• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Hillary Clinton, Sexism, and Male Privilege

Clinton, Gates, And Mullen Testify Before Senate Foreign Relations Cmte

The discussion in the “Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Tip at Chipotle” thread went from the silliness of the news coverage and the American system of tipping to the more serious subject of sexism. Specifically, how much of the widely acknowledged animus towards Hillary Clinton is a function of her not conforming to socially acceptable gender norms? Moreover, should the rules of political discourse change when there’s a woman in the race?

We went through—and to some extent, are still going through—a lot of this with regards to Barack Obama and race. When the politician is perceived as black, it’s next to impossible to separate out animus against his personality, style, policies, and party from those stemming from racism. His supporters will almost always try to assert “racism” because it’s not only a trump card in a debate but the mere charge puts the other side on its heels in that particular instance and creates a chilling effect in all future instances.  Given the vitriol that was directed at Bill Clinton—who was accused of everything from rape to murder to launching wars to distract from his personal shenanigans—the bar is pretty high for demonstrating that Obama is going through is primarily a function of his race. At the same time, it’s undeniable that there’s both conscious anti-black animus as well as the less conscious effects of white privilege in play.

The same is true of Hillary Clinton. On the one hand, there’s simply no question that, as a woman, she gets more commentary on her hairdo and clothing than she would if she were a man. Of course, male politicians essentially all have the same haircuts and wardrobe, so there’s less to talk about. (What was Ted Cruz thinking going with a medium-gray suit and a sidepart today?!) Still, I’ve referred to her as “frumpy” from time to time; I probably wouldn’t use that term for a male candidate. Of the major potential male presidential contenders, only Chris Christie regularly gets commentary on his appearance—and he’s sufficiently obese to be well outside the norms of American politicians. (I’m actually surprised that Jeb Bush hasn’t drawn more fire along those lines; he’s gotten rather chunky since stepping down as governor of Florida.) So, there’s some element of sexism there.

More problematic is our reaction to candidate personalities. Reacting to my statement in the comments that “Hillary has always struck me as completely cynical, willing to say or be anything to advance her agenda,” Michael Reynolds charged, “You’re reacting to ambition in a woman. The same ambition and ruthlessness is quite evident in just about every candidate but you spin it differently in your head because it’s coming from a woman.” My response:

I’ve never understood the “strong woman” defense as applied to Hillary Clinton. She would have had zero appeal as a politician on her own merits and got to the top of the national spotlight by riding Bill’s coattails. She then used the White House to run for a Senate seat in New York of all places, again based solely on the name recognition she had for being married to Bill and had the good fortune of the Republican frontrunner imploding. She followed that by a losing bid for the Democratic nomination against a young upstart, who then appointed her Secretary of State for no apparent reason.

She’s uncommonly smart and is more disciplined and hard-working than her husband. But her rubbing people the wrong way isn’t a function of her being a woman but rather of her personality and her path to the top.

To which Reynolds retorted,

I’m not suggesting you’re a sexist overall. I think though that Hillary’s barely-suppressed arrogance bothers you more because she’s a woman. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, all ooze arrogance and make little effort to conceal it, but they’re guys so that assholery is more familiar and contextualized for you.

To which I replied, in part,

Actually, they’re all pretty much acknowledged assholes and most of us have written them off for the presidency because of it. Paul is also a bit of a kook. Walker would probably be a pretty plausible nominee aside from the assholery surrounding the way he handled the teachers unions—a policy position on which I could have supported him but found unconscionable precisely because of his arrogance. Christie, aside from being fat, would be almost an ideal candidate aside from his grating personality.

Separately, Reynolds observed,

Republicans are going to really want to watch their male assumptions or they’ll walk into a series of Mourdock moments. Republicans have a tin ear for anything not white, male, Christian and upper middle class. Don’t forget, even Obama stepped in it with his, “You’re likable enough,” crack.

To which I replied,

It is what it is but it’s patently unfair that male candidates have to bend over backwards to avoid being condescending when dealing with women candidates. Something like Reagan’s “There you go again” or Bentson’s “You’re no Jack Kennedy” would never play against a women but was considered perfectly fair against a man.

To which he responded,

As for any special treatment for women, sorry, but that really is your male privilege talking. 44 male presidents in a row, zero female, and we’re to believe she has some unfair gender advantage? Women have to “bend over backward” to avoid seeming too direct, too challenging, too “masculine.”

You want to talk unfair? Take a guess at how many times over the next 18 months we’ll see talk of hairstyles, clothing choices, wrinkles, etc… discussed on Fox and the networks. I’ll bet you a dollar the ratio of such references is at least 10 times higher for Hillary than for any male candidate – even Christie.

You’re seeing the ways in which a male candidate might have to adjust to deal with Hillary while failing to see that her adjustment to dealing with the patriarchy will be far more taxing. And I would submit that your intuitive grasp of the male difficulties and blindness to the female equivalents are a result of your gender. You assume the male paradigm is the default and anything else is a suspicious and unfair deviation.

To which, really, there is no response. American politics is American politics and it has been male dominated since its inception. I did note that,

There’s no doubt that women are looked at through a different lens than men and that this comes with advantages and disadvantages. For most of our history, being a woman was a huge disadvantage in electoral politics, if not outright disqualifying. In recent years, it’s actually become an advantage in races other than president, with the problem being that men are much more likely to actually run for office. (There’s essentially no history of qualified women running for president, with Hillary 2000 being the only real example.)

Regardless, I wasn’t making a general comment about women in politics but rather characterizing your own example. Obama’s “likable enough” comment was only awkward because it was aimed at a woman. Aimed at a Chris Christie or Ted Cruz, it would have brought the house down.

But, again, there’s no response to the “privilege” argument. It’s baked into the entire culture. On that, I’m completely with Reynolds. In turn, he observes,

I’m with you in hating that kind of chip-on-your-shoulder approach where everything is offensive to someone. It ends up making communication impossible, it trivializes actual important issues, and it generally sucks the humor out of life at which point life becomes intolerable.

But I’ve been listening more to women lately – not the crazies, but rational people – and I have to say, they have a lot of perfectly good beef with the male half of the human race. I think sexism is a lot more complicated than racism is, but when you look at something like Gamergate you find significant numbers of men really, actually despise women. I was shocked. Women who criticize the gaming community in even the most calm, quiet and reasonable ways get doxxed and are viciously attacked online.

Which goes well beyond the question of Hillary Clinton or sexism in the political discourse, going to the culture. The attitude Reynolds describes was always there, especially among the teen-to-early-twenties set, but it may be more prevalent now. I’ve only read bits and pieces of the social identity literature but I think the attitude is yet another manifestation of a changing society and a large number of people’s inability to adjust.

It was always true that women matured faster than men but part of the reason for that is that the transformation from boy to man is much more complete than that from girl to woman. In recent decades, it’s become worse, in that males are increasingly doing jobs where brute strength and physical courage have little value and, to make matters worse, are doing them alongside women. I think a significant percentage of men are naturally going to seethe at the structure of an office environment and they’re going to be especially resentful of having women as their bosses or even colleagues. Basically, it’s harder to actually distinguish oneself as “a man.”

I was never much into gaming and, in any case, it wasn’t a massive social activity in the way that it is now with the Internet. But skill at certain types of video games was a nerd’s equivalent to being a successful hunter or warrior, a way of setting themselves apart and gaining a source of pride in their manliness. Having women and girls demonstrate that they can do it just as well is thus very literally emasculating.

I don’t know how we fix any of this in the short term. I’m raising two little girls and haven’t really figured out how to prepare them for it. The good news, at least in terms of racism and sexism, is that we’re having this conversation in the context of the second term of a black president and at the beginning of a presidential race in which a woman is not only virtually assured of being the Democratic nominee but is the early favorite to win. Both of those would have been the stuff of fantasy in my lifetime.

Related Posts:

  • None Found

About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Mike says:

    BS. HRC is where she is because of WJC, feminists and the MSM. She has no political gifts whatsoever. Has nothing to do with sexism. HRC is a hard left harpy with no accomplishments. The sexism involved if any is the MSM desperation to prop up a tired old unaccomplished woman as the last best hope for a presidency. What policy position does she have or ever has had that would actually move the economy, living standard and family income forward.

    There are many accomplished women in politics. They are just mostly on the GOP side and ignored by the MSM.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Bob @ Youngstown says:

    Perhaps evolution involves changes in traditions and “traditional roles”.
    IMO, tradition dictates that women should not be permitted to be the US president, just as tradition would have that the black man should “know his place “.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Cheryl Rofer says:

    James, I found your part of the conversation you quote quite reasonable until this:

    It is what it is but it’s patently unfair that male candidates have to bend over backwards to avoid being condescending when dealing with women candidates.

    I thought Michael Reynolds’s response to it excellent. But yes, there is a response to his response. Something like:

    Wow, I never thought of it that way. Yeah, of course I see it through a male lens. Let me think about that some more.

    There is 50% of the population that sees that differently, as Reynolds points out. We’ve had to bend over backwards like forever, and Hillary will continue to have to do that, even if you don’t see it, all through the campaign. It is a handicap that never goes away.

    I’m not fond of the instant-offense part of culture, either, although I wonder why that isn’t just “what it is,” as you refer to that handicap all women bear. It’s just part of the culture, so you will have to put up with the uncivil discussion that goes with criticizing women, men with guns, and the little boys of Gamergate. Nothing can be done about it.

    See how that works? There is something that can be done about that incivility and also about the handicap of male privilege. Reynolds is doing his part.

    There is an active hate-women culture on the internet that attacks women online and in the physical world as well. They advocate murder and rape. I haven’t followed them closely, either, but I see enough to alarm me. I can’t see how that is an acceptable part of the culture.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Lynn says:

    “It was always true that women matured faster than men but part of the reason for that is that the transformation from boy to man is much more complete than that from girl to woman. ”

    What are you talking about?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. al-Ameda says:

    Given the vitriol that was directed at Bill Clinton—who was accused of everything from rape to murder to launching wars to distract from his personal shenanigans—the bar is pretty high for demonstrating that Obama is going through is primarily a function of his race. At the same time, it’s undeniable that there’s both conscious anti-black animus as well as the less conscious effects of white privilege in play.

    Two things can be equally true at the same time:

    (1) There is a notable anti-Black animus in the Republican Party. I believe it goes to passage of the 1964 Civil and Voting Rights Acts, and the subsequent electoral shifts that took place.
    (2) Much of the current obstructionist impulse of the Republican Party is now baked into the Party culture – that is, many Republicans did not consider Bill Clinton or Barack Obama to be legitimate presidents.

    Also, some traits that Hillary Clinton and Carly Florina have – cold, calculating, ambitious – are generally considered to be negative for women politicians, and not so much so for men.In fact for men, those traits are often considered to be evidence of decisiveness and leadership. I would say that both Florina and Mitt Romney have a cold hard business personna that typifies that is front and center most of the time, however I think it’s perceived as much more of a negative for Fiorina. This is changing as more and more women become CEOs and leaders in all professions, but it takes more than a generation to change perceptions and attitudes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. stonetools says:

    HRC is a hard left harpy with no accomplishments

    The fact that the first commenter typed that with no sense of irony indicates that we do indeed have a problem. I anticipate a constant stream of such remarks coming from the right over the next 18 months.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Mikey says:

    @Mike:

    harpy

    It took you only one word to prove Reynolds entirely correct.

    I’m…a bit impressed, actually.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. stonetools says:

    But skill at certain types of video games was a nerd’s equivalent to being a successful hunter or warrior, a way of setting themselves apart and gaining a source of pride in their manliness.

    I have to admit I guffawed at this. Previous generations of men would also have burst out in laughter at the idea that this was in any way a manly pursuit.

    I think a significant percentage of men are naturally going to seethe at the structure of an office environment and they’re going to be especially resentful of having women as their bosses or even colleagues. Basically, it’s harder to actually distinguish oneself as “a man.”

    Hey, guys, want to distinguish yourself as a man? Be really excellent at something worthwhile or build or create something good. Not only will society admire you for that but women find that really sexy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. James Joyner says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I acknowledge the handicaps women have traditionally faced in both the response to that comment and the larger post here. It’s baked in and thus the reason why the “privilege” argument is persuasive and it’s difficult to separate one’s response to Hillary as an individual from one’s response to Hillary as a human being. But in that particular passage I’m really referring to something specific: the notion that Obama’s “likeable enough” jab is sexist. I think it’s a very mild jab and one that would be received much differently against a Ted Cruz.

    @Lynn: The male ideal has historically required, among other things, a near total elimination of emotionalism. Men are expected to never show fear or pain, whereas those are not only acceptable for women but laudable qualities. That’s changing, of course, but not nearly as fast as women’s role in society.

    @stonetools: Yes, of course the notion that prowess at video games is “manly” is silly. But it’s widespread in a certain subset of young male culture. But I do think you underestimate the degree to which the societal expectations of manliness remain based on something beyond simple competence. A woman who’s a highly competent accountant isn’t questioned on her womanhood; her male counterpart may well question his own.

    The bottom line in all this is that, while we’re rightfully coming to terms with how our pigeonholing of women is problematic, we’re not really doing the same for men. And there’s a lot of angst along these lines for men, particularly those lower on the social strata. (Money tends to solve a lot, but not all, of these issues for men in our society.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. Peacewood says:

    A mild digression on Gamergate since I am a gamer: I would not say that gamers feel success at gaming is “manly” per se… Rather, it’s that the pursuit itself, until very recently, was almost strictly the province of men and boys.

    And the fact that, until the early 21st century, that remained true has produced some toxicity in the gaming culture itself. When a video game promoter somehow feels comfortable saying “just sit back and let it happen” while beating a girl in a video game in the biggest, most widely attended conference of the year… Yeah, there are problems. Likewise, “I’ll rape you” is a common insult for any number of FPS players.

