make explicit, compared to the thousands of other ambiguities inherent in the use of natural language?

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 12 April 2013 09:46:11AM 12 points [-]

Why is this a particularly important ambiguity for people speaking to you to make explicit, compared to the thousands of other ambiguities inherent in the use of natural language?

There are thousands of ambiguities in natural language, but most of them don't have a connotation that I am a criminal in disguise. If it becomes accepted uncritically, some day it could have negative consequences for me.

How would e.g. a black person feel about a habit of inserting sentences like "this criminal was a normal black person" whenever a crime done by a black person is dicussed?

But also women have a selfish reason to care. Imagine that as a heterosexual woman you want to have a partner, and you want to minimize the risk of being abused. Changing the society and the legal system helps, but that is a very slow process. You also want to reduce the chance that you specifically will choose an abusive partner. So here is a specific man, and he looks attractive.. how can you estimate the probability of future abuse? Is there any evidence available?

Believing that "all men are abusers (when given a chance)" suggests that no evidence exists; there are no red flags you could detect to reduce your chance of future abuse.

I believe that this is false; a fallacy of grey. While there is no 100% algorithm to find a man who won't ever abuse you, there do exist some red flags, and by using them you can reduce the chance. An obvious example would be seeing the man behaving aggressively towards other people. (Some women ignore even this red flag.) I suspect that alcoholism may be another red flag; there are possibly more such red flags known. Discovering these red flags using statistics could be helpful.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 12 April 2013 01:32:50PM 6 points [-]

True enough.

Another thing I can do if I want to reduce the uncritical acceptance of the second version is to consistently use the first version myself, including when I interpret others (principle of charity, as you suggested), and make this explicit when it seems appropriate.

The set of situations in which I consider modeling my preferred use of language appropriate is much greater than the set of situations in which I consider it appropriate or useful to insist that other people change their language use to conform to it. But on reflection, I'm not sure where that judgment of appropriateness comes from or whether I endorse it.

That aside, I certainly agree that "all men are abusers (when given a chance)" is false for any interpretation of "abuser" and "chance" that doesn't also make "all humans are abusers (when given a chance)" equally true.

Comment author: mwengler 12 April 2013 03:03:35PM 3 points [-]

Sure, you want to avoid ahead of time getting involved with an abuser.

But virtually all abuse stories I hear involve the woman ignoring early red flags, ignoring early pre- or mildly abusive behavior.

So a tremendous amount of abuse could be avoided without needing to predict the future. STOP relationships with people who are starting to abuse you, starting down that path.

I am not saying this to justify the abuser or abusive behavior. Rather to point out that in the puzzle of understanding abuse, understanding the abused's staying in the relationship is part of that puzzle.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 12 April 2013 04:09:56PM *  18 points [-]

understanding the abused's staying in the relationship is part of that puzzle

Could believing that "all men are abusers" contribute to staying with the one specific abuser? Such model provides only the choice between an abusive man or no man... where a different model would also provide an option of finding a non-abusive man.

(A data point about a slightly different situation: I knew a woman who believed that all men are alcoholics; the only difference is that some are honest about it and get drunk in public, the remaining ones are in denial and get drunk at home; and from these only two options, the former ones are more honest and more social. No surprise that all her partners were alcoholics. She complained about that, but instead about her bad choices, she complained about the bad male nature. Attempts by other women to convince her otherwise only led to responses like: "You are so naive to believe that. Just wait until you know your darling better and you will find out that he is an alcoholic too.")

Comment author: mwengler 12 April 2013 05:21:56PM 8 points [-]

Could believing that "all men are abusers" contribute to staying with the one specific abuser?

Sorta, yes, no. Cart before the horse. I think some women who stay with abusers may rationalize it by believing that all men are abusers. Mostly rationality is used for "understanding" what is happening, not generally to prompt fundamental changes. When I was drinking I had a very warped idea of how much other people drank, I thought I was drinking a little more than them. When I stopped drinking, and especially when I stopped feeling driven to drink, I realized that a tremendous fraction of my world was barely drinking at all, and that even among drinkers, most of them were sober enough to read the bill at the end of the night (which I generally wasn't on Fridays).

The evidence about other people's drinking was always there, I discounted gigantically its difference from what I was doing. In most of modern life, the evidence for other men treating other women differently is there, the question is why would one woman in an almost identical information rich environment as another women never give a guy who once raises his voice at her a second chance, while another stays through multiple mate-induced hospital visits?

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 12 April 2013 08:43:23PM 5 points [-]

why would one woman in an almost identical information rich environment as another women never give a guy who once raises his voice at her a second chance, while another stays through multiple mate-induced hospital visits?

I'd start by looking at the conditions the two women grew up in.

For what it's worth, I've heard that there aren't really good predictors of who will end up in an abusive relationship, but people from healthy backgrounds get out faster. Unfortunately, I don't have a source.

Comment author: hesperidia 14 April 2013 04:27:22PM 3 points [-]
Comment author: army1987 12 April 2013 08:07:33PM *  2 points [-]

and similarly low confidence in the negation of the latter [“Deep in their hearts, all men desire to torture women. Some of them are just too afraid of legal consequences.”]

On the off chance that you're speaking personally rather than hypothetically (I hope not)... What??? FWIW, I am a man and, while I can't see arbitrarily deep into my heart, I have no desire to torture women (or anyone else, actually) so far as I can see, and I seldom think about possible legal consequences of my actions. Now I might be lying about that (so you have to take my word for it), or maybe I do have such a desire but it's so deep in my heart that I can't see it (but how would you make that belief pay rent?), but still... I'd find it appalling that anyone would give a non-negligible probability that “Deep in their hearts, all men [emphasis as in the original] desire to torture women”, for any value of deep that wouldn't make that statement useless-whether-true-or-false. (BTW, Gandhi was also a man, wasn't he?)

Comment author: randallsquared 12 April 2013 09:54:18PM 5 points [-]
Comment author: TheOtherDave 12 April 2013 08:44:02PM 2 points [-]

Your hope has been realized! Hooray!

That said, I also recommend that if you are going to spend very much time around women who have been severely traumatized by their experiences with abusive men, you prepare yourself to be appalled.

Comment author: David_Gerard 12 April 2013 07:00:45AM 4 points [-]

"This is the worst kind of discrimination. The kind against me!"

Comment author: OrphanWilde 12 April 2013 01:31:45PM 7 points [-]

Because anybody speaking out against discrimination against themselves is automatically demanding it take the top priority, and men should just shut up and put up until it's their turn.

Comment author: orthonormal 11 April 2013 04:01:24AM 44 points [-]

To avoid the aforementioned failure mode of silent approval and loud dissent, let me say that I appreciate this post and this series. I'm trying to update my priors about how many women (in the rationalist cluster) have experienced outright horrific abuse of several sorts, and how many more have had to worry about it; it's obvious in retrospect that I wouldn't have been exposed to these kinds of stories as I was growing up even if they happened around me. That really bears on the question of what policies are best overall, though I'll have to think through all the implications.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 11 April 2013 02:00:26PM *  11 points [-]

I agree, but connotationally I also want to note that...

I wouldn't have been exposed to these kinds of stories as I was growing up even if they happened around me

...this part is completely gender-neutral.

Comment author: Error 19 April 2013 08:00:28PM *  3 points [-]

Agreed with ortho, and I'd like to add that I appreciate the post and series even though I think many of the criticisms in the comments are legitimate. It is more important to understand a perspective than to agree with it. For me personally, the inferential distance is vast and I'm glad to have it close somewhat.

Comment author: ikrase 12 April 2013 06:52:02PM 2 points [-]

Me too. Have upvoted and downvoted many, many comments so far, but often had little to say.

Comment author: David_Gerard 11 April 2013 07:38:53AM 1 point [-]

+1

Comment author: Qiaochu_Yuan 11 April 2013 08:56:13AM 19 points [-]

General note: let's not do that thing where we don't like an argument someone is presenting and so we fail to update on the evidence they present in favor of it.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 11 April 2013 09:53:20PM 5 points [-]

The argument colors the evidence. If the argument is presented in such a way as to render it likely that confirmation bias is in play, or worse presented in such a way as to render it likely that opposing evidence was deliberately omitted, the evidence loses substantial value.

For example, I've seen some really good evidence that the Sandy Hook shooting was staged. However, the context rendered the evidence completely meaningless; the presenters also subscribed to all sorts of other conspiracy theories, presenting evidence which had long-since been debunked. It's a near-certainty that the presentation of the Sandy Hook evidence omitted anything which conflicted with the story presented, making the evidence appear artificially strong.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 11 April 2013 11:35:57PM 9 points [-]

Beware lest you abuse the notion of evidence-filtering as a Fully General Counterargument to exclude all evidence you don't like: "That argument was filtered, therefore I can ignore it." If you're ticked off by a contrary argument, then you are familiar with the case, and care enough to take sides. You probably already know your own side's strongest arguments. You have no reason to infer, from a contrary argument, the existence of new favorable signs and portents which you have not yet seen. So you are left with the uncomfortable facts themselves; a blue stamp on box B is still evidence.

— EY, "What Evidence Filtered Evidence?"

Also, we should distinguish between experiential evidence that a person offers based on their own experience, and (what we might call) hermeneutic evidence that may depend on a particular selective evaluation of published records. The sort of "evidence" that conspiracy-theorists (Holocaust-deniers; 9/11-truthers, birthers, etc.) have to offer is usually of the latter kind. In the present case, we are dealing with people's reports of their own experiences; even if we do not agree with the sociopolitical conclusions they draw from their experiences, this is not reason for us to become denialists about their experiences themselves.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 12 April 2013 12:28:03AM 2 points [-]

I have no disagreement; if I intended to say the authors involved were being dishonest, I would make that point, rather than implying it (my apologies if this comes across as defensive, but I find the idea highly... distasteful, to put it mildly). I simply object to Qiaochu_Yuan's unqualified statement; I don't think it is necessarily good advice in the general case when unqualified by caution about the motivations of those presenting the evidence.

Comment author: shminux 10 April 2013 10:11:25PM 11 points [-]

I gave my ex much input and feedback for his works, but others will never know. Meanwhile, he trivialized and hindered my work. He recently admitted to purposely discouraging me from going to college or doing well while I was there. I suspected as much, like when he guilt-tripped me the morning I had to cram for an AP exam in high school, BSing that my not celebrating his birthday with him meant that I didn't love him. This was when he was in grad school -- he knew what he was doing. He wanted to keep me for himself, and often said so. That thinking--a woman serving one men--was a justification for him to rape, physically assault, psychologically manipulate, and limit me (such as when or what I was allowed to write).

It looks like A went through some significant physical and emotional abuse early and often, probably left with a PTSD or other emotional scars. I wonder how common this is, vs a more subtle version, like the academic workplace discrimination stats linked in the OP.

Due to how our bodies work, a person tends to not respect a partner who is focused on pleasing just that person.

Bodies? Minds? I don't understand what the submitter means here. If this is about status signaling, then it probably isn't gender-specific, though I can see how women might "dote" over their partners more than the other way around.

B: almost all men watch porn, though few compulsively, and the tastes vary wildly. I am not sure how often guys cannot tell a porn fantasy from reality, but probably no more often than playing violent videogames translates into real-life violence. I'm sure there have been plenty of research on the subject.

I can totally see the workplace creepiness case B describes, and it's unfortunate that she was not equipped to articulate it at the time. I have no idea how this creepiness plays out in "East Asian cultures".

In general, I expected more of LW-relevant feedback, given the overrepresentation of young males here, probably coloring the discussion (likely inadvertently) with content and style females may find grating.

Comment author: V_V 10 April 2013 11:37:17PM 13 points [-]

almost all men watch porn, though few compulsively, and the tastes vary wildly.

Many women (more than half according to some statistics) also do it.

Comment author: Pentashagon 11 April 2013 12:35:05AM 4 points [-]

It looks like A went through some significant physical and emotional abuse early and often, probably left with a PTSD or other emotional scars. I wonder how common this is, vs a more subtle version, like the academic workplace discrimination stats linked in the OP.

Something like a third of women worldwide experience domestic violence. In the U.S. over 10% of college students have reported being raped and between 15% and 20% of women report being raped during their lifetime (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_statistics, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_in_the_United_States). Compared to violence, my smart-ass guess for how many women experience discrimination some time in their life would be closer to 100%.

Comment author: Axrt 11 April 2013 12:08:33PM 7 points [-]

If I used the same metrics that are used to get the "XX% of women are domestically abused!!!!!" talking points, I myself would be a victim of domestic violence, but I am not.

Reasonable estimates of what percent of women who have been victims of what is normally thought of when the phrase "Domestic Violence" is used, stuff worth doing something about --not being pushed out the way once in your life--, is very small and not more than a few percentage points.

