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This Guy’s Blog is Making My Eyes Bleed. -Z- by -Z-
February 27, 2009, 2:06 pm
Filed under: general jabbering, Sex, Sexism | Tags: , ,

Ugh

I don’t know how I came across this guy’s blog, but I did, and it’s been driving me mad.  Part of me thinks it’s a joke, because how can such narrow-minded out-dated 50’s throwbacks still exist? This is 2009! We’ve been engaged in the Women’s Movement for decades now!

I just spent a significant amount of time responding to a post of his which discussed why social ideologies regarding women/sex/social norms made women better off 50 years ago. Here is the post, including my commentary on it at the bottom. It took everything I had to not spazz out at him… I hope that a logical and calm discussion could encourage someone with what I deem to be narrow-minded  ideology to rethink their positions.

I’m a bit exhausted though….all his posts are along the same ridic vein.  I can’t respond to everything.  BUT YOU CAN IF YOU WANT! Also, I’d like to hear thoughts on what’s been expressed via both parties. Is there a strong generational divide on these issues? Or is it just that one random guy in his random parallel universe?

UPDATE: It looks as though my comment is awaiting “moderation”, which means that guy can choose not to let other people read my brilliant feminist commentary. Let’s hope that’s not the case. Read the comment I posted to his blog after the jump!

I find your idealization of “how things were” 50 years ago to be significantly more derived from Wishful Thinking as opposed to reality. 50 years ago, social norms were focused on ideologies that were rooted in a “cult of respectability”, one that substantiated much sexism, patriarchy, racism, and discrimination. I would argue that your definition of “how things were” is actually a reflection of sexist ideology of that era that rationalized a social system that enforced “how a select few said it should be”.

♥ Females didn’t have to fear vulgarity and disrespectful treatment, because males anticipated a female’s sensibilities and honored her expectations.

– Women have been dealing with “vulgarity” and “disrespectful treatment” in its many shapes and forms since the beginning of recorded time. I would argue that the vast majority of your posts (and the ideology behind them) contribute to said “disrespectful treatment”.

♥ Violence against females was rare.

– Violence against women has never been rare, sir. 50 years ago, it went largely unreported. Most violence against women is perpetrated by the men closest to them, mostly in family scenarios and/or relationship scenarios. 50 years ago, women who spoke out against their abusers were shamed and ostracized. Women’s advocacy groups have worked diligently in the last several decades to educate women on what abuse looks like, and how to extricate oneself from an abusive situation. 50 years ago, most women were usually tied financially and legally to the men who abused them. It tended to be more dangerous to themselves and their children to report this abuse.

♥ Violence of all kinds was much less common, because parents and especially females tamed, civilized, and domesticated males much better than today.

– Again, violence, not any less common. Widely less reported. The “cult of respectability” that was widely acknowledged in that era led to silence and shame that encourages the continuance of abuse. The expectation that females “civilize”, “tame”, and “domesticate” men is inherently saying that men are not capable of doing this themselves. I would like to give men more credit than this. This method of thinking has rationalized the abuse of women for hundreds of years. “She must have been asking for it” mentality stems from these kinds of rationalizations.

♥ Girls providing fellatio in school buses and elsewhere was never thought about, much less done and even copied to become popular.

– Where do you get this information? Sensationalized news reports on Fox News? Why don’t you address actual school aged girls and see how “prevalent” this kind of behavior actually is?

♥ Mothers directly taught and fathers indirectly coached daughters about boys. Brothers revenged harm to sister’s reputation.

– Oh my, what is a girl without a brother to do? No one to revenge the harm on her reputation? Why don’t we teach women to defend her own reputation. Moreover, let’s let our young women DEFINE what their “reputation” is. When we raise young women to have self confidence as opposed to conforming to a “reputation”, we allow her to develop strength of character that doesn’t wither under what other people think or define her as.

♥ Sexual predators were not unknown, but their numbers were extremely small and audacity weak.

– This is insane? Do you really buy this? AGAIN, sexual molestation, like physical violence, occurs first and foremost within families, close family friends, or immediate social contacts. The shame associated with acknowledging this is why sexual predation was not reported 50 years ago. The “politics of shame” that governed that era allowed the voices of those who were abused to remain in the shadows. The numbers of sexual predators went unreported, which means that their “audacity” was definately strengthened 50 years ago. You can learn about this by going straight to the source, all of the people who were abused and could never tell anyone about it until now.