    Change will come, but like most change, it will be slow.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. stonetools says:

    The irritating thing for liberals over the next 18 months is that we are going to have defend HRC from many, many unfair attacks on her from the crazy right because she is a woman when we would really rather be discussing her policy positions, which many liberals disagree with.
    Speaking for myself, I don’t give a rip about her sex, her husband, or her age ( I do care about her health).But that’s what the right wing is concerned about, so thats what we are discussing…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Cheryl Rofer says:

    @James: Your response and part of the top post have men’s privilege baked in. You aren’t seeing that, because it’s part of men’s privilege. I’m not going to go through sentence by sentence, because that’s usually boring.

    The insistence, for example, that we must consider that men suffer in this arrangement, too, while glossing over women’s situation. No. If the conversation is about men’s privilege and women’s necessary reaction to that, let’s talk about that. We can talk about men’s problems some other time. I agree that it does no good to men, but they have, by and large, benefitted from the arrangements. Time for someone else to take center stage.

    A woman who’s a highly competent accountant isn’t questioned on her womanhood; her male counterpart may well question his own.

    Yeah, I said I wouldn’t go sentence by sentence, but as a scientist who is a woman, um, this is just wrong. Women who are highly competent at anything are questioned on their womanhood. Trust me.

    And this

    It was always true that women matured faster than men but part of the reason for that is that the transformation from boy to man is much more complete than that from girl to woman.

    is part of why.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. TC says:

    The Corps study Security? I thought you muldoons never made it past pickets… Apologies, as an Army Grunt, retired, please forgive my puerile dig.

    Key take-away for me was something of a mantra of mine: being an asshole is not specific to either sex, and not an attractive trait in a leader.

    As a culture, we tend to associate appearance with ability, pardon my ‘mansplaining,’ because appearance may indicate capability on the most basic level in terms of strength and wealth. Rassifrassin’ Evolutionary Psychology… Damn us for not having evolved fast enough. Damn me for likin’ that thur science theory.

    On arrogance, having been around a leader or three, that trait tied to a capable leader who can get the job done, admit when wrong, praise co-workers and subordinates, not steal, not lie, then it’s an negative trait, but acceptable. Pride, but not over-weening, if you will. And, if you’ll note, none of the list of behaviors I gave were actions we hear associated with Rodham-Clinton.

    Nice article, and perhaps even timely, if one believes that we are on the cusp of a culture war. I cannot claim that my belief rests there, but it is an interesting concept. There does seem to be a lot of flak and assumptions, with very little critical analysis, fact, or allowance for other’s humanity -case in point Reynold’s claims regarding Gamergate, Rofer’s dismissal of same as ‘little boys.’ Fascinating characterization and allegations.

    I apologize, I lack the hubris to assume I know what you believe on all stances, or that my position is representative of all people in any defined category into which I may shoehorn myself. That said, I am not going to tell you what you meant, or that it is wrong, or that you are not doing your part. Ooorah, and watch your 10 to 2.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. dennis says:

    I think a significant percentage of men are naturally going to seethe at the structure of an office environment and they’re going to be especially resentful of having women as their bosses or even colleagues. Basically, it’s harder to actually distinguish oneself as “a man.”

    James, what??? I’ve worked with and for many women. I prefer it, because (in my experience) women tend to be more insightful, introspective, and collaborative – in general – than we men. Which means you can get a lot done – a lot of new things – and thinking outside the regular man-thought box generates ideas that, sometimes, we men wouldn’t normally approach.

    Granted, I’ve worked with and for some crazy women; but, no more so than crazy men. So, to your statement :

    . . . they’re going to be especially resentful of having women as their bosses or even colleagues.

    Why is that? Why does the collective “we” bristle at the presence of a woman, outside of our own “entertainment” purposes? Because, collectively, we’re full of shyt when it comes to women holding power, and that is a function of certain f’d up aspects of our societal culture. We need to quit with this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. dennis says:

    @James Joyner:

    it’s difficult to separate one’s response to Hillary as an individual from one’s response to Hillary as a human being.

    Umm, what’s the difference?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. Rafer Janders says:

    A woman who’s a highly competent accountant isn’t questioned on her womanhood; her male counterpart may well question his own.

    Total and complete nonsense. Women who have achieved great success in various professions are very often — I’d almost type “always” – questioned on their womanhood — just ask any woman.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. Andy says:

    It’s too bad that it’s HRC at the vanguard of women in politics because, IMO, she is more corrupt than the typical pol. I can’t see myself voting for her, but then I can’t seen myself voting for any of the Republicans either. SSDD.

    As far as gender roles/norms go, I think it’s a two-way street. As a society, I think it’s important to normalize attitudes toward women in traditionally male roles but at the same time it’s important to normalize attitudes toward men in traditionally female roles. IMO you can’t successfully do one without the other. Just based on my experience as a full-time stay-at-home Dad for 8 years while being married to a PhD scientist who was (and remains) my family’s primary breadwinner, we have a long way to go.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. Rafer Janders says:

    A woman who’s a highly competent accountant isn’t questioned on her womanhood; her male counterpart may well question his own.

    A man and a woman both work late at their accounting office. Both are married with children.

    How many times will someone say of the woman, or she herself think, “hey, she’s really working later. Who’s taking care of her kids? She doesn’t seem like the greatest mother.” All the time.

    On the other hand, how many times have you heard someone comment that a man working late at the office must not be a great father? It almost never comes up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. Rafer Janders says:

    A woman who’s a highly competent accountant isn’t questioned on her womanhood; her male counterpart may well question his own.

    Ask the highly educated, professional women you know who are single how often, when out in the dating world, they downplay, denigrate or even lie about their career accomplishments in order not to scare off men — and then come back and tell me that men don’t see a conflict between professional success and femininity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. stonetools says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    If the conversation is about men’s privilege and women’s necessary reaction to that, let’s talk about that. We can talk about men’s problems some other time.

    Well, this is mostly a sausage fest here, so you would expect the talk to drift to men’s problems. Thanks for the necessary course correction.

    It was always true that women matured faster than men but part of the reason for that is that the transformation from boy to man is much more complete than that from girl to woman.

    I’d be interested to hear you expand on this, because you seem to agree with James, whereas I disagree .To me , the transformation of a nine year female into an eighteen year female seems to be much more profound than the transformation of a nine year old male into an eighteen year old male. An eighteen year old woman seems to be a different species from a nine year old girl, whereas an eighteen year old male is simply a bigger, hairier version of the nine year old male IMO.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I was watching Ken Burns’ production on Lewis and Clark last week. Time and again I heard the phrase from historians on the show, “The first white man…” It was an absolute caricature of white centric history. It was as tho the fact that Native Americans had been living in these lands for thousands of years was utterly meaningless, as tho these things L and C were finding only had meaning once white people found them.

    Another oft used phrase was, “They were going into unknown territory…” It was NOT unknown territory, it was very well known territory and all Lewis and Clark had to do, and they did, repeatedly, was talk to the locals. But that part is written out of the histories (tho not their logs), and mythologized in the person Sacagawea. It got so bad I was almost unable to finish it. Lewis and Clark were tough and extremely intelligent men and so was everybody else on that exhibition. They accomplished much that should be celebrated, but we denigrate all people when we refer to such things in such ways.

    The same thing happens with women in history. It becomes obvious with the “Woman on the $20” campaign and the reactions to it from so many. Over the years I have become much more sensitive to the latent misogyny in out society and it is hard to ignore now that my eyes are open to it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. Rafer Janders says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I was watching Ken Burns’ production on Lewis and Clark last week. Time and again I heard the phrase from historians on the show, “The first white man…”

    Actually, I think that’s an improvement from the ways things used to be when I was a kid, when they’d just use the phrase “the first man….”. At least it acknowledges that there were many others who came before L&C.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. stonetools says:

    @James Joyner:

    The bottom line in all this is that, while we’re rightfully coming to terms with how our pigeonholing of women is problematic, we’re not really doing the same for men. And there’s a lot of angst along these lines for men, particularly those lower on the social strata. (Money tends to solve a lot, but not all, of these issues for men in our society.)

    I do understand the male angst here, but really, time to get over it. We do live in a modern society, where the ability to kill things and to break things is less important (that’s what warriors and hunters do).We don’t have frontiers to open, savage tribes to be pacified, or wildernesses to be cleared of lions and tigers and bears. Oh well, thanks to our forbears, I guess. However, we still need to build and create good things. Men can do that, and women can too.Let’s focus to doing that, rather than hankering for some golden age where men could be men.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. James Joyner says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: My point there is simply that a lot of traits acceptable in girls remain acceptable in women; the societal expectation for men is a transformation into an almost completely different emotional being.

    @dennis: It’s the whole point of the discussion. The nature of sexism is such that we instinctively view women through a different lens, judging them differently than we would men. HRC may be judged more harshly than a man for the same things and, likewise, be given a pass for things that men wouldn’t.

    @Cheryl Rofer: @Rafer Janders: Yes, you’re right on this. Women don’t have their femininity downgraded in the same way men do their masculinity in that example but women do face judgments that men don’t.

    @dennis: I don’t claim that most men do this, although more did 20 or 30 years ago. My point is simply that men, and especially low status men, constantly conftront their manhood. In the old days—as recently as my boyhood—men who worked in office jobs at least had the dignity that they were “bringing home the bacon,” thus serving the male function. Nowadays, they’re doing these jobs side-by-side with—or even subordinate to—women. That strips the sense of masculine accomplishment.

    That’s by definition sexist. But it’s deeply rooted in a way that, say, pay differences or other easier-to-fix manifestations of sexism aren’t.

    @stonetools: I’m simply analyzing a phenomenon, not pining for the good old days. I’ve largely adapted to the new era and have spent the last 25 years or so in a field where women, while underrepresented, have been integrated as equals much longer than in most others. But “just get over it” isn’t a helpful response to something as deeply rooted as social identity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. Cheryl Rofer says:

    @stonetools: LOL. No, I don’t agree with James.

    I’ve been trying to avoid addressing that statement because it contains so much privilege it would take far too much of my day to begin to address it. I was oblique in my quotation, and I’m sorry if I led you astray.

    So I’ll just make one point.

    Making comparisons from a single point of view is always misleading. It may well seem to a man that he had more of a transformation in growing up than women do. (And that’s why “we” can still call them girls.) But perhaps it seems to me that I had more of a transformation in growing up. There’s no way to decide that, short of some very careful definitions of “transformation,” “growing up,” and other terms as a basis for several long-term social science studies. And that might not do it, either.

    In fact, why make that comparison at all? Lots of people have other kinds of problems in growing up, ranging from physical illness through dysfunctional families. Some become successful, others don’t. Sometimes that is because of those problems, sometimes it isn’t.

    But “the transformation is much more complete”? Why does that matter? So that we can normalize men as adults and women as “girls”? Kinda looks that way.

    Edited to add: I see that James has posted while I was writing this. I think it responds to what he said.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. dennis says:

    @James Joyner:

    @dennis: It’s the whole point of the discussion. The nature of sexism is such that we instinctively view women through a different lens, judging them differently than we would men. HRC may be judged more harshly than a man for the same things and, likewise, be given a pass for things that men wouldn’t.

    Alright; but, the source of this is OUR problem to fix, not women’s. And that is because we do view women through a different lens. I don’t think that’s instinctual; I’d call that learned behavior.

    @dennis: I don’t claim that most men do this, although more did 20 or 30 years ago. My point is simply that men, and especially low status men, constantly conftront their manhood. In the old days—as recently as my boyhood—men who worked in office jobs at least had the dignity that they were “bringing home the bacon,” thus serving the male function. Nowadays, they’re doing these jobs side-by-side with—or even subordinate to—women. That strips the sense of masculine accomplishment.

    You and I obviously grew up in completely different environments, for want of a better word. Our paths converge on military service, post-military federal service, and both being single dads raising girls. So, it must be something in our formative years that informs our attitudes and opinions on this. I was raised by my mom, no man in the house; hence, I have no problem with strong, accomplished, independent women. In fact, I prefer it. You seem to be somewhat perturbed by the whole idea – not specifically, but in general. And I think I’m older than you, or at least closer to the same age, James.

    There’s probably an explanation for that. Most people won’t like it, though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Rafer Janders: I am particularly sensitive to this phrasing. In caving the Holy Grail we all search for is “Virgin Cave.” It is rare enough but is possible to find (usually involves digging). Most times tho, when we “find” a new cave, a close perusal shows that it has been visited many times. The first thing we do when in a new area is talk to the locals.

    One of the greatest cave explorers of all time was a Kentucky slave named Stephen Bishop. The longest known cave in the world is Mammoth Cave at over 300 miles in length, and they are still finding his signature in places they are just now mapping and he went to these places alone and with the most primitive technology. An amazing man.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. James Joyner says:

    @dennis: Again, I’m describing a n attitude widely prevalent in our society, especially in the lower social stratas, rather than my own. I’m an academic, a field where being “beaten by a girl” would be a nonsensical charge. It is more pervasive in the military, however, where one of the last bastions of old-style “manliness” is coping with the fact that women are increasingly integrated and, with the sole exception of Infantry training, doing quite well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. michael reynolds says:

    James:

    First of all, thank you for a very fair recreation of our conversation.

    Second, people who know me from OTB may be surprised to learn that in my little kidlit world I’m seen as alarmingly heterodox on issues of race and gender. I was, for example, the only one – literally the only one – to publicly defend Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket) against a charge of racism because of poorly-conceived jokes he told as MC of the National Book Award ceremony.

    And I’ve frequently pushed back against the more radical views of people I see as extremists on gender.

    For the record, I’ve written 150 books give or take, most in partnership with my wife. Just about every person I’ve dealt with in kidlit is a woman. But I became convinced that yes, I was enjoying some male privilege in things like doing panel, in school visits and other marketing opportunities, and probably in pay. But I confuse the issue by pointing out that I’ve written more books “as a woman” than as a man, and that I broke into kidlit as the invisible partner of a woman. And then broke in again as a man. So I don’t really fit neatly into anyone’s paradigm.