See

Johnson, M. (1995). "Patriarchal Terrorism and Common Couple Violence: Two Forms of Violence against Women". Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 57, No. 2 (May, 1995), pp. 283-294.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 11 April 2013 01:29:30AM 12 points [-]

my smart-ass guess for how many women experience discrimination some time in their life would be closer to 100%.

My smart-ass guess for how many humans experience discrimination some time in their life would be closer to 100%.

Comment author: westward 11 April 2013 04:23:14AM 21 points [-]

Sure, but there's experiencing discrimination for any of 1,000 reasons, and there's experiencing discrimination because of your gender.

I'm a male and I had an emotionally abusive father. The abuse I received was rarely, if ever, related to me being a boy, while my older sister was regularly insulted as a girl. For example, getting called gendered insults aka dad screaming repeatedly "you fucking whore!" to his 12 year old daughter in the middle of a crowded street. I didn't have an gendered equivalent.

Were we both abused? Sure. Was my sister's abuse worse? Eh, I don't see that as a worthwhile question. Did her abuse negatively affect her view of herself as a woman more that mine negatively affected my view of myself as a man? Absolutely.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 11 April 2013 08:14:47AM 6 points [-]

The abuse I received was rarely, if ever, related to me being a boy,

How do you know that? The expectations he had for you had nothing to do with being a boy? Did he give all the same abuse to your sister? He never called you wimp, faggot, queer, etc.?

After listening to a little men's rights talk, there really is a lot of discrimination against men that is entirely approved of by society, and not recognized at all. "It's not because they are boys."

It would be helpful to get beyond the competition over who has it worse, and just be opposed to any and all unfair discrimination. I think the problem are the proposed remedies. They're not opposition to discrimination, but further discrimination claiming to balance the game. Problem is, that requires a comprehensive balancing of all factors in the game, and not just opposition to particular agreed injustices.

Lots of dads get particularly wound up about their daughters sexuality. One of the uglier bits of life.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 11 April 2013 08:22:06AM *  17 points [-]

Being obligated to be a more or less normal boy is something that a lot of boys can manage. It's an abusive requirement when it's something a particular boy can't do or strongly dislikes doing.

A girl can't stop being a girl.

What westward is talking about is a girl being attacked for being a girl. What you're talking about (and it's a quite serious issue) is boys being attacked for not being good enough at being boys.

I'm not denying that there's gender-based abuse of boys. I even know a couple of men who grew up in families that strongly preferred girls.

It took me a lot of years to understand what "misogyny" meant, and I'm usually good at figuring out words from context. My problem with the word was that I'd grown up in a family which valued girls and boys about equally, and I had a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea that there are a lot of people (mostly but not entirely male, I think) who hate women.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 11 April 2013 09:17:40AM 3 points [-]

What westward is talking about is a girl being attacked for being a girl.

I don't this particularly convincing. She likely could have "managed" his oppressive expectations with sufficient obedience and deference as well.

And I don't want to be speculating on his situation in the third person. Unless you've discussed these issues personally with him, I think you're jumping to conclusions based on what he said.

I get the feeling we've been here before. The previous installment of The LW Women Speak? One limitation I saw last time was the arguing over broad generalizations, particularly over the balance of harm. This tends to look and feel like the minimizing of harm.

So to be concrete, I strongly disapprove of a father shrieking "whore" at their daughters, and see great harm to a daughter in it.

For a series of videos on the lifelong liability of child abuse, see Stefan Molyneux: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLB3F2CF45EEB95C80

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 11 April 2013 05:51:48AM 12 points [-]

In the U.S. over 10% of college students have reported being raped and between 15% and 20% of women report being raped during their lifetime

Eric Raymond has a post here explaining why that statistic is massively exaggerated.

Comment author: therufs 12 April 2013 04:30:29PM 7 points [-]

The statistical analysis is interesting, but the author's implicit assertion that non-forcible rape is somehow less rape-y than forcible is extremely offputting.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 12 April 2013 04:47:59PM 11 points [-]

There are necessary gradients.

I don't think my then-girlfriend waking me up with oral sex - that's sex without consent, incidentally, and she and I had a very serious conversation about that afterwards, and set some boundaries for implicit consent for future use - is the same kind of act as what is commonly thought of as rape. I certainly don't think the legal punishments should be the same.

Comment author: pragmatist 13 April 2013 02:34:56PM *  4 points [-]

I believe the the original 1 in 6 statistic comes from a national survey conducted in 1996 (not by the Colorado Coalition against Sexual Violence, pace ESR), in which 17.6 % of the surveyed women said they had been victims of completed or attempted rape in their lifetimes. In the survey questions, rape was explicitly defined as vaginal, oral or anal penetration under force or the threat of force.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 11 April 2013 04:52:30AM 22 points [-]

I'm copying this comment from the PUA discussion because that post is being downvoted to oblivion and I don't want this comment to get lost.

PUA and Last Minute Resistance: I have no idea why PUA gets its bad reputation from negging when something like this was easy to find "Distract her thoughts with banter: It’s very simple to distract her logical mind… just don’t answer questions, deflect them. If she says “Where do you live” say “Oh, it’s like 5 minutes away”. Keep the conversation flowing and she will be fine."

This one has an explicit "no means no", but a strong recommendation to distract her from anything short of an emphatic no.

This one is interesting-- it puts seduction in the category of salesmanship, and has some clue about why being manipulated isn't fun.

I recommend Confessions of a Pickup Artist Chaser to give some idea of the range of thought and technique in the PUA communities. Chapter 3 covers PUA and Last Minute Resistance, and is an excellent description of how to not pressure people into behavior they don't want. Key points: withdrawing from connection counts as pressure. If you respect the person and they need time to process what's going on, give them that time.

Comment author: Jack 12 April 2013 02:51:16PM 7 points [-]

The LMR stuff is pretty ethically backward.

It also strikes me as really counterproductive for the stated PUA goals of social success and having lots of fun. I guess there are those who just want to maximize the number of women they can say they've slept with. But to me it just sounds like a recipe for rushed, communication free, one-time-only sex-- which is to say really bad sex. Not to mention it reeks of the ego-obsessed neediness PUAs generally suggest rejecting.

Comment author: V_V 13 April 2013 06:23:44PM *  6 points [-]

Regarding parallels between seduction and salesmanship, there is a recent interesting post on Overcoming Bias about the asymmetry between the behavior of buyers and sellers in a trade transaction: buyers tend to take a cautious, passive role, while sellers take an active, persuasive role.

I think that Hanson's signalling explanaition is wrong, but he is right to notice that this behavioral asymmetry exists.
My explanation is that this phenomenon is caused by information asymmetry: in a typical transaction, the seller has usually less uncertainty about the utility that they will get from the transaction than the buyer, since while both parties can evaluate the utility of money, the seller has usually better information about the object being sold than the buyer has.
Therefore, it makes sense for the risk averse buyer to adopt a cautious stance, creating incentive for the seller try to persuade them.

The more information asymmetry exists in a markert, the more manipulative pressure sales techniques we observe: used car salesmen get their reputation from the fact that the used car market is indeed a textbook example of high information asymmetry market.

Back to the seduction scene, it might make sense that in a typical club pickup scenario, men have less uncertainty about the utility of an encounter than women do: a man looking for a one-night stand may only care about (generalized) looks, which are easy to evaluate, while even a women looking for casual sex might be seeking for status, which is difficult to evaluate in strangers you just met, or she might be taking into account the risks of being raped, robbed or otherwise abused, or she might be unconsciously considering the risk of an unwanted pregnancy.

If that's the case, it might be explain why women tend to take a cautious passive role while men take a persuasive role, and may even resort to salemanship-like techniques.

Comment author: DaFranker 11 April 2013 05:36:48PM *  22 points [-]

TL;DR: Please isolate and clarify what specific experiences and actions you are talking about when you say "rape", "assault", etc. in the same manner that you would want others to if you were talking about taxes and people kept saying "theft" and "slavery". Thank you.

Disclaimer: Not intended directly as a critique or counterargument to the submissions.
Other disclaimer: If reading descriptions of violent sexual assault can trigger traumatic experiences, don't read this.

Nitpick:

Rape rape raaaaaape!

Honestly, when things like "my ex raped and assaulted and abused me" and "forced sex on me" come up, I have no idea what the person is referring to. In context, the person saying this might have a very specific emotion / subjective experience in mind when they say this. However, without direct access to this experience, I'm left hanging...

Does this mean the partner just insisted verbally a lot, saying "it'll be fun", "come on, don't be like that" (with negative connotation), maybe some psychological pressure, and then the victim ended up agreeing to have sex because, who knows, they might enjoy it and it'll please their partner quite a lot if they're that insistent? If so, I've been "raped" like this at least ten times in my life. And I'm a guy.

Or, is it completely on the other end of some imaginary rape spectrum; a male punched a female down to the floor or otherwise used physical violence until the female had no more ability to defend herself, and then the guy ripped apart clothing and forcefully inserted himself, fending off or forcefully countering (perhaps by preemptive hitting to weaken her) her attempts at defense (if any by that point) while just painfully (for her) enjoying his forced sex, control, cruelty, dominance and the humiliation / despair of his victim?

There needs to be some kind of context or perspective here if anything reasonable is to come out of the subject.

I personally don't dislike the first above scenario I described, even though by that (noncentral) definition I was raped. I don't resent it in the slightest, did not have any sort of negative subjective experience, and so on - in terms of my best approximation of my utility function, it was technically a net win, in hindsight (because of how I value the experiences of my partner). Just not a hedonistic net win.

As for the second scenario, I obviously have the immediate gut reaction of wanting to tear that male's groins right off the rest of his body, and then put them in a blender for good measure (and to make sure he can't have 'em reattached). I suspect that something close to the gut-level disgust and hatred is what most people feel whenever the trigger-word "rape" comes up. This is not always the full reality. The ambiguity may also have been deliberate, sometimes even exactly to bring out these feelings.

By this point, I feel the need to point right back up to my disclaimer at the top: I'm not making an accusation on the submitters. I am well aware that there are or may be other circumstances or counterarguments for most of the specific situations to which the above could be mapped. My goal here is to remind people that this intermediary step between that particular situation described in the posts, and the general higher-level abstract discussions, is present and very often glossed over or ignored entirely.

Please keep in mind the empirical cluster, spectrum and connotations of the words you use when discussing this subject, please make an effort to notice when there is a divergence in the usage between two people or comments, and please specify, taboo, reduce or replace with the substance whenever you think it might be ambiguous. Otherwise, we're going to keep getting a lot of noise.

As you can tell, I wrote this because I was really annoyed by said noise and miscommunications.

Other other disclaimer: The behaviors I implicitly reprimand are not things I've observed only in one gender. To the best of my memory, I have observed good and bad epistemological hygiene in this respect proportionally to the base rate of poster, so I tentatively infer that gender is not a factor and that people just make these mistakes. Not "only women trying to get attention by sounding so victimized do this" or "apologetic males who want to keep raping without guilt" - PEOPLE, in even distributions.

Comment author: TimS 11 April 2013 06:10:32PM *  12 points [-]

a male punched a female down to the floor or otherwise used physical violence until the female had no more ability to defend herself, and then the guy ripped apart clothing and forcefully inserted himself, fending off or forcefully countering (perhaps by preemptive hitting to weaken her) her attempts at defense (if any by that point) while just painfully (for her) enjoying his forced sex, control, cruelty, dominance and the humiliation / despair of his victim?

One major problem with communication on this issue is that the quoted text is not how sexual assault tends to appear in the real world. If that's the definition of rape or sexual assault, then what happened in Steubenville wasn't rape or sexual assault. (Just to be clear, I think what happened in Steubenville deserves to be criminalized as sexual assault).

Here is one analysis of the sociological research on rape. In brief, in a survey of ~ 1800 college students, 6% said yes to questions like:

Have you ever had sexual intercourse with someone, even though they did not want to, because they were too intoxicated (on alcohol or drugs) to resist your sexual advances (e.g., removing their clothes)?

63% of the folks who said yes to those questions admitted to having done it more than once. The mean for that group was 5.8 incidents (median of 3, so some big outliers are skewing the mean).

In a study of ~ 1100 naval enlistees, 13% said yes to a similar question, with 71% of the yes-population admitting multiple incidents. In that research, 61% of all the incidents were based on intoxication alone, with no threat of force.

That looks nothing like "male punched a female down to the floor or otherwise used physical violence until the female had no more ability to defend herself." So if that's what you are looking to prevent, you aren't trying to prevent the thing that seems to be happening.

In short, "He was drunk, she was drunk" sex is a hard problem for policies based on consent and capacity to consent. But it looks very little like "He waited until she was drunk, then took her somewhere private, and had sex with her, knowing that she wouldn't have said yes if she were sober. And he attended the event planning or hoping to do that to some woman."

Comment author: DaFranker 11 April 2013 06:39:55PM *  15 points [-]

I feel like I'm being read rather uncharitably.

