The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Answering a request

ᅠI was asked to try to prove my point about men not really being in control using a similar methodolgy to what I used with black men and sexuality. If this feels like torturous logic to some, all I can say is that I'm not screwing around with you: it's genuinely the way I think.

ᅠHere's how I reason:

ᅠ1) If someone is in control, they modify the situation so that it is either even, or to their advantage.

2) If the situation is to their advantage, the disadvantaged group should have a diminished life expectancy, and a diminished perceived quality of life.

3) There are very obvious and incontestable horrors perpetrated upon women by men, as well as a generalized oppression.

4) I believe that there is an evolutionary force, which prepares and creates males to fulfill a protective role that also involves increased aggression.

5) Both men and women are programmed to consider men's lives less important than women's. It is for this reason that the statistics for men's longevity or violent death don't enter into the discussion: they just don't matter as much.

6) Okay, here's where I use the same method: An evidence that men's lives are not as valuable as women's can be found in popular entertainment. Look at the movies that have earned over 100 million dollars--in other words, which have been totally embraced by our culture. On a list of almost 400 films, I can find only two (Fatal Attraction, and Chicago) in which more women die than men. There are several where whole cities go up (or a ship goes down), of course--these pretty much cancel out. But there are more than fifty where the death toll for men as opposed to women ranges from 10:1 (Maybe Forrest Gump?) to many hundreds to zero (300?). Who cares? They're drones. Men's lives don't count. In fact, millions of men and women (myself included) find it quite entertaining to watch men die. The closest equivilent is slasher movies--and even there plenty of men are slaughtered. It is possible that more women die in these films--I think it could go either way. But one thing is certain: they are nowhere near as indicative of a broad cultural mood, or programming. They typically make 20-40 million, no where near the level we're discussing.

We program little boys to think it glorious to get their balls shot off. We put glorious images of noble death in every medium known to man: story, song, poem, movies, television--there is not escaping it. I grasp what the negative effects have been, and are, but know that both men and women collaborate in the programming of boys and girls. The result is useful--but it isn't pretty. I'm not saying its evil to create the images (I've done plenty of it myself), I'm saying that you have to grasp that we are all playing parts in a game that doesn't much care about us as individuals.

While many--including many men--think men are in control, I disagree. I think our genes are both blessing and cluster-fucking both sides of the equation.

ᅠIf I'm wrong, I'm wrong, but I'm not trying to make some kind of political point, and I have no agenda other than freedom and equality for all sentient beings. Any other conclusion you come to can be attributed to imperfect communication on my part, and I apologize. No offense was intended, at all.

55 comments:

Josh Jasper said...

Steve, you're interpreting the actions of a large group of culturally different people, as if they were one individual. If men are not using the massive dominance they have in finance and politics as a way to be more happy, that does not mean that they are not in control. It just means that keeping that power concentrated that way might be more stressful. Power is stressful. Being in charge is stressful. But you're still in charge.

RThe patriarchy hurts men too". But it's still the Patriarchy, and it's still a male dominated culture we live in.

As for feminist film theory, there's entire college classes taught on the subject. The fact that men die more in film does not mean equal control.

I'm sorry Steve, you're wrong. And you're ignoring the actual heavy lifting work that real feminist scholars have done.

Anonymous said...

"5) Both men and women are programmed to consider men's lives less important than women's. It is for this reason that the statistics for men's longevity or violent death don't enter into the discussion: they just don't matter as much."

I wonder how much of this in recent days might be broad-brush backlash.

For example, suppose a guy dies of AIDS. That's a tragedy! If he knew he was HIV+ and still carelessly infected his boyfriends (directly when he didn't tell them he had HIV) or his wife (directly when she couldn't afford to risk a divorce by saying no) and his son (indirectly when she gave birth after the unprotected sex) or whomever, some people would view his death of AIDS as less of a tragedy than his victims' deaths of AIDS. Some other people, who are much stupider and crueler, would lash back by deeming *all* men who died of AIDS just as callous and careless. Bah.

Anonymous said...

"5) Both men and women are programmed to consider men's lives less important than women's. It is for this reason that the statistics for men's longevity or violent death don't enter into the discussion: they just don't matter as much."

I wonder how much of this in recent days might be broad-brush backlash.

For example, suppose a guy dies of AIDS. That's a tragedy! If he knew he was HIV+ and still carelessly infected his boyfriends (directly when he didn't tell them he had HIV) or his wife (directly when she couldn't afford to risk a divorce by saying no) and his son (indirectly when she gave birth after the unprotected sex) or whomever, some people would view his death of AIDS as less of a tragedy than his victims' deaths of AIDS. Some other people, who are much stupider and crueler, would lash back by deeming *all* men who died of AIDS just as callous and careless. Bah.

Anonymous said...

Josh:
Steve is essentially correct. Your massive dominance in finance, politics and the military argument is completely bogus. The fact that a few men have great wealth and or power doesn't make life better for the 99% of men who don't. Your right about life being stressful for men, but it applies to men without power as well as those with power. I graduated college in the middle of the Vietnam war. The first seven years of my working life was not pursuing the career I wanted, but working on military projects so as to keep a deferment. Those men my age who were not lucky enough to be able to get a deferment were drafted and got to serve as grunts, be ordered around by the powerful men you keep talking about and getting shot at.

