Are we women worth defending?

You are probably already familiar with the story about the huge increase in rapes in Norway, with 2/3 of them committed by “immigrants with a non-western background.” (And I wonder who those non-western immigrants might be?) I didn’t even bother to comment on it originally, because LGF had it covered. I’m commenting now because of something Phibian said when he discussed this story, and it’s something that really needs further thought. After relaying the news, Phibian added:

There is hope, perhaps. From what I hear and watching the voting changes in Denmark and even Sweden, the head-in-the-sand attitude is slowly changing. They need to go faster though. A culture whose men will not come to the defense of their wives, sisters, and daughters is a culture that will not last. (Emphasis mine.)

What I wonder is whether Western women have been so abusive of their men, both by denigrating them and by marginalizing them, that men no longer feel either a need or a desire to protect them.

I’m the post-women’s lib generation. That is, I wasn’t one of the bra-burning, consciousness-raising crowd. I came of age after everyone had been assured that women are entirely equal and men are sexist pigs to have kept them in servitude for so long. I went to college at a time (true story) when a young man who had the grace to hold the door open for a young women, even one burdened with books, would find himself roundly scolded for treating a woman like a helpless being.

I along with my generation, read Susan Faludi’s Backlash : The Undeclared War Against American Women and Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth : How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women, both of which assured me that, despite their lip service to liberation, modern American men had as their real goal the subjugation of women by whatever means necessary. I grew to suspect and disrespect men.

What saved me were a few things. I respected my father, a deeply honorable man. I read Arlie Hochschild’s The Second Shift, which pointed out that the more men bought into women’s lib, the less likely that were to help their working wives, and I read Christina Hoff-Sommer’s Who Stole Feminism? : How Women Have Betrayed Women, which exposed the vast divide between equity feminists (those who want equal work for equal pay, and equal treatment under the law), and the more extreme feminists who view men as inferior beings out to enslave and destroy women. Lastly, I got to know more men, some of whom became dear friends, and it was obvious that they were not the enemy. However, not all women have made this journey, and the NOW website amply demonstrates that many women continue to view men as alien beings placed on earth to destroy women.

Men are not stupid (feminist myths notwithstanding). They know that, in Western civilization, women think little of them. Under those circumstances, why in the world would men who have absorbed this message feel obligated to put themselves on the line for these women? I know that any individual man will act for his own wife, his own sister, and his own daughter, but he feels no obligation to women at large, since women at large have made it clear that he is unnecessary except for his sperm capacity.

(By the way, I am a complete equity feminist, with an abiding belief in equal pay for equal work, equal opportunities, and equal treatment under the law. I do not believe men are out to get me. I do not believe that either sex is superior or inferior to the other. I do not believe men are conspiring to keep women barefoot, pregnant, in the kitchen, and out of the boardroom. I do believe men have problems with toilet seats and apologies, but we won’t go there.)

UPDATE: Something interesting to read in connection with my musings about the respect men and women have lost for each other.

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  • kevin

    “I do believe men have problems with toilet seats”

    Wow, I’m afraid I have to disagree with this one. Think about it, the seat must be an afterthought otherwise there would be no reason to have it lift in the first place! Therefore, the natural condition of the toilet would be seat up.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    Toilet wars.

    Maybe that’s why the kids keep the lights on. Don’t want any skulking about, eh.

    On a more serious note, it is interesting. Meaning, I was talking(blog comments), recently, to a woman who lived in Scotland. She didn’t seem extreme in any instance or overly bitter, but her treatment of me as opposed to her treatment of another guy attacking me at her site, was very weird and disjointed. I never could quite figure that out. She called him chivalrous.

    Then there was that feminist website and the author sounded like a reasonable person, up until you started reading what she actually believed. Wack.

    At its base, I think it has to do with self-defense. If women don’t want to be helpless nor do they want aggressive men to defend them, then they must act the role of the warrior and defender themselves. Meaning, they must learn self-defense and perhaps more importantly, how to kill.