One major problem with communication on this issue is that the quoted text is not how sexual assault tends to appear in the real world. If that's the definition of rape or sexual assault, then what happened in Steubenville wasn't rape or sexual assault. (Just to be clear, I think what happened in Steubenville deserves to be criminalized as sexual assault).

This is, in fact, one of my points. People sometimes gloss over the differences between various points in the spectrum, and speak with connotations as if all forms of rape were exactly as horrible and utility-destroying as the one I described. My nitpick is that this should be avoided. My desire is that people pay more attention to avoiding this error.

In brief, in a survey of ~ 1800 college students, 6% said yes to questions like:

I'm surprised, and not in that direction. 6% seems unusually low if taken at face value. Adjusting for the fact that this is a self-reporting survey, sure, that matches my priors (even though that still feels a bit low, but might be a memory / bias thing). The military stats also somewhat fit within the bounds of my priors, though I'll update a bit on this because I had very little specific information.

I may have to go read the link and related research later, since it's considered a "blog" and blocked by the network I'm currently using.

That looks nothing like "male punched a female down to the floor or otherwise used physical violence until the female had no more ability to defend herself." So if that's what you are looking to prevent, you aren't trying to prevent the thing that seems to be happening.

I'm not specifically suggesting anything to prevent, nor proposing any "rape" redefinitions, nor pointing towards any kind of particular policy (especially not legal or society-wide). I'm not sure how to interpret this part.

I don't know what I did wrong. I'm making a comment about the way people (or LWers specifically) talk about sexual abuse, specifically about the way they conflate various meanings, specific actions, and vastly different ranges of personal experiences and internal monologues for both the victims and the abusers, and often lump everything into one big scary word.

I want to unpack that big scary word because I think we can have more meaningful discussion and less noise if we speak about experiences and actions, rather than an abstract "event" that can include a wide range of different (usually undesirable) activities.

Perhaps also importantly, I believe that the fact that said scary word is "rape" should not make the whole thing suddenly more misogynistic, evil, bad, improper, and worth condemning than if I wanted the same thing about the word "politics" or "theft".

Comment author: TimS 12 April 2013 01:34:37AM *  8 points [-]

I feel like I'm being read rather uncharitably.

I didn't downvote. Sexual assault certainly is a spectrum. But your two examples are roughly like saying:

There are two likely possibilities. First, DARE is right about everything. Second, drug abuse is not a serious problem in this country.

Suppose I have a strong prior that one doesn't think the second prong is true. Then I should adjust my estimate that one is very confused about drug abuse significantly upward (because DARE is nonsense).

The interventions likely to reduce stranger rape are unlikely to effect skeevy rape. Since skeevy rape is overwhelmingly more common (the linked research says that no one described using force on a stranger), that's where we should focus the discussion.

Comment author: bogdanb 25 April 2013 12:35:33PM *  4 points [-]

For the record, before reading your comment I interpreted the two examples as "here are two extremes, please be more specific about where on this spectrum what you're describing falls", rather than "which of this two was it?"

(This is not to contradict your critique. On re-reading the original text I can see it's not explicitly saying either, I just interpreted differently. I only mean to make known to both the poster and you that (what I assume was) his intent was not opaque to all readers.)

Comment author: TimS 25 April 2013 01:50:43PM *  3 points [-]

Fair enough. I think the best form of my critique is something like:

On a scale of 1 to 100, where 1 is DaFranker's first example, and 100 is DaFranker's second example, most rapes are about a 10 - and incidents below 5 are not generally illegal. Rapes rated 80 or greater are so uncommon as to be not worth discussing when the topic is rape, considering both absolute numbers and relative frequency compared to rapes generally. Much like serial killers with > 10 kills are not worth discussing when the topic is homicide.

At that point, the endpoints selected seem more likely to derail the discussion into unproductive areas rather than talking about sexual assault as it actually occurs.

Comment author: DaFranker 25 April 2013 02:48:35PM *  2 points [-]

Aha. This makes some things clearer for me. Perhaps I can also make some things clearer about my thought process:

The intent behind those two specific examples was to give something that seems only a little bit less bad than Judge McJudgington's average rape case, and then give something utterly horrible that can fight for headlines with Jack The Ripper.

My motive for this was that when Judge McJudgington's (really) average rape case (not the one I gave as example) makes the headlines, people thinkof the second example and go all indignant and want the rapist to be punished more than a murderer. Many people on the internets have this model of what "rape" is that matches the extreme example. However, I've also noticed that many (feminists and anti-male-apologists seem to come up more often here) others have for model of "rape" the first example, and anything that goes above that they will decry "rape and torture!" in the same way the previous category of people get enraged at the extreme case.

In all those situations, the headline article for Judge McJudgington's case will cater to both of these groups and try to appeal to their emotions. Thus the entire spectrum, from both endpoints, gets blurred into a single word -- "rape".

That is why I chose those examples. They're the two endpoints where, from my observations, the entire spectrum of the word "rape" get blurred into one when a large representative group talks about it (or a headline news article gets written).

Comment author: drethelin 11 April 2013 08:20:17PM 7 points [-]

Isn't the inverse there: "She attended a party, planning to get drunk and sleep with some guy who she wouldn't sleep with if she was sober"?

Comment author: TimS 12 April 2013 01:27:45AM 3 points [-]

Where's the consent issue? She made a decision when she was sober and had capacity to make decisions.

If you point a gun into a crowd and fire, it's no defense to say to you didn't intend to kill whoever was unlucky enough to get hit.

Comment author: drethelin 12 April 2013 02:25:05AM 5 points [-]

It would be a defense if the crowd showed up to a getting shot party (this is an exaggeration). There's a reasonable argument to be made that people show up to parties expecting to drink and do things they wouldn't usually do except when drunk. That makes it a lot less sinister for someone to plan on going to a party and getting drunk and having sex with a drunk girl, if the social assumption is that's what most people are going to the party for in the first place.

Comment author: TimS 12 April 2013 02:44:59AM 4 points [-]

if the social assumption is that's what most people are going to the party for in the first place.

Where did that social assumption come from? Can't someone drink at a frat party without wanting or anticipating having sex?

Comment author: drethelin 12 April 2013 05:11:44AM 4 points [-]

I don't know, but I'm pretty confident it exists. I'm sure someone CAN drink at a frat party without wanting or anticipating sex, and in fact most people probably don't get laid. But I also think it's not as immoral to go to a frat party expecting and planning on hooking up with a drunk person, as it is to rape someone.

Comment author: V_V 15 April 2013 12:39:24PM *  2 points [-]

Even if that person intended to have drunk sex, it doesn't mean that they intended to have it with you specifically. And anyway, I doubt that many people who intend to have drunk sex also intend to have it while drunk enough to be in a state of consciousness so much diminished that they are unable to consent.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 15 April 2013 01:33:50PM *  4 points [-]

My impression is that both sides in the argument are using the level of drunkness which supports their point.

The people who don't want drunk = non-consent imagine people who are moderately drunk, who are more likely to say choose sex than they would be sober, and who chose to get that drunk because they want to have sex but otherwise wouldn't.

The people who do want drunk = non-consent imagine people who are very drunk-- unconscious or barely able to mumble and make vague gestures.

Neither side is entirely wrong-headed, though my sympathies are with the second group, since it's pretty common for people to drink to the point of incapacitation.

On the other hand, rules becoming much stricter than necessary happens too.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 15 April 2013 02:41:59PM 4 points [-]

I've encountered people who want drunkenness to be non-consent who explicitly reject the reasoning in your second example; they want any reduced capacity to make decisions to render consent invalid. (And I've seen some very convoluted logic about passive versus aggressive sexual behavior justifying why it's still rape when the man has also been drinking from a couple of them.)

(The inability to strawman feminism is really bizarre. It's possible to strawman individual feminists, but for the ideology as a whole, no matter how bizarre a position you can think up, there's somebody that actually holds that belief, and more insists it is proper feminist thought, and who probably also insists that anybody who doesn't agree isn't a proper feminist. And the craziest also tend to be the loudest; Jezebel, for instance.)

Comment author: army1987 20 April 2013 06:29:40PM *  3 points [-]

My impression is that both sides in the argument are using the level of drunkness which supports their point.

Yes; I also suspect many of them don't even realize it -- simply, the typical example of a drunk person is someone who deliberately drinks in order to lower their inhibitions in the minds of the first group, but in the minds of the second group it's a passed-out person, due to the different experiences of the two groups and generalizing from one example.

(This is an example of a more general pattern, about which I've been thinking of writing a top-level post but kept putting that off.)

it's pretty common for people to drink to the point of incapacitation

I was going to say “is it?”, then I remembered that, according to this article (discussed on OB before BTW), I am from an “integrated” culture and you're from an “ambivalent” one.

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 12 April 2013 01:58:17AM 1 point [-]

(Just to be clear, I think what happened in Steubenville deserves to be criminalized as sexual assault).

Care to explain why?

Just to be clear I also find what happened in Steubenville unacceptable, then again I find a lot of sex related things unacceptable that you probably don't.

Comment author: TimS 12 April 2013 02:07:38AM 8 points [-]

Care to explain why [the Steubenville perpetrators should be convicted criminals]?

Their actions weren't consensual among all the participants. The places in law or morality where non-consensual acts between private citizens are allowed are few and far between.

I'm aware of your hypothetical about high caste people wanting a huge physical space from lower caste people. That's not about consent - that's about what acts society requires consent to perform. Physical contact is a pretty clear line.


Whether it was "rape" depends on vagaries in the definitions in Ohio's criminal code. That's why I'm talking about the category of sexual assault.

Comment author: MugaSofer 12 April 2013 12:33:48PM 1 point [-]

TBH, I think being forced into sex through emotional blackmail of whatever is part of the same empirical cluster as "real" rape - although naturally it's a less damaging variant, it's also more insidious precisely because it doesn't trigger a violent emotional reaction as easily.

That said, I'll second the request for clarification.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 11 April 2013 12:55:53PM 28 points [-]

An older woman is abusing her position of authority to violently take out her frustrations on a young male she has authority over - and that's patriarchy? Really? Reverse the situation, and that might be "patriarchy." Or it could just be a messed up person. The position the author takes in that post trivializes women; they can't help it, they're not responsible for their actions, because Patriarchy. Well, "misogyny" is right. It just applies to the person writing that post.

And the porn comment, as well. Men need to be fixed, because their sexuality isn't desirable or acceptable.

And I'm sure I'm "mansplaining," a sexist term which boils down to trivializing male perspective. Regardless of whatever bad things it has been used to describe, I've seen it far more often used to attack reasonable discourse. When you're discussing things rationally you can say exactly what is wrong with a statement; you don't need terms like "mansplaining."

Also, a minor comment in regards to Author A - please don't trivialize women who do prefer the contributing, doting role. They aren't doing it wrong, they're doing it different, and they experience no small amount of hostility from other women who have replaced one kind of misogyny with another. Your comments about doting women are extremely similar to PUA comments about "beta" males, not a little because both are fulfilling similar roles in relationships, and because your comments, like theirs, essentially add up to the suggestion that any relationship entered into in a supportive role is necessarily doomed because nobody will ever respect them. Indeed, swap the genders and it wouldn't be out of place in a PUA blog.

Or, to put it another way - read this post with the genders reversed and few would hesitate to call the result misogynistic. This is my personal yardstick for discussing gender issues; swap the genders and see how it reads. I doubt the LW Women series of posts would be anywhere near as well-received if the genders involved were editorially swapped.

Comment author: maia 12 April 2013 01:20:08AM 11 points [-]

Your tone in this comment is hostile and defensive. This suggests to me that you've had discussions with feminists who were very aggressive and possibly unreasonable. If true, I'm sorry that you had to experience that. But please try to keep in mind that not all women/feminists are like that, and that it's possible to recognize misogyny as a phenomenon without blaming each individual man for all of the the gender inequalities in our society.

And the porn comment, as well. Men need to be fixed, because their sexuality isn't desirable or acceptable.

I also think the porn comment wasn't great, though I think you read a bit more into it than I did. As someone who would describe themselves both as "feminist" and "sex-positive," it bothers me when people associate "watches porn" with "psychopath." This story doesn't seem too relevant to an overarching narrative of misogyny; it's just a tale of woe that could have happened to anyone unlucky/foolish enough to marry an insane person.

An older woman is abusing her position of authority to violently take out her frustrations on a young male she has authority over - and that's patriarchy?

I agree that that wasn't substantively about patriarchy. The comment about the older woman having to do all of the household work, however, was.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 12 April 2013 03:02:30AM 12 points [-]

Your tone in this comment is hostile and defensive. This suggests to me that you've had discussions with feminists who were very aggressive and possibly unreasonable. If true, I'm sorry that you had to experience that. But please try to keep in mind that not all women/feminists are like that, and that it's possible to recognize misogyny as a phenomenon without blaming each individual man for all of the the gender inequalities in our society.

