The black hole, part two

I’m a big fan of cracked.com, particularly the writings of David Wong there.  I recently read a post by him that strikes me as the beginning of a more effective path to teaching our young men and women about sex (Warning: in the article, there is graphic language and some discussion of arousal and sex).  In the interest of sparing our more sensitive readers, I’m going to summarize the keys points of the article and then explain why I think they relate to us.

The title of the article is “5 Ways Modern Men are Trained to Hate Women The five ways are:

  • We were told that society owed us a hot girl
  • We are trained from birth to see you as decoration
  • We think you’re conspiring with our [libido] to ruin us
  • We feel like manhood was stolen from us at some point
  • We feel powerless

Now, I like this post for several reasons.  It is funny, which is a bonus, but it is also dead serious.  It is honest, if a bit simplistic.  It also pretends to be aimed at one audience (women) when it is really aimed at a different audience (men).  It is reflective of most of Wong’s writing (including the tendency to frat-house crudeness and profanity), so if you like it, keep reading.  If you don’t, that’s okay.

The first point is that all women in media are beautiful.  The goal, at least in part, of all those narratives we watch, read, and listen to, is for the guy to get the girl and the girl is always pretty, very, very pretty.  From this, we flow into the second point, which is a notion that women are obligated to be pretty.  Ugly women are understood as a kind of affront to men, because they are failing to dress up or pretty themselves up for us.  However, says the third point, if you do pretty yourself up, you are a distraction because we see you and think sex, even at times that we shouldn’t be doing that. So, according to point 4, we nostalgically cast our minds back to some mythical time when there was no penalty for thinking about sex (or for rampaging or pillaging or other manly endeavors).  In fact, in that bygone era, those qualities were valued and appreciated, but civilization (read: women) have spent millennia eroding this male fantasy.  As a result, in the most important point, men feel powerless before women.  Since women control access to sex, men feel like everything that they do is related to the quest to suitably impress a woman and get her to have sex with them (ideally exclusively).

Now, I’m not going to argue that this reflects lived reality, because it doesn’t.  Men do manage to think about something other than sex on occasion and they can be motivated by other desires as well.  For that matter, this portrait of male sexuality pretty much aligns with the “HULK SMASH!” approach that I once discussed on this blog, which I find particularly unhelpful.  But, here’s the thing, it also explains exactly what is wrong with that outlook. And it does it in a manner that is superior, so far as I can tell, to our current teachings on the subject to our Young Men and Young Women.

At present, we don’t have an LDS notion of what it means to be a man or a woman.  We have borrowed our notions of both of these concepts from the prevailing culture, which means that we are training our youth in exactly the way described by David Wong.  I know you’ve heard of missionaries being told that hot wives are the reward for hard work.  I know you’ve heard umpteen discussions of how girls should dress modestly, but attractive, while at the same time not doing things that inflame the male libido to a hypothetical tipping point.  I know that we’ve all heard grumblings regarding how the priesthood is the great power equalizer, because women actually run the world/church/household.  As a people, we have entirely bought into what the world is selling us regarding how to be men and women and how the two relate.

If we really want to be a city on a hill, a light shining in darkness, it would behoove us to consider what we want our ideas of gender, complementarity, equality, proper sexual conduct, and meaningful love to be. It would be infinitely better than simply pointing to “the world” and saying, “Not like that!” because in so doing, we’ve uncritically accepted everything that the world has to say. There likely is some truth there, but we’ve swallowed the approach whole, all the while denying that we have anything to do with it.

For all its vulgarity, I think that Wong’s post should be part of the curriculum in youth classes, because, even though it doesn’t offer solutions, it adeptly describes the problems in ways that we have been unable to do. Giving young men the opportunity to see themselves as they are seen (and young women the opportunity to develop a vocabulary of male bad behavior beyond “unworthy”) can only help us all develop into what God would have us be. Elder Packer has said, “The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior” and I tend to agree.  However, we all know that, in order to repent, we need to know that we are sinning.  Wong’s post does a better job of describing how men and society sin than anything I’ve seen lately in the Ensign or heard in conference.  Having had it pointed out, I think that we can turn to the doctrines of the gospel to find our solutions.

Comments

  1. Very interesting, John. I see a lot of the “hot chick is your trophy” thing in our LDS culture. Every nerdy dude thinks that he just needs to keep up that 100% early morning seminary record, and his reward will be in heaven a hot chick at BYU. A righteous and hot chick, to be sure. But maybe emphasis on the hot.

  2. LawClerk says:

    Ughhh-what is up with this white-knighting mangina stuff? The one reason I remain a Mormon is the adherence to sucessful, Western-civ preserving cultural norms.

  3. LawClerk says:

    I would hate to se LDS sacrificed for short-term popularity with our academic peers, which is what seems to be motivating the rejection of tradition and embrace of extreme feminism and gay rights as somehow the important issues, as opposed to, say, helping poor people.

  4. LawClerk,
    I admit I’m dense. You’re going to have to explain how either of your comments relate to the post because I don’t see the connection at all.

  5. LawClerk says:

    David Wong is catering to an anti-male world view.

  6. I read Wong’s article and found it painfully true.

  7. LawClerk,
    I again apologize for the density of my noggin. Could you explain what you mean by an “anti-male” world view? I’m still having trouble seeing the relevance of your comments.

  8. Doug Hudson says:

    This post hits on a critical point–if we (Americans in particular), as a society, want to cut down on rapes, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, etc., we need to start educating our boys to view women as equals and to treat them with respect.

    You can teach girls to be modest, to be chaste, to be careful how they behave, etc., all you want, but if you aren’t teaching the boys to respect the girls, then you’re missing half the equation.

    On a side note, LawClerk is a classic example of the problem.

  9. Doug, I agree, but then comes the huge problem. How can The Church teach that girls/women are equal out of one side of their mouth while explicitly stating they are not out of the other side? What is a boy/man supposed to do in such a situation?

    LawClerk is absolutely a classic example of the problem.

  10. LawClerk says:

    The Wong article pedestalizes women–problems between the sexes are attributed to men, while women are beyond criticism. This is nonsense.

  11. Sharee Hughes says:

    EOR, how does the church explicitly state that females are not equal to males?

  12. Because WOMEN are walking pornography, because WOMEN should stay home with children, because WOMEN should be presided over by their husbands, by priesthood holders at home, church, the swimming pool, etc. The fact that the Church has consistently attempted to torpedo the ERA is proof in the pudding that women are not seen as equals to men nor should they be. Their reasoning? To “protect women”. Life outside of the kitchen is entirely too scary a thought apparently.

  13. LawClerk,
    I don’t recall him specifically addressing women’s behavior in the article. Could you point to something specific?

    EOR,
    Those are all implicit statements regarding equality. I think Sharee is probably looking for explicit statements. Those might be harder to come by in the last ten years or so (although Wong does argue that one way to render a group irrelevant is to idolize them, so if you want to go that route, you’ll likely be successful in your search).

  14. Thanks, John. I like this, especially the realization that the Church has adopted cultural norms addressing gender wholesale. If we truly believe in the eternalness of gender, and that it has some sort of normative importance, we would certainly do well to critically examine what we think we know about the subject.

  15. LawClerk says:

    Replace “man” with “African” and you’ll see what I mean.
    It’s funny if LDS are anti-women more men leave than women. Hmmm. . . .

  16. John C. I contend that the Proclamation and the “walking pornography” talk are explicit statements. I will agree that the rest is implicit, but I admit I didn’t wander around quote gathering. I have spent 17 years of my life as an LDS young woman/woman. The inequality is definitely there. I think it would be admirable to leave such thoughts and rhetoric behind and allow women to make their own choices (without retribution) as to whether they will marry, have children, stay home with said children, etc…

  17. LawClerk,
    Why should I have to do that? The article doesn’t have a thing to do with race. Just explain yourself clearly. That’s all we ask.

  18. John C.: After reading about your wife’s recent casual exhibitionism, I have to assume you worked extra hard on your mission. ;)

    I agree with you in general on the Cracked articles. Some of them are lame and nitpicky, but more often than not, they skewer social and media problems, albeit with crude language peppered throughout. Entertaining and informative, with sources cited. I think the presentation keeps them from being taken too seriously. Pity.

