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What The Howler said

vastleft's picture


We’ll admit it. Back in 2004, we were still completely clueless. We had no idea about the degree of mockery the progressive world was willing to see extended toward women. We’ve been schooled since then, of course—schooled by Keith [Olbermann] and his legion of enablers. Let’s face it. If Keith began executing beauty queens and unintelligent actresses, we progressives would stand in line to say it was “just good TV.”
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vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

"Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld destroyed the known world, with plenty of help from Powell/Rice/Wilkerson. If you have to embellish to make a case against these guys, you should exit the case-making business."

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

On just about every issue, and certainly on every other type of bigotry, everyone I know and most Democrats are actually ahead of the curve. From single payer to gay marriage to climate change. And yet when it comes to whether or not misogynistic hate crimes should even be prosecuted, you usually get a ferocious backlash ("She's lying!" or "She deserved it!"), or these crimes are treated as entertainment (e.g., mainstream porn, pop culture) or trivial nonsense (e.g., "missing white woman syndrome"). We're going horribly backwards on the issue of gender equality. And it has serious, fundamental implications.

Via The Atlantic, I checked out this Harvard report on the role misogynistic violence (i.e. hate crimes) plays in inflaming a hyper-aggressive culture. Basically, whether or not women and girls enjoy basic human rights and civil liberties is the best indicator for determining the likelihood a nation will be aggressive in its violence and wage war. It's a good article for future reference (e.g., Did you know it's most likely that the deaths due to misogynistic violence outnumber the total tally of all 20th century warfare and strife? See pg. 4). The report can be summed up by a paragraph on pg. 20:

Very young boys are not demonstrably prone to aggression against girls, and it takes active modeling, reinforcement, and rewarding of gendered violence to make it appear functional to boys. If it is not modeled, if it is not reinforced, if it is actively punished, its incidence can be severely limited. These are proximate causes that humans can consciously control. If gendered violence can be undermined at its taproot—domestic violence within the home—the effects, as we have shown with violent patriarchy, should cascade outward to affect many social phenomena, including state security and behavior. Furthermore, if institutions that depersonalize political power can be created, thus severing political power’s connection to physical power in which men have an advantage, then legal systems and political institutions that allow females to live free of relational violence from males, and therefore free to form countervailing female alliances to prevent male violence and dominance, will also have a profound effect on state security and behavior. To the extent that the security of women is a societal priority, the security and peacefulness of the state will be significantly enhanced. State security rests, in the first place, on the security of women.

I was thinking of the report when I read a paragraph of Obama's Notre Dame speech, a speech Froomkin highlighted as "subversive." The fact family, clans, and nations are male-defined (thus, dehumanizing women and girls), religion is used to justify misogynistic tyranny (God is, after all, a He), and "Might is right" is the basis of a violent patriarchy, it was odd that Obama didn't tie it all together in order to break us* free from an oppression that has been passed down from generation to generation. Instead, he seemed to embrace certain parts of that patriarchical culture, especially considering that he accepts that recognizing the full autonomy of women and girls is "morally" controversial:

[P]art of the problem, of course, lies in the imperfections of man** -- our selfishness, our pride, our stubbornness, our acquisitiveness, our insecurities, our egos; all the cruelties large and small that those of us in the Christian tradition understand to be rooted in original sin. We too often seek advantage over others. We cling to outworn prejudice and fear those who are unfamiliar. Too many of us view life only through the lens of immediate self-interest and crass materialism; in which the world is necessarily a zero-sum game. The strong too often dominate the weak, and too many of those with wealth and with power find all manner of justification for their own privilege in the face of poverty and injustice. And so, for all our technology and scientific advances, we see here in this country and around the globe violence and want and strife that would seem sadly familiar to those in ancient times.

*Yes, all of us. This can no longer be marginalized as a "women's issue."
**Why are we still using "Man?" The "fewer syllables" excuse doesn't fly considering that our language was not handed down from the heavens but created to entrench maleness as the norm. Also, the phrase "men and women" is constantly used (by Obama, especially) instead of "people" or simply "we" or "you," which gives off a whole separate but equal feeling.