Hostile, yes. I reserve my hostility towards those who are aggressive and unreasonable, however. For an example of a self-described feminist who I like, Quizzical Pussy. (Yeah, yeah, I have black friends.) But I wasn't actually angry about the misandry, although I noted it, and criticized the hypocrisy. I was angry at the -misogyny-.

See:

"this is in part due to women using men’s explanations, with men being less challenging than apologetic" "the victim’s biological mother (abuser’s wife) and paternal grandmother accepted the abuser's rationalizations" (and the bit about the grandmother)

The persistent theme in the post is denying the women involved any agency. There's patriarchy, they're just victims, helpless. They're not complicit, they're abused. It's a narrative in which women are -too stupid to know any better-, and must be enlightened. THAT is what pissed me off. I have contempt for feminists who hate men, but they don't make me angry. Feminists who deride the patriarchy for dictating the lives of women, and demand women live by these other dictates in order to fix it - they piss me off. That's a betrayal of the basest order.

I agree that that wasn't substantively about patriarchy. The comment about the older woman having to do all of the household work, however, was.

The entire paragraph was building up to excusing the abuse; she creates a narrative in which patriarchy is responsible for an older woman beating a young male in her care.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 11 April 2013 03:28:38PM 14 points [-]

Or, to put it another way - read this post with the genders reversed and few would hesitate to call the result misogynistic. This is my personal yardstick for discussing gender issues; swap the genders and see how it reads.

"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." (The Red Lily; Anatole France)

Which is to say, insisting on treating two people identically when they are embedded in a system of inequality sometimes leads us to absurd conclusions.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 11 April 2013 06:08:21PM 7 points [-]

You don't get a pass on your own biases merely because you oppose somebody else's. You especially don't get a pass on your own biases when you're using them as the basis to assert somebody else's.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 12 April 2013 02:13:53PM 3 points [-]

Sure, I agree with all of that.

Comment author: MugaSofer 12 April 2013 12:52:27PM 2 points [-]

To be absolutely clear here - you're saying actual, overt sexism is acceptable, as long as it's women doing it to men?

Well, that's pretty damn sexist, so I guess you're consistent, at least. Or ... maybe not, because your username implies you're male, and Wilde was accusing the OP of misogyny as well as misandry.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 12 April 2013 01:23:12PM *  5 points [-]

To be absolutely clear here - you're saying actual, overt sexism is acceptable, as long as it's women doing it to men?

I'm not sure if I'm saying that, since I'm never quite sure what people mean by "sexism", let alone "actual, overt sexism".

But I am saying that in a system that differentially benefits group X over group Y, I consider it much more acceptable for an individual to treat X and Y differently in a way that differentially benefits Y than in a way that further differentially benefits X. If that's actual, overt sexism in case where (X,Y)=(men, women), then yes, I'm saying actual, overt sexism is sometimes acceptable as long as it's being done to men. (The gender of the person doing it is irrelevant.)

If that's itself pretty damn sexist, I'm OK with that. My purpose here is not to avoid nasty sounding labels, but to reduce the (net) differential in distribution of social benefits (among other purposes). So if I have a choice between "being sexist" while reducing that differential and "not being sexist" while increasing it (all else being equal), I choose to reduce that differential. Labels don't matter as much as the properties of the system itself.

All that said, I do agree that treating women who abuse their family members as though they lack agency and merely express the patriarchy, while treating men who abuse their family members as though they do possess agency, is unjustified.

My objection was not to that, nor to the other statements in the OP that I didn't quote, but rather to the sentences I quoted and the "personal yardstick" they suggested using, which I don't endorse.

Comment author: MugaSofer 12 April 2013 08:26:35PM 7 points [-]

Well alright, as long as you're consistent ;)

Personally, I would say most "sexism" is less taking from Y and giving to X and more just harming Y, which benefits X only through weaker competition. I suppose if you view the battle of the sexes to be a zero-sum game, that yardstick doesn't make much sense. However, if you thing misogyny and misandry hurt everyone, it does. Looks like there was an inarticulated assumption in OrphanWilde's post, I guess.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 12 April 2013 08:40:56PM 3 points [-]

I don't necessarily think the distribution of social benefits is a zero sum game; in fact, I find that unlikely.

However, it's also irrelevant to my point. I can value equalizing the net playing field for X and Y whether that playing field is on average rising, on average lowering, or on average staying the same. My point is simply that if I value equalizing the net playing field between X and Y, I should endorse reducing the (net) differential in distribution of social benefits between X and Y.

One of the many benefits a society can provide its members is protection from harm. So differentially harming Y is one of many ways that a (net) differential in distribution of social benefits to X and Y can manifest.

And, again, if we want to label reducing the (net) differential in distribution of social benefits between men and women, with the goal of ultimately altering our society so that it provides women and men with the same level of benefits, "sexism", I won't argue with that labeling, but I also won't care very much about avoiding things labeled that way.

Comment author: MugaSofer 12 April 2013 09:49:52PM 1 point [-]

I don't necessarily think the distribution of social benefits is a zero sum game; in fact, I find that unlikely.

[...]

One of the many benefits a society can provide its members is protection from harm. So differentially harming Y is one of many ways that a (net) differential in distribution of social benefits to X and Y can manifest.

Unless I've misunderstood the term, what you describe is, in fact, a zero-sum game.

And, again, if we want to label reducing the (net) differential in distribution of social benefits between men and women, with the goal of ultimately altering our society so that it provides women and men with the same level of benefits, "sexism", I won't argue with that labeling, but I also won't care very much about avoiding things labeled that way.

If I had persuaded you by changing the label, I'd be pretty ashamed of myself for using Dark Arts in a LW discussion.

Comment author: paper-machine 11 April 2013 01:53:27PM 11 points [-]

In general I disagree with your remarks, but the only one I feel we can make progress on is probably:

And I'm sure I'm "mansplaining," a sexist term which boils down to trivializing male perspective.

You know, I'm pretty sure it's sometimes used that way, but I'm also pretty sure that there's an actual category of discourse that involves men explaining things in a tone of certitude but from a position of ignorance.

Why do I say this? First, I've seen examples of it among my coworkers. Second, I've experienced first-hand the equivalent phenomena where straight people try to comment on what they think my situation is like as if they know what's going on, and end up being completely wrong.

Now I'd agree that the term has become inflated sometimes to mean any negative male reaction to a female narrative, but that's just an argument for deflating it, not an argument that the inflation is universal, and that legitimate examples of illegitimate negative male reactions don't exist.

Comment author: Jack 11 April 2013 04:01:17PM *  22 points [-]

I'm also pretty sure that there's an actual category of discourse that involves men explaining things in a tone of certitude but from a position of ignorance.

People certainly explain things in a tone of certitude from positions of ignorance, like, all the time. And I find it plausible that this is more common among men since exuding competence and knowledge tends to be more important for male status and men seem to be more concerned with "winning" arguments than women. But I don't see any good reason to make the phenomenon about the relationship between genders. I'm male. My male friends "mansplain" to me all the time. I "mansplain" to them. But most of my friends are highly intelligent, opinionated women-- and all of them "mansplain" to me too.

It's a bad epistemic habit and often disrespectful. It's talking to seem impressive instead of talking to learn or share. It's important for rationalists to avoid it. But I think it's really absurd to suggest it is something only men do-- to the point of referring to it as "mansplaining". Especially since the issues on which -in my experience- women most often talk with certitude from a place of ignorance is gender politics, particularly regarding the experiences and motivations of men.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 11 April 2013 04:28:34PM 24 points [-]

I detest the term "mansplaining" because it conflates gender issues and errors. It's better to point out actual problems with what's being said.

As a side issue, though, when I was trying to find out whether mansplaining might refer to something real, I did notice on NPR shows that the people who called in and took up more time by using obvious statements to lay groundwork for their questions were typically men.

Comment author: Randy_M 11 April 2013 08:46:46PM *  9 points [-]

Personally, I detest it because it exists in order to avoid having to point out actual problems with what's being said. It's a form of ad hominem, really.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 12 April 2013 02:01:06AM 21 points [-]

In addition, I think the use of "mansplaining" as a signal that just about anything a man can say will be unwelcome. It's a way of eliminating relevant input, and is more likely to silence men who care about behaving well than those who don't care.

I think badly of anyone who uses the word as a straightforward description.

Comment author: drethelin 12 April 2013 02:29:05AM 7 points [-]

This is what I hear as a man when someone uses the word mansplaining. I don't like being implicitly told that anything I say or think is irrelevant and will be ignored.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 11 April 2013 04:38:16PM 14 points [-]

But I think it's really absurd to suggest it is something only men do-- to the point of referring to it as "mansplaining".

Sure. Similarly, I think it's absurd to suggest that complaining loudly and aggressively is something only women do, to the point of referring to it as "bitching."

And yet, terms like this are common in our linguistic environment.

Of course, that's not in and of itself a good reason to accept them. My culture no longer uses "Jew someone down" as a way of describing sharp negotiation practices, for example, because it's seen as expressing and encouraging a view of Jews that we collectively no longer endorse. (Though we still use "gyp"in similar ways.) Many communities reject "bitching" for similar reasons as applied to women. And we could certainly reject "mansplaining" as harmful to men.

But it's also worth asking where our energies are most usefully spent.

Comment author: paper-machine 11 April 2013 04:29:18PM 0 points [-]

But I don't see any good reason to make the phenomenon about the relationship between genders.

I sense a fallacy of gray coming.

I'm male. My male friends "mansplain" to me all the time. I "mansplain" to them. But most of my friends are highly intelligent, opinionated women-- and all of them "mansplain" to me too.

The reason for distinguish this genre of discourse (which one might merely call "being an ass") from mansplaining and its related categories (e.g., the other day I overheard in a Starbucks a guy solicit two Asian students, ask them their "ethnic origin", and then reassure them in all seriousness that "We'll send that Dennis Rodman guy back to patch things up.") is that the explanation revolves around the minority party's everyday life. Therefore, e.g., your male friends don't mansplain to you (provided you're not a woman) because you all live in the context of being male.

Calling it all merely "being an ass" conceals the political and social mechanisms lurking under the surface of the exchange.

It's a bad epistemic habit and often disrespectful.

The latter -- sometimes. The former? Carving reality at the joints is a good epistemic habit, and I think this does the trick.

But I think it's really absurd to suggest it is something only men do-- to the point of referring to it as "mansplaining".

Of course "being an ass" isn't something only men do but because of the power differential, it's socially acceptable for men to call women out on being wrong, and not the reverse. If you refuse to see the politics, then of course it all looks the same.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 12 April 2013 08:47:25AM *  10 points [-]

Perhaps we could use a new word "blackstealing" for describing when a black person steals something from a white person.

I assure you that I am fully aware that sometimes also black people steal from black people, or white people from black people, or white people from white people, etc... but that is irrelevant here, because those acts just don't have the same qualia. Blackstealing is a specific phenomenon and deserves its name in our discourse.

(To avoid misunderstanding, this comment is not meant seriously, it just serves to illustrate the offensiveness of "mansplaining". I just had to use an analogy, because offending men is not considered an offense.)

(More meta: This comment is probably just another example of mansplaining. It would have to be written by a woman to deserve a serious thought.)

Comment author: Jack 11 April 2013 11:25:42PM 3 points [-]

The reason for distinguish this genre of discourse (which one might merely call "being an ass") from mansplaining and its related categories (e.g., the other day I overheard in a Starbucks a guy solicit two Asian students, ask them their "ethnic origin", and then reassure them in all seriousness that "We'll send that Dennis Rodman guy back to patch things up.") is that the explanation revolves around the minority party's everyday life. Therefore, e.g., your male friends don't mansplain to you (provided you're not a woman) because you all live in the context of being male.

Calling it all merely "being an ass" conceals the political and social mechanisms lurking under the surface of the exchange.

I understand that this is the position of those who like using the term. But my comment was explicitly denying that there is any obvious political or social import lurking under the surface of the exchange. My position is precisely that what is called "mansplaining" is just "being an ass" and that there is no need to attribute any darker, oppressive content to the exchange. Your reply is begging the question.

The latter -- sometimes. The former? Carving reality at the joints is a good epistemic habit, and I think this does the trick.

I actually wasn't talking about "using the term 'mansplaining'" here. I was talking about the behavior the word refers to. Obviously, I don't think it carves reality at the joints, though.

Of course "being an ass" isn't something only men do but because of the power differential, it's socially acceptable for men to call women out on being wrong, and not the reverse.

I'm aware there are parts of the world where this is the case and I'm sure there are retrograde parts of the West where it is true as well. But this claim is totally and hilariously laughable in my social circle and demographic. Most of my friends are women. I get called out for being wrong all the time.

Comment author: Randy_M 11 April 2013 08:49:13PM 3 points [-]

It's a patent absurdity of the social justice dogma that every man has power over every woman.

