Why Don’t Men Care About Sexism?

By: hawkgrrrl
January 4, 2011

A few weeks ago, I did a couple of posts on Sexism.  One thing that the ensuing discussion made me think about is why more men don’t care about feminism, which reminds me of a joke they did on Cheers years ago.  Rebecca asks Sam why “more men” don’t send flowers.  Airheaded Sam replies, ”Mormons can’t send flowers?  I didn’t know that.  Maybe it’s against their religion.”  Asking why more men don’t care about feminism actually yields similar answers to why (some) Mormons don’t care about feminism.

In no particular order, here are the reasons I think (some) men (and some Mormons) don’t care about feminism:

  1. Angry feminists.  Women who are casualties of sexism flock to the cause, and some of those women have a strong distrust of men as a result of their mistreatment.  While it’s clear that these women have a stake in feminist outcomes, they often make it an unwelcoming movement for men and even for women who have not been so mistreated or cannot match their outrage.
  2. Unexamined privilege.  The most obvious reason for men to not care about sexism is that they benefit from it, or IOW, they are not directly harmed in ways they recognize by disenfranchizing women.  At times, you can hear these same men whose silence was so deafening in championing the cause of women crying out when programs like affirmative action seek to equalize opportunity.  Ah, the cry of the disenfranchized white male!
  3. Complexity.  Sexism isn’t a simple issue with a clearcut solution.  There are many causes, most of them not created in our current generation, and the solutions may be difficult.  For example, if women are paid less, is it because they are in undervalued jobs – or are some jobs are undervalued because women have traditionally done them (and accepted less pay)?
  4. Fragmented cause.  Within the feminist movement, there are many schools of thought, and there is some infighting between them.  Depending on the kind of feminist you are, you could be viewed as a part of the problem by other feminist schools.
  5. Women who don’t care.  Men who are not interested in feminism often like to view women as content without it.  This is the most common reason I see in the church that men don’t care about sexism; because most women don’t question it or recognize it when they see it.  Or perhaps it is like pornography:  we all “know it when we see it,” but we all see it differently.  And in fairness, some feminists do seem at war with the women whose rights they are out to protect if they dislike their choices.
  6. Outcomes unclear.  There is a lack of clarity in what the “end-game” is with feminism.  When can we declare equality?  When do we re-enter the Garden of Eden, hand in hand?  When does this war end?
  7. It won’t get them laid.  This is the secret reason I believe most men don’t care about feminism.  It is unlikely to get them laid.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m sure they care about women being sex-positive and it being okay for women to express sexual desire.  It’s just that talking angrily about how society has disadvantaged women is a bit of a wet blanket.  And we’ve all heard the misogynistic secret of how to get women to like you:  subtly undermine their self-confidence.  Unfortunately, it seems to work.

When applied generally to why many Mormons don’t care about feminism, these seem to be the most common from the above list:  1 – feminism got a bad name in the 70s when it was a cutting-edge movement with a lot of anger fueling it, and the church made a strong stance against it at that time; 2 - given that the church calls itself a “patriarchy” without a hint of irony, unexamined privilege seems a given; 3, 4 and 6 - because this is not a “core issue” for the church, I think its complexity makes it something better dealt with by society than the church directly.  As we know, where society goes, the church will eventually follow; 5 – this is a major problem in the church, women who don’t care about sexism, even when they have daughters; 7 – oddly enough, I think this is an underlying motivation for why the church doesn’t care that much about sexism:  equality reduces family size; BICs boost our ranks far more than converts.

There are those who would say I’m not a feminist, and I have often considered myself as a post-feminist, someone who benefits from the actions of feminists who preceded me, but who can largely go forward and live an equal life; I generally don’t feel that my sex is a disadvantage to me.  For me, the items on the list above that make me shy away from the feminist label are 1 – angry feminists:  I’m angry about what I’m angry about, but I’m not always angry about what they’re angry about; 2 – my own unexamined privilege: well, I’m examining it, but I still have it; 4 – fragmented cause:  I don’t like the infighting, and I’m not sure where I fit in or if I do; 6 – outcomes unclear:  I’m probably unwilling to go to war over it anyway, but I’d like to know what the end game looks like.  On the list above, what DOES stir me in the cause of feminism is #3 – I love to explore and unbox the complexity, and #5 – I dislike the complacency or ignorance some exhibit about sexism.  I’d rather get the issues out on the table in dialogue and debate, civil dialogue and debate.

So, what do you think?  If you are a man, does one (or more) of these reasons describe why you don’t care about feminism?  Do you care about it?  If you are a woman, how do you feel about it?  Do you distinguish between being against sexism and being for feminism?  Discuss.

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107 Responses to Why Don’t Men Care About Sexism?

  1. Henry on January 4, 2011 at 6:03 AM

    An angry feminist was ranting about why engineering school did not have more women. A man spoke up and said he agreed with her and that all schools, including nursing school and dental hygeine, should be a strict 50/50 male female quota. The feminist did not say a word.
    Feminists don’t want equality, they want it all.

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  2. Bored in Vernal on January 4, 2011 at 6:18 AM

    Hawkgrrrl, great post. Your #1 really made me think. I’m often an angry feminist — and even worse, an angry Mormon feminist. It certainly doesn’t help the cause, it alienates people, and it gets me frustrated and even more angry. The conversations I get into about Mormonism and feminism are so informed by my (bad) experiences, and so triggering that I find it difficult to have a dispassionate and constructive discussion about it. Even when I’m trying! Any suggestions?

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  3. Joseph Smidt on January 4, 2011 at 6:42 AM

    I think one reason men don’t distance themselves from feminism is that often nothing we can say or do about the subject will get us anything but in trouble. It’s like there are no statements we can make without evoking someone’s wrath.

    For example, I’ve been told by *several* male bloggers to avoid the MFH blog when they are on a soapbox because no matter what I say someone will get angry or their feelings hurt.

    So, many of us males just try to avoid touching feminism with a 12 foot pole and go one trying to treat both sexes as co-equals to as great of an extent we can.

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  4. Joseph Smidt on January 4, 2011 at 6:43 AM

    I meant “do distance themselves” above.

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  5. Jeff Spector on January 4, 2011 at 7:49 AM

    A lot of times it is no longer about equality and all about control.

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  6. Paul on January 4, 2011 at 7:50 AM

    It has been denounced by the pulput and hasn’t been undenounced. So people are not going to latch on to that label, even if they support the idea of fairness.

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  7. Melanny Cowley on January 4, 2011 at 8:30 AM

    This is an excellent evaluation of the issue and extremely timely for me personally. Thank you.

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  8. BrianJ on January 4, 2011 at 8:42 AM

    “Men who are not interested in feminism often like to view women as content without it. This is the most common reason I see in the church that men don’t care about sexism….”

    “5 – this is a major problem in the church, women who don’t care about sexism, even when they have daughters”

    It seems that you conflate—or equate?—”feminism” with “anti-sexism.” That kind of approach is one of the reasons that I, a man, would often be counted as one who does not care about feminism—because you (or others) define feminism very differently than I do. In fact, I used to say that I was I feminist until I realized how extreme that word often is and decided I’d stop bothering to fit the label. (See also points #, 3, 4, and 6.) Thus, while I would proudly wear the “anti-sexist” label, I no longer want any part of the “feminist” badge.

    Also, another point to consider—though it may be encompassed by #4 and 6. I have a friend, an avowed feminist, who said that she sees women who choose to be stay-at-home moms as part of the problem; they are promoting stereotypes and inequalities rather than fulfilling their duty to take up feminist causes such as full-time work, etc. I asked, “But isn’t feminism about empowering women to be able to make the choices they want?” My friend would have none of it; sahm’s were anti-feminists. With so many Mormon women (and men) viewing sahm as a valuable, honorable choice, I can see why they feel “chased away from” feminism.