Submitted by lambert on

It deserves to be a post.

I read this, and I despair. We can't have this; we have to get clear of it. It is the same cycle: Does anyone believe that these young boys, beaten by (male) priests, will not go on to beat others? Generation after generation!

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

I feel a have a bit more leeway in the comment section (My analysis isn't as sharp as I'd like).

With regards to the generation after generation: this is why I was so puzzled that Obama seemed to be saying that dogma was wrong and we need to break free from that in order to stop this cycle and yet he was perpetuating it, particularly in his response to abortion where he implies women and girls are deserving of it if they're moral which they are to prove by consulting male clergy and family.

I, too, read about the Catholic Church abuses. My God, I can't even imagine. I don't see how I can remain Catholic anymore, I really don't. Just a month or so ago the Church excommunicated the doctors and mother who terminated the pregnancy of a 9 year-old rape victim in Brazil. They didn't even offer a word of condemnation for the actual child rapist! The entire institution is basically designed to ensure tyranny, to exploit a child's trust and total vulnerability. A minority of male victims (about 1 out of 7?) go on to become pedophiles themselves, but each of these child rapists, including the priests, was a victim at one point, either having been raped or exposed to it. It looks like this disturbing branch diagram in my head, going back and back, century after century, with each pedophile usually having victims in the hundreds over the course of his lifetime. It's like a cascading wall of horror. Worst part: the Church knew just how bad it was the whole time. The report started about two years before the Boston scandal broke.

What's so interesting to me is that even though abusers were raped and abused by men, they overwhelmingly target women and girls for rape and abuse. In a sense, they break the cycle and choose a different route of victimization. Why is that? I'm guessing because society tells them women and girls are the most legitimate victims. If we, as a society, can get them to change the victim's gender in the cycle, certainly we can get them to not victimize in the first place.

I still feel that if we can just prevent the abuse and rape of boys, domestic violence and rape will plummet, but considering how widespread misogynistic violence is in our culture, particularly in mainstream porn, we'd still have a lot of work to do. Mind you, misogynistic violence affects everyone as it can consume entire families, training future batterers, and since children, overall, are feminized as the concern of women and being on par with women (e.g., the phrase "women and children"), they'll suffer as well.

Submitted by hipparchia on

you are not a terrible writer. i understand completely about not wanting to post something that you feel like you haven't given enough attention to, but you've written several long comments here and there that i've wished you'd turn into posts [no more editing needed, they're good just as you've written them]. i particularly got a lot out of your comments on argentina and keep meaning to revisit this [and to go back and credit you for pointing me to it, but i'd have to go look for your comment, whereas, if you'd posted it to your blog....]

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

This is so important, and you've done a really good job putting it together.

Heck, if you don't, I might just quote it all and post it on my own blog.

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

This is far afield from the parent post but I'm glad you referenced it because I had missed it. The Argentina's Economic Collapse documentary should haunt any U.S. of A.'er who sees it, if not with a sense of guilt then with a sense of foreboding.

Have any of you seen this documentary? It unfolds slowly but it's worth seeing, even more so after you watch the Davidson recommended one.

When we first arrived in Buenos Aires, something strange happened: out of the blue, a man handed me a letter; it read like a warning. --"We are the mirror to look into, the mistake to avoid. Argentina is the waste that remains of a globalized country. We are where the rest of the world is going." -- But what we saw in Argentina was a country trying to learn from its mistakes ...

Submitted by lambert on

Davidson, this is rarely said:

I still feel that if we can just prevent the abuse and rape of boys, domestic violence and rape will plummet,

I connect this with the recent "going postal" shootings, all of which are framed as "crazed male with gun." And this is true in part. In one of the recent ones, the shooter had not only been suing the company, the company just laid off his mother, iIIRC. Not to excuse or seek to justify the but to say that the violence seems like a sort of parasite that uses us alll to reproduce itself, generation after generation. The various structures of privilege are all means, not ends (so far as this bodiless organism is concerned) though no doubt to the hosts they seem real enough.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Doesn't support the anti-porn agenda, or other agendas that seek to limit the private behaviors of consenting adults.