Comment author: ikrase 12 April 2013 06:45:31PM 8 points [-]

My Yvain-inspired view of this is that there are several different levels of power, and social justice dogma tends to conflate them. This sometimes results in things like trying to solve things like institutional, situational poverty using discourse, and in pushes that will leave one side without self-respect and the other side no better off materially than before.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 12 April 2013 08:32:51PM 2 points [-]

If they push intersectionality to its logical conclusion, they'll actually be paying attention to what's happening in individual lives. I don't have a strong opinion about whether this is likely to happen.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 11 April 2013 06:02:20PM 9 points [-]

You know, I'm pretty sure it's sometimes used that way, but I'm also pretty sure that there's an actual category of discourse that involves men explaining things in a tone of certitude but from a position of ignorance.

This is part of humanity. It's not unique to men.

I've experienced first-hand the equivalent phenomena where straight people try to comment on what they think my situation is like as if they know what's going on, and end up being completely wrong.

Being bisexual, I know exactly what you're referring to. However, again, the typical mind fallacy is not unique to straight people, or men.

Now I'd agree that the term has become inflated sometimes to mean any negative male reaction to a female narrative, but that's just an argument for deflating it, not an argument that the inflation is universal, and that legitimate examples of illegitimate negative male reactions don't exist.

The issue with this argument is that "male" doesn't belong in your last sentence. Illegitimate arguments exist. Point out why they're illegitimate. If you can't, you have no business responding to the argument.

"Mansplaining" is sexist. It's kind of like the term "hysterical." Cognitive dissonance is encountering somebody who regularly uses the term "mansplaining" complaining about the sexist origins of the word "hysterical."

Comment author: fubarobfusco 11 April 2013 11:18:41PM 8 points [-]

At least some feminists today prefer the term "splaining", precisely because the behavior isn't unique to men.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 12 April 2013 12:37:12AM 7 points [-]

It's better (although it still fails to reject an argument on its merits, or lack thereof), but I'm not sure the term can really be rehabilitated in such a manner. First, the connotation has already been established among too many people, and it's bad, and second, most of those I've encountered who use that term write it as `splaining.

It comes across less as addressing a problem and more as hiding it. It becomes a code word - whitewashing the explicit sexism, but maintaining the implicit.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 15 April 2013 01:21:44PM 4 points [-]

The other problem is that when a problem has become a topic of public discussion, people say the same things again and again. It's not just the other side who uses bingo cards.

("Bingo cards" is a term used to deride your opponents saying the usual things.)

Comment author: army1987 12 April 2013 10:19:53PM 4 points [-]

"Mansplaining" is sexist. It's kind of like the term "hysterical."

Well... I'd guess that many of the people who use the word "hysterical" aren't aware of its etymology, or at least aren't thinking about it. (Is the word "bad" *ist because it originally meant "hermaphrodite"?)

Cognitive dissonance is encountering somebody who regularly uses the term "mansplaining" complaining about the sexist origins of the word "hysterical."

Yes.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 12 April 2013 11:11:58PM 5 points [-]

The root of the word refers to the Greek word hystera, which refers to the uterus. Hysteria -originally- referred to female sexual dysfunction, but medical quackery resulted in becoming a catch-all diagnosis in women experiencing unidentified symptoms.

Given that the treatment was using vibrators or other mechanisms of inducing orgasm, and given that the culture of the era was that men weren't supposed to desire sex/sex was demeaning to them, and women were supposed to be sex-crazy (the reverse is actually a fairly recent phenomenon - watch older movies and you'll still see traces of these attitudes), I suspect that women were frequently more than a little complicit in that particular bit of quackery.

Freud and other contemporary psychologists started using one of the quack versions of the word to describe emotional issues, and it stuck.

Comment author: paper-machine 11 April 2013 06:32:30PM *  0 points [-]

I feel I've responded to most of this in the sibling thread (tl;dr: fallacy of gray, ignores social/political contexts, not useful to generalize as "being an ass"), except:

Illegitimate arguments exist. Point out why they're illegitimate. If you can't, you have no business responding to the argument.

A wrong argument is still wrong, even if the social/political cost of responding to it is too high. A correct counterargument is still correct, even if the social/political cost of stating it is too high.

Cognitive dissonance is encountering somebody who regularly uses the term "mansplaining" complaining about the sexist origins of the word "hysterical."

It's cognitive dissonance provided you ignore the political, social, and historical context of each utterance.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 11 April 2013 07:17:27PM 7 points [-]

I assume you believe that your belief in the significance of that context is rational. What evidence could I present that your understanding of the context is incorrect?

Because absent that, I don't see this argument as being fruitful. Your essential argument comes down to the point that I lack sufficient perspective pretty much on the basis that my perspective doesn't match yours.

(I will confess that my own perspective probably won't change. There was some fucked up shit in my childhood which I won't get into that is going to permanently color my attitudes; suffice to say I have little sympathy for people who insist misandry can't happen or is somehow different or less significant because context. Those are my experiences you're trivializing there.)

Comment author: paper-machine 11 April 2013 08:32:22PM 1 point [-]

What evidence could I present that your understanding of the context is incorrect?

For example, evidence that women were a dominant group during the period when "hysteria" came into use. Then I would agree that "hysteria" is largely equivalent to "mansplaining."

Your essential argument comes down to the point that I lack sufficient perspective pretty much on the basis that my perspective doesn't match yours.

I find that I'm confused. I thought we were talking about whether or not social and political forces were relevant (in a "carving reality at the joints" sense) to interpreting a certain kind of behavior.

suffice to say I have little sympathy for people who insist misandry can't happen or is somehow different or less significant because context. Those are my experiences you're trivializing there.

Excuse me, but I've not said anything about your experiences, and I do in fact believe that misandry exists and is significant.

I just don't know how to talk about either "women being told things they already know by ignorant men" or "men being told things they already know by ignorant women" without actually distinguishing the two as subclasses of the class of actions I've called elsewhere "being an ass."

Comment author: OrphanWilde 11 April 2013 08:54:12PM 6 points [-]

I find that I'm confused. I thought we were talking about whether or not social and political forces were relevant (in a "carving reality at the joints" sense) to interpreting a certain kind of behavior.

Excerpting something you've written in another comment: "If you refuse to see the politics, then of course it all looks the same." Am I mistaken in taking your position on the matter as that all gender relations should be viewed through historical context?

Excuse me, but I've not said anything about your experiences, and I do in fact believe that misandry exists and is significant.

You are, however, insisting that it's different/less significant. My statement was addressing a broad class of gender relations contexts that I cannot accept. My childhood self had neither input into nor knowledge of that context, and your position reads to me as requiring that historical context makes my experiences less significant than an analogous experience by a girl. I refuse to accept a worldview which dehumanizes me.

I just don't know how to talk about either "women being told things they already know by ignorant men" or "men being told things they already know by ignorant women" without actually distinguishing the two as subclasses of the class of actions I've called elsewhere "being an ass."

Why do you insist on carving reality at those particular joints, however? Why are woman-man and man-woman the appropriate places to carve reality? You're coming into the discussion -assuming- those joints are appropriate places to carve.

"Mansplaining" is offensive, and it's used by precisely that group of people who believe man-woman and woman-man are appropriate places to carve reality. I can only take it as a -deliberate attack on my gender-. People using the word "hysteria" aren't generally aware of its original meaning or intent. The words are no longer the same. "Hysteria" is no longer reasonably offensive, because it is used by people who do not know that it could be; it takes education to even know that it is something you could take offense at. "Mansplaining" on the other hand is used almost exclusively by people who know exactly what they're doing, and it is almost exclusively directed at people who know exactly what it means when they're doing it.

Comment author: MugaSofer 12 April 2013 12:53:52PM *  3 points [-]

I'm also pretty sure that there's an actual category of discourse that involves men explaining things in a tone of certitude but from a position of ignorance.

Well, yes. It also involves women explaining things in a tone of certitude but from a position of ignorance. Because the category in question is, in fact, that of people explaining things in a tone of certitude but from a position of ignorance.

Comment author: V_V 10 April 2013 11:29:28PM *  22 points [-]

A:

The article about Larsson also has a bit about his partner's contributions not being credited to her, which seems to be typical of man-woman partnerships. Besides seeing it in other stories, I've experienced it in my own life.

Beware of hasty generalization. The fact that you have been in an abusive relationship and you've read similar stories doesn't imply that these relationships are typical.

You might think my ex was a sociopath, but no -- he's a normal male, working as a university professor.

The intersection between the set of sociopaths and the set of university professors is not necessarily empty. However, claiming that this behavior is normal among males is outright sexist defamation. It's like, after sharing a story of being robbed by a black person you said: "You might think my robber was an antisocial person, but no -- they are a normal black person"

B:

I'm not sure what you describe as a body/mind dichotomy really makes sense or is the proper way of describing your experiences. What you describe seems to be known as egodystonicity, which is a quite common phenomenon to a certain extent, but can potentially become pathological.

She has come to regret what she did, but I’m not sure she’s aware of the dynamics behind what happened, including the patriarchal inequity and her brain’s imprecise narrative about making my brother well-behaved.

Receiving abuse doesn't justify committing abuse.

This article, “Being Porn,” refers to women internalizing and enacting men’s porn views, rather than trying to enlighten men so they make better use of resources and don’t become or stay addicted to porn.

That's a patronizing view of male sexuality.
Consider it's reversal: instead of trying to fullfill women preferences (such as preference for high status mates), men should try to enlighten women so they internalize and enact men’s porn views (such as engaging in casual intercourse with random strangers).

For example: On the HLN channel, [ ... ]

Beware of fictional evidence.

creepiness as exclusion or dislike of low-status or unattractive persons [ ... ] Given all my data, I can say approximately that identification of creepiness is a brain making predictions about someone’s brain (could even be one’s own brain, being introspective about whether you’re being creepy) running on a stupid/unenlightened/unwise apologetic program that could possibly escalate into actions unpleasant or of low utility to the target and/or to him/her/one’s self (e.g. energy-wasting, abuse, heartbreak, etc.).

You describe creepiness essentially as a fear response. That's not mutually exclusive of being creeped by of low-status or unattractive persons. In fact, evidence suggests that people tend to instinctively trust attractive and high-status individuals and fear unattractive and low-status individuals.

Comment author: Zaine 11 April 2013 06:02:23AM 4 points [-]

In fact, evidence suggests that people tend to instinctively trust attractive and high-status individuals and fear unattractive and low-status individuals.

I'd like to read that evidence, if you happen to remember where you found it. A quick search only yielded studies using interpersonal attraction and trust as measurement mechanisms.

Do you mean this: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7845772 ?

I can understand how one could extrapolate trust from "babies' preference" , but have trouble imagining a large effect size of attractiveness on adults' trust. The same goes for a replication of the baby study that shows adults pairs of faces then inquires after the most trustworthy-seeming of the pair (assuming such a replication exists). Split-second trust decisions may fall well within the effect size, yet I consider trust enough of a system 2 process that forcing a system 1 trust decision has limited applicability. Does the evidence suggest this consideration mistaken?

Comment author: V_V 11 April 2013 02:37:55PM 2 points [-]
Comment author: Pentashagon 11 April 2013 01:32:01AM 13 points [-]

The intersection between the set of sociopaths and the set of university professors is not necessarily empty. However, claiming that this behavior is normal among males is outright sexist defamation. It's like, after sharing a story of being robbed by a black person you said: "You might think my robber was an antisocial person, but no -- they are a normal black person"

Over 20% of women in the U.S. experience domestic violence. The incidence of sociopathy is at or below 5% so it's more likely that an abusive male in a relationship is not a sociopath. In India it actually is the "normal male" who is abusive, with the domestic violence rate against women at 50%, although I didn't see any analysis of whether it is a flat 50% of head-of-household males engaged in violence or a higher level of violence perpetrated by a few male family members in extended families.

Comment author: Intrism 11 April 2013 10:49:20PM *  6 points [-]

Over 20% of women in the U.S. experience domestic violence. The incidence of sociopathy is at or below 5% so it's more likely that an abusive male in a relationship is not a sociopath.

That isn't logically valid. It's possible for a single person to abuse more than one woman. Therefore, the percentage of abusers in the population is likely lower than the percentage of abused. I don't know how much lower that is, but "less than 10%" is entirely plausible.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 11 April 2013 11:40:22PM *  5 points [-]

It's also possible for the same person (e.g. a child or teenager) to receive abuse from more than one person (e.g. both parents). This may counterbalance the above somewhat.

(On the other hand, it seems rather certain that the proportion of rape victims is higher than the proportion of rapists, since IIRC almost all rapists are repeat offenders.)

Comment author: Intrism 11 April 2013 11:53:44PM *  8 points [-]

I'd argue that being a repeat offender is, for any crime and especially those with low conviction rates, more likely than being a repeat victim, by simple logic of "an offender chooses, a victim does not." You are right, though, in that I should have mentioned the possibility.