  19. Doug Hudson says:

    LawClerk #15,

    The article is discussing how a group with privilege should modify its behavior with respect to an underprivileged group. Africans by and large do not hold a privileged position (in the US at least). So your suggested comparison does not hold up.

    Also, “oh no, what about us poor menz?” is a pretty lousy position to take when men make more than women (on average), hold far more positions of influence than women (how many female Presidents have we had?), and, oh yeah, don’t need to be afraid that any given man might be a rapist.

    Especially true in the Mormon Church, where men hold ALL the positions of real power.

  20. LawClerk says:

    Doug, Enough with the white-knighting. Writing over-the-top anti-male diatribes like Wong’s needs to be called-out, not mindlessly endorsed. This is why men are dropping out-it’s attitudes like yours that are finely-attuned for the campus but fail in real life.

  21. LawClerk,
    Would you like to say something specific? Because just randomly writing incoherent things that seem like insults, with ever providing anything in the way of an argument is a sure way to get the boot. Consider that last one your second strike.

    Doug,
    Don’t feed the troll. Ignore him or make him come up with an argument.

  22. Doug Hudson says:

    # 20, LawClerk, bless your heart. If supporting women’s right to equality and opposing rape culture is “white knighting”, then I am proud to be a “white knight” (I realize, of course ,that you mean that as an insult, implying that a man who embraces feminist ideals does so only to appeal to women. Pretty pathetic insult though.)

    Giving women equal rights and protections does, in fact, take away certain male privileges; the privilege of unrighteous dominion, the privilege of unrestricted access to authority, the privilege of sexual domination (rape and spousal abuse). For my part, I’m willing to give up those privileges; why aren’t you?

  23. Wow. I am amazed at the comments.

    Your essay, at least, captures something important. I am hoping comments can get back on track.

  24. LawClerk says:

    John c., If you can’t see that the Wong article is profoundly anti-male, I don’t know what to tell you. I know it’s not about race, but you ignore my point-imagine a similar list of “5 ways africans are trained to hate whites”? Would your response to that be a skeptical”show me the racism”? The elephant in the room cannot be ignored.

  25. Doug Hudson says:

    John C,
    Sorry, posted my answer before I saw your #22.

  26. LawClerk,
    This is your last chance to make an actual argument. While some list of why black people are trained to hate white people is theoretically possible, what may or may not be on that list has nothing to do with what was on this list. If you see any of these points (or the post, or my post) as being “anti-male,” then please explain why. Otherwise, please go elsewhere. Now is your chance to really decide whether or not you’re a troll.

  27. LawClerk says:

    Take #4 in Wong’s article-it criticizes men for valuing women for their looks, suggesting implicitly that this is a big problem. Yet nary a nod to rampant female hypergamy which is equally “objectifying,” and once loose from the constraints of traditional Western Civ. (as exemplified by LDS cultural norms) leads to the modern explosion of single motherhood and “soft” harems.

  28. Moreover, I think that youth should be required to watch and discuss the documentary “Miss Representation,” which deals with a little more of the female side – how this culture affects the female psyche. It also, though, analyzes the structural matters that contribute to the perpetuation of these discourses – the consolidation of media companies and assumptions that power them (like “women will watch movies about men, but not vice versa”).

  29. Doug Hudson says:

    @27 “Hypergamy?” “Harems?”

    Jesus wept.

  30. LawClerk,
    If Wong had written a list about “how women are trained to abuse the system” or some such, then you might (might) be right to point out bad female behaviors that didn’t make the cut. But that’s not the list he wrote. So I don’t find this point particularly relevant.

    As to his point 4, what are you suggesting? Are you saying that it is just fine to value women primarily for their looks? Are you saying that men actually value women for more than their looks and that Wong is being overly simplistic (a point I make in the OP)? Do you think that his argument regarding the anger some men direct at women they don’t consider attractive makes sense or no? What do you think motivates such anger (assuming that you acknowledge that such anger exists)? If you don’t make such an assumption, what do you think motivates the comments about Justice Kagan that he cites? I’m still not certain what the point is that you’re making, so I don’t know how to approach your point.

    Unfortunately, it’s bedtime for me. But I’ll be happy to continue this discussion with you later, assuming you behave yourself in my absence.

  31. “Traditional Western Civ.”

    http://xkcd.com/988/ – Read the mouseover text.

  32. LawClerk says:

    John C.,
    Re: men valuing women for their looks, we need to distinguish between positive and normative claims. Descriptively, the claim is true, and the behavior is hard-wired. Before we get too normative in condemning it (an exercise I understand) we need to recognize that women are also hard-wired in terms of mate-preference. Not towards male looks, but towards male social dominance. Western Civ./Christianity/LDS culture keep these drives in check. Feminism of the sort espoused by Wong, which focuses on male behavior but wants to “liberate” women from traditional norms yet fears to even name, let alone shame, female hypergamy, is a proscription for societal collapse. Collapse already showing in the immense upsurge in single motherhood. And yes, these children tend to be fathered by a small subset of (socially dominant) males, thus “soft harems.”

  33. Doug Hudson says:

    “Women are hard-wired in terms of mate preference. Not towards male looks, but towards male social dominance”.

    That is exceptionally repulsive, and should be even for conservative Mormons.

  34. Doug Hudson says:

    @31, true AND funny. Unfortunately, LawClerk is a hardline male supremicist (witness @32), so I doubt he’ll see the humor.

  35. LawClerk says:

    Doug, why do you find that truth “repulsive”? You are ok with the truth that men value women based on looks. What, men are the by-product of Darwinian selection, but women are not? Why are you willing to be realistic about men’s natures but want to tell pretty lies about women’s? How ’bout some equality?

  36. Doug Hudson says:

    @35, I don’t know if you’ve missed the point or are deliberately mis-representing it, but the whole point of this post is that it is NOT okay that men value women based on looks! The objectification of women is NOT biological, but sociological, and we need to teach boys NOT to value women based on looks!

    Before you start blathering about it being biological, I will point out that different cultures have VERY different opinions on female beauty.

  37. After all, there are some cultures that think anorexia isn’t anorsexya.

  38. Doug Hudson says:

    Edit: Not SOLELY on looks. Obviously, physical attraction is part of human courtship, though not a necessary one.

    But when women are valued solely on their looks, and not their intelligence, knowledge, etc., then there is a problem.

  39. LawClerk says:

    Read David Buss. Male preference in terms of female waist-hip ratio is culturally invariant, as are those for other fertility indicators (e.g., glossy hair).

  40. Doug Hudson says:

    @37, really? I’m not familiar with that.

    I was thinking more of the Rubenesque beauties of times past, when skinny women were considered unhealthy looking. Or feudal Japan, where white teeth were considered “poor looking” and women who could afford it blackened their teeth.

  41. Doug Hudson says:

    @39 Evo-Psych? You’re going to cite Evo-Psych? Well, of course you are, you certainly don’t have any real science to support your position.

    By the way, how exactly does Twiggy (a sex symbol of her time) fit into your argument? Or Kate Moss, for that matter?

  42. Kind of scary that LawClerk, if his name is accurate, might have some influence (however tiny it likely is) on our legal system.

  43. Thanks for playing, LawClerk. Go find some other blog to threadjack.

  44. While lawclerk appears to be unappealingly dogmatic, he does raise a question that seems to go largely unadressed at BCC. To the extent that BCC’ers advocate admixing academic feminism and the LDS, what of the downsides we’ve seen in the broader society that ‘traditional’ LDS largely seems to avoid?

  45. Silly bloggers/commenters—LawClerk is not actually an un-self-aware chauvinist wannabe-alpha-male. “He” is a feminist performance artist.

  46. What specific downsides, empirically attributable to the embrace of feminism/gender equality, do you have in mind, Lurker?

  47. Brad, single-parent homes would be the big one. It’s scary how quickly
    that is proliferating in the broader culture.

  48. I love it when men talk about what they are “biologically inclined” to and use it to be boorish disgusting sexist pigs. Said men in my experience are more often than not pimply, concave chest, socially backward wrecks. If women stuck to what we were “biologically inclined” to these men would all be left for the vultures. We have a biological drive to seek out the strongest, healthiest male with the best genes. However, we suspend this quite often because we are not still living in caves.

    Giving women choice of how to run their lives does not result in promiscuity, respecting women does not create harems, equality does not create teen pregnancy.

