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The War on Women Ross Douthat
« on: January 11, 2014, 08:20:41 PM »
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/12/opinion/sunday/douthat-the-war-on-women.html?ref=opinion

The War on Women

JAN. 11, 2014


Ross Douthat

 

THE year is new, but we already have a candidate for the most troubling magazine essay of 2014: Amanda Hess on “Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet,” in the latest issue of Pacific Standard.

Hess takes a reality many people may be only dimly aware of — that female writers come in for an extraordinary amount of abuse online — and fleshes it out with detail, data and personal experience. The anecdotes, her own and others, range from the offensive to the terrifying, but there’s also a thudding, soul-crushing sameness to them: graphic threats of sexual violence, rape and murder, intertwining and repeating.

Everyone who writes online comes in for abuse, but Hess’s essay describes a form of intimate attack that few male journalists experience. We hear about it over drinks, we catch glimpses of it on Twitter, but it’s easy for us to miss how radically different it makes our female peers’ experience.

Hess’s essay is mostly interested in solutions and responses: how women should deal with their harassers; how online forums should police abuse; how the laws surrounding stalking and discrimination might adapt to deal with online threats.

But it’s also useful to think about root causes, and where all the hate and twisted fantasies are coming from. Is this misogyny always latent in a subset of the male population, or are there magnifying forces at work?

One potential magnifier, of course, is the Internet itself, which by its nature is a kind of unreal space for many users — a place where a range of impulses can be discussed, explored and acted out in what feels like a consequence-free zone.

There is some evidence that the emergence of this fantasy space has actually made the real world slightly safer for women: studies have shown correlations between access to online pornography and lower rates of sexual assault. But the flip side is that many men who might have successfully regulated their darker impulses now have what seems like a green light to be “virtually” abusive ... because they’re just trying out a role, or because the woman on the receiving end seems no more real to them than a character in a pornographic film.

Another magnifier is ideology. Hess is a feminist who works in culture-war terrain, and there’s no question that women writing from that perspective come in for more personal, sexualized abuse than women writing about, say, monetary policy. Where the personal is political, the political becomes personal more quickly, and the grotesque abuse that liberal, feminist writers can receive for being liberal feminists is a scandal that conservatives, especially, need to acknowledge and deplore.

But many conservative and libertarian women also take a remarkable amount of sexual-political abuse. So it may be that the culture war cuts both ways, and a certain kind of left-wing narrative about gender — in which women are expected to hold liberal views just by virtue of being female — can become a license for allegedly progressive men to demean and dehumanize women who decline to play that part.

And then to further complicate matters, there is the phenomenon of intraliberal misogyny — like the flood of abuse, cited by Hess, that greeted the atheist writer Rebecca Watson when she wrote about sexism and harassment at a skeptics’ convention.

Cases like Watson’s suggest that there’s a chauvinist attitude in play here, a kind of crypto-ideology of sex and gender, that doesn’t map neatly onto what we usually think of as culture-war divides. This attitude is “liberal”  in that it regards sexual license as an unalloyed good, and treats any kind of social or religious conservatism as a dead letter. But at the same time it wants to rebel and lash out against the strictures it feels that feminism and political correctness have placed on male liberty, male rights.

Sometimes this rebellion is just coarse and libertine: think of lad magazines, or the world of pick-up artists, or Seth MacFarlane on Oscar night. But where it intersects with status anxieties, personal failure and sexual frustration, it can turn vicious — in effect, scapegoating women (those frigid castraters, those promiscuous teases) for the culture’s failure to deliver a beer-commercial vision of male happiness.

I don’t think either the left or the right quite understands this worldview: feminists tend to see it simply as a species of reaction, social conservatives as the dark fruit of sexual liberation, when it’s really a combination of the two. And because it channels some legitimate male anxieties alongside its chauvinism and resentment, it probably can’t be shamed or driven underground — or not, at least, without making its side effects for women that much more toxic.

Instead, it needs to be answered, somehow, with a more compelling vision of masculine goals, obligations and aspirations. Forging this vision is a project for both sexes. Living up to it, and cleansing the Internet of the worst misogyny, is ultimately a task for men.

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Offline musiclady

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Re: The War on Women Ross Douthat
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2014, 09:50:42 PM »
There is no greater verbal abuse of women than that of leftist men against conservative women.

But the leftist popular culture, academia, the media, nor leftist politicians don't have a problem with it, so the issue will never be solved.


btw, the internet has made discourse nastier, mostly because of the anonymity of it.  It's just that there are more leftists with inner demons than conservatives, so the ugliness is deeper on their side of things.
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Re: The War on Women Ross Douthat
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2014, 02:10:31 AM »
There is no greater verbal abuse of women than that of leftist men against conservative women.