Aside from the things Steve has mention there are a lot of other factors that affect quality of life and I've seen little evidence the quality of life is better for men than women.

Yes, certain roles/positions in our society have been and probably still are harder to attain for women than men, but men too are restricted in their life roles.
In normal times people are brought up expecting to fulfill certain roles and so are mostly content with those roles. The problem for both men and women in current times is that we are in a time of upheaval where roles are changing dramatically and the adjustment in expectations is difficult.

Marty S

suzanne said...

MArty___

actually women have more of a support group
than men do
as men have not worked
near as hard
to re-define their roles
after women started championing
their own rights

Steve___

I'm mnot sure why you've
pulled yourself up ionto this bucking bronco . . .

I also wonder about using
responses to surveys
as FACT

I mean in these surveys you cite
where women show up
as more "satisfied" than men
what women?
All women?
what was the population surveyed?
how was satisfaction defined?
how was it insured that the questions didn't bias the response

while you seem to place great trust
in generalizations
from data
I am more wary

and while
(but really who knows for sure)
in the tribal times
of the hunter-gatherers
(whose diet was more vegetarian than carnivorous - successful hunting being less often successful
than nut and berry and green picking and fishing)
myabe just MAYBE
agressiveness was a more necessary trait


I remain unconvinced about
how widespread human on human aggression was in Paleolithic
and for certain pre-Paleolithic times
as the estimates I've seen on the world population
pretty muh indicates
that a tribe might go many many years
before having contact with Outsiders

and Marty____
did you never run across
clip-on ties?

Steven Barnes said...

I'm quite sure I don't know about much of the feminist research and scholarship. But the problem isn't my lack of awareness--the problem is that I start with a philosophical perspective that says that when people are in control they change things to be better for them, and that death statistics have something to do with this. Unless they can present statistics showing women dying more often, I am free to consider that I'm looking at the matter differently--not lacking data. We can agree to disagree, but counting apples on one cart doesn't solve the question of whether one has more apples or oranges. You have to count the oranges as well. Please point me toward the feminist research that takes male fatality into account, and I'll grant your point. Otherwise, I have to say that I have a difference of perspective on this point. Disagreeing is not disrespectful or condescending. It is my right as a human being, as it is theirs to conduct research and offer honest perspective.
#
Ah...when men started dying of AIDS, the complaint I heard was that nobody cared. Gays had to take to the streets just to be heart. It was horrible. I guess I wonder if they would have had so much trouble if it had been lesbians rather than gay men.

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

Honestly? Lesbian deaths would probably be taken more seriously than gay men's deaths. Prostitutes' deaths, not so much.

By which I mean, not that our attitudes' about how seriously to take someone's death aren't hugely affected by what sex the person is, but that things intersect, and other stuff comes into play as well. Gay men's sex life is seen as more transgressive than lesbians' sex life; prostitutes' behavior is seen as more transgressive than the behavior of their customers.

And women dying of AIDS off in Africa aren't taken nearly as seriously, here in the US, as would nice white middle class women dying here in the US.

Anonymous said...

Suzanne:
No I never ran across clip on ties, and nobodyI ever complained to about ties suggested them. But you have made me recall an interesting event. One of my bosses did not approve of the knot which I used on my tie. He stood in my office untied my tie and retied it demonstrating what he considered an acceptable knot. I wonder how a feminist would react to herself or another woman having such an experience.

Marty S

Josh Jasper said...

I'm quite sure I don't know about much of the feminist research and scholarship. But the problem isn't my lack of awareness--the problem is that I start with a philosophical perspective that says that when people are in control they change things to be better for them, and that death statistics have something to do with this. Unless they can present statistics showing women dying more often, I am free to consider that I'm looking at the matter differently--not lacking data.

If you don't know what data they have, how do you know if you're lacking it? It sounds like you're taking a view of the end, but without looking at any of the actual work that's done been, and then dismissing it as irrelevant without even knowing what it is.

Women dying more often is the only important metric?
"http://jech.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/59/10/873">well here's someone who did serious academic research to answer your assertion
. You have to pay to look at it, but the point is that by ignoring academic research on a topic you've got this opinion on as not useful, you're ignoring real research on the issue that might refute your claims. And there's a heck of a lot of research out there.

There's nothing to be lost by actually saying "I don't know enough to have an informed opinion compared to these people".

I keep saying that the patriarchy hurts men too. It's not a good system for men or women. But it is a system of male domination. It's a very bad system for everyone. Women are disempowered, and men are empowered. But the system overall hurts everyone except for a few, even as it keeps men in power, and keeps women out of power.

Anonymous said...

Josh:
I took a look at your link and from reading the abstract the research strikes me as worthless. Someone once ran a correlation between unemployment and beer drinking in Ireland. There was a statistically significant high correlation between the two. Did that prove beer drinking caused the unemployment. No. Economic conditions caused the unemployment and the free time was spent at the pub. Starting with the premise that high female homicide rates is a measure of patriarchy and then finding that male mortality is correlated doesn't prove anything. Both could be high because conditions are bad in a country and these conditions could have little to do with whether its a patriarchy or not.

Marty S

Mike Ralls said...

Interesting recent article by Diamond on tribes and revenge;

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/04/21/080421fa_fact_diamond?currentPage=all

Anonymous said...

It's interesting how many buttons these last few posts seemed to have pushed.

It probably says something about how hard the ego wants to hang on to certain perceived realities.