    I find I have a hard time referring to women as some sub-species outside myself. I don’t understand men who see them as “the other.” I can laugh at a joke about women being this way and men being that way, because there’s some truth in it. And to my great discomfort my daughter’s first encounter with a sexually determined boyfriend has turned me into Angry Silverback Gorilla defending his troupe. But I’ve still never seen women as “them” or thought that “male” was the most important descriptor of myself.

    That said, “we” males are responsible for virtually all rapes, 80 plus percent of killings of children, 90% of murders overall. If you look around the world you see dozens of societies where women are quite brutally subjugated – Saudi Arabia is one indisputable example. But you see no societies where women subjugate men. Nowhere do women throw acid in the faces of uncooperative men. Nowhere are men judicially murdered for illicit heterosexual sex.

    Clearly the problems between men and women are caused by men. But just as clearly in this country those problems are caused by a minority of men.

    I think most of us (I hope it’s most) love women. Most of us want to protect women from the minority of aszholes. But Gamergate woke me up to the fact that not all men feel that way. A lot of men aren’t joking when they say they hate women. They really do. They really, actually, hate women.

    Men are feeling dissed by history. We’ve basically lost the warrior role we treasured for so long. We’ve lost the (largely illusory) notion of ourselves as sole breadwinners. Some men feel those roles have been taken from them by women aggressively attacking male prerogatives. More rational men recognize that the world changes and further understand that we don’t actually want to be warriors, and don’t actually want the stress of being a sole provider. More rational men understand the benefits we get from gender equality. Look around the world at the countries you might want to live in for more than a week, or do business in, or raise your kids in: they’re all countries where women are accorded more equal status.

    I don’t think we are a million miles from the finish line in this country, I think men just need to take a deep breath, recognize that we don’t really want to live in a world where women are treated as second-class citizens, we don’t want anything but full equality of opportunity for our daughters, and so we should take that all on-board consciously, and not be afraid to stand up against men who insist on seeing the world as boy vs. girl. And not be too reluctant to take stock of our own prejudices. It’s not a terrible thing to have prejudices, it’s only terrible if you refuse to admit it and then work to replace them with a more honest and less defensive world view.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. Sudo Nimgh says:

    A few comments on the comments:

    I think the definition and use of the term “privilege” has drifted from its original coinage: to describe an ingrained and intrinsic particular point of view based on experience and exposure to environments, which results in a distinct and inherent and reflexive presumption that others share this point of view. My first explanation was about how certain standardized tests written by persons who had a certain “privilege” didn’t take into account the knowledge or exposure to certain life-events wasn’t common to all students taking the exam, and thus certain entire segments of the population couldn’t understand the nature of the question and thus, couldn’t answer it correctly. I can’t remember the specific example that was used, but maybe it was about driving, or baking, or some other economically based experience that not all persons share.

    Now the term ‘privilege’ is used to mean ‘unfair advantage’ or ‘leg-up’ or ‘chosen egotistically judgmental assumption of others’….it’s transitioned away from a useful reminder that we all don’t share the same history, upbringing, experience, or education around life and academic topics….so be aware that you may be making assumptions about others that they don’t actually share the same foundations as you. They have their own, which is neither bad nor good, but without accepting and awareness of these differences, communication and movement to better understanding between groups is almost impossible.

    It’s much more common for me to encounter its usage without taking into account that *each person* has a set of “privileges” and by the very nature of that ‘privilege’ needs to be taken into account.

    Its unfortunate when I see how one side of a debate essentially says, “You don’t understand your own privilege, can’t even conceive what *our side* has to go through in life….but of course, we *totally* understand your privilege and what *your side* has to go through in life….and privilege is something *you* should be able to just easily toss aside even though it’s ingrained in our upbringing, culture, etc., etc., etc..”

    I think the risk in conversations about race and gender (experience and roles in today’s world) are dangerous when any side of the conversation doesn’t understand the presumptions they enter the conversation with, or assume they do understand the persons on the other sides better than those persons themselves.

    White people don’t understand (anyone remember “grok”?) what it’s like to be black *and* vice versa….poor and rich, men and women….each can imagine, conceptualize, project, or sympathize, but not really understand it….there’s privilege on both sides, each side needs to realize it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. Kylopod says:

    Given the vitriol that was directed at Bill Clinton—who was accused of everything from rape to murder to launching wars to distract from his personal shenanigans—the bar is pretty high for demonstrating that Obama is going through is primarily a function of his race. At the same time, it’s undeniable that there’s both conscious anti-black animus as well as the less conscious effects of white privilege in play.

    I’ve been discussing this topic with people for years, and a few things have become clear to me. Whenever people bring up the anti-Clinton hysteria to counter the idea of a racial animus against Obama, they’re presenting a false choice. Race-baiting has been part of the GOP playbook for several decades, from welfare queens to Willie Horton to McCain’s “black” daughter. You can’t make some hard division between the movements against Clinton and Obama, because it comes from the same people. It’s no coincidence that Toni Morrison described Clinton as “the first black president.” If you read the essay where she first used that term, she wasn’t simply saying Clinton had an appeal to African Americans (the usual way her comments have been interpreted), but that it was reflected in the way Republicans treated him.

    Moreover, the paranoia against Clinton and Obama wasn’t identical. Clinton was depicted merely as deceptive and nefarious. Obama, on the other hand, has been depicted as alien and foreign. This isn’t just a fringe phenomenon but has been a pervasive theme of ODS in a way that it wasn’t with Clinton, and it’s hard to see how it isn’t at least partly a reaction to Obama’s race.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. James Joyner says:

    @michael reynolds: I agree with all of that.

    This is all, in some sense, a subset of the larger conversation we’ve been having about the greater changes in our society and the political-cultural reaction to it. Cultural norms that were widely shared by left and right, north and south, blacks and whites as recently as my youth—and in some cases, my my age—have seemingly overnight been declared retrograde and hateful. Some of them actually are, even if they’re not consciously motivated by prejudice. But I’m reasonably forgiving of people who haven’t made the adjustment. Change is extraordinarily hard and it’s harder if you’re surrounded by people who prefer the old ways.

    And all of this makes it damned hard to untangle the “Obama and race” and “Hillary and gender” issues from ordinarily politics. Most people who dislike them would dislike a white/male Democratic president/Democratic frontrunner just as much. But there’s no doubt that there’s a little something extra going on at the same time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. James Joyner says:

    @Sudo Nimgh: I basically agree with you on this. We’ve taken “privilege” too far. Like “mansplaining,” it’s deployed so frequently as to be useless. At the same time, most people don’t really understand either in their original conception.

    @Kylopod: I agree that the “Kenyan Muslim” thing is of a different piece from the “Slick Willy” caricature. But I’m hard pressed to understand how the anti-Clinton animus, which I largely shared (minus the murder conspiracy stuff), is somehow proto-racist.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    I think…I HOPE…that James is hinting that the patriarchy and impossible ideal of “manhood” is toxic to men as well as women. (Many feminists and gender studies professors are saying “duh” at the moment.)

    I mean it’s depressing that for many, many men, when confronted with their privilege and/or sexism, seem to think about 4 responses:

    A. Feel emasculated

    B. Feel rage

    C. ……… (feel nothing)

    D. “Huh, I never considered that point of view before. I will try to be more considerate in the future.”

    And choice D is NOT chosen by 99% of American men, who have been brainwashed into seeing all women as either 1), virgins, 2) whores, or 3) Momma.

    So there’s going to be a lot of angry men out there, with toxic ideas about “manhood,” who are so emotionally stunted and unemphatic that they can’t even articulate what they feel, let alone anyone else. Oh and add guns. Lots and lots of guns. For safety.

    Seriously, I think gender studies should be mandatory in high school and college at this point. If America is still BLOWN AWAY by images and thoughts of girls playing violent video games and boys playing with dolls, we’ve got a long way to go.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. James Joyner says:

    @Lit3Bolt: “D” is a very difficult shift, even for intelligent, decent folks to make. My late father grew up poor in the rural South, holding views about race and gender that were perfectly normal for his cohort and which he never fully outgrew. Any evidence that blacks and women were in the position that they were in because of systemic discrimination was always met with “But I started with nothing and got to where I am because of hard work. Nobody gave me anything just because I was a white man.” That was both largely true—the competition, after all, was almost entirely other white guys—and besides the point. His views altered very slowly over time but his identity as self-made was never shaken.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  36. Tyrell says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The $20 bill issue: one thing is that Colonel Jackson is the only president that has entire era named after him. He is also the hero of New Orleans – defeating a superior British force with a ragtag motley collection of pirates, criminals, civilians, and backwoods hunters; one of the most brilliant military victories in history. But Jackson was against paper currency and probably would object to his picture being on it. This argument concerning some of his actions against the native Americans can also be made on Grant, Sheridan, Sherman and other leaders that are considered by most Americans to be great leaders, even Lindbergh, Edison, Ford.
    Who to put on the $20 ? Well we still have some outstanding presidents that have not yet made it: Madison, Teddy Roosevelt, and Truman. Then you have great generals that would certainly qualify: MacArthur, Marshall, Custer, McClellan. As far as outstanding women, it would need to start certainly with Betsy Ross, Dolly Madison, Clara Barton, Pocahantas, and then more timely : Eleanor Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart.
    But the choice should not be made solely on the basis of being a man or woman.
    Here is an idea: have several different twenties (7-10), or change it up every three or four years. Collectors would love that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. Kylopod says:

    @James Joyner: It has to do less with considering the charges in isolation, but in considering who’s making them. There isn’t a whole lot of difference between “welfare queen” and “food stamp president.” Both are thinly disguised appeals to white resentment against black people. The only difference is that the former is directed against anonymous, hypothetical individuals in the population, whereas the latter is directed against the president of the USA.

    In the past, the GOP theme was “Democrats are helping scary, lazy minorities.” Now their theme is, “The Democratic president is a scary, lazy minority.” To put it another way, it’s the difference between “n*****r lover” and “n*****r.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  38. michael reynolds says:

    @James Joyner:

    Cultural norms that were widely shared by left and right, north and south, blacks and whites as recently as my youth—and in some cases, my my age—have seemingly overnight been declared retrograde and hateful.

    I’m even older than you so I feel you (as the kids say. Or. . . said. I can’t keep up.) Believe me my default is defensiveness on this stuff. And I have the sinking sensation that I will soon be required to believe that dolphins should get the vote and I’ll be a bigot for being all sapiens-centric.

    But, possibly because my son is an activist on gender issues, or because my Twitter feed and followers are largely teen-agers, I’ve been forced to recognize that however right I thought I was, I’m not always so right anymore. If the change is in the direction of a better world, how can I oppose it? I want the world to be a better place. You and I are daddies with kids, of course we want a better world.

    So, my first reaction when for example I get called out for using the word, “Tranny” is to point out that RuPaul uses it, it was perfectly acceptable, like, last week, and the specific word is irrelevant. But then I think, you know, if all some group of people is asking is that I use a term they prefer, what harm is there? If I can change in a way that contributes in some small way to making the world a kinder, more just, more equal place, well, what’s my objection based on? What, it’s too much of a burden for me to say Trans instead of Tranny?

    I don’t want the kids to get off my lawn. I don’t want to be that guy. I want to remain open to the possibility that the kids are right and that I’m the one who’s full of baloney.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  39. stonetools says:

    @James Joyner:

    I think one thing Democrats have discovered is that CDS and ODS are simply different flavors of DPDS (Democratic President Derangement Syndrome) and will be deployed by Republicans against any Democratic nominee. If we select Martin O’Malley or Jim Webb as our nominee , we can expect the same whipping up of fake outrage, the generation of fake scandals and same wave of hysterical accusations about the Democrats pushing a “far left agenda.” If HRC is selected, the right wing would just add sexism to the same hateful brew( If she selects Julian Castro as VP, anti-immigrant hared would also join the list or ingredients).
    Can the Democrats counteract this? So far , they haven’t done that well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  40. James Joyner says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I have the sinking sensation that I will soon be required to believe that dolphins should get the vote and I’ll be a bigot for being all sapiens-centric.

    I seem to recall that as an inevitable outcome of legalizing gay marriage.

    @stonetools: I dunno. There was some of that against Jimmy Carter and every president of either stripe since. But it’s been especially true since 1992. I think it has as much to do with the modern communications environment than anything else.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  41. anjin-san says:

    @ James

    I think a significant percentage of men are naturally going to seethe at the structure of an office environment and they’re going to be especially resentful of having women as their bosses or even colleagues. Basically, it’s harder to actually distinguish oneself as “a man.”

    Well, if they are idiots, sure. Why exactly does one have to distinguish oneself as “a man” in a business setting? I want to distinguish myself as being competent, innovative, hard working, productive, reliable, a good colleague, as someone who can have a positive impact on the bottom line. Distinguishing myself “as a man” has never occurred to me during my business career. I would suggest that guys who think this way have inner doubts about their own masculinity that need attention.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  42. anjin-san says:

    Maybe I don’t get it because I grew up in an uber-liberal area during the women’s rights era, and I watched my mother’s generation have to battle their way into the workplace, and then have to battle for equal opportunity, recognition, pay, and so on once they were there.

