Pharyngula

Lookin’ lovely, ladies

Your ornamental function must be your important asset — never mind those degrees and skills and various non-superficial attributes. I can imagine how Sheril must feel, but have never experienced it myself. Strangely, I’ve never met a distinguished stranger and had them compliment my looks or ask after my marriage status.

It’s the Western complement to the burka: women aren’t hidden away overtly, but instead every one is seen as if they’re wearing a beauty queen/cheerleader costume.

Comments

  1. #1 JD
    March 28, 2009

    Does this have anything to do with the Florida blog (chuckle)?

  2. #2 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Strangely, I’ve never met a distinguished stranger and had them compliment my looks or ask after my marriage status.

    Me neither. Maybe I better stop wearing my beanie hat with the propeller.

  3. #3 Abstruse
    March 28, 2009

    Nothing says “Good-Job” like a firm open-handed slap on the rear.

  4. #4 Ryan
    March 28, 2009

    The third comment on that page was very good. That being said I have only one question:

    Will you be my next mistress PZ?

    Don’t want you to feel left out.

  5. #5 Paper Hand
    March 28, 2009

    I never have understood that attitude towards appearances. If I’m reading something, I’m only interested in the content. Is the topic interesting? Is the writer clear? Is their writing engaging? Are they dull or interesting? I can somewhat understand that attitude in person – then you’re actually seeing the person as they speak, although even then it’s ridiculous to consider that an important criterion, and even to remark on it.

    That applies even to topics far less serious than science writing, such as, say, music. I listen to a singer if I like their voice, the tunes they use, etc. I can’t see them when I’m listening to the music, so what do I care if they’re attractive or not?

    (BTW, the quote on the side “It is best to read the weather forcast before praying for rain.” is one I had just used today, amusing :))

  6. #6 Dennis N
    March 28, 2009

    She is attractive, but in fairness, so is Mooney. And yes I am straight.

  7. #7 The Tim Channel
    March 28, 2009

    Using religion for good.

    Marijuana is the wonder drug that works wonders. It cures whatever ails you, and if you’re healthy it keeps you that way. It is such a powerful gift from God that many religions make it’s use a sacrament.

    Plenty more at my TPMuckraker blog:

    http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/talk/blogs/timtimes/2009/03/where-should-obie-look.php

    Enjoy.

  8. #8 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    I was once shown a video about religious extremism, and I was once surprised to hear that an Egyptian woman supported the Islamic reaction against westernization in the 1960’s-1970’s which continues to this day, because according to her, Islam somehow respects women better than the capitalism because Islam respects women according to their person, not to their looks, whereas the capitalism brought on to Egypt exploited women, just using them for their looks, just so that the companies could sell more. Well, I am sure that everyone here would agree that the Burka is the greater of the two evils, and that Islam does not really respect women, and surely holds them to be inferior to men, but is this kind of attitude the norm in such places like Egypt?

  9. #9 Marc Abian
    March 28, 2009

    Bah. This is nothing but dead white male bashing from a PC thug. It’s women like her who keep the rest of us from landing a husband

  10. #10 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    “Strangely, I’ve never met a distinguished stranger and had them compliment my looks or ask after my marriage status.”

    Well, this is usually not the way people get married in the United States nowadays, is it? I wonder, though, whether this was the norm in the past.

  11. #11 Jadehawk
    March 28, 2009

    of course it’s annoying and sexist, but I’ve actually noticed the opposite becoming more and more common too. I’ve been told by a friend that during the inauguration, a British TV reporter/anchor (don’t remember which) was having a hard time not constantly referring to “those broad shoulders”. she thought it was hilarious.

    the bad part of course is that when a woman does this, she’s an “airhead” for crushing on some guy rather than dealing with the hard issues/facts. when a man does it, it’s normal.

  12. #12 nal
    March 28, 2009

    Men find some women attractive. I’m shocked!
    When I see an attractive women, it’s like my brain has a mind of its own. On the outside I’m Mr. Cool, but on the inside my neurons are freaking out. Could there be an evolutionary explanation?
    It’s time for men to stop apologizing for finding some women attractive.

  13. #13 Abbie
    March 28, 2009

    I saw the original thread and was pretty appalled. Glad it’s been addressed.

  14. #14 Chayanov
    March 28, 2009

    It’s time for men to stop apologizing for finding some women attractive.

    Wow, way to miss the point.

  15. #15 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    “It’s time for men to stop apologizing for finding some women attractive.”

    Yes, you definitely missed the point. It is not about finding some women attractive. It is about seeing women as ONLY things to marry, and look at, and nothing more.

  16. #16 Otto
    March 28, 2009

    This brings home the question
    “Why have men IQs greater than dogs?”

    “So they don’t hump ladies legs at cocktail parties”

  17. #17 Heraclides
    March 28, 2009

    @8: I’ve heard similar comments from Muslim women.

    @10: In a very formal way, wasn’t it true once? That you complemented the person’s appearance then asked after their family as a common polite conservation starter? (What these twits are doing on the blog is not in the same vein, however…)

    @11: I’ve seen this both ways on TV, too. Including the presenter immediately catching themselves and saying straight to the camera “I’m going to have to have an answer for this one when I get home…” :-)

  18. #18 Treppenwitz
    March 28, 2009

    Is there any way for me to express how tired I am of hearing about this incident without being decried as a foot-soldier of the manocracy?

  19. #19 The Tim Channel
    March 28, 2009

    Being cursed with Greco Roman good looks, I am uniquely qualified to understand her dilemma, albeit from a male perspective.

    I’ve always just taken it for granted, and although I have a high opinion of my own good looks (lol), I’m not Tom Cruise good looking, and that’s what it takes for a male to really get “oggled”.

    You find out how important looks are when, e.g. I lost my hair for a year or so. No explanation or diagnosis. I never went to the doctor. They’re too expensive unless the problem is pain or sexual dysfunction. I attribute the event to the 24,000 minutes of talk time I put on that original Motorola flip cellular phone….

    For the year I was bald, I looked a cross between a holocaust survivor, chemotherapy patient and Michael Stipe of R.E.M.

    I actually scared people. My svelte physique undoubtedly added to the illusion. I have “bounced” between 131 and 145 pounds since ninth grade when my adult weight stabilized. I’m 51. I’m self confident enough (who would have guessed??) that my baldness never bothered me, nor was I interested in any of the myriad hair restoration schemes available. YMMV.

    My hair grew back in a little over a year and I returned to my Greek God status. My friends were righteously pissed, because the year I happened to lose my hair, the Michael Stipe look was sort of ‘in’ and they couldn’t believe my karmic good luck. In the end, all your friends really do want to see you suffer so they can feel better about themselves. It is what endears them to us. In the final analysis, Ken Ham style, I guess God was just looking out for me.

    Enjoy.

  20. #20 eddie
    March 28, 2009

    On the last thread I commented on NdGT’s looks. Does that make me sexist?
    Personally I’m more inclined to criticise SK’s judgement for hanging out with a framer.

  21. #21 Marc Abian
    March 28, 2009

    It is about seeing women as ONLY things to marry, and look at, and nothing more.

    I think it was about more than that. It was saying any kind of comment on someone’s sexual appeal in a blog about science is inappropriate.

    “Why have men IQs greater than dogs?”

    “So they don’t hump ladies legs at cocktail parties”

    Yeah, that’s right. My gender’s a few IQ points away from humping ladies (sic) legs. Big into insightful humour are you?

  22. #22 D. C. Sessions
    March 28, 2009

    Strangely, I’ve never met a distinguished stranger and had them compliment my looks or ask after my marriage status.

    Damn. Short straw.

    Dr Myers? Let me explain …

  23. #23 The Tim Channel
    March 28, 2009

    Oh yeah, one last thing….

    “Sciencey” chicks are just hot. I don’t make the rules, I just repost ‘em.

    Enjoy.

  24. #24 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    “when a man does it, it’s normal.”
    Well, do you think that it should be less normal? I think that judging people based on their appearance, as a way of judging their health, and thus, their personal responsibility to themselves, is a good thing, and encourages people to stay healthy, lest they be judged as “unhealthy” by others. However, I am concerned about how people judge others for their looks because they think of others as objects, merely for their personal enjoyment – it is the same objection people have to pornography. Am I justified in being concerned in this way? I know that perhaps people can never change their attitudes, and that men (and women, let’s not forget that this is not exclusive to males) will always be this way, but maybe, just maybe, this kind of attitude can just be more discouraged by society.

  25. #25 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    But then, thinking about it more, I guess I am a little unjustified about being concerned…

  26. #26 Sniper
    March 28, 2009

    Well, do you think that it should be less normal?

    It’s only normal because men are used to getting away with outrageously rude shit like this.

  27. #27 firemancarl
    March 28, 2009

    Ha!ha!ha! Dangely parts!

  28. #28 Jadehawk
    March 28, 2009

    Well, do you think that it should be less normal?

    please go back and re-read that paragraph. it went like this: the bad part of course is that [...] when a man does it, it’s normal..

    I apologize for the confusing sentence structure.

  29. #29 Auraboy
    March 28, 2009

    This is a pretty complex issue I admit. There’s perhaps a finer line between total objectification of attractive women and how much hard-wiring we can admit to. I remember a certain number of studies on even babies responding better to what were judged to be ‘attractive’ carers.

    I totally agree that the ‘why aren’t you married?’ and ‘I expect you’ll be my sex object’ questions would piss any woman off. And the label ‘a woman —-‘ whatever is pretty insulting. Unfortunately the British news media, which I work for, still has a bizarre habit of qualifying if a police officer or Doctor is a woman, but strangely doesn’t feel the need to say Male Nurse etc.

    On the other hand, I’m a straight, young male and there’s some hardwired mentality going on when I see a good looking girl. I’d be interested to see if I pay more attention to a science post if it’s written by an attractive female.

    That said, I’m a token straight guy in the media so I’m aware of a certain amount of objectification by gay men so that’s perhaps the closest I’ll get to experiencing the same thing.

  30. #30 shamwowmytonguehurts
    March 28, 2009

    Reproductive potential is unfortunately a common criterion in judging the general worth of a person. For men it’s a product of their ability to provide, for women it’s a product of their ability to provide healthy babies. Youth and beauty correlate with reproductive potential more strongly in women so I don’t get why people are surprised by the double standard.

    Women have it easier anyway. They can go far in life being lazy and vapid as long as they invest shrewdly in their sex appeal for the few years that they have it. Men must work hard to procure resources in this rat race while at the same time remaining light-hearted and interesting (no small feat, ladies, give us a break).

    I can understand how women would feel uncomfortable by constant irrelevant comments about their looks, partly because leering men can be somewhat threatening. I however always welcome positive comments regarding my fading sexual attractiveness, even when they make me uncomfortable. I like walking down the street and having some repulsively forward gay man whistle at me, even when it sends a chill down my spine. It gives me confidence and I would be surprised if women were much different.

  31. #31 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#21 Marc Abian
    “It was saying any kind of comment on someone’s sexual appeal in a blog about science is inappropriate.”

    Well, having read the following from the blog entry on Discover Magazine:
    “2003: I?m a budding marine scientist on my first fishing boat. ?How old are you?? asks the captain. ?Twenty-three.? He grimaces and blows smoke from his pipe into my face. ?My niece?s younger?n you and she got three kids. You got no business here, what?s wrong with you??

    2008: Now a science writer, I?ve just returned from a conference, ecstatic to have met one of my?and everyone else?s?science heroes. He somehow tracks down my number and calls the following week. How would I feel about being ?his next mistress?? I remind him I have a popular science blog and warn never to call back.”

    It seems to be talking about the attitude of someone who cares only about their marriage status, and cares only about their looks, not about how it is inappropriate to talk about someone’s sexual appeal. Then again, I have not read the whole thing, so I could be wrong.

  32. #32 Bride of Shrek OM
    March 28, 2009

    “Strangely, I’ve never met a distinguished stranger and had them compliment my looks or ask after my marriage status.”

    You’ve obviously never been to Ipswich then, where I live.

    Granted the “distinguished” part is non-existent and really its not so much a marital status enquiry as to a query as to possible kinship in an attempt to bring new DNA into the town after a century of apparent inbreeding but…well lets say you’d have to have a face like Jimmy Durante to NOT get a proposition from the mouth breathing, mullet-wearing weirdos in these here parts.

  33. #33 Beaks of the Finch
    March 28, 2009

    “It gives me confidence and I would be surprised if women were much different.”

    Prepare to be surprised. As a confident, independent woman, I feel completely opposite. When anyone whistles at me on the street or makes an inappropriate comment about my appearance it in NO WAY makes me feel more confident. It mostly just makes me more concerned that the only thing that a man thinks that I have to offer is all on the outside.

  34. #34 Holydust
    March 28, 2009

    While I’m glad we seem to be out of the phase where a woman would glare at you if you held a door open for her, it doesn’t seem to be the result of a regression back into chivalry.

    No, no one seems to hold doors open for anyone anymore.

    And this is coming from a twenty-six year old woman.

    I hold the door open for anyone I see, old, young, male, female. No one ever does the same. In this city I get doors slamming right in front of my face every day.

    Not sure where I’m going with this. I guess the point is, I don’t get offended if a dude wants to hold a door open for me because it’s just polite — as polite as it would be if a chick did it. But I think the loss of manners as a whole supercedes any lingering idea that men treat women like slabs of meat.

    If you told me I could snap my fingers and people would be more polite out there, but I’d be ogled more, I’d still take it in a heartbeat. Is that messed up?

  35. #35 Sniper
    March 28, 2009

    Women have it easier anyway. They can go far in life being lazy and vapid as long as they invest shrewdly in their sex appeal for the few years that they have it. Men must work hard to procure resources in this rat race while at the same time remaining light-hearted and interesting (no small feat, ladies, give us a break).

    Yeah! That’s why you never see a woman working, but somehow they have all the money and political power! And no mean, lazy, or humorless guys never get married. Damn.

  36. #36 Marc Abian
    March 28, 2009

    #31

    What brought this up was a blog post with comments telling the author that she was attractive. The two anecdotes in the post PZ linked to were indeed not about blogs at all.

  37. #37 gingerbeard
    March 28, 2009

    on a related note
    thoughts from ERV

    4. Always true phrases:

    * Never get in a scientific debate with a cute, sweet chick with ‘SCIENCE!’ plastered across her boobs.

    is the objectification acceptable because it comes from the object????

  38. #38 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Years ago, when thinking through life, the universe, and everything, I concluded that one of the stumbling blocks to further development by Homo sapiens was the lack of talent (lots of people, not that much talent). Immediately cutting off 50% of the potential talent due to their genetic make-up (XX vs XY) seemed irresponsible. Carry-on with the discussion.

  39. #39 'Tis Himself
    March 28, 2009

    I’ve seen the same thing in professional, bureaucratic and corporate settings. My present boss is a good looking woman in her late 30s or early 40s. I’ve heard several men say that she reached her position through sexual favors whereas if they considered the situation dispassionately they’d realize, as most of the rest of us have, that she’s extremely competent.

    A couple of times I’ve told some of these men to knock off the casual sexism. In return a couple of them have made snide remarks about my sexual orientation. (I do find it amusing that they’re more willing to listen to the one openly gay man in our section when he tells them to cease making sexist remarks.)

  40. #40 Sniper
    March 28, 2009

    If you told me I could snap my fingers and people would be more polite out there, but I’d be ogled more, I’d still take it in a heartbeat. Is that messed up?

    First of all, that so-called phase about women snapping at men for just being polite is bullshit. Women have never had the societal power to be as rude as men, ever.

    Secondly, why should social justice and basic politeness be mutually exclusive?

    And incidentally, PZ is suggesting that maybe treating women as ends in themselves rather as means to others’ ends is a good idea, and commenters are rushing to explain that, well, yes, women are put on earth for other people (i.e. straight men). Fauxgressivism – you’re soaking in it.

  41. #41 dds
    March 28, 2009

    is the objectification acceptable because it comes from the object????

    I think you need a new sarcasm detector. I do not think it was meant literally that “cute” and “sweet” matter substantively in this recommendation.

    Was an instance of objectification noticed by the object and subsequently reported in this fashion? That would be my interpretation.

  42. #42 Marc Abian
    March 28, 2009

    commenters are rushing to explain that, well, yes, women are put on earth for other people (i.e. straight men

    Where did you see that?