  49. Yeah, I’m still waiting for a real answer. A problem that is in any way empirically attributable to feminism or to efforts at curtailing the kinds of problems outlined in the original post. All ears. (And I mean a problem besides insecure alpha types like LawClerk getting their masculine little feelbads hurt).

  50. The article is discussing how a group with privilege should modify its behavior with respect to an underprivileged group.

    Without commenting on “LawClerk”‘s other comments I probably should say that while you are taking the above for granted there is a significant position that says everyone should be treated the same. It’s a long tradition of (to borrow a notion out of Rawls) a veil over the class or other aspects of the other person when considering our ethical response. (Obviously Rawls adds more here such that he would agree we should treat underprivileged groups better)

    In this view point we should be color blind and gender blind when considering how we treat an other person.

    Now I disagree with this view ultimately for a variety of reasons. The first being that if someone is facing the weight of their circumstance such that they are being hurt we should ethically help them up. The question is whether a set of general rules is the best way to do that. I think we should care about how we act towards women because of the particular person they are. That is they are a child of God and we should in our actions be lifting everyone up rather than just worrying about our selfish desires.

    The problem with the 5 points you outline is that they run face to face into the problem of sexual dynamics in a certain way. For instance (1) is silly as put since no one owes anyone anything in that sense. But clearly there is a desire to date someone you are sexually attracted to. Especially in the years between 15 and 30. And it’s not just men. There are things that are attractive to women and you don’t need to observe life the cafeteria to note that certain men get all the attention just as certain women do.

    I could go on with your other points but I guess what I’m getting at is that we have to deal with the sexual dynamic as just that: a dynamic. (I recognize neither you nor the article are denying the urges and feelings along this line but are asking us to question them.

    If anything I worry the problem with lessons to young women isn’t just the issue of a double standard of modesty (although I think that’s more complex than often discussed). Rather it tends to ignore the very real position young women are in with a pretty similar set of lists. Going by the media young women expect a man who can always pay the way of the young lady, give them nice things, be romantic, and be verbally suave in a manner few young men are really able. (And the men who are tend to be the players who young women probably should avoid) Young women often feel powerless in a manner not that dissimilar to young women. And often (especially with many well meaning critiques of young men) there’s a feeling that men are out there to ruin or control them.

  51. Brad, I’m not sure what kind of empirical evidence you’re looking for, but in terms of natural experiments compare single-parenthood rates in feminist nordic countries to those in unfeminist italy or tunisia. without randomized studies that’s about the best you’re going to do in terms of social “science”

  52. How about divorce, single parent, teen pregnancy, and abortion rates in, say, the Bible belt? These things are far from unicausal, but to suggest that treating men and women as social equals causes vast social problems including broken families is tendentious at best, intellectually irresponsible and misogynist at worst. What do you imagine single parenthood rates are like in societies where women are treated like chattel or sexual slaves?

  53. Wow. I can see why I lurk. Certain things are taboo to discuss, huh?

  54. Don’t be daft. You aren’t a victim. This topic isn’t taboo, and you aren’t being persecuted into lurkerdom for trying to discuss it. You’re being called out for treating the causal link between feminism and single parenthood as axiomatic, and then by trying to defend doing so by pointing to a map of Scandinavia.

  55. If the “suggest[ion]” of a causal link between feminism and single-parent homes is “tendentious at best” that is what I would call a taboo.

  56. I believe that the common link in societies with single-parent homes is the availability of Snickers candy bars. If you look at any society wherein you can “grab a Snickers,” you will find broken homes and weaker family ties. Why hasn’t BCC tackled the relationship between chocolate advocacy and the dissolution of Family?

  57. I thought it was more relative to “Snapping into a Slim Jim” myself…

  58. Sometimes I ask my husband to tell me stories of his hard-working missionary days, just so I can feel pretty.

  59. Jonny A says:

    wow, the arrogance on this thread is really off-putting. How about we engage the points that the likes of LawClerk and Lurker make instead of playing games, like a passive-aggressive request for a point when one was clearly made, or requiring a much higher degree of statistical certainty than was included in the Cracked.com article. Constructive debate will involve confronting opinions we don’t like, but it can be done civilly and helpfully.

    Thank you Clark for attempting to get this thread moving in a productive direction.

  60. LawClerk didn’t make any valid arguments, he just made a bunch of assertions based on the odd premise that we live in a perfect world where power structures and privilege do not exist. Lurker’s broad argument about how the general acceptance of feminism may affect the “traditional” LDS family is certainly a valid topic and is one that’s been discussed from many angles, but it’s not really related to the OP…and it was derailed by the bald assertion that feminism has caused a rise in single-parent homes. Silly arguments tend to get more grief if they’re against the “community grain”, if you like, but that doesn’t make them less silly.

  61. While I don’t want to embrace the comments of “LawClerk” (I hate anonymous names btw) I do think there is something here to worry about. In all the worry about messages about sex and modesty communicated to women by church society and media messages I think we sometimes worry about the messages sent to young men. There really is a sizable set of messages that in attempting to help women tend to adopt a rhetoric of putting all the blame on men. Typically this rhetoric is well intentioned but it is pretty problematic.

    Worse, much like some messages to women turn women off entirely (say the unrealistic models in women’s magazine leading to disorders of underrating or overeating) the same thing can happen with men. If you hear these constant messages of how men are awful for being attracted to attractive women, for letting women frequently control them or so forth is it any surprise that they gravitate to the messages of magazines like Maxim or the so-called frat house mentality? Those that tell them they aren’t the villains and to embrace their feelings? And of course that extreme is even worse.

    Once again I’m not disputing the points you are making. Just that I think a problem for both young men and young women is a tendency to make things more simple than they really are and to miss the real complicated situations they are in.

    I worry that by constantly placing caring for others in a sexual context we really make things worse. The reason we should be nice and caring and considerate to young women is because we should be nice and caring and considerate to everyone. We should include the excluded. We should worry about limits of people and help the be involved despite those limits. It shouldn’t matter if they are a man or a woman, attractive or ugly. But when we put basic decency always within this complex confusing sexual context we are almost inevitably contaminating our message. Especially if the way the message will be understood by young men is that they are bad if they are attracted to attractive women.

  62. Clark I absolutely agree with you. I don’t think it is wrong to be attracted to attractive people–I just think putting women up as objects sets us up (both women, and society at large) for real real REAL problems. When women are not seen as people a whole host of problems surface. I have been on the Speakers Bureau for the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) for many years so I know of what I speak.

    Re: Teen pregnancy/promiscuity it has actually been my experience that these things flourish more when there is a lack of proper sexual education. A good friend of mine roomed with a girl at BYU who thought she was pregnant because she used a tampon…in 2002! This along with Utah’s (and other places) insistence on abstinence only sexual education worries me. Abstinence + Objectified women= Severe societal problems.

  63. That should read Abstinence-only education + Objectified women = Severe societal problems.

  64. jonnyallred says:

    Casey, I think the problem is that LawClerk and Lurker don’t accept your premise of power structure and privilege. I’m not sure I do either. The problem I see in both the gender (and race) context is that it’s a foreign lens to many males (and whites), and yet those that use it as the basis for their position casually assume that it’s the predominant worldview. It sets of white males as a collusive bunch, conspiring against women and minorities, when in fact most white men don’t collude or conspire to keep the oppressed oppressed. I don’t doubt that there are white males who do, but I don’t think there are many, and any that are exposed are rightfully run out of town. But the view persists, in witchhunt like fashion, that white males craft culture to keep them in power.

    That’s not to say there aren’t discrepancies between genders and among races. But I think Clark is on the right track when he frames the issue in terms of dynamics, rather than a power struggle. Dynamics can explain the discrepancies just as easily, though a bit more complexly. What I take from LawClerk and Lurker is a defensive lashing out against what they feel is unwarranted blame on men. They probably should feel a little defensive. When viewed as a dynamic, placing the blame on men alone is unjust. It would be simpler, for sure, but it’s incorrect. And interestingly enough, you get a whole different set of solutions when framed as a problem of dynamics and not power structures.

  65. Not everything good comes up on the same ticket. Denying that there are costs in terms of family structure to feminism is the true tendentiousness. Some costs should be born, but let’s not go too far.

  66. White men have not conspired to keep women and minorities down? Really? Insinuating that if women were free to make their own decisions it would result in single parenthood/promiscuity en masse isn’t evidence of this collusive/corrosive thinking?

