Men and Women

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Norsefire, Jun 7, 2010.

  1. Norsefire Salam Shalom Salom Registered Senior Member

    Quite obviously, the rights and roles of women have changed over the years in order to give them more liberties and more rights. In the past, women were thought of as caretakers, home-keepers, wives, and mothers. These were there roles, and the man was typically the dominant head of household, and made most of the decisions. This is the "classic" scenario: the man works and brings home the money, and the wife takes care of the children and the home.

    Now, of course, women are considered the equals to men, and of course, I think that this is a good thing. However, does "equal" before the law necessarily mean "similar"? As a very old-fashioned person myself, I do believe that women, while they are equal to men, still hold different positions and should bear different responsibilities.

    I don't have any problem with women who don't conform, though; I'm just saying that, in my opinion, the traditional family structure was the "good" outline

    So what is your opinion?

    Men and women are equal, but do you think that means "equal" in an absolute sense or "equal but different"?
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  3. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    Equal but different would be a good way to put it in todays American society.
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  5. visceral_instinct Monkey see, monkey denigrate Valued Senior Member

    People are human beings and should follow whatever path they want in their lives.

    If they want to stay at home and have some little shits, they should do that, male or female.

    If they want to be an engineer or a singer or an sportsperson, they should do that, male or female.
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  7. visceral_instinct Monkey see, monkey denigrate Valued Senior Member

    I don't think the traditional family structure was a good one. I'd rather be dead. Pee, poo, crying children, having to sit at home and be nice to the little bloodsacks when I'd rather be in a half decent career...
  8. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    Equal under the law doesn't mean equal in nature. Obviously, there are general differences in the kinds of things men and women like to do, but with many individual exceptions.
  9. Norsefire Salam Shalom Salom Registered Senior Member

    That's exactly what I was saying.

    VI, why do you frown on things effeminate in nature?
  10. Doreen Valued Senior Member

    I think we can let things settle where they do. If women end up in traditional roles and feel fine there, fine. If they go elsewhere, fine. Likewise for men. If it ends up seeming like there are tendencies, so be it. If not, not. I tend to think men and women are different, but that these differences work out in tendencies with each individual, likely, being an exception in at least some areas.

    How nice not to have to force oneself into a preconceived form.
  11. Doreen Valued Senior Member

    Would you think it was wrong if someone else wanted that traditional family? IOW is it ok if your interests, desires, likes and dislikes are not universal?
  12. visceral_instinct Monkey see, monkey denigrate Valued Senior Member

    Of course not, it's not for me to tell someone what to do with their life.

    I don't I just get tired of having biodeterminism waved around in my face. I don't like being told I'm a 'prototype nurturer' and don't need an outlet for anger the way males do. (Oh, that's why I punched a dent in a car door once...Because I'm a nurturer!!) I don't like hearing how 'boys need sex and it's so hard for them, girls only want love and don't need to deal with all that testosterone...' well I sure as hell have some fucking steroid in me, and it's not causing me to want love.

    Hence, I am a little oversensitive...
  13. Pit JAADD Registered Senior Member

    I belive in the meritocracy. I don't care whether you're male, female, or other (If Preferred)
    If you can do your job, then I'm fine with you. The "Traditional family" looked good for quite a while, but i wonder how much farther we'd be in technology, medicine, and other fields if we hadn't squashed so many promising minds under the guise of "Traditional family"
  14. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

    Viceral Intit:
    You don't have to.

    Note the behavior-- agreeable, obedient little posts, non threatening and well mannered with a slight edge of the passive agressive; poor attempts at wit, bile, or anger resemble soft porn with a sexy midget dressed up in cheap pleather. All in all, comes off like a greeting card from Hot Topic, replete with emoticons and sticky sweet Pocki Sticks.

    Wasn't that you squealing in some other thread with your old friend ShortyMcCamerawhore?

    All on your own you're what the softlings call a "stereotype"; in other words, you don't need any 'biodeterminism' waved around in your face to be the predictable, non-threatening little girl that you are.

    But nothing will keep the mother in you from telling them what not to do.

  15. visceral_instinct Monkey see, monkey denigrate Valued Senior Member

    Hahaha. Agreeable and obedient? Mother? I'd fucking toss a baby off a building to relieve boredom.

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  16. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    It's not as bad as you think.
  17. visceral_instinct Monkey see, monkey denigrate Valued Senior Member

    I don't want one. I don't like things that make high pitched crying noises. I tend to get a powerful urge to grab them and fling them across the room.
  18. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Hehe. You too will fall. Or not.
  19. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member



    I take it you've bred-- how does someone like you decide to have children? Never understood that.
  20. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    It's easy; first, I recognize the overriding importance of transmitting my superior genes. The rest is for the benefit of humanity. "Thank you, Geoff." Hey, you're welcome.
  21. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Rhetorical boundaries

    Men and women do bear different responsibilities, but not quite in the way you refer to.