Comment author: Nisan 11 April 2013 07:43:51AM 7 points [-]

This isn't directly related, but according to one study, at least 5% of male college students are rapists, with an average of 5 attempted rapes each. And it's plausible that the study detects most rapists. This doesn't necessarily mean that most rapists are sociopaths, though.

Comment author: V_V 11 April 2013 03:06:12PM 2 points [-]

The study also shows that most of the recidive rapists also commit other forms of abuse, which is consistent with a sociopathic personality.

Comment author: V_V 11 April 2013 03:08:45PM 5 points [-]

Over 20% of women in the U.S. experience domestic violence.

The Wikipedia article you linked doesn't reference the source of that claim. Anyway, IIUC a large part of abuse comes from relatively few perpetrators.

Comment author: Desrtopa 11 April 2013 12:30:58AM 10 points [-]

The intersection between the set of sociopaths and the set of university professors is not necessarily empty. However, claiming that this behavior is normal among males is outright sexist defamation. It's like, after sharing a story of being robbed by a black person you said: "You might think my robber was an antisocial person, but no -- they are a normal black person"

I also felt while reading this that my sex as a group was being defamed, but while I doubt that the author has the evidence to conclude that such behavior is truly typical of males in general, I also have to be skeptical that my own experiences are sufficient evidence to suppose that such behavior is atypical. Our own social circles tend to be very heavily filtered compared to the overall population, and just because the behavior the author wrote about describes few of the guys I've associated with, doesn't mean it's not normal.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 11 April 2013 03:28:46AM 7 points [-]

I agree that we don't have evidence that his behavior is typical of men, but I find it plausible that a moderately high proportion of men and women have a script about relationships which makes it easy to maintain such behavior for quite a while without either partner being explicitly aware that it's abusive.

Comment author: V_V 11 April 2013 03:09:11PM *  3 points [-]

That's what statistics are for.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 11 April 2013 04:23:40PM 2 points [-]

On the other hand, I can't hold it against people that they care about their group reputation.

Comment author: Zaine 11 April 2013 08:42:39AM *  7 points [-]

Here I genuinely suggest an improvement upon the quoted form of expression in what I hope is an agreeable manner.*


I'm not sure what you describe as a body/mind dichotomy really makes sense or is the proper way of describing your experiences.

A better way to express this sentiment, without demeaning another's experience:

  • "What you describe as a body/mind dichotomy doesn't really make sense to me. [Explain why.] It reminded me of the neo-Freudian concept of egodystonicity - does this theory fit your experience?"

*I only just noticed some may have been reading a negative affect into the above which I have hopefully now meliorated.

Comment author: Dias 10 April 2013 11:48:20PM 2 points [-]

For example: On the HLN channel, [ ... ]

Beware of fictional evidence.

For the benefit of non-American readers: is HLN fiction? I was under the impression it was a news program.

Comment author: TimS 11 April 2013 12:28:52AM *  10 points [-]

According to wikipedia, HLN used to be the Headline News part of CNN. So it is supposed to be real news.

But looking at its home page shows that V_V is probably right that there is a lot of sensationalizing going on - P(sensationalizing | Nancy Grace is involved) is essentially the definition of (1 - epsilon).

Comment author: V_V 11 April 2013 12:00:18AM *  4 points [-]

I don't know, I assumed the OP was referring to some crime show like Law and Order, but in fact that might have been some "true story" type of program.
If this is the case, then it should be noted that

  • these stories are often fictionalized to some extent

  • even if the story was depicted in an accurate and unbiased way, it doesn't mean that is was typical enough to use it as evidence to update your beliefs.

Comment author: Dias 10 April 2013 11:43:31PM 13 points [-]

Both respondents give many examples of people being treated very badly/treating others very badly, but it's not clear what this has to do with misogyny. Just because you're looking for a pattern and see a bunch of examples that fit the pattern doesn't mean the pattern had any causal influence. Yes, in these cases they were men being mean to women (except with the grandmother beating up the brother). But if we were on the lookout for men being abusive to other men we'd also have many examples (rather more, according to my copy of Male Violence, ed. John Archer, 2001). Even if men being mean to women say misogynistic things, this doesn't show they're doing those actions because they are misogynistic, rather than just matching their rhetoric post hoc to their actions.

Comment author: Pentashagon 11 April 2013 12:42:22AM 3 points [-]

Did you read the first link? That is actual misogyny.

Comment author: Dias 11 April 2013 01:28:17AM 6 points [-]

1) The study shows that being male is being treated as evidence of being a good applicant. Regardless of the virtues of doing so, it's not the same as hating women, nor as "apologetics of abusing females", which is how the second respondent defined it.

2) I was, perhaps unclearly, referring to their examples. The purpose of these threads isn't (as far as I was aware) for LW women to bring up articles from the literature, it was to share our experiences. I was pointing out that these respondents had perhaps mis-characterised their experiences.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 11 April 2013 01:13:05AM *  5 points [-]

I’ve seen at least one LW woman use some men’s stupid analyses of creepiness as exclusion or dislike of low-status or unattractive persons.

I think the general theory is that one is perceived as a creep based on a perceived threat. Often these are of physical or sexual assault, but they would also include threats to status caused by a low status male treating you as a potential mate or companion.

This seems consistent with your analysis on creepiness below. You predict his brain mistakenly perceiving you as having the status of a potential mate, which could escalate into him propositioning you, a low utility to you act which would likely leave you uncomfortable with rejecting him, uncomfortable with the hit to status as perceived by others, and potentially offended/threatened at the implied equality of status with your inferior.

Given all my data, I can say approximately that identification of creepiness is a brain making predictions about someone’s brain (could even be one’s own brain, being introspective about whether you’re being creepy) running on a stupid/unenlightened/unwise apologetic program that could possibly escalate into actions unpleasant or of low utility to the target and/or to him/her/one’s self (e.g. energy-wasting, abuse, heartbreak, etc.).

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 12 April 2013 01:46:51AM 8 points [-]

I think the general theory is that one is perceived as a creep based on a perceived threat.

Speaking solely from my own experience and language usage, I think of creepiness as related to clinginess. A creep is a man who gives the impression of trying to insist on unwanted intimacy (there's some sort of emotional/physical intersection there) and of unwillingness to go away. I believe that "skin crawling" is a common metaphor for the experience of being around someone who is creepy.

I've actually been threatened a couple of times, and I went into a useful emotionally dissociated state. The men involved didn't strike me as creepy.

I'm not denying that there can be some status issues, but they don't offer a universal explanation. There are reports of women who find some high status men creepy, and not all low status men are creepy. If women keep saying "No, low status doesn't explain creepiness", then maybe it's incumbent to at least ask what else they think is going on.

I believe part of the problem is that a good many men don't seem to have had the experience of being creeped out, so they're guessing about possible patterns. Unfortunately, the low status model leaves out the possibility that one reason some men are reliably unattractive is that the men quickly give the impression of being bad emotional matches.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 12 April 2013 06:30:19AM 5 points [-]

A creep is a man who gives the impression of trying to insist on unwanted intimacy

That's pretty much what I consider to be the essence of creepy. I consider it the threat of a desire for increased intimacy where it isn't wanted - not really insisted upon, because isn't the guy hangs around but won't come to the point even more creepy than the guy who directly asks you out?

But others insisted that it had to do with threat of assault, sexual or otherwise. Likely people just have different usages, but I'd think fear, anger, panic would figure much more into that case, besides just revulsion and aversion. Creepy seems much more of an ick factor related to a person who wants to get closer to you.

I'm not denying that there can be some status issues, but they don't offer a universal explanation.

I absolutely agree. I don't think the status issues are universal, they're just one form the threat can take. Much of it is just the natural discomfort of having to deal with rejection. Rejection makes people uncomfortable from either side. Having someone interested and having to reject them is no fun. Part of creepiness is not following through on the "threat" and propositioning, so that the threat is always just hanging out there floating over the creep, and he seems even lower status for his fearfulness and lack of confidence.

Comment author: Error 19 April 2013 08:24:48PM *  4 points [-]

I believe part of the problem is that a good many men don't seem to have had the experience of being creeped out, so they're guessing about possible patterns.

I'm glad you mentioned this.

I'm male and have experienced this form of creepiness on at least two occasions. That is, someone aiming for unwanted interaction and being unwilling to go away. One was a woman who had gone off her meds and become suddenly convinced I was her partner (my actual partner, standing right there, was not amused). The other was an ugly old woman who was overly insistent on keeping my attention. "Skin crawling" is probably a good way to describe my reaction.

But it doesn't happen frequently, and it isn't something that readily comes to mind. This is why I'm glad you mentioned it: I've been unwittingly creepy on occasion without understanding how exactly. Introspection has amounted to literally guessing at possible patterns. Explicitly searching for examples from my own experience at your prompting just triggered a pattern-match. I am now less confused. Thanks.

[Edited for clarity]

Comment author: Sarokrae 12 April 2013 11:17:05AM 7 points [-]

I believe that "skin crawling" is a common metaphor for the experience of being around someone who is creepy.

I'm just going to give one personal point of evidence which people can interpret however they want: a large part of my own understanding of "creepiness" comes from the fact that at least for me personally, "skin crawling" is actually just unwanted sexual arousal. (It took me quite a lot of luminosity practise to figure this out.)

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 12 April 2013 02:06:31PM 2 points [-]

That's very interesting. Did you turn up anything else that surprised you? After you found that "skin crawling" was unwanted sexual arousal, did that affect your ideas and/or behavior?

Comment author: V_V 13 April 2013 05:50:10PM 4 points [-]

The "skin crawling" sensation you describe is probably the pilomotor reflex, which can be triggered by various of excited mental states, including fear, aggressivity or sexual arousal.

In mammals with a complete fur, this reflex causes the animal to appear bigger and more intimidating. You probably observed it in cats and dogs when they fight or do a threat display.

Comment author: bogus 13 April 2013 06:06:30PM 2 points [-]

Also caused by Autonomous sensory meridian response which is ironically linked to non-threatening behaviour and altruistic, caring attention. (It can also be linked to deep emotional arousal, such as when listening to engaging music.) Identifying this reflex with "unwanted sexual arousal" is simplistic to the point of being just wrong.

Comment author: Sarokrae 20 April 2013 11:06:08PM 2 points [-]

Didn't see this reply as it wasn't directly to one of my posts, but I would like to reassure anyone reading that I can tell the difference between "skin crawling" and "scalp tingling", and no they are not the same thing at all.

Comment author: Sarokrae 12 April 2013 03:41:29PM 4 points [-]

Well this is in the context of a long period of introspection on the theme of "When it comes to moral considerations, how much is my system 1 me?" The conclusion is "not very", which is one of the things I changed my mind about fairly recently. (If instinct wants to sleep with someone but reason doesn't, it is preferable for me to not sleep with them. This probably doesn't sound like a surprising conclusion, but I was confused for a long time.)

This observation was basically consistent with the way my ideas were developing, since I developed those ideas concurrently to developing luminosity. I'm afraid I can't tell the direction of causation between the two things, or whether there is any.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 12 April 2013 08:12:41PM 4 points [-]

(If instinct wants to sleep with someone but reason doesn't, it is preferable for me to not sleep with them. This probably doesn't sound like a surprising conclusion, but I was confused for a long time.)

Actually, I'm not surprised that someone could take a while to figure that out-- there's what I call the romantic fallacy (romantic in the philosophical sense, though it happens to overlap with common usage this time) that people's unthought impulses are sacred.

To put it mildly, what (if anything) is sacred about people is a complicated question.

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 13 April 2013 07:00:22AM 3 points [-]

Actually, I'm not surprised that someone could take a while to figure that out-- there's what I call the romantic fallacy (romantic in the philosophical sense, though it happens to overlap with common usage this time) that people's unthought impulses are sacred.

The frequency with which people are given the advise "be yourself" in our society doesn't help.

Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 10 April 2013 08:59:58PM 4 points [-]

B: I'm not sure what one can draw from the porn-obsessed evangelical. So many things are going wrong all at once! His actions don't seem consistent with his apologetics, so I don't see how you draw that conclusion.

Comment author: falenas108 10 April 2013 10:45:22PM 3 points [-]

The idea of apologetics definitely exists in society. See the recent Steubenville rape case where a significant portion of people were arguing against it being rape, despite the lack of consent and her being too drunk to respond to anything.

But, you are right that this example doesn't show that. What would demonstrate this is that it is a common thing, not an example of someone who is clearly not neurotypical.

Comment author: hg00 11 April 2013 08:01:08AM *  5 points [-]

I just want to say that as a man, I'm horrified by what submitters A & B observed/endured, and I hope they learn some day that most of us guys aren't like that. I was forward in an unintentionally creepy way (probably 1.5-2x as bad as the "attractive college dormmate" story) several years ago. I realized how awful my behavior was, apologized for it, still regret it, and haven't done anything like that since then.