  43. #43 Jeanette
    March 28, 2009

    Yeah, we can be valued for our looks, or not at all. I wonder if I’m the only one who has struggled with a lot of inner conflict over that. I spent my early adult years in jeans and a crew cut, and have swung out to the Barbie doll extreme in middle age; that’s what it’s taken for me to feel safe in a dress.

    Whichever way we go, we’ll be looked down on for it… by men and women alike. (I think if sexism were just something men do to women, we would have licked it by now.)

    @30: most of us wouldn’t want to prostitute ourselves so we could be “lazy and vapid,” even if we were miraculously born with buckets of cash to spend on our looks. And these days we’re judged by our money and prestigious job titles (or lack thereof), on top of being expected to look good.

  44. #44 Dave W.
    March 28, 2009

    All this brouhaha over a headshot of Sheril. Imagine the dust-up that Katie the Intern will cause over at Zooillogix.

  45. #45 Pete Rooke
    March 28, 2009

    I myself was recently forced to reprimand a commenter (who shall go nameless) on the thread about the Dawkins and Dembski (comment # 278) for misongynistic rhetoric. It is among us.

  46. #46 Abbie
    March 28, 2009

    Reproductive potential is unfortunately a common criterion in judging the general worth of a person. For men it’s a product of their ability to provide, for women it’s a product of their ability to provide healthy babies. Youth and beauty correlate with reproductive potential more strongly in women so I don’t get why people are surprised by the double standard.

    Ah, a crude understanding of evolutionary psychology being used to excuse misogyny. Haven’t see this before!

  47. #47 Auraboy
    March 28, 2009

    This is going to get messy…

  48. #48 Sniper
    March 28, 2009

    Where did you see that?

    12, 18, 20, 24, 29, 34, and probably more by the time I post this. The treatment of the woman referred to in PZ’s link is completely outrageous – the kind of thing that no man would ever put up with – and yet people are downplaying it with evopsych nonsense about hard wiring and concerns about politeness. Ridiculous!

  49. #49 Auraboy
    March 28, 2009

    Women were put on this earth for straight men? Wow.

  50. #50 Pete Rooke
    March 28, 2009

    The comment that follows mine (#46) appears to be spam probably disseminated by a hijacked computer. Shut it down

  51. #51 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#47 Abbie
    “Ah, a crude understanding of evolutionary psychology being used to excuse misogyny. Haven’t see this before!”

    If you have carefully read it, then you will have seen that it is not to excuse misogyny, but to explain it. To say that Turkey had some motivation for massacring the Armenians because they feared that they would side with the Russians, during the First World War, is an explanation for the Armenian genocide, but it certainly does not excuse it.

  52. #52 shamwowmytonguehurts
    March 28, 2009

    Comment #47, I would never excuse misogyny, I was explaining sexism. I bet you’ve seen it before many times though because you seem to be looking for it.

  53. #53 GMacs
    March 28, 2009

    @46:

    Vas?

  54. #54 Personal Failure
    March 28, 2009

    Why do men name their penises? To be on a first name basis with the person making 95% of their decisions.

    Normally I hate that kind of sexist joke- but some men deserve it.

  55. #55 Pete Rooke
    March 28, 2009

    Abbie,

    misongyny is not to be tolerated as you point out. It can not simply be excused by appealing to our nature. We are rational beings. See my comment # 45 on misongyny among us.

  56. #56 Carlie
    March 28, 2009

    God, it’s so simple. Don’t comment on a person’s appearance. See? Wasn’t that easy?

    If you need more detail, don’t comment on a person’s appearance when it is entirely irrelevant to the situation at hand, which is just about all of the time. Go ahead and think they’re attractive if you want, but you don’t need to say everything that comes into your head. There are these neat internal filters that most people have in their brain that keep them from making inappropriate remarks.

    If you need more empathy, try seeing it from a woman’s point of view. If she’s attractive, she’s spent her entire life having men catcall her, look at her chest instead of her face when she’s talking to them, possibly getting frightening sexual advances from bosses and other people in positions of power and/or in scary circumstances. Your comment that you think is complimentary could well at worst trigger her to remember every other time this has happened in worse situations, and at best will be an annoyance because it is entirely off-topic to what she’s trying to discuss. Can you find some women who will say “I like it when men tell me I’m pretty”? Of course you can. BUT, that does not in any way mean the woman you’re about to say it to thinks of it that way, and the probability that she will not be happy about it pretty damned high.

  57. #57 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 28, 2009

    The comment that follows mine (#46) appears to be spam probably disseminated by a hijacked computer. Shut it down.

    Pete, that is exactly the type of comment that will get you banned. This is PZ’s blog, not yours. Until you acknowledge that simple fact, you are WRONG, and heading toward being banned, as PZ himself has told you on many occasions. Say five Hail Ramens and sin no more my son.

  58. #58 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#34 Holydust
    “But I think the loss of manners as a whole supercedes any lingering idea that men treat women like slabs of meat.”

    Actually, it does not need to supercede it at all. Politeness and personal respect can co-exist, in fact.

    @#49 Sniper
    “Where did you see that?

    12, 18, 20, 24, 29, 34, and probably more by the time I post this. The treatment of the woman referred to in PZ’s link is completely outrageous – the kind of thing that no man would ever put up with – and yet people are downplaying it with evopsych nonsense about hard wiring and concerns about politeness.”
    While I see your point about 12, 18, 20, and 34, I severely doubt that 24 and 29 are the same.

  59. #59 clinteas
    March 28, 2009

    I never knew its that simple ! Just phone a friend and ask “Will you be my next mistress?” Wow,cool !

    I think a woman really comfortable with her looks and sexuality can to a degree use her appeal on men,because,yes,of course we look,and if a woman can be cool about that and play with it,like ERV can,I dont have a problem with it,I think its refreshing.

    On the other hand,those neanderthal macho responses we see here and on other blogs way too often when we are dealing with a good looking woman,and this concentrating on how she looks,not what she is saying or what her skills are,is truly embarrassing.

  60. #60 Pete Rooke
    March 28, 2009

    And I think these tensions in society arise when we attempt to blur the natural gender gap/divide in society.

    So the conduct cannot be excused but the factors that lead to it must be examined.

    As I’ve noted:

    It is disturbing to note the increasingly homogeneous nature of clothing to the extent that what passes for menswear could equally pass for womenswear. Nowadays it is quite common to see “businesswoman” in suites and with close cropped hair. Stick a pen in their pants pocket and they might as well be men. These feminists want to deny the intrinsic differences between the sexes and the roles they have played and should continue to play in society.

    Incidentally, has anyone seen Mad Men. Not a portrait of particularly moral people but it did, I think, perfectly explicate the pitfalls of allowing women and men in the workplace alongside each other without allowing for innate differences.

  61. #61 Tony Sidaway
    March 28, 2009

    Liberal guilt time: I can’t go and click on the link because I might accidentally see a picture of the blogger in question, and then I’ll torment myself for only going there to see if she’s pretty.

    Does she happen to have written anything about Java programming, by any chance? If so I’m pretty sure I can convince myself I’m only clicking the link to check out her neat package.

  62. #62 Auraboy
    March 28, 2009

    I agree with #57

    And thanks to #59 for noticing.

  63. #63 Alex
    March 28, 2009

    WOW, PZ, hypocritical much? This from from the asshole who gives his students extra credit if they can name a female scientist, and who likes Florida because he likes to objectify female human beings?

  64. #64 Sniper
    March 28, 2009

    Fuck off, Pete, and take your own weird brand of idiotic misogyny with you.

  65. #65 sioux laris
    March 28, 2009

    As an intellectual problem and perhaps the source of all humor, the question posed is interesting, important, and even, like the source of “consciousness” or “life”, eventually answerable (No, it will not be “42”!).

    As something we have to live and deal with, it’s a pain.

    Also, the comments at her blog are much higher in quality, so far, than those on this thread. Could the many thoughtful and funny folk here raise the tone?

  66. #66 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#61 Pete Rooke
    “It is disturbing to note the increasingly homogeneous nature of clothing to the extent that what passes for menswear could equally pass for womenswear.”

    But not the other way around. But of course, you already know that.

    @#62 Tony Sidaway
    I think that this guilt is entirely appropriate. Due to all the hard-wiring in the brain, I think that it would take a little effort to judge a woman impartially, regardless of her looks, yet I still think that it is a good thing to do.

  67. #67 Pete Rooke
    March 28, 2009

    I will try to raise the tone, certainly.

  68. #68 Pete Rooke
    March 28, 2009

    1och.org,

    I don’t follow.

  69. #69 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    The thing is that while this kind of objectification is a natural instinct, just because it is “natural,” does not make it right. Instincts can be good or bad: religion is an example of an instinct that is sometimes wired into people’s brains. Yet, sometimes, it is still important to resist them, even if it takes effort. Humans are not ruled by their instincts; surely you do not want to be ruled by your own instincts either.

  70. #70 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#69 Pete Rooke
    “I don’t follow.”

    Simple. You wrote, quote, “[i]t is disturbing to note the increasingly homogeneous nature of clothing to the extent that what passes for menswear could equally pass for womenswear.” However, what passes for womenswear cannot equally pass for menswear.

  71. #71 Terry Small
    March 28, 2009

    @#61 Pete Rooke

    “Natural gender gap”? You’re an idiot. Get a goddamned sociological education and then come back.

  72. #72 Marc Abian
    March 28, 2009

    Sniper, I can understand the frustration with several (not all) of those comments, but no where did anyone go as far as to say “women are put on earth for straight men”.

  73. #73 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#72 Terry Small
    I am not very knowledgeable about the subject, but I think that Pete Rooke is talking about the differences in the brains. For example, the proportion of white matter to gray matter in the brain is different on average for males and females. Males tend to remember things by landmarks, and females tend to remember things based on the location of food – a evolutionary adaption from the hunter-gathering era of human prehistory. There are a lot of differences, which are natural, and it is to these that Pete Rooke refers.

    Of course, by pointing out that these differences are natural, I do not intend to say that they are right. People often sometimes confuse the idea of “natural” with “morally correct.”

  74. #74 Daenyx
    March 28, 2009

    Science, online gaming communities… blergh. Forget personal pictures; the mere fact that I’m obviously female over voice chat is enough to start the catcalls, sometimes, with a new group.

  75. #75 Jerome Haltom
    March 28, 2009

    Come on guys and girls. You’re all into biology. You’re all into psychology. We know EXACTLY why this stuff happens, it it isn’t a surprise. Men are sexual attracted to an attractive women. Period. This is mostly socially repressed as it’s not acceptable to shout cat calls during a lecture on some such subject, but it’s there. It’s boiling over. And ever now and then it spills over. And it’s NOT going away.

    And the one sided comparisons, “Men don’t get this kind of treatment!” Yeah. Duh! And if they do, they LIKE it.

    Women, just try to take it how it is. Guys are attracted to you. That should make you feel great. Brush them off kindly and set them back on their path. Men, don’t be creeps.

  76. #76 Terry Small
    March 28, 2009

    @74 10ch

    It would be nice if you’re right, but the entirety of the quote gives the impression that he’s harping on about gender roles and socially-constructed differences, and blaming the feminist movement for men’s discomfort with an integrated workplace. He also appears to be confusing gender with sex, a huge mistake.

  77. #77 Treppenwitz
    March 28, 2009

    Yeah, I should’ve guessed that my last comment would be interpreted as excusing or agreeing with the comments that started this whole thing. To clarify, I think that those comments were out of place in that context and barely literate in any context. I don’t, however, think that they were so egregious as to warrant a post on every Seed blog, and I don’t think that Phil Plait deserved a lot of the blame that was being heaped on him.

  78. #78 Pete Rooke
    March 28, 2009

    Daenyx,

    It works both ways though. As a child I was fond of baton twirling and similar pursuits. I was teased mercilessly and eventually gave it up.

  79. #79 Brachyteles
    March 28, 2009

    Nerd of Redhead:
    Me neither. Maybe I better stop wearing my beanie hat with the propeller.

    A) Said propeller beanie could be viewed as a valuable way to check for useful personality traits. Anyone who would discount a prospective mate due to a kickass hat would not be worth the time and effort otherwise involved in uncovering their lack of potential.

    B) Personally, the sight of any reasonably attractive1 female in a propeller beanie that she enjoyed wearing would cause a rapid drop in functional IQ due to hormonal surges such that, as per Otto, I would feel a strong, near-irresistible urge to hump her leg.

    1 Pretty much anything short of vomit-inducingly deformed.

  80. #80 Terry Small
    March 28, 2009

    Shorter #76:

    “It’s okay to belittle women by telling them their boobs are more important than their minds. And they should totally appreciate that.”

  81. #81 Raiko
    March 28, 2009

    Sadly, when I was a graduate student in 2008, I still had to remind my colleague from India SEVERAL times that I’m not fodder for his macho urges, especially not by physical force, but an engaged, lesbian scientist-to-be. While we can defend ourselves and while it is comparatively easy to make other scientist see the unconscious mistake, it’s quite annoying.

  82. #82 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#77 Terry Small
    “These feminists want to deny the intrinsic differences between the sexes and the roles they have played and should continue to play in society.”
    Oh, I guess you are right. The word “natural” and “intrinsic differences” and “innate” suggested to me to mean something like “nature,” meaning entirely biological, but after reading the entire thing, it certainly does seem to be… stupid.

    “These feminists want to deny the intrinsic differences between the sexes and the roles they have played and should continue to play in society.

    Incidentally, has anyone seen Mad Men. Not a portrait of particularly moral people but it did, I think, perfectly explicate the pitfalls of allowing women and men in the workplace alongside each other without allowing for innate differences.”

    Yep, stupid. The key word in the following phrase, “the roles they have played and should continue to play in society” is the word “should.” No, they there is no “should” for females to play the same role as they have in the past.

  83. #83 Wowbagger, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Pete Rooke wrote:

    I will try to raise the tone, certainly.

    For all our sakes, please don’t attempt to lower it – as we already know you can.

  84. #84 Libbie
    March 28, 2009

    “It’s the Western complement to the burka: women aren’t hidden away overtly, but instead every one is seen as if they’re wearing a beauty queen/cheerleader costume.”

    No. We’re not all seen as if we’re wearing a beauty queen costume. If you aren’t attractive enough, you’re not seen at all. Period. And, consequently, neither are your accomplishments. As a woman, you don’t matter one goddamned bit to the world unless you’re pretty. If you’re not, you don’t exist: talents, achievements, and intellect be damned.

    I’d swap places with Sheril any day, just so I could get a few breaks in life and get people to pay attention to the things I’m capable of doing. A woman who is both smart and attractive knows how to use her attractiveness to her advantage, as Sheril obviously does.

    A woman who is smart but ugly, like yours truly, is invisible to the world, no matter what she does.

  85. #85 Sniper
    March 28, 2009

    I can understand the frustration with several (not all) of those comments, but no where did anyone go as far as to say “women are put on earth for straight men”.

    In a sane world what happened to Ms. Kirshenbaum would be unthinkable. The people who perpetrated that kind of nonsense would be laughed off he surface of the earth. That people are even debating whether or not this is natural or not a big deal reflects an acceptance of the status quo which is definitely that straight white men are the norm and everyone else is, to one extent or another, an accessory rather than an agent.

    Also, #76. Jesus Herman Christ.

  86. #86 Sili
    March 28, 2009

    I’m shallow. I’m attracted to women based on their looks.

    I’m not proud of it, and I guess that in part is why I don’t usually act on it.

    I hope I’ll have time to read the 1000+ comments that’re gonna be here tomorrow. Perhaps there’ll be something to help me deal with my issues.’

    (Yes, I made this comment all about me me meee.)

  87. #87 Carlie
    March 28, 2009

    Oh dear god, don’t let Pete start talking about women’s clothing again. That never leads anywhere good.

    As a child I was fond of baton twirling and similar pursuits. I was teased mercilessly and eventually gave it up.

    Which might not have happened if we didn’t force people to conform to rigid gender constructs. Sexism doesn’t only hurt women; it just has them in the cross hairs.

  88. #88 Yellow Dog
    March 28, 2009

    The point is not to hide intelligent, successful professional women.

    The point is to publicly devalue and privately intimidate them.

    There are still many places and professional environments in this country in which only women who burka themselves into homliness with mannish clothes, bad haircuts and no makeup are taken seriously.

    Washington D.C. is the probably the worst about dismissing and ignoring the intellectual contributions of any woman who dares to appear attractively feminine.