    The single most impressive human being that I know personally is a black woman. Does that make me feel inadequate? Not at all. I’m pleased that someone of her stature finds time to send an occasional email my way. “But, but – she’s a girl” is something that should be outgrown fairly early in life.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. James Joyner says:

    @anjin-san: @anjin-san: It’s frankly not something that has been an issue for me, either, save maybe in my late teens. But I think it’s a real thing for a sizable subset of men, particularly young men, and particularly men in the lower social strata.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  44. Gustopher says:

    @James Joyner: it’s definitely not confined to lower social strata — I work in software, and women are treated terribly in that field. Why are there so few women working as programmers? Because they have met the men and recoiled in disgust.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  45. Moosebreath says:

    @stonetools:

    “If we select Martin O’Malley or Jim Webb as our nominee , we can expect the same whipping up of fake outrage, the generation of fake scandals and same wave of hysterical accusations about the Democrats pushing a “far left agenda.””

    This. I saw a bit of the groundwork for this against John Edwards, complete with the video of him getting his hair styled with “I Feel Pretty” (to imply he has sexual orientation issues) dubbed on top.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  46. James Joyner says:

    @Moosebreath: The charge with Edwards wasn’t that he was gay but that is caring so much about his hair made him less than fully manly. It’s part and parcel of what we’ve been talking about here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  47. Moosebreath says:

    @James Joyner:

    “It’s part and parcel of what we’ve been talking about here.”

    While not seeing much difference between implying Edwards was less than fully manly and gay in this context, yes that is what stonetools was talking about here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  48. Tyrell says:

    @James Joyner: A lot of people had a problem with the cost of the haircut/style: hundreds of dollars every week or so. Edwards kept running around saying that he was for the common, middle class people. Few people bought it. He had a lot of problems.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  49. Grewgills says:

    @James Joyner:

    A woman who’s a highly competent accountant isn’t questioned on her womanhood; her male counterpart may well question his own.

    If she chooses career over getting married and having a baby here womanhood is questioned daily. I think you need to sit down and have some real conversations with professional women who have chosen not to have children.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  50. Modulo Myself says:

    I have a visceral dislike for Hillary as a human being. I thought Gore and Kerry were awkward but never fundamentally disliked them. I’ve warmed to Obama personally, even though I think he’s only meh on policy. I actually rather like Biden and Warren. But Hillary? Ugh.

    This is James Joyner explaining his feelings about a person who was a Senator and Secretary of State. He’s not accusing her of being stupid or irrational. It’s a visceral dislike. It’s ugh.

    Now James is a guy who makes his living in policy, in Washington. He is paid to go beyond ugh when thinking about the world. The Atlantic Council is not producing papers that go on about the ughness of Putin or how horrible and awful those Iranians are. There’s this thing called abstract reasoning.

    Yet when he thinks about her, it’s ugh. Is it policy? No. Her cynicism, which is there, but not that unusual? No. She definitely is not a natural politician and hardly inspires trust in her truth-telling. But so what. It’s ugh ugh ugh.

    I feel the same way about Henry Kissinger, amongst others. But I’m not employed by the American Council. My paper called Kissinger is f—ing war criminal is not going to go far there. If Hillary Clinton were a man, with her policies, and her power, nobody where James works would feel comfortable confessing to how much they hate her for no other reason than just because. But she’s a woman, and thus it’s permitted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  51. James Joyner says:

    @Modulo Myself: You’re taking out of context a quote from another thread. We render judgments about politicians on the basis of likability and our perceptions of character all the time. Most of the reactions to Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, etc. are on that basis, not on policy.

    This is especially true when we’re talking about the presidency. Frankly, even if candidates are honest about their policy agendas, they’re 1) subject to rather radical change given the vicissitudes of the office and 2) subject to the whims of Congress. So while policy positions are certainly important, they’re not the primary reason why we vote for presidents.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  52. michael reynolds says:

    @Tyrell:

    Having crossed the line from poor to rich-adjacent I’d like to say that expensive haircuts don’t change who you are. But the truth is that stuff does inevitably corrupt your outlook and it takes work not to let that happen.

    My son hates for me to pull up at his school or especially his volunteer events in my car because it marks him as a rich kid. Mind you he has no objection to being able to order an Apple watch the instant it becomes available, but I take his point. There’s an assumption about kids raised with money – that they’ve never known deprivation, never had to save, never had to worry about money, and that’s all true. I have that same instinctive dislike of rich kids which is one of the reasons I disliked Mitt Romney. I like people who’ve struggled.

    So a bit of inconsistency or hypocrisy on my part.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  53. Grewgills says:

    It was always true that women matured faster than men but part of the reason for that is that the transformation from boy to man is much more complete than that from girl to woman.

    and

    My point there is simply that a lot of traits acceptable in girls remain acceptable in women; the societal expectation for men is a transformation into an almost completely different emotional being.

    I also grew up in the deep South (not much later than you I think) and saw some of that, but saw it differently. The emotional transformation, or lack thereof, I think you are talking about is corrosive on both ends. The boys are expected to put childhood, emotional display, and any form of dependence behind them and the women are expected to remain subservient (almost as a child). Neither is healthy.

    That’s by definition sexist. But it’s deeply rooted in a way that, say, pay differences or other easier-to-fix manifestations of sexism aren’t.

    Considering how difficult we are finding it to address them, I don’t know that they are easier to fix. Both require raising another generation that recognizes that almost all gender roles are social constructs and that they don’t have any particular bearing on a person’s worth.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  54. Lynn says:

    @James Joyner: “@Lynn: The male ideal has historically required, among other things, a near total elimination of emotionalism. Men are expected to never show fear or pain, whereas those are not only acceptable for women but laudable qualities. That’s changing, of course, but not nearly as fast as women’s role in society.”

    You are, of course, totally ignoring all the things tht girls must learn to do in order to fit the female ideal. I guess that’s to be expected.

    “My point there is simply that a lot of traits acceptable in girls remain acceptable in women; the societal expectation for men is a transformation into an almost completely different emotional being.”

    And in order to retain those “acceptable” traits, many — if not most — women must learn to present their ideas indirectly, ask rather than declare, and work very hard at not coming across as aggressive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  55. Mikey says:

    @Grewgills:

    I think you need to sit down and have some real conversations with professional women who have chosen not to have children.

    My Ph.D. daughter is one. On a personal level, it’s crushing to me–I want grandchildren!–but I know 100% it’s the right choice for her. She has worked very long, and very hard, to get where she is. Even as tough as it is for me to handle on an emotional level, I agree with her.

    But I have no doubt others in my family don’t see it that way (generally because they keep asking her “when are you getting married and having kids?”) and there’s always that subtle pressure on her to fulfill her “proper role” or whatever. Certainly were she a male Ph.D. there wouldn’t be any of that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  56. EddieInCA says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Michael –

    I feel you. My wife wanted a ragtop Benz, and although we can afford it, I don’t want to be “that guy” in my neighborhood. So, I bought an 8 year old CLK at with 65K miles for $12K instead the 2014 CLK at $60K.

    It’s still a Mercedes convertible, but now when people tell me “Oh, look at you in the Benz convertible” I LOVE saying, “Yeah, it cost me less than your Altima.” The look I get is priceless.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  57. Ilpalazzo says:

    Who’s ready for another 8 years of an ineffectual leader and the media/public dancing on eggshells?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  58. Mikey says:

    @Ilpalazzo: I thought we had enough of that with G. W. Bush.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  59. DrDaveT says:

    It was always true that women matured faster than men but part of the reason for that is that the transformation from boy to man is much more complete than that from girl to woman.

    I can’t think of anything you could have said to make it more clear that you don’t really believe most of the other things you said in your article. I mean, seriously, WTF?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  60. DrDaveT says:

    @Ilpalazzo:

    Who’s ready for another 8 years of an ineffectual leader and the media/public dancing on eggshells?

    Given that the recent alternative has been “a few trillion down the toilet, unwinnable wars, a trashed economy, and a police state”, then yeah, I’m up for that. I’d rather eat brussels sprouts than rat poison.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  61. EddieInCA says:

    @Ilpalazzo:

    Ilpalazzo says:
    Sunday, April 19, 2015 at 17:36

    Who’s ready for another 8 years of an ineffectual leader and the media/public dancing on eggshells?

    That’s how we got Obama.

    Thankfully.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  62. James Joyner says:

    @Lynn:

    You are, of course, totally ignoring all the things tht girls must learn to do in order to fit the female ideal. I guess that’s to be expected.

    So, explain what those things are.

    women must learn to present their ideas indirectly, ask rather than declare, and work very hard at not coming across as aggressive.

    I think I know what you mean here, although I think this has changed dramatically in recent years. The irony of this set of pressures is that it frustrates the hell out of men in relationships: Why can’t she just bleeping tell me what she wants rather than making me guess?!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  63. Mikey says:

    @James Joyner:

    The irony of this set of pressures is that it frustrates the hell out of men in relationships: Why can’t she just bleeping tell me what she wants rather than making me guess?!

    Do what I did and marry a German. There’s never any doubt.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  64. Surreal American says:

    @Mikey:

    Truth.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  65. Cheryl Rofer says:

    @James: You are going through a rather stereotyped process that many of us have seen before. I know it’s the first time for you, but it’s time- and emotion-consuming for women to help you work through it.

    It’s hard for men to see privilege, just as hard as for fish to see water. But it’s tiring for women to have to go through the process as men demand that we make it easy for them. Just as their privilege has always insisted that women make things easy for them.

    So in your latest comment, you insist that a woman (I am assuming that Lynn is a woman) explain male privilege to you. No. That is part of that stereotyped process.

    Well (continuing the stereotype), how can I learn then? you might ask.

    There are many, many articles on the internet about male privilege. Insisting that a person who lacks privilege do the work for you and explain privilege is part of your privilege. You are capable of doing research. Women’s time is valuable too.

    You have also, a number of times, told the women on this thread that we don’t know what we’re talking about.

    I think I know what you mean here, although I think this has changed dramatically in recent years.

    Please accept that our experience is our experience, just as valid as yours and probably more so in the way we perceive how others deal with us.

    I’ve done a quick google for lists that I’ve seen on how to understand one’s own privilege and how to back away from it. I haven’t been able to find the ones I’d like to but will get them to you if I can find them.

    I would also like to say that I am heartened by many of the responses from men on this thread. Maybe some of them can direct you to material that has been helpful to them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  66. Lynn says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    You said it better than I could. I couldn’t get much beyond how ludicrous it is for James to assume that he knows what a woman’s experience is like.

    From my perspective — after many years of working as a clinical psychologist — saying that “the transformation from boy to man is much more complete than that from girl to woman” is simply ridiculous and requires willful obliviousness to the perspectives of others.

    But, I guess we’ve seen tht well-demonstrated here by some. Fortunately, there have been others who have taken the time to listen and to learn.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  67. al-Ameda says:

    @Lynn:

    From my perspective — after many years of working as a clinical psychologist — saying that “the transformation from boy to man is much more complete than that from girl to woman” is simply ridiculous and requires willful obliviousness to the perspectives of others.

    I could not say that (what’s in quotes) without laughing out loud. To me the question usually is, will the boy become a man when he’s 18, 28, or 38? I find that many guys are in a state of apparent arrested development well past the legal age of majority (18 or 21, whatever). In contrast it seems that women get to maturity sooner than guys do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  68. Grewgills says:

    @Mikey:
    I married a Dutch (not Deutch) woman. The same applies. I know a lot of American women that have similarly low tolerance for BS and just say what they mean, unfortunately that gets them labelled bitch and worse. As much as men say they want women to be direct and honest, when they encounter women who are many of them have no idea how to handle it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  69. DrDaveT says:

    @James Joyner:

    My point there is simply that a lot of traits acceptable in girls remain acceptable in women; the societal expectation for men is a transformation into an almost completely different emotional being.

    Traits acceptable to whom? To you? To sexist men? To women who think the best defense is to infantilize their daughters so they won’t be targets? You’re stating as fact something I’ve never seen any evidence for.

    Similarly, societal expectation from whom? See list above.

    I would have been much more sympathetic if you had phrased your initial nonsense as “Girls are much closer to being mature adults than boys are; boys have a lot farther to go to achieve recognizably adult levels of maturity in their behavior.” It’s still nonsense, but the phrasing would at least not have had “PRIVILEGE” stamped on it in 2-inch-high embossed brass letters. Or did you actually intend to imply that “fully mature” is not nearly as lofty a state for a woman as it is for a man?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  70. DrDaveT says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    James, you are going through a rather stereotyped process that many of us have seen before. I know it’s the first time for you, but it’s time- and emotion-consuming for women to help you work through it.

    This, times 10^27. I cannot upvote this enough.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  71. stonetools says:

    @James Joyner:

    Let me come to the defense of James here. At least he is continuing to dialogue with us, rather than posting and disappearing from view like you know who. And as an older white guy he is at least trying, not like the rest of the guys (and women) in the Republican Party , who pretend that there is no such thing as male privilege and and that it’s simply an invention of those socialist ” feminazis.” James is not really the enemy here. I can tell you that if you really want to see the face of the enemy, just head over to Hot Air or Red State. You’ll see posters and commenters that will make you think you are in 1415, not 2015. Just saying.

    James, serious question here. Which do you think would be a better world for your daughters? A world where HRC wins in 2016 , and pursues the Democratic agenda ( protection and extension of the ACA, protection of the Lily Ledbetter Act, defense and extension of Social Security and S-Chip, maybe passage of the Paid Family Leave legislation), or a world in which a Republican wins the Presidency and tries to dismantle the ACA, Lily Ledbetter, and Social Security and opposes the very idea of paid family leave?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  72. Cheryl Rofer says:

    I fully support James’s efforts and his willingness to try to work this out in public.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  73. Moosebreath says:

    @James Joyner:

    “We render judgments about politicians on the basis of likability and our perceptions of character all the time.”

    This is something of an ongoing joke to me. Republicans especially claim that the character of the politicians should be our primary focus. And yet the last two Republican nominees for President were a man of so few convictions that everyone knew he would say absolutely anything and change all of his positions solely to get elected, and a man who never met a crisis that he did not want to escalate. I am not sure what definition of character one can possibly use to select candidates which would view either of these as better choices than Obama. And yet the same people who proclaim “Character matters” voted overwhelming for Romney and McCain.

