The Princess and the Player

February 13, 2007

In My Beef with Feminism I describe the contradictions of modern-day feminism; in Feminism’s Greatest Mistake, I point to the natural consequences of social and “emotional” liberation.

Ironically, it is the recent mis-steps by modern-day feminism that have enabled modern Western women to fall as such easy prey to “The Player”.

A “Player” is a man or woman skilled at social interaction who manipulates a woman’s emotions for some less-than-noble purpose. It may be to get sex from a girl who would otherwise refuse. It may be to suggest to her that her boyfriend has been unfaithful, and thus plant seeds of doubt that will lead to the break-up of the relationship (so the boyfriend is “available” for a rebound fuck).

The Player plays a woman’s emotions as skillfully as a concert violinist plays a Stradivarius, and wrings from her shifting patterns of labile emotionality a result that is personally beneficial. Some people also call this person an “emotional vampire”; a social predator who feeds with a delightful sense of irony on tumultuous emotions casually inspired in others by misrepresentations of the self.

Players and emotional vampires were not common before the destruction of social patterns of value, because they could not gain traction among men and women with strong basic social values, such as: keep your word, stand by your friends, don’t lie, regulate your emotions. Abdicating responsibility for your actions via your emotions creates a gaping vulnerability to manipulation by a skillful emotional player.

The dismantling of these basic conventions has constructed The Princess and the Player as two opposite but complimentary social caricatures: the Princess, flippant and emotionally labile, is selfish, petulant, demanding, inconsistent, petty, and catty — the Player, ruthless and calculating, is exploitative, egocentric, unctuous, mendacious, penetrating, and fake.

Neither is able to experience healthy attachment, so while they may come together to feed on one another for a time, and experience some measure of purely biological bliss (in sex), a deepening and strengthening bond, and the personal growth that would entail, is not truly possible.

And that is a personal tragedy with dire social and cultural implications.

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Feminism’s Greatest Mistake

February 12, 2007

There is one other thing I cannot endorse about feminism.

By telling women that they have been oppressed for centuries by “The Patriarchy”, and calling them to liberate themselves by rejecting the basic social codes of the Western world, which were supposed to be constructed by men to keep them in chains (and therefore ought to be regarded as inherently destructive), feminism has effectively declared war on a number of very desirable social traits.

Consider the body of social conventions and behavioral proscriptions that feminism rails against:

– nurturing and care-giving (”sexist”, feminists say)
– moderation in words and actions
– taking compliments, thanking behavior
– kindness
– accommodation
– respect
– modesty
– decorum

Quite a collection of reprehensible, disgusting habits, no? It’s only NATURAL feminism would revolt against them! After all, they are plainly tools designed solely in the interest of enslaving women to eeeeevil forces of Patriarchy.

And this is only a partial list of values and conventions latter-day feminists have fought to destroy, to replace them with, as far as I can tell, just one overarching rule:

“Follow your feelings.”

That’s it. That’s the aggregate message of 2nd and 3rd wave feminism: “Guess what, girls! You don’t have to be nice anymore! In fact, be a BITCH! Be LOUD! Be IMMODEST! Be IMPOLITE! SLEEP AROUND! Throw off tho yoke of those patriarchical social conventions that made you so mute, dumb and boring! Have some ATTITUDE! And, above all….follow your feelings.”

“If it feels good, do it. After all, that’s what men do!”

“If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.”

And in that single sweep, feminism “liberated” women from decency in social conventions and enslaved them to their own shifting emotions.

You see, emotions, while a very important source of information, are not and never will be Facts; and divorcing women from Facts while encouraging them to make their decisions using Feelings is morally ruinous.

A fact, for example, might be as follows: “I said I’d come back and pick up my friends after the bars closed.”

In the old days, before feminism destroyed the “sexist social codes” that taught women things like kindness, accommodation and respect, a woman might have followed a thought process like this:

“Hmm, I told my friends I’d go back and pick them up. But I’m really tired now! And this cute boy is calling me on the phone. I really want to just stay home…..BUT, I promised them, and I have to keep my word. So I’ll call the boy back tomorrow and drive out to get them. I’ll be a good friend.”

Now, however, it’s a different story:

“Hmm, I told my friends I’d go back and pick them up. But I’m really tired now! And this cute boy is calling me on the phone. Fuck those whores, they can take care of themselves.”

