Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Surreal Housewife

One of the things that still surprises me as I traverse the weird online world of anti-feminism is the number of women I've run across who think that they have altogether too many rights. I've written in the past about women who don't believe they should have the right to vote. Today, Laura Wood, a proudly retrograde woman who thinks the solution to contemporary "cultural ruin" is for employers to start paying women even less than they do now. According to "Why We Must Discriminate," a manifesto of sorts on her blog The Thinking Housewife:
Over the last 50 years, America has witnessed the cultural ruin of its women. When women fall, an entire way of life and civilization itself are not far behind. In order to reverse this state of affairs, a profound change in attitudes and prevailing mores is necessary. ... First and foremost, we must restore customary economic discrimination in favor of men. America’s businesses and institutions must be free once again to favor men over women in hiring. If they are not, family life will never return to a reasonable state of health; the happiness of women and children will continue to decline; and men will fail to flourish and prosper.
It's a strange manifesto and a strange blog. Unlike many of the reactionaries I regularly quote on this blog, Wood is not an idiot. Her tone is measured and cautious. If you accept her fairly ludicrous premises -- the key ones here being that it would be desirable or even possible to undo decades of economic and cultural history to essentially return to an imaginary, idealized prefeminist world in which men could earn enough to comfortably support a family and women would work primarily for "pin money" -- her manifesto almost makes sense. And yet what she is saying is, not to put too fine a point on it, vile.

She is utterly blithe, for example, about the effect her proposal would have on single and divorced women:
Divorced women would still receive the support of their husbands. However, parallel changes in divorce law are necessary to make for less incentive for women to divorce. Women should generally face the loss of child custody and a serious decline in income if they initiate divorce, except in the event of proven malfeasance on the part of the husband. Single women will still be able to find jobs and receive help from fathers and extended family. Most of them will not be rich.
Who needs a man-sized wage when you can just beg dad for cash when the rent comes due?

Wood not only thinks women deserve to be paid less than men for the same work; she's also wary of women taking on almost any authority at all outside the home. While she's admits it's technically possible for women to be, for example, effective drill sergeants, she finds the idea vaguely abhorrent:
When women start barking orders at grown men, the delicate balance of power between the sexes is disturbed. Women are mothers and wives, lovers and friends to men. These roles are damaged by domineering bossiness. Male psychology is radically different from female psychology. After all, mothers are women. There is no more significant fact than that.
There's more, much more. Troll This Blog has assembled a lengthy list of Wood's more backwards utterances, from which I drew the example above, including some thoughts on race that would not be out of place at a (very polite) Klan meeting: "Only a society in which white men have been emasculated would see the sort of tolerance for and celebration of intermarriage we are experiencing today."

Though I found her blog through links on a Men's Rights blog or two, and her ideology is more or less consistent with some of the more reactionary MRAs out there, Wood is not exactly an MRA herself. Indeed, she has tangled with the Men's Rights Movement on several occasions -- lambasting commenters on The Spearhead for "juvenile" misogyny, and accusing MRA elder Paul Elam of "idiocy and hatred" for his, er, idiotic and hateful statement that if he were on a jury he wouldn't vote to convict a clearly guilty rapist.

Wood's enmity towards certain elements of the MRM has been reciprocated. Our good (not) friend at the Pro-Male/Anti-Feminist Technology blog recently took on a "mangina" commenter at what he calls "The (Not) Thinking Housewife" for suggesting that the MRM had its roots in "radical homosexuality."

This is one of those battles, to paraphrase Calvin Trillin, in which I can only hope that both sides suffer a defeat of humiliating proportions.

NOTE: Before any of the anti-feminists who regularly post here accuse me of lacking "substance" because I do not "rebut" Wood's "arguments" in detail, I request only one thing: find me something solid to rebut. Wood, like many of those I write about, offers a lot of opinions -- see the quotes above, and on Troll This Blog, for numerous examples -- but almost nothing to actually support those opinions. Find me an example of an argument she has made that is actually supported with actual empirical evidence, with specific citations and/or links to sources, and I'll have a go at it.