♥ Girls were too easily embarrassed to talk about sex with boys. They explored the subject in the dark, as they were felt over by a boy’s hands. Modesty caused embarrassment in the light, and her virtuous character slowed or stopped his hands in the dark. Or she yielded, self-respect plummeted, virtue took a hit, and his respect and admiration wavered.

– Giving women the agency and the understanding of their bodies and sexuality allows them to explore the subject “in the light” as opposed to in the moment when some boy’s hands are on them “in the dark”. Giving women authority over their own desires allows them to say “yes” or “no” depending on what they want, and allows them to make that decision before they get in the bedroom in the dark. Fear and ignorance of their sexuality only leads to confusion, pressure, STDs, and unwanted pregnancy.

♥ Teen pregnancy was shameful and special care was given usually out of town, if the father didn’t marry her. Shame held down the incidence. (I knew of only one teen girl that reputedly had given birth, and I grew up in a mid-size city with four junior high and two big high schools. I got around to half of them socially during my school years: dances, dates, visits, hanging out.)

– If those poor girls had an understanding of their sexuality, they could have avoided pregnancy altogether. Isn’t it nice that young women who get pregnant don’t necessarily have to be social pariahs or be forced to marry the jerk that got them that way in the first place?

♥ Female modesty and feminine unknowns taught boys to respect girls in general. Chastity taught boys to respect each girl in particular. Silent admiration flowed easily out of respect, whether she was liked or not.

– I’m pretty sure that the only thing that boys learned from “feminine unknowns” is how to not be good in bed and to treat women as though they were “mysterious objects” and not human beings.

♥ Pre-pubescent girls knew nothing about sex and were embarrassed by thoughts of it. Boys of that age were ‘educated’ earlier, if they had bigger brothers. But disinterest usually prevailed until puberty set in. (Plenty of challenges other than sexual interests exist for boys and girls in the tweens.)

– It is interesting that you are idealizing boys being “educated” earlier by their big brothers? Because I’m sure that kind of sexual education is thorough and full of facts. Is this upbringing preferential? Boys who have poor sexual educations/expectations and girls who have none?

♥ Children aspired to become mature adults, not adolescent idols. Few grew up and retained the immature mindset of adolescence, because parents set examples to be admired and respected. Kids sought to duplicate parents.

– What parents are you talking about? 50 years ago plenty of parents were neglecting, abusing, and providing poor examples for their children. Also, it was socially acceptable to stuff them into “acceptable gender roles” or discriminate against them because of sexual preference/identity.

All in all, the nuclear family, middle class, Leave it to Beaver ideal that you are referencing in your blog has never existed. The scope of these “Ideals” that you reference are what cause the ignorance, shame, fear, and sexism that is so disastrous against women AND men.

I sincerely hope that these kinds of attitudes can be reversed and continuously challenged. It will help men and women if we can concentrate on understanding our shared history of gendered repression. From that position, we can forge ahead as human beings irregardless of gender, sex, sexuality, race, etc. Wouldn’t that be nice?

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20 Comments so far
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Much of what he posts is quite true, some less so, and some way off base; that’d make his blog no worse than yours, mine, or anyone else’s.

Comment by jonolan

Essentially he fairly accurately describes America as it was. On most of his points that you’ve reprinted he is reasonably accurate when speaking of America as whole, but he exaggerated their impact and discounts both the under-reported and un-responded to exceptions and certain underlying negative societal behaviors that were necessary to maintain that order.

Your responses were also fairly accurate, if somewhat exaggerated in their impact and prevalence.

Comment by jonolan

We disagree. I think that many of the things such as violence against women or sexual abuse were less common before the ’60s and you think they’re weren’t less common back them. Both of us could pull out historical studies to back up our claims, and both of us could attack the creditability of each other’s studies.

The thing is that you’re not wrong when you say that the violence and abuse that was going on wasn’t reported. That clouds the whole matter.

As for the overall views of that past America, we also have to separate out rural, suburban, and urban populations. That Norman Rockwell-esque view of “how America used to be” is not to far off from what the bulk of suburbia and the more developed rural areas – think Silva, NC or the real Mayberry – were really like.