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  9. Zeke on January 4, 2011 at 8:46 AM

    [expletive deleted]. Anger on the part of people oppressed by an unjust system is NEVER the reason the oppressors don’t care about. Angry slaves weren’t/aren’t the reason slave holders from antiquity to to today haven’t cared about the injustice inherent in slavery. Angry black people weren’t/aren’t why white racists haven’t cared about racial injustice.

    The oppressors’ distaste for the anger of those they’re oppressing isn’t a reason for their lack of concern, but an expression of it.

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  10. BrianJ on January 4, 2011 at 8:54 AM

    With a long original post and 8 comments, I’m trying to figure out which Zeke views as “[expletive deleted]“

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  11. james on January 4, 2011 at 9:59 AM

    I love the post. I appreciate that qualifications of “some” and “most” and “many” because I assure not ALL men in or around this faith are sexist or lack caring and understanding of the issue. :) As a father of four girls – I this is of utmost importance for me.

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  12. hawkgrrrl on January 4, 2011 at 10:01 AM

    BiV #2 – I don’t have any easy answers to this. I think that the only way to make feminism less angry and more productive (not that anger isn’t sometimes productive, but it eliminates some supporters) is to focus on two of the other items above more: #3 – acknowledge and focus on the complexity of the problem (avoid oversimplification) & #6 identify clear outcomes & what will be “enough” progress or at least milestones. The problem I see is still #4, though – it’s a fragmented cause. What is enough to me is not enough to you and is too much for someone else.

    In the end I think we have to abandon the feminist label entirely and only talk about anti-sexism or equality. Comments like Zeke #9 are why I think so. Have some men been oppressors? Sure. But comment #9 implies that men are oppressors because the system created by our predecessors is unjust; yet, most men inherited this system along with the rest of us. It may be less unjust to them or even give them privilege, but most of them didn’t create the system we now have. To call current living men, most of whom are opposed to sexism, oppressors – that’s also an injustice. I think it unlikely that feminism will ever win converts among open sexists, but I rarely encounter people who express sexism freely in today’s world.

    As Jeff points out, feminism has been (among some factions) more about control than equality. That’s problematic because most contemporary men didn’t create or contribute to or perpetuate our sexist world. Equality shouldn’t entail control by one sex over the other. Those who’ve been mistreated, though, do need to regain control. But when feminism is about control it ceases to be a bridge to equality and becomes an extension of personal therapy. I don’t begrudge anyone the need to heal. It just makes the feminist movement irrelevant to those who don’t. Maybe feminism should be an activist form of group therapy for women who’ve been abused. That’s OK, too. But it reduces how many can participate under that label.

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  13. Paul on January 4, 2011 at 10:30 AM

    #3 JS — I agree. Given the complexity of views within the “movement”, it’s a safe bet that whatever I say will be wrong (it will miss the point or be condescending or be paternalistic or insufficient or something).

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  14. BrianJ on January 4, 2011 at 10:34 AM

    @Paul, 13: I find your comment to be condescending, insufficient, and totally missing the point.

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  15. brjones on January 4, 2011 at 10:44 AM

    Hawk, you left out the best line of the Cheers exchange. Sam says: “I know they can’t dance.”

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  16. diane on January 4, 2011 at 10:45 AM

    men don’t care about sexism unless it directly relates to them.(i.e) they don’t get a job because an equally qualified woman got it. But when the woman who is equally qualified gets the job. They(the woman) are likely to make 75 cents less per hour than a man.

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  17. brjones on January 4, 2011 at 11:02 AM

    To put it simply, I think feminism or anti-sexism, or whatever term you want to give to the notion of equality of the sexes, is flatly incompatible with mormon doctrine. You have to engage in some pretty extreme mental gymnastics to arrive at a point where you believe there exists, or even the potential exists, for equality of the sexes in the mormon religion. You would have to define equality in a very unique and untraditional way. The unavoidable fact is that according to mormon doctrine, if a family has the means, a woman has NO choice as to her role in the family or the world. She is mandated to not work outside the home and to be the primary caregiver to the children. This doesn’t even speak to the issue of whether a woman in the church has the option to not have children as a matter of choice. According to current doctrine, women do not and will never hold the priesthood, the authority by which virtually every meaningful decision is made at the general, local and family level in the church. Literally every single decision made by a woman in the church is subject to override by a man in a position of authority over her, including in her role as wife and mother. Is there any circumstance in the church (besides the primary) where a woman holds a position of meaningful authority over a man?

    Hawkgrrrl had it right in the OP. The church is an unapologetic patriarchy. To pretend otherwise is just silly. The church has no interest in equality of the sexes, no matter how you define it. There is no place for such ideas in the mormon church.

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  18. Paul on January 4, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    In an effort to prove the point I made in #13 (and which BrianJ so carefully analyzed in #14)…

    #16 diane, pardon me, but your comment is offensive to me. Your analysis is an overgeneralization that is not universally true. It certainly is not true for me, nor in the company in which I work.

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  19. hawkgrrrl on January 4, 2011 at 11:06 AM

    Diane – I think it’s important to acknowledge the complexity behind the wage gap question as well. The 75 cent quote is only relevant when you consider female pay in general vs. male pay without normalizing for like positions. In like positions, that gap is narrowing significantly, and stood at 92 cents on the dollar as of a year ago according to an article in Time. In fact, in many major US cities, women now actually earn more than men in like positions. So the 75 cent quote (which moved up to 77 cents in 2006) also indicates that jobs women choose to do are lower paying jobs or that women choose to work fewer hours, restricting their choices. Another facet of the problem is changing customer biases. All this adds up to a more tricky issue (and questionable cause) than simple discrimination.

    But I do agree that people are unlikely to care about something until/unless it affects them (my #2 reason above).

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  20. brjones on January 4, 2011 at 11:15 AM

    #16 – I don’t think this is completely fair, Diane. A lot of men wouldn’t be upset about an equally qualified woman getting a job instead of them. They would, however, be upset about a woman with inferior qualifications getting a job simply by virtue of the fact that she is a woman. I don’t think that’s totally unreasonable. That said, I don’t know what the answer is to the problem. I understand the logic behind affirmative action, quotas, etc., although they create their own problems.

    I think I actually care a lot about sexism. I have a wife and 3 daughters and the thought of any of them being discriminated against makes me very angry. There is a big difference between a man caring about sexism and a woman caring about sexism, though. For one thing a man is never going to be directly, personally affected in the negative by traditional sexism. I am distressed by sexism, just as I am distressed by racism and other forms of discrimination. But to the extent that such things don’t directly affect me on a daily basis, I’m going to naturally expend less energy thinking about such things than will someone who is confronted by them in their daily life. This is especially true for those of us who are in the stage of our lives where we are working for a living, raising children, etc. It’s hard to make time for any extras, even something that is extremely worthwhile. This speaks somewhat to the idea of philanthropy. I don’t feel like I have much ability to affect the broader issue of sexism outside of my small personal sphere of influence, but I celebrate every victory won by those with the means to make a more meaningful difference. In other words, I’m rooting hard for the real players, even though I’m not in the game.

    I think the biggest difference I can make is to teach my daughters and son a better way to think and behave. Ultimately these inequalities are only going to be resolved by future generations who just believe in a different way of thinking and acting.

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  21. hawkgrrrl on January 4, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    brjones – I can’t really agree with your stark view of Mormon doctrine for a couple of reasons (regardless of how individuals may commonly interpret things): 1) the PoF does not explicitly state that all women must be a SAHM and does allow for individual variation, 2) birth control is not prohibited and couples are told to make those decisions together prayerfully, 3) priesthood “power” is such a nebulous phrase subject to interpretation – if you simply mean “authority,” that’s the current case, for sure, but there’s no doctrine prohibiting that from ever changing if there was a revelation to change it.