Josh Jasper said...

Marty -

I took a look at your link and from reading the abstract the research strikes me as worthless.

Really, because the abstract doesn't actually show the whole research, so calling it worthless without actually looking at is is sort of like me calling Steve's correlations on movies, black men ad sex worthless.

You're accepting things that make you comfortable, and unwilling to accept things that, if true, should make you feel uncomfortable.

Someone once ran a correlation between unemployment and beer drinking in Ireland.

Someone once ran a bad study, so means that any study you want to disagree with is bad?

Starting with the premise that high female homicide rates is a measure of patriarchy and then finding that male mortality is correlated doesn't prove anything.

See, case in point. You actually didn't read the abstract. At all. It talked about MEN'S mortality rates being higher. the title is "Is patriarchy the source of men’s higher mortality?".

Marty, you made up your mind on the conclusion before even examining the evidence, or if you examined it, you drew an entirely wrong conclusion.

C onclusion: These data suggest that oppression and exploitation harm the oppressors as well as those they oppress, and that men’s higher mortality is a preventable social condition, which could be tackled through global social policy measures.

Here's the full link.

http://jech.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/59/10/873

here's a write up on the article

http://seniorjournal.com/NEWS/SeniorStats/5-09-15MaleDominanceKills.htm

Try to restrain yourself from instinctive disagreement with anything that uses the word "patriarchy" or that was written by someone with a background in women's studies.

Steve Perry said...

"the disadvantaged group should have a diminished life expectancy, and a diminished perceived quality of life."

Speaking syllogistically, neither of these two conclusions logically follow, unless you have evidence.

The jury is still out on the death-hormone theory, but there is a growing body of evidence that the term "testosterone poisoning" is not just metaphorical -- that there is a component to that physiologically, in addition to the risky behavior the male hormones engender.

And, until relatively recently, human male longevity, on average, was greater than that of women.

The idea of perceived quality of life is tricky at best. I drove a Miata for years, and I loved it. Every time I got behind the wheel, I was tickled all over again.

I find it hard to believe that guy driving a Mercedes droptop that cost five times as much was having five times as much fun as I was.
Or even twice as much. Or maybe not even as much. And yet a guy who could afford one of those was certainly higher up the income chain that I, so money isn't the qualification by itself. Past a basic level of having what you need versus having what you want, I think perception of quality of life depends on a whole bunch of other stuff that gets iffy to qualify.

I believe you have taken a wrong turn here, Barnes. Get a new map ...

Anonymous said...

"And, until relatively recently, human male longevity, on average, was greater than that of women."

I wouldn't be surprised either way, but where did you get that statistic?

Also, did it take into account just life expectancies of men and women, or life expectancy of newborn boys and girls (many of whom died long before age 18*)?




* and no, puberty isn't automatically adulthood in humans no matter how many people out there marrying off preteens to rapists like to count it that way and unfortunately make this clarification necessary

Anonymous said...

Josh:
My comments on the study had nothing to do with my comfort level with its conclusions. they were based upon my evaluation as a professional statistician who has testified as an expert witness in
federal court and before several state environmental boards on such issues. The example I gave is not one bad study it is the example frequently used in statistical courses to illustrate the potential problems with the approach taken
in this study. In addition to the above I detected two other potential problems with
the study.

1) In preforming a stepwise linear regression the independent variables in this case,
female homicide rates and per capita GDP, must be uncorrelated. It is unlikely these two are in fact uncorrelated.

2)The categorization of an event as a homicide is preformed differently from country to country.
This means the data used for female homicides maybe unreliable which would invalidate the analysis.

Marty S

Steve Perry said...

Age stuff:

http://www.hno.harvard.edu/gazette/1998/10.01/WhyWomenLiveLon.html
and
http://women.webmd.com/guide/20061201/why-women-live-longer?page=2

Anonymous said...

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Josh: one more comment on the study. I postulate that the greater the level of matriarchy in a country the greater level of male homicides. The data in the study shows that the higher the number of male homicides the higher number of female homicides. Therefore I conclude that the oppressor females in this Matriarchy suffer as much as the oppressed males.

Marty S

Anonymous said...

"Any white person who knows as many black people as the average human being knows people of opposite sex would be, in my mind, a fine authority on race."

First reaction: if it's an Asian thing, would he or she still understand? ;)

Second reaction: this reminds me of a point Carol Tavris made in _The Mismeasure of Woman_ about how "women's intuition" might be more accurately called "subordinate's intuition."

The idea is that when someone else outranks you, picking up on his or her moods is more important (you're better off if you can do this, you're more screwed if you can't do this) than when you outrank him or her...whether you were a housewife dependent on her breadwinner, a black person facing a white person under Jim Crow, an enlisted soldier with commanding officers, etc.

So, back to whites understanding blacks: maybe it's not just how many blacks a white person knows but also how many of that person's bosses (employers, teachers, coaches, etc.) have been black? What'll it be like in the U.S. when the first generation to include lots of whites who had black authority figures takes over?

Steven Barnes said...