Not that you've specifically advocated censorship, but I'll preemptively quote Avedon on that:

Yes, supporting freedom of speech means you may have to hear and see expression that you don't like. But if you cave in to censorship, you will still hear expression you don't like - from the Powers That Be - and be left without a voice to counter it. Don't be fooled.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

First of all, I believe it is perfectly natural for people to feel aroused and engaged by depictions of sex. It is a part of who we are.

And I'm torn by the question, is the porn affecting our culture, or is the culture affecting our porn? Because the violence and woman hatred has gotten worse in the past decade since I became a porn watcher(used to watch it more, in my teens, but I've outgrown it for the most part), and so has the outright woman hatred within society. Which is the cause, and which is the effect? Or are they totally unrelated?

Plus the range of fantasies portrayed in porn has gotten very narrow, and almost always involves the degredation of women.

More independent porn has a tendency to be better enlightened, and more interesting. The mainstream pornagraphy industry has however made money on the exploitation of women(and I don't mean the performers, though some are exploited of course, but the infantilization of sex workers by well meaning feminists is another topic), the women who are in relationships with men who get their ideas about typical adult sexual relationships from the ignorant misconceptions in porn.

So a person can have a problem with the corruption of the porn industry in this country, but still support and enjoy watching porn. And as learned from past experience, prohibiting things we don't like doesn't help. But the porn industry's excuse that they will lose viewers if they change their formate is hokum. They are deliberately ignoring the fact that many women choose not to watch mainstream porn, because really who would want to watch and see other women degraded in such a manner? Most women I know get their porn fix by watching gay porn, because it is more eglitarian.

The solution would seem to be what most fair minded people have been doing, which is stop supporting the mainstream porn industry, but they aren't getting the hint.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... that the porn producers were scared off by the lawsuits that met the really successful porn movies in the 1970s and that they deliberately don't want to make porn that is any good (as movies, that is). That's not directly related to what kind of acts they portray, but I do think there's a deliberate goal of keeping porn from being "high quality." If it got mainstream attention, then the grandstanding criminal charges would come back in a big way. If Avedon joins us, she could perhaps update us on how frequent indictments are nowadays, as she keeps tabs on such things, IIRC.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

About the X rating that was created, and how many mainstream people performed in these X movies(IIRC John Wayne was one, but I can't remember the movie).

But then the mainstream porn industry began to expand, and became too closely associated with the X rating, and the main studios began to avoid the X rating, and pushed for the ratings board to create the NC-17, which never took off either.

Europe has had some interesting, and seemingly successful X rated movies, like Young Adam which starred Ewan McGregor and Tilda Swinton. And a lot of porn I've watched has been from Europe, and it seems more eglitarian, though there has been some truly misogynistic "films" made by European directors as well *cough*Lars Von Trier*cough*.

Porn and sex work itself will always be sticky subjects in a patriarchal society, because as long as those industries exist to serve male pleasure, women will be exploited by them.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

one of those responsibilities is, as you said, to refuse to buy inferior or shabby products.

Not just when it comes to adult entertainment, IMNVHO, but in any "marketplace" endeavor, from gasoline (gah) and automobiles to clothes and food.

Buy and use what is good rather than what is offered. You'll perhaps find yourself buying and using less, or being inconvenienced sometimes over availability and seasonality. But in the long run you'll be happier because you won't be as frustrated with useless or unsatisfactory products.

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

EDIT: The only "porn" that I can even watch now is basically marginalized as "alternative," since the mainstream stuff is so damn extreme, hence, my title of being "anti-porn." I'm not against images of sexuality. But in my mind, mainstream porn is different from just that.