But the leftist popular culture, academia, the media, nor leftist politicians don't have a problem with it, so the issue will never be solved.


btw, the internet has made discourse nastier, mostly because of the anonymity of it.  It's just that there are more leftists with inner demons than conservatives, so the ugliness is deeper on their side of things.

I don't think it is just that - though it is a huge part.

Firstly, the loudest voices get the most attention. The loudest voices on the internet tend to be young, left leaning and with minimal life experience. They want the attention, so go out of their way to make outrageous statements.
Take Reddit, for example. There are a lot of good, thoughtful, insightful and witty posters there. They are frequently drowned out by the feces flingers, so tend to keep to specific subreddits instead of the general channels.
Or DU - the definition of a left wing site. Again, there are decent people there. Folk you can have an honest conversation with. Try it - you'll be piled on by the howling monkeys.

One board I spend time on is a military board, specifically for UK forces. Unlike the US, the vast majority of our forces are left leaning Labour supporters. Working class blokes, in other words. You'll never, ever see a post disrespecting women.
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Offline musiclady

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Re: The War on Women Ross Douthat
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2014, 12:33:08 PM »
I don't think it is just that - though it is a huge part.

Firstly, the loudest voices get the most attention. The loudest voices on the internet tend to be young, left leaning and with minimal life experience. They want the attention, so go out of their way to make outrageous statements.
Take Reddit, for example. There are a lot of good, thoughtful, insightful and witty posters there. They are frequently drowned out by the feces flingers, so tend to keep to specific subreddits instead of the general channels.
Or DU - the definition of a left wing site. Again, there are decent people there. Folk you can have an honest conversation with. Try it - you'll be piled on by the howling monkeys.


It doesn't matter how many "good, thoughtful, insightful, witty posters" there are on a site if there are misogynists using filthy language to demean women on the site.

It's like saying to a woman, go ahead and wander into a gang of thugs.  They won't ALL rape you, so you'll be fine.  Some of them are really witty, intelligent people......... 

The truth is, there is still a lot of bias against women among some menfolk, and in the anonymity of the internet, it can get really ugly.

The "war on women" that Douhat refers to here, is heavily slanted toward leftist men, who demean women as a matter of course, and feel there are no limits to the vile insults they can heap on conservative women.

Again...........leftists have less morality, ergo less conscience, and when their demons are unleashed, they are much more vitriolic.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2014, 12:33:34 PM by musiclady »
Character still matters.  It always matters.

May 3, 2016 - the day the Republican party left ME.  I am now without a Party, and quite possibly without a country.  May God have mercy!

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Re: The War on Women Ross Douthat
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2014, 12:47:19 PM »
There are misogynists everywhere, my Lady. A certain TOS has more than it's fair share also. Though I agree - in terms of both overt and casual misogyny it is hard to beat the leftists. Dig into the Men's Rights movement (actually, don't just trust me, it's as terrible as it sounds) and most of them are extremely to the left. Some of them make the Worm look positively conservative!

Dad has a saying. "If I don't notice a pretty woman, box me, I'm dead. If I insult one, shoot me, I should be dead."
Then again, that's the same guy who taught me that the only ugly woman is one with an ugly soul, so take it as you will.
The fastest way to a man's heart? Inch to the right of the breastbone, between the fourth and fifth rib.

Every time I start to feel boring, I remember there is a monthly magazine devoted to elevators.

Avatar courtesy of Oceander

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Offline musiclady

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Re: The War on Women Ross Douthat
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2014, 02:15:58 PM »
There are misogynists everywhere, my Lady. A certain TOS has more than it's fair share also. Though I agree - in terms of both overt and casual misogyny it is hard to beat the leftists. Dig into the Men's Rights movement (actually, don't just trust me, it's as terrible as it sounds) and most of them are extremely to the left. Some of them make the Worm look positively conservative!

Dad has a saying. "If I don't notice a pretty woman, box me, I'm dead. If I insult one, shoot me, I should be dead."
Then again, that's the same guy who taught me that the only ugly woman is one with an ugly soul, so take it as you will.

As one who spent 10 years taking the arrows of misogynist pseudo-cons, I won't argue that there are women-haters on all kinds of forums, and some of them might even actually BE conservative.

However, as we both agree, the preponderance of hatred for women comes from the left, because so many who support leftist 'ideals' have no morals, no ethics, and no values.

The greatest evil being done against women is abortion, and the left cheers it on at every turn.
Character still matters.  It always matters.

May 3, 2016 - the day the Republican party left ME.  I am now without a Party, and quite possibly without a country.  May God have mercy!


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