    If a woman doesn’t do that, then who does she expect to protect her? Liberalism? Feminism? The police? Not showing fear to the thugs, will that protect her? *shrugs*

    I never liked it whenever I heard women rag on about men and how men are aggressive or uncivilized. This was true even in grade school. I had nothing against equal opportunity and equal treatment under the law, that is just justice. But it went beyond that, there was a contempt, a self-righteousness. People who are internally strong don’t need to drag other people through the sewers to raise themselves up. I have always believed that.

    I think a woman who can take care of herself and can do pull ups with only 2 fingers on each hand, won’t feel the need to be bitter or self-righteous.

    I think the primary problem with Norway, though, is that they just stand around waiting for the police to save them. Meaning, if any man or woman does something to defend themselves or ANOTHER, they will get sued and put in jail. The keys will be thrown away probably. I once remember something about a Norwegian or Swedish official being stabbed to death in a mall, with a HUGE group of people around them, and the people did NOTHING. They just sat around, looking, while this woman was being assaulted and was screaming for help.

    That would not have happened in the South. Not that there wouldn’t be stabbings, but that if anyone saw a guy with a knife trying to kill people, they would all RUSH him. If he survived, he would get taken to the hospital.

    That’s why people know they need guns. You try the “knife approach”, and you’ll be dead meat.x

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    Your post reminded me of this blog post by Phil.

    Woman beaten for not going to the back of the bus

    phil’s blog here.

    Link

  • highlander

    It is true that there is a good deal of male-bashing going on in the media these days, and I confess that it grieves me. But that does not relieve my friends and I of our obligations as men. Nor does it prevent us from fulfilling them.

    Some women have had bad experiences at the hands of men, and some have had experiences terrible beyond imagining. But just because they have come to believe that men in general are useless and/or exploitive and/or abusive does not mean that I, as a man, cannot treat them with kindness and take care of and protect them as well as I can. This is an obligation — and an opportunity — that cannot be taken from me.

    Just because some women don’t like me doesn’t mean I cannot still be a good man — not a perfect man to be sure — but still, hopefully, a good one.

    I do not consider myself unique in this. I am sure that the vast majority of my male friends would say pretty much the same thing. Perhaps some of those who visit your site will add their voices to mine.

  • JaneB

    “with 2/3 of them committed by

  • lqznib

    “… and equal treatment under the law.”

    This is not true in family law, especially with respect to divorce and child custody. The law is so slanted toward women that many young men are avoiding marriage and avoiding having children. Who wants to lose nearly everything and gain child support without even being able to consistently see his own children? One of my sons and a co-worker are current examples. True, two examples do not prove the whole, but this wasn’t the case when I was young.

    By the way I am married for the second time. The first was a American (not mestizo); the second is to a Mexican (mestizo) legal immigrant. The second time is much better.

  • kevin

    “two examples do not prove the whole”

    Yes, but data is the plural of anecdote.

  • http://mkfreeberg.webloggin.com Morgan K Freeberg

    One of the truisms of the human condition that is most obvious, but of which people dare not speak, is the tribal instinct. People are programmed to view each other as members of s-e-c-t-s (not necessarily sex), and eliminate members of the opposing tribe. Homicide, ostracism, some sort of virtual “gelding,” it’s all equally good. So long as different tribes are made non-existent, or life resembles the way it would be if that tribe never existed.

    When members of one class, see members of another class associating with each other, directing hostility and acrimony back their way, it just sets this instinct off. Put more simply: A man sees a plurality of women associating and kibitzing about what unscrupulous dogs men are in general — it’s on. It’s not justifiable or unjustifiable, or masculine or otherwise, it’s simply the way people work. So I think your theory has a lot of merit. People don’t have the instinct to demonstrate charity and benevolence, toward a class of outsiders that reward them only with nastiness. It’s like a form of betrayal to their own tribe. It’s the whole reason we’re inclined to start traditions with last-names. We form clans, and do what it takes to keep clans going. Personal gain, expressions of gratitude, these have nothing to do with the equation at all.