    Let me start, then, by considering a functional complication of absolute and generic equality. Consider, say, the abortion debate. We have seen, here at Sciforums, the argument that men should have governance over women's bodies. This is rarely an explicit argument, but it generally takes two forms:

    • Prohibition of abortion.

    • Excusing men from responsibility for unwanted children that they fertilize.​

    In either case, the reality is that men do not, presently, carry gestating fetuses. Some men would forbid abortion according to theological and other subjective assertions. Others would say it is unfair that they do not have the choice to abort an unwanted child. In the latter, this proposed "equality" would award men all the benefits while assigning them none of the responsibility. To what degree does that suggest equality?

    Additionally, an old friend suggests women ought to be paid less in the workplace because the overhead expense of employing women is greater. That is, they take more sick days and require greater medical expenditure. (I have not verified these figures, but accept them for the sake of argument in this issue.)

    Here, the focus is on money, and not people. Equality is thus defined as an economic figure. But applying that notion equally makes for a complicated outcome. Men can suffer breast cancer; women can suffer prostate cancer. But men do not suffer cervical cancer, and women do not suffer penile cancer. Equality, as my old friend would have it, should thus suggest something about taxation, research expenditures, and why should men have to pay for women, or vice-versa.

    Logically, as I see it—for I do not presume equality so restricted to economic measures—it has more to do with health. One could argue obese people receive unfair attention, as their higher incidence of cardiovascular dysfunction means the rest of us, through taxes or insurance costs, are paying for them.

    Of course, I'm a carnivorous smoker, as well, so how does that figure into it?

    In the end, a vital question of where and how we draw various boundaries in assessing equality must be answered before we can start crying foul.

    To wit, I would suggest that the abortion issue raised by some masculinists is not valid; it is not the inequality of being unable to abort unwanted fetuses, but rather a question of governing what takes place inside one's own body.

    In broader terms of socioeconomic roles within society, the old division of labor, despite certain natural conditions, is an artifice. Among premodern tribal societies, women were not restricted to the home. Indeed, men went out for the hunt or war, but women were not simply home cooking. They were, indeed, gathering resources, educating the future hunters and warriors, and attending to the territories while men were away. And in many cases, women were out on the hunt and in the wars.

    Even in Victorian times—often regarded as a striking expression of humanity's elegant repugnance—women were hardly meek and ladylike as we might imagine them. Indeed, they occupied a subservient role, but the man's burden in such arrangements was actually to undertake a lesser share in the division of labor.

    What this equalled, then, was that the people who did the most work had the least say. Indeed, this has been a growing trend in human history, to the point that feminism was born as a conscious response to such inequality.

    The traditional roles, then, have the greater share of advantages for men, and fewer necessary risks.

    Conservative humorist P. J. O'Rourke once joked that feminists were essentially demanding the right to be overworked, underappreciated, and generally exploited just the same as men. While there is some truth to the wry observation, the joke necessarily overlooks that wanting the house, the 2.7 kids, the 3.2 cars, the dog and a half, the MBA, and the six-figure salary was still a step up.

    In the United Kingdom, the Great War empowered women once it was recognized that they could ably perform "men's work" in industry. Having filled the gaps in the labor force while the men fought against Germany, women demonstrated that they deserved the vote. Indeed, the current Waterloo Bridge in London (opened in 1942, completed in 1945) is sometimes referred to as "The Ladies' Bridge", because it was built by a labor force that was vastly female—the estimate I heard last week was 80%.

    World War II changed women's roles in the United States in similar ways, though they had already won the vote. The recognition that women could, in fact, do things like build warships and skyscrapers profoundly changed society's outlook. Many women felt empowered; some men were tremendously frightened. But the damage to traditional outlooks was done. Part of the famous Baby Boom, namely the years from 1947 to 1962, are referred to by some social scientists as the Long Decade; it is also the period many heterosupremacists and masculinists refer to when they recall "traditional" marriage and family. Emerging evidence in the form of letters and diaries bequeathed or donated to universities as this generation of women passes away suggest that women were greatly frustrated by their condition during this period. Analogously, I would invoke an episode of The Simpsons, "You Only Move Twice". In that episode, Homer gets a new job working for Hank Scorpio at Globex, a nuclear power company. The family moves to a new neighborhood in a planned community, and Marge quickly finds herself isolated by the powerfully automated house; her chores are greatly reduced, and she suddenly has a tremendous amount of free time. In one scene, she sits down at the table, and begins to drink. By the end of the episode, she feels completely unproductive and utterly bored. This seems almost a direct allegory to the Long Decade, when technological and economic changes transformed the American middle class, and many "traditional" housewives felt useless and bored. No such condition can persist forever; it is from this period that second-wave feminism arose.

    And this is where masculinists seem to have become tremendously uncomfortable. Women now had the time, education, and perspective to largely combat the idea that they should look pretty and serve men. If you attend Superstring's thread on sexist and racist images and literature in history, you will see some examples of exactly what second-wave feminism fought against:

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    The transition into the "third wave" of feminism has taken place during my lifetime, and it has proven vastly confusing for men. One easy example is the question of whether to hold a door open for a woman. Some men and women are of the opinion that she is perfectly capable of opening the damn door herself. This, of course, endangers certain basic courtesies, and one solution often overlooked is the courtesy of not allowing a door to slam shut in anyone's face, regardless of their sex.