This destruction of the aforementioned values in women’s minds has had an imprisoning effect, not a liberating one. Now, women are subject to their own selfish whims, rather than the social conventions of “good behavior”. And while I love my naughty girls as much as the next guy, I absolutely *cannot abide* what feminism has replaced those social niceties with:

– lying
– infidelity
– betrayal
– flakiness
– lack of integrity
– manipulation
– extreme competitiveness
– extreme jealousy
– opportunism

Women are encouraged in these behaviors. It is “throwing off the yoke of the male oppressor”. It is “getting theirs”. It is “following their feelings”.

Modern-day feminism — 2nd and 3rd wave — is, at root, an intellectual pattern of values that is seeking to free women from social constructs in favor of biological decisionmaking. Now this intellectual pattern has gone out of control, in places flatly denying biological differences between the genders — the theory of gender being “socially constructed” — and seeking through this anything-goes emotional liberation to destroy the good social rules.

Emotional decision-making is a biological process; biological processes ought to be contained and mediated by social processes. The urge to murder, or the urge to rape, are biological processes that are kept in check by a strong social process — law and order, the cop with the gun, and the court and criminal justice system.

So the problems brought on by modern-day feminism: women’s unrestrained sexual expression, ceaseless competition, physical aggression, and somatic decision-making — have been set free from their social constraints and are now resulting in a degradation of the very cultures where women are considered most politically liberated.

This is what radical Muslims are reacting to when they speak about the immorality of Western women: they are bearing witness to biological instincts being let free to dominate social and intellectual constraints. They recognize that this process is inherently immoral, since the social pattern of values that kept woman’s natural biological urges in check are what allowed the intellectual level to flourish in the first place.

The entire thing is a process of degradation and backsliding; and feminism, as a movement, needs to snap out of it before the social patterns collapse completely, taking the intellectual patterns with them, and leaving only the biological laws of the jungle, chaotic, confused, and answering to no one.

It is modern-day feminism that has proven true the statement made by Jack Nicholson’s character in the film As Good as It Gets , when asked how he writes such convincing female characters: “I think of a man. Then I take away reason and accountability.”

To follow the rabbit hole deeper, see also My Beef with Feminism and The Princess and the Player.

My Beef with Feminism

February 11, 2007

There is a contradiction living at the heart of modern-day feminism; a contradiction that most feminists refuse to acknowledge or discuss.

The contradiction concerns two assertions within feminism that cannot co-exist logically, but are both asserted as fundamental to the movement.

Until these assertions are resolved by mainstream feminism, I, and many others like me, simply cannot take the movement seriously.

Which brings me to the second of what will be a two-part critique; that feminism, as currently conceived, is a political philosophy based on an appeal to emotions, rather than to logic or morality — and that formulation must change before the movement rises to the prominence and regard it enjoyed prior to the Second Wave.

But let’s take it one thing at a time.

The Competing Feminist Assertions

1) Men and women are equal; and therefore ought to be treated as equals with respect to jobs, opportunities, wages and earnings, fashion, sexual expectations, and every other sphere of life. So far, so good: this is a basic statement of desire for “equal treatment” or enlightened egalitarianism. In fact, let’s call it the “egalitarian assertion“. It is often trotted out as feminism’s chief assertion of moral superiority. It allows feminists to start with the principle that the entire feminist movement is all about reducing the oppression of The Patriarchy and making the playing field entirely level for both men and women.

2) Women’s values are different from, and superior to, men’s values. The presumption is that the world would be BETTER OFF if more women were in charge. This is what you are hearing when you hear women attack the “Patriarchy”: a.k.a. the male-dominated world, which is painted as petty, calculating, emotionless, aggressive, power-obsessed, life-denying, and basically responsible for all the evil in the world. The assumption is that the Patriarchy must be pulled down, destroyed, abolished, so that the communitarian, affiliative nature of women can replace it with a beautiful, benign Matriarchy.

And herein lies the first contradiction. If the egalitarian assertion is right, and men and women are equal in intellect and moral standing, why would the Matriarchy be any different than the Patriarchy it seeks to supplant?

Notice that this second pillar of feminism, which we should call the female superiority argument, is a strong affirmation of sexism — which feminism purports to fight against).

Some Examples

The contradictions generated by these two competing ideas are infinite; but let’s take just a few examples, from the realms of business, social conduct, sexual conduct, and politics. Just watch as feminists lay down the female superiority argument in the same breath as the egalitarian assertion:

Business
“Women don’t earn as much as men; that’s wrong, because they can be just as good as a man at any business. In fact businesses wouldn’t pollute or exploit their workers as much if women were in charge, because women are actually MORE caring than men.”