    “Most of the reactions to Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, etc. are on that basis, not on policy.”

    Speak for yourself. I dislike them for the policies they support, far more than their personalities. Or to put it another way, I find very little to dislike about Mike Huckabee based on his personality. I still strongly dislike him based on the policies he supports.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  74. Sudo Nimgh says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    So in your latest comment, you insist that a woman (I am assuming that Lynn is a woman) explain male privilege to you. No. That is part of that stereotyped process.

    You are, of course, totally ignoring all the things that girls must learn to do in order to fit the female ideal. I guess that’s to be expected.

    So, explain what those things are.

    Cheryl, You are not the arbiter of the acceptable protocol for discussions/comments/debate on certain topics, and James is perfectly within the realm of reasonable (and to be blunt) somewhat expected counters to that dismissive and condescending accusation. James was asking someone to explain their very specific claim about what they stated he was ignoring…not unaware of, not couldn’t see, ignoring. That’s not only insulting, but also passively aggressively so, with the ‘I guess that’s to be expected’ rejoinder.

    And you know damned well that disagreeing with someone, as James has done here in this thread, is not the same as your somewhat hyperbolically stated,

    You have also, a number of times, told the women on this thread that we don’t know what we’re talking about.

    I think I know what you mean here, although I think this has changed dramatically in recent years.

    I’m not sure if you are not a parody account, because your use of certain phrases and arguments come across like some sort of satirical Tumblr homage…as though parroting the mainstays of the modern recently-coverted feminst, and there’s no zealot like a recent convert. The condescending tone, the disregard for common exchange formats when debating on an issue (for whatever reason, I can’t tell), and the projection of attitude/belief/motivation onto others (e.g., “Women’s time is valuable too.”)….I mean, it’s almost like there’s handbook of how to post comments out there, with these examples and a style guide to go by.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  75. DrDaveT says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    I fully support James’s efforts and his willingness to try to work this out in public.

    Good on you.

    I fully support your calling him on his “So explain what those things are” as the paternalistic privileged shift-the-burden-of-proof bullsh!t it is.

    Here’s a pro tip, James: whenever you try out an argument relating to gender bias, first see how it would sound if applied to racial bias or religious discrimination. (In this case, that would lead to you making a comment along the lines of how much more complete is the transformation from white boy to white man than that from black boy to black man, or from Christian child to Christian adult versus Jewish child to Jewish adult.) If that’s not a statement you would ever make, you need to think long and hard before you assert it about men and women.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  76. socraticsilence says:

    @Mike:

    I don’t think she has great electoral gifts (she clearly has at the very least decent bureaucratic gifts given her tenure at state and as a Senator) but to say she’s hard left is absurd, she’s at best Center-Left and more realistically centrist.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  77. Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Sudo Nimgh: Oh, pardon me! I see that you are the arbiter of what is acceptable!

    Plus you read my mind

    And you know damned well

    And, um, condescend much?

    Almost like a parody account of male privilege!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  78. Cheryl Rofer says:

    @DrDaveT: After I thought about that statement, I felt I wasn’t saying as much as I should have. So I’ll add a bit.

    I’ve known James through the internet for a long time, and I know he is fair-minded and intellectually honest. So when he says some things that I might take offense at from someone else, I know he’s working them out.

    I suspect that some of the responses he’s getting on this thread may require a lot of thinking on his part and even some pain, and I commend him for his good humor and sticking with it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  79. DrDaveT says:

    @Sudo Nimgh:

    James was asking someone to explain their very specific claim about what they stated he was ignoring…not unaware of, not couldn’t see, ignoring. That’s not only insulting, but also passively aggressively so

    Awesome. It was just a matter of time before someone showed up to assert that a woman who refuses to either take a man’s word for it or do his work for him is being “passive aggressive”.

    …although, in this case, it was apparently just Pseudo being The Compleat Trolle, rather than an actual retard. Well played, sir.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  80. DrDaveT says:

    @James Joyner:

    But I think it’s a real thing for a sizable subset of men, particularly young men, and particularly men in the lower social strata.

    So was (is) racism. Why are you so much more willing to coddle (and even perpetuate) toxic gender stereotypes than toxic racial stereotypes?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  81. DrDaveT says:

    @Sudo Nimgh:

    I think the definition and use of the term “privilege” has drifted from its original coinage: to describe an ingrained and intrinsic particular point of view based on experience and exposure to environments, which results in a distinct and inherent and reflexive presumption that others share this point of view.

    Or perhaps you just need to learn some etymology instead:

    privilege (n.)
    mid-12c. “grant, commission” (recorded earlier in Old English, but as a Latin word), from Old French privilege “right, priority, privilege” (12c.) and directly from Latin privilegium “law applying to one person, bill of law in favor of or against an individual,” later “privilege,” from privus “individual” (see private (adj.)) + lex (genitive legis) “law” (see legal (adj.)). Meaning “advantage granted” is from mid-14c. in English.

    This ‘novel’ usage you are annoyed by has been around since the 14th century, and far antedates the more restricted sense you first became aware of.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  82. grumpy realist says:

    @Rafer Janders: And how. It used to be I let on that I’m an MIT grad; 99% of the time you’d see dust clouds a la Road Runner from any guy I might be interested in dating. After a while you get used to it, and realize it’s a pretty good way of filtering out jerks who worry more about their egos than a relationship.

    As a woman, we’re used to this, by the way. Too many men are terrified of successful women and will do their utmost to denigrate them. Me? I’d much rather have the $400K/year salary than the passionate love affair.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  83. Sudo Nimgh says:

    Here we have a blog and comment area that for the most part was about expressing ideas and counter-points, and it’s now suffering from talking-point-parrots and Salem-style accusations….’I say she’s a witch, so burn her!’….

    It’s long been the logical, practical standard that when someone makes a specific, personal claim, they don’t get to shift the responsibility onto the other person to back it up. Just because someone has some reason they won’t do it, doesn’t make it right. We’re not talking about “prove gravity” or “prove flames are hot” self-evidence here. Someone said James was ‘ignoring’ something, and yet, no examples. Excuses backed with the accusations of male privilege don’t get a pass, anymore than “typical lazy liberal won’t research”, or “out of touch right-wing blinders refuse to see reality”….They wouldn’t get a pass like that, why should anyone else?

    Cheryl, your saying that another person must be reading your mind (when they point out your transparent and unreasonable, clearly exaggerated, interpretative spin on someone else’s straight-forward, simply stated comment) is just crying wolf. I think it’s hubris to expect no opposition to your claim that James somehow “told the women on this thread that we don’t know what we’re talking about,” based on your own quote from him, “I think I know what you mean here, although I think this has changed dramatically in recent years”? That’s just overwrought, chip-on-your-shoulder, looking for offense…My “you know damned well” perhaps did grant that you intentionally misinterpreted and misrepresented James comment in an effort to castigate him, but maybe you weren’t even aware you were doing it off such a flimsy, baseless foundation? Maybe it’s reflexive, and comes without thought or planning….I guess I gave you too much credit, rather than “reading your mind”….Lesson learned for me it seems.

    And to carry on DrDaveT’s sarcasm: awesome, who had 13-14 hours in the betting pool before someone piped up with “the dictionary definition is….”?

    That always seems to come out around the topic of male privilege, or feminism. Although this time, it doesn’t appear to be really relevant to the discussion…just a reach back for a sarcastic jibe. It doesn’t take into account adapted usage, … For example, “run” didn’t start out with a dictionary definition of executing a computer program, it was adopted, and while it may share some principles of action, movement, or progress with a person running, it wasn’t the dictionary definition for a while. But now one of the accepted definitions is.

    The definition of a term has to take into account context of usage, and the context here has nothing to do with that, since every time non-white-male-cis privilege gets brought up, it’s dismissed as whining, or victim-blaming, instead of, apparently, what seems reasonable to some here:

    when confronted with their privilege and/or sexism, seem to think about 4 responses:

    A. Feel [de-powered]

    B. Feel rage

    C. ……… (feel nothing)

    D. “Huh, I never considered that point of view before. I will try to be more considerate in the future.”

    And choice D is NOT chosen by 99% of[

    [persons], who have been brainwashed into seeing [themselves] as either 1), victims, 2) warriors, or 3) exceptions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  84. grumpy realist says:

    @James Joyner: James–the socialization that woman have had to undergo is to realize that all the stuff that they’re “supposed” to do isn’t valued that much by society and neither are they. Taking care of kids or elders? Considered “natural” and nothing important enough to be paid for, because they should be doing it out of the “love” they have for the individual. Then there’s the pink collar ghetto….

    Notice how any profession somehow loses status when women become the majority workers in that area. Happened to secretaries, typists….paralegals.

    To be a woman is to realize that you are considered inferior by a large number of males out there, period. No matter what you do, you can’t impress them, and they will find arguments (religious and otherwise) as to why you should remain at the lower end of the totem pole.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  85. Blue Galangal says:

    @Gustopher: Read Janet Abbate’s Recoding Gender: Women’s Changing Participation in Computing (MIT Press, 2012). Women in programming practically invented programming – it was a woman who came up with a program to write programs, for instance – and yet are now little seen, partly because programmers became redefined as “engineers” (traditionally coded male). Well written and fascinating book.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  86. Barry says:

    @James Joyner: “Cultural norms that were widely shared by left and right, north and south, blacks and whites as recently as my youth—and in some cases, my my age—have seemingly overnight been declared retrograde and hateful. ”

    That’s a big statement. For example, it’s pretty clear that ~40% whites regard treating blacks badly as a desired cultural norm. If you go back 40 years, that only gets higher, and the nastiest 40% of whites would be happy with very, very bad treatment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  87. DrDaveT says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Notice how any profession somehow loses status when women become the majority workers in that area. Happened to secretaries, typists….paralegals.

    In the Soviet Union, it happened to medical doctors.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  88. Barry says:

    @James Joyner: ” I basically agree with you on this. We’ve taken “privilege” too far. Like “mansplaining,” it’s deployed so frequently as to be useless. At the same time, most people don’t really understand either in their original conception.”

    I disagree. ‘Mansplaining’ is still common, if not the norm, in our society. I find myself doing it.

    And privilege is clearly visible. For one small example, note the differing attitudes of the right to a black man getting shot by the police vs. any white right-winger getting even arrested.

    Note the ‘religious freedom’ BS, which the right clearly intends for those with power to do as they please, while others suffer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  89. Barry says:

    @Tyrell: “A lot of people had a problem with the cost of the haircut/style: hundreds of dollars every week or so. Edwards kept running around saying that he was for the common, middle class people. Few people bought it. He had a lot of problems.”

    Meanwhile, it turned out that George ‘Nukulur’ Bush, the Brush-Clearer of Crawford, wore bespoke suits costing from $3,000 to $10,000.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  90. Barry says:

    @Ilpalazzo: “Who’s ready for another 8 years of an ineffectual leader and the media/public dancing on eggshells?”

    Don’t worry; Jeb won’t likely win.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  91. KM says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Notice how any profession somehow loses status when women become the majority workers in that area. Happened to secretaries, typists….paralegals.

    So very true….

    Nurse vs Doctor
    Teacher vs Professor
    Cook vs Chef
    Customer Service vs Data Analyst

    Each one of these words has a gender connotation that gives it more cultural respect, despite the fact that they do essentially the same thing. Men in the “wrong” field spend their whole careers getting grief from the fellow men for choices. James should ask a young male kindergarten teacher if their important profession feels valued and how gender affects respect in and about the workplace. That’s one of the more visceral ways a man can get to understanding how a male-dominated society uses gender as a weapon to keep a profession down.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  92. Mikey says:

    Today is the 119th running of the Boston Marathon. It’s America’s oldest and most iconic marathon, and one I hope to qualify for and run in the next few years. And it was within most of our lifetimes that women were not allowed to run it.

    In 1966 Roberta Gibb hid in some bushes and joined the runners at the start, running the full race as a “bandit” (unregistered). In 1967 Kathrine Switzer registered as “K. V. Switzer,” got a number and was assaulted by race director Jock Semple, who yelled “get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers!” She became the first registered woman to finish, but women weren’t officially allowed until 1972.

    Today there are over 13,000 women running Boston. Thank goodness we’ve moved beyond Jock Semple thinking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  93. KM says:

    @James:

    Like “mansplaining,” it’s deployed so frequently as to be useless

    It’s only 10am on a Monday and I’ve already had two well-meaning gentleman “mansplain” something to me – one of them on a procedure I wrote the official protocol for and audit on a regular basis before my first coffee of the day was done. He kept trying to tell me I was doing something wrong and I clearly didn’t understand the protocol. When I had him pull up the documentation and pointed out my name as the author, he turned bright red but held his ground that I hadn’t really “understood the subtleties” of his issue. I told him to write it up for the monthly audit and I would be happy to officially respond on company letterhead as to why he’s an idiot and I don’t have time for his BS. He got out of my office pretty damn quick after that. Meanwhile, my coffee went cold dealing with this complete waste of company time so he’s not off the hook yet….

    Mansplain will stop being deployed as a term when men stop practicing it in real life. If it’s sounding useless as a term due to repetition, it might just be because the majority of men haven’t gotten the clue to, you know, stop doing it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  94. Rafer Janders says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Me? I’d much rather have the $400K/year salary than the passionate love affair.

    I’d much rather have the passionate love affair with the woman with the $400K/year salary.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  95. DrDaveT says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I don’t think we are a million miles from the finish line in this country, I think men just need to take a deep breath, recognize that we don’t really want to live in a world where women are treated as second-class citizens, we don’t want anything but full equality of opportunity for our daughters, and so we should take that all on-board consciously, and not be afraid to stand up against men who insist on seeing the world as boy vs. girl.