    So while I see it as problematic that the church uses the term “patriarchy” in this day and age unironically, I don’t necessarily think that’s intentional. I think it’s used unironically because it hasn’t been examined that closely. The church is very conservative, and as such is slow to question assumptions. But I also feel that as society goes, so goes the membership of the church, just a little later.

    There are also aspects to the church that are less sexist than other churches or society at large: 1) I see a lot of parenting equality in how the PoF is written, especially if you just read the admonition to the men, 2) I see far more men in the church who change diapers and spend lots of quality time with their families and kids than not, 3) that we even acknowledge (although not very openly any more) a female deity, co-equal with God is promising from a doctrinal standpoint, and 4) without going into detail, there is a lot of equality inherent in the temple ceremony. At minimum, we would say that both together are necessary for everything; a man cannot really do anything without a woman, nor vice-versa.

    One scenario I was contemplating that I think would be interesting is a man who is a bishop having his female boss in the congregation. Not sure if it’s ever happened, but there’s no reason it couldn’t. And it shouldn’t be an issue unless there is unrighteous dominion by one or the other of them.

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  22. Thomas on January 4, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    ” For example, if women are paid less, is it because they are in undervalued jobs – or are some jobs are undervalued because women have traditionally done them (and accepted less pay)?”

    What does “undervalued jobs” mean?

    I recognize that markets are not always efficient, and often become irrational, but in the aggregate, over the long term, people are paid what the market will bear. A schoolteacher is paid less than an engineer, because it is easier to find a sufficient hiring pool of people reasonably capable of teaching, than it is to find the same pool of engineers.

    (If anybody doubts this, just listen to the teachers’ advocates, who will say that it’s vanishingly rare to find a truly bad teacher.)

    In the legal profession, at least on the associate level in larger firms, salary has traditionally been one-size-fits-all. A woman makes just as much as a man. Things change at the partner level, but I’m not convinced that sexism has anything to do with it. Women who are capable of being as single-minded [anatomical reference deleted -- let's just say, "tibias"] as a particularly type of man, become high-powered partners; those women (and men!) who want to have a reasonably balanced life, don’t, at least not as often.

    My vicarious experience — derived from my brother’s experience in academia — is that academic institutions will pounce on any woman with even the slightest degree of competence, if she ventures into any of the scientific fields traditionally dominated by nerdy men.

    “Ah, the cry of the disenfranchized white male!” indeed. Like it or not, it happens. The fact that the upper echelons of various careers are male-heavy, matters not at all to someone who finds himself being positively shut out of those spheres, in order to fulfill someone’s conception of collective equity.

    (I note that the institutional leaders who institute affirmative-action policies never volunteer to give up their jobs to increase equity. As Patton would say, no [illegitimate child] ever won the fight for justice by dying for his cause. He did it by making the other poor dumb [illegitimate child] die for the cause.)

    I don’t give a flying rip what the gender breakdown of a profession is. I care that each individual person receives justice. And when a person is judged on any other criteria than merit, there is injustice, and there’s going to be a fight if anyone tries to defend it.

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  23. Thomas on January 4, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    I would add that I have yet to be convinced that an honestly competent woman, who for whatever reason prefers not to get sidetracked into motherhood or other distractions (sounds awful, but absolutely true), will earn significantly less than a man. I have seen evidence that indicates that once certain choices are acounted for, the male-female “pay gap” shrinks nearly to insignificance.

    Yet the default feminist setting (like the default race-obsessed setting) is that invidious discrimination is the chief cause of differences in outcomes.

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  24. BrianJ on January 4, 2011 at 12:52 PM

    “According to current doctrine, women do not and will never hold the priesthood, the authority by which virtually every meaningful decision is made at the general, local and family level in the church. Literally every single decision made by a woman in the church is subject to override by a man in a position of authority over her, including in her role as wife and mother.”

    A point of clarification:

    The PoF doesn’t suggest that presiding in the home comes by virtue of holding the priesthood, but rather by virtue of being male. Or, when there is no father, by virtue of being the mother.

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  25. BrianJ on January 4, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    @Thomas, 23: “…motherhood or other distractions (sounds awful, but absolutely true), will earn significantly less than a man. I have seen evidence that indicates that once certain choices are acounted for, the male-female “pay gap” shrinks nearly to insignificance.”

    You realize that you’ve essentially restated the argument/complaint against the pay gap, right?

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  26. Thomas on January 4, 2011 at 12:58 PM

    “Do you distinguish between being against sexism and being for feminism?”

    Of course. And the same principle governs why I am against sexism, and against “feminism.” Anti-sexism and feminism are not necessarily the same.

    That principle is basic justice. It is unjust both to discriminate against someone, or favor someone, based on an immutable characteristic when that characteristic has no effect on the productivity of that person, or any other factor bearing on our relations with that person.

    The very word “feminist” carries with it a sense of favoring the feminine — as various strains of “hard” feminism, which might better be described as “feminine supremacism,” expressly do.

    A person should be neither feminist nor masculinist, but humanist. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

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  27. Thomas on January 4, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    “You realize that you’ve essentially restated the argument/complaint against the pay gap, right?”

    I’ve heard that “argument/complaint” phrased in various ways.

    Your way (which I’m familiar with) is that (correct me if I’m wrong) that social culture indirectly causes the pay gap, by forcing, or encouraging, women into lifestyle choices that result in fewer of them reaching positions of power.

    I recall Susan Estrich bemoaning how women’s embrace of motherhood had the side effect of making “pariahs” out of women who preferred to seek for power.

    Well, take it up with Mother Nature — the same mean old crone who ensured I’d never play in the NBA. I don’t see a “pay gap” because apples are treated differently than oranges. If anything, the real pay gap would be if an apple who put less into an enterprise, was paid the same as an orange who (even for reasons related to his orangeness) was inclined to put in more.

    My observation is simply that a woman who chooses to play a particular game, is not noticeably disadvantaged vis-a-vis a man who chooses to play that same game.

    Frankly, I’m inclined to look sideways at pretty much everybody who strives for too much power or wealth, but as long as it doesn’t affect me, that’s between them and God. Not my business.

    This may all be becoming moot anyway. The recent recession has been far harder on men than on women, in that the economic sectors where pay tends to be more or less correlated with input, have taken a beating, whereas the sectors where that is less true (government service, finance) are still riding high.

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  28. Martin on January 4, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    I’ve a wife and four daughters, and I’d hate to see them affected by sexism. My family is fairly Mormon-stereotypical, and my wife is a SAHM, but it’s ridiculous when I have to run interference because a salesperson or contractor treats my wife differently than he does me, especially when my wife clearly knows what she’s talking about and I don’t.

    I’m with 1). While I tend to agree with most feminists about most things, I’m frankly scared of them. Every time I’ve become comfortable with a self-declared feminist, I’ve ended up either saying something she misconstrues or offending her by trying to be balanced when the only acceptable response is outrage. Consequently, they focus their wrath on me and expect me to act the chastened friend afterwards.

    As Ms. Jack said somewhere recently, (I’m paraphrasing) “feminism is my hammer, and (unfortunately) everything’s a nail”. I’m tired of being the nail. Their cause is often just, but they express enough outrage that mine just isn’t necessary.

    By the way, I fully expect somebody to say I wouldn’t be the nail so often if I weren’t such a sexist jerk myself, which will only illustrate my point. Another quick conviction based on cursory evidence.

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  29. Jeff Spector on January 4, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    The issue with real hard core feminism is the same as anything that is in the extreme. Anytime you don’t agree, or don’t agree hard enough, you are a villain. Track record notwithstanding.

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  30. BrianJ on January 4, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    Thomas: My point was that in #23 you cite motherhood as QED for the pay gap—as though once one considers the demands of motherhood then one will realize there really is no such thing as a pay gap. Yet, motherhood is precisely what many factor in to their argument/complaint against the pay gap; they are not ignorant of or overlooking it, as your comment implied.

    Furthermore, your “take it up with Mother Nature” and comparison to height disadvantage in the NBA misses the point of their argument.