First, it's not private behavior. It's made public for viewers. But let's say all this behavior I see when I search "rape porn" or "gonzo porn" or "Latina rapes" is strictly private and consensual*, it doesn't mean that it's still not misogynistic. That's what I'm going after. Again, not with the law, but with a change in our society. For example, just ten years ago most friends I knew used homophobic slurs as generic insults in the privacy of our own homes. Now, it's just not socially acceptable anymore. That helps in tackling homophobia: de-normalizing it. Second, regardless of consent, the message is the same: hate (think: the Saw series, homophobia or racism in hip hop).

This is about changing our culture, not criminalizing it--no matter how hateful. To do that, we have to focus on changing demand, not the product. Culture, of course, includes media images and yet porn has become this sacred cow that can never even be criticized as if incorporating explicit sexuality immunizes it or cancels the effect (I'm not discussing you, VL, but the general reaction I've gotten from those on the left whenever I even touch the issue of porn). Without a doubt, mainstream porn exploits and demonizes sex to sell violent anti-female hate ("pornography," if I remember my Greek correctly means "story of whores"). It normalizes and glorifies misogynistic sadism, including rape. It's quite influential in how men approach sex, especially since masturbatory conditioning is part of the process, but it doesn't excuse these men from being held responsible for their own behavior.

I think all hate should be combated against, even if it's sexualized. To me, it's like being against white power music. I'm definitely against banning white power music and I love music itself, but I won't shy away from condemning antisemitism or racism simply because it's presented in musical form. That's all I'm talking about: condemning it.

Oh, and I want to add that I also believe these women who work in the industry should have their rights protected from exploitation--just like any other worker.

*Honestly, some of these "porn" videos are simple documentation of rape (And that's not including cell phone videos I've seen of guys who film themselves). I've seen images where the women are desperate for the pain to stop, screaming and crying, and they just keep at her, threatening her if she doesn't do what they demand. These women are not great actresses. They're truly terrified and can't say no in such a situation. That's what mainstream porn is going after: genuine fear. It has gotten exceptionally more violent over the past ten or so years. And the violent degradation just gets more extreme--and bizarre (think: everything from thrusting a 10" dick in her mouth hard enough until she vomits and cries to Abu Ghraib simulations). The blurring between actual rape and "rape porn" or porn in general is making it all the more difficult to prosecute rape because "consensual" sex has become, in the eyes of many, synonymous with exploitation, violent force, and misogyny that, in the end, justifies rape.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

As a man who frequents feminist-friendly blogs, it is with some trepidation that I speak up on porn as protected "speech."

I have no quarrel with someone who sees porn as destructive so long as banning is off the table. I feel that banning is a slippery slope toward moralistic behavioral control of all kinds.

adrena's picture
Submitted by adrena on

I feel that banning is a slippery slope toward moralistic behavioral control of all kinds. Moralistic behavioral control of female sexual expression has existed for centuries.

The content of porn needs to undergo drastic changes before I am willing to speak up on porn as protected "speech".

adrena's picture
Submitted by adrena on

I'm not for censorship but would like to see a change in the content.

Thanks for introducing me to Avedon. Her opinion is interesting as are those of others. I'm in the process of collecting many different views. Here's one from an insider.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

except by changing the demand?

I think you've already hit on the answer:
This is about changing our culture, not criminalizing it--no matter how hateful. To do that, we have to focus on changing demand, not the product.

And if the rapists (including the cell-phone videos) are prosecuted -- as they should be -- then the market will change, won't it?

Submitted by lambert on

1. Regulate it

2. Introduce a competitive marketplace with a different set of products

Submitted by cg.eye on

that a good reason not to get involved with meth is prison rape.

As in billboards proclaiming "No one thinks they'll spend a romantic evening here. Meth will change that".

As long as we treat prison rape as a joke that keeps the vulnerable in line, along with jokes about raping priests and other abusers of children, it will perpetuate a culture based on the hit and the laugh.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

too" in, what, less than a dozen posts?