26 comments:

  1. The Myth of Women’s Oppression

    http://mensnewsdaily.com/2009/11/29/the-myth-of-womens-oppression/

    Enshrined in Law Since 1930: Only Men Can Be Slaves

    http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/convde.pl?C029

    "C29 Forced Labour Convention, 1930
    ­Convention concerning Forced or Compulsory Labour (Note: Date of coming into force: 01:05:1932.)
    ­
    ­Date of adoption:28:06:1930
    ­
    ­Article 1
    ­
    ­1. Each Member of the International Labour Organisation which ratifies this Convention undertakes to suppress the use of forced or compulsory labour in all its forms within the shortest possible period.
    ­
    ­2. With a view to this complete suppression, recourse to forced or compulsory labour may be had, during the transitional period, for public purposes only and as an exceptional measure, subject to the conditions and guarantees hereinafter provided.
    ­
    ­Article 11
    ­
    ­1. Only adult able-bodied males who are of an apparent age of not less than 18 and not more than 45 years may be called upon for forced or compulsory labour."

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  2. If women were so oppressed and sad back in the old times in western culture, why were there so many happy women, not if most?

    Are these smiles fake?

    Besides cry baby feminists, please point out all these sad hard done by women?

    Where are all the black eyes? Where are all the depressed rape victims?

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  3. Are these smiles fake?

    I'm not sure what smiles you're talking about, but if you're talking about the smiles in the photo above, they are in fact fake. That's a publicity still from the 1975 film The Stepford Wives.

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  4. David, you are either incapable of reading or completely dishonest. That whole article was meant to be ironic, written from the POV of an imagined female advocate of traditional gender roles.

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  5. David, the so called oppressed being treated as royalty and even men giving up their lives for them is laughable when the claim of female oppression is put in place.

    Is there any debate against it? Not that I can see

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  6. There really isn't anything to debate, is there? Just stuff to gawk at.

    If women were so oppressed and sad back in the old times in western culture, why were there so many happy women, not if most?

    I love the vague reference to "old times".

    Really, the comment thread of a blogspot is not the venue to educate someone on the history of industrialization and the labour movement and gender in the west. Learn how to use a library.

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  7. Thanks for the good work and cogent, measured analyses (and nicely sarcastic summing up!) of this regressive stuff!

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  8. The typical type of feminists, Marissa and Elizabeth jump in with absolutely no substance to add to the topic.

    Again, it's totally laughable to claim women as a gender who were oppressed in the past when their lives were valued more than men's. The titanic for an example.

    You fatass feminists are owned with this one.

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  9. Whoever knew that voting, attending university, and wearing pants equaled ruin? If that's so, however, then I' m quite pleased to be a ruined woman, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Scary things like having to hold my own doors and support myself financially (and, more seriously, the possibility of being drafted) in no way detract.

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  10. "Again, it's totally laughable to claim women as a gender who were oppressed in the past when their lives were valued more than men's. The titanic for an example."
    It wasn't women's lives as fellow human beings that was necessarily valued, it was their wombs that were valued. Same principle behind male-only conscription and higher percentage of war deaths (the percentage of war deaths not taking into account the collateral or non-active-in-war deaths). Due to the time length of human gestation, it takes more women than it does men for population renewal.

    There is also a markedness in the Titanic survivor rates based on social class, but that seems to get less press than the gender disparity.

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  11. Haha Nick, criticizing others for lack of substance when your substance is "if they were so unhappy why have I seen photos of them smiling?"

    As to the Titanic, male lives were not worth less than female. "Women and children first" was not about value but strength. The weaker members of the social group were to be saved first. It is therefore derived from the old idea that women are weak and helpless, like children. A man was to give up the most valuable of things, his life, to protect those weaker than him. If his life were worth nothing then this would not be seen as noble. It was seen as the noblest of actions because his life was so valuable.

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  12. "Scary things like having to hold my own doors and support myself financially (and, more seriously, the possibility of being drafted) in no way detract."

    The possibility of women being drafted? Are you on crack???

    While I know nothing about you and therefore cannot speculate as to whether or not you truly support yourself financially, I do know far too many women who THINK they support themselves financially, when it fact they have cushy jobs that were only given to them because they are women, and therefore the people bearing the cost of providing those cushy jobs are the actual supporters.

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  13. So... wait. Women on the Titanic (and other similar disasters...like war...) were spared because they have *less* value than the men who went to their deaths in frigid waters?

    Wow, neat trick that. The women get to continue living, and claim martyrdom at the same time!