    And to be clear, it’s not my way of phrasing the question; it’s not a fight I’ve taken up, so I don’t have a “way.” I brought it up because I think that if you’re going to negate their concerns, then you should actually address their argument (whoever they are).

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  31. Jeff Spector on January 4, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    BTW, I totally agree with Thomas. Which I suppose shows just how sexist we men can be…… :)

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  32. Will on January 4, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    “It won’t get them laid”

    What else matters?

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  33. brjones on January 4, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    #21 – I don’t buy it, Hawk.

    First of all, although the PoF doesn’t explicitly say that women should all be SAHMs, it does explicitly say that men are responsible for the security and provision of “temporal” needs and women are responsible for the primary raising and nurturing of the children. I’m not really sure how you would interpret this other than: men work and women raise the children. Does this mean mormon women are forbidden from working outside the home? No. But It’s been said countless times over the pulpit at conference, by no less than the prophet himself, that if a mother CAN stay at home, she SHOULD stay at home. I think in the pecking order of authority, such pronouncements trump the PoF. And I’ve never once heard a general authority say that if a woman WANTS to work out of the home, she should do it. In fact I think the opposite has been made abundantly clear. Unless it’s necessary, it should be avoided. In any event, we all know which way the wind blows. Even if you want to parse words to argue that church “doctrine” doesn’t actually say it, everyone knows the reality of the situation in the church.

    And yes, I agree wholeheartedly with you about men doing more in mormon culture than in many other cultures. The problem I have with this logic is that the things you mentioned were all examples of men “helping out” with the “women’s” work. There’s no questioning the church’s focus on the family. And I think it’s very laudable that it genuinely expects its men to participate in the functioning of the home and family. But do you have any examples of how women in the church are encouraged to take more part in traditional male activities? No, because the church doesn’t encourage women to encroach on the activities and privileges that have been, and continue to be, extended to men in the church. So while I think it’s notable, I personally don’t think it carries much real weight in the debate about gender equality. If it had bearing on real equality, there would be a sense of reciprocity.

    With respect to the temple, I think you’re completely off base. The but-for reasoning you’re forced to employ to reach the conclusion that because a man can’t get to heaven without his wife they’re equal, is highly flawed, in my opinion. To use an admittedly extreme analogy, the man who sexually dominates his wife against her will can’t achieve the kid of sexual release he’s looking for without her, but that hardly makes her an equal in their “partnership.” Besides, anything you can point to in the temple ceremony that speaks of equality of the sexes is negated by the statement “submit to your husband.” I don’t think that requires any additional explication.

    I agree with you about the social evolution of the church. I think the church evolves socially right along the same lines that society at large does, just much, much slower. The problem is, I think the reason that’s so is because the church isn’t making such evolutionary advances at the behest of any divine inspiration, but rather as generations of leaders turn over and societal attitudes within the church progress naturally. That’s somewhat of a separate argument, though. Even if I concede that it’s doctrinally POSSIBLE that the church could someday make advances in gender equality such as women holding the priesthood, that has no bearing on the fact that this is doctrinally not the case today. The fact that the church has shown a willingness to change doctrines that have become outdated is not, in my opinion, a mark in the church’s favor as it relates to gender equality. I’m not going to give the church credit for something like giving women equal authority with men until they actually do it.

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  34. Bored in Vernal on January 4, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    Thank you, BrianJ.

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  35. Thomas on January 4, 2011 at 1:54 PM

    “Furthermore, your “take it up with Mother Nature” and comparison to height disadvantage in the NBA misses the point of their argument.”

    Then enlighten me.

    To my way of thinking, it’s Mother Nature’s fault that motherhood tends to appeal more to people who are, well, capable of becoming mothers. (Set aside the occasional sex-changed guy adopting a child to “mother,” that sort of thing’s lost in the statistical noise.)

    As much as Lawrence Summers got into trouble for this, men and women are, ON AVERAGE, different in many ways. This does not mean that a woman cannot be just as much a math geek as a man (I married one of the few female members of the Orange County Astronomers club, and the only genuinely hot one, at whom all the paunchy male nerds constantly gawked); it just means that on average, you shouldn’t be surprised if you see fewer of them around.

    So again ON AVERAGE, you will probably see more women “embracing motherhood” (horrifying Ms. Estrich), or embracing not being a Big Swinging…Jerk, which appears to be the key to success in so many Power trajectories, than males do. And it’s not entirely clear that this results from “social constructs” or “false consciousness” or any of the other folk-Marxian tripe that’s infected so much of discourse. We’ve had a great deal of success pushing Nature around, over the past two centuries, but there comes a point where that sort of thing yields diminishing returns — or where we have to go to immoral lengths to get around it.

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  36. Thomas on January 4, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    Jeff — heh!

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  37. brjones on January 4, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    #24 – BrianJ, whether by virtue of priesthood authority or simply being male, it doesn’t change my point that women in the church are subject to the override of a man. And with respect to a woman’s role in the home, for temple marriages this is explicitly so.

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  38. brjones on January 4, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    #35 – I realize this comment wasn’t directed at me, but I wanted to clarify that I don’t really disagree with what Thomas is saying here. I would never argue that men and women aren’t naturally inclined to certain traits and behaviors. I would just argue that if a person wants to do something other than the traditionally defined activity, they should be allowed and encouraged to do so. I would disagree that the church shares this position.

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  39. Paul on January 4, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    “I would just argue that if a person wants to do something other than the traditionally defined activity, they should be allowed and encouraged to do so. I would disagree that the church shares this position.”

    Whether the church shares this position or not, it’s clear, especially outside the Mormon corridor, that it’s been happening for years. Yes there are many traditional family situations, but there are increasingly more less traditional ones, as well. So while the church may not encourage it, it certainly tolerates it. Those women who choose to follow a non-motherhood path (or for whatever reason cannot follow that path) are not penalized; they may also receive all the ordinances of the gospel and they may make all the requisite covenants to return to Father in Heaven.

    So whatever social practices we may have, I would suggest the doctrine allows for a range of choices.

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  40. BrianJ on January 4, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    @brjones, 37: I wasn’t trying to negate your point. As stated in my comment, I was “clarifying” it. That clarification can be essential, depending on where one takes your argument.

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  41. brjones on January 4, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    #40 I get you, BrianJ. Thanks for the (further) clarification.

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  42. matt z. on January 4, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    @thomas, 23: just because you haven’t met an”honestly competent woman, who for whatever reason prefers not to get sidetracked into motherhood or other distractions (sounds awful, but absolutely true), [who] earn[s] significantly less than a man” doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. I know a number of women in my supposedly-enlightened profession of academia who have no children, more and better-respected publications, and more service than many of their male counterparts, and nevertheless make tens of thousands of dollars a year less than the men in their department. This discrimination is by no means unusual.

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  43. brjones on January 4, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    #39 – I agree with this, Paul. I wouldn’t argue that the church is out on the warpath looking to stamp out all vestiges of non-traditional behavior. But in the context of the question of gender equality in the church, I think it’s important to note that the church explicitly discourages such behaviors.

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  44. Thomas on January 4, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    Matt Z, I also know a male geologist who has sterling credentials, who time and again has been passed over for tenure-track positions, which nearly without exception went to the one female candidate in the running.

    “I know a number of women in my supposedly-enlightened profession of academia who have no children, more and better-respected publications, and more service than many of their male counterparts, and nevertheless make tens of thousands of dollars a year less than the men in their department.”

    Tens of thousands? What department is that, where the compensation is rich enough for there to be *room* for “tens of thousands” of salary difference, without paying the lower-paid professor like a checkout clerk? Are we truly talking apples to apples here — tenure-track to tenure-track — and not mixing tenured and adjuncts? (Speaking of outrageous discrimination by “enlightened” people who’ve got theirs!)