    I wish I could share your optimism, Michael. I’m afraid, though, that all too many men (of all walks of life) really don’t want full equality of opportunity for their daughters — that would interfere with the real goal of having them get married and start producing grandkids. They want their daughters to grow up to be extremely intelligent and accomplished housewives, or (if absolutely necessary) nurses or teachers. At least until hubby gets his career going.

    In some ways, seeing the world as “boy vs. girl” would be an improvement over the current situation, in which men tend to see the world as “boy vs. boy (with women in the corners holding the towels and buckets, and cleaning up the mess afterward)”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  96. James Joyner says:

    @KM: But you’re actually using the term correctly in this instance—being told you don’t understand something in which you’re the acknowledged expert. The term is quite frequently deployed to simply mean “a man disagreed with me on something, rather than take my word for it.” The latter is, well, not useful.

    @KM: While I take your larger point, I’m not sure how your examples help. In particular, medical doctors require inordinately more schooling, which is itself almost infinitely more selective, than required of a nurse. Similarly, a college professor requires a doctorate to get in the door and must continue jumping hurdles for close to twenty years to get tenured and achieve full professor rank whereas a schoolteacher requires a mere bachelor’s degree and is typically tenured after three years. I’m sure gender roles has a lot to do with why nurses and teachers are relatively low paying historically—although nurses, in particular, have seen real salary spikes—but it’s far from the chief explanation for their differential status.

    @DrDaveT: In Soviet Union, medical doctors happen to you.

    @grumpy realist: I don’t disagree with that characterization of history and agree that women are disproportionately expected to do free labor around the house. I see it all the time in couples with two high-status people. And, yes, that’s an obstacle to women getting ahead. I’m not sure how it contradicts what I’ve written, however.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  97. Mikey says:

    @DrDaveT:

    I’m afraid, though, that all too many men (of all walks of life) really don’t want full equality of opportunity for their daughters — that would interfere with the real goal of having them get married and start producing grandkids.

    As I said upthread, I’d love grandkids. But that’s not my daughter’s choice, and I value a happy and fulfilled daughter meeting life on her own terms more than I do grandkids anyway. She’s doing that and I support her 110%.

    Am I really that uncommon? I have no real frame of reference–I only know one guy with a college professor daughter and I see him in the mirror every morning.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  98. KM says:

    @James:

    While I take your larger point, I’m not sure how your examples help

    Perhaps I was unclear earlier but given your response, I’m not so sure. My point was there is an inherent gender association with the term. If I say “Professor”, what image jumps to mind for the average person- a male or female figure? What about “teacher” – notice I didn’t say elementary school, teacher can refer to any educator, you made that assumption (PS “mere bachelor’s degree” – your elitism is showing *finger wag*). If you call for the chef after a great meal in a high priced restaurant, do you expect a old woman to walk out or are you pleasantly surprised? When a male nurse walks into a room, how often is he greeted with an instinctive “Doctor” by a patient? A woman that walks in in scrubs meanwhile will get “Nurse” even if she’s Chief Surgeon.

    Your reply immediately went to educational differences, which while true, completely misses what I was trying to say. Still, it makes my point in a roundabout way. Education be damned, there are social expectations associated with jobs that are difficult to talk about. When the image difference is pointed out, the “criteria” gets trotted out instead of the actual issue being addressed. If my examples were poor, apologies as they were all i could think of off the top of my head (I’m still not caffeinated, you see).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  99. KM says:

    @James:

    The latter is, well, not useful.

    Neither is B$tch or Harpy or Passive-Aggressive but those ain’t going nowhere. A now-frequently term that’s become a unfair pejorative when applied to someone incorrectly as a means of putting them down solely due to their gender? Why, I never!!

    Part of me dislikes the idea on moral principle and gender solidarity. The majority is revealing in the schedenfreude.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  100. Modulo Myself says:

    @James Joyner:

    You’re saying on one hand that men are expected to be these emotionless creatures but on the other hand, when men think about politics, it’s all about likability.

    This is a contradiction. Men can’t be both. It’s like you want to be rational when that works and then irrational when that works, and expect everyone else to cover for you as you claim that the norm is exactly what you are doing at that very point. This is the very definition of privilege.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  101. Modulo Myself says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    If you want this attitude to the nth, go to Rod Dreher’s place. Now that I’m banned from posting there, hopefully my memories shall fade. (Step one: I admit that I was powerless over my problem!). But there you can find a guy ranting about special snowflakes and ranting about how it’s the Holocaust if he’s not treated like a legal special snowflake. He just makes it up as he goes along, exactly like he was taught.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  102. KM says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    I fully support James’s efforts and his willingness to try to work this out in public.

    Late to reply but I second the motion! Kudos to James for putting it out there, taking the shellacking and trying to understand with even-toned, reasoned responses. We’ll get you there yet, sir, don’t you worry :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  103. DrDaveT says:

    @James Joyner:

    The term [mansplaining] is quite frequently deployed to simply mean “a man disagreed with me on something, rather than take my word for it.” The latter is, well, not useful.

    Do you have any instances of that you could cite? Because otherwise it sounds like you’re just assuming that this is what was going on, without really knowing whether the woman was in fact more knowledgeable than the man in that instance. Which would be… what we’re talking about.

    I’m sure gender roles has a lot to do with why nurses and teachers are relatively low paying historically—although nurses, in particular, have seen real salary spikes

    You are aware, I hope, that the spike in nurses’ (and teachers’) salaries corresponds with the expansion of other employment opportunities for women, so that there is no longer a captive pool of talented and intelligent women with no other alternatives?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  104. grumpy realist says:

    @Rafer Janders: How about dating a woman who has founded a billion dollar tech company? (grin)

    (I’m trying! I’m trying!)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  105. James Joyner says:

    @KM:

    If I say “Professor”, what image jumps to mind for the average person- a male or female figure? What about “teacher”

    Yes, fair point.

    – notice I didn’t say elementary school, teacher can refer to any educator, you made that assumption (PS “mere bachelor’s degree” – your elitism is showing *finger wag*).

    I have a female colleague who introduces herself as a “teacher” and gets offended by the sexism in people’s assumptions that she teaches grade school. But, in American discourse, people who teach college are called “professor,” which I how I introduce myself when describing my occupation. (Or, I’ll say I “teach at the Command and Staff College” or some such that actually provides useful information.)

    @DrDaveT:

    Do you have any instances of that you could cite? Because otherwise it sounds like you’re just assuming that this is what was going on, without really knowing whether the woman was in fact more knowledgeable than the man in that instance.

    Not off the top of my head but I’ve seen it repeatedly in Internet discussion boards and by the likes of Amanda Marcotte. Like some cries of “Sexism,” it’s poisoning the well rather than pointing out actual disparity.

    @DrDaveT:

    You are aware, I hope, that the spike in nurses’ (and teachers’) salaries corresponds with the expansion of other employment opportunities for women, so that there is no longer a captive pool of talented and intelligent women with no other alternatives?

    Sure. Plus greater unionization and other initiatives.

    @Modulo Myself:

    It’s like you want to be rational when that works and then irrational when that works, and expect everyone else to cover for you as you claim that the norm is exactly what you are doing at that very point. This is the very definition of privilege.

    I’m not sure I get your point here. Like most people, I have visceral reactions to people and dismiss candidates for president based on my assessment of their character. My point on rationality isn’t that men are more inherently rational than women but that the male ideal is more stoic while women are permitted to be more natural in their emotional reactions. (That’s less true in male-dominated fields like politics; but it’s true in general.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  106. dennis says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Meh, shouldn’t be any sweat, grumpy. You don’t need to be “upgrading” dudes, anyway. You’ll just be frustrated that they can’t think and operate at your level.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  107. dennis says:

    @Sudo Nimgh:

    Cheryl, your saying that another person must be reading your mind (when they point out your transparent and unreasonable, clearly exaggerated, interpretative spin on someone else’s straight-forward, simply stated comment) is just crying wolf.

    Aaaannndddd …. this is the point I quit reading. Dude, clueless much?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  108. DrDaveT says:

    @James Joyner:

    @DrDaveT: In Soviet Union, medical doctors happen to you.

    Kudos for the Yakov Smirnov reference, but then you go on to tell KM that you don’t like her examples, while ignoring this one.

    Prior to WW2, “medical doctor” was a prestige occupation in the Soviet Union, and was almost entirely male. When the male population was decimated in WW2, “medical doctor” was one of several formerly-male-dominated occupations that became majority female. The educational requirements did not change. The certification requirements did not change. The level of competency of the physicians actually improved (as was happening worldwide at that time). But the prestige of the occupation went down — way down.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  109. dennis says:

    @KM:

    Bravo Zulu, KM; Bravo Zulu.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  110. DrDaveT says:

    @James Joyner:

    Like most people, I have visceral reactions to people and dismiss candidates for president based on my assessment of their character.

    Based on your visceral reaction, rather than on any actual facts? Really? I’m amazed that you’re not embarrassed to admit that. I’d be happier, though, if you went on to recognize that your visceral reaction to women running for office is biased in ways that your reaction to men is not. As with racism, the first step to overcoming sexism is to start recognizing it in ourselves.

    My point on rationality isn’t that men are more inherently rational than women but that the male ideal is more stoic while women are permitted to be more natural in their emotional reactions.

    “The male ideal.” You say that as if it meant something objective. Whose male ideal are you talking about? (It isn’t mine, or my parents’.) Do you think it immutable? Why do we have to cater to some mediaeval notion of gender roles, even as we reject mediaeval notions of inherent racial traits or castes?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  111. grumpy realist says:

    @dennis: Yes, well, there is the “I’m thinking rings around this person” feeling. Or the feeling that I have to explain everything. Carefully. With one-syllable words.

    A lot of men seem to not mind having the proverbial ditzy blonde available, but I am wondering if the attraction is more in having something that other guys envy rather than actual appreciation of the individual. And I guess that as the arm candy gets worn out, one can always replace it, correct?

    (There’s a wonderful line from one of the Lord Peter Wimsey books, supposedly stated by his mother: “What Peter was to do in 10 years with a wife who had neither brains nor character no one seemed to worry about.”)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  112. DrDaveT says:

    @grumpy realist:

    There’s a wonderful line from one of the Lord Peter Wimsey books, supposedly stated by his mother: “What Peter was to do in 10 years with a wife who had neither brains nor character no one seemed to worry about.”

    Thanks for reminding me. I think Gaudy Night was probably the most formative book I’ve read in terms of my ability to understand many of the issues we’re discussing in this thread. As a blithe white male, I’d never really stopped to consider things from the point of view of the women, and the pre-war setting provided enough distance for me to let my defenses drop, before eventually realizing how little has changed.

    The entire book is essentially about whether it’s possible for an intelligent woman to have both a satisfying intellectual life and a satisfying family life. The mystery is only there to provide a framework for that much more important question.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  113. James Joyner says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Based on your visceral reaction, rather than on any actual facts? Really? I’m amazed that you’re not embarrassed to admit that.

    Oh, c’mon. That’s not how human psychology works. We process information about people but naturally translate much of it into impressions. There are actions that, say, Bill Clinton took and statements that he made that formed the visceral reaction I have to him. But they happened over a period of time and I couldn’t recall the vast majority of them as “facts.”

    Objectively, most of the Republican contenders are similar, with only Rand Paul an extreme outlier from a policy standpoint. But we all have impressionistic views of them based on inputs, most of which we can’t specifically recall. I think Ted Cruz and Scott Walker and Chris Christie are jerks and fairly extreme whereas I think Jeb Bush and John Kasich are much more centrist and mainstream. I couldn’t articulate those impressions at any great length, even though they’re formed over years of observation.

    As to Hillary, I’m sure some of my reaction to her is related to my perceptions of female roles—especially the formative impressions from 20-odd years ago. But it’s not a reaction against “strong women” or some such, in smart, career-oriented women also happen to be my dating archetype. I dislike her in the same way I do Christie, although it’s more longstanding with her simply because she’s been on my radar screen much longer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  114. James Joyner says:

    @DrDaveT:

    “The male ideal.” You say that as if it meant something objective. Whose male ideal are you talking about? (It isn’t mine, or my parents’.)

    Society’s writ large, in everything from male archetypes in the popular culture and the characteristics that are generally lauded in male public figures whether they be politicians, generals, sports figures, or whathaveyou.

    Do you think it immutable?

    No. Indeed, I think it’s changing before our eyes. But the “rules” are changing faster than the programming.

    Why do we have to cater to some mediaeval notion of gender roles, even as we reject mediaeval notions of inherent racial traits or castes?

    We don’t. I’m not proscribing but rather attempting to explain behavior that’s obviously abhorrent. I don’t think the gamer geeks Michael points to “hate women” so much as they see women infiltrating their domain as emasculating. That’s actually an easier problem to deal with that hating women, although the solution isn’t going to happen overnight in either case.

    The bottom line is that we’re going through some incredibly rapid social changes and they’re wreaking havoc with the social identities of people least equipped to deal with that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  115. DrDaveT says:

    As an aside, I’ve been getting a great introduction recently on what it must be like to be on the receiving end of ‘mansplaining’. I’m working on a highly multidisciplinary project in a niche role that has to do with the overall conduct of the project. The decision models and elicitation techniques we’re using are designed to get consistent and credible assessments from inherently subjective judgments by a heterogeneous mix of highly-educated subject matter experts.

    …Some of whom have no qualms at all about repeatedly telling me I’m going about it all wrong, even though they have no background at all in this field and no understanding of the pitfalls associated with various intuitive ways of approaching the task. After getting really angry at first, I have decided to treat this as karmic payback for the mansplaining I have assuredly perpetrated in my life.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  116. DrDaveT says:

    @James Joyner:

    The bottom line is that we’re going through some incredibly rapid social changes

    We’re 150 years into the Women’s Rights movement in the West, and counting. We’re 50 years from the publication of The Feminine Mystique. That doesn’t feel all that rapid to me. It makes “all deliberate speed” seem positively hasty.

    and they’re wreaking havoc with the social identities of people least equipped to deal with that.