That doesn’t sound like a philosophy of equality to me. It sounds like the flip side of “Patriarchy”.

Society
“Women can be just as good as men at fighting in the military or boxing, so they should be allowed to do those things. To say otherwise is sexist. At the same time, women need to be protected from male violence in the home and on the street.”

First comes the assertion that women can fight just as well as men; so keeping them out of the military is sexist and oppressive. Then comes the assertion that men are MORE violent than women, and actually, women need to be PROTECTED from this form of oppression. So which is it?

In the above example, the same woman will also say, when presented with video evidence of a woman beating up a man on the street, “He shouldn’t press charges; he probably wasn’t even hurt. Men are tougher than women.” So a man hitting a woman is illegal, because men are tougher than women; but women can fight as infantrymen alongside men, because men aren’t tougher than women. Madness!

Sex
“Vibrators and dildos are sexual liberation and expression for women; but pornography is demeaning and a hazard to women, so we should criminalize it.”

So masturbation is OK for women but not OK for men? “Men should just use their imaginations, like we do”. Women should just use their fingers, like WE do. Both vibrators and pornography are masturbation aids; to treat them unequally is sexism.

Politics
“Women and men are equal; there should be an equal number of women holding political office around the world, because women are better at dealing with people, and more caring, anyway. If we had a woman President we would have fewer wars.”

Self-explanatory. Women are just as good as men at holding political office; no, they’re actually BETTER. If the latter is true, why don’t feminists just come out and say they think women should run the world? Of course some do, and completely miss the irony of their shouting and marching for “equality”, not realizing that what they want is not actually called “equality” but “DOMINATION”.

How can it be said that men and women are EQUAL in all respects, and then go on and try to hand men (via “the Patriarchy”) an UNEQUAL share of the responsibility for the evils of the world?

Either men and women are different, and ought to be treated differently by society — or they are NOT different, and ought to be treated exactly the same, and held to the same standards.

Feminism can’t seem to make up its mind.

But it is for damn sure that it is not politically, ideologically, or intellectually honest to cite differences when doing so would advance the cause of feminism, and dismiss them in all other cases.

Equality versus Difference

I want to be clear on the issues here: I believe in equality, and I think feminism is a fine philosophy, as long as it remains about promoting equality.

I believe in the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America, where it is written, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all [people] are created equal…”

That is to say that we, as a human race, ought to work together in order to form a more perfect global union, each contributing the best of what our individual talents and intellect offer to the shared goal of the greatest good for the greatest number.

Notice I did not say that people were undifferentiated. On the contrary, I happen to believe — because the evidence is right in front of my face, all day, ever day — that people are very different. Everyone is born with different skills, abilities, limitations, handicaps, and strengths: nature and nurture, their genes and their environment, are to individual people as length and height are to a field — the total person or the area of the field are incomprehensible without considering the interactive and often reciprocal effect of the both on the one.

Plenty of people make the mistake of saying that a belief in equality must also mean a belief that people are the SAME. That is absolutely not so. People are different, but they are all equal inasmuch as they are all composed of biological material, immersed in a social context, and possessing an intellectual capability (though the latter is frequently under-utilized).

People are not the same; but they ought to be treated fairly.

Flipping Off Hot Girls

February 10, 2007

First, watch this video:

Now, despite the rather sophomoric nature, ask yourself the following question:

Q: If the video had been about a woman walking around flipping off hot guys, and one of the hot guys had flipped out and BEAT UP the woman asking the questions, what would have happened to that guy?

A: Assault and battery charges, conviction, and jail time.

So why was it OK for the woman in the video to beat up the guy?

Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot — there is a double standard in feminism that says that, while a guy can’t lay a finger on a girl in anger or risk assault charges, a lawsuit, and an automatic conviction (since the police and court system automatically takes the woman’s word for it), it’s perfectly alright for a GIRL to assault a GUY, and all he can do is curl up into a little ball and take it.

Notice the guy’s large bruise after his assault. Notice also that his friend and a CAMERA trained on the entire incident, creating a VIDEO RECORD that could be taken to the police to press charges.

Is saying “Fuck you” to a girl really enough provocation to get your ass kicked? How many girls say “Fuck you” (or “Fuck off!”) to guys every day? Do you think society would tolerate all the guys responding to those words by beating the shit out of women who said them? I think not.

So why does this one woman get away with it?