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  14. More men died on the Titanic than women because more men than women boarded the Titanic in the first place.
    Women and children make up the majority of civilian war casualties, and women are specifically targeted for rape as a tool of war and are killed as a result (we're not talking regular old rape here; we're talking extrasuper sick shit like malesoldiers shooting their guns into women's vaginas)
    And women are about nine times more likely than men to die following a natural disaster. Did you notice the Haiti footage of the men shoving the women out of the way to get to the food? That's so they could bogart it all so they can sell it. Greedy selfish fucks.

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  15. "Haha Nick, criticizing others for lack of substance when your substance is "if they were so unhappy why have I seen photos of them smiling?"

    I make great substance as my question is; where are all these sad women? Sure, in any age and any society there are going to be sad people regardless of gender. It won’t be hard to bring up a pic of a sad woman when you simply do a google search. But to say women as a gender were bullied and hard done by from men, there would be sad women everywhere...yes everywhere... as feminists claim that women as a gender were hard done by. And if this was the case, it would be hard to spot a happy woman back in them times. Women as a gender seemed perfectly happy back in the old times.

    "As to the Titanic, male lives were not worth less than female. "Women and children first" was not about value but strength. The weaker members of the social group were to be saved first."

    So in other words, you are ignoring the fact that way out in the ocean in them freezing cold waters, it's IMPOSSIBLE for ANYONE to survive. Regardless if you’re the best swimmer in the world or if you are Arnold Schwarzenegger. For this fact, it should have nothing to do with how weak or strong you are as you will die anyway.


    So I can see you are trying to pull the wool over my eyes. You are just pulling this "women are weaker" card to try and cover up the truth. That truth being is that women were more valued than men. Face up to the fact and truth and stop being in denial about it

    Feminists are in denial about this because it ruins their ridiculous claim that women were poor hard done by victims in the old days. It’s even funnier when they still claim it to be in year 2010.

    The truth is that women were treated with royalty.

    "More men died on the Titanic than women because more men than women boarded the Titanic in the first place."

    But the fact still remains that women's lives were more valued than men's lives. Try to side step it all you want.

    Women and children make up the majority of civilian war casualties

    Got any stats?

    and women are specifically targeted for rape as a tool of war and are killed as a result

    Got any substance?

    (we're not talking regular old rape here; we're talking extrasuper sick shit like malesoldiers shooting their guns into women's vaginas)

    It’s funny when feminists do this. What this moron is saying probably happened in one case. But the typical feminists way is to exaggerate it and say it happened everywhere in every war. Just like when 1 woman is raped, they say 40 were raped.

    And women are about nine times more likely than men to die following a natural disaster.

    Again, please back this up with substance. This is another laughable cockeyed feminist assumption to somehow claim sympathy for women.

    Did you notice the Haiti footage of the men shoving the women out of the way to get to the food? That's so they could bogart it all so they can sell it. Greedy selfish fucks.

    Did you see this David? This is how the typical feminist portrays men as a gender. Yep the same movement that you support.

    You see anon, in these types of places in these situation, it’s usually every person for themselves. It has nothing to do with gender, it’s just everyone fighting each other to get their share. This has nothing to do with female oppression.

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  16. Nice picture, but these are better:

    http://www.rip-factor.com/formen/fifties_feminism.jpg

    http://www.rip-factor.com/formen/fifties_housewife.jpg

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  17. ". .accusing MRA elder Paul Elam of "idiocy and hatred" for his, er, idiotic and hateful statement that if he were on a jury he wouldn't vote to convict a clearly guilty rapist."

    In my opinion, Paul Elam supported his position with eloquence and cogency.

    The "hateful" characterization can be debated. But "idiotic" it most assuredly is not.

    At any rate, the style of jury voting which Elam describes is, by purely objective considerations, likely to increase in coming years. That is prediction, not prescription.

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  18. "Nice picture, but these are better:

    http://www.rip-factor.com/formen/fifties_feminism.jpg

    http://www.rip-factor.com/formen/fifties_housewife.jpg "

    LOL!! Riiiiiiiiight, the "Happy Housewives" of the 50s sure didn't take any head meds to keep them looking happy! "Mother's Little Helper" wasn't referring to a nanny!!

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  19. "More men died on the Titanic than women because more men than women boarded the Titanic in the first place."

    Got any figures on who boarded the lifeboats in greater numbers?