  • http://thoughtyoudneverask.blogspot.com/ Zabrina

    I urge any man scolded by any women for opening a door for her, or any other polite gesture, to look the harridan in the eye and tell her she’s being rude, which is the truth. And don’t give up your kind gestures just because you run across one or more mean individuals. That happens to all of us, regardless of gender, class, politics or anything else. We shouldn’t let it diminish our own goodness.

    I teach my son to open doors for anyone, and especially to give up his seat to the elderly of either sex, or to the obviously pregnant or infirm. That’s just the Golden Rule. If I myself (a middle-age woman) get to a door just before a man, woman, kid, or anybody, I’ll hold it open in courtesy, and those who hold open doors for me, of either sex, I thank. I have never had a man snap at me for treating him as “helpless” or “weak.” I have been fortunate to encounter (so far) polite and gracious men and women in these instances. But even if someone is rude to me, that doesn’t give me permission or reason to be rude back at them. It’s they who have a problem. Poor them.

    How hard is that to figure out? If everyone tried to be gracious, civil, conscious of and helpful to others around them, the world would be a much better place. I try to do my part and urge you: don’t let the shrews or the jerks get you down and diminish the good you can put out into your community in even the smallest encounters.

    This has nothing to do with anything outside the feminists’ warped and bitter worldview. Don’t give them the power to spoil the good you can do.

  • Marguerite

    Zabrina and hilander – I want to know more gracious people and you (and BW) made my day! BTW, since no one can laugh at me to my face, why don’t guys bitch about toilet seats being left down? What am I missing on this age-old battle?

  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    Marguerite, it’s because men don’t fall in when they take care of business with a toilet seat down. They just make a mess.

  • http://bertrandrussell.blogspot.com PG

    “the NOW website amply demonstrates that many women continue to view men as alien beings placed on earth to destroy women.”

    Could you point out what specifically you see on the NOW website that supports this viewpoint? The only man I see mentioned on the first page is Eric Keroack, and he is being attacked for his opposition to contraception. As contraception (and abortion) are necessary only if women have sex with men, so NOW’s focus on reproductive rights strongly implies that they don’t “view men as alien beings placed on earth to destroy women,” or at least they accept the existence both of men and women who have sex with them. For a lesbian to concern herself with abortion is altruistic. The fact that Western women continue to view men as desirable (how many female-oriented movies, shows, magazines and books make a boyfriend/ husband the most important goal one can have?) despite, unlike women in many developing countries, not needing a man to support them, indicates that there’s less hatred of men in Western culture than you think.

    Bookworm, I must be in the generation after yours, because I’ve NEVER witnessed a man scolded for holding a door open for a woman or performing any other courtesy for her. And I live in New York! and work for an organization that focuses on women and the law, yet that has multiple males in the leadership! I guess I’m living in a bubble beyond the general misandry…

    The biggest instance of man-hating I’ve encountered in the last year probably was the movie “You, Me and Dupree,” which depicts the husband as utterly insensitive, moronic and jealous, while his wife is patient and long-suffering. This despite her judgmental attitude toward his possession of pornography — oh, wait, I guess that attitude is OK because porn is “raunchy.”

  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    You’re right, PG, that there’s nothing on today’s NOW home page specifically going after men. I toodle over their periodically just to check things out, which is why I carry away an impression of animus towards men. I especially see it in the violence against women page. Yes, women are the victims of violence, but, if I took the time (and I can’t right now), I could fairly easily dig up statistics showing their NOW’s campus campaigns, aimed at teaching all young women to view the men next to them as attackers, is a terrible misuse of assault statistics. I’m also less than thrilled about the advantage NOW has taken of Title IX, creating a situation in which male athletes are at war with women and demanding a false equity that ignores the fact that male college students are way more interested in sports than women. So it’s not any one specific article, it’s a bunch of assumptions underlying the positions NOW takes.