  89. #89 sioux laris
    March 28, 2009

    Pete Rooke said:
    “I will try to raise the tone, certainly.” @Comment 69

    Pete, that’s the funniest thing you’ve EVER said here – or likely anytime, anywhere!!!!!!!!!

    RAISE the TONE! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-haaaa!!! I’m dying! Coffee over the monitor! Tears in my eyes!!!!!! HA-HA-HA!!!!

  90. #90 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    “We know EXACTLY why this stuff happens, it it isn’t a surprise. Men are sexual attracted to an attractive women. Period. This is mostly socially repressed as it’s not acceptable to shout cat calls during a lecture on some such subject, but it’s there. It’s boiling over. And ever now and then it spills over. And it’s NOT going away.”

    How pessimistic of you. And next thing, you are going to utter the pessimistic statement that religion can never go away either. Well, you know, natural instincts can be eradicated if they choose so. Don’t you know? Humans are the species on earth which can choose to defy their instincts.

    “Women, just try to take it how it is. Guys are attracted to you. That should make you feel great. Brush them off kindly and set them back on their path.”
    Translation: “Shut up, women, if a man thought that you women should feel great, you better damn well feel great, ’cause it sure doesn’t matter what you think.”

  91. #91 Pete Rooke
    March 28, 2009

    Libbie,

    I think you overstate the case.

    See my previous contribution #61. And I am the one who raises the issue when people like AnthonyK make misognistic comments.

  92. #92 D. C. Sessions
    March 28, 2009

    God, it’s so simple. Don’t comment on a person’s appearance. See? Wasn’t that easy?

    It’s a marvelous idea. In fact, it’s the way I was brought up back when Eisenhower was President. It was part and parcel of the repressive, up-tight white-bread American society. Other antediluvian mores that got tossed out with it included “keep your personal life personal” and “don’t discuss sex at the office” and “don’t date co-workers.”

    Fortunately, those times are gone. We are much more enlightened now, and it’s OK for some of us to comment on each others’ appearance, it’s OK for some of us to discuss the hot date we had with the test engineer over in Building Three, etc.

    The hard part is keeping straight which of us are allowed which comments. It would seem that some people guess wrong — and especially with the reach of the Internet, even a very small percentage is enough to light off a week-long flamefest.

  93. #93 Pete Rooke
    March 28, 2009

    Carlie,

    All I’ve said on the subject of inappropriate clothing is that the miniskirt (above the knee-roll length) seems like a strange choice to wear by anyone worried about objectification.

  94. #94 Auraboy
    March 28, 2009

    I think it’s probably fair to agree that people are going to find people attractive and that denying that reality is not going to change it.

    How we express that and whether it has any place on a science blog should be the point. As has been pointed out by more sober heads, humans get to restrain themselves and should.

  95. #95 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#86 Sniper
    “Also, #76. Jesus Herman Christ.”
    I agree. That comment #76 was just retarded. Seriously, Jerome Haltom, if you so think that the opinions of women do not count on this matter, then you might as well take away their right to vote.

    @#87 Sili
    “I’m shallow. I’m attracted to women based on their looks.

    I’m not proud of it, and I guess that in part is why I don’t usually act on it.”
    Well, I agree, you should not be proud of it, and I do not think you should act on it. Just because you feel a certain feeling, doesn’t mean that you should act on it.

  96. #96 Carlie
    March 28, 2009

    You’ve got to be joking. You think it’s more enlightened and fabulous to be able to make comments on who’s hot and who’s not? Really? That’s just…sad. I can’t even snark on that.

  97. #97 Pete Rooke
    March 28, 2009

    sioux laris,

    Your comment certainly failed to raise the tone of this debate.

    ?First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.?

  98. #98 Zar
    March 28, 2009

    Shorter Pete Rooke #61:

    It’s all the uppity wimmenz fault we treat them as inferiors. If they’d just act like proper ladies we’d treat them right!!! Also, they wouldn’t get raped if they’d dress more modestly.

    Okay, dudes. Understand: FINDING A WOMAN ATTRACTIVE IS FINE AND DANDY. JUST DON’T BE A SLOBBERY ASS ABOUT IT. There are many natural feelings and urges we don’t really bring up in polite company. You probably wouldn’t talk about how badly you have to poop at a business lunch, either.

    And, yes, believe it or not, certain situations call for certain kinds of behavior. Chatting up a woman in a casual setting? Complimenting on looks is fine—hell, expected. Talking to a colleague in a professional setting? Act like a professional. To use a more extreme example, you’d tell a woman “I want to eat your pussy” while in an intimate situation, not a professional one. Unless your job is very interesting.

  99. #99 Sniper
    March 28, 2009

    Wait, I think Pete might have a point. Why shouldn’t men and women wear clothes that reflect their true natures? What could be more masculine than a warlike and macho Scottish kilt? And it keeps the goods nice and cool, too! Similarly, the Vietnamese ao dai with its long pants and tunic is so delicately feminine, yet comfy!

    And while we’re at it, let’s all stop blending fabrics. I understand God hates a poly blend.

  100. #100 Terry Small
    March 28, 2009

    And Pete Rooke @#94 plays the “blame the victim” card.

  101. #101 SC, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Strangely, I’ve never met a distinguished stranger and had them compliment my looks or ask after my marriage status.

    I’m curious: Of course it’s a completely different situation, but you’ve responded to some of the reactions that people have had to meeting you or to your photograph in a way that suggests that you aren’t happy with their characterizations (the hilarious “You wouldn’t say that if you were a cracker, man” comes to mind). If I say things like that about men – strong but gentle teddy-bear, etc. – I really mean them as a compliment, and I think most women do, too; but I can see how some men would have problems with it or simply not recognize it as flattering. So even if I see your picture or read one of your posts and tilt my head to the side and say “aww,” I don’t express it. But maybe you’re just joking and I’m overthinking it…

    Liberal guilt time: I can’t go and click on the link because I might accidentally see a picture of the blogger in question, and then I’ll torment myself for only going there to see if she’s pretty.

    She is. Now you don’t have to bother unless you’re interested in what she has to say. Or because you’re now more interested than ever in the pic. ;D

  102. #102 Libbie
    March 28, 2009

    Pete Rooke: I admit I only go three hours of sleep last night, hauled rocks and dirt around all day, and am staying up late to go owl-watching, so my sleep deprivation may have me misreading your comment. But are you seriously trying to imply that if I’d only wear a dress men would take me seriously?

    Really?

    That seems far off the mark.

    As for over-simplifying the case, you haven’t lived the life of an unattractive girl/woman, have you? It’s easy for you to say I’m oversimplifying the situation when you didn’t grow up seeing all the resources in the family thrown at your beautiful sister while you were all but ignored by parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. (Incidentally, a very good book called “Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters” helped me understand my family’s rejection from a biological perspective, so now it makes sense to me.) It’s easy for you to say I’m oversimplifying the situation when you haven’t had men–total strangers–walk up to you in public places and say, “Hey, do you know you’re really ugly?” It’s easy for you to say I’m oversimplifying the case when you’re not a 29-year-old woman who has had to do all the asking for dates because no man even SEES her, let alone asks her.

    The point PZ was trying to make is that it sucks when women of great intellect and talent aren’t recognized for their intellect and talent, but are only judged on how pretty they are. It does suck; I’m not denying that. It also sucks that humans are still so biologically shallow that unattractive women are immediately written off as having no value to society whatsoever because they aren’t pretty enough.

    Women are judged first and foremost by how they look. Even other women judge women this way. This is the way evolution has shaped us. I understand that, but it still blows to be on the receiving end of society’s judgment. Still, I’d rather be judged hot and then have the world’s attention long enough to prove to them that I’m worth listening to than not be seen at all because I’m not pretty.

  103. #103 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#92 Pete Rooke
    “See my previous contribution #61.”

    Your previous contribution #61 is, in fact, a misogynistic comment. Quote: “These feminists want to deny the intrinsic differences between the sexes and the roles they have played and should continue to play in society.” Essentially, you are saying that you want women to play the same role as in the past, which is not to have any rights at all, to be property of their husbands, and to stay at home.

  104. #104 Pete Rooke
    March 28, 2009

    On a side issue, it is one thing to notice that someone is wearing a ridiculously short skirt (above the knee-roll etc.) and another thing to then act upon any impulse (even mere comments). There is such a thing called tact which I happen to value highly.

  105. #105 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Libbie

    A woman who is smart but ugly, like yours truly, is invisible to the world, no matter what she does.

    There are some nerds like myself floating around dear lady (I’m well of the market). We appreciate someone who would like us, propelerred beanie and all. We may be a little socially inept, but then we will allow you to repeatedly turn a 2 hour trip for looking at new glasses frames into a 5 hour trip including yarn, yarn, and more yarn. And we also make a decent wage. And see post #2 for our steadfastness.

  106. #106 Wowbagger, OM
    March 28, 2009

    All I’ve said on the subject of inappropriate clothing is that the miniskirt (above the knee-roll length) seems like a strange choice to wear by anyone worried about objectification.

    A serious question from a lay linguist: where the heck does the word ‘knee-roll’ come from, Pete? I’d never heard it before that wonderful day you showed up here. Why don’t you just say ‘above the knee’? That is, AFAIK, the standard for describing that particular skirt length.

    I suspect it was chiefly that expression which led me to believe you were a creepy old man in a basement somewhere; it sounds like the sort of thing people might have said in the 1940s – when they weren’t yelling at the neighourhood kids to get of their lawns.

  107. #107 cmflyer
    March 28, 2009

    I always was more attracted to Velma than Daphne because of Velma’s sciencey mind.

  108. #108 Carlie
    March 28, 2009

    Prev. comment was to DC Sessions, sorry for the omission.

    All I’ve said on the subject of inappropriate clothing is that the miniskirt (above the knee-roll length) seems like a strange choice to wear by anyone worried about objectification.

    No, Pete, you said that women wearing miniskirts shouldn’t be surprised to find themselves raped, and that rapes more often happen to women wearing revealing clothing. The first is stupid, because rapes happen because of rapists, not sartorial choices, and the second is flat-out wrong. There is absolutely no statistical correlation between clothing and rape.

    Chatting up a woman in a casual setting? Complimenting on looks is fine—hell, expected. Talking to a colleague in a professional setting? Act like a professional.

    EXACTLY. And when in doubt, choose to act like a professional. If you don’t want to, please stop and try to figure out why it is that you think it’s so important for that woman to be told your opinion on her appearance.

  109. #109 Sniper
    March 28, 2009

    All I’ve said on the subject of inappropriate clothing is that the miniskirt (above the knee-roll length) seems like a strange choice to wear by anyone worried about objectification.

    Only if you assume that women should make all their decisions with other people in mind and that dressing in a certain way justifies objectification. I know men who go around wearing tanks and shorts as long as they can do so without actually getting frostbite, but they still expect you to listen to their opinions. Go figure.

  110. #110 Zar
    March 28, 2009

    #93:

    PECS OR GTFO

  111. #111 Libbie
    March 28, 2009

    Pete Rooke, here is a protip for you: Stop referring to women’s knees as “rolls” and you might get laid some day.

    Even The Invisible Woman knows that much, you scumball.

  112. #112 jrock
    March 28, 2009

    It seems like most are calling for a cultural change in how men treat women. I applaud that and agree wholeheartedly. Those two examples Sheril used are not even some of the most extreme out there. However, changing the culture means changing the saturation of media images objectifying and sexualizing women. It also means losing the fascination most people seem to express over those who portray themselves as vapid airheads(Paris anyone?) I agree that men should not judge women solely by their looks. It’s just that some women allow themselves to be portrayed as simple sexual objects, which doesn’t help matters at all.

  113. #113 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 28, 2009

    *headdesk* The Rev. BDC cooties are every where. My paren clause in *106, …off

  114. #114 Carlie
    March 28, 2009

    (Yes, I made this comment all about me me meee.)

    Sili, if you were referencing the “all about the menz” trope there, you totally deserve a cookie. :D

  115. #115 sioux laris
    March 28, 2009

    Well, the tone has been lowered further – people are engaging a ridiculous, vain teenager (of “a certin age”) rather than discussing the linked, well-written, even-tempered blog article that should be the focus of this discussion!

    I’m off, but will check back to see if people start ignoring the troll and discuss this fascinating example of deadly foolishness.

  116. #116 Steve
    March 28, 2009

    It’s quite funny to see Libbie’s frustrated rant.
    “you’re not a 29-year-old woman who has had to do all the asking for dates because no man even SEES her, let alone asks her.”
    That’s pretty much the experience of most guys, in case you didn’t know. It’s certainly been mine. Work up some courage, start conversations with the opposite sex and I can tell you that is much more effective than whining about your lack of good looks.

  117. #117 Kel
    March 28, 2009

    I find it funny that only 100 years ago, men would make women cover themselves because they found it indecent. Then the women’s rights movements happens and now women dress themselves, and suddenly we’re complaining how sexist we are that they wear such revealing clothing? It seems you can’t win on this issue.

  118. #118 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    “All I’ve said on the subject of inappropriate clothing is that the miniskirt (above the knee-roll length) seems like a strange choice to wear by anyone worried about objectification.”
    It doesn’t matter. If objectification is wrong (or, at least, bad or inappropriate), then it is the objectifier’s fault. For example, going outside certainly does increase the risk of being spat at by a random stranger, but it is not the person’s fault for going outside; it is the stranger’s fault.

  119. #119 Sniper
    March 28, 2009

    There is absolutely no statistical correlation between clothing and rape.

    Oh, Carlie, don’t throw science at the boy. You’ll hurt him!

    It’s just that some women allow themselves to be portrayed as simple sexual objects, which doesn’t help matters at all.

    I wouldn’t be too hard on anyone for the survival techniques they use to get by in a world where they’re set up for failure.

  120. #120 Pete Rooke
    March 28, 2009

    Carlie,

    it was a statement about probability not justification (in reference to rape). I was then told that there is no correlation.

    Libbie,

    “Hey, do you know you’re really ugly?”

    That is sick and beyond obnoxious. If I were all powerful I would seriously put that type of people in prison. Sick individuals. I can only take comfort in the infrequency of this type of behaviour.

  121. #121 Libbie
    March 28, 2009

    jrock: You make an interesting point, but I’ve always felt intuitively that the media portrays women as objects because that’s what men responded to in the first place. I don’t think that men were all about chatting about quantum mechanics over cups of tea before the media was invented. They wanted to make little copies of themselves, and the women who looked like they could survive birth and then nurture the babies to survival age were the sexiest. That’s why human males dig chicks who are young, healthy-looking, and who have conspicuous symbols of fertility and milk production.

  122. #122 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#116 sioux laris
    “I’m off, but will check back to see if people start ignoring the troll and discuss this fascinating example of deadly foolishness.”
    I am sure that most people here are serious, Pete Rooke for one.

  123. #123 Ron Sullivan
    March 28, 2009

    Holy good lovin’ shit, as my sainted mother used to say. Is this generalizing pseudo-evopsych really the best you boys can do?

    But Sniper has said it quite well enough, even explicated it in #86 there.

    I’ll tellya, Libbie, and from direct personal experience: Ugly is a great fool-filter. Saved me a whole lot of time and energy, and our resulting personal life has been excellent?much to my surprise. (shrug) To make a WAG, maybe it’s pheromones.

  124. #124 firemancarl
    March 28, 2009

    #114

    headdesk* The Rev. BDC cooties are every where.

    Nerd , are you sure? I think he would objectify women only if they were wrapped in bacon!

  125. #125 D. C. Sessions
    March 28, 2009

    Libbie@#85:

    I’d swap places with Sheril any day, just so I could get a few breaks in life and get people to pay attention to the things I’m capable of doing. A woman who is both smart and attractive knows how to use her attractiveness to her advantage, as Sheril obviously does.

    Isn’t that basically the same kind of argument as cited in #39:

    I’ve heard several men say that she reached her position through sexual favors

  126. #126 RN Lee
    March 28, 2009

    Jesus. Well, that’s one way to tell the world “I have never, ever been laid and never will be,” running around the Internet and going “Whoo-whoo!” at female professionals of any sort.

    BTW, would “Would you like to be my next mistress?” ever work in any situation that didn’t involve something like a sociopathically greedy, stupid woman and a million dollars?

  127. #127 Libbie
    March 28, 2009

    “Work up some courage, start conversations with the opposite sex and I can tell you that is much more effective than whining about your lack of good looks.”