Steve--

my sense of what is disadvantageous relates to lots of things--most of them leading to reduced lifespans.
Overwork, underrest, under-nutrition, violence, depression, unsanitary conditions, etc. If there is no drop in lifespan or increase in mortality, then that isn't oppression the way I've always reckoned it. Since ALL of those factors obtained with, say, slavery, then a condition of multi-generational repression that doesn't impact infant mortality rates or life expectancy strikes me as being pretty mild. So the oppressed group are either superpeople, or they get the same amount of protein, the same amount of rest, don't work much harder, don't work more dangerous jobs or are victims of violence more often... It seems qualitatively and quantitatively different than anything I ever looked at about oppression between groups, that's for sure.

##
Josh--I never said life span was the only metric. I said that it is one I haven't seen factored into the question of whether women have it worse in the world. My assumption is that if men were in control, they would control things to their advantage, and this metric is one that must be addressed. I've no time to sort through infinite data on every subject in the world, and tend to find core arguments, run them past the believers, and if they answer me in a way I appreciate, then I take the next step.

Steven Barnes said...

Josh--I tried clicking on that link, and cutting and pasting it, and couldn't get there. Sorry.
#
And again, I'm not ignoring the research. I've heard hundreds of hours of discussion about the topic of male-female dominance patterns in person, on television, in lectures back in college, in books. And never seen the question I asked answered to my satisfaction. I think it's fair to say that until I get it answered, I can take the position that it is being ignored. My point is not, and never has been, that men are not responsible for great harm to women. Or that we don't need laws, and legal recourse, or that women shouldn't have every access to power and health imaginable. You seem to take offense at the fact that I don't consider men to be "in control" of things, or that women have it worse. OK--we disagree. but unless we disagree on the outcome--equality and dignity for all, for instance--I think my position is that we're looking at the same mountain from different directions.

Dan Moran said...

Steve,

Your metric of who dies first seems to me to be overly simplistic. The suite of reasons why this happens are complex --

http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/1999-09/937577951.Me.r.html

The death rates for women are lower than those for men at all ages--even
before birth. Although boys start life with some numerical leverage--about
115 males are conceived for every 100 females--their numbers are
preferentially whittled down thereafter. Just 104 boys are born for every
100 girls because of the disproportionate rate of spontaneous abortions,
stillbirths and miscarriages of male fetuses. More boys than girls die in
infancy. And during each subsequent year of life, mortality rates for males
exceed those for females, so that by age 25 women are in the majority.


Hard to see how anything except biology accounts for early male mortality exceeding early female mortality.

Comparison of the death rates for men and women in the U.S. at various ages
reveals gender differences in mortality patterns. Although death rates are
higher for males than females at all ages, the difference between the sexes
is more pronounced at certain stages of life. Between 15 and 24 years, for
example, the male-to-female mortality ratio peaks because of a sudden surge
in male deaths with the onset of puberty. During this period, men are three
times more likely to die than women, and most of the male fatalities are
caused by reckless behavior or violence. Motor vehicle accidents are the
most common cause of death for males in this age group, followed by
homicide, suicide, cancer and drowning. Interestingly, a surge in male
mortality has been observed in other primates at a similar stage in life:
in
young adult male macaques, for example, rates of death and "disappearance"
are high compared with those of female macaques.


Once you get into middle age, heart disease kills men at a much higher clip than it does women -- and heart disease is a sign of overeating, of alcoholism, of tobacco -- that is, men are getting more of the recreational drugs and food that cause heart disease. The curse of the ruling class, if you like.

Steve Perry said...

Steve --

Your logic still seems flawed. Take a state prison. The men inside get adequate nutrition, exercise, medical care. Rest, maybe even work that is useful. Whatever their reasons for being interred, would you not consider them under the control of the guards? Perhaps even repressed?

Most of what they do every day is dictated by somebody in power. If somebody offered you twice the best money you ever made to take the full-time job of prisoner for the next five years up in Chino, would you take the job?

You know that some of those prisoners are innocent of the crimes for which they have been jailed.

Is this considered, by your lights, mild repression? Yep, most of 'em did the crime, so they got to do the time, but can you see the analogy?

For me, it doesn't follow that the guys running the show will necessarily benefit from the death of their subjects. Slaves are expensive. Wives produce children to carry a man's genes forward, and if he doesn't feed, clothe, or properly care for his spouse, that lessens the chances of producing viable children. It's in his self-interest to take care of his horse, his house, and his woman.

A man who kills his slaves or his wives isn't doing himself any favors in the long run, but both slavs and wives can be considered repressed if their every move is dictated by a de facto master. And historically, that's how the system has worked, almost everywhere.

Men have had it better. The richest, most powerful people in most societies throughout history have been the men in them, save for the odd Queen here and there, and very few of them.

Not saying that the biological drives don't factor into this heavily, nor that sometimes slaves and wives derive some benefit from benevolent masters.

Harder to swallow the slave part, isn't it? But if the latter is true, so is the former.

The truth is, that wives and children have, until recent times, been property only the smallest cut above outright slavery, and the question is a simple one: Given only two choices, would you rather be the one holding the lash or feeling it on your back?

This is a choice that men, throughout history, have made, and it doesn't take a sociological whiz to know which most people would have chosen. But -- most slaves and women didn't get the choice.

Maybe nobody is in charge and the inmates are running the asylum, but pick a time say, three hundred years ago, anywhere in the world, and given the choice between being a man or a women, who do you figure had more freedom to realize his or her fullest potential as a human being?

Two hundred years back?

A hundred?

I rest my case.

Anonymous said...