I do attribute reading PUA stuff for my creepiness. Since then, my model has been refined, and I've seen plenty of empirical data suggesting that being a jerk like I was is counterproductive if you're trying to get laid. (Not to say being a jerk would be A-OK even if it did work.) If girls like jerks, it seems to be because they're confident/comfortable with themselves/sexually assertive and not because they have unpleasant personalities. My observations suggest that in the average case, it works better to be a friendly assertive guy than an unfriendly assertive guy.

Furthermore, I'm not even convinced that women are attracted to high-status men so much as they get uncomfortable around socially awkward ones. I suspect most of the gain moving from low-status to high-status comes on the early part of the curve, from low-status to OK-status. Does getting deeply comfortable with yourself take work? Yes, but it takes an obese woman work to lose weight, so it's not like women don't face their own challenges. And like losing weight, getting deeply comfortable with yourself is useful for other reasons, so maybe guys should be glad they're given this incentive.

This site ended up being way more useful to me than any PUA thing. After quitting porn and masturbation for 4+ months, my standards for women I considered attractive changed, I became more confident, I actually had a visceral desire to have sex (instead of being resentful that I wasn't getting any in the abstract), and I started to notice women giving me subtle signs of interest that I hadn't seen before.

This page may be a good starting point: Was the Cowardly Lion Just Masturbating Too Much?. This subreddit, which has half as many subscribers as the subreddit devoted to PUA, is full of stories like mine and will hopefully convince you that this is a real phenomenon.

As far as I can tell, "nice guy syndrome" is a phenomenon that originated in this generation due to porn's effects on the brain. Philip Zimbardo also thinks something is up.

Comment author: malcolmmcc 11 April 2013 10:43:52PM *  19 points [-]

I do attribute reading PUA stuff for my creepiness.

One of my friends, who actually studied so much PUA that he briefly became a coach, was very good at not being creepy. The way he did this was being clear about his intentions. Not necessarily explicit: he would still use innuendo etc. The point was, if he was into a woman, he would flirt with her a lot, assuming she was at all warm to the prospect. If not, he was still very friendly, but interacted in a markedly different way.

This meant that women don't have to guess about what he's up to. He recounted a story that took place in our university residence, involving another male friend of ours and a female friend they both knew. We'll call my PUA friend K, the woman F, and the other friend B. So, F was sitting in her room when K pushed her door ajar, saw her, and then went it and sat down on her bed, and said something to the effect of "Hey, what's up?"

F responded warmly, "Oh, man, the weirdest thing just happened... B just came into my room unannounced and started talking to me... it was kinda creepy..."

K paused, and asked with a grin, "You mean, just like I did, just now" and she reflected that yeah, the behaviour had been almost identical. The key difference, they agreed, was that K was always very open when he was into someone, so his platonic entrance was seen as being that: platonic. B, on the other hand, falls into more of the Nice Guy category.

Bayes' Time!
For K, if he's into a woman, he almost always flirts with her. If he's not, he does a little, but sparingly. B, on the other hand, rarely flirts (proficiently) with women. In fact, he might flirt more with women he's not into, because he has less fear of rejection. But to within error bars, he basically doesn't flirt.

This means that K is providing very strong evidence to women about whether or not he's interested. As mentioned, he backs off when they appear not to be as well, which is irrelevant to the comments about evidence but important for clarifying that he's not obsessive. B does not. B doesn't really give any evidence at all, and the resulting uncertainty is creepy/awkward/uncomfortable. It makes women uneasy, because they aren't sure of his intentions. If they knew he liked them, they might be able to update him on whether or not they do. If they knew he didn't, then they could relax. But not knowing sucks.

Comment author: malcolmmcc 12 April 2013 03:59:00AM 6 points [-]

I'd also like to point out that obviously there are many more ways to be creepy than being ambiguous (e.g. simply being forward in a way that doesn't connect with the other person). This post was merely designed to deconstruct one form of creepiness, linking it (inversely) with PUA.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 12 April 2013 12:08:55AM 9 points [-]

I wonder whether it's relevant that K comes across as consciously knowing that he's interested, and thus capable of reasoning about what he wants (and how to get it ethically and within social bounds); whereas B is acting on instinct and without awareness, so may suddenly come out with a proposition (or a grope) out of nowhere. If you aren't reasoning about your goals in a social interaction, your goal-directed actions may be rather random and unpredictable, which is bad for your partner.

Comment author: malcolmmcc 12 April 2013 12:16:46AM 4 points [-]

I think that's part of it too, yeah. B trying to keep all female friends as potential partners, but not actively pursuing any of them, just kind of randomly "going for it".

Comment author: Error 19 April 2013 08:47:35PM 2 points [-]

B doesn't really give any evidence at all, and the resulting uncertainty is creepy/awkward/uncomfortable. It makes women uneasy, because they aren't sure of his intentions. If they knew he liked them, they might be able to update him on whether or not they do. If they knew he didn't, then they could relax. But not knowing sucks.

Oddly, I have exactly this complaint from the other end; I want to condition my actions on whether or not a woman has any interest (show some myself if so, otherwise leave her alone) but can't correctly evaluate the conditional unless it's made explicit, which no one ever does.

Comment author: malcolmmcc 20 April 2013 03:46:30AM 2 points [-]

I totally know this feeling. Not sure what to do about it except developing the skill of friendly flirting... which I realize is hardly easy. If you do the flirting part right and you're otherwise presentable, then you probably won't appear "creepy" unless you persist far too long.

Comment author: Sarokrae 12 April 2013 11:53:14AM 2 points [-]

I upvoted this comment for the info on porn and masturbation addiction, which is news to me, but makes sense with my model of the world, and seems to be something I ought to look into. Thanks.

Comment author: Qiaochu_Yuan 11 April 2013 08:36:06AM *  5 points [-]

I just want to say that as a man, I'm horrified by what submitters A & B observed/endured, and I hope they learn some day that most of us guys aren't like that.

What evidence do you have that most men are in fact not like that? (Disclaimer: I am also male. Also, thanks for the porn and masturbation links. Seems worth looking more into.)

Comment author: MileyCyrus 11 April 2013 12:25:43AM *  7 points [-]

Yeah, if we could use these posts to learn about women's experiences instead of constantly doubting everything they say...that would be great.

Comment author: Desrtopa 11 April 2013 01:32:33AM 21 points [-]

Doubting that a person is honestly and accurately relating their experiences is one thing, doubting that the generalizations they draw are accurate is another. I upvoted the post, but I think V_V brings some legitimate considerations to the table here.

Women and men tend to have somewhat different experiences in life, and it's useful for them to be exposed to each others' experiences and learn from them. But I don't think we can assume that the generalizations any particular woman draws from her experiences will be accurate, any more than we can assume that the generalizations that a man draws will be accurate. We just take them all for the evidence they're worth.

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 11 April 2013 05:55:47AM 10 points [-]

Doubting that a person is honestly and accurately relating their experiences is one thing

And even that has it's place since people do in fact exaggerated their experience.

Comment author: Axrt 11 April 2013 12:13:49PM 11 points [-]

No, we take their experiences as fact.

It is not clear, though, why we must automatically take their interpretation of the policy relevance of their experiences as fact.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 11 April 2013 02:54:23PM 7 points [-]

Well, no.

If someone says "Joe did bad things X, Y, and Z to me because he plays violent video games," we can take it as true that X, Y, and Z actually happened without thereby agreeing that video games have anything to do with it. Being unconvinced of the conclusion (or even rejecting it) does not license us to disregard the evidence of that person's experience.

See also Qiaochu_Yuan's comment here:

General note: let's not do that thing where we don't like an argument someone is presenting and so we fail to update on the evidence they present in favor of it.

Comment author: Vaniver 11 April 2013 01:17:04AM 8 points [-]

Yeah, if we could use these posts to learn about women's experiences instead of constantly doubting everything these they say...that would be great.

I think that this would make women more willing to describe their experiences. I also think on LW learning and engagement often look like doubt and criticism, and that epistemic hygiene is very important.

Comment author: Giles 14 April 2013 12:48:23AM 2 points [-]

LW Women Submissions

a call for anonymous submissions by the women on LW

Seven women submitted

uh... could this be rephrased?

Comment author: roland 10 April 2013 10:22:21PM *  1 point [-]

I don't get all the criticism of PUAs, submitter B mentions them but doesn't provide any elaborate arguments and I don't think it's fair to compare them to gay converters(gay converters want to change other people PUAs don't, on the contrary they accept woman exactly how they are). In effect PU is understanding how women work and adjusting your behavior to become attractive to them. Could you be more specific in what exactly is wrong with them?

Comment author: crazy88 11 April 2013 12:30:59AM *  20 points [-]

If the sole determining factor of whether an interaction with a women is desirable is whether they end up attracted to you then, yes, even the most extreme sort of pick up artistry would be unproblematic.

However, if you think that there are other factors that determine whether such an interaction is desirable (such as whether the woman is treated with respect, is not made to feel unpleasant etc) then certain sorts of pick up artistry are extremely distasteful.

For example, let's hypothetically imagine that women are more attracted to people who make them feel insecure (I take no position on the accuracy of this claim). Sure, it would just be "understanding how women work and adjusting your behaviour to be more attractive to them" if you deliberately made them feel insecure. And sure, this would be no problem if being attractive was the sole determining factor of whether the interaction was desirable. However, if you think women deserve to be treated with respect and not made to feel horrible (presuming not because they are women but just because all humans deserve this) then this interaction is extremely undesirable.

Some discussions of pick up artistry don't just blur this line but fail to even realise there is a line. To those who think women should be treated with respect, this is extremely concerning.

Comment author: roland 11 April 2013 02:26:41AM 2 points [-]

In general a PUA should always make a woman feel good, otherwise why should she choose to stay with him? Probably women suffer much more through awkward interactions, stalkers, etc...

For example, let's hypothetically imagine that women are more attracted to people who make them feel insecure

Making a woman feel insecure might work, so does a movie that makes people feel scared(ever enjoyed a good horror movie?). Should we blame a PUA if that works for him?

Beautiful women will have an edge when negotiating with a man, should we blame her for using this as a tactic?

I've decided to write my own post on the subject, feel free to take a look:

http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/h6l/pick_up_artistspuas_my_view/

Comment author: wedrifid 11 April 2013 04:14:17AM 7 points [-]

In general a PUA should always make a woman feel good, otherwise why should she choose to stay with him?

Human mating interests are not aligned perfectly with the happiness goals of the gene carriers in question. (It so happens that creating mostly positive affect in interactions is usually optimal, but this isn't entirely consistent and certainly isn't an inevitable first principle.)

Comment author: crazy88 11 April 2013 02:34:13AM *  2 points [-]

Thanks for a reply. I did take a look at your post but I don't think it really engages with the points that I make (it engages with arguments that are perhaps superficially similar but importantly distinct)

In general a PUA should always make a woman feel good, otherwise why should she choose to stay with him? Probably women suffer much more through awkward interactions, stalkers, etc...

I have no problems with certain things that one might describe as pick up artistry. My comments are reserved for the things that don't involve respect for a woman's welfare (demeaning her, for example). And yes, I'm sure people suffer more through stalkers but that doesn't set the bar very high.

Making a woman feel insecure might work, so does a movie that makes people feel scared(ever enjoyed a good horror movie?). Should we blame a PUA if that works for him?

If you think that people should care about the welfare of others then yes. I think here we have identified the ultimate source of our disagreement. The fact that you think this is even a question worth asking shows that we have substantially different background assumptions (and this perhaps explains why you find attacks on PU confusing).

ETA: I realise now that it was unclear whether you were asking whether we should blame a PUA for the movie thing or for deliberately making a woman feel insecure. If the first, no (except perhaps in unusual circumstances) as going to a movie doesn't go against the woman's welfare presuming she, like many people, finds the fear of a horror movie desirable or finds it to be made up for by other aspects of the movie. If the second, then as per above: yes, I think a person should care about the welfare of the person that they're picking up.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 11 April 2013 01:38:46AM 1 point [-]

If the sole determining factor of whether an interaction with a women is desirable is whether they end up attracted to you then, yes, even the most extreme sort of pick up artistry would be unproblematic.

However, if you think that there are other factors that determine whether such an interaction is desirable (such as whether the woman is treated with respect, is not made to feel unpleasant etc) then certain sorts of pick up artistry are extremely distasteful.

That's the issue. Some people have an ideology that some women's tastes are distasteful.

Comment author: crazy88 11 April 2013 01:49:33AM *  4 points [-]

That's the issue. Some people have an ideology that some women's tastes are distasteful.

It's a clever line but doesn't really interact with what I said (which may perhaps have been because I was unclear: I don't intend to suggest this fact is your fault).

We can think of it another way: what do we think constitutes the welfare of a woman? Presumably we don't think that it is just that she is attracted to the person she is currently conversing with.