    NO SHIT. How do you think I landed a suitably nerdy husband? Or the ample supply of sexual partners I’ve had in the past? It sure wasn’t by sitting around demurely waiting for my fairy godmother to turn me into a pretty pretty princess. Just because I’m fugly doesn’t mean I don’t know how to get some action when I need it. But it’s true; I’ve never been approached for a date in my life. Big woo that that’s the case for most men; in Western society, the expected norm is that men approach women, not vice-versa.

    I thought that a discussion of how smart women are treated vis-a-vis their physical appearance was an appropriate place to toss in my personal experience with the issue at hand. I guess it’s “whining,” though.

    Fuck off, dude.

  128. #128 Pete Rooke
    March 28, 2009

    Yes, the term knee-roll does seem archaic. I believe I picked it up in reference to horses and ranching. Above the knee then.

  129. #129 Paul Burnett
    March 28, 2009

    Sheril wrote: “I remind him I have a popular science blog and warn never to call back.

    So, are you gonna call her back?

  130. #130 Alyson Miers
    March 28, 2009

    The problem here is not simply that Sheril has men telling her she’s pretty. The impression I’m getting is that she would like to be a scientist without being treated like a sex object. She would like to do her job and have the discussion be about the job she’s doing, not on her ability to arouse men or produce children. I don’t see why that should be so much to ask. The anecdote about the captain on the fishing boat, for example, was simply revolting.

  131. #131 Libbie
    March 28, 2009

    Yeah, the knee-roll is a part of a saddle. That you apply allusions to riding equipment to your feminine vocabulary only makes you seem more misogynistic. In a kind of funny way.

  132. #132 firemancarl
    March 28, 2009

    Well, I suppose i’ll thrown in a mea cupla and say that I am guilty of it. My fire station is right across the street from the beach. While I fully admit we all look, we don’t ask questions.

    It’s quite the opposite. The female beach goers tend to ask us a lot of questions.

    Aren’t men ‘hardwired’ ( no pun intended-or is there?) for looks first? I thought I read that somewhere.. men are visual..blah blah blah.

    Beauty and brains? 100% win!

  133. #133 Rrr
    March 28, 2009

    Hmm, as it was mentioned, could someone please explain one thing to me:
    Why do people name body parts? Do they feel it isn’t a part of them or something? I’ve never felt the need to name my left thumb Algy or the Thumbinator and so on, why do people sometimes name their genitals and breasts? All those examples seems equally (il)logical to me. I’m not asking this as an attack, I’m honestly trying to comprehend, and so far alienation is the only thing I could think of. As in “I don’t have as much control over it as my healthy hand, it’s as if it’s a different being that’s merely connected to me!”
    In spite of that explanation, it still seems weird to me… How can healthy individuals feel so alienated to any of their fully functioning and healthy body parts? Confusing.

    Anyway, I apologize for asking stupid questions, but if someone could try to shed some light on it, that would be nice.

  134. #134 Libbie
    March 28, 2009

    Laughing at #130…PZ, you cad!

  135. #135 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    “I’ve always felt intuitively that the media portrays women as objects because that’s what men responded to in the first place.”
    i. e. sex sells. Sad, but true. I wonder whether this can change. Of course it can, but I wonder how.

  136. #136 Pete Rooke
    March 28, 2009

    Rrr, you appear to be a disturbed being. Don’t concern yourself with such issues.

  137. #137 Sniper
    March 28, 2009

    #128! #132!

    High-fives Libby.

  138. #138 Guy Incognito
    March 28, 2009

    Libby said:

    It also sucks that humans are still so biologically shallow that unattractive women are immediately written off as having no value to society whatsoever because they aren’t pretty enough.

    If you really, really think you are that unattractive, go the Ayn Rand route and invent a batshit crazy “philosophy.”

  139. #139 Wowbagger, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Pete Rooke wrote:

    If I were all powerful I would seriously put that type of people in prison.

    Yeah, but if this were the case the rest of us would all be in prison for wishing your magic cracker ill, laughing at your nonsensical religious beliefs, and calling the top man of your bizarre religion an sanctimonious, out-of-touch, genocide-enabling, child-rapist-protecting scumbag of (literally) biblical proportions.

  140. #140 Newfie
    March 28, 2009

    PZ, show us yer tits!

  141. #141 SC, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Nerd , are you sure? I think he would objectify women only if they were wrapped in bacon!

    mmmmmmmm???.. ba-con.

  142. #142 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#133 firemancarl
    “Aren’t men ‘hardwired’ ( no pun intended-or is there?) for looks first? I thought I read that somewhere.. men are visual..blah blah blah.”
    But just because they are hard-wired, doesn’t mean that it is a good thing. Just because it is a natural instinct, doesn’t mean that it is a good instinct.

    @#134 Rrr
    “Why do people name body parts?”
    What? People actually do that? I have never heard of this before?

  143. #143 Ron Sullivan
    March 28, 2009

    Arrrgh, I’ve lost the original: There are still many places and professional environments in this country in which only women who burka themselves into homliness with mannish clothes, bad haircuts and no makeup are taken seriously.

    The real problem, of course, is that men preceded women in that course. Guys, just give up the pantsuits. Really, you’ll find the big bad world so much easier to navigate if you make yourselves a little more attractive!

  144. #144 firemancarl
    March 28, 2009

    It also sucks that humans are still so biologically shallow that unattractive women are immediately written off as having no value to society whatsoever because they aren’t pretty enough.

    Not true. There is always the salt mine.

    The above was said in jest….

  145. #145 Kel
    March 28, 2009

    i. e. sex sells. Sad, but true. I wonder whether this can change. Of course it can, but I wonder how.

    The problem is not just men either. Each day I walk past a news agency and there sits poster after poster for women’s magazines with attractive, sexy women on it. The men’s magazines seem to show a bit more sexual images, but it seems that attractiveness sells regardless of gender. We want what’s attractive, should we really make people feel bad for having this hard-wired impulse?

  146. #146 Pete Rooke
    March 28, 2009

    Historically, unattractive women would consider becoming Nuns.

  147. #147 James F
    March 28, 2009

    Libbie @85:

    A woman who is smart but ugly, like yours truly, is invisible to the world, no matter what she does.

    It depends a great deal on what she does. I can’t comment on other professions from experience, but in science and academia your work stands on its own merits; when you read a manuscript you have no idea what the author looks like.

    I think a key is having confidence (especially in not letting some damned fools get to you, as hurtful as their actions were) and adopting an attitude of being attractive enough, not striving to conform to ideals that are unattainable. Some people win the genetic jackpot when it comes to looks, the rest of us have to be more clever.

  148. #148 firemancarl
    March 28, 2009

    @#143.

    I am not saying it was a good thing. I was just saying.

    In all honesty, men get objectified too. We just don’t mind it much, if at all.

  149. #149 Wowbagger, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Why do people name body parts?

    This reminds of the joke:
    Q: Why do men name their penises?
    A: Because they don’t want a total stranger making 99% of their decisions!

    Now, that isn’t really all that funny; that isn’t why I wrote it. What is funny (but not ha-ha funny) is that I heard that joke on a number of occasion over the course of a few years and didn’t get it. And yes, I am a male.

    It probably won’t come as a surprise that I don’t spend all that much time having my decisions made by ‘Little Wowbagger’.

  150. #150 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#139 Guy Incognito
    “If you really, really think you are that unattractive, go the Ayn Rand route and invent a batshit crazy ‘philosophy.'”

    Nowhere did it ever say that she thought of herself as unattractive. She was complaining about the treatment that unattractive women get. Also, even if this was so, do you really think that all unattractive women should go the Ayn Rand route?

    @#140 Wowbagger, OM
    “Yeah, but if this were the case the rest of us would all be in prison for wishing your magic cracker ill, laughing at your nonsensical religious beliefs, and calling the top man of your bizarre religion an sanctimonious, out-of-touch, genocide-enabling, child-rapist-protecting scumbag of (literally) biblical proportions.”

    Perhaps you have mis-read Pete Rooke’s comment, but Pete Rooke was talking about how he disapproved of people who walked up to strangers and said, “hey, do you know that you’re really ugly?” Perhaps he was extreme in saying that such rude people should be put in prison, but I fail to see how it was any indication of nonsensical religious beliefs.

  151. #151 Mobius
    March 28, 2009

    We males, when it comes to women, have our brains disconnect. It’s just a fact of life. Some of us can get the brain to start working again, but there is still going to be that moment of fantasy.

  152. #152 Pete Rooke
    March 28, 2009

    We must master our sexual desires as Wowbagger says.

  153. #153 maureen
    March 28, 2009

    Pete @ 129

    Well done, lad – a tiny step forward.

    Now, see if you can build upon it by typing “thigh-length skirt.”

  154. #154 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Nerd , are you sure? I think he would objectify women only if they were wrapped in bacon!

    Bacon, Redheads, Yummm…. (Gets whacked by Redhead for being a MSP, get turned on… this blog is public, further actions is best left to the imagination.)

  155. #155 Kel
    March 28, 2009

    Historically, unattractive women would consider becoming Nuns.

    Then those “documentaries” on Nuns I’ve been watching have it wrong.

  156. #156 jrock
    March 28, 2009

    @Rrr

    I honestly couldn’t answer that question as I’ve never met anyone that actually took naming a body part seriously. The only times I’ve seen that happen is when someone’s trying to be self-deprecating or making a joke. One reason might be to provide a euphamism out of some fear(some of it justifiable) of saying penis, vagina, breasts, etc. Another might be sheer arrogance or an attempt to compensate for a perceived lack of some kind.

  157. #157 firemancarl
    March 28, 2009

    Pete #153 We must master our sexual desires as Wowbagger says.

    Are you saing that we have to be the master of our domain?????

  158. #158 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @Kel #146
    “We want what’s attractive, should we really make people feel bad for having this hard-wired impulse?”
    We should feel bad when this goes too far. We should judge healthier people more highly, but we certainly should not just judge people only for their sex appeal.

    @Mobius #152
    “We males, when it comes to women, have our brains disconnect. It’s just a fact of life.”
    But it is not like this is a necessary fact of life. Just because something is instinctual, doesn’t mean that we can’t resist it. Humans do not have to be ruled by their instincts.

  159. #159 Wowbagger, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Perhaps you have mis-read Pete Rooke’s comment, but Pete Rooke was talking about how he disapproved of people who walked up to strangers and said, “hey, do you know that you’re really ugly?” Perhaps he was extreme in saying that such rude people should be put in prison, but I fail to see how it was any indication of nonsensical religious beliefs.

    http://www.10ch.org, I’ve misread nothing; I’m just referring to Pete’s longer posting history – he’s a Catholic who arrived here last year to protest PZ’s cracker desecration – not just his recent posts. Trust me, do a search and you’ll understand what I mean.

    I agree with his sentiment – though I don’t agree with the extremity of the proposed punishment.

  160. #160 Steve
    March 28, 2009

    Libbie

    ” Big woo that that’s the case for most men; in Western society, the expected norm is that men approach women, not vice-versa. ”

    ROFL! And in Western society the expected norm is that men pay more attention to women who are good looking.

    I’m surprised you missed the irony of your comment. Maybe you’re not as smart as you claim to be.

    Seriously, if you’re married and still fretting about not being asked on a date you have bigger problems.

  161. #161 Marc Abian
    March 28, 2009

    That people are even debating whether or not this is natural or not a big deal reflects an acceptance of the status quo which is definitely that straight white men are the norm and everyone else is, to one extent or another, an accessory rather than an agent.

    That’s all well and good, but no one on here said that women are put on earth for men. As far as I can see, that’s a great exaggeration.

  162. #162 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#159 fiermancarl
    “Are you saing that we have to be the master of our domain?????”
    I believe that this is indeed what Pete is saying. The most important domain is our mind. We cannot let ourselves be ruled by irrational instincts or feelings.

  163. #163 nal
    March 28, 2009

    There’s a lot of misandry in these comments.

  164. #164 GMacs
    March 28, 2009

    Rrr,

    I think at some point, someone got the idea out of arrogance to name a body part. Most people do it now to mock said unknown original person.

    I admit to partaking in this practice occasionally (and other things to mock societies expectations of me as a heterosexual male). However, since I don’t care enough to remember, my penis’s name is different every time the joke comes up. Usually I try to make it sound like English gentry.

    …I understand if you all want me gone now.

  165. #165 Sili
    March 28, 2009

    Sorry, Carlie, no cookie for me.

    I just realised that I’d rather inappropriately ended up focusing squarely on my own neuroses rather than address the bigger issue.

    I’m just a not too clever, not pretty guy, who don’t socialise well and don’t seem to bother getting to know people and ‘fall in love’ with them based on their personalities and intelligence. I just moon after good looks.

  166. #166 Kel
    March 28, 2009

    We should feel bad when this goes too far. We should judge healthier people more highly, but we certainly should not just judge people only for their sex appeal.

    just? That sounds a little unrealistic. How many people are judged just on their looks beyond the glossy magazines? And do you think from a biological perspective it might be important to find a desirable mate so that your offspring might have that same chance?

  167. #167 jrock
    March 28, 2009

    @10ch.org
    We should judge healthier people more highly, but we certainly should not just judge people only for their sex appeal.

    Why should we judge anyone more highly at all? Isn’t that the whole idea behind this. Isn’t it kind of hypocritical to say we should judge someone based on one criteria while dismissing the idea that we should judge someone based on another?

  168. #168 Jadehawk
    March 28, 2009

    All I’ve said on the subject of inappropriate clothing is that the miniskirt (above the knee-roll length) seems like a strange choice to wear by anyone worried about objectification.

    what an utterly dense comment. from my experience, the least objectified women are those at nude beaches/nude saunas. somehow men in those situations manage not to drool or behave like 13-year-olds.

  169. #169 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#160 Wowbagger, OM
    “www.10ch.org, I’ve misread nothing; I’m just referring to Pete’s longer posting history – he’s a Catholic who arrived here last year to protest PZ’s cracker desecration – not just his recent posts. Trust me, do a search and you’ll understand what I mean.”
    Oh, I know now, now that you have told me. Thanks for informing me of this.

    @#161 Steve
    “Seriously, if you’re married and still fretting about not being asked on a date you have bigger problems.”
    I do not think that recalling a personal experience is automatically fretting about it.

  170. #170 firemancarl
    March 28, 2009

    @Nerd #155

    Bacon, Redheads, Yummm…. (Gets whacked by Redhead for being a MSP, get turned on… this blog is public, further actions is best left to the imagination.)

    Too late, I was turned on a long time ago. Bacon wrapped redheads indeed!

  171. #171 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#164 nal
    “misandry”
    Would you take it to its analogous idea, “racism against whites?”

    @#167 Kel
    “just? That sounds a little unrealistic. How many people are judged just on their looks beyond the glossy magazines?”
    Women are judged just on their looks all the time. Men here and there always talk about how this or that female is “hot” or “sexy” etc. while paying no attention to the actual person. At least this is from my own personal experience.

    @#168 jrock
    “Why should we judge anyone more highly at all? Isn’t that the whole idea behind this. Isn’t it kind of hypocritical to say we should judge someone based on one criteria while dismissing the idea that we should judge someone based on another?”
    As Martin Luther King once commended people in his “I Have a Dream” speech to judge people based on the content of their character, not on the color of their skin. It is no hypocrisy to suggest that that one form of judgment is good, while another form of judgment is bad.

  172. #172 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#167 Kel
    To elaborate, there was once a classmate from my High School who said (and I remember for some strange reason) “she was smoking!” I replied, “that’s not healthy.” Then another classmate told me that he was intending to mean, “sexy.” He did not talk about her character, only her looks. I hear this kind of thing all the time. Or is it just the immaturity of High School teenagers?

  173. #173 D. C. Sessions
    March 28, 2009

    Carlie @#97 and #109

    I am distraught. I ran that post past $HERSELF and she swore that the sarcasm was over the top as was. Either I have totally lost my writing ability and she has lost her editing skill, or your sarcasmometer is direly in need of repair.

    Either way, one of us is not having a happy day.

  174. #174 Steve
    March 28, 2009

    @#170 10ch

    “I do not think that recalling a personal experience is automatically fretting about it.”

    Not per se, but I was amused by Libbie’s long whine about being ugly. She expects men to approach women but then complains that they prefer to approach good-looking ones. Talk about self-defeating irony!

  175. #175 firemancarl
    March 28, 2009

    @ Libby,

    In your comment #85

    As a woman, you don’t matter one goddamned bit to the world unless you’re pretty.