"A man who kills his slaves or his wives isn't doing himself any favors in the long run, but both slavs and wives can be considered repressed if their every move is dictated by a de facto master."

Hey, *some* wives.

While some types of marriage are closer to slavery (for example, protection rackets in which she lays back and thinks of tradition while she's so turned off it hurts and doesn't dare try to earn a living any other way in exchange for him feeding and sheltering her along with the kids and not letting anyone else rape her)...

...some other types of marriage are very far from slavery (for example, partnerships between consenting adults who knew and loved each other before agreeing to marry).

"Maybe nobody is in charge and the inmates are running the asylum, but pick a time say, three hundred years ago, anywhere in the world, and given the choice between being a man or a women, who do you figure had more freedom to realize his or her fullest potential as a human being?"

Controlling for other factors, of course! It's one thing to choose between being a man and being his twin sister is one thing. It's another thing to choose between being a woman whose well-off father let her choose whether or not to accept a marriage proposal, join a convent, turn sze saw, etc. and being a man whose parents couldn't protect him from a slaveholder trying to breed him like cattle.

Anonymous said...

From my read of history few people male or female had much chance of reaching their full potential. Lets go back 100 years. One hundred years ago my grandfather was on a boat fleeing his native Poland, where he was about to be drafted into the army to fight in their then current war. When he reached the United States he found a job as furrier and spent ten hours a day sewing furs together to make fur coats. If you think this was reaching his full potential your kidding yourself.

In my opinion, in anytime and anyplace achieving happiness for most people has been making the best of what life dealt them and being content with that.

Marty S

suzanne said...

Marty___

since potential
means not yet in evidence
who can say
what anyone's "full potential" is?

and given its elusive nature
talking about anyone's "potential"
is extremely "airy" talk

everyone___

given all the commentary
(and I include Steve's main entries)

I've lost track of what the subject is

though I'd like to point out
much of the downside for men
in a patriarchal society
has to do with competitiveness
comparing oneself with others
who's ahead
who's number one
who's top dog
who's alpha male
and if you aren't him
then you ain't shit
isn't that the way it goes?
Doesn't that play into
the waging of wars
and economics
the bluster of ego
the more is better
that threatens everyone and everything?

and seems to me
I've even seen evidences of
a liking for competitiveness
in you too, Steve. . .


isn't that what produces the stress
and the anxiety and the feelings of low self-esteem?
And even of much of the violence?

Steven Barnes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steven Barnes said...

300-400 years ago, would men have had a better chance at self-expression? In some ways, not in others. And I am taking the position that being forced to die in violence has to be factored into the equation. Considering that life and death are the most basic levels of Maslow's Hierarchy, that huge pieces of what humans do they do specifically to avoid death, I fail to see how I am being illogical--unless you simply resort to the "men start the wars" argument, which, unless one takes the position that really, truly, men enjoy spilling their own guts, begs the question of "why."

Steven Barnes said...

Dan--

Not just who dies first, but who dies most often due to violence. All I'm saying that these things have to be factored in.

I'm actually confused. Wasn't the whole point of the women's movement that if women gained more freedom it would be better for everyone? Aren't you guys now arguing that no, that's not true, that actually things are better for men if they dominate? What the @#$$? If things are better for everyone if power is shared equally, doesn't that imply that things are worse for both sides because they are not? Frankly, I'm just taking that argument seriously. You seem to be saying that the "we'd all be doing better" argument is a con game to get men to relinquish control. That CAN'T be your argument, so...what is it? Are we better as a species if power is shared only because of the increased pleasure for women? Or is it really better for both sides? I say it is. I think that you believe it is, as well. What the hell are we really arguing about?

Steven Barnes said...

Steve--

Wow, your argument is flawed. It's a variation on a Southern Apologia I've heard many many times--perhaps in response to Northern insistence that slave owners were mass-murdering monsters. Slave masters DID kill their slaves (ever read any slave narratives?). It IS efficient to kill unmanagable Alphas, so long as there were enough Betas surviving to make your profit. Without murder, it would be impossible to control your slaves. Once you've killed the least managable (generally something that happened either on the slave ships or soon after landing) you can sell the others and control them with fear, pain, and threat to family. Hobblings, beatings, starvation and other tools can be used for control thereafter--all of which decrease life span. Most specifically, whites worked their slaves so that they lived, on average, about 14 years less. Exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about--oppression leaves traces.
#
If prison guards and prisoners live the same period of time, and have equal sense of life satisfaction...I don't know what the hell that is, but I don't think the guards are "in control" especially if both are experiencing depressed stats relative to the rest of the population. A good analogy would be a military prison. Prisoners are behind bars, other soldiers are ordered to protect the prison and control the inmates. Both suffer similar rates of death and disease and misery? Oddness. But what if the guards died at a HIGHER rate? Who's in control? Not the guards, that's for sure. The ARMY is in control, the force that selected these roles for both sides.

Anonymous said...

Suzanne:
I'm going really out on limb and assuming that a man with little or no formal education, who thinks that the complete works of of William Shakespeare is an appropriate book to read his four year old grandson bedtime stories from isn't feeling totally fulfilled sewing furs together.

Marty S

Steve Perry said...

Nothing wrong with my logic. What we are debating is whether or not the world has been and still is mostly run by men. And that being anything other than one of the men historically put you into a subservient position. That the weight of law and tradition has served to keep women in that three-steps-behind-her-husband position.