    I suspect that the people you think are better-equipped to deal with that… aren’t. At least, not enough better to make a practical difference for women.

    (But let me echo those who have applauded your willingness to participate in a discussion where people like me keep calling you deluded and/or wrong. I really do admire that.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  117. James Joyner says:

    @DrDaveT: The problem with much of the “mansplaining” charge though is that it equates availability bias with sexism. Obviously, these people aren’t talking down to you out of disrespect—you’re male and a doctor, after all!—but simply thinking that, because they’re really smart people with a lot of insight into the world, their view of things is right and you simply don’t understand it. We do that all that time for reasons other than cultural bias. Most professors think their college is administered by morons because, otherwise, they’d be running things they way that everyone in Department X thinks it should be run.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  118. dennis says:

    @grumpy realist:

    (There’s a wonderful line from one of the Lord Peter Wimsey books, supposedly stated by his mother: “What Peter was to do in 10 years with a wife who had neither brains nor character no one seemed to worry about.”)

    You’ve just expanded my reading interest. See? You’re still upgrading dudes; you have to break that vicious cycle, grumpy! 😀

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  119. James Joyner says:

    @DrDaveT:

    We’re 150 years into the Women’s Rights movement in the West, and counting. We’re 50 years from the publication of The Feminine Mystique. That doesn’t feel all that rapid to me. It makes “all deliberate speed” seem positively hasty.

    But they’re different things. The demand of the black civil rights movement was always full equality with whites. The women’s movement has had incremental goals and until fairly recently wanted to preserve substantial differences in gender roles. They wanted to vote. They wanted property rights. They wanted the right to work outside the home and to be paid the same as their male counterparts. Even at the heyday of the Equal Rights Amendment era, Gloria Steinem et al would have balked at the notion of women being drafted into the military, much less serving in the Infantry.

    Indeed, part of the struggle was always the conflict between equality and difference. 30 years ago, the notion that workplaces such as military barracks and firehouses ought to evolve to accommodate women struck many of us as contrary to the very notion of “equality.” Ditto the fact that standards were almost always lowered on such things as physical training standards. It takes a lot of raising of consciousness to understand how those are required changes. That equal doesn’t mean exactly the same is a strange concept.

    In military terms, one thing I’ve noticed over the last quarter century is that we’ve gone from resenting women in the ranks and expecting those who did serve–especially in leadership billets—to ape male behavior to more-or-less respecting women as equals while allowing them to display typically female demeanors. That’s a hell of a transition. We’re not fully there yet, but we’re really close. We’re further on things like homosexuals and transgender individuals, but those are much rarer and much newer issues.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  120. Kylopod says:

    @James Joyner:

    There are actions that, say, Bill Clinton took and statements that he made that formed the visceral reaction I have to him. But they happened over a period of time and I couldn’t recall the vast majority of them as “facts.”

    Objectively, most of the Republican contenders are similar, with only Rand Paul an extreme outlier from a policy standpoint. But we all have impressionistic views of them based on inputs, most of which we can’t specifically recall.

    I would disagree that assessments of character, competence, and temperament are all mere “visceral reactions.”

    Many of us knew exactly what we were going to get when Bush was a candidate in 2000, even if others weren’t listening. It wasn’t just a matter of his policies; we saw it even while he was talking about not engaging in nation-building. It wasn’t a “visceral reaction” but an accurate assessment of his character and abilities. (And by the way, I am not one of those people who believe Bush was a moron. I do, however, believe he was incompetent, and that this should have been patently obvious to anyone paying attention.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  121. grumpy realist says:

    @dennis: Don’t know if you’ve read any science fiction by Melissa Scott, but she’s also a good mind-expander. Most of her characters are gay, and sometimes they’re living in a society where it makes them considered suspicious characters, but often it’s taken as normal. What I love about her writing is how being gay isn’t something that is the defining characteristic of the individuals–they’re all very detailed characters going around living their own lives and doing a lot of stuff–it’s just that they happen to be gay as well.

    She also has written two of the best books around on AI that I’ve ever read. (Dreamships and Dreaming Metal)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  122. Cheryl Rofer says:

    @James: Having been present and pissed off at the beginning of the 1960s wave of the feminist movement, I can say that your characterization is totally wrong. Or, at least, taking a feminine willingness to put it in terms of my perceptions rather than the masculine Truth For All Time, it certainly isn’t my perception of what was happening.

    You are mistaking tactics for objectives. And I am not convinced that I recall correctly (feminine modesty again), but I think you would do well to check up on what Gloria Steinem actually said.

    “Many of us” were upset at the idea of unisex firehouses. I suspect that would be the same “many of us” who managed, after long delay, to open a women’s change room so I could do a chemistry experiment long planned. That was the day after I stood outside the men’s change room and said that I might just have to use it. Funny that.

    James, your last few comments on this thread have been straight arguments for the male-dominated status quo. I’m disappointed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  123. grumpy realist says:

    @James Joyner: Speaking as someone who has friends in the “gamer geek” culture, there doesn’t seem to be much difference from a victim’s viewpoint if you’re getting rape threats because the other party hates you as a female vs. the other party sending you threats because NO GURLZ ALLOWED into the clubhouse.

    (If we’re going to talk about Growing Up, by the way…..how many guys still have a 14-year old’s mind well into their 20s and 30s?)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  124. DrDaveT says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    @James: Having been present and pissed off at the beginning of the 1960s wave of the feminist movement, I can say that your characterization is totally wrong.

    Thanks, Cheryl. My memory doesn’t go back quite that far, and I lack standing on this issue, but that had been my impression as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  125. James Joyner says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Having been present and pissed off at the beginning of the 1960s wave of the feminist movement, I can say that your characterization is totally wrong. […] You are mistaking tactics for objectives.

    That may well be. I entered awareness of the movement somewhere in the 1970s and didn’t perceive them from an adult perspective until the late 1980s, so my perceptions are skewed. I vaguely recall the ERA debates and various controversies that arose more recently. By the 1990s, women were arguing for, for example, the right to enter the military institutes and fly fighter jets but they weren’t arguing in the main for admission to the Infantry.

    James, your last few comments on this thread have been straight arguments for the male-dominated status quo.

    How so? Arguing that the gender equality fight differed in strategy from the racial equality fight isn’t to say that one is more worthy than the other; I was responding to a comment about the relative pace of the two.

    And, while I very much understand why you’d think it condescending for me to tell you that your perception of what it’s like to be a woman in the hard sciences is less valuable than mine—according-to-Hoyle “mansplaining”—that doesn’t mean that every instance of perspective bias stems from racism, sexism, or something similar. People don’t know what they don’t know.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  126. dennis says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Thanks for that, grumpy. For more strong woman evolution; social commentary; and overall woman-kicks-azz reading, check out David Weber’s Honor Harrington series. Military Sc-Fi, but good reading.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  127. grumpy realist says:

    @dennis: Another SF writer who was really great at a) strong female characters and b) tweaking your expectations is James Schmitz. Go read “The Searcher” which if filmed would beat the pants off 99% of the Hollywood alien invasion movies out there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  128. KM says:

    @James:

    The bottom line is that we’re going through some incredibly rapid social changes and they’re wreaking havoc with the social identities of people least equipped to deal with that.

    And this is my problem why? No seriously, this gets trotted out everytime like some sort of unspoken universal pass – Grandma in Oklahoma needs time to get used to Teh Gays so hold off on the rights, Mr Wannabe Knight can’t be a badass like his imaginary ancestor (who was most likely a poor peasant and not some heroic figure like he dreams) so he needs his penile extension and the ability to talk down to Teh Wimmins cuz he’s SMRT, yo! and we should just accept that.

    W. T. F.

    I say this with all respect and love but they need to grew a pair, put on their big girl panties, and learn to handle their #%#@^. We are all adults here. If you/he/she/they/WTFever can’t cope with “rapid change”, please seek help from their nearest therapist. Failure to cope with life’s challenges is a personal issue, not a societal failing. They have the personality defect, they need to step it up. If they get left behind, it’s nobody’s fault but their own since the world is not going to stop for them. We will hold out an encouraging hand, we will try to give them what they need as long as they don’t screw up anyone else but really…. the onus is on them. And if they can’t handle it, then they can gracefully go to the corner and STFU so the rest of us can get on with life.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  129. Cheryl Rofer says:

    @James: Toward the beginning of the thread, you were indeed explaining Lynn’s and my experiences to us. But yes, you have done that less as the thread went on.

    But here you present the women’s movement:

    The women’s movement has had incremental goals and until fairly recently wanted to preserve substantial differences in gender roles. They wanted to vote. They wanted property rights. They wanted the right to work outside the home and to be paid the same as their male counterparts. Even at the heyday of the Equal Rights Amendment era, Gloria Steinem et al would have balked at the notion of women being drafted into the military, much less serving in the Infantry.

    No qualifications of IIRC, I read in a history book, nothing like that. God’s own truth. But when pressed, you admit that you don’t really know.

    This is partly an artifact of academic writing; I struggle constantly to present things positively enough that men may mistake my writing for one of their own, while trying to be clear about what I know and what I don’t. But much academic writing does exactly what you’ve done there.

    That’s one example of being part of and arguing for the status quo; I have to go out to a symposium now, will be back later.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  130. DrDaveT says:

    @dennis:

    David Weber’s Honor Harrington series. Military Sc-Fi, but good reading.

    Well, the first half-dozen were, anyway. I still read them, just because I’m invested in the characters, but it gets harder and harder.

    My current tactic is to skip everything except the dialog. No quotations marks? Don’t bother. If absolutely necessary, you can come back later and dig out references or facts — eBook editions help with this. It almost never does become necessary, though, and skimming saves me from 80,000 words of tedious infodump per novel.

    My votes for strong female stereotype-busting SF characters go to:

    1. Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, Liaden Universe books
    2. Janet Kagan, Hellspark
    3. Rosemary Kirstein, the Steerswoman series
    4. Kristine Smith, “Jani Kilian” novels

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  131. DrDaveT says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Another SF writer who was really great at a) strong female characters and b) tweaking your expectations is James Schmitz.

    Heh. I was just re-reading The Witches of Karres last night.

    Baen Books has done several reissues of Schmitz stories, including a one-volume collection of the Trigger Argee stories and the Telzey Amberdon stories. There’s a couple of kick-ass heroines for you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  132. wr says:

    @James Joyner: “30 years ago, the notion that workplaces such as military barracks and firehouses ought to evolve to accommodate women struck many of us as contrary to the very notion of “equality.””

    One thing I’ve noticed about a lot of your postings on this subject — and like so many others, I really respect and am enjoying your willingness to tackle both it and your assumptions — is that you seem to be assuming that attitudes where you grew up were somehow universal, or at least national. I grew up somewhere very different — in Northern California — and what struck you as contrary of the notion of equality in the 1980s was not only accepted, but demanded and then transcended fifteen years before that.

    This, I think, is one reason for the difference in feelings of urgency between you and some of the commenters. You see fairly recent changes still working their way through the system; those of us who have lived in the more progressive parts of the country (which includes most of our big cities and thus most of the population) see an agonizingly slow awakening to a concensus that was reached decades ago.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  133. KM says:

    @dennis:

    Bravo Zulu, KM; Bravo Zulu.

    Why, thank you. Coming from a military family, I learned early on tactics for how to deal with idiots who see only my endowments instead of my intelligence or skill. The worst smackdown I ever gave at work I walked into a meeting in my sh^tkicker Levis, jean jacket and lowcut babydoll that states “My balls are so big I had to have them mounted on my chest to prevent chafing” and proceed to rip them all new ones over a major security violation. My uncle was a drill sargent so needless to say there were some very broken egos at the end of it all as well as 2 fired idiots. When one of said idiots complained about my attire, the VP in the room noted I had come in from home at his request and that I was perfectly dressed for the asskicking I’d delivered. I’m paid for my skills; my looks are a bonus ^.~

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  134. dennis says:

    @KM:

    Four f-bombs in that post. My kinda woman. I don’t trust a woman who doesn’t use the f-word. I know, I know; I have character flaws …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  135. dennis says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Excellent. I just got ‘Legacy’ free on Kindle. You’re amazing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  136. KM says:

    @Dennis:

    Four f-bombs in that post. My kinda woman. I don’t trust a woman who doesn’t use the f-word. I know, I know; I have character flaws …

    A man after my own heart!

    I’ve been told I can quite “unladylike” when I let loose. Too many Marines in the family to ever have a clean vocab. Still, when I break out in my sesquipedalian loquaciousness, that’s when it’s hitting the fan. My team would rather take my causal F-bomb over my calling them a fatheaded fallacious pissant any day – the later tends to need much Starbucks to calm down and restore order.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  137. dennis says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Yeah, Weber started getting kind of hoaky with the prison planet story. Still, I was invested, like you say. And the space battles are always awesome. Ian Douglas’ ‘Star Carrier’ series is pretty good; though, he, also, gets hoaky in the last book (#4) trying to bring the story to a logical end.

    Thanks to you and grumpy for increasing my reading library, though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  138. grumpy realist says:

    @KM: Yes, this “omigod we gotta worry about the poor dear frail menz egos” really annoys me. Grow up and learn how to deal with reality, guys.

    (A noted male chess player just tried to pull the “women can’t play chess as well as men” schtick and was immediately jumped on by a large number of commentators who pointed out that he had had his pants soundly beaten off by Judith Polgar not just once but several times.)

    Far too much of the perceived “greater abilities” that men demonstrate is because a) they’re allowed to study without demands from Mom that they put the book down and go help Mom change the baby, b) women get constantly told that they’re “no good at math”, and c) traditionally, top-notch education was reserved for men, with women getting shoved off into home economics and finishing school instead.