    I have to disagree. Were I not married, there is a woman who is not ‘hot’ that I would so totally ask out. She’s brainy. I dig that.

    In another comment you made, you said that ‘you knew how to get some’. Honestly, innit the point? getting some when needed??

  176. #176 Marc Abian
    March 28, 2009

    Isn’t it kind of hypocritical to say we should judge someone based on one criteria while dismissing the idea that we should judge someone based on another?”

    You must have misspoken. That girl’s attraciveness is irrelevent, which is why it is wrong to talk about it on her science blog.
    It would be perfectely ok to judge her based on her ability to write about science.

  177. #177 jrock
    March 28, 2009

    @10ch.org

    I’m glad you brought up King as his words were in my mind when I asked that question. Character is not a physical characteristic. To imply that any physical characteristics should be judged superior to others(the more highly you spoke of)leads to a slippery slope. Now if you meant mentally healthier, i.e. rational thinking non-superstitious people, I would agree. However, the way you put it, intentionally or not, seems to be that unhealthy people do not contribute to society in a productive way and so should be judged as having less value.

    If I’ve misconstrued what you’ve said, please let me know.

  178. #178 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#175 Steve
    “She expects men to approach women but then complains that they prefer to approach good-looking ones.”
    Yes, perhaps I have read the following sentence wrong: “big woo that that’s the case for most men; in Western society, the expected norm is that men approach women, not vice-versa.” I have read it as, “this expectation is a bad thing; we ought to be more gender-equal,” or something like that. I blame this on the usage of the word, “woo,” which is incorrectly used as a noun, but which is actually a verb, meaning, “to win someone’s favor or affection.” Libbie, such confusing language is… confusing.

  179. #179 Optimus Crime
    March 28, 2009

    Totally random, but speaking of attractiveness: I read a neat article the other day about a study executed with men and women on attraction. A panel of scientists ranked the test individuals on attractiveness using a scale of 1-10. Then, they showed each woman pictures of men, and each man pictures of women.

    They asked two core questions: is this person attractive? would you approach this person for a date?

    What the researchers observed was that test group women found men at their level and above to be attractive, but would only approach a man for a date if he was on a commensurate level of attractiveness. If the man was far more attractive than the woman, she would decline to approach him.

    Men… well. The test group of men were generally attracted to any woman at their level and up, and nearly all of them said they would approach all the women at their level and up for a date. So, if you ask greasy, overweight dude working at Burger King if he’d ask Scarlett Johannsen out, he’d probably say yes.

    The hypothesis is that women are much more aware of their level of attractiveness and their limits on the attractiveness of their potential partners.

    So, when I tell my homeboys “Dude. She is totally out of your league”, and they reply “No, man. She is totally gonna dig me”, this is why they just don’t get it.

  180. #180 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    You know, it is actually entirely possible for women to be attractive in a non-sexual kind of way – which is, thorough intellect.

  181. #181 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    In #181, I meant, “through intellect,” not “thorough intellect.”

  182. #182 cpsmith
    March 28, 2009

    I think the reason some folks have trouble seeing what is wrong with these kinds of comments is that there isn’t anything particularly wrong with any single one of them. It is not any one comment that is sexist. The sexism lies in the trend one finds in the huge volume of comments, images and messages that repeatedly single out appearence as being the most important thing that a woman can offer. There is a reason that over 90% of cosmetic surgery is performed on women and that over 90% of individuals with eating disorders are women. There is a huge amount of pressure on women to look good. If this were not the case, if we did not live in a society that systematically placed more value on a woman’s looks than on any other attribute she may have, then there would be nothing wrong with these comments. But our society does put this pressure on women and whether their authors intend it or not these comments become a part of that.

  183. #183 jrock
    March 28, 2009

    @Marc #177

    Actually I was pointing out judging people by one physical characteristic while dismissing another physical characteristic didn’t really make much sense. I sorry I wasn’t more clear. I went over and read some her articles and consider her to be far more intelligent than me. We should judge people based on ability and character, not any type of physical charateristic. Sorry for the confusion.

  184. #184 SC, OM
    March 28, 2009

    We want what’s attractive, should we really make people feel bad for having this hard-wired impulse?

    Sigh, is this really so difficult? People have said it above. You [not you, Kel - people in general (on, se) who care about other people] don’t have to express every fucking thought that comes to your mind.* When in doubt, err on the side of caution. Try to see it from that person’s point of view. If it helps, listen to what people are telling you. You can stop yourself from making a comment, and certainly from writing and posting one on a blog.

    And every situation isn’t about what one party “wants.”

    *Honestly, Ive never understood the comments on here or other blogs about attractive women. It’s not like they’re going to think “Oooh, Y-Anon said I’m ‘hawt’ – I think I’ll try to find out who he is and email him.” It seems it’s almost more for other men than for women (many such comments aren’t at all directed at the woman in question). “I’m more male and sexually-driven than you!” or “We’re alike because we like women!” seem to be the messages, and women aren’t the recipients.

    As far as academe/science goes, any advantage that accrues to some subset of women based on their looks is drowned by the larger disadvantage of being women. Obviously. FFS.

    (BTW, hung out with Emmet this week during his visit. He’s as fun as you’d expect, and an adult.)

  185. #185 Derek
    March 28, 2009

    #62 Tony – I’ll dissagree a little bit with #67 on the Liberal Guilt thing. Personally, I have found it to be of little value. Just use your best judgment when it comes to giving women attention, and appologize when you fuck up. Call me crazy, but I do not think that it is terribly productive to cripple yourself with guilt and anxiety just because some yahoos out there exercise poor judgment in this area.

  186. #186 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#184 jrock
    “Actually I was pointing out judging people by one physical characteristic while dismissing another physical characteristic didn’t really make much sense. I sorry I wasn’t more clear. I went over and read some her articles and consider her to be far more intelligent than me. We should judge people based on ability and character, not any type of physical charateristic. Sorry for the confusion.”

    Health is not just a “physical characteristic.” If a person’s lifestyle is unhealthy, it is also indicative of their lifestyle. In fact, it is very indicative of their character and ability. So, should we judge people based on their health? Well, only so far as it reflects their personality. Sometimes, there are unfortunate people who are born that way, with disadvantages, and surely we should not judge people based on that, yet, it might just be the case that physical looks correspond to character – but, of course, if it doesn’t, then we shouldn’t.

  187. #187 D. C. Sessions
    March 28, 2009

    why do people sometimes name their genitals and breasts?

    Well, the best explanation I ever ran across for the breast-naming was a story by a woman [1] who, after a while in conversation with a co-worker, introduced “Leah” and “Rachel” [2]. Co-worker, embarrassed, asks why she’s introducing him to her breasts and she responds that they’re the ones he’s been addressing so it only seems right to introduce them.

    Story was told by the woman in question as part of a series on the obstacles women run into in engineering and how they dealt with them.

    [1] engineer, manager-level, and this was a good ten-plus years ago
    [2] as in “Left” and “Right”

  188. #188 thalarctos
    March 28, 2009

    PZ, show us yer tits!

    Careful what you wish for, Newfie.

  189. #189 Jadehawk
    March 28, 2009

    once and for all: the idiotic “men go bonkers when they see an attractive woman, it’s really not their fault” is dumb beyond belief.

    Has it never occurred to any one of you that women too sometimes see someone so attractive it gives them tingles? women get horny, too. i know it’s a shocker, but it’s true nonetheless. And yet, they’re somehow capable of professional, polite conduct. what you’re doing is special pleading. either that, or you’re telling women you’re all neanderthals and really do think with your dick.

  190. #190 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#186 Derek
    “Call me crazy, but I do not think that it is terribly productive to cripple yourself with guilt and anxiety just because some yahoos out there exercise poor judgment in this area.”
    It is better not to fuck up in the first place. By the way, expressing doubts about the merit and virtue of one’s instincts is in no way “crippling yourself.” Perhaps guilt and anxiety are unnecessary, but really, it is not a good idea just to act on every instinct.

  191. #191 Rrr
    March 28, 2009

    @ #137, Pete Rooke
    I am frequently disturbed, however I wouldn’t agree on it being the same kind of disturbed you meant. Though I have no doubt an untimely death for me would be perceived as a pleasant thing by you if you had known me better. You seem like the type who would.

    @ #143, 10ch.org
    Some do, yes.

    @ #157, jrock
    I see, thanks.

    @ # 165, GMacs
    Hehh.

  192. #192 jrock
    March 28, 2009

    @10ch.org #187

    I think it would help me if you defined “unhealthy” and show how it relates to character. I would be especially interested in hearing any characteristics that can be found among the “unhealthy” that are seperate from the “healthy”. Kindness, trustworthiness, work ethic, general attitudes?

  193. #193 The poster formerly known as Facilis
    March 28, 2009

    I was once shown a video about religious extremism, and I was once surprised to hear that an Egyptian woman supported the Islamic reaction against westernization in the 1960’s-1970’s which continues to this day, because according to her, Islam somehow respects women better than the capitalism because Islam respects women according to their person, not to their looks, whereas the capitalism brought on to Egypt exploited women, just using them for their looks, just so that the companies could sell more. Well, I am sure that everyone here would agree that the Burka is the greater of the two evils, and that Islam does not really respect women, and surely holds them to be inferior to men, but is this kind of attitude the norm in such places like Egypt?

    I think Islam is a very respectful religion. Why don’t you like burqa’s?

  194. #194 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#190 Jadehawk
    “Has it never occurred to any one of you that women too sometimes see someone so attractive it gives them tingles? women get horny, too. i know it’s a shocker, but it’s true nonetheless. And yet, they’re somehow capable of professional, polite conduct. what you’re doing is special pleading. either that, or you’re telling women you’re all neanderthals and really do think with your dick.”
    Bravo! It may be okay to feel the feelings, but it is not okay just to act on them whenever one feels like it. If an instinct is a bad instinct, one ought to try to suppress it. Always think it through before acting on an instinct, and be rational about it, don’t just blindly act on instincts. That’s what rationality is all about, people.

  195. #195 Wowbagger, OM
    March 28, 2009

    This is why I’ve developed a preference for communicating with people over the internet; no-one gives a crap what anyone else looks like. There are also quite a few posters whose gender I remain ignorant of.

    Am I the only one who’d be okay with humanity ending up as brains in jars? Oh, crap – PZ’s going to lump me in with the futurists now, isn’t he?

  196. #196 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#193 jrock
    “I think it would help me if you defined ‘unhealthy’ and show how it relates to character. I would be especially interested in hearing any characteristics that can be found among the ‘unhealthy’ that are seperate from the ‘healthy’. Kindness, trustworthiness, work ethic, general attitudes?”
    How about, “attentiveness to their health – at the present moment”?

  197. #197 Chemgirl
    March 28, 2009

    PZ, you’re looking mighty fine yourself.

    Seriously, though, men, you need to step it up in the maturity department. Even you guys who aren’t pigs…please, just help the others out. We are all human, we have sexual instincts, we find other people attractive. But there is a time and a place to comment on it, and a time and a place to keep it to yourself.

    Learn what those times are.

  198. #198 SC, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Health is not just a “physical characteristic.” If a person’s lifestyle is unhealthy, it is also indicative of their lifestyle. In fact, it is very indicative of their character and ability.

    No, it isn’t. Very or otherwise.

    So, should we judge people based on their health? Well, only so far as it reflects their personality.

    And you can measure this how, exactly?

    Sometimes, there are unfortunate people who are born that way, with disadvantages, and surely we should not judge people based on that, yet, it might just be the case that physical looks correspond to character – but, of course, if it doesn’t, then we shouldn’t.

    Impossible. And if you study, say, the development of obesity in relation to the growth of industrial agriculture and urban “development,” you’d appreciate how small (or at least profoundly complex) is the role of individual choice in the matter.

    Not to mention the effects of depression on lifestyle…

    And “physical looks correspond to character” is absurd, given the widely varying range of what is considered physically attractive. Do you think standards of beauty might just be fundamentally determined by those with power?

  199. #199 Kel
    March 28, 2009

    I know this is going down a losing path, so I just want to say that men find women attractive in certain ways, and vice versa. It’s a shame that so much focus is on looks, but that’s the society we’ve built. We’ve gone from a state where it was obscene for women to show anything to a state where sexuality is flaunted quite openly. Yet it seems that no matter where we are at in this, there’s always going to be the complaint about men oppressing women – that misogyny is rampant in our culture regardless of what we do.

    And in that thought, this is what I find appalling. No matter what we do, we are always going to be accused of misogyny. Do people here honestly think that the sole reason for the make-up industry is that men treat women as sex objects? Because that does sound absurd to me. Yes men can find women attractive, and there should be nothing wrong with that given it’s been a driving force in selection for our species. This to me seems not so much as a superiority / inferiority gender issue, rather than different roles across gender lines.

    For me personally, looks don’t play much of a part in who I’m attracted to. Intelligence is the main thing that drives me, and I’m as shallow in that respect as someone who mainly cares about looks. Why is it okay for me to be shallow when it comes to intelligence / personality and someone else not to be shallow when it comes to looks?

  200. #200 Jadehawk
    March 28, 2009

    wowbagger, i agree as well, and that’s why i generally don’t hand out photos and actual names on the internet. i actually very much miss the pre-social networking days when your internet-you didn’t have a face, name, and address.

  201. #201 plum grenville
    March 28, 2009

    Kel @ 146

    We want what’s attractive, should we really make people feel bad for having this hard-wired impulse?

    It’s either make people feel bad for having this impulse or let the unattractive people who are victims of this impulse feel bad.

    More Kel:

    And do you think from a biological perspective it might be important to find a desirable mate so that your offspring might have that same chance?

    Actually, in an overpopulated world, I don’t think it’s important to have offspring at all. And why should your offspring benefit from unearned and irrelevant characteristics?

  202. #202 jrock
    March 28, 2009

    @10ch.org

    How about, “attentiveness to their health – at the present moment”?

    Two questions: The above has what to do with character? How do you tell when someone is healthy? (Unless you know them personally the answer has to be how they look physically or some other outside indicator that has nothing to do with character.)

  203. #203 george.w
    March 28, 2009

    I often notice that some individual woman is attractive, but never comment on it because I have learned that it won’t be received as a compliment. But it’s OK to compliment my male co-workers when they’re looking sharp – I have learned that too. Which means that something in our culture has undermined the self-confidence of women on an enormous scale (not any mystery to it really) and that makes me very sad.

    If we ever get to the point in our culture when we can talk about anything personal without it becoming a threat, a put-down, or a power-play, it will be because people know they are safe from irrelevancies in their professional relationships. Probably many generations of Victorian echoes until we reach that promised land.

  204. #204 Kel
    March 28, 2009

    This is why I’ve developed a preference for communicating with people over the internet; no-one gives a crap what anyone else looks like. There are also quite a few posters whose gender I remain ignorant of.

    Same, it simply is irrelevant on here what one looks like. But at the same time, I’m wondering how many people would still be on here if most of the commenters were idiots who couldn’t write a coherent sentence to save their life. i.e. would any of you comment on this place if it were like youtube?

    I like this place because it’s filled with intelligent, witty, knowledgeable, learned people. I post here because this is a great place to hang with attractive netizens – in that I mean that here we judge others on what’s presented. Our intelligence is our attractiveness on here because that’s what other people see of us. And we have no problems on here calling someone stupid. It almost seems a hypocrisy that we can chastise others for one aspect of behaviour that we are guilty of doing the same thing.

  205. #205 John Morales
    March 28, 2009

    Pete Rooke:

    I think Islam is a very respectful religion. Why don’t you like burqa’s?

    Sigh. Yes, it’s very respectful of itself. Women, not so much.

    We don’t like burqas because their sole purpose is to control women. I have a female relative currently working in Saudi Arabia, and her opinion of the culture and religion would put Holbach to shame.

    BWT, it’s not an Islamic thing, per se, it’s a cultural one.

  206. #206 Kel
    March 28, 2009

    Actually, in an overpopulated world, I don’t think it’s important to have offspring at all. And why should your offspring benefit from unearned and irrelevant characteristics?

    How is it irrelevant if it helps us finding a mate? How is it any different to a peacock’s plumage?

  207. #207 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#199 SC, OM
    “And ‘physical looks correspond to character’ is absurd, given the widely varying range of what is considered physically attractive. Do you think standards of beauty might just be fundamentally determined by those with power?”
    I was saying, though, was that this kind of attitude might just pressure people to be more healthy. I admit, though, that perhaps it is not so effective, given how it can frequently result in eating disorders.