    If the facts are as you suggest, I would love to go Benedict Arnold and take the plaintiff’s side in that discrimination lawsuit.

    One other alternative, is that the overpaid male colleague is a shameless self-promoter like Erwin Chemerinsky, with a manufactured reputation out of all proportion to his talent.

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  45. Jacob J on January 4, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    Isms in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon: “I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.” Good point there.

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  46. matt z. on January 4, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    @thomas (44): i agree that departments tend to hire women over men for tenure-track positions, initially. however, this bias reverses itself when it comes to granting tenure, as demonstrated by numerous studies.

    as the numbers in in this report (http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/04/12/salaries) demonstrate, even in the humanities, a full professor at many schools (byu may not be one of those) makes enough for there to be a compensatory gap of $20,000/year without reducing the lower-paid employee to the status of an adjunct.

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  47. Jacob J on January 4, 2011 at 3:55 PM

    hawkgrrrl, nice post, love the comic.

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  48. Jeff Spector on January 4, 2011 at 4:00 PM

    Paul #39,

    “So while the church may not encourage it, it certainly tolerates it. Those women who choose to follow a non-motherhood path (or for whatever reason cannot follow that path) are not penalized; ”

    And the Church News and Mormon Times writes and brags about LDS Women in roles other than just motherhood.

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  49. hawkgrrrl on January 4, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    brjones – “anything you can point to in the temple ceremony that speaks of equality of the sexes is negated by the statement “submit to your husband.”” That’s a matter of time. The statements that women find objectionable in the temple ceremony have already been modified considerably. I give this one 10 years, 15 at the outside, and that’s a very conservative estimate. As I said, where society goes, the membership follows.

    I agree with Paul’s view that the church may tout an “ideal” (that is really just a preference for the past) but the church allows personal choices that vary. As to the PoF, even with both parents working, the man can be primarily responsible for providing a physical home and the women for nurture. We both work, and I’m the one who naturally thinks to feed them, and he’s the one who naturally thinks about home repair and oil changes. Even so, both of us are certainly qualified to do either of those things. I tend to think that for a sexist society, the PoF reminds dads to get their fat butts off the barstool and take care of their families. For an enlightened society (like ours) it’s more descriptive than prescriptive. And it’s not canon. All statements leaders have made on this subject recently (last 15 years) have been followed by a caveat for individual circumstances.

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  50. diane on January 4, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    I get why people are upset with my comment, but I based my comment on a case that is being argued before the Supreme Court right now because Target department store was routinely hiring men and paying them more for the same job, (i.e) stock, cashiers, etc Don’t know what the out come was but I think it should be fairly considerable.

    Even working as a customer service person , I had the education, and more work experience, yet a male co-worker had less and made more. Which in today’s environment really shouldn’t be because of the pay equity laws. But what do I know. Apparently, not a hell of a lot, but at least I have my humor.

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  51. Thomas on January 4, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    “Target department store was routinely hiring men and paying them more for the same job, (i.e) stock, cashiers, etc.”

    At least, so says the shyster lawyer who’s trying to cash in on the mother of all class actions. (It’s against Walmart, btw, not Target.)

    The Supreme Court case is actually about a procedural matter — whether the case can be litigated as a “class action,” or whether each alleged victim of discrimination has to litigate her own claim separately.

    What the plaintiff’s lawyer is trying to do, is to bootstrap the claims of *six* women that Walmart discriminated against them, into a claim on behalf of *all* female Walmart employees — the obvious rationale being, a lawyer’s contingency fee of one-third of a multi-billion-dollar award to millions of current and former Walmart employees is, in technical mathematical terms, “a lot bigger” than whatever fee he could extract from his six actual clients.

    A healthy dose of skepticism towards a plaintiff lawyer’s press releases is usually a good idea.

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  52. BrianJ on January 4, 2011 at 5:53 PM

    @diane: you may be interested in studies such as this one: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=305160

    which look into differences between how men versus women initiate and conduct negotiations—such as negotiating starting pay or asking for a raise. The very short summary: the less confrontational you are in negotiations, the less you will be paid (you have to ask for a raise; your boss isn’t likely to come and offer it), and women tend to be less confrontational in negotiations than men.

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  53. Melanny on January 4, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    hawwkgrl wrote: “…That’s problematic because most contemporary men didn’t create or contribute to or perpetuate our sexist world. Equality shouldn’t entail control by one sex over the other. Those who’ve been mistreated, though, do need to regain control. But when feminism is about control it ceases to be a bridge to equality and becomes an extension of personal therapy. I don’t begrudge anyone the need to heal. It just makes the feminist movement irrelevant to those who don’t. Maybe feminism should be an activist form of group therapy for women who’ve been abused. That’s OK, too. But it reduces how many can participate under that label.”

    I’m a bit mystified by this. Can you explain to me how feminism is about control? An example perhaps? I’ve thought about this post all day and I have wrestled with the concept of “angry feminist.” Personally, I take issue with the idea that someone who is both angry and feminist is an automatic social leper. Anger is sometimes justified and can facilitate change when channeled appropriately. Would it be better to be a complacent feminist?

    Also to BrianJ: Actually men ARE effected by sexism. For example, let’s say your wife is extremely intelligent and competent (I’m willing to bet she actually is) and did extremely well in school but finds in the workplace that she is treated with automatic mistrust and is constantly passed over for promotions she feels she has earned or deserved. She develops depression. Do you think that would impact you, or not? I think the point that men are not directly discriminated against the same way that women are is a moot point. It is still to your advantage to care about feminism. If my father developed cancer and died, I would take a new interest in cancer causes, even though I didn’t have the cancer myself, the problem still would have impacted my life in a profound way.

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  54. BrianJ on January 4, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    @Thomas: “Then enlighten me.”

    I doubt that I can.

    As I read them, your counter-arguments are:

    1) Motherhood is Mother Nature’s doing, so lay it at ‘her’ feet because there’s nothing we can do to change it.

    2) The supposed unfairness of motherhood’s effects on pay are analogous to the (not-supposed) unfairness of an average- or short-height man not making it in the NBA.

    The first misses the point because it side-steps the issue raised by so many who argue against pay inequality: namely, that motherhood is a societal necessity that cannot be equally borne, and therefore male coworkers have an advantage that should be corrected (and are, in fact, necessary participants in creating that disadvantage). In other words, there certainly is something we can do about the inequalities caused by motherhood; thus, the debate is whether we should do those things, or how, or how much, etc. You side-step that issue and, again, merely restate what your opponent already agrees on: “that motherhood is a woman thang.” Whether on purpose or not, your counter-argument ends precisely where your opponent is trying to start the debate.

    The second uses an analogy that misses the point for the same reason as #1. Your opponent’s argument is not about unfairness of biology, it’s about whether that unfairness should be addressed and corrected. Thus, better analogies would be to compare A) mothers taking time off work to care for children, to B) national guardsmen taking time off work to deploy overseas, or C) anyone taking time off work to volunteer at a local charity, or D) anyone taking time off work to develop a hobby, such as starting a rock band. Then you can debate what your opponent actually puts up for debate: whether the burden of X should be borne by Y only, or spread around.

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  55. Starfoxy on January 4, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    I think some of the control talk is missing an important point. When a man perceives a woman’s life and choices as falling under his authority (say when she is his daughter, or wife) then her efforts to take control over her own life and body are often seen by him as an attempt to control *him* or to take away his authority.
    This is why I’m not so quick to condemn the feminists that some see as trying to take control of others. Certainly there are people of both sexes who want to control anything and everyone around them. But just as certainly there are some people who see a woman’s efforts to control her own life as an infringement on the rights of the men around her.

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  56. BrianJ on January 4, 2011 at 6:34 PM

    Melanny, #53: “Also to BrianJ: Actually men ARE effected by sexism.”

    It’s not clear why you addressed that to me. I never said that men are not affected by sexism (diane sort of did, #16). Nor did I say I don’t care about sexism (I actually said the opposite, #8).