However, if this is the case and if we care about how our interaction with people effect their welfare then the fact that a person's interaction with a woman makes the woman attracted to them doesn't entail that the interaction was desirable (because we care about their welfare which is more than just their extent of current attraction).

Note that this need not be a condescending attempt to institute an objective conception of welfare on an unwilling recipient. For example, we might think that a person's welfare is determined by their own subjective, personally decided upon preferences. Now perhaps a woman has preferences to be attracted to the person they're talking to (or perhaps not) but presumably they also have preferences to feel good about themselves and a number of other things. Again, then, even taking their self-identified welfare, we can't presume that an interaction is benefiting a woman's welfare just because they are attracted to their current conversation partner.

To put it another other way: just because a woman finds herself attracted to a person following an interaction, it doesn't mean she doesn't wish that the interaction had been different. So the conversation may fulfill the man's interests in being attractive but it doesn't follow from the fact that the woman is attracted to him that it fulfulls the woman's interests.

Of course, if you think a woman's welfare is her own problem and an interested man's only responsibility is to be attractive to the woman then you won't find this compelling but that attitude is precisely what the problem is (many people think that one should be concerned about the effects of one's interactions on others' welfare).

ETA: So to clarify: the claim was not that some women's tastes are distasteful but rather that a woman's tastes don't entirely determine her welfare so we can't move from a claim that something is in accordance with her tastes to a claim that something is in accordance with her welfare (or, for that matter, her desires, because her tastes in men don't fully define her desires either)

Comment author: someonewrongonthenet 11 April 2013 12:05:17AM *  16 points [-]

PUAs don't, on the contrary they accept woman exactly how they are

The problem here is likely that the PUA presumptions concerning what women are like are offensive to some.

PUA stance - "I accept women how they are! Women are attracted to confident, dominant males. You've got to show that you are assertive- even if it means being an asshole and playing on people's insecurities sometimes."...etc

Analogy to racism - "I accept blacks how they are! I don't demand them to do intellectual tasks. I keep plenty of watermelon and fried chicken lying around the house, I do everything I can to make them feel welcome" ... etc

You see the issue here? The thing that offends here is not the fact that PUA's want to adjust behavior to attract women. The thing that offends is that the PUA's conception of what women are like is perceived by some as demeaning. Imagine how you would feel if someone made inaccurate assumptions about you via generalizations from some group you belong to?

I also want to say that even if PUA techniques are instrumentally successful at attracting women (I don't know if this is the case), it isn't necessarily because that the PUA worldview is epistemically correct. I'm sure anyone who sets out with the explicit goal of attracting women will be more successful at the task than they were prior to setting up that goal.

If you feel like the PUA conception of women is accurate, that's a different discussion...and perhaps one that we should have given the concerns about misogyny on LW. I think PUA memes are especially dangerous because they are half-truths, which makes them compelling and "sticky" - but that is an opinion, and I admit only passing familiarity with PUA memes which I've picked up from visiting their forums

If anyone does feel that PUA memes about women are more or less accurate, don't be afraid to speak up. I encourage people to make this a safe environment where people can air those thoughts without being ridiculed. We can hash the thoughts out, and maybe some of us will update. We can make a different thread for that purpose, if necessary.

Of course, it's also a possibility that not all PUA memes are offensive...but I've dropped by those forums, and I know some of them are. It might be helpful if someone made a list of common terms and pointed out the problems...although I really wouldn't want to start an inter-forum conflict over something silly like this. Though they do come under a lot of criticism, so they probably wouldn't notice.

In effect PU is understanding how women work and adjusting your behavior to become attractive to them.

The above aside...I dunno. This statement feels like manipulation via false signalling, and I find that distasteful. I think that's mostly in the phrasing though, since there is nothing intrinsically wrong in wanting to be attractive.

Comment author: AspiringRationalist 11 April 2013 05:03:42AM 9 points [-]

I also want to say that even if PUA techniques are instrumentally successful at attracting women (I don't know if this is the case), it isn't necessarily because that the PUA worldview is epistemically correct. I'm sure anyone who sets out with the explicit goal of attracting women will be more successful at the task than they were prior to setting up that goal.

I once attended a PUA seminar, motivated by pure curiosity and interest in psychology, and there was a lot of emphasis on reading women. The basic approach could be summed up as: 1. Make yourself feel confident 2. Approach a woman, using assorted techniques 3. Determine whether she's interested 4. If she isn't, leave her alone (there was a lot of emphasis on this point) and move on to someone else as quickly as possible 5. Repeat until one bites

The techniques don't need to work on the average woman to be successful. The gauge her interest and move on quickly parts filter for those who respond well to them (I would guess also for undesirable personality traits).

Comment author: someonewrongonthenet 11 April 2013 09:27:16AM 5 points [-]

As an aside, this is really illustrative of the extent to which deciding to purposefully do something helps you accomplish goals.

And assuming that those "assorted techniques" don't contain anything terrible (many of them do, unfortunately), this all seems fine to me.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 11 April 2013 01:43:32AM *  4 points [-]

PUA stance - "Women are attracted to confident, dominant males.

If you feel like the PUA conception of women is accurate, that's a different discussion...and perhaps one that we should have given the concerns about misogyny on LW.

The first stance is basically accurate for the majority of hetero women.

For what percentage of hetero women do you think that's false?

Comment author: someonewrongonthenet 11 April 2013 01:53:15AM *  3 points [-]

Both genders like confidence equally. Both genders like some amount of social dominance, although both genders seem to value it more in men. I don't know how much of that is just culture. If we're talking sexual dominance/submissiveness, I'd estimate 20% of women prefer submissive men, 50% prefer dominant, and 30% don't care - I'm sure we could get that data if we wanted.

That's not the part which is the problem. It's the entailing conclusions about behavior...

even if it means being an asshole and playing on people's insecurities sometimes.

which I don't like. Also, attempts at artificially puffing up ones social dominance are almost never good.

Comment author: DanArmak 11 April 2013 07:15:13PM 4 points [-]

attempts at artificially puffing up ones social dominance are almost never good.

Of course everyone (like you) want to put down people who claim higher status than you think they really have. What makes one's social dominance "artificial" or genuine? Merely the success of convincing others that you are in fact dominant. So your argument (that artificially high dominance is bad) implies that you only dislike unsuccessful PUAs, the ones who fail to raise their status in your eyes.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 11 April 2013 02:04:45AM *  3 points [-]

Both genders like confidence equally. Both genders like some amount of social dominance,

Don't think so. Men are much more tolerant of limited confidence. Many women will argue that men aren't even attracted to confident women. Similarly, I don't see men interested in women who dominate others. Higher status is good, but dominating others - no.

I'm not going to blame men who cater to the preferences of women. Pointless exercise. They should slit their own throats so that women can dump them for men who behave they way they respond to? If you don't approve of what women prefer, take it up with them.

Comment author: someonewrongonthenet 11 April 2013 02:12:01AM *  1 point [-]

No...women do not like people who are assholes and play on people's insecurities. No healthy person likes that.

Social "dominance" is about being charismatic and influential within a group.

It's not about over-riding people's preferences. It's not about playing on insecurities. Rather, it's about making people comfortable and helping them to achieve their ends.

Women like what they like, and I'm not going to blame men who cater to those likes. If you don't approve of what women like, take it up with them.

In the least convenient universe where women did like that, are you really willing to endorse unethical actions in pursuit of mating?

Comment author: Desrtopa 11 April 2013 03:16:25PM *  4 points [-]

No...women do not like people who are assholes and play on people's insecurities. No healthy person likes that.

I think that many branches of PUA contain some fairly toxic memes, but I think this claim is only true under a rather narrow and exclusionary definition of "healthy."

I've certainly known women who were attracted to men who were assholes and played on others' insecurities. I never became bitter about it, because they weren't women I would have wanted to be attracted to me instead, but I don't think that means it's fair to label them as psychologically unhealthy. Plenty of women also play on others' insecurities to attain social dominance (ex. queen bees.) Whether this helps make them attractive to men, I couldn't say, but it certainly doesn't seem to prohibit their receiving attraction.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 11 April 2013 02:30:26AM 3 points [-]

I was talking about dominating others, women wanting men who do that, and men not being so interested in women who do that.

You seem to be using "social dominance" as a synonym for social status. Yes, everyone likes social status. Men get it by dominating others. Women don't.

are you really willing to endorse unethical actions in pursuit of mating?

I don't see winning as unethical. I don't see giving women what they respond to as unethical. Some people like S&M. Is a little pain "unethical", if that's what someone responds to?

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 11 April 2013 05:39:08AM 9 points [-]

gay converters want to change other people PUAs don't

What's wrong with wanting to change other people? Heck, this site's stated goal of "raising the sanity waterline" is going to involve changing people.

Comment author: paper-machine 10 April 2013 11:02:25PM 9 points [-]

PUAs don't, on the contrary they accept woman exactly how they are

Many anti-gay conservative Christians say the exact same thing. They have an entire rhetorical memeplex devoted to expressing how much God already loves each and every homosexual just as he created them.

Comment author: roland 10 April 2013 11:23:24PM 0 points [-]

Quoting myself:

gay converters want to change other people PUAs don't

Comment author: paper-machine 10 April 2013 11:32:12PM 4 points [-]

Yeah, I got that part. I'm not convinced.

Comment author: Dahlen 13 April 2013 07:35:29AM *  1 point [-]

[META] Why do LWers seem to get their collective panties in a bunch every time gender issues / women are mentioned?

Comment author: drethelin 13 April 2013 07:53:55AM 6 points [-]

It's the isreal/palestine conflict that everyone can feel involved in. Wherever you live, you're on one side or the other or the other or the other.

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 13 April 2013 08:04:06AM 3 points [-]

Because this is a topic on which there are an unusually large number of true things that it isn't socially acceptable to say.

Comment author: Dahlen 13 April 2013 08:39:42AM *  16 points [-]

And possibly a hefty amount of socially unacceptable false things too.

It could've been an explanation, but in the end it turned out to be declaring sides.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 15 April 2013 01:00:29AM 7 points [-]

I think it's interesting how many "things you [supposedly] can't say" about society are actually very commonly said, throughout mainstream media, religious preaching, popular fiction and nonfiction.

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 15 April 2013 03:49:13AM *  1 point [-]

Um, no. The reason it seems this way to you is that when you attempt to think of what the "things you can't say" are, your search space is limited to things you've actually heard.

Comment author: Dahlen 13 April 2013 08:23:43AM *  2 points [-]

What should I understand from the instant negative karma response? That I shouldn't have asked the question, I suppose. If I shouldn't have asked the question, then... I'm supposed to see a new thread in Discussion getting 300 replies in 3 days, remember the same thing happened with the previous threads in the series, and go, "Oh... nothing unusual at all, no special reaction to this topic.". Or, I'm expected to know the answer just like everybody else does, and therefore by asking the question I'm actually expressing an opinion on everybody who commented and I'm not actually looking for an answer.

But I am. Getting worked up about this topic could mean a number of things with respect to your attitude towards gender issues, and I don't know the bunch of you well enough to say which is the prevailing explanation. Hence the question. And I suppose now there's an additional question about why it is so taboo to ask this, which I'm also genuinely interested in.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 13 April 2013 01:26:47PM 18 points [-]

Why do LWers seem to get their collective panties in a bunch every time gender issues / women are mentioned?

Your phrasing implies that people are overreacting and being ridiculous. A more neutral phrasing-- something like "Why are people so angry about gender issues?" or "Why do gender issues get so much attention?"-- probably would have gone over better.

Comment author: Kindly 13 April 2013 01:41:50PM *  9 points [-]

What should I understand from the instant negative karma response?

You seemed to object in another comment to a response which "could've been an explanation, but in the end it turned out to be declaring sides." Well, your question reads like a straightforward declaration of sides. Hence the downvoting. NancyLebovitz is also correct.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 13 April 2013 07:07:18PM 6 points [-]

What should I understand from the instant negative karma response?

As I read this, the comment's karma is (0, 50%), so I think the correct answer is "nothing much".

Comment author: Dahlen 14 April 2013 02:47:31AM 2 points [-]

Oh. I asked the question immediately after seeing that the parent comment had gotten -2 within minutes of being posted, so I was expecting the trend to continue. It didn't.

Comment author: drethelin 14 April 2013 04:38:48PM 8 points [-]

never complain about karma, but ESPECIALLY never try to portray a few downvotes as the view of the forum.

Comment author: army1987 14 April 2013 07:38:50PM 6 points [-]

I now strongly agree with the part after the “especially”, especially when “a few” equals 1.

Comment author: Kindly 14 April 2013 05:50:48PM 3 points [-]

It's a fair question to ask. The downvotes may not be "the view of the forum", whatever that is, but they're certainly the view of the downvoters.

If I downvote something, it's because I want to see less of it. If the other party wants to cooperate with this, shouldn't they at least know what I want to see less of?