    I must just be having a raging period or be some kind of mega lesbian I guess.

  67. Endorsing the notion that men are “trained to hate women” seems to be more of a “lashing out” than objecting to such claim, no? Do people really feel that this is an accurate description of your brothers, fathers, husbands and sons? Is LDS culture ” rape culture”?

  68. EOR, without endorsing lawclerk, would you deny that women have evolved tendencies that might best be restrained by culture? I think that this is true of both men and women. Culture should make us better than our evolved tendencies left unchecked would make us. Is this not true?

  69. Lurker I would like to give the most accurate answer that I possibly can, so would you mind elaborating on what tendencies you feel we women have evolved that are in need of checking?

  70. Well, I believe that both men and women have tendencies towards extra -pair copulation, and that a society that discourages this will have stronger families and better child-rearing.

  71. I’ll assume you mean serial fornication as opposed to extra-marital affairs. Actually, my answer for both is the same–I think that it is a shame when people go through their lives obsessed with sex, and chasing orgasms. I feel more often than not that it has an effect on children because it creates parents out of people who are not truly interested in committing to each other. However, I do not feel that it is society’s place to legislate it or judge people for it. My answer for this goes back to my lamentation over a lack of proper sexual education, as well as lack of access to proper health care.

  72. jonnyallred says:

    EOR #66, that’s exactly the kind of witchhunt I’m talking about. There’s no conspiracy. I don’t think LawClerk/Lurker are against empowering women. They take issue with the way women are being empowered. I don’t think it’s far-fetched to claim that casting men as the enemy might lead to more single mothers. But your reactions are all seen through this narrow, gender warfare perspective, that tragically is probably one of the primary reasons our gender relations are not where they should be. Women are not the only victims, and men are not the only perpetrators here.

  73. Women’s reactions are why we have gender warfare? Not because men (not all men) have consistently sought to suppress us, our minds, our bodies, our sexuality, our feelings all in favor of their own? Women don’t earn less than men? Rape isn’t a punishment for MEAGER crimes in many countries? Here in America rape trials aren’t exercises in victim blaming?

    Lorena Bobbitt cut off her husband’s penis because he had RAPED her. Where was his trial? I do not think she should have cut off his penis, but until one has experienced the denigration and dehumanity of rape they do not know what it is like. Most people still in this day and age feel that a man cannot rape his wife, or that domestic violence should be dealt with within a family.

  74. There are feminists who hate men, that is true but that is not the mark of feminism. I have known many many wonderful men in my life, but I believe in women’s right to choose and be equal and that makes me a feminist.

  75. Jeannine L. says:

    Rebecca J FTW. Also all of the other awards that I can’t remember. Your comment made me LOL out loud.

  76. Another Lurker says:

    Most people still in this day and age feel that a man cannot rape his wife, or that domestic violence should be dealt with within a family.

    Bollocks. Sorry, but unsupported, demeaning allegations like this don’t pass muster. EOR, you’re engaging in a variation of the behavior you condemn.

  77. Another Lurker Bollocks nothing. I have worked in the field for years. The behavior I condemn is he-man woman hating. Stating what I have experienced is not a “variation” on that. I already said I don’t hate men.

    When you have spoken with, counseled, and been counseled by a significant portion of rape survivors you can tell me what is substantiated and what isn’t.

  78. Another Lurker, those beliefs are alarmingly widespread in the US, though probably not “most.” (there again though–what people say they think, and believe they are sincere, is still very different from how they behave when push comes to shove. You would be very, very surprised.) However, if we include the whole globe, I’m sure the prevalence of those feelings is overwhelming.

  79. Mossbloom says:

    “But your reactions are all seen through this narrow, gender warfare perspective, that tragically is probably one of the primary reasons our gender relations are not where they should be.”

    Holy guacamole. That is some serious victim blaming.

    I understand why men feel defensive about being portrayed as perpetrators. I took an African-American history class where I was the only white person in the room and it was very uncomfortable, but it really took away the blinders that I had on about racism. It hurt when someone said, “I just can’t trust white people.” I could have said, “Hey, that’s not fair! I’ve never done anything hurtful to you or anyone else! You are the one being racist!” It would have been technically true. But instead I listened and internalized and recognized that there were inclinations and misunderstandings within myself that needed to be purged. I have a much better awareness now of racism that I didn’t have before and a desire to right wrongs and help others to see problems that they have been blind to as well. My husband had a very similar journey when it came to feminism and has been empowered rather than emasculated as he has tried to understand and internalize the experiences of women, though he had never been intentionally sexist In his life. Defensiveness gets you nowhere.

  80. Evidenced by the fact that until relatively recently it was not even considered a crime. I will get dates tomorrow for you. Is that muster-y enough?

  81. jonnyallred says:

    Lorena Bobbit was 20 years ago. As was marital rape. For a more recent example of how rape is a lot more complex, and how damaging gender warfare is to men and women, see Crystal Magnum.

  82. LOL. 1st endorse anti-male article. 2d label objectors ‘defensive.’ The hypocricy is appalling.

    Mossbloom, that’s how I felt about my time in a north korean camp. At first I felt defensive about bourgeois liberalism, but then I learned there were attitudes that I needed to purge. Now I am empowered and recognize the contributions of Dear Leader. Down with the capitalist running dogs!

  83. “It sets of white males as a collusive bunch, conspiring against women and minorities, when in fact most white men don’t collude or conspire to keep the oppressed oppressed.”

    jonnyallred, this is a really, really egregious misunderstanding and/or misrepresentation of how patriarchy works, and how feminists describe patriarchy working. It’s not a conscious collusion, like dudes literally having monthly meetings in some smoke-filled back room. That’s not what people are talking about when they talk about patriarchy. Sadly, a smoke-filled back room filled with consciously colluding dudes is not required to brutally, systematically oppress women and minorities, and so it still happens even without those strawman conditions that you invented in your mind.

  84. Great comment, Mossbloom.

  85. jonnyallred says:

    Mossbloom, I really hope you don’t take my comments as victim blaming. I don’t blame rape victims for gender warfare. I’m simply saying gender warfare is not the only way to respond to issues of gender, including rape. In fact, not only is it not the only way, its not the best way. It’s imperfect, and harmful. I don’t doubt that it was necessary at one point to get some momentum behind the issue, but at some point we’ve got to move beyond that way of viewing things so we can address the complex dynamics that are at work. Race relations suffers from a similar malady. Anyone that displays anything remotely close to sexism or racism is chased out of the public sphere. And yet problems persist. Those who believe deeply in gender power struggles begin chasing specters instead of confronting the deficiencies in their worldview. What once was the cure becomes the disease.

  86. wake up white man

  87. The great thing about threads like this is that, at the same time as commenters are saying that women are imagining the seriousness of the women-hate problem out there, and the viciousness of it, commenters are also demonstrating those very things.

  88. No what’s being demonstrated is that casual putdowns of men are acceptable, indeed meritorious. The cloak is coming off, and feminism being revealed as a power-trip rather than a genuine interest in equality.

  89. Jonny A says:

    Here’s the problem with the theory of the Patriarchy: it’s a premise when it should be a conclusion. The logic goes like this: if there’s a Patriarchy, then women will be unequal. Women are unequal, therefore, there’s a Patriarchy. Any alternative explanations are excluded by that nice little bit of circular reasoning. In fact, if you deny the Patriarchy, you must be part of it! As seen in this thread, conversation is curtailed. If you don’t accept the Patriarchy as the only answer, your views are irrelevant, deeply flawed, and easily dismissed. The fight against the Patriarchy wages on. It grows evermore frustrating, because although the Patriarchy has been banished from public view, its effects are still seen. There aren’t any more smoke filled Patriarchy conspiracies, and yet, it still must be out there, lurking in every male. Males individually, of course, can be very good and decent human beings, but together, they form an brutal, oppressive monster.

  90. Jonny A says:

    Notice what I’m not doing is denying that there’s a problem. There is. There’s lots to be done. What I’m denying is the alleged source of the problem. If we can’t figure out what we’re up against, than we’re not going to succeed in fixing it.

  91. there are also problems for men- higher rates of incarceration, higher on-the-job deaths, lower life expectency. Gee, teh Patriarchy is wonderful for teh mens.