    Please help me see where I came across as not caring about sexism, or please clarify that you meant someone else. Thanks.

    In the meantime, I will respond to your statement, “It is still to your advantage to care about feminism.” As I say in #8, I think it’s a mistake to equate feminism with sexism. In your paragraph to me (or someone else?), you seem to use the terms interchangeably.

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  57. BrianJ on January 4, 2011 at 6:35 PM

    Starfoxy, #55: Yes. Well said.

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  58. Stephen Marsh on January 4, 2011 at 6:38 PM

    Ah, the cry of the disenfranchized white male!

    It is important to realize that the social class that is losing out is not the same as the one that is winning.

    It is starker in other areas, where Episcopalian women are moving up, Baptist men are moving down. In LDS areas it would be Cannons and Marriotts moving up, Yerkowitzes and Smitts moving down.

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  59. Nate J on January 4, 2011 at 6:41 PM

    I think that a lot of men try to svoid feminism not because they are sexist but because they feel feminism isn’t about the interests of humans in general but about women. When people think of feminists they often think of radical women that are fighting against men. Obviously this doesn’t appeal to men.

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  60. brjones on January 4, 2011 at 6:48 PM

    #55 – Well said, Starfoxy. Calling women “angry” and “controlling” who are fighting for the same degree of autonomy and respect that men have always taken for granted is akin to calling blacks “uppity” who didn’t want to sit in the back of the bus in the ’50s and ’60s. Women are angry. What of it? Do we think they’re not entitled? So some feminists want to go the other direction and have some things in their favor. Are we really shocked that an entire sex who have been summarily dismissed and treated as second class citizens for millennia are now revolting, and, god forbid, they’re not being appropriately respectful about it? Give me a break. I’m not saying anyone has to support anyone else’s position as a matter of course, but the tired line about “I don’t support feminists because they’re too angry and they want everything their way…” is just too much. In future, ladies, if you’d like the support of men in your adorable little crusade for equal rights, be sure to line up in ladylike fashion, bonnets in hand, and be sure to ask nicely.

    The pathetic specter of the poor, oppressed white male. Yawn.

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  61. Thomas on January 4, 2011 at 6:49 PM

    BrianJ, nobody’s drafting women into the Motherhood army. I do not get the impression that most mothers have children out of any sense of duty to society. They do it because they want to be mothers. So when you start talking about rectifying the biological “unfairness” that women bear children, make sure you factor the benefits of motherhood into the calculations as well.

    The problem is — you can’t. You simply can’t come anywhere close to coming up with a standard-issue cost-benefit analysis that applies to millions of women, all with differing preferences.

    Despite being clearly a sexist pig, I am willing to contemplate that women are rational actors. It follows that when a woman chooses to have a child, she does so because she calculates she will derive more benefit from than choice than she will incur a cost.

    There are other women who calculate the costs and benefits differently — and for those women, there are very few differences in the outcomes they experience vis-a-vis men. Bully for them.

    The idea that women’s career choices should have no consequences, is in fact a creator of inequality (caused, no doubt, by many feminists’ insistence on seeing motherhood as solely a burden to be avoided): If there were no such consequences, a female worker would have unimpaired career opportunities *plus* the benefits of motherhood. Her male counterpart would only have the first part of that equation.

    I would add that for the vast majority of us — those of us who don’t get to romp and play in entertainment, politics, high finance, big-name journalism, etc. — work basically sucks, and is no great loss. If my wife made more money than I can, I would change places in a heartbeat.

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  62. brjones on January 4, 2011 at 6:51 PM

    #59 – Yes, I can see how men being forced into equal hiring practices and equal pay for equal work is an attack on men. This makes perfect sense. Those dastardly women!

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  63. Thomas on January 4, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    “Are we really shocked that an entire sex who have been summarily dismissed and treated as second class citizens for millennia are now revolting….?”

    That’s the word I was looking for.

    (It would be ungentlemanly to link here to a picture of any particular person, I suppose.)

    Are we really shocked that a country that was the doormat of Europe for centuries, got a little carried away with assertiveness at times?

    (Damn — Godwin’s Law violation. I lose.)

    No matter how righteous your cause, if you act like a jerk in advancing it, you’re still a jerk. Jus in bellum and all that.

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  64. Melanny on January 4, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    Brjones: I either read your comment the wrong way, or confused it with someone else’s. I’ve read over your posts, and I can’t find it. This is why I never comment. :P

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  65. Melanny on January 4, 2011 at 7:27 PM

    And I meant BrianJ, not brjones. I’m going to bed now.

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  66. brjones on January 4, 2011 at 8:19 PM

    #59 – NateJ, I actually didn’t mean my previous comment to come off quite so snarky, especially in response to a sincere comment.
    I apologize.

    I agree with you that this is why many men don’t sympathize with the feminist movement. Unfortunately, in this battle, men have been the oppressors in the past, so there’s no way to avoid now being the target in the battle. In my opinion, a more mature response than simply being defensive and petulant is to examine the facts objectively and see if there aren’t some areas where corrections can be made. I happen to agree that some feminists use unsavory tactics and I don’t agree with all their end goals. That said, I can empathize with their angst and understand somewhat what drives them. I think there can always be areas for compromise.

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  67. BrianJ on January 4, 2011 at 8:45 PM

    Thomas, 61: “BrianJ, nobody’s drafting women into the Motherhood army. I do not get the impression that most mothers have children out of any sense of duty to society. They do it because they want to be mothers. So when you start talking about rectifying the biological “unfairness” that women bear children, make sure you factor the benefits of motherhood into the calculations as well.”

    Remember in #30 when I said this wasn’t my fight? I set out to get you to start actually addressing the arguments of your opponents instead of simply glossing over them. Seeing that you are now doing that—starting, that is—I’ll move on and let someone who wants to debate you do so.

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  68. BrianJ on January 4, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    Melanny: “And I meant BrianJ, not brjones. I’m going to bed now.”

    :) I hope you get some rest!

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  69. Bishop Rick on January 4, 2011 at 10:18 PM

    I care a lot about Sexism. That is where all my passion stems from regarding topics like polygamy. I just spent the last week standing up to Sexism only to get most of my comments pinked.

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  70. Jeff Spector on January 4, 2011 at 10:22 PM

    If you work in a big corporation, there is going to be some time in your career where something unfair will occur. No matter the gender, the race, sexual preference, the age, the experience, the salary, the power, the network. It will happen. If a woman gets passed over in favor of a man, it is usual deemed as sexism. if it is a man picked over another man, it is qualifications, or network.

    But the fact is, most of us have had the experience at one time or another. And it had nothing to do with gender.

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  71. Bishop Rick on January 4, 2011 at 10:34 PM

    That’s true, but sometimes it is due to gender.

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  72. hawkgrrrl on January 4, 2011 at 11:13 PM

    Melanny – I think you are arguing against a straw man (woman) because I don’t actually think we disagree, but I’ll clarify in response to your questions.

    “I’m a bit mystified by this. Can you explain to me how feminism is about control? An example perhaps?” For a woman who has been abused, part of the healing process is taking back control. In healing one sometimes becomes controlling, domineering or seeks revenge instead of merely justice while working through the healing process. That’s just human nature. Aside from that, all activism is a form of control: trying to create change is a desire to control one’s environment (as is fighting to keep status quo). Since different people want different things, activism is always going to be unwelcome control for those who don’t share your vision.

    “I’ve thought about this post all day and I have wrestled with the concept of “angry feminist.” Personally, I take issue with the idea that someone who is both angry and feminist is an automatic social leper.” Nobody said anything about someone angry (including justifiable anger) being a social leper. Feminists who are angry fail to persuade people who don’t share their level of outrage, and I have seen feminists turn their rant toward others who have different views or simply feel less passionately about a specific issue. Within feminism passion can be a litmus test for membership in the club.