That you can't seem to see either of these is intriguing.

I don't understand at all how you can see how any kind of slave -- be it in the quarters and made to work the fields, or in the big house serving dinner is a good thing. (I brought that benevolent master thing up because you spent some time exploring it in Dar Kush and seemed to understand that it doesn't work. That a slaver, even with the best of intentions, is still a slaver.) That you can't see a woman forced to sleep with a man and bear his children, to stay barefoot and pregnant, as it were, is a kind of slavery is fascinating.)

See the report of the eight-year-old divorced girl on the news yesterday? Forced to marry and have sex with a grown man? They didn't prosecute him for the rape.

Yeah, different culture, but still out there, isn't it?

*Still* out there.

Of course women want parity -- after thousand of years of being chattel, of being as smart as the men who ran things but kept out of equality by custom and law. You seem dismissive of this, "Well, they got enough to eat and they lived a long time" isn't any kind of valid argument for equality. That's like saying the house nigger had it better than the field nigger. May be true, but he was still a slave, wasn't he?

What this sounds like the story in Zelazny's Lord of Light, wherein he describes a researcher who is studying a disease that causes a horrible disfigurement to sufferers. The researcher contracts the disease, but when he looks in the mirror, he says, "Well, it doesn't look so bad on me ..."

Of course, as Rory pointed out recently on his blog, that's what a blind spot is. I don't know why you choose to go down this road, and I'm not asking you to read ten thousand studies, nor do I think it's a conspiracy. I am surprised that you can't see it.

Of course, if you have a belief and it isn't worth fighting to defend, it isn't much of a belief. But there are a bunch of fairly bright people here telling you something that disagrees with your stance. Wouldn't reconsidering those arguments under the weight of what seems to be preponderance of evidence be the smarter thing to do?

It sounds like you are saying, Hey, I checked this out, made up my mind for good reasons, and you are all wrong.

If the weight of evidence was on your side, you'd have made some coverts by now, don't you think?

If somebody calls you ass, you may safely ignore them. If ten people call you an ass, maybe you want to think about getting yourself a saddle.

Anonymous said...

Steve Perry: If this discussion is really about who runs the world in the political and financial sense. I will grant you that of the thousand or even ten thousand most powerful people most are almost certainly men. What I have been discussing is whether for the other 6.5 billion or so of us who are not in the positions of any real power whether one sex is really born more likely to live a happy satisfying life. My personal belief is that for this vast majority both sexes face disadvantages when it comes to achieving this goal and that the society imposed disadvantages while different are pretty equally balanced between the two sexes. I will say that the biological requirement that women carry the next generation for nine months is a disadvantage that men can't compete with.

Marty S.

Steve Perry said...

"If this discussion is really about who runs the world in the political and financial sense. I will grant you that of the thousand or even ten thousand most powerful people most are almost certainly men."

I thought that was what we started out discussing. And you can ramp those numbers up, I do believe.

I'm not saying that all wives through out all time have been mistreated by their husbands, either, only that legally and according to custom, they could have been treated as badly as any slave. Sometimes they were.

Still are. An eight-year-old girl forced into marriage? Into sex?
On the news *yesterday*, not a hundred years ago. Of course, "those people" are merely doing what their ancestors did for a thousand years.

Whatever imperative vis a vis testosterone and natural design -- men can die once they spawn, biologically-speaking -- that drives men to compete and kill each other, the laws and customs throughout history have aided and abetted it. Because they were made by men in power to keep that power to themselves.

I don't blame them for that. But I see it.

My house. My dog. My wife and children -- all my property -- has been the default position in most societies throughout most of history.

Show me I'm wrong.

Things are better. Women don't die as often in childbirth, the laws have changed. But even so, legal and reality don't always intersect. Black men have had the right to vote -- in theory -- since the 15th Amendment. In practice, the southerns states didn't allow it. It wasn't until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that the federal law had enough teeth to bite the Jim Crow laws.

It's interesting how people from one downtrodden group sometimes don't see a kinship with another group suffering under the same boot heel.

Kai Jones said...

Mr. Perry, I would be honored to buy you a drink.

Steve Perry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Perry said...

Kai --

If I don't see you before Orycon, look me up, I'd be pleased to accept.

Steven Barnes said...

"See the report of the eight-year-old divorced girl on the news yesterday? Forced to marry and have sex with a grown man? They didn't prosecute him for the rape."
Steve--did I in any way shape or form suggest that this is not hideous? I have never, ever denied a single thing said about the damage done to women--other than to ask that the damage done to men by the system both inhabit be looked at as well.
So multiple people can call me an ass, and I engage with it, rather than run away. If slave masters died to protect their slaves (rather than the institution) I'd agree with your comparison. But slaves lived SHORTER lives than their masters. My thought is that biologically, men actually are less important than women, and that this has been internalized by our societies to the point that there is a gigantic blind spot to it.
Virtually everyone criticizing me keeps claiming I'm discounting the experiences of women. I never said that any of the things women claim about their lives are not true--with the exception of the part that asks for a comparison with the lives of men. There, I have a perfect right to an opinion, as much as any woman. And my opinion is that if you don't factor in the elements of male mortality due to war and violence, you are missing part of the picture. Unless I'm missing something, people keep attacking the messenger, rather than really looking at what I'm saying.

Kai Jones said...