  92. Some days blogging can be an edifying experience. Other days, the only thing you learn is that real-life misogynists talk and act exactly the same way caricatures of misogynists talk and act.

  93. “Here’s the problem with the theory of the Patriarchy: it’s a premise when it should be a conclusion. The logic goes like this: if there’s a Patriarchy, then women will be unequal. Women are unequal, therefore, there’s a Patriarchy. Any alternative explanations are excluded by that nice little bit of circular reasoning. In fact, if you deny the Patriarchy, you must be part of it! ”

    Jonny Allred, again, you demonstrate that you have no idea how patriarchy is described by feminists. There’s a lot more to it, a lot more evidence for it, a lot more examples of it, than “women are unequal, therefore, there’s a Patriarchy.”

    “there are also problems for men- higher rates of incarceration, higher on-the-job deaths, lower life expectency. Gee, teh Patriarchy is wonderful for teh mens”

    Jonny Allred [my bad, this is from Lurker], yet again, you demonstrate total ignorance of feminist thought. Feminists have often talked about the ways in which patriarchy is harmful to men as well as women.

  94. This may be a threadjack of the direction comments have taken, but I think it’s on-topic for the original post: In 2010, Jeffery Johnson and Paul Reeve collaborated on an essay for Mormonism: A Historical Encyclopedia titled “Mormonism and Men.” They examined what it meant to be a man in the Church:

    Particularly in the 19th century, at the height of polygamous marriages among Mormons, outside observers repeatedly described Mormon men as lecherous and lascivious patriarchs who ruled with iron fists over enslaved harems of women. The irony of such descriptions is that, rather than give men license for such behavior, Mormonism and the exercise of its priesthood demanded the opposite. Mormon leaders articulated ideal male characteristics that focused men’s attention away from the worldly pursuits that permeated American culture at the time of Mormonism’s founding and directed their attention toward home, family, and Church responsibilities. Even in the 20th and 21st centuries, as Mormons more fully embraced capitalism and Mormon men rose to prominent business and political positions, Mormonism continued to emphasize that men were first responsible to home, spouse, and family.

    They went on for another 2,500 words exploring those points.

    John C is no doubt right that we have absorbed less-than-ideal ideas of manhood from the surrounding culture, but I disagree that “we don’t have an LDS notion of what it means to be a man.” It may not be printed up to be framed and hung on the wall, and maybe we take most of the elements for granted, but it’s there in plain sight.

  95. Jonny A says:

    Cynthia, that second comment wasn’t mine. And Brad, I really hope I haven’t sounded like a misogynist. I’m not one, and I don’t think that asking for a more nuanced approach to identifying the source of the problem is misogynistic. I’m actually quite passionate about women’s issues, which makes me frustrated at how narrowly the problem is approached. And Cynthia, I’m reasonably well-read on feminism, and I admit that I’ve given a coarse caricature of the Patriarchy model. I hope you’ve noticed that I don’t think it was a useless one. In fact, in most parts of the world, its the best way to tackle the problem. But here, in the US, it’s probably outlived its usefulness, at least in its current form. If you have any resources you’ve found illuminating on the subject, that express the kind of nuance I’ve been asking for, I’d love to see them.

  96. “While lawclerk appears to be unappealingly dogmatic, he does raise a question that seems to go largely unadressed at BCC. To the extent that BCC’ers advocate admixing academic feminism and the LDS, what of the downsides we’ve seen in the broader society that ‘traditional’ LDS largely seems to avoid?”
    I’m going to start with this comment because it explains just about everything that is wrong with this thread. Lurker, I had just spent half a day talking with LawClerk about how this very subject was off-topic for this post (on-topic for this post: what should an LDS version of gender be?). Perhaps you are motivated by the desire to argue that the common worldly definition of “manhood” isn’t as bad as Wong describes it. But you don’t argue that. Instead, you argue that this definition of manhood is all that’s preventing the collapse of civilization by means of an explosion of baby mamas. How can anyone argue against a hypothetical? I’ll concede that you may be right only if you guarantee that we all get a personal unicorn if your world comes to fruition.

    All,
    While I am possibly only slightly less excited than the next guy to have yet another thread in which men counsel women on how they can better behave so things aren’t so hard on men, you’ve all missed the point of the post. We’re probably about 4 comments away from me shutting the whole thing down and leaving it as a testament to how correct everything Wong said was. Either stop talking about how tough things are for men because of the women, how women need to shape up, and how men are really just trying to support women who are both delicate flowers and needy witches or I’ll just close the thread. You make me tired and I’ve only just woken up.

  97. “This may be a threadjack of the direction comments have taken, but I think it’s on-topic for the original post:”

    LOL, thanks, Ardis. Classing up this joint is a truly Sisyphean task, but you undertake it with admirable skill and persistence. :-)

  98. Ardis,
    Almost thou convincest me that this isn’t a big fat waste of time. In what way do you see the LDS notion of manhood as differing from the world’s? Is it possible to get the article online? I’d be very interested in taking a look at it. Based on the brief excerpt you posted, is the difference solely in the notion of devotion to family? Because that strikes me as a misunderstanding of “the world’s” view if that’s the approach. Also, I’d really like to read that article.

  99. John C.,
    Utah has the lowest rate of out-of-wedlock births in the US. That gives me some pause about making LDS more “like” the rest of America in terms of sex roles and gender norms.

    http://www.state.ok.us/osfdocs/budget/table25.pdf

    I am fairly happy with the LDS “conception of manhood” and (being an MIT grad) don’t want it to be subject to the whims of the Harvard hunanities folk. First 100 names on the Boston tel. dir’y and all that.

  100. Lurker,
    I’d like you to find me the point where I advocated making the LDS like the rest of America. Actually, no I wouldn’t. Because it is off-topic. And I didn’t. I also didn’t address sexual promiscuity. Nor did Wong (though I am fairly certain that he and I disagree regarding the degree of harmfulness thereof). You’ve got one comment to address the actual OP (not the other one that you’ve invented in your head) or you’re gone.

  101. Mossbloom says:

    Okay, woah, the people in my class were not “hating on whitey.” They were sharing their experiences with racism and there were a few in the class who had some really terrible experiences that completely justified their inability to trust. The same as there are some men who can’t trust women (and women who can’t trust men) because they’ve been hurt deeply. I had moved into a very diverse area after growing up and living in areas that were 99% white and I considered racism to be this thing that had happened in the 60’s, so it was painful experience, but it greatly increased my awareness. And it helped me recognize things that I had done and said in the past that were completely part of the problem. I only brought it up because it is very similar to how my husband developed awareness about feminism and so I can somewhat understand how it made him feel.

  102. In an era when boys are disproportinately dropping out of school, isn’t there something wrong with trying to teach them they should be more like women-i.e., less-focused on looks in mate-choice (Wong’s no. 2 point)? This seems short-sighted to me, and Utopian.

  103. Lurker,
    Your conclusion doesn’t follow from your premise. What would making men less looks-obsessed have to do with school drop-out rates? Further, neither Wong nor I nor anyone else here is advocating that men stop caring about looks. Rather, Wong is arguing that men should stop feeling like good looks are owed them by women and that they should stop being angry and resentful toward women whom they feel aren’t putting in an effort. You are free to address any of the questions I asked LawClerk about this particular issue higher in the thread, of course. In the meantime, please ask questions or make comments that relate to the actual arguments being made.

  104. I think we need to let boys be boys more, rather than try to get them to conform to a feminist ideal, if we are going to stem/reverse the drop-out rate.

  105. Are you saying that young men behaving in the manner described in the OP (and Wong’s article) are “boys being boys”?

  106. Well, not in terms of public indecency, but to some degree yes. I think there are some sex-based differences and while they should (for both sexes) be tamed by culture, they shouldn’t be stamped out. I don’t think this an exteme view, my mommie and daddie would agree.

  107. Lurker, who is advocating “stamped out”? Can you point me to specific people and quotes?

  108. Capozaino says:

    @102
    If only I had been more superficial in my relationships with women, I never would have dropped out of school. It would have been a beautiful, short-sighted Utopia.

    Wait … what?