    As for the scolding, that was a long time ago, and I’ve never forgotten it. By the time I became a young professional, most of my male colleagues had learned their lesson and would never have dreamed of offering women any extra courtesies. Maybe — I hope — the pendulum has swung back on that one.

  • kevin

    “* * * Title IX, creating a situation in which male athletes are at war with women”

    Best solution–coed sports. Seperate but equal has been ruled to be inherently unequal; if women want to compete–let them try out for the same available positions in sports programs as men.

  • http://www.chaoticsynapticactivity.com xformed

    Bookworm;

    Followed you over from Cdr S’ post this morning. I found this article this afternoon that might factor into the discussion of shoving men to the side.

    Good comments here…and I think you have found a real topic worthy of discussion.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    I live in the Deep South. Where I’m at, adults naturally hold the door for those behind them, regardless of age or sex, simply because it is common courtesy extended to all. You don’t think of their race, their sex, or their age. You just do it, because you see other people around you doing it for others and for you as well. It is not lavish or formal or courtly. People don’t walk up to a door, open it, turn back around and do a flourish. That’s ridiculous. It is much more mundane and automatic in real life. You know some of the time (or all of the time if you have situational awareness), whether someone is behind you or not and how far away they are. When you open a door to get in, simply stopping with your arm against the door, for a few seconds while they catch up, is easy to do. Almost effortless. Turn your head to the door so you may see their distance to you, and simply continue walking foward when they get near enough to grab the door. It is an unconscious action. People do it because they feel better about themselves when they help others and are thanked for their efforts (which is the usual response if someone holds a door for you while you catch up) and because being helped in turn gives a sense of community and common humanity.

    It has been modified. Where before men might have ostentatiously walked 20 feet ahead of a woman and opened the door for them, waiting for more than 10 seconds for the woman to enter, now has turned into a simple courtesy regardless of social stratification. But this is the Deep South. I make no classifications or claims about any place else in America.

    I echo Zabrina’s sentiments of course. And her comment is what inspired me to write this one. The physics of the situation is simple. The glass doors that close based upon pneumonic pressure or even hydraulics, take a bit of strength and power to open to its maximum. People would feel embarassed if someone in front of them held open the door, waiting 10+ seconds for you to get there. So even courtesy is based upon a risk and reward analysis, unconscious perhaps, but still. Americans believe in efficiency above all else. How to save energy, how to make the most productive use of work. It takes more energy for two people to open a door, then it takes one person to open a door, hold the door for 3 seconds, and additionally for the other person to grab the door to prevent it from closing.

    Personal anecdote. I was walking out of a building with two double doors as the exit. Clear glass with metal handholders, pneumatically closed (or hydraulic for all I know). There was a woman inside the outer double doors and not yet inside the inner double doors, with one of those pulling backpack things that run on wheels if you pull it at a 45 degree angle. I calculated where she would logically be at the moment I was at the inner double doors. Depending upon this result, I had to decide which door to use, left or right. If I calculated that she would be inside the double doors already at the time I got there, then I would probably go to the unopened door, catch the door she opened as she went past me, and slipped out.

    It just so happened that I decided on using the door that she opened, which was the door to my left. I could have just as easily went to the right door, opened it, but decided that given how things were working out, I might either obstruct her movement into the building or get blocked or some other kind of delay. Embarassed delay that is, must avoid that. I prefered an easier path, preferably without having to exert much force.

    How it ended up is simple. I stopped at the outer double doors, waiting for her to open and enter the left handed door, while I stood 2 feet down the center. She was opening the door and holding it open right her right hand, while trying to fit that little wheely backpack thingie into the opening of the door. I would have just pushed the door to get more room to move in. But that was me, she for some reason was not doing it that way. So she looked like she had a spot of trouble. Trouble for her means delay for me. And I don’t want to look like a fool waiting around while this woman was trying to open this heavy pressure door wide enough so that she could fit her stuff in through. I also didn’t want to go through the right door because I didn’t want a jam, that’s another hassle, nor do I want to appear impatient, thereby causing her distress. She should take all the time she wants, without considering any desire or impatience of mine. But primarily I didn’t go the other door because it was just more convenient the way I did it.