No, I don't think prison rape is funny.
No, I don't think torture is ever justified. That said -- I'd like to wish w and Dick the futures they deserve, along with Rumsfeld & their whole corrupt bunch of enablers. D'you suppose wishes like that are why, for the first time in US history, 43 and his VP will have SS protection for-freakin'-ever? Used to be a year after you left office, didn't it?
No, I don't lack sympathy for the males victimized by the pedophiles who hide behind their positions in religious cults.

But time after time after outrage I've brought up what happens to women, and ...

it always ends up coming back to "but, Catholic priests raped little boys" and "but men get raped too."

Okay. Yes. That's true. That's tragic.

But look at it the way that ought to illustrate it. Rape is NEVER about sex. It's ALWAYS about power. Women can, and do, commit rapes. I don't deny that. But the numbers show that women are far less likely to do so than men. Perhaps it's because women don't grow up with that sense of entitlement, aren't socially encouraged to act on their desires, don't get cultural imperatives granting them immunity for sexual misconduct? I think it's even simpler: women don't assume they own that power.

Power over parishioners. Power over "fish" in the pen. Power over women -- whose adherence to societal norms of dress and behavior puts a bullseye on their backs, because "she was asking for it: look what she was wearing!" can be used to blame a girl for anything from a damn burqa to high-heel shoes.

Not that I'm defending burqas or heels ... what the hell, I wear 2 1/4'' heels on my Sunday boots, a woman who likes them is entitled to wear pumps or spikes if she wants to, and that's no reason to dehumanize and violate her) and children (think Etan Patz and Adam Walsh) is just the "easiest" power to achieve in this society (side note: "stop tattling?" Really? Good damn thing I'm not that girl's parents, or that teacher would be nursing at the very least as badly busted a face as I could inflict before the cops put a stop to me).

Power over refugees, over widows, over orphans, over little kids. Power that leads to the kind of corruption that begets rape.

It's far too easy for that kind of power to fall, not just here in the US (witness w and Cheney) but worldwide, into the hands of men (and sometimes boys) who either lack control of their compulsions or refuse to control themselves.

Why is that? Is it really because we raise so many damaged boys? Is it really because we empower so many damaged men? Or is it something else? Is it because even in 2009, we still consider women (and because they are not "manly," children also) "fair game" for sexual exploitation?

Um, well ... take a hard look. Saudi Arabia has a beauty pageant now? There are Nutri-System and Alli ads all over the place with swimsuits and worried-looking women whose figures are merely not skeletal rather than overly lush. Fashion pimps young girls -- seen what the clothes look like in any store for a child bigger than a 6X lately?

We still teach women not to fight back because "you'll make him mad and he'll hurt you worse." We also teach them to expect to be prey. That's a total crock of crap, btw.

He's already out of control, or he wouldn't be fixing to rape somebody. Does that mean men are slaves to their hormones? No, but they damn well are slaves to their own sense of godhood, and when they demonstrate that by raping somebody, it amounts to the same thing.

Submitted by lambert on

Sarah writes:

Why is that? [1] Is it really because we raise so many damaged boys? [2] Is it really because we empower so many damaged men? Or is it something else? [3] Is it because even in 2009, we still consider women (and because they are not "manly," children also) "fair game" for sexual exploitation?

1, 2, and 3 might be ANDed, or they might be ORed, or some combination, no?

Back on the Catholic Church abuse in Ireland, a commenter thought that the abuse the boys suffered at the hands of priests then reproduced itself when the boys became men and abused women. And the boys born into abusive marriages were no doubt in their turn abused by priests, and so it goes. That would mean that 1,2,3 are linked in a cycle (cue discussion on Catholocism and sexual exploitation).

Submitted by cg.eye on

Lambert, because my first impulse upon reading Sarah's comment was to want to punch her in the face. Guess that cycle stuff works with me, too.