  109. Lurker, I don’t think anyone is disagreeing with you on that front. Unfortunately, especially in the age of the internet and anonymous posting, we see a lot of public indecency from men directed at women (far more than in the other direction). Nor do I think anyone is advocating men and women becoming exactly the same somehow. My point, all along, has been that we need a model of LDS manhood that is separate from “the world’s” and that I don’t think that we currently have one. We can certainly take the good from the world’s model; I just think that the things described by Wong aren’t among those goods (at least, not in the forms he describes). Again, if you don’t agree that those things he calls bad are bad, I’m willing to go over that with you. But please be specific.

  110. (PS to my 107) My point is that I think everyone is talking about mild taming.

    A tendency to see 100% reasonable, mild cultural boundaries (say, not groping women on a bus) as “OMG SKY IS FALLING! LORENA BOBBIT! FEMINISTS STAMPING US OUT!!!” is part of the pathology Wong describes. Do you feel like maybe what Wong says about that applies to you at times?

  111. CynthiaL,
    That is the telos of Wong’s article (and the endorsement thereof). Can you point me to specific people and quotes that endorse the Patriarchy? Let’s not vary standrards of evidence required.
    I have two daughters and I want a good world for them, but I am skeptical of academic feminism and hope they will marry traditional LDS. I grew up in Utah but live now on the east coast with my Filipina Mormon wife.
    What do you make of this? I don’t conclude some absolute ” I won’t pay for my daughters’ med-school” but it does give me pause. I don’t think women should strive to copy men.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/07/is-medical-school-a-worthwhile-investment-for-women/260051/

  112. Lurker, I feel that the egregious behaviors described in Wong’s article could be minimized under a system of “tamed.” Perhaps that’s where we disagree. You want to be sure that society doesn’t lose all of that special magic that is men calling a woman on SCOTUS a “nasty, disease-ridden plodding uterus, an utter skank crack-ho filthy whore, a prostitute slutbag juice-receptacle” (from Wong’s piece), lest civilization fall apart in a flood of single motherhood. Whereas I feel pretty ok having that not be part of society. And I think my mommy and daddy would agree with me. I would also be very surprised if our church leaders would not also be ok with a society where men don’t say those kinds of things.

  113. Of course I don’t endorse calling women such names. This is the sort of casual anti-male stereotyping that has gotten out of hand on this site and prompted me as fairly progressive LDS to speak out in objection. Since when did endorsing academic feminism become the sin qua non of being a modern, progressive LDS? That is tending towards McCarthyism.

    Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

    And I do hope my daughters won’t turn out to be lesbians, yes, though I would still love them.

  114. Lurker,
    I find it fascinating that you see cracked.com (among the frat-boy-iest of websites) as a sneaky bastion of academic feminism. I don’t see the piece as being anti-male, because I don’t see any of the attitudes and behaviors described as being inherently male. They are all inherently jerky, but not inherently male. And when I see analogically jerky behavior amongst the LDS, then I worry. Especially because it makes it seem like we have bought into the attitudes behind these jerky behaviors. If we could set aside some of these attitudes and ideas amongst ourselves, it would only be for the better (as you and Cynthia have said).

    As to fair play, in this instance, I don’t personally think calling women out for being bad behaved is appropriate. Why? There’s no need. Women are called gold-diggers, sluts, and worse throughout popular media far more frequently than men are called out for their behavior. As Wong demonstrates, the male behaviors that he describes are reinforced in most popular media, not defamed. If you want to watch women being told how to behave (mostly by men), just go turn on a television. You’ll be good to go.

  115. Ardis (96) Well said. And sadly an ideal not lived up to by many…

    Cynthia (93) I think one problem is that both sides put forth “feminism” as if it were a single thing or ideology. Of course it’s not. There are significant feminist writers, even if they are far from the majority, who do tend to adopt a stance of solving misogyny by an opposite that isn’t love of both women and men but rather a dislike of men and many male behaviors which don’t put down women. Fortunately that’s not all or even close to the majority. But it seems undeniable that feminism has a communication problem where many people earnestly misunderstand the movement and have very negative views of it.

    Sadly I think this thread demonstrates that it’s pretty hard to engage in dialog on the issue. It’s just too easy to demonize both sides by pointing to the worst among them or caricatures of them. For instance I’m not sure a lot of the references to rape – a horrendous crime we all agree is horrific – exactly inspire confidence in how the dialog is going.

    EOR (62) certainly we should see everyone as people. However many treatments of “objectification” are a bit of a caricature sadly. (Not all are of course) Even figuring out what that means is difficult. I think we all agree that someone who treated others as a mere tool with no emotions is bad. But frankly people who do that generally are considered highly mentally ill. The problem ends up being more complex since of course many times we don’t worry about the human depth of others. When we are in line at a fast food restaurant do we treat the person at the register as merely a tool to get our food or someone with feelings, hopes, dreams and so forth? Well we don’t deny the latter but typically we just want our food. The problem is when gratification (and not merely sexual) is set up in such a way that it is divorced from human relations. But I think casting that into a simple men vs. women dichotomy – especially purely in a sexual form – is highly problematic.

    Regarding sexual education I’d probably agree to a point. When sex and relations aren’t talked about weird ideas can pop up. I’d be careful generalizing from weird BYU roommates though. There are lots of odd people out there and not all their problems are just poor education. Once again I worry about overly simplistic answers to complex problems. (For instance I bet that if you could cut down the use of alcohol you’d eliminate a significant percentage of all rapes simply because it is chemicals causing people to not see others with the full cognitive capacity of their brains – something that education about objectification likely won’t solve)

  116. Well, John C.,
    We will have to agree to differ. I see a popular culture that constantly builds up women and belittles men. I’m not sure I have a lot original to say on the topic as a busy scientist, but I thought Christina Summers’ “Who Stole Feminism?” had some good points and certainly some ideas I will share with my daughters in a decade or so when they are going off to college. I don’t mean to be too obstreperous, but I don’t think LDS and acadmic feminism go together very well. Trying to mate them is like the proverbial attempt to mate a lion and a mouse.

  117. “I don’t think LDS and acadmic feminism go together very well”

    What does this have to do with the original post or what anybody in this thread is saying? Seriously, what?

    Lurker, I think part of the problem you’re running into in this thread is that you are fighting against things that are not in this post (“stamping out”, requiring everybody “endorse academic feminism”) and cardboard people that are not in this thread. Talking about the post (not miscellaneous grievances you have about other feminists out there in the world) is generally how these comment thread things are supposed to work, FYI.

    In the post it says men should not call women [long ugly quote about Kagan]. You agreed. Yay. Everybody is on the same page. Why can’t you just leave it at that, instead of saying “but somewhere out there, there are crazies taking this TOO FAR!! and stamping out!! and forcing us to accept ‘academic feminism’! and I object to that!!”? It seems like you should just find those people taking it too far, and tell them not to do that. Rather than going all guns blazing in this thread, where John has said that men shouldn’t call women [long ugly quote], which is something you actually agree with?

  118. To be fair to Lurker, I’ve also said that I think that Mormons should have a definition of manhood that differs from “the world’s” and that we can use this particular explication of the world’s definition as a starting point for achieving that. Not that Lurker is really addressing that either, but I am doing a little bit more than saying that those guys are jerks. Also, those guys are jerks.

  119. Another Lurker says:

    When you have spoken with, counseled, and been counseled by a significant portion of rape survivors you can tell me what is substantiated and what isn’t.

    EOR,
    Ironic that you went there. I work, twice a week, at a shelter for women fleeing domestic violence. I think I’ve had enough interactions there over the past 11 years to be able to speak at least a little on the topic.

    To my earlier post – you allege that “most people” feel that a man can’t rape his wife, and that domestic violence should be dealt with within a family. Either back up your statement with some statisical proof (a link to a journal article or something should be easy to find, if your statement is true), or admit that you are simply expressing your opinion.

    To be clear: I’ve seen enough in these 11 years to know that no belief is too horrific for someone to hold. But the existence of such individuals DOES NOT make it more likely than not that the average person is similarly inclined!

  120. Just to take one example of you apparently not even reading John’s post, but then criticizing him based on some pre-existing grievances you have against who-knows-who, here is something you complained about:

    “This is the sort of casual anti-male stereotyping that has gotten out of hand on this site”

    And yet here in John’s actual post, he makes the exact same complaint about the Cracked piece:

    “For that matter, this portrait of male sexuality pretty much aligns with the “HULK SMASH!” approach that I once discussed on this blog, which I find particularly unhelpful.”