    @#200 Kel
    “No matter what we do, we are always going to be accused of misogyny.”
    Yes, there is a way out of it. To have culture (i. e. mainstream mass media popular culture) include more of the female viewpoint. Or, at least I think this is a way out of it. Right now, I perceive most of mainstream media popular culture as dominated by males, and the “male-point-of-view.” Or is this my imagination?

  208. #208 Carlie
    March 28, 2009

    DC – it did go over my head; my apologies to you.

    I just realised that I’d rather inappropriately ended up focusing squarely on my own neuroses rather than address the bigger issue.

    Even better – that’s exactly what the trope is about. There is a classic derailment tactic that often happens in discussions on sexism during which a person of the male persuasion tries to redirect the topic entirely to him and his feelings and his reaction to the issue, rather than the broader issue at hand. It is almost nonexistent for said person to realize they’ve done that, which is why it was so interesting that you caught yourself right away before even trying to do it. Two cookies!

  209. #209 Derek
    March 28, 2009

    @ #191 10ch – “It is better not to fuck up in the first place.”

    I agree. That would be awesome, but it is not reality. One cannot read the minds of every person met and then accomodate their needs accordingly. One will make mistakes sometimes.

    “By the way, expressing doubts about the merit and virtue of one’s instincts is in no way ‘crippling yourself.’ Perhaps guilt and anxiety are unnecessary, but really, it is not a good idea just to act on every instinct.”

    I was not suggesting that one act on every instinct and be completely unreflective. I was suggesting that one use one’s best judgment.

  210. #210 Kel
    March 28, 2009

    Right now, I perceive most of mainstream media popular culture as dominated by males, and the “male-point-of-view.”

    There would be some aspects where that is true, but I would find it a bit incredulous to think that the women’s magazines that perpetuate these gender roles and push the barbie image of beauty are for the most part run by women. Cosmopolitan has a woman editor-in-chief for example.

  211. #211 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#206 John Morales
    The Economist once stated that women do actually want freedoms, but they balk at the notion of westerners coming in to “liberate” them. They want to be free, but they don’t want to destroy their cultural heritage.

  212. #212 SC, OM
    March 28, 2009

    And in that thought, this is what I find appalling. No matter what we do, we are always going to be accused of misogyny.

    Respectfully, horseshit. There are many men on this very blog whom I’ve never accused nor remotely suspected of misogyny or sexism (OK, I’ll name a few – Knockgoats, Sven, Bill Dauphin, PZ, Ichthyic, truth machine, Rev. BDC, Emmet, Wowbagger, Bobber, Bernard Bumner, ‘Tis Himself, Owlmirror [I assume he's a man],…).

  213. #213 Kel
    March 28, 2009

    I didn’t mean it that way SC.

  214. #214 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 28, 2009

    @10: In a very formal way, wasn’t it true once? That you complemented the person’s appearance then asked after their family as a common polite conservation starter? (What these twits are doing on the blog is not in the same vein, however…)

    Yep, at least among the upper classes in the West, it was true. Even among women. Literature from those times is… awkward to read.

    Would embarrass the living shit out of me to be supposed to do that. By default I’d interpret any comment about someone’s looks, when said to that person, as an unimaginative but completely unambiguous attempt at flirting.

    I can understand how women would feel uncomfortable by constant irrelevant comments about their looks, partly because leering men can be somewhat threatening. I however always welcome positive comments regarding my fading sexual attractiveness, even when they make me uncomfortable. I like walking down the street and having some repulsively forward gay man whistle at me, even when it sends a chill down my spine. It gives me confidence and I would be surprised if women were much different.

    Frankly, that sounds like you have an unhealthy obsession with your “fading sexual attractiveness”.

    Never get in a scientific debate with a cute, sweet chick with ‘SCIENCE!’ plastered across her boobs.

    is the objectification acceptable because it comes from the object????

    That was sarcasm. The obvious idea is to get across that this is how the dumb creationist must have seen her, and how she showed him.

    Come on guys and girls. You’re all into biology. You’re all into psychology. We know EXACTLY why this stuff happens, it it isn’t a surprise. Men are sexual attracted to an attractive women. Period. This is mostly socially repressed as it’s not acceptable to shout cat calls during a lecture on some such subject, but it’s there. It’s boiling over. And ever now and then it spills over. And it’s NOT going away.

    Frankly, not everyone has their hormones crystallizing out in their blood like you… But, more importantly, just because someone’s pretty and/or sexy doesn’t mean one can’t talk reasonably to them. It just… doesn’t. You should try it sometime.

    And the one[-]sided comparisons, “Men don’t get this kind of treatment!” Yeah. Duh! And if they do, they LIKE it.

    I’ve never got it, and I wouldn’t like it at all. I’d feel bullied like in early highschool, complete with stomach cramps and all.

    Women, just try to take it how it is. Guys are attracted to you. That should make you feel great.

    Have you no empathy?

    ============================

    Pete, that is exactly the type of comment that will get you banned. This is PZ’s blog, not yours. Until you acknowledge that simple fact, you are WRONG, and heading toward being banned, as PZ himself has told you on many occasions. Say five Hail Ramens and sin no more[,] my son.

    Nerd, really, fuck you. That comment really was left by a spambot. It’s a press release about how the economy crisis is supposed to be a chance for corporations and would immediately get the author banned for insipidity anyway.

    That said, Pete, if PZ reads this thread at all (which has to be doubted), he’ll see the spam and delete it anyway, so you don’t need to tell him.

    And please, please, please stop inserting an extra n into misogyny. That’s mis- as in misanthropy, and gyne, “woman” in Greek.

  215. #215 plum grenville
    March 28, 2009

    Marc Abian:

    You must have misspoken. That girl’s attraciveness is irrelevent, which is why it is wrong to talk about it on her science blog.
    It would be perfectely ok to judge her based on her ability to write about science.

    Sigh! Marc, you’re obviously a well-intentioned boy. Please don’t refer to an adult as a “girl.”

  216. #216 Carlie
    March 28, 2009

    There’s also a pretty easy way to figure out whether to say something or not. Does your perceived “right” to say it outweigh the possible discomfort the statement might cause the other person? That’s really what’s at play here.

    “Ok,” you say, “some people might take it the wrong way, but why does that mean I shouldn’t say it”? Think about it. You’re privileging your desire to comment on someone’s appearance above everything else – how that makes her feel, how that makes everyone else in the room/board feel, how that makes you look, how it contributes to the overall milieu of how women are viewed in society. Is that all really worth it? Is whatever flits into your head that important to share with the world?

  217. #217 Quidam
    March 28, 2009

    PZ must have a short memory. I remember this young woman received the honour of a thread to herself, merely for expressing her fantasy of sex with PZ and RD.
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/05/only_in_the_virtual_world.php

    Nary a hint of censure there – is this a dual standard I wonder?

  218. #218 jrock
    March 28, 2009

    @10ch.org
    Right now, I perceive most of mainstream media popular culture as dominated by males, and the “male-point-of-view.” Or is this my imagination?

    Nope, not imagining. The ariwaves are surely dominated by programming aimed toward males. Any efforts to include more female oriented programming always seem to follow a start-stop cycle. I mentioned something very similar earlier, also mentioning that there were no shortage of women willing to portray themselves as sexual objects which undercuts the efforts to end mysogony.

  219. #219 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#203 jrock
    “Two questions: The above has what to do with character? How do you tell when someone is healthy?”
    Alright, I guess not. Although, I still have this feeling that sometimes, the pressure not to be overweight can be a little positive, despite its dark side of causing depression amongst the obese or causing eating disorders. Perhaps it would be better if it were less extreme, although I am not quite sure right now.

    @#210 Derek
    “That would be awesome, but it is not reality. One cannot read the minds of every person met and then accomodate their needs accordingly. One will make mistakes sometimes.”
    However, to try not to fuck up in the first place is at least better not to try.

    “I was suggesting that one use one’s best judgment.”
    I guess we are in agreement, then. Judgment, after all, means rationally thinking about the merits of one’s feelings.

  220. #220 Susan
    March 28, 2009

    That was excellent, PZ. Thanks for linking to it. Your comparison is perfectly apt, as well.

  221. #221 SC, OM
    March 28, 2009

    I was saying, though, was that this kind of attitude might just pressure people to be more healthy. I admit, though, that perhaps it is not so effective, given how it can frequently result in eating disorders.

    You miss the point as well as lack an adequate appreciation of the sociohistorical context in which people live. If you really care about people’s health you should support CSA and public funding for it (in production and purchasing), fresh and local food in public schools, and pedestrian facilities as well as bike paths, among other things. Your individually-judgmental approach is both ignorant and useless.

  222. #222 E.V.
    March 28, 2009

    Holy crap, the land mines are everywhere. Thank goodness I’m a misanthropist and not merely a misogynist.

  223. #223 John Morales
    March 28, 2009

    10ch.org @208,

    I was saying, though, was that this kind of attitude might just pressure people to be more healthy.

    Botox. Liposuction. Blepharoplasty. Mammoplasty. Etc etc.

    No, what it encourages is superficiality.

    re #212, they’re in no position to speak up. You might wish to read Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

  224. #224 Pharyngulette
    March 28, 2009

    firemancarl @176: I’m with you in regard to being attracted to the brainy. I may have been married for decades(!), but I still regard intelligence as far more of an turn-on than mere looks. Somewhere on the web I read the term “sapiensexual” – attracted to smarts – and it clicked for me immediately.

    Intelligence men are sexy, dammit. Way more than muscle-bound mouth-breathers. “Show me your grey matter, fellas!” R-r-r-rrow!

    …and now you know why I like lurking at Pharyngula. It’s like (ahem) teh pron for Yours Truly. [relurks]

  225. #225 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 28, 2009

    DM, Ich lese Deutch, at least in my college days. I remember the grammar, but the vocabulary…

  226. #226 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#219 jrock
    “Nope, not imagining. The ariwaves are surely dominated by programming aimed toward males. Any efforts to include more female oriented programming always seem to follow a start-stop cycle. I mentioned something very similar earlier, also mentioning that there were no shortage of women willing to portray themselves as sexual objects which undercuts the efforts to end mysogony.”
    If this is true, then you may think that the following solution is way out there, but I think that the solution is to change the culture from mass-media being predominant to… people-made culture being predominant. It won’t have as many special effects, it won’t have flashy expensive movies made for it, but it will be made by the people. An example of this is the really obscure fan-fiction world, which is actually quite female-dominated. I do believe that this “people-culture” or “fan-culture” can be huge and mainstream, but unfortunately, it is somewhat chilled by copyright in the U.S. as of now. Fan-fiction has the good fortune of being ignored by most people (and so most of it escapes the wrath of copyright litigation), but most of the rest is under attack by copyright. See: transformativeworks.org – the website of an organization for the legal defense of fan-works. Or am I just crazy?

  227. #227 Falyne
    March 28, 2009

    Slightly OT, but riffing off of Jadehawk’s comment:

    Does anyone else get reeeeally annoyed at how “everybody knows” men are obviously more visually aroused than women, and this is obviously natural rather than due to the fact that “women’s body == sexual arousal yay” is insinuated through images nearly everywhere you look? Relatedly, the idea that any arousing portrayal of the male figure is always “homoerotic” is also rather annoying. It’s like female viewers don’t exist!

    It’s like when one of my CS classmates responded to the idea of watching Top Gun with “who wants to watch a bunch of shirtless guys jumping around?” Hellooo, I certainly do!

  228. #228 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#223 SC, OM, #224 John Morales
    I guess so.

    @#228
    “It’s like female viewers don’t exist!”
    I guess not in mainstream mass media popular culture.

  229. #229 jrock
    March 28, 2009

    @10ch.org #220

    All of us who are obese(yes, I include myself)wish to be healthier and try. I get some pressure from my family(wife,parents)who are concerned about my wieght because they want me to live longer and not have so many health problems. The biggest problem I have is being judged as a person by how I look, which is why I can empathize with Sheril. Not only attractive people are judged by looks in a negative way.

    The overweight are stereotyped as much as anyone else. That may be why I took such exception to the idea you expressed. Is pressure bad? Depends on the type. I accept the pressure from my family because they know me and care about me. And while societal pressures can be useful, i.e. encouraging acceptance of all races, in this case it seems to be more along the lines of “If you don’t look like this you can’t possibly be happy.” False. I am generally a happy guy. I realize I have faults and work to correct them. Like many I enjoy varying degrees of success. I love my family, and honestly believe that my weight has caused me to be a better person, simply because I was looked at in a negative light.

  230. #230 SC, OM
    March 28, 2009

    I didn’t mean it that way SC.

    Then how did you mean it? As I understood it, it was demonstrably false, in a “oh, they’re always looking to take offense” sort of way. Couldn’t you perhaps try being a bit more self-critical or self-aware?

    Have you no empathy?

    Exactly.

  231. #231 Falyne
    March 28, 2009

    Ok, the thread got away from me. That was in response to Jadehawk @ 190

    Guys, the tl;dr version of all this is: because of the looooooooooooooooong history of using a woman’s attractiveness as a backhanded means of downplaying her professional achievements, any looks-related compliment you give to a woman in a professional setting will run the risk of a.) making her feel shitty or anxious, b.) making you look like a douche, c.) creating lots of drama, or d.) all of the above.

    This ain’t our fault, it’s the years and years of stupid assholes ruining things for everyone. You want to stop this? Stop the assholes! (Examples of which can be found in the linked article.)

  232. #232 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#230 jrock
    Well, thanks for telling me. I am not obese myself, and I do not know many people who are obese, so I do not know much about the situation about the societal attitudes towards obesity.

  233. #233 plum grenville
    March 28, 2009

    by: george.w | March 28, 2009 9:43 PM

    I often notice that some individual woman is attractive, but never comment on it because I have learned that it won’t be received as a compliment. But it’s OK to compliment my male co-workers when they’re looking sharp – I have learned that too. Which means that something in our culture has undermined the self-confidence of women on an enormous scale (not any mystery to it really) and that makes me very sad.

    Where on earth did you get the idea that women dislike remarks about their looks in work settings because they lack self-confidence, George W.?

    WOMEN DON’T LIKE COMPLIMENTS ABOUT THEIR LOOKS AT WORK BECAUSE OF THE IMPLICATION (WHICH IS ALL TOO OFTEN A REALITY) THAT THEIR LOOKS MATTER MORE THAN THEIR ACHIEVEMENTS. WOMEN DON’T WANT TO BE SOME JERK’S EYE CANDY.

    Demeaning treatment is annoying regardless of how self-confident you are.

  234. #234 Sniper
    March 28, 2009

    Although, I still have this feeling that sometimes, the pressure not to be overweight can be a little positive, despite its dark side of causing depression amongst the obese or causing eating disorders.

    I fucking knew this was coming. “Health” inevitably comes down to “what I wanna look at.”

    There is so much wrong I don’t even know where to start. The notion that causing depression is secondary to salutary shame (is there such a thing?) is obscene. The notion that “health” can be discerned by looking is idiotic. The idea that what anybody else does with his or her body is any of your business is presumptuous.

    Also, you might want to get your head out of… the clouds, and do a little research on the actual human and financial costs of our cultural obsession with weight loss. Nothing you said in your posts on “health” has any relevance to reality.

  235. #235 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#234 plum grenville
    Perhaps george.w meant that women lack self-confidence because of all the societal pressures that tell them that only their looks are important – and thus lack the self-confidence in the idea that they are being taken seriously. i. e. they are not confident that the implication that you referred to is not a reality, because, as you have pointed out, it is actually all too often a reality.

    Also, all caps are annoying to look at.

  236. #236 SC, OM
    March 28, 2009

    but riffing off of Jadehawk’s comment

    Yay – improvisational music reference!

    @#223 SC, OM, #224 John Morales
    I guess so.

    That’s extremely impressive. It’s so hard to question our attitudes, and always amazing to see people who can. Brav@.

  237. #237 E.V.
    March 28, 2009

    “It’s like female viewers don’t exist!”

    You don’t watch daytime soaps obviously. It’s a parade of buff and ripped shirtless males as well as silicone enhanced underfed females. Lot’s of older actors too, though – men with Marlborough Man faces and mature actress shot in very soft focus, obviously a gesture to appease a loyal but aging fanbase.
    I happened on a soap opera a few weeks ago and was appalled by the acting and script but was amazed at the overt sexuality and left wondering how many hours the men must be spending at the gym. (I was more amazed to recognize actors from 30 years ago still on the same program, I’d assumed they would have retired or died by now)

  238. #238 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 28, 2009

    I am distraught. I ran that post past $HERSELF and she swore that the sarcasm was over the top as was. Either I have totally lost my writing ability and she has lost her editing skill, or your sarcasmometer is direly in need of repair.