The foremost proponent on this blog for the armed forces as they are, for law enforcement as it is, accuses me of being a men's rights advocate, because I rightly point out that prison rape is now openly acknowledged by anti-drug groups as an expected form of social control? I have spent days trying not to respond with a proportionate level of vehemence, but nope, I simply can't manage it.

Sarah, if you looked at the ads link, you would have noticed that no gender was stated in any of them; those ads hold the threat of rape over any kid who tries meth once, then lands in the prison system. Once prison rape was a secret shame, then with AIDS it was acknowledged, but not dealt with, by prisons. Prison officials didn't want to be held liable for not preventing rapes, so they didn't even hand out condoms to prisoners.

The Prison Rape Prevention Act of 2003 is supposed to help reduce such assaults, but it will only work if there's the political will to implement it. Prison rape is torture, and if we as a people deplore torture on varying levels, depending on what gender they are, or whether they are Americans or terrorists (because those are now our working human rights classifications), then it won't matter whether we get Gitmo or any other black prison in order. The same abuse will go on, carried out by de-facto instruments of the state, in the ongoing hatred of anyone who's weak.

You see rape as violence, but the hardcast homophobia of prisoners and authorities force victims of all genders into submissive, effeminate losers. Either that, or victims learn to become predators themselves. That is when they should no longer be given the benefit of the doubt. Your comment makes the assumption that liberal gun-control pansies like me would plead for victims who now abuse. No. I want them jailed and unable to harm anyone else, in or out of prison. I don't want them to be used as freelance guards who keep newbies in line by knocking out their teeth, for easier access. I want prisons to get enough support so workers there don't cede power to criminals. But, most of all, I want inmates to stop being taught how to hurt anyone to perpetuate the system of abuse.

We can't stop predators from growing their replacements unless we acknowledge all their victims. We ask no less for determining a virus' etiology; we don't pat Typhoid Mary on the back, and tell her to keep cooking, just because she's a chronic carrier. It's like single-payer; everybody in; nobody out, abandoned, or left to fester on their own.

"The horrors experienced by many young inmates, particularly those who are convicted of nonviolent offenses, border on the unimaginable. Prison rape not only threatens the lives of those who fall prey to their aggressors, but it is potentially devastating to the human spirit. Shame, depression, and a shattering loss of self-esteem accompany the perpetual terror the victim thereafter must endure."

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun, Farmer v. Brennan

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

"To Serve Male Pleasure"? Sorry, I should avoid "sticky subjects."

It was probably "The Simpsons," anyway...

wiggles's picture
Submitted by wiggles on

Does anyone believe that these young boys, beaten by (male) priests, will not go on to beat others? Generation after generation!

Yes. Not all abuse victims go on to be abusers. Often abuse victims grow up to have a heightened empathy for other victims of abuse and can be strong advocates against abuse and for victims of abuse. Usually they just go on to try to lead normal lives and deal with their own pain. As an adult victim of child abuse myself, I'm pretty damned offended by the assumption here that I'm a ruined person, destined to perpetuate the abuse that I suffered onto others.

What's so interesting to me is that even though abusers were raped and abused by men, they overwhelmingly target women and girls for rape and abuse. In a sense, they break the cycle and choose a different route of victimization.

Second verse, same as the first. 99.999% of rapists are male. 99.999% of rape victims are female. The math clearly doesn't add up to "all rapists are rape victims." If that were the case, women would be 99.999% of the rapists.
Male entitlement, centuries of entrenched sexism, and dehumanization of women and girls is what causes rape and DV, not a history of having been sexually and/or physically abused oneself.

Stop teaching boys that girls are other and icky and things for boys to collect when they grow out of their action figures and you'll start seeing a drop in rape and DV stats.

And I have no idea what that Simpson's clip has to do with anything.

Submitted by lambert on

Wiggles writes:

99.999% of rapists are male. 99.999% of rape victims are female. The math clearly doesn't add up to "all rapists are rape victims." If that were the case, women would be 99.999% of the rapists.