    So, he is taking parts of the piece that he thinks are helpful for opening up thoughts about a topic, while at the same time taking issue with some of the framing. A “take the good and leave the bad” approach to the piece. It sounds like you agree with John in that there are some parts of the Cracked piece that are good, and some which are not helpful. Maybe if you made an attempt to (a) read the post, (b) respond to John in a reasoned way, you would not encounter so much resistance. This would be less frustrating for you, and, believe me, for us.

  121. look, the Wong piece is fundamentally anti-male in a way that would never be acceptable if it were about women or ethnic minorities. I think we can either embrace equality or not. Discussions of ‘privilege’ are parochial and leave me cold.

  122. I think that God played a real trick on us. To women he gave the key of knowledge of good and evil, to men he gave desire. Women get to choose, in most circumstances, the father of her children. She will want, most of the time, to pick the best and brightest and the strongest and the most handsome. It is women who are responsible for the genetic progress of our race.

    Men are there to fertilize when given the opportunity. There needs to be the disparity between supply and demand if the woman’s choice is to have any meaning in the long term improvement of our DNA.

    Many men, it seems, just hate this role. This is the point of the OP. But they are “kicking against the pricks” to quote Paul, the apostle. If you go up against nature, you will loose. However, if we, men, are clever and live with the role God assigned to us, to desire women and to do their bidding, we will have loving partners, in general. The sex will be wonderful.

    Zum Beispiel:

    I was recently at a dinner party. There were four couples and one single. Of the nine adult people there were eight Ph.D.s. and one high powered business woman. All of us men were apparently very satisfied with their sexy, intelligent, and opinionated, wives. Of course we, men, were all opinionated, too, but it was demonstrable that all of us men had recently yielded to their wives on significant decisions. But, clearly these intelligent men actually luxuriated in the relationships they had with these women. (I know, I do!)

    We sat at table for three hours and took another 45 minutes to amble out the door. The women stood together and talked while the men took care of the children. This dinner party could be a prototype for the celestial kingdom. The recipe is intelligence, love and respect. Women should have some mercy on their sex slave husbands; the sex slave husbands should worship at the feet of their women. And we all stand on our merits.

    As to beauty: love will redefine it. Just wait 40 years.

  123. Lurker,
    Why do you think that the piece is anti-male in a way that is similar to something that is anti-woman or anti-minority? What aspects of what is discussed in the piece do you see as applying to all men?

  124. Well, I think comments like this from Wong’s article are obviously anti- male in a way that would not be acceptable to say about women or minorities:

    It’s because, in males more so than females, the sex drive is completely detached from the rest of the personality. The part of the male brain that worries about job security or money or social reputation or legal consequences has almost no veto power over the sex drive. You’ve heard guys say they were “thinking with their dick” or “I was thinking with the little brain” or “I took an order from Captain Bonerhelmet.” That’s what they’re referring to.

    LOL-do you *really* think this would be OK to say about women or minorities?

  125. Lurker,
    You confuse me. You are essentially agreeing with Wong’s third point. Why is it anti-male when he says it, but not when you say it? Nor do I think it would be inherently offensive to say that a woman was thinking about sex first rather than taking other issues into account (isn’t that what much of the criticism of the Twi-Mom phenomena centered on?). And, of course, anything implied about white men in the article is equally applicable to minority men (which include, I’m assuming, Mr. Wong). So, again, I don’t read the piece as being anti-male; rather it is anti-jerk. Unless you are arguing that some of the characteristics described are inherently male, rather than inherently jerky, then you’re not really arguing against anything in the post. And you’re wasting my time (more than usual). So, be very careful regarding your response to this comment.

  126. No, Wong’s third point is very crude and I’m not sure I understand it. You are correct that Wong is not dealing with race, Mossbloom introduced that angle. And what is up with the claim of wasting your time? You think all educated LDS should or do agree with you? I think Wong’s piece is incredibly insensitive–I don’t see why you would want to wall yourself off from that perspective. We are not going to get anywhere if we pretend to agree on everything. My main point is that thoughtless male-bashing needs to end. Do we believebin equality or not?

  127. Lurker,
    I do understand his third point. You are agreeing with it. Just trust me on this. Also, I’m baffled by your objection to the crudeness thereof if you wrote comment 124. And you still won’t explain what you see as being anti-male (as opposed to anti-jerk) in the piece. So, I think we’re done. Say good night, Gracie.

  128. Another Lurker–Here is a strictly American run-through. http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070328062058AAZTc4A It indicates dates of some states and also indicates that ADVOCATES indicate that although laws have (slowly) changed attitudes still linger in most. As Cynthia pointed out, globally this is an entirely different ball game.

    “Excuse me random Sir, do you think spousal rape is a crime?” “No, of course not.” (Goes home and rapes wife) Just because there are no hard and fast polls on it does not mean it is “opinion” or “made up”. Very very few people admit to being a racist, but I (hope) you would not suggest that racism is dead because of it.

    As far as a specifically LDS definition of manhood would go, I think that there is the opposite problem. I hear a lot of rhetoric about women needing to be protected, and Mother’s Day is a nightmare of women worship. I feel there is a nice wide expanse of a soft cushy middle ground that neither “the world” nor the LDS have reached. Women aren’t dirty filth-sluts, but they aren’t frightened kittens in a storm either. Both ways paint women as one-dimensional (and all alike) as to take away our humanity. We are people, that’s all. People with feelings, ambitions, brains, bodies, desires, hopes, dreams, and things that make us happy, sad, angry, and everything in between. I believe that is what the article is saying (possibly not in the most necessarily pleasing manner) and I have to say I agree.

  129. Jeannine L. says:

    Are you sure that LawClerk didn’t just turn into Lurker? Because they sound a lot alike.

  130. So, I don’t actually know anyone who is like what Mr. Wong describes. It’s mostly just a bunch of crude caricatures, at best. Even the fraternity boys I know aren’t like that. These kinds of guys are much more typical:

    http://gma.yahoo.com/women-survived-theater-shooting-grieve-hero-boyfriends-215438672–abc-news-topstories.html

  131. Snyderman says:

    Having read all the comments, I think I’m going to try to respond to Ardis, as the rest mostly give me a headache. I think I mostly agree that the Church advocates the “opposite” of the world, but I’m not sure that solves the problem. To quote John C’s original post, I feel like that’s mostly a result of “pointing to ‘the world’ and saying, ‘Not like that!'” I think this requires an acceptance of the world’s framing of the question, just replacing the sections with different values.

    To explain this, I’m going to quote part of John C’s summation, only with a few edits: “The first point is that all women … are [specially made for raising children]. … From this, we flow into the second point, which is a notion that women are obligated to [be homemakers/stay at home and raise children]“. …[W]omen [who have goals beyond this or other than this] are understood as a kind of affront to men, because they are failing to [take care of our kids].” While this may not be entirely accurate, I think it holds enough truth that it shows that the Church, rather than creating its own framing, simply borrowed the world’s framing and replaced the parts. Obviously my reframing will lead to different points #3, #2, and #1; but I’m not convinced that the new points #3, #2, and #1 aren’t just as problematic.

  132. Doug Hudson says:

    As EOR point out above, the funniest part of this thread (well, funny if you like dark humor), is that the people trying to argue that male privilege doesn’t exist are generally doing so in ways that prove it does!

    Also, the Mormon Church explicitly endorses (a certain kind of) male privilege: only men can hold the priesthood! Now, that in itself is a valid (if, in my opinion, unfortunate) choice–every church can decide who administers the priesthood authority. There is a danger, though, that a culture that enshrines one particular kind of male privilege might inadvertently foster other, more dangerous forms of male privilege. (unrighteous dominion, anyone?)

  133. Another Lurker says:

    Another Lurker–Here is a strictly American run-through. http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070328062058AAZTc4A It indicates dates of some states and also indicates that ADVOCATES indicate that although laws have (slowly) changed attitudes still linger in most. As Cynthia pointed out, globally this is an entirely different ball game.

    EOR — your post was nonresponsive to my query. I asked for backup for your assertion as to the views of “most people” that it is OK to rape your spouse. In response, you cite a Yahoo blog post on another topic. Your inability or refusal to provide evidence to support your assertion leaves it just that – your assertion; your opinion. And that’s fine. But absent such evidence… it’s not fact.