Notice also that, after assaulting the offending guy, she turns and starts running towards the cameraman, who has to flee for his own safety. She is in full attack mode and she knows she can assault with impunity since no man in his right mind would try to press charges against a woman, even with video evidence, given the current atmosphere of the U.S. criminal justice system.

If you argue that “men are stronger than women and will therefore hurt them more!” I not only call bullshit on your physiology, but bullshit on the double-standard: feminism want to say that men and women are EQUAL, but they don’t want EQUAL TREATMENT, as I discuss in My Beef with Feminism.

No, what they’re looking for in feminism is more like a blank check to misbehave with impunity and without repercussion. It’s the Spoiled Princesses’ Dream: “I can do whatever I want and nobody can stop me!”

Truly sad.

Bill Maher of Politically Incorrect with a classic work of political and sexual satire that bears repeating as often as we can repeat it:

NEW RULE

Abstinence pledges make you horny. In a setback for the morals/values crowd, a new eight-year study just released reveals that American teenagers who take virginity pledges wind up with just as many STD’s as the other kids. But that’s not all. “Taking the pledge” also makes a teenage girl six times more likely to perform oral sex, and four times more likely to allow anal. Which leads me to an important question: where were these pledges when I was in high school?

So, seriously, when I was a teenager, the only kids having anal intercourse, were the ones who missed. My idea of lubrication was oiling my bike chain. If I had known I could have been getting porn-star sex the same year I took Algebra 2 – simply by joining up with the Christian right – I’d have been so down with Jesus, they would have had to pry me out of the pew.

And, let me tell you, there is a lot worse things than teenagers having sex. Namely, teenagers not having sex. Here is something you’ll never hear: “That suicide bomber blew himself up because he was having too much sex. Sex, sex, sex, nonstop, all that crazy Arab ever had was sex, and look what happened.” But among the puritans here of the 21st century, the less said to kids about sex, the better. Because people who talk about peepees are “potty-mouths.”

And so, armed with limited knowledge and believing that regular, vaginal intercourse to be either immaculate or filthy dirty – these kids did with their pledge what everybody does with contracts. They found loopholes. Two of them, to be exact.

Is there any greater irony than the fact that the Christian right actually got their precious little adolescent daughters to say to their freshly-scrubbed boyfriends, “Please, I want to remain pure for my wedding night, so only in the ass… And then I’ll blow you, I promise.” Well, at least these kids are really thinking outside the box.

I can’t for the life of me find the video clip to go along with this transcript; if anyone else has a link, please email it to me: andrew.ekud at (gmail) dot (com).

Abstinence-only sex education has not only been shown to be ineffective, it’s also demonstrably counterproductive.

What I want to talk about today is the morality that I believe underlies the political and religious motivations given for abstinence-only sex education (AOSE for short), which has in the last 5 years come to increasingly dominate our country’s sex ed curriculum.

The Science
Over the past 5 years, nearly a billion dollars in federal funds have been poured into AOSE, which typically tells teens and youngsters (up to the age of 29) that condoms are dangerous and unreliable, and they’d be better off using “the only method that is 100% effective at preventing disease or pregnancy”.

There are three problems with this.

1) First of all, condoms are not ineffective
— they are overwhelmingly effective, not only at preventing unwanted pregnancies, but also at guarding against STI/Ds and the transmission of HIV/AIDS. In fact, the only birth control methods with a higher success rate than condoms are intrauterine device (IUD, 99% effective), the progestin mini-pill (up to 99.9% effective) and other birth control pill formulations (99% effective)1.

There are two important facts about these success rate figures: first, they are the success rates if the method is used correctly — and second, they assume 3x a week frequency of sexual intercourse. If you have sex more often with these methods, your success rate will drop; have sex less often, your rate will increase. This is basic statistics, but it will be important for #2:

2) The abstinence-only method is NOT 100% effective. It’s true that if kids don’t have sex, they won’t get pregnant. But this is not how abstinence is sold. It is sold as a “100% effective birth control / disease prevention method.” In other words, every time you have sex, you should employ the abstinence METHOD to avoid pregnancy or disease. But this is clearly crazy talk: it is, in fact, an example of “Heads I Win, Tails Don’t Count” thinking2.

Couples who intend to use abstinence only as their birth control / disease prevention method, and do refrain from having sex, have obviously used the abstinence method with 100% effectiveness.

Couples who intend to use abstinence only as their birth control / disease prevention method but end up having sex have “failed” to use the method — and therefore their “failure” cannot count against AO’s claimed 100% success rate.