Comment by jonolan

my two cents is this: in almost every academic article i’ve read about physical and sexual abuse in recent history, there is an emphasis on the number of cases cited. that’s also why studies cite numbers of cases as “reported cases,” implicitly stating that those are the number of people who reported the abuse, NOT the number of all who were abused.

a 1992 study, “Rape in America: A Report to the Nation” found that only 16% of rapes are reported. if 16% were reported in 1992, imagine how much fewer were reported BEFORE the bra-burning feminists of the 1970s. and that’s JUST RAPES, not other sexual assaults.

also, sociologically speaking, even today women are oppressed by remnants of the belief that women are second-class citizens and, therefore, are in the care of others and must tolerate oppression and abuse by the privileged and powerful (i.e. women used to be property, doctors used to believe that a woman couldn’t bear healthy children AND be educated because her body couldn’t handle the stress, women had to demonstrate and revolt to get the right to vote, etc.) even in recent years, women’s responsibility for their own sexual assault was examined. take Kobe Bryant’s rape trial–his defense attorneys questioned the victim’s sexual practices and history, hoping to discredit her and implying that if she enjoyed sex and had an active sex life that she could not have been raped (in ye olde sexist-speake, if she was not chaste, then she’s a whore and therefore fair game.) however, the fact that a woman enjoys sex and has it with numerous partners in no way makes it impossible for her to be raped.

furthermore, i would argue that people’s belief that “that’s how America is/was” does more harm than good when it comes to dealing with problems, regardless of the urban, suburban or rural setting, because no matter where they lived, people believed then that sexual assault was something that just didn’t happen. people’s eagerness to be just like “everybody else” makes them less likely to address and seek help for problems (like abuse, rape, etc.) and more likely to gloss over them and pretend that they’re just like the Joneses, happily grilling burgers, pushing their kids on the swingset, putting that down payment on the new Ford, waving to the milkman and tending to the petunias. the charges against Catholic priests sexually abusing altar boys back in the 1960s is a good example of people’s reluctance to speak about their molestation/assault experience in an effort to not upset “the way things are.”

people are very reluctant to sully an ideal they have about something they hold in high esteem. i get it. but JFK was fucking Marilyn Monroe (and so was Bobby), Abraham Lincoln was hanging out with a prostitute, Rock Hudson was gay and plenty of women were getting slapped around and sexually assaulted in the 1950’s and 60’s. sorry to burst everyone’s bubble.

anyway, this is getting to be too long. so i’m done now. and pissed.

Comment by masakosan

masakosan,

Yes, there is some of that going on. There is also the refusal to accept that things are worse than they were going on as well.

Some love disparaging the past because they can’t tolerate the idea that we’ve degenerated instead of progressing.

BTW: Masakaso? Is that meant as “true,” “grace,” or “rule?” I’m fairly sure you don’t mean it as “sanded hemp.” Or is it a reference to one of Hiroshima’s survivors, Masako Furuta?

Comment by jonolan

there is a difference between disparaging something and analyzing facts to get at the truth. namely, disparaging is done with little or no regard for the facts and is done in a meanspirited way.

i have nothing against history; i think it’s important to understand it and the ideas and motivations of the times in order to avoid repeating similar mistakes. i think it does a disservice to gloss over the statistics and sources because some people would rather not acknowledge that their idea of “how things are” might not be the reality.

because a general misogynistic attitude dominated the way women were dealt with (and still does, albeit much more mildly than in decades past), physical and sexual abuse and assault weren’t considered “abuse” or “assault” by the perpetrators. those men believed that they were simply exercising their rights and responsibilities as a husband. and the women believed the same, therefore didn’t report it. (i.e. in many black-and-white movies, a male character will slap a woman or shake her to get her to submit; the characters and the audiences themselves considered it acceptable.) to me and the majority of people today, that is completely out of line and falls into the “abuse” category. maybe that’s why your point of view seems skewed to me.

Comment by masakosan

We’re going to disagree over your “misogyny” statements, but that’s OK; I’m used to it.

Women were held to a different standard in decades past – as were men. Have the changes been an improvement for either gender? Frankly I’m not really sure. In some ways there have been incredible advances. In other ways I think we have degenerated.

By way of example: While it might be an improvement that a single mother is no longer reviled, it is a definite degeneration that a man is no longer reviled for not “doing the right thing.”

BTW: I’m actually very interested in the background of your screen mane. I’m an amateur student of Japanese language and history.