  134. If you had gone on to read the rest of my post (which you obviously didn’t) you would have seen the connection. People don’t air their ridiculously homophobic/misogynist/racist thoughts except here on the internet usually. It is down to what the laws show, and what advocates have been told/experienced. Polls would be ineffective because people can simply lie. I do concede that polls would probably not bear this information out, but I do not concede that it means most people don’t believe it. There are over 7B people in the world. “Most” would mean in the neighborhood of 3B500M.

    Scroll down to #7 and I have easily met my “most people” burden http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marital_rape especially taking into account that India considers it to be a “civil” matter instead of a criminal one, and Japan does not enforce the law that is on the books prohibiting Marital Rape. If you insist on poll data then I cannot help you, but it is your methodology that is flawed in that instance, not mine.

  135. Much of the flattening of women into one- or two-dimensional beings in LDS circles comes, in my opinion, from two things adopted from surrounding culture: emphases on discourses of beauty and self-worth. Both of these are also prime examples of gendered discourse in LDS culture.

    For example, when has there ever been a talk directed to or talking about young women (or a young woman) that does not somewhere mention “beauty” or “beautiful”? Even if it comes in the package of “the world judges beauty by [immodest dress, number of sexual partners, etc.], but we know in the Church that beauty comes from [personal worthiness, modest dress, etc.],” it still makes the young woman’s world revolve around beauty, which cannot be divorced from its physical implications. I’m waiting for the day when every talk in the Priesthood session reaffirms that “you are all incredibly handsome sons of God”…

    (This is not to mention the flattening of both genders that occurs when females are assumed to be innately more spiritual, more sensitive, and more kind than men.)

    And with regard to “worth,” much of woman-directed discourse seems to assume that the average woman or young woman doesn’t think much of herself and that this is a problem to be rectified constantly. While this is a subject which comes up in male-directed discourse more frequently than beauty, it’s still more often a female-gendered topic – and when men hear it, it seems to be more about feeling low self-worth due to *sin*, not to gender. I wonder if getting rid of the unspoken assumption that females need to be perpetually buoyed up would shift the discourse.

    (Does anyone else see this sort of thing happening, or is it just me?)

    Anyway, I would love to see an approach to gender norms similar to Joseph Smith’s approach to truth: that Mormons accept truth, whatever its origin. (Whether we’re good at doing *that* is a question itself…) Part of this would come through very pointed analysis of cultural norms for male and female behavior and deconstruction thereof that could be based on scriptural precedent: instead of always pointing to Captain Moroni as the pinnacle of manhood, for instance, we could praise young men for their mercy, their compassion, their thoughtfulness, and their displays of love and empathy – typically Christ-like, and female-gendered, characteristics. Manhood is as multifarious as mankind.

  136. Man, leave a thread for a day…having read all the patriarchy denials, I’ve been convinced. As a straight white male, I officially deny that I am or have ever found myself in a position of privilege and furthermore call on the matriarchy to cease its attacks on manhood. I’m tired of people assuming I even WANT the best-paying jobs. Male power! Who’s with me? Anyone?

  137. :-)

  138. Naismith says:

    I joined the church as a feminist in the mid-1970s because of the great attitude of equality in marriage that President Kimball taught and lived. I love that the church views nurturing as work that is just as valuable as earning a paycheck. I have non-member friends whose husbands respect them only because of their paid career, but dismiss mothering and homemaking as if it has no value. The LDS guys I knew back then stood out because they were so involved in the home. The minute my husband walked in the door, he was engaged in dealing with kids or doing whatever was needed for cooing and cleaning. That surely should be part of LDS maleness. It is what I have heard taught in the worldwide training etc.

    I also love that our young men are taught that priesthood can only be used to serve others, not for self-aggrandizement. This is clear in every Primary lesson that I teach, and is in stark contrast to many other faith’s version of patriarchy. It is a form of servant leadership, such as Christ taught. And that is an important component of Mormon maleness.

    I am sorry to disappoint some feminists, but I am one of those females who needs to be protected. Despite being an Army veteran and having a graduate degree, I need protection during pregnancy. I am very ill and cannot take care of myself. And then I have a hard time breastfeeding; I have to work with a dietitian and follow a special diet and exercise plan to keep from full-blown diabetes. So I am glad that I haven’t generally been employed during that year either. Multiply the years of protection that I need for gestation and lactation by the number of children that we felt we should have, and it adds up to a decade.

    I had some conversations with a Registered Dietician in a large USAmerican city who works with women who are sick during pregnancy. Her typical client is a professional woman who already had one abortion in panic when she got very sick in her first pregnancy and was unprepared for the extent of the illness. I’ve been glad that my husband stepped up to support me during those seasons, and for the church teachings that encouraged him to do so. How many women do not have children, or as many as they feel they should, because they don’t get that support from their husbands?

    Not everyone who gets pregnant is as sick as I was. But it is the reality that a non-trivial percentage of women who are pregnant have issues that interfere with their ability to support themselves. Not just the nausea and vomiting that I experience, but bed rest and a host of other challenges. Please don’t dismiss us as failures who are cowering in the kitchen.

  139. No one said women who do feel they need protection are cowering in the kitchen. Feminism is primarily about a woman’s right to choose. If I can, my first choice will be to stay home with my children until they go to school. What I have a problem with is people telling women (both men and other women) what they should and should not do in their own lives.

  140. Naismith says:

    EOR, the gospel of Jesus Christ is about everyone’s right to choose. That’s pretty much why we came to earth.

    I also have a problem with people telling anyone what they should and should not do in their own lives. The church doesn’t do that. They respect the stewardship of individuals to prayerfully make choices for their own lives. Only that couple is entitled to revelation for themselves.

    Do church members sometimes tell others what to do? Of course. But feminists do that as well. I’ve been put down and told that I was not a feminist by other women (because I was prolife or/and a homemaker) at least as often as I have been criticized by other church members. I had a feminist boss who agreed to my request for a part-time position, then turned around and made it full-time, informing that she was doing this for my own good and that my children didn’t really need me as much as I was deluded into believing.

    Does the church give counsel? Absolutely. Wise counsel. Inspired counsel from those who have a clearer vision and see farther than we humans do. Counsel such as “There is no one perfect way to be a good mother.” I’m glad to have input from all sources, and then make up my mind for myself.

  141. Well, it seems as if you have your bad experiences with feminists, but I certainly have bad experiences with church leaders/other members.

    I do not share your view of what role the Church plays. Maybe you have a great ward, and I have just had a string of terrible luck ward-wise. I am not discounting your experience, but I cannot agree that it is what all women experience either.

  142. There is a large medical school in my city and we get a steady influx every summer of new young families here for school or residency. Apparently, the phenomenon of these average Mormons having much-hotter-than-them wives is a noticed and remarked-upon situation among people who work at the medical school and hospital. I can hardly dispute it: there are many hot women in my ward. Lots of them are friends. It’s weird. And sad. And I wonder how the youth in our ward, growing up with many generations of these students as their primary and Sunday School teachers (what else do you do with med. students?) will be affected long term.

  143. I’m late to the party, and afraid I can’t keep up with all the threads going on.

    I’m one of those men who, in the words of Leonard Cohen, are “oppressed by the figures of beauty.” To me, it’s no mystery that our sexuality is imbued with irreconcilable paradoxes: the brutality of darwinian evolution mingled with a divine conscience capable of overriding instinct. It’s the battle of flesh and spirit. Sex is not sacred. Our ability to control and bridle sex is sacred.

    What defines modern culture’s sexual dysfunction has much to do with democracy and capitalism, which has legitimized our instinctual “survival of the fittest.” We live in a society of “rights,” and a society of dreams. But who we really are, is a society of slaves.

  144. Doug Hudson says:

    Nate @143, I’m sure one of the scientists who blogs here could correct you better than I could, but Darwin’s view of evolution was superceded a long time ago with a better understanding of evolution. Evolution is not necessarily “brutal”, nor does “survival of the fittest” mean the most ruthless.
    In fact, one of the reasons that humans have been relatively successful (despite lacking claws, fangs, physical strength, etc.) is that we developed a social system that allowed for far more extensive collaboration than most species can achieve. In some ways, the Christian ideal of universal kinship and self-sacrifice is the ultimate embodiment of those characteristics that enabled humans to evolve into what we are today.

  145. Snyderman says:
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