    “Anger is sometimes justified and can facilitate change when channeled appropriately.” Sure, no one has said otherwise.

    “Would it be better to be a complacent feminist?” It might be better to be a more dispassionate one, depending on whom you wish to enlist. Angry feminists get a lot of validation from other angry feminists. There are plenty of people who don’t find other people’s anger persuasive in and of itself or who find it a turn off, especially men (one point of the post). When feminism turns to man bashing, men typically run for cover rather than picking up the banner.

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  73. Henry on January 5, 2011 at 1:56 AM

    In fact, in many major US cities, women now actually earn more than men in like positions.

    Hawkgrl:
    So this is okay that women get paid more just because they are women? Here we get back to the thing where feminists don’t want equality, they want it all.

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  74. hawkgrrrl on January 5, 2011 at 6:47 AM

    Henry – why do you immediately assume that this pay inequity is due to reverse discrimination? Pay differences are always more complex than one factor (as I pointed out above), and in my experience, outright discrimination as the sole factor impacting pay difference is fairly rare (in either direction) since it’s illegal (if hard to prove).

    In the case of female pay in metropolitan areas being slightly ahead of men, the article I read pointed out a couple of potential reasons (not linked to discrimination): 1) for 10-15 years women in this country have had a significantly higher college completion rate, 2) single women have flocked to these metropolitan areas and are in many cases more flexible than their male counterparts. So, the article was pointing out that the wage gap was being narrowed by an increase in female flexibility and skill (and/or a corresponding decrease in male skill & flexibility). IOW, females are paid more than less qualified males.

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  75. Thomas on January 5, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    “I set out to get you to start actually addressing the arguments of your opponents instead of simply glossing over them.”

    If I gloss over them, it’s because the nuanced argument that you credit to them, is something they tend to gloss over themselves. The issue of pay differentials is overwhelmingly presented as a matter of invidious discrimination — because that argument has more power to get people worked up. The “we need to compensate for natural inequities” argument is typically only raised as a backup, after someone’s pointed out that once you compare apples to apples, the pay gap virtually disappears.

    There’s nothing wrong with pummelling a straw man, if your opponent is actually waving the poor scarecrow in your face.

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  76. wanna be feminist on January 5, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    Hawk I don’t want to reveal too much but your #7 is totally wrong. (as I learned prior to joining the church in adulthood.)

    Just say’n! :-)

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  77. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on January 5, 2011 at 6:42 PM

    I’ll probably start taking feminism seriously when feminists seriously make a push for having the draft apply to males AND females. I mean of course a major movement pushing for that. Until then it’s get to be equal when you want but don’t have to be when you don’t in regards to women in the military.

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  78. Jeff Spector on January 5, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    Bishop Rick,

    “That’s true, but sometimes it is due to gender”

    And sometimes, it is due to being gay, old, fat, or ugly.

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  79. brjones on January 5, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    SUNNofaB.C.Rich, it seems a little self-serving to say you’re going to wait to support the feminist movement until they undertake a major push to have the draft apply to both sexes. There hasn’t been a military draft in what, 35 years? We’ve been involved in 2 wars for going on a decade and there’s no sign of a draft on the horizon, so I’m not sure why anyone would waste their time or resources banging the drum for an obscure and unlikely hypothetical possibility. Would women having to register for selective service really make you feel that much better about the true intentions of feminists? In fairness, feminists pushed hard over the past 20 years to win the right to participate in combat operations. (A movement, by the way, that was staunchly opposed by many of the same men who undoubtedly complain about the inequity of women not being subject to a hypothetical draft). It just seems a little random to pick that one thing on which to base your lack of support for the movement.

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  80. dmac on January 5, 2011 at 9:20 PM

    To some degree I think Jeff is right. It is about control.

    For many generations men controlled women. Now women want that control. Not of men, but of themselves and their choices. The trouble is, that also requires equality and allowing women into bastions that were male dominated. Defining how equality is attributed is the problem – and where the fighting starts. Because equality means men need to give up control of some things and women need to accept responsiblity for their choices.

    Have some women given feminism a bad name? You bet. But history tells us that nothing changes without passion and zeal. And anger. But I think the time for that is moving away and refining the changes requires other tools.

    The push for equality came a long way in the past 30 years. I expect it’ll move even more in the next 20. But how you feel about it will always depend on whether think you lose or gain in the process.

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  81. hawkgrrrl on January 5, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    dmac – well said!

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  82. Bishop Rick on January 5, 2011 at 10:20 PM

    #80
    ” But history tells us that nothing changes without passion and zeal. And anger.”

    Now that sounds familiar.

    “But I think the time for that is moving away and refining the changes requires other tools.”

    I’ll just conveniently ignore that part.

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  83. agnes on January 6, 2011 at 12:05 PM

    Interesting, I’ve always believed I was born strong willed even though my mother isn’t. For some reason, I think women who choose to submit to their husbands are throwing away half of what they are worth.

    I came from a family of strong willed women and I’ve seen how this affected my uncles (being in a very machismo country) they tend to be more hateful towards women and controlling towards their nieces and daughters. I’ve been told at least 3 times by one of my uncle to not be so assuring because I lose my “charm” as a woman. Another uncle also told me that women are dependent on men. And yet, I ahve introduced him to my college professors who are 3 times richer than him.

    Am I saying that feministing is making men sexist? Yes and no. Yes, because our society puts pressure on every men to be the provider, the superhero. And when they fail to do that, they don’t know how to be a man anymore. And no, feminists are not making men sexist because most of them don’t even know what it is and what it means.

    I don’t want to be a hypocrite, I’m sexist myself. All my life I’ve beaten enough men to prove that I’m superior than them. But this superiority I feel have never lead me to hate men, or slap them in the face. It made me understood them (and continue to beat them) It’s my safe haven from being harrassed on the streets (one very good reason for feminists to be angry)

    We all live different lives, so I understand when a guy tells me he haven’t seen one woman outdo a man in his life. In my experience, women always get the top spot until they choose to be a slave to their husbands. Or choose to be a mother to their children.

    I don’t completely agree with feminists but I think I am one by accident. I have a broher I love, a father I look up to and aspire to be and guy friends who I will protect from angry women. I don’t hate men, why would I? They never did anything bad to me (except the whistling on the streets, that I don’t appreciate)

    It’s ironic though, most of the women who hates men so much are those who comes home to them and serve them breakfast.

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  84. Henry on January 6, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    All my life I’ve beaten enough men to prove that I’m superior than them. But this superiority I feel have never lead me to hate men

    This is where I disagree. Feminism insists that women ae superior but no one is superior to anyone else.

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  85. brjones on January 6, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    #84 – I don’t know if I’d go that far, Henry. I just think superiority has to be determined on a case by case basis.

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  86. dmac on January 6, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    #84 “Feminism insists that women ae superior but no one is superior to anyone else.”

    I think some feminists consider women ‘superior’ but I don’t think the concept of feminism is that women are superior to men. I think its more that they are equally as capable and deserving.

    Some people are better at some things than others, regardless of gender. Thats due to things like hard work, good fortune, physiology, the will to achieve or good genetic make up. But I’m not sure I’d use the word superior.

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  87. Henry on January 6, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    BR Jones
    Agnes seems to think she is superior.

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  88. Henry on January 6, 2011 at 5:14 PM

    Every person you see, no matter how perfect looking, struggles with some kind of weakness. So it’s kind of laughable for any person to consider themselves to be superior to someone else.

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  89. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on January 6, 2011 at 5:44 PM

    #79 Brjones, well I look out for #1 so… self serving… sure, not sure where you were going with that.

    Why am I harping on the draft issue? I guess I just have higher expectations of “feminism”.

    Anyways the point I was making should have been pretty clear but let me give you another example… with the repeal of DADT would it be fair to exempt a man from being drafted into military service because he’s gay? No, I don’t think so. Sure, they fought for the “privilege” if you will… so take the “responsibility” too. That is all.