Comment by jonolan

♥ Girls providing fellatio in school buses and elsewhere was never thought about, much less done and even copied to become popular.

Fellatio is an act that can only be successful if there are two people involved. The above statement fails to address this, implying that even though men are taking part in the act, they seem to be above judgment on the matter. This seems to be a part of the “way things were” 50 years ago. I cannot in any way agree with the blogger in question that “the way things were” is better than “the way things are now.” Men and women should be held equally responsible for their actions. Even though our society has not achieved that ideal, we are much closer to it now than we were 50 years ago. I see the evolution of the last 50 years as a progression towards a more open-minded society (but there is still quite a ways to go).

G.I. Jane rocks.

Comment by Devrah

“I see the evolution of the last 50 years as a progression towards a more open-minded society”

Would this be the same “open-minded” society that often defended Michael Vick, the bulk of the Rap / Hip-Hop performers, and Pres. Bill Clinton?

While the previous decades may have been too rigid, I think that in many areas our society has become too accepting.

Comment by jonolan

the “rap/hip-hop performers” you reference are, by and large, law-abiding citizens, so while i understand what you’re getting at, i don’t appreciate the way you stated it. as far as Bill Clinton goes, it was a blow job. blow jobs are commonplace today, and it’s thanks to the progression of our society’s acceptance of new ideas that he and all of you men can enjoy as many BJs as you do. and clearly, Hillary has done just fine for herself, regardless of the choices her husband made. which wouldn’t be true if it had happened 50 years ago.

ignoring your allegation that people today are ok with the horrific abuse and mass slaughter of animals (the idea of which is absurd; the people who were abhorred by Vick’s business and behavior FAR outnumber the people who defend him), i would agree that society is more accepting than it was because nowadays most people differentiate between the previously “unacceptable behavior” (homosexuality, women in the workplace, women voting, women cussing, etc.) that doesn’t harm other people, and the unacceptable behavior that does harm others (physical and sexual abuse of people–and animals, murder, fraud, exploitation of the less powerful, etc.)

i concede that our society has become more indifferent towards some things that are immoral–torture, fathers abandoning their pregnant girlfriends and families, discrimination, wiretapping, to name a few–but, as someone who still deals with the prejudices of previous decades, i can say that i’m sure as hell glad i don’t live in the 1950s.

Comment by masakosan

I doubt that it’s accurate to say that the rap / hip-hop performers are, by and large, law-abiding citizens given the perceived need for “street cred” and their odd predilection for shooting each other. In any case, that was only secondary to my issues with them and society’s continuing tolerance for them.

Bill Clinton committed adultery with Lewinsky and possibly rape in at least one other case (Broaddrick).

Comment by jonolan

wow, a misogynist AND a bigot! you obviously have no experience with or understanding of the “rap/hip-hop” community. oh, yeah “They” certainly have that predilection to shoot each other! yeah, Phil Spector, he’s in that rap culture deeeeep. he, Jeffrey Dahmer, Ed Gein and George W. Bush all certainly had that predilection for killing their own kind.

as far as your statement that society “tolerates” “them,” incarceration, education and poverty statistics should give you some more background. (hint: try to draw more from those than just “poor people commit more crimes!”)

as far as Clinton’s adultery, that’s a private matter. bitch all you want about the perjury, but the adultery has no effect on you or me or anyone except his family and friends (and i seriously doubt you are a friend.) and it was ALLEGED rape. as in, NOT proven and he was NOT convicted. i can ALLEGE you are a child pornographer, but that doesn’t make it so.

and if you’re saying that our society tolerates adultery, i would beg to differ. i don’t know of many people going around proclaiming publicly how wonderful it is, despite how common it has been throughout history (including such illustrious figures as Ted Haggard, John McCain, Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani.)

and if you disagree with statements made here, fine. then stop making gross generalities and back up what you say with some sort of example or data. but if you don’t have anything more to say about misogyny and sexism (what this thread is SUPPOSED to be about), then stop commenting here and keep your hateful racist bullshit and political vendettas on your own shitty blog. i’m done with this thread. this has degenerated enough.

Comment by masakosan

Strange, I would consider the attitudes espoused by rap & hip-hip, adultery, and Clinton’s adultery and alleged raping of a woman as prime examples of misogyny and sexism…

All behaviors apparently tolerated. Even you describe Clinton’s actions as a “private matter” that America should have ignored.

And racist? Please!

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