    That’s becaues she knows you and knows what to expect of you. This here, however, is the Internet. Neither your intentions nor your voice intonation come across. Run a double-blind test, and then we can talk.

    Please don’t refer to an adult as a “girl.”

    I would certainly refer to a fellow university student of comparable age as a girl (if at all). And I wouldn’t refer to myself as a man either ? I don’t feel that adult… (And I’m not explicitly mentioned in comment 213. That proves it. ;-) )

  239. #239 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#235
    “Nothing you said in your posts on ‘health’ has any relevance to reality.”

    Well, I guess I did not know much about the subject in the first place. After all, the only way I know about obesity in the first place, other than the (very few) obese people I have gotten to know, is through the news, and things like that. I guess that this is not a very good resource.

    @#237 SC, OM
    “That’s extremely impressive. It’s so hard to question our attitudes, and always amazing to see people who can.”

    It is for most people, it is their pride at stake. People do not want to change their mind, lest they be seen as “weak.” They do not want to bend, for their pride, but what people often forget is that in a flood, the trees that can be more easily are the ones that can more easily survive.

  240. #240 Carlie
    March 28, 2009

    You don’t watch daytime soaps obviously.

    Yes, we know how daytime soaps are the biggest thing in the media.

    I still have this feeling that sometimes, the pressure not to be overweight can be a little positive, despite its dark side of causing depression amongst the obese or causing eating disorders.

    *bangs head against desk repeatedly*
    Please read what you just wrote. You think that shaming someone is a good thing, even though it causes depression and eating disorders. Because, you know, there are no messages in all of society that fat=bad without you bringing it up to someone personally. Fat people would have no idea that there is a stigma attached to being fat if you didn’t specifically point it out. And of course we all know that all fat people are entirely unhealthy, and all skinny people are healthy.

  241. #241 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    I meant, in #240, “the trees that can bend more easily are the ones that can more easily survive in a flood” – a paraphrase of something that Haimon said in Antigone.

    @#238 E.V.
    “You don’t watch daytime soaps obviously.”
    I wonder, how popular exactly are these daytime soaps? I don’t know much about soaps, so I am curious to know.

  242. #242 Commenter
    March 28, 2009

    Chick needs to get off the internet and back into the kitchen. There’s roasts to be made and turkeys to be stuffed. There are blowjobs to be given, goddammit.

  243. #243 Kel
    March 28, 2009

    Then how did you mean it? As I understood it, it was demonstrably false, in a “oh, they’re always looking to take offense” sort of way.

    I didn’t mean it that way at all, but there’s not going to be a way I can write what I mean without digging my own grave. Society has swung from one extreme to the other, from sexually repressed to sexually explicit. Are all those young women I see each day while walking to the bus stop dressing that way purely out of rampant misogyny permeating through society? Are those glossy magazines showing pictures of what is beauty that are plastered up everywhere again a societal symptom? Why is it the local shopping centre has dozens of clothing and jewellery stores, while there’s seldom a mens clothing store in sight?

    I’m not arguing that it’s okay to be misogynistic, I’m not arguing for women to “know their place” or to try to be pretty. I’m a firm believer in equal rights for women and I abhor sexist remarks and behaviour. Yet it feels like I’m digging my own grave on this because I believe that people resonate towards what they perceive is attractive. And this feels way off topic now, and I agree with PZ and the initial post.

  244. #244 Sniper
    March 28, 2009

    And of course we all know that all fat people are entirely unhealthy, and all skinny people are healthy.

    Back in the 80s, I had a number of classmates who got super-healthy on the stress-and-cocaine diet. But at least they weren’t fat.

  245. #245 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#241 Carlie
    No, I do not think so anymore.

  246. #246 John Morales
    March 28, 2009

    E.V. @238, yeah, I can confirm that daytime (free-to-air) TV here in Australia is demographically targeted, and not to men.

  247. #247 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#247 John Morales
    “I can confirm that daytime (free-to-air) TV here in Australia is demographically targeted, and not to men.”
    Are those shows popular?

  248. #248 Carlie
    March 28, 2009

    101ch – I’m sorry I sounded so harsh, but I’ve been following a couple of threads on and off today, and between some of the things here and Maggie, I’m at my wits’ end.

    Back in the 80s, I had a number of classmates who got super-healthy on the stress-and-cocaine diet. But at least they weren’t fat.

    I have a friend who keeps going on and off the anorexia diet. She gets all kinds of compliments on how healthy and great she looks.

  249. #249 Sniper
    March 28, 2009

    Are all those young women I see each day while walking to the bus stop dressing that way purely out of rampant misogyny permeating through society? Are those glossy magazines showing pictures of what is beauty that are plastered up everywhere again a societal symptom?

    Well, yes, that would be my guess. Have you also noticed that plastic surgery is going nuts (look up cosmetic labial surgery, seriously), that eating disorders are off the hook, and that sexuality is thoroughly commmodified? There’s money to be made in making women and girls feel like shit.

    Eating disorders and body shame are starting to eat at boys and young men as well, but not to the same extent. Just give it time… unless we do something to change our society.

  250. #250 Commenter
    March 28, 2009

    Any television show which features a woman wearing anything but a labcoat is misogynistic and should be banned. Any television show that depicts or implies feminine sexuality of any sort is misogynistic and should be banned. Any man who comments on the physical attractiveness of a woman under any circumstance, private or public, is a misogynist and worthy of scorn.

    Womyn uber alles, sisters.

  251. #251 Sniper
    March 28, 2009

    Oh, go beat off to your straw feminist fantasies somewhere else, Commenter.

  252. #252 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    “Are all those young women I see each day while walking to the bus stop dressing that way purely out of rampant misogyny permeating through society? Are those glossy magazines showing pictures of what is beauty that are plastered up everywhere again a societal symptom? Why is it the local shopping centre has dozens of clothing and jewellery stores, while there’s seldom a mens clothing store in sight?”

    Simple answer, provided many times before: because much of society and culture cares only about their looks, and not about their character or abilities, and females thereby feel pressured to act according to these standards. It is indeed a symptom of misogyny, even if it is not misogyny outright.

  253. #253 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#252 Sniper
    If you paid attention, Commenter is just a troll, and whoever Commenter is, he/she clearly did not intend him/herself to be taken seriously. See the previous comment #243
    “Chick needs to get off the internet and back into the kitchen. There’s roasts to be made and turkeys to be stuffed. There are blowjobs to be given, goddammit.”

    Yep, not meant to be taken seriously.

  254. #254 Sniper
    March 28, 2009

    Yep, not meant to be taken seriously.

    I realize that. Perhaps I shouldn’t have reacted, but hearing the same tired “jokes” for three or four decades wears on a person.

  255. #255 Commenter
    March 28, 2009

    Nah, I’m digging my present surroundings just fine, thank you very much. Nothing makes me laugh more than watching PC jackholes circle-jerk each other into believing we’re all living in the 1950’s. This instance is particularly entertaining to me seeing as it was sparked by two utterly innocuous comments on a female-written science blog.

  256. #256 SC, OM
    March 28, 2009

    (And I’m not explicitly mentioned in comment 213. That proves it. ;-) )

    a) too lazy to cut and paste your name after a long week (although thanks to Emmet I now know how to pronounce it)

    b) still stickin’ in my craw that you voted against me for the Molly. Against me. (The fact that I don’t think it was sexist, since you’ve supported other women, made it kind of worse in a way.)

    :)

    That said, you certainly should’ve been included in my list. I’ve never thought of you as anything other than a man, although I call most men “guys” and I might call you a “kid” just because you’re younger, with no disrespect intended (my students are for the most part a bit younger and far less knowledgeable and accomplished than you, and I respect them immensely).

  257. #257 D. C. Sessions
    March 28, 2009

    And I wouldn’t refer to myself as a man either ? I don’t feel that adult.

    Inside of every doddering geezer is an 18yo.

    Seriously — apparently mens’ self-images stabilize at about age 18, and that’s pretty much it.

    Ladies, if you please, the obvious comments are just that: obvious. (Not saying necessarily untrue, mind, but still obvious.)

  258. #258 shamwowmytonguehurts
    March 28, 2009

    It is well proven that carrying excess weight increases risk of many chronic diseases and early death, and that skinny people generally live longer and with less disability. Nobody said that ALL overweight people are less healthy than ALL thin people, what is it with the hypersensitivity among a couple of you distorting your logical skills?

    Unhealthy living, including being overweight, is immoral because it harms others by creating an environment where such behaviors are permissable and even tacitly ecnouraged. Obesity and smoking are socially contagious, especially from parent to child. It is immoral to teach unhealthy behaviors by example to children thereby increasing their risk of disease and premature death, so it is immoral to remain overweight while raising children.

    Shaming DOES alter behavoir. We shame people who harm others in more direct and immediate ways like robbery and cruelty, and should shame smokers and overweight people too.

  259. #259 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    “Perhaps I shouldn’t have reacted, but hearing the same tired ‘jokes’ for three or four decades wears on a person.”
    Perhaps one ought never to let jokes wear on you, even if it shall be eternity, because, after all, there is not much one can do about what others say, so the best way to deal with it is not to let it affect one’s own self. Well, that is at least what I think – well, as long as it is not disruptive.

  260. #260 Kel
    March 28, 2009

    Well, yes, that would be my guess. Have you also noticed that plastic surgery is going nuts (look up cosmetic labial surgery, seriously), that eating disorders are off the hook, and that sexuality is thoroughly commmodified? There’s money to be made in making women and girls feel like shit.

    Yeah, there is some pretty messed up shit going on. I’m just not convinced that it’s purely memetic, that there are underlying processes by which our brain works on which the memes build on. That if there weren’t an underlying process for which to act on, then the memes would easily fade away. What role does sexual selection play in our species? It would be hard to deny it plays a role in many others.

  261. #261 Sniper
    March 28, 2009

    Obesity and smoking are socially contagious, especially from parent to child.

    Or maybe body type is inherited. You seem to be suggesting that fat people don’t have the right to have or raise children. This makes you a monster. Don’t reproduce.

  262. #262 shamwowmytonguehurts
    March 28, 2009

    Oh sorry, my previous post was in response to 235 and 241.

  263. #263 E.V.
    March 28, 2009

    From what I can gather, the most popular soaps garner an audience average of a couple of a million viewers each.
    So yeah, they’re pulling in some decent shares.
    These disparate fans coalesce to give Oprah and Dr. Phil huge numbers (yuck).
    The lesson here is to not disregard what goes on while you’re at work.
    We can go round and round about how patriarchal and misogynistic our culture is and who’s responsible and how shitty humans are to other humans… and it makes me glad I’ve come to despise everyone regardless of sex or melanin. Everyone but my lovely wife and my wonder kids, at least that’s what she’s making me type right now.

  264. #264 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#256 Commenter
    And now I believe that you are serious.
    “This instance is particularly entertaining to me seeing as it was sparked by two utterly innocuous comments on a female-written science blog.”
    It was not innocuous, but rather, rather rude, and indicative of a systematic kind of misogyny or gender double-standard that permeates culture. We do not believe that we live in the 1950’s, I do not know where you have gotten this idea from. We are talking about how women are judged for their looks; we are not talking about how women are failing to get jobs other than teaching, nursing, and cleaning.

    @#259 shamwowmytounguehurts
    “Shaming DOES alter behavoir.”
    Do you think that we should bring back punishment by public shaming?

  265. #265 SC, OM
    March 28, 2009

    I didn’t mean it that way at all, but there’s not going to be a way I can write what I mean without digging my own grave. Society has swung from one extreme to the other, from sexually repressed to sexually explicit.

    This distinction has zero to do with the issue at hand. Given the number of discussions of misogyny and sexism that have occurred on this blog, and given your knowledge of and awareness of their history, I can only conclude that you’re being willfully ignorant. And there’s such a thing as “sexually empowered,” in case you weren’t aware.

  266. #266 gypsytag
    March 28, 2009

    why can’t men get mad cow disease…?

    because men are pigs!!

    sorry, i just thought that was funny.

    ok i’m not sorry.

  267. #267 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#262 Sniper
    “Or maybe body type is inherited. You seem to be suggesting that fat people don’t have the right to have or raise children. This makes you a monster. Don’t reproduce.”
    I think that you are exaggerating what shamwowmytounguehurts wrote. He/she wrote that having fat people around provides a bad example to people, and that fat people, although they ought to have the right to have and raise children, do not provide a good example to their children. He/she did not suggest that they ought to be isolated from society, or should not have children.

  268. #268 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#267 gypsytag
    “why can’t men get mad cow disease…?

    because men are pigs!!”
    To qualify this: some, maybe a majority, possibly most, but certainly not all.

  269. #269 John Morales
    March 28, 2009

    10ch.org, dunno how popular daytime soapies are, but that’s not the point. Women are roughly half the population, and they merit their share of the media, and the expectations those media provide are generally superficial.

    Commenter:

    Nah, I’m digging my present surroundings just fine, thank you very much. Nothing makes me laugh more than watching PC jackholes circle-jerk each other into believing we’re all living in the 1950’s.

    Thanks for clarifying. At first, I thought you were a fine satirist. Then you posted again. Now you post this.

    Troll.

  270. #270 shamwowmytonguehurts
    March 28, 2009

    #265, Of course not. Shaming works perfectly well in its natural setting-the social and family group. Public shaming may be effective but it would tend to be vastly disproportionate to the offense, so I agree with it being categorized as cruel and unusual.

  271. #271 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#264 E.V.
    “it makes me glad I’ve come to despise everyone regardless of sex or melanin. Everyone but my lovely wife and my wonder kids, at least that’s what she’s making me type right now.”
    Does that include PZ, myself, and all the other commentators here?

  272. #272 Sniper
    March 28, 2009

    It is immoral to teach unhealthy behaviors by example to children thereby increasing their risk of disease and premature death, so it is immoral to remain overweight while raising children.

    What do you call this piece of disgusting bigotry, http://www.10ch.org?

    Hey, I have an idea. Maybe people with any health problems should be prevented from increasing children’s risk of disease and premature death. Sterilization clinics on every block! Of course, some illnesses don’t show up until people already have children, so maybe we should have genetic testing as a prereq to having children.

    Also, shamwowmytounguehurts is making ridiculous assumptions about how fat people live, as well as how far society can intrude into their lives. In short, shamwowmytounguehurts does not view fat people as fully human, and can therefore fuck his or her hat until Doomsday.

  273. #273 Lyr
    March 28, 2009

    < < Posted by: Marc Abian | March 28, 2009 6:07 PM

    Bah. This is nothing but dead white male bashing from a PC thug. It's women like her who keep the rest of us from landing a husband
    >>

    So Marc, you want a husband?

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

  274. #274 jrock
    March 28, 2009

    @shamwowmytonguehurts

    So I’m fat and that makes me immoral? Sure you’re not a jebus freak cause that sounds like the kind of rhetoric they would spout off. I tried to be civil to 10ch. org and it worked, he reconsidered his opinion and admitted he maybe got his information from unreliable sources. I applaud him for his open mind. You however seem to be taking a more fundamentalist stance.

    Just for your edification, there already is considerable public shaming of the overweight and laws regarding smoking. Spouting off because it’s “for the children, God won’t somebody please think of the children” is the same kind of crap anti-choicers use. “Doom on you!”

  275. #275 Kel
    March 28, 2009

    Given the number of discussions of misogyny and sexism that have occurred on this blog, and given your knowledge of and awareness of their history, I can only conclude that you’re being willfully ignorant.

    I’m well aware of the discussions on misogyny, and was even accused of being a misogynist for making a comment about sex. If it was simply on discussion on this blog, then it was OT. but to me it seemed the discussion became about wider social ramifications and that’s why I chimed in.

    And I am aware of “sexually empowered.” Just because I disagree with you, it doesn’t mean I’m ignorant on the matter.

  276. #276 D. C. Sessions
    March 28, 2009

    Shaming DOES alter behavoir.

    Yup. For instance, it can make an overweight person feel so shitty and rejected that the only comfort available is food.

  277. #277 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#273 Sniper
    “What do you call this piece of disgusting bigotry, http://www.10ch.org?
    I call it “Shamwowmytoungue is saying that ‘being obese sets a bad example to one’s children.'” I don’t see how you can jump from there to the suggestion that they should all be sterilized, or that obese people are not fully human.