    Perhaps most apparent, though, is the gasping and infamous "double standard" of sexuality. In my lifetime, this has been thoroughly phallocentric:

    • A man who sleeps around is a stud, and this is supposed to be admirable. A woman who sleeps around is a slut, and this is evil. While I am capable of sympathizing with certain visceral notions contributing to this outcome, I find such responses irrational. After all, I've had "sluts" before, and rather quite enjoyed myself. Conservative comedian Dennis Miller even did a routine on this point, mocking the seventy-two virgins of Islamic lore: after a while, you might want a woman who knew what she was doing. Indeed, in pornography, the whole routine of the wise master and beautiful, inexperienced woman is not about preserving that perceived beauty, but corrupting innocence. And these notions are tremendously damaging. My high school girlfriend once wept because she wasn't a virgin when we were first together. Why should anyone ever apologize for being raped by their father? Yet this is the sort of barrier that rape survivors must often overcome in recovery.

    • "Loose" women were dangerous; they were a threat to a man's liberty. Unintended responsibilities, loveless marriages; even my own parents, who did their best—and a damn sight better than many I know—couldn't look past that to the child. Indeed, the only reason nobody dwells on the question of whether my child's mother actually sought to become pregnant is that nobody will denigrate the child in that manner. I might disdain certain aspects of the woman's character, but I got a really cool daughter out of it, and I will never regret that. But the concern was almost entirely phallocentric in its need to avoid being "dragged down by the old ball and chain". It's now the twenty-first century, and these ideas still persist in society around me.​

    And third-wave feminism may be dying as its opponents now try to claim its banner. Syndicated columnist Tina Dupuy this week addressed the question of conservative feminism in the wake of certain primary election victories for female candidates:

    The 2010 primary season has marked an unprecedented number of female candidates for national and state offices...according to the hype. Republicans winning Republican primaries across the country is a victory for Republicans everywhere! There are more female GOP candidates this season than ever before. Well, there are four: former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, South Carolina State Representative Nikki Haley and former Nevada Assemblywoman Sharron Angle.

    To some this could seem like a feminist victory. It's a female Republican victory, sure. But being a feminist and being against reproductive freedoms means you are not a feminist. You can say you're a Mets fan, but if you only want the Yankees to win - you're not a Mets fan.

    The irony is this swarm of candidates, almost all entirely anti-abortion rights (save Whitman) has the feminism movement to thank for their ability to be candidates. Which is like using Twitter to get your message out about the evils of micro-blogging.

    This new trend in the Republican Party - putting up women who want to turn the clock back to criminalize abortion - is complicated for feminists. And feminism in its third wave (or so) is already complicated. Yes, it's great to think of women in power, but not when they're against women's rights as their platform.

    The anti-choice movement tells women they deserve better than abortion, that they are the ones who have the best interests of women in mind. But treating women like children who need to be told what's best for them is hardly equality. It's a step back. And saying not having an abortion is the right choice - is a choice.

    A stealthy anti-abortion movement has been chipping away at access to information and services since before Roe v. Wade. Crisis Pregnancy Centers, the first opening in Hawaii in 1967, are fake women's clinics offering no medical services, only religious-based misinformation and scare tactics to discourage abortion and in many cases premarital sex. They outnumber abortion providers 2-1 in this country ....

    .... The Republican rhetoric about freedom, the sacredness of the Constitution and government not encroaching on your rights all come to a screeching halt at reproductive issues. Republicans are for those platitudes...but with asterisks. To glaze over this contradiction, female anti-abortion GOP candidates have flippantly called themselves feminists. Which is like proclaiming yourself vegetarian while eating a ham sandwich. They're not feminists. They're just female. "Being a feminist isn't a question of plumbing," author Gloria Feldt said to me.

    In the end, it's a matter of where and how we draw boundaries. For some, "feminism" means women are better off kept in ignorance about themselves, their bodies, and their capabilites. For others, "feminism" refers to a supremacist movement. And yet, for feminism itself, all it means is that people recognize that women are, indeed, human beings. At that level, women can function in any role, unless we wish to make manhood itself a role. But we then encounter the complication that men cannot be women, either. Unless, of course, they have a sex change. But a man cannot be a man and woman at the same time except by fluke of nature, in which case we say "hermaphrodite", which isn't really manly at all. And for some men, this is unfair. They do not understand why they cannot have their cake and eat it, too, even though men in the Western historical arc, such as St. Thomas Aquinas, figured that out at least seven hundred years ago.


    Dupuy, Tina. "Feminism in the Wake of 'Ladies' Night' is ... Complicated". The Huffington Post. June 15, 2010. June 16, 2010.
  22. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

    But, aren't you a man of letters?

    You've pretty much defiled that with something like viceral_instits.
  23. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

    No dear, you're oversensitive because you're a woman.

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