Where I believe you are making mistakes of communication or understanding:

1) If someone is in control, they modify the situation so that it is either even, or to their advantage.

They *try* to modify the situation so it is even or to their advantage. They may not be particularly good at it. You can have power and still mess it up.

2) If the situation is to their advantage, the disadvantaged group should have a diminished life expectancy, and a diminished perceived quality of life.

You've been arguing about the life expectancy; I don't see much about diminished perceived quality of life. I don't agree that advantage will automatically lead to longer life expectancy for the privileged group, because that may not be a goal of the people in power. Depends on their values; who was it chose fame over length of life, some Greek hero?

Third, you're measuring whether women are oppressed by how well men did. That's accepting the male norm and ignoring women's experience; that's making it about men, again.

Also, I'm curious: what do you think about the widely-given advice to white people in conversations about racism to shut up and listen?

Last, for now: when deciding whether racism/white privilege exists, who do you ask? Who gets to decide whether it exists, the accused oppressors or the accusing oppressed?

Anonymous said...

"And that being anything other than one of the men historically put you into a subservient position. That the weight of law and tradition has served to keep women in that three-steps-behind-her-husband position.

"That you can't seem to see either of these is intriguing."

It just seems like yet another case of "Most As are B." "That's not true because most Bs aren't A." That's not intrigue, that's iNtErNeT!!!1!! ;)

"Still are. An eight-year-old girl forced into marriage? Into sex?
On the news *yesterday*, not a hundred years ago. Of course, 'those people' are merely doing what their ancestors did for a thousand years."

...and too many people out there would, instead of listening to her say she didn't like it, assume she liked it because her parents' subsubculture (not to be confused with Yemen, or even just her extended family, as a whole!) raised her to expect it...

"Third, you're measuring whether women are oppressed by how well men did. That's accepting the male norm and ignoring women's experience;"

OTOH, calling it a male norm in the first place is also ignoring women's experiences.

Remember, not all of us women are the same!

For example, what about those of us who don't have a ton of friends and relatives who support us emotionally?

What about those of us who can't pick and choose from many male suitors?

What about those of us who do value earning a living in many more professions and trades than just the "pink collar" ones?

What about those of us who, in societies that tell "good girls" to save sex for marriage and encourage men to have nonmarital sex, would be deemed a vagina supply for men to fuck and dump outside marriage instead of trophies for them to marry and support?

Anonymous said...

"Wasn't the whole point of the women's movement that if women gained more freedom it would be better for everyone? Aren't you guys now arguing that no, that's not true, that actually things are better for men if they dominate? What the @#$$?"

If I said "10 is not only larger than 4, it's also larger than 6" last year and now say "6 is larger than 4," would your reaction still be "What the @#$$?"

Steve Perry said...

Okay, so I had a chance to talk to Barnes, and, as always, I am reminded that the written word is, at best, a poor form of communication. A lot of what he really believes simply isn't coming across here -- nor, I'm afraid, is it likely to. As good as he is with words on paper or a screen, they don't convey the same meaning you get with a conversation, or better still, a face-to-face meeting in which words, tone, gestures, expressions, and even pheromones come into play.

Posting on a blog about something as tricky and far-reaching as this concept of male and female, is, I observed, like trying to carve a delicate image on the head of a pin using a battle axe -- the tool is simply not fine enough for the task.

Since my use of language here won't be any better than his, there's no point in trying. Suffice it to say that I believe he is being honest and sincere and that his premise, which I don't think he's proven yet, is not as outrageous as it seems to come across in print. Not that I agree with it, mind you, but that it is a legitimate area for discussion.

He's not saying quite what i thought he was saying. And what he seems to be trying to say isn't coming across clearly.

It will remain to be seen if he can back off and reconsider his point and then recast it so that it might be better grasped. Meanwhile, I'll cut him some slack ...

suzanne said...

Steve Perry___

lovely last comment!
I know and love Steve
and I have been confused by what he's written here
and as I respect what you've had to say
(and you as a writer)
I'm willing to be a patient woman
about all this

for the nonce
I'll write only about current times
not all the damages of the past:

The patriarchy does terrible damage to men
no question about it
to my Mind

maybe it's that old
"Power corrupts" thing

it's men mainly killing men
in gang wars
and in nation based wars
(though that's changing somewhat
with women in the military)

the lesser (???)
violences of rape
and spousal abuse
(mainly men on women)
and the religious/societal
violences of economics,
denial of access to birth control
and abortions
or the making it difficult

and I'm not clear on the stats
about homelessness
whether there are more homeless men
than women (And children)

clearly there's more than enough awfulness to go arund
for all

geoof from lifewriting days
used to tell me
he thought a matriarchal society
would have the same ills

I dunjno
none of use do

but what I favor
is women AND men running things
and runing them vastly differently
then things have been run

I think the more rewarding diswcussion
would be
how might we structure an equitable society and culture
that uses the strengths of BTH
men and women
(and
no matter what their sexual persuasion)




as far as violence goes though
is death worse than rape

Anonymous said...

BTW, I don't think Lion's Blood could have been written by someone who's not any sort of feminist, and that goes double for Zulu Heart! :) I'd say I can't wait for Bronze Nile (is the title a reference to the Brown Nile?) because I think it'll be another great book, but I don't want to pressure for a rush job.

Anonymous said...