This is intellectually dishonest, and that dishonesty is compounded by a simple fact about abstinence that every adult naturally knows, but those teaching AOSE deliberately avoid, and that is —

3) Kids are going to have sex. The average age of first sexual contact in the U.S. is barely 173. Just telling kids not to have sex is a piss-poor way of discouraging them; they are going to have sex anyway. Trying to scare kids into not having sex by telling them that “condoms are unreliable” just means they’ll have unprotected sex, or have anal and oral sex, and be at increased risk of pregnancy and disease. The data show that even kids who go the hardcore route and get “Promise Rings” end up having sex before marriage at a rate of eighty-eight percent4.

The Religion

Problem #3 is partially linked to another big problem with AOSE: religion.

Some, though not all, AOSE efforts are linked to faith-based program like Silver Ring Thing, Free Teens, True Love Waits, some of which have been given generous funding by the U.S. Federal government, despite the fact that this violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment (separation of church and state).

(In fact, Silver Ring Thing lost a $75,000 grant from the Department of Health and Human Services after the ACLU successfully sued the DHHS for violation of the Establishment Clause (SRT no longer receives money from the Federal government).)

Bringing religion into the equation conflates religious feeling and public health: kids are encouraged to pledge to abstinence because of religious reasons, not out of enlightened self-interest. This makes it easy for them to renege on the pledge, or even deny ever having made it5; if they stray from the religious values originally linked to abstinence, they will stray from abstinence itself.


The Morality of AOSE

The majority of “promise” or “purity” movements are started by some religious organization — mostly evangelical Christian churches. A good example is Silver Ring Thing, which was started by Denny Pattyn, a youth minister,

…as a way to combat what he saw as rising rates of STDs and pregnancies amongst teenagers, as well as a way to protect teens from what founders saw as American culture’s unhealthy obsession with sex, which, according to Pattyn, was a byproduct of the “promiscuity [of] the sexual revolution of the ‘60s”.

Now we’re getting somewhere. It’s not that Pattyn and Co truly believe condoms don’t work: it’s that Pattyn and Co have a problem with the 60’s. They’re disgusted by the “free love” movement. They’re reacting against the science and intellectualism that has set biological sex free from its inherent risk, danger, and consequences.

They’re furious at the idea that the intellect can produce free love in a more concrete way than their old social and religious values.

Evangelical Christianity, and the religious right-wing, are not forming these movements for religious reasons; they are forming them for social reasons.

Evangelical Christianity, and the majority of the Religious Right, come from very old Conservative roots. Victorian roots, in fact — the people who built New York City, the same people who got obscenely wealthy in the wake of the American Civil War, the first American robber barons.

The important thing to understand about Victorianism and Victorian morality is that it is social. It is based on a social caste system, in an imitation of old-world European society; it is based on social graces, and it is judged by social perceptions (that is, “What would the neighbors think?”)

That is why so many Evangelical Christians — and Victorians, in retrospect — appear to be so hypocritical. All they care about is surface, appearance, social grace, social cues, status — surface, surface, surface. A Promise Ring is a symbol for society — not a fuckin’ NuvaRing. It doesn’t release hormones, it doesn’t prevent pregnancy, it doesn’t irritate the fallopian tubes into forming scar tissue, it doesn’t do anything except signal to other teenagers and your parents that you “promise to wait”.

The fact that 88% of teens break their promises doesn’t matter. The fact that these kids now refuse to use condoms, and as a result get STDs and pregnant at greater rates, doesn’t matter. What matters is to get these kids up in front of everyone and have them make a public pledge to be pure. What matters is making our society look better.

The Promise Ring is a Victorian idea based on Victorian morals that has been snuck into the modern world dressed up as political and religious value. The only way it could be a more regressive idea is if it were an actual chastity belt.

So promise rings, and AOSE, are really an attempt at social reform. They’re only religious to the extent that Christianity is associated in some vague, threatening way (“God wants you to be a virgin”) and only political to the extent that the vaguely threatening evangelical Christian church is associated with the Religious Right.

Oh, yeah — and the reason America has an “unhealthy obsession with sex?” Because the historical foundation of our country’s morals are Victorian and Puritan — and those folks were hella repressed.

References
1. http://www.4woman.gov/faq/birthcont.htm
2. http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/hanson_24_2.htm
3. http://www.newstrategist.com/productdetails/Sex.Samplepgs.pdf
4. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/05/20/60minutes/main696975_page2.shtml
5. http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/05/08/MNGPHIN8IF1.DTL