    Great–discriminate against women for years in education and in business, shove the labor of actually raising the children off on them, take all their time away to take care of and clean the house and generation and cooking of food—and then complain that women haven’t been awarded as many Nobel laureates as men have so it shows that “they’re not good at science.” What an argument.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  139. grumpy realist says:

    @DrDaveT: Speaking of Janet Kagan, I managed to track down a copy of Uhura’s Song in German. High five!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  140. dennis says:

    @KM:

    . . . in my sh^tkicker Levis, jean jacket and lowcut babydoll that states “My balls are so big I had to have them mounted on my chest to prevent chafing” . . .

    That would’ve been something to see!

    sesquipedalian loquaciousness

    You knew I’d have to look up “sesquipedalian.’ You did that on purpose!!! Well played. :-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  141. michael reynolds says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Time for Shameless Plug. FRONT LINES, coming out from HarperCollins in spring 2016: an alt-history of WW2 where a Supreme Court decision has made women subject to the draft and eligible for military service.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  142. michael reynolds says:

    The problem with talking about differences between men and women is that it ignores the individual in favor of a group. Let’s say women as a group are smaller and physically weaker than men. Certainly true. But true as to 100% of men and women? Certainly not. There are smaller men and larger women.

    Rights do not belong to a group, they belong to individuals. Standards should be 1) rational and 2) applied blindly without regard to gender, race, etc…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  143. Mikey says:

    @grumpy realist: Marathon organizers used say women couldn’t run marathons because they’d get hairy chests and become infertile.

    I wish that was a joke.

    Fortunately it was realized that was all bullshit and today nearly half of marathon finishers are women.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  144. grumpy realist says:

    @Mikey: Oh, and any sort of intellectual study whatsoever would turn them into “unfit women” and/or lesbians.

    With this sort of historical background, you can see why those of us of the feminine persuasion are a wee bit grumpy when we get told that we have to “hold back” from equality because it would upset the dear men’s fee-fees.

    You guys had enough time, and you’re still finding excuses as to why you shouldn’t share the ball or let us play the game.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  145. Mikey says:

    @grumpy realist: I may have been that way in the past–I like to think I wasn’t, but how objective can I be?

    Either way, all it took was my aforementioned Dr. Daughter to enlighten me. The latest thing: she’s very much into fitness. She does jiu jitsu and bodybuilding. She’s been told more than once “be careful you don’t get too big!” (Her response: “too big for what? too big for whom?”)

    Find me someone who would ever tell a male bodybuilder “be careful you don’t get too big!” and I’ll eat my own underpants.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  146. grumpy realist says:

    @dennis: There is a prequel to Legacy, called “Harvest Time”. It’s in the Trigger Argee book of Hub Stories. (I think Vol II in the Baen compilation) Heslet Quillan shows up in “Lion Loose” (there’s another story called Forget It which was re-edited to be a Quillan story because it was so close anyway.)

    If you ever wanted to know how come Trigger is with Brule in the first place, “Harvest Time” is essential.

    And if you haven’t tracked down The Demon Breed, I highly highly recommend it. Get Volume IV of the collected Hub stories–it has both The Demon Breed and another story involving the heroine. (supposedly Lois McMaster Bujold’s admiration of the heroine is why Lady Vorkosigan’s middle name is “Nile”.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  147. Lynn says:

    @Mikey: She does jiu jitsu and bodybuilding. She’s been told more than once “be careful you don’t get too big!”

    LOL! I was doing deadlifts the other day and a guy came running over to tell me, “Oh, you shouldn’t lift that! You’ll hurt yourself.”

    Of course, I’m both female and old.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  148. Blue Galangal says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Prior to WW2, “medical doctor” was a prestige occupation in the Soviet Union, and was almost entirely male. When the male population was decimated in WW2, “medical doctor” was one of several formerly-male-dominated occupations that became majority female. The educational requirements did not change. The certification requirements did not change. The level of competency of the physicians actually improved (as was happening worldwide at that time). But the prestige of the occupation went down — way down.

    IIRC, the same thing also happened in Greece – in the 80s – to the profession of “engineer.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  149. DrDaveT says:

    @James Joyner:

    But they’re different things. The demand of the black civil rights movement was always full equality with whites.

    And women didn’t want full equality with men?

    Think very carefully before you stake out that position as your own.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  150. Grewgills says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Yes, this “omigod we gotta worry about the poor dear frail menz egos” really annoys me.

    There is more than a little irony in the supposedly more stoic and logical sex needing to have so much more time and hand holding to get through the trauma of societal change.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  151. Lynn says:

    @James Joyner: Even at the heyday of the Equal Rights Amendment era, Gloria Steinem et al would have balked at the notion of women being drafted into the military, much less serving in the Infantry.

    Where did you get that idea?

    from Gloria Steinem
    WHAT WOULD IT BE LIKE IF WOMEN WIN (1970)

    “Men will have to give up ruling-class privileges, but in return they will no longer be the only ones to support the family, get drafted, bear the strain of power and responsibility. Freud to the contrary, anatomy is not destiny, at least not for more than nine months at a time. In Israel, women are drafted, and some have gone to war. In England, more men type and run switchboards. In India and Israel, a woman rules. In Sweden, both parents take care of the children. In this country, come Utopia, men and women won’t reverse roles; they will be free to choose according to individual talents and preferences..”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  152. Grewgills says:

    @wr:

    you seem to be assuming that attitudes where you grew up were somehow universal, or at least national. I grew up somewhere very different — in Northern California — and what struck you as contrary of the notion of equality in the 1980s was not only accepted, but demanded and then transcended fifteen years before that.

    I think you got this largely right, though I would argue that those notions of equality were far from fully realized, much less demanded anywhere outside the fringes in 1965. The Bay is certainly closer to there than Birmingham, but even the Bay has a ways to go yet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  153. lynn says:

    There was Phyllis Schafley, who warned that passing the ERA would lead to unisex bathrooms and women being drafted.

    She’s still preaching doom, but now the issue is marriage equality.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  154. James Joyner says:

    @DrDaveT: I always understood the aim of the movement in those days to be equal opportunity vice equal treatment. That is, women wanted equal legal status but not such things as Infantry duty, being drafted, and the like.

    @Lynn: I stand corrected! I don’t have much personal recollection of 1970 (I turned 5 that November) but had a different impression starting in the late 1970s, viewing “true equality” as an extremist position.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  155. Lynn says:

    @James Joyner: I don’t have much personal recollection of 1970 (I turned 5 that November) but had a different impression starting in the late 1970s, viewing “true equality” as an extremist position.

    I was in graduate school in the middle to late 70s, and I remember long discussions about these issues. While there were a few women who wanted only the equal rights, most of the women I knew accepted that those rights came with responsibilities.

    I have no idea where tht picture came from, btw; it must be connected to my other email, which I used by mistake. It looks just like me, however, so I guess I’ll keep it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  156. James Joyner says:

    @Lynn: Ha. Yeah; you must be signed up for a gravatar account under the old email.

    Once upon a time, the moderate positio—at least as I understood it—wasn’t so much that women wanted rights without responsibility but that there was a recognition that, while the sexes were equal, they weren’t the same. That it made sense that women should simultaneously have the right to serve in the military—including going to West Point and the like—but that they shouldn’t be drafted or expected to serve in the Infantry and such, simply because women bore the childbearing role and were in the main not physically able to handle certain functions that healthy males could. In my late teens and very early 20s, I resented that position but soon came to see it as equitable. At some point much later I evolved into seeing that *some* women could do those functions and that, as long as we didn’t compromise standards to below what was necessary to actually execute said functions. they ought be allowed to prove that they could.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  157. Lynn says:

    @James Joyner: At some point much later I evolved into seeing that *some* women could do those functions and that, as long as we didn’t compromise standards to below what was necessary to actually execute said functions. they ought be allowed to prove that they could.

    Exactly.

    ” the moderate positio—at least as I understood it—wasn’t so much that women wanted rights without responsibility but that there was a recognition that, while the sexes were equal, they weren’t the same. ”

    But even then, many of us recognized that there were a variety of ways to serve, and being drafted didn’t have to mean carrying a gun, if one was not physically able to do that particular job.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  158. wr says:

    @Grewgills: “I think you got this largely right, though I would argue that those notions of equality were far from fully realized, much less demanded anywhere outside the fringes in 1965. The Bay is certainly closer to there than Birmingham, but even the Bay has a ways to go yet.”

    Oh, yes. I’m not claiming that even my home town of Berkeley was a land of perfect equality — or even that in some ways things hadn’t swung too far in some very odd directions — merely that the ideas themselves were if not universally adopted, universally accepted as common and not at all foreign in the way James describes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  159. wr says:

    @lynn: “There was Phyllis Schafley, who warned that passing the ERA would lead to unisex bathrooms and women being drafted.”

    And look at all the progress we’ve made since then. Now Republicans argue that gay marriage and legal protections for gays will lead to unisex bathrooms — or worse, men being allowed in women’s bathrooms.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  160. Mikey says:

    @Lynn:

    LOL! I was doing deadlifts the other day and a guy came running over to tell me, “Oh, you shouldn’t lift that! You’ll hurt yourself.”

    Of course, I’m both female and old.

    LOL…my daughter–who’s 28–got the exact same thing today. “You’re really using a lot of effort to move that weight…”

    long, stern glare

    “…um…unless you’re looking to bulk up…er…” (slinks sheepishly away)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  161. Lynn says:

    @wr: or worse, men being allowed in women’s bathrooms.”

    I understand that it’s now illegal in some states for people to use the “wrong” bathroom for their genetic sex. I may be in big trouble because, when there are two single-person bathrooms, I just use whichever is empty.

    Although, with my huge muscles, maybe no one notices.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  162. DrDaveT says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Speaking of Janet Kagan, I managed to track down a copy of Uhura’s Song in German.

    Ms. Kagan died last year, having (as best I can tell) written exactly three things:

    1. Uhura’s Song, the OST novel she wrote because the publisher who really wanted to publish Hellspark was only allowed to accept Star Trek tie-in novels from first-time authors. I’m told it’s a classic, though I have not read it myself.

    2. Hellspark, one of the best “first contact” novels ever. Hard science fiction where the science is linguistics.

    3. Mirabile, a fixup of delightful stories set on a biologically challenged colony world.

    Low volume, highest quality.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  163. Cheryl Rofer says:

    @DrDaveT: And I was just thinking about “The Witches of Karres” the other night. One of my formative influences. A bit of searching tells me there’s more than the original novella I’m recalling. Need to get another copy of that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  164. Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Lynn: Thanks, Lynn. I didn’t have time this morning to look up a Steinem quote, but I was pretty sure James was wrong. And I’m glad to see she was still saying that in 1970.

    Early on, say around 1963, we (women I knew and many who were writing about “the problem without a name” etc. and, even before that Simone de Beauvoir) were talking about full equality and what it would mean for men as well as women. That gradually decayed away, so by the time James was old enough to make sense of such things, much of the women’s movement was indeed working on specific initiatives. The Equal Rights Amendment still embodied the early universalism, but, by James’s time, it was looking more and more like the ERA wasn’t going to make it, and it didn’t.

    James is correct that the analogy with civil rights for African Americans is imperfect. What analogy isn’t? Most women live with men in a way that most blacks don’t live with whites. And the socialization of both sexes is so thoroughgoing! Look at James’s contributions:

    You don’t know what you don’t know.

    So yes, by the eighties the women’s movement was a set of tactical battles, many of which we won. But, in a not-too-bad analogy to Reconstruction, there were rearguard actions designed to return things to their more-congenial-to-males status quo ante, even by violence, which is still horrendous in its domestic manifestations and more public in Gamergate and a number of other young-male initiatives.

    Some of that worked for a while, but in the last few years young women are realizing they’ve been sold a bill of goods – or perhaps many different bills of goods suited to different circumstances – and they’re saying no thanks. Or some of the things said upthread.

    And James, please stop hiding behind those hypothetical delicate menz who need their brute masculinity constantly confirmed. They’re not contributing to this thread; they’re a mental construction that allows other men to justify continuing unfortunate practices.

    As to the bathroom issue, it seemed to me that the reason the women’s change room was readied so quickly after my threat to use the men’s was that they really didn’t want me in the men’s. Whether that was because my cooties would besmirch the tree house or I would see something they didn’t want me to was unclear.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  165. Lynn says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Early on, say around 1963

    I was still in high school, taking home ec, where we learned how to sink gracefully into a chair, sit with just our ankles crossed, and our hips sort of angled the other direction so we didn’t look threatening (quote from the teacher). That was the same year I was told — by an adult and several friends — that I should tone down my vocabulary and let the guys win at tennis.

    Feminism? That had to wait another couple of years for me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  166. Blue Galangal says:

    @Lynn: True story: I was sent home from school in 1st grade – by the male principal of a public elementary school – because I wore culottes instead of a skirt or dress and “little girls don’t wear pants.” (My mother marched me back to school in the culottes and as far as I’m aware that was the end of that.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  167. grumpy realist says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Don’t read the sequels unless you’re a bit of a masochist and get them out of the library vs. buying them. There’s “The Wizard of Karres” and “The Sorceress of Karres.” Neither is up to the original, although there are cute spots. I especially enjoyed the vatchlet. And “The Wizard of Karres” makes a perfectly logical assumption about Sedmon of the Six Lives which contributes mightily to the plot. (Now I want to know more about the Hospitalers of Grauth and the “relations with the Nematode Cluster.”)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  168. Mikey says:

    @Lynn:

    But even then, many of us recognized that there were a variety of ways to serve, and being drafted didn’t have to mean carrying a gun, if one was not physically able to do that particular job.

    Today the military is moving to integrate women into combat specialties currently closed to them. There are quite a few men in those specialties who basically say “let them try, if they can hack it they’re welcome” but that sentiment is far from unanimous.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0