    However, I wasn’t going to stand around while she did so. So I moved to the left of the door she was behind, used my extended left arm to hold the door open so that she could walk through with package behind her. It was the classic posture of a guy holding a door open so that the lady might enter undisturbed, but it had little to nothing to do with chivalry and lots to do with my interests and objectives as well as simple time efficiency..

    Holding the door open for her got her through faster. Everyone benefited.

    She seemed surprised, she might in fact not even have realized I was standing around because she was looking down at the small angle formed by the (slightly) opened door and the center struct.

    All this occured in like what, 5 to 7 seconds? 2 to get to the door, 1 to decide what to do, 1 to hold it, and about 3-4 for her to get through. It was nothing. The barest of calculations out of a whole plethora we make every day of our lives.

    I had an objective and a goal, which was to get out of the building using as little energy as possible while accuring the least amount of mental troubles. This woman seemingly having not enough strength to open a door with one arm wide enough for her to get through pulling a package, offended my sense of timely order. She also seemed to be a fellow traveler. After all, I wouldn’t want to pull a door all the way open as well, those things were NOT greased, it took a few pounds of pressure to put them to their maximum angle. I had no problem with them, and had found several energy saving methods to open them. But she seemed to be having trouble. I felt no resentment nor contempt towards her lack of strength or her situation that was preventing me from getting out the building. I simply saw a problem, assessed how it could be solved, and then chose the simplest, most energy efficient solution to both my problem and hers.

    I played to my strengths, we worked as a team. She opened the door, so that I wouldn’t have to nor would I have to stand inside the door blocking people. I held the door open, while moving my body to the far left to give her free reign, and she pulled her package inside the door with her. Deal done, teamwork mission accomplished. Chivalrous? Sexist? Treating women as they are weak and helpless? Don’t even try that joke with me.

    People who are in balance do not go out of their way to make problems for strangers or other folks and molks. They do not expend energy yelling (racism) and screaming (sexism) and making the problem bigger. I will have no associations with such, for they have my utmost contempt and derision. It is precisely the difference between how people actually act in reality (as well as how they should act) and how it differs from NOW’s stated solutions to problems that don’t exist, that is the problem.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    Are you refering to such things as Bookworm, in relation to your topic of “Deserving or Not”?

    Link

    Language warning at the end, of course, but not in the poem itself.

    I can see how it would be funny, but for some reason it isn’t funny to me. Is it funny to you?

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    as this, I mean.

  • Christian J.

    No………….Not worth the effort.

    Equal opportunity, look after yourself.

  • Michael Devereaux

    Watch a very large amount of network TV, if you can endure it. While watching take notes on and compile statistics on moments and scenes where someone acts like a complete idiot, and not in a manner that evokes sympathy. Where that someone is the target of derision by the MAKERS of the show or commercial.

    I am certain you will find that a huge percentage of the targets of this derision will be males (and usually white). Older people, especially when cast as grandparents, often are targets as well.

    I contend that these constant images have a pernicious effect that continually deepens as the images sink repeatedly into our brains. Some might claim that crude, hostile humor is the best and quickest way to connect with the audience, especially in commercials, and white males and old people are the only “safe” targets of this form of humor. It is self-reinforcing, however.

    Men are complete idiots, merely to be put up with. And old people, too.
    That’s the message, repeated ad nauseum. It has its effects.

  • Elenor

    On the toilet seat thing?

    ANY woman who sets her bare butt down on ANY surface without first checking it to ascertain its condition deserves the dunking!!

    And why is the “rule” that men must put it down? Why is not the rule that women must put it up? Seems to me that since men can be … drippy…, the default position should be up, and women should return it to that position when done.

    (However, infectious disease safety suggests: flush with the cover down as well, to prevent germs from being spread about the room by the force of the moving water… So how about a rule to put the seat and cover down, for both sexes?)

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    Elenor makes quite a bit of sense. Even if our society is too irrational to adopt such policies.