Again, I have no evidence here, but see my comment above on the Irish example.

In the case of: 1. Priest abuses/rapes boy; 2. Boy now man abuses/rapes women; 3. Boy child of abused/raped-when-boy man and abused/raped woman then abused raped/by priest all the rapists are indeed rape victims, because the abuse/rape is multi-generational and flips sexes. (It's like there's a quantum of pain in the world that seek to reproduce itself in our bodies....)

Of course, I know that the world is not Ireland, there is no evidence, etc.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

Is that past abuse really is no marker for future abuse. A rapist is just as likely to come from a background of no abuse.

Ending the cycle of violence and oppression is a laudable goal, and there is something to be said for the argument, that we have to stop inflicting patriarchy on boys, before men will relinquish their privilege over women, as the patriarchy allows.

But at the same time, it cannot be denied that the largest victims of the patriarchy are women, in ways that cannot be quantified in terms of physical suffering, as was so aptly demonstrated this previous year.

And ending abuse against boys, will do no good to women, if ending abuse against women isn't part of the goal.

Submitted by cg.eye on

women's abuse.

End the homophobia that makes someone into someone else's bitch; that allows men to still be seen as non-criminal and normal if they channel their abuse onto women or weaker males (i.e. prostitutes, cellies, outcasts); that equates equality with ball-busting. Finish the job feminism started in the West, but that we allowed to be swallowed up by the rest of the world's male elite through the outsourcing of misogyny -- sex tourism, mail-order marriages, the entire traffic in people that somehow includes abusers taking fees out in trade.

And ending abuse of boys is implicit in the end of abuse of women. If women aren't attacked when they defend their children from their partners, if they can find help and prosecute abusers without fear of losing a living, then boys and girls become safer. The progress of families depends on the education of girls and boys, and women being able to provide for families no matter how evil or lazy (yes, lazy, considering what women do to provide for families, and what men don't) or entitled the fathers are. These are the basic lessons told over and over again by women in the developing world.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

That ending the abuse on women will help end abuse on boys, whereas ending abuse on boys, doesn't necessarily entail ending abuse of women. So its ridiculous to make these "WUT ABOUT THE BOYZ" arguments, because it doesn't focus on the overwhelming victims of patriarchy, who are women and queers. Ending oppression of women helps end oppression of queers, because oppression of queers stems from their refusal to fit in the gender roles assigned to them. If all gender roles are acceptable to society, it helps end oppression.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

But trying to help the boys, usually becomes all about the boys, and the women and girls are left out.

Men helping other men, almost always excludes helping women.

Like I said earlier, trying to help male victims of abuse is a laudable goal. But trying to help abuse victims, with the intent of stopping potential abuse, doesn't pan out that way, because then all the little boys who were never touched, but still abused by the patriarchy, will still go on to abuse women.

So helping boys is a good thing, so long as it is involved with helping women and girls. Helping women and girls automatically helps boys, so there is no focus on one gender at all.

Or perhaps it is easier said as Helping == helping boys, helping boys =/= helping women.

Submitted by lambert on

See the Catholic example in Ireland, where the boys abused by priests grow up to become men who abuse their wives who have kids who are then abused by priests, and so it goes. In that case, ending abuse of boys would indeed "entail" (if things in society can be said to entail) ending abuse of women. Doubtless not true for all cases, but sufficient to defeat generalization.

Not to minimize, at all, but that's not a WHUT ABOUT THE BOIZ argument.

Taking paragraph one as true for the purposes of argument: What bugs me about "Focus on the victims" is that if that's all there is, then it's a static model. For example, if Alice Miller is right, then children might be exactly the ones to focus on. Get 'em before they either prey on, or become victims.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

Because previous abuse is no indication of future abuse. Just as many abuse victims are as likely to advocate against abuse, instead of perpetrating it. And I don't agree that the case in Ireland defeats generalization, I haven't seen the numbers(I remember you posted some data, but did it show a percentage higher than usual of post-incident abuse? Or are you operating under the assumption, that since they were abused, of course they went on to abuse.)