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  90. brjones on January 6, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    #89 – SUNNofa, I understand what you’re saying. I just think you’re using an odd vehicle to make your point.

    First of all, what I meant by calling your argument self serving was that it really allows you to act like you would be happy to support the feminist movement if only certain conditions are met, when in fact the conditions are so obscure that there’s not much real chance you’re going to have to lend any suport to the cause. What would feminist leaders have to do to satisfy you on this point; demand that the draft be immediately reinstituted, and insist that women be included? No one is getting drafted. Not men or women. It hasn’t happened in decades, and doesn’t figure to happen any time soon. To act like women are ducking some harsh reality that men have to live with every day seems a little disingenuous. I’d be surprised if there are many guys in this country who are much more worried about being drafted than women are. That is to say, nobody’s worrying about it.

    And I find it funny that you think women have somehow pulled a fast one by being “allowed the privilege” of fighting in combat without the responsibility of the draft. I’m sure the families of all the women killed in action can hardly believe how lucky they are to enjoy such a privilege without any attendant responsibility.

    As I said, I think you’ve got a fair point somewhere in there, but I think this is a bad vehicle to demonstrate it. Just my perspective.

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  91. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on January 6, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    Brjones, Perhaps I should have specified “registering for selective service” that’s what you do even when the draft isn’t happening so that when the draft does happen, you’re in the mix. (I think you know that already?) No biggie right? So make it happen feminists. That’s what i’m saying. That’s nothing obscure and it’s a relatively simple, symbolic (for now) gesture. Not too much to ask I think? If that happened then yes, as I stated earlier, I would take “feminism” seriously. If that won’t happen then why won’t it? Who would be against that?

    On a side note I would trash-can college deferments on the draft too… (did ten years in the army 2 of those in Iraq and no I don’t think combat is a “privilege” and there’s plenty of military jobs that don’t see much “combat”)

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  92. Doug on January 7, 2011 at 12:34 AM

    Reason#7: dead on!

    The “Alan Alda” model of a sensitive, caring man usually gets walked all over by the women in his life and he gets no action.
    The insensitive, arrogant S.O.B. has to fight them off with a stick.
    This phenomenon is due to women wanting strength in their man and seeing it more in the arrogant S.O.B. than in “Alan Alda”. Therefore, unrighteous behavior gets rewarded in the most meaningful manner.
    Seriously, guys, try it, if you can live with yourself!

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  93. hawkgrrrl on January 7, 2011 at 9:27 AM

    Would a female president call for a draft? I think there’s good reason we haven’t had a draft for a long time. Because we used it when we shouldn’t have. When your cause is insufficient to compel patriots, you conscript. So an American draft seems like a relic of the past.

    More relevant a comparison would be would feminists lobby to serve compulsory military service (usually 2 years around college age) alongside men in countries where this is required? To this I would say, I see no reason why not. And I would add that Mormon women who want equality should serve a mission, so long as missionary service retains its mandatory status for males. Of course, one can change views later in life. One can become a feminist in later years after the time has passed for such gestures.

    So I still don’t see Sunnofa’s point. Sounds like the old “rubber/glue” defense or a distraction from the issue. Is male privilege an extension of selective service? Is discrimination against women acceptable because someone is not subject to selective service (a paper tiger at best)?

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  94. agnes on January 7, 2011 at 10:05 AM

    @Henry yeah I feel superior but it doesn’t mean I act like men who feels superior than women. See, this is what I just said. Power, superiority, control is VERY different to women. What do I do with this “superiority”? To empower other women, to convince them that they can be better than any men if they choose to be. Men use superiority to dominate others, to make him buildings and serve him.

    “So it’s kind of laughable for any person to consider themselves to be superior to someone else.” Hmmm I still can’t think of the word, but it’s quite laughable for anyone to consider recognition of self-worth as bad. Oh well, you’re a guy, even if I draw a diagram you won’t be able to understand what I mean. I think what tick you off is when I said “I beat enough men” I understand.

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  95. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on January 7, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    #93 Hawkgrrrl, the “more relevant” comparision you used doesn’t work for the United States as we don’t have mandatory military service, the equivalent of that in the U.S. would be registering for selective service, (so that if there’s a draft youre already in the system, I think I already explained that..) In case you didn’t know here’s how selective service works, all males are required to register for selective service within 30 days of their 18th birthday. Women are exempt… Do you have a good reason why we should keep it that way?

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  96. Henry on January 7, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    Agnes:
    Feminism still tries to leave the impression that women are superior to men. What about all the men who are smarter than you, faster than you, richer than you? You leave the imnpression that you are trying to say you ae better than someone else.
    Feminism seeks to empower women by disempowering men.
    Hawgirl:
    This is one of the reasons my men don’t care about feminism.

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  97. Henry on January 7, 2011 at 6:58 PM

    Correction:
    WHY men don’t care about feminism.
    Also, FMH has a current post about raising feminist boys. Let’s do one about raising masculinist girls.

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  98. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on January 7, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    comment #96 Henry, you’re onto something with that statement…

    http://www.mindonfire.com/2010/08/03/gender-equality-and-voluntary-disempowerment-for-anarchist-men/

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  99. Henry on January 7, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    There was a woman on the show Wife Swap that had her husband at home while she worked. Her only goal in life was the empowerment of women. The home she went to had the husband and a 15 year old son. The woman just ranted all day about female empowerment and the 15 year old son made an interesting comment that all she cared about was that. The wife who had gone to the other house was talking with the husband who was a homemaker and it turns out he had desires to go to work but he was sacrificing all for his wife’s female empowerment.

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  100. hawkgrrrl on January 8, 2011 at 4:51 AM

    Henry – I assume you realize that the point of reality shows like Wife Swap is sensationalism and entertainment. It’s not a friggin’ documentary. If the SAHD on the show wants to work, he should work. There are plenty of double career families out there.

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  101. Paul on January 8, 2011 at 6:28 AM

    97: Henry, what’s a masculinist? It’s clear your definition of feminist is different from the one in the “raising feminist boys” post you cite.

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  102. Henry on January 8, 2011 at 7:11 AM

    hawkgrrrl
    It’s a reality show, based on reality and real lives.
    Paul:
    Masculinist is the equivalent of feminist.

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  103. lyrical on January 9, 2011 at 7:57 AM

    #102, Henry:
    It may be called a reality show, but they are planned, edited and often scripted to fit the story that producers want to tell to shock and entertain their audience. Distorted reality.

    Comments about women wanting “control”:
    This is the pendulum swinging from one extreme to the other–it is a reaction to millenia of men exerting control/taking a position of superiority. But I suspect that it will not take millenia for the pendulum to settle in the middle with regards to women’s real goal of equality.

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  104. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on January 9, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    my question in #95 wasn’t rhetorical.

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  105. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on January 9, 2011 at 6:03 PM

    cricket… cricket…

    That’s why I don’t take feminism seriously. “Feminists” don’t take “gender egalitarianism” seriously. At least not when the benefit/disadvantage ratio doesn’t work out in their favor.

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  106. Henry on January 13, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    That’s why I don’t take feminism seriously. “Feminists” don’t take “gender egalitarianism” seriously. At least not when the benefit/disadvantage ratio doesn’t work out in their favor.

    This is a great point hence my favorite saying feminists dont want equality, they want it all.

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  107. hawkgrrrl on January 17, 2011 at 1:52 AM

    Sunn of a – I thought my view was clear. I would not exempt females from selective service. I would resolve it by either exempting everyone and abolishing the potential for a draft (or base a future necessary draft on something other than selective service). I don’t know why you would hang your hat on such an archane issue. We haven’t had a draft for over two generations. Would you restrict (as some countries have) the vote to only those who register for selective service? I would also say that women should be required to do the same amount of compulsory military service that men have to do in those countries that require it.

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