Someone raised the issue of sex. So I ask in a male dominated society, under a constitution that assures through the right of privacy a woman's right to do with her body what she wishes how come prostitution is illegal and a powerful governor elected with 70% of the vote can be forced to resign because he employed a prostitute.

Marty S

Kai Jones said...

Marty: in a male dominated society

Straw man. A male dominated and controlled society doesn't imply or necessitate a complete absence of virtue, morality, and ethics, and on behalf of my father, my brothers, my husband, my sons and my friends I resent you implying that it would.

Kai Jones said...

I'm always amused when, in discussions of feminism and the patriarchy, it's the men who insist they're all evil, so it couldn't possibly be that they're in charge--because if they were, the world would be a much worse place.

suzanne said...

Someone raised the issue of sex. So I ask in a male dominated society, under a constitution that assures through the right of privacy a woman's right to do with her body what she wishes how come prostitution is illegal and a powerful governor elected with 70% of the vote can be forced to resign because he employed a prostitute.

frankly Marty I think prostitution
should be legal
the reason it isn't has to do
with so-called "morality"
and the prudish nature of so very many Americans

but sauce for the goose as well as the gander
I'd think males selling their bodies
if they want to
ought also to be legal

some people see their bodies
as the only marketable commodity they have
whether for sex
or strip clubs
or high fashion magazines

and you can't deny the illegal prostitution business
is most def
highly patriarchal

I think Spitzer's fall
was more about hypocrisy
and perhaps the use of government
funds was more the cause of his downfall
than the sex acts themselves

many women
(and men)
go into prostitution
to support drug habits
yet another area where
illegality does more damage
than legality would

Anonymous said...

I my mind here are two questions under discussion here. First is our society male dominated and second does this mean that males either today or in the past are treated better by society. With respect to first if the measure of male dominance is wealth and political position then clearly we have a male dominated society, but if you look at the structure of a society and that includes its laws and morality I think women and their views have had as strong an influence as men, if more indirect. We have laws that say if a man eighteen years or older has consensual sex with a sixteen year old woman this is statutory rape. One person could argue this a law which is biased against men. A feminist might say either that it is patronizing toward women because it treats them as too brainless to decide what they want to do with their bodies, or they might simply say its a good law, but should apply to older women and young men. Everybody sees things through their own eyes. Feminists are as guilty of this as those of us who don't agree with them on many issues.

Marty S

Anonymous said...

"We have laws that say if a man eighteen years or older has consensual sex with a sixteen year old woman this is statutory rape."

How many jurisdictions which deem 16 year old girls "women" have laws like this instead of letting their families marry them off to older men?

"One person could argue this a law which is biased against men. A feminist might say either that it is patronizing toward women because it treats them as too brainless to decide what they want to do with their bodies, or they might simply say its a good law, but should apply to older women and young men."

...or not call 16-year-olds adults in the first place and say the law should also apply to older women and boys the way it applies to older men and girls.

Steve Perry said...

Marty:

The age difference is what matters in a lot of places, and two years is the cut-off, vis statutory rape.

Fifteen-year-old girl and a sixteen-year-old boy? Nope, not here.

A twenty-year-old man and a sixteen-year-old girl, that's considered statutory rape in my home state.

Likewise, a twenty-year-old woman and a sixteen-year-old boy is equally rape. And while there aren't as many complaints in that direction, there are prosecutions of female teachers who sleep with underage male students.

Protecting the children is the not same as regulating the adults.

Aside from which, most non-violent rape laws are recent enactments, relatively speaking, and through most of history in most of the world, as soon as women began to menstruate, they became fair game. In some societies, notably Middle Eastern ones, marriage of pre-teen girls to older men is common.

You need a better example ...

Kai Jones said...

Marty: We have laws that say if a man eighteen years or older has consensual sex with a sixteen year old woman this is statutory rape. One person could argue this a law which is biased against men.

Or a person could argue that it's based on the idea that a 16-year-old woman is still the property of her father, so does not have autonomy to consent, so the rapist is violating the rights of her father.

That's still patriarchy, it just puts tension between the rights of two different sets of men.

Anonymous said...

[url=http://www.officialburberryoutlett.com][b]burberry scarves[/url] pulzfchptgwp burberry uk
[url=http://www.burberrypascherlondon.com][b]http://www.burberrypascherlondon.com[/url] bbbqerfdoqqs echarpe burberry
[url=http://www.burberryscarfoffsale.com][b]burberry sale[/url] rlxnktxtomhh burberry scarf
[url=http://www.basketisabelmarantspascher.com][b]isaben marant[/url] llogooxknlsl isabel marant sneakers
[url=http://www.officielsacvanessabruno.com][b]sac vanessa bruno pas cher[/url] pydudqljlpma sac vanessa bruno
[url=http://www.saclongchamppascherrparis.com][b]sac longchamp pas cher[/url] nddbvbogpbrc sac longchamp pas cher
[url=http://www.2013saclancel.com][b]sac lancel premier flirt[/url] fxzvyxdbxdhy http://www.2013saclancel.com
[url=http://www.officielsaclancelfr.com][b]sac lancel[/url] uvatyhrjbcqn sac lancel

Anonymous said...

What's Happening i'm neω to thіs, I stumbled upon
this I've discovered It positively useful and it has helped me out loads. I am hoping to give a contribution & aid other users like its helped me. Great job.

Take a look at my homepage - Same Day Payday Loans