If you want to stop abuse against boys, stop abuse against women. That is an area where a trickle down effect actually works, because if you stop seeing half the human race as an Other, it is harder to justify abuse against them, and all Other weaker people.

And yes, educating children should be a primary focus, but contrary to popular belief old dogs can learn new tricks, and so can old men. Old men are the ones making policy that affect us now, young men are the ones who will be in 10 years, and young and old men are the ones abusing us NOW. So we have to deal with their re-education. We can't wait for the eglitarian educated boys and girls to come to power.

Submitted by lambert on

Some find it so. Arthur's Alice Miller:

Humiliations, spankings and beatings, slaps in the face, betrayal, sexual exploitation, derision, neglect, etc. are all forms of mistreatment, because they injure the integrity and dignity of a child, even if their consequences are not visible right away. However, as adults, most abused children will suffer, and let others suffer, from these injuries. This dynamic of violence can deform some victims into hangmen who take revenge even on whole nations and become willing executors to dictators as unutterably appalling as Hitler and other cruel leaders. Beaten children very early on assimilate the violence they endured, which they may glorify and apply later as parents, in believing that they deserved the punishment and were beaten out of love. They don't know that the only reason for the punishments they have ( or in retrospect, had) to endure is the fact that their parents themselves endured and learned violence without being able to question it. Later, the adults, once abused children, beat their own children and often feel grateful to their parents who mistreated them when they were small and defenseless.

Now, of course, not all abusers go on to abuse. But you said "no indication." I just don't think that's right.

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Submitted by Aeryl on

Until I catch up on all my work from my 4 day vacay, or I get home, so I can find the reports on the study that says, Past Abuse is no indicator of future abuse, which was from a few years back.

Cuz, I didn't just pull that out of my ass. :) And though anecdata is not data, I am going to add this. Maybe it is because I openly acknowledge that I am a victim of abuse, but it makes other victims more open and forward about their experiences. So, I know a lot of abuse victims, women and men, and very few of them have ever gone on to abuse others, though they may have endured a period where they abused themselves. Now, it is common that abusers use past abuse to justify their actions, but that doesn't mean cause and effect. But, if you take that to its logical conclusion, rape victims shouldn't be allowed to bear children, because most of them will rape their children.

A lot of what determines if victims will become abusers, is the conditioning they have. The Irish boys who were abused, may have a higher rate of abusing later, but they also grew up in an environment, where women are already considered "less than" due to Catholic teachings, so without the abuse from their childhood, they probably would have had a statistical chance of a higher abuse rate, anyway.

But I would bet that just as many, rejected the church teachings that sanctioned their treatment. But not as many rejected the church's teachings on women, which leads back to my original point, that stopping abuse against boys is no indicator that women will stop being abused.

Are there abuse victims who, if they had never been abused, would never have gone on to abuse others? Most definitely. That number is probably just a lot lower than most people assume.

Submitted by lambert on

... pull the data out of your ass, since you've been posting here long enough for me to know that's not your tendency ;-)

What I am saying is that you put forward a proposition that Alice Miller (who I'd put on the side of the angels) disagrees with, and that she's a source for Arthur's thinking (who I'd also put on the side of the angels). And it's a proposition that's pretty fundamental to the discussion, I would say.

So there's further discussion to be had, clearly.

NOTE It may be that "indicator" is a term of art for you that I'm not grokking.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

And I'll pull it together tomorrow.

I have to go get my daughter from her youth group, I don't let the church bus stop at my house :D

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Submitted by Sarah on

at least in parts of the US where kids are exposed to Elmo, Big Bird, Bert and Ernie, and the kingdom of puppets in Mr. Rogers' neighborhood early and often (don't get me started on Barney) but I have kids in their 20s and they really do perceive appearance differently than my generation, I think, perceives it.

I think that comes from early-imprinting on ideas like mutual respect.