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  20. As someone whose great-grandfather actually died on the Titanic, I will agree: yes, "women and children first" did apply, by and large, on the Titanic, though class also made a big difference. There were of course many men who survived and some women who died.

    So yes, 100 years ago, before women had the right to vote, among other things, chivalry generally prevailed -- at least on this particular ship.

    With the Lusitania, which was sunk 3 years later, it was actually able-bodied men first:

    On the Lusitania, survival favoured able-bodied men aged between 16 and 35, whose probability of surviving was 7.9 per cent higher than that for all remaining passengers over 35 years old. On the Titanic, in contrast, the same group of men were 6.5 per cent more likely to die than their elders. Children were 30.9 per cent more likely to survive on the Titanic, compared with passengers over 35, while on the Lusitania children had no better survival chance.

    See here for details.

    Of course, most feminists I know aren't big on chivalry these days; the women in favor of that tend to be a lot more like The Thinking Housewife.

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  21. "
    Of course, most feminists I know aren't big on chivalry these days;"


    Yes, it is pro forma to affect a disdain for the word chivalry if you are a feminist, especially the old-school kind.

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  22. According to the second article you link to, Mr. Futrelle:

    "The main reason, according to Benno Torgler of Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, is that simple adrenalin-driven survival instinct and bodily strength dictated survival on the fast-sinking Lusitania. On the slow-sinking Titanic, by contrast, there was time for social norm of giving priority to women and children to establish themselves."

    Thus, it still seems to me that even three years later, in the Lusitania disaster, the 'chivalry' MRAs complain about was still in play--it just didn't have enough time to work its (nefarious, in their view) magic. The Titanic, on the other hand, sunk slower, which left enough time for the psychological conditioning of women = more valuable to do its work on the men.

    Not that I personally agree with this; judging by the first link at least a significant proportion of the difference in deaths can be explained by class, as you said, if a higher proportion of women had been in third class (77% of it was composed of unlucky men, according to that article), away from the lifeboats, more of them would have died, chivalry nonwithstanding. I'm just pointing out your use of statistics leaves something to be desired.

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  23. Indeed, any use of statistics can (which doesn't necessarily imply that it does) leave something to be desired, especially when used in isolation. For example, I read on some blog or forum (sorry, I don't recall exactly where or I'd post the link) a poster claiming that the percentage of women employed as teachers in pre-school and primary school and as workers in daycare facilities definitively points to employer chauvinism against men. Yes, it might look that way on the surface, but without the corresponding statistics of number of men who make application to work in those fields, one should not take the isolated figures to be representative of a single absolute truth. There could be other factors involved that don't necessarily point to preferential treatment on the employer's part.
    And no, men are not the only ones who are "guilty" of doing that.

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  24. @anon.

    Glad you found the pictures humorous.

    And yes, its true that women take WAY more head meds today than in days past.

    "Momma's Little Yellow Pills" was first coined in 1966 by the rolling stones.

    Supposedly, it was referring to Valium.

    Today, there are too many pills to count, and the number of prescriptions is through the roof.

    Funny - you act as though nothing is different about women when it comes to taking head meds...

    Is that a form of denial?

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  25. Anonymous, well, yeah, the piece I linked to suggested that the different behavior on the Lusitania had to do with how fast it sank, though it's not clear from that article how the author drew that conclusion. It seems to be speculation, but I haven't read the study itself so I don't know that for sure. In any case, when push came to shove, literally, it looks to me like chivalry to a large degree went by the wayside.

    Scarecrow: Yes, more women take "head meds" today. So do more men. Since head meds are often quite effective at treating clinical depression, indeed, much more effective than treatments used to be in the "good old days," this is a very good thing, for indviduals and for society. (A lot of people used to "treat" depression with alcohol, or as you note, valium, and that was a disaster for them.)

    If you went back to the good old days you would find a lot of people utterly miserable and doing their best to hide it. These days many of these people can be treated effective with medications and have much, much better lives as a result. I take antidepressants myself and it has made a huge difference; I personally know many other people who've been helped immensely by them.

    Are you opposed to people taking cholesterol or blood pressure medications as well?

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  26. What is the number one complaint I have to hear from women these days?

    "Why don't men want to get married?!"

    I thought marriage was a relic of the bad old days of patriarchal oppression, that commitment was a trap, that husbands raped their wives nightly, that housewives were prostitutes, etc., etc., etc.

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