  278. #278 Sniper
    March 28, 2009

    So I’m fat and that makes me immoral?

    Well, yeah, jrock. What could you possibly offer a child except kindness, understanding, education, a comfortable home, an example or tolerance, help with homework, and a shoulder to cry on?

    Oh, sure, maybe there are another 20 or 30 things I could add to the list, but none of them count because YOU’RE FAT!

  279. #279 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    Granted, I, of course, do not agree that obesity is like smoking, and so I do not agree with Shamwowmytoungue, but I still think that it is a gross exaggeration to suggest that he/she is saying that obese people are not human.

  280. #280 SC, OM
    March 28, 2009

    I think that you are exaggerating what shamwowmytounguehurts wrote. He/she wrote that having fat people around provides a bad example to people, and that fat people, although they ought to have the right to have and raise children, do not provide a good example to their children.

    Compliment officially retracted.

    Tiresome. And stupid. :(

  281. #281 shamwowmytonguehurts
    March 28, 2009

    #275, I am deeming it immoral using secular humanistic values as the standard, I am not a moral absolutist. I should not have criticized childless overweight people, but as much as you refuse to admit it, raising children while being overweight, eating unhealthily and not exercising does harm them. I consider that immoral because these are correctable behaviors.

  282. #282 Sniper
    March 28, 2009

    Okay, http://www.10ch.org, I’ll try one more time, and then I’ll stop dealing with your apparent concern that obvious bigots be treated fairly. Look at this:

    It is immoral to teach unhealthy behaviors by example to children thereby increasing their risk of disease and premature death, so it is immoral to remain overweight while raising children.

    Now try to think of what this means in practical terms. Think of fat people you actually know. Think about the kind of person who could write this shit. I don’t like to compare prejudices, but if you have to, put some other “lifestyle choice” in place of “overweight”.

    If you still think the writer isn’t an hateful asshole – good luck to you. I’m done.

  283. #283 jrock
    March 28, 2009

    @10ch.org

    I hesitate to speak for Sniper, but I will tell you why I agree with the posts calling out shamwowmytonguehurts. Calling someone immoral for how they look or anything else that has absolutely nothing to do with character is bigoted. Would you be alright if I rewrote her post inserting black/gay/woman/cross-dresser, etc. Probably not. I’ve admitted my obesity and she has the nerve to call me immoral without knowing me? Sorry, I call bullshit and rightly so. She has no idea what I teach my kids(by the way I hope fervently they grow up skinny just to avoid the crap I had to go through growing up.)

  284. #284 gypsytag
    March 28, 2009

    #269
    come on can’t take a joke.
    do you need to show how tight your sphincter is every time you post?
    my gods (BG reference) lighten up.

    i’ll say something though. Fathers/mothers do not raise their daughters properly in the sense that when they come across this type of prejudice, (comment regarding you should be married and have babies by now) typically they don’t know how to react. At 23 years old, I bet she just smiled and carried on. I would have done the same at that age. But i’m not 23 anymore and my reaction would be totally different now. I dare say that asshat captain would think twice about shooting his mouth off the next time. Its unfortunate that we don’t learn this until later in life.

  285. #285 SC, OM
    March 28, 2009

    I’m well aware of the discussions on misogyny, and was even accused of being a misogynist for making a comment about sex*…And I am aware of “sexually empowered.” Just because I disagree with you, it doesn’t mean I’m ignorant on the matter.

    Fuck, Kel – you’re just not getting it. You’re like the people a few months ago talking about how saying c*** was the same as saying fuck because they’re both swear words. This is not about fucking profanity. Will you at least try to address this (in your own mind – it’s been discussed far too extensively here)? I really do want to believe that you’re neither a sexist nor a misogynist, but you’re making it very difficult.

    * Really? When? By whom? Because I’ve talked about sex extensively here and so have many men and we’ve not had a problem.

  286. #286 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @#281 SC, OM
    “Tiresome. And stupid.”
    Tiresome and stupid is attacking others in an irrational and unreasonable way, including attempts to put words into other people’s mouths. Perhaps we all ought to calm down and not let our emotions get in our way.

    @#297 jrock
    Once again, another mis-characterization of shamwowmytounguehurts. He/she did not say that obesity solely determines a person’s character.

    @#277 D. C. Sessions
    “Yup. For instance, it can make an overweight person feel so shitty and rejected that the only comfort available is food.”
    In Japan, punishment is by de facto shaming. Much punishment is not in the court of law, but in the eyes of others. Suicide is frequent in Japan.

  287. #287 shamwowmytonguehurts
    March 28, 2009

    10ch, thank you for your reasoned defense in spite of not agreeing with me.

  288. #288 Sniper
    March 28, 2009

    Perhaps we all ought to calm down and not let our emotions get in our way.

    Perhaps you ought to stop playing Mary Poppins, give your head a shake, and recognize bigotry when it drops its pants and waggles its ass at you.

  289. #289 E.V.
    March 28, 2009

    Women are roughly half the population, and they merit their share of the media, and the expectations those media provide are generally superficial.

    Unfortunately the market dictates what is produced, even if it is idiotic, insipid sexist tripe.

    My dad was complaining about the music he heard on the radio, about how it didn’t reflect his taste. I asked him to guess how many seventy year olds downloaded music (“what?” he asked) and what percent of the market share they held.
    Yes, for every Mama Mia there’s seven Judd Apatow or Apatow clone male centered films movies. But really smart films account for a tiny share since people would rather see populist fantasies like Slumdog Millionaire over Gomorah; it doesn’t matter, people vote with ticket buying. Sex and the City and Mamma Mia were the chic flicks that brought in numbers that may change women’s clout, for what it’s worth, but many feminists hated those two films.
    I always cringe when it sounds like someone is suggesting affirmative action for women in media. I support talented and able people regardless of sex or gender, and hate traditional impulses to adhere to culturally designated roles. Let people be people. That said, I would feel great schadenfreude if a feminist would have punched Phyllis Schlafly in the face years ago.

  290. #290 gypsytag
    March 28, 2009

    and shamwow,

    you’re a douche. I consider that immoral because that is a correctable behavior.

    or maybe not….

  291. #291 Kel
    March 28, 2009

    Really? When? By whom? Because I’ve talked about sex extensively here and so have many men and we’ve not had a problem.

    I made a comment about Ann Coulter having sex with D’Souza. There was no sexism intended at all, it was nothing more than a stab at D’Souza – yet I was told what I really meant by other people who put connotations and inferences in which I did not make at all.

    Fuck, Kel – you’re just not getting it.

    What am I not getting? Tell me where what I’ve said has completely missed the mark. Please enlighten me as to the shortcomings in what I’m saying, don’t just throw the words “wilfully ignorant” around as if they explain something.

  292. #292 SC, OM
    March 28, 2009

    Tiresome and stupid is attacking others in an irrational and unreasonable way, including attempts to put words into other people’s mouths. Perhaps we all ought to calm down and not let our emotions get in our way.

    Fuck off. Either you understand what was wrong with your earlier comments or you don’t. At this point, I don’t care.

  293. #293 jrock
    March 28, 2009

    @10ch.org #287
    Exactly how did I mis-characterize her? She equated being overweight and having children as being immoral. She gave no other indicators of what might mitigate that immorality.
    She may not have said that, but she didn’t have to. It’s bigotry and the idea that my weight has anything to do with my morality is ignorant. How I act, what I do, who I am means nothing? Apparently not, I’m fat and I’m immoral.

    Never mind that I served my country(and yes I was in shape then), never mind that I had back surgery and was laid up for a long time and am still in constant pain, but still do what’s necessary to support my family. Never mind that I love my kids and my wife. I’m fat and I’m immoral. Nice to know.

  294. #294 BeccaStareyes
    March 28, 2009

    Kel @ 211

    There would be some aspects where that is true, but I would find it a bit incredulous to think that the women’s magazines that perpetuate these gender roles and push the barbie image of beauty are for the most part run by women. Cosmopolitan has a woman editor-in-chief for example.

    But they still are informed by a male view. There’s always some people willing to work with the system, even if the system isn’t fair towards them, because people who don’t play by the rules usually get picked on. I mean, look at people like Ann Coulter, who once said that she thought women’s right to vote should be taken away because they happen to vote more Democratic than men in general. You can always find people willing to not change the system, because rebellion against the system is HARD. Doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing, though.

    Some women do just give up and work the system. If you’re 20-something and conventionally attractive, and constantly dealing with bullshit about it, then there’s probably some temptation to give up and just go with it. Heck, if you’re anyone female, there’s temptation to buy into the bullshit. Fighting bullshit takes energy.

  295. #295 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    @Sniper 283
    “Now try to think of what this means in practical terms. Think of fat people you actually know. Think about the kind of person who could write this shit. I don’t like to compare prejudices, but if you have to, put some other ‘lifestyle choice’ in place of ‘overweight’.”
    Wait… I thought obesity was an ailment, not a lifestyle choice. You know, like high blood pressure. shamwowmytonguehurts may have put it in distasteful terms, suggesting that obese people are immoral, but really, I think that shamwowmytonguehurts meant to say that parents ought to try to lose weight while they are parents if they are obese. Is this… a bad thing?

    Yes, it is very rude to call anybody obese, and say that they are immoral thereby, but I do not think that shamwowmytounguehurts is saying that obese people are inherently inferior, just that they are in an unfortunate state, like having high blood pressure.

    @jrock #284
    “Would you be alright if I rewrote her post inserting black/gay/woman/cross-dresser, etc.”
    Not a proper analogy. I know what you are trying to get at, but this analogy is not proper. A more proper analogy is OCD, or autism, or high blood pressure.

  296. #296 tmaxPA
    March 28, 2009

    Wow, I haven’t read every comment yet but I can’t believe the threads gotten all the way down here and nobody’s mentioned this weeks 30 Rock, wherein the ultra-handsome Mr. Ham (sp?) finds out he’s been living in a bubble all his life, where everyone is nice to him and he thinks that’s normal. Obviously not relevant to the original controversy, but I figured after tTIMc all the way up at #19, I figured it would at least come up.

    My thoughts on the subject: a person, any person, who puts their photo up on the Internet and does not expect lots of boneheaded comments on their looks, frequent ad hominem references to their looks, or way-way over-the-top compliments on their looks is not thinking rationally themselves. Nevertheless, I understand Sheril’s position, and even more appreciated her comments addressing the ‘scandal’ that’s been ‘shaking’ the science blogosphere. I think the fact there’s so many people talking about it, and the 30 Rock episode, are both signs of society trying to come to grips with our specific mammalian nature.

    I was just thinking last night that I’ve always been a little incredulous about the things we’ve learned about chimps in the last fifty years. I mean, seriously: speciation over a river, with the chimps on one side violent and territorial, and the chimps on the other screwing their brains out? It just seems all too clever, all too pat. There’ve been times it almost seems like proof that God set up all of nature just to teach us who we are. But that’s just a narrative. Projection – the mirror of imitation.

  297. #297 Kate Crowe
    March 28, 2009

    Kel @146 and 200
    I find it funny that only 100 years ago, men would make women cover themselves because they found it indecent. Then the women’s rights movements happens and now women dress themselves, and suddenly we’re complaining how sexist we are that they wear such revealing clothing? It seems you can’t win on this issue.

    I know this is going down a losing path, so I just want to say that men find women attractive in certain ways, and vice versa. It’s a shame that so much focus is on looks, but that’s the society we’ve built. We’ve gone from a state where it was obscene for women to show anything to a state where sexuality is flaunted quite openly. Yet it seems that no matter where we are at in this, there’s always going to be the complaint about men oppressing women – that misogyny is rampant in our culture regardless of what we do.

    The state changes you mention both place the emphasis on how WOMEN must be responsible for the behavior of men. You seem to be saying that if women flaunt their sexuality, they deserve to get harassed. But women in burkas also get harassed. This is victim blaming, and really not far off from saying that some women deserve to be raped.

    It is not ‘regardless of what you do’ but very much because of what you do, though you seem to be trying to understand.

    . . .Why is it okay for me to be shallow when it comes to intelligence / personality and someone else not to be shallow when it comes to looks?

    Because that type of preference, inner beauty versus outer beauty, is by definition NOT shallow.

    Kel@211
    There would be some aspects where that is true, but I would find it a bit incredulous to think that the women’s magazines that perpetuate these gender roles and push the barbie image of beauty are for the most part run by women. Cosmopolitan has a woman editor-in-chief for example.

    Women can also be misogynist. Look at the recent comments from teen girls about how if Chris Brown did hit Rihanna that she ‘deserved it’ or ‘provoked him.’

    Kel@244
    I’m a firm believer in equal rights for women and I abhor sexist remarks and behaviour. Yet it feels like I’m digging my own grave on this because I believe that people resonate towards what they perceive is attractive.

    I submit that your experience as a male has insulated you from the reality of the kind of harassment that women face every single day of their lives, regardless of how they dress.

    Kel @261
    Yeah, there is some pretty messed up shit going on. I’m just not convinced that it’s purely memetic, that there are underlying processes by which our brain works on which the memes build on. That if there weren’t an underlying process for which to act on, then the memes would easily fade away.

    Maybe, except that our society and our gender constructs positively reinforce misogynistic behavior, though not everywhere. Kel, I do think that you might be close to getting it, and I could point you to some places that explain it better than I can, if you’re interested.

  298. #298 Sniper
    March 28, 2009

    Wait… I thought obesity was an ailment, not a lifestyle choice. You know, like high blood pressure

    Did you not notice my quotation marks? Look, if you really want to explore this further, google fat acceptance and knock yourself out. And if, in the future, you get the urge to defend some asshole who’s bashing a group of people (disabled, trans, albino, poly whatthefuckever) do a bit of reading before leaping in. That’s my advice, take it or leave it. You’ve trampled on my last nerve.

    Never mind that I love my kids and my wife. I’m fat and I’m immoral. Nice to know.

    jrock, I don’t know if you caught my earlier post in support of you, but thanks for loving and raising your kids. In my profession I meet way too many kids who don’t have that advantage.

  299. #299 www.10ch.org
    March 28, 2009

    “Either you understand what was wrong with your earlier comments or you don’t.”
    My earlier comments are not relevant.

    “recognize bigotry when it drops its pants and waggles its ass at you”
    I do apologize for this, then, because I do admit, I do not see how it is bigotry. Could you please define the word “bigotry” and then show me how shamwowmytounguehurts fits it?

    @jrock
    “It’s bigotry and the idea that my weight has anything to do with my morality is ignorant.”
    shamwowmytounguehurts was saying that it was immoral to cause others to be obese. I severely doubt that being obese causes those around one’s own self to be obese, and it may be ignorant, but how could this be bigotry?

  300. #300 jrock
    March 28, 2009

    @10ch.org #296
    Thank you for your example. I guess the analogy would all depend on if you view it as a disease or an inherited genetic trait. For some food is an addiction and they have a love/hate relationship with it. This applies to any eating disorder. For others they are genetically predisposed toward it and must struggle with it for a lifetime. Either analogy stands as far as I’m concerned. The point is judging someone as immoral just by looks is wrong.

  301. #301 Breakfast
    March 29, 2009

    I wonder if we mightn’t have reason to object to characterizations like this in something like the same way we object to the dumb sexist comments:

    “Sheril is one of a group of badass female science chicks that I absolutely adore.”

    I recognize that this stereotype, and the elevation of the ‘badass scientist/skater/gamer/etc. chick’, is in some ways a sort of defense mechanism against the field’s inherent prejudices…and yet it seems like a different flavour of the same thing: making a noteworthy exception out of the person, treating her in terms of her possession of a sort of sexual capital, but in a deliberately affirming mode rather than a sleazy/creepy one. The stereotype of the ‘super kickass and sassy girl’ who not only has the looks but also the skills is absolutely everywhere, and I don’t like that she wouldn’t be as much of a ‘badass female science chick’ if she weren’t an attractive woman. It still smacks of objectification to me, even if it’s sort of well-intentioned.

  302. #302 Kel
    March 29, 2009

    I submit that your experience as a male has insulated you from the reality of the kind of harassment that women face every single day of their lives, regardless of how they dress.

    Quite possibly, but I know what it’s like to be constantly harassed every fucking day of my life for years on end. And while one experience cannot transform to another, I can appreciate that women have a hard time of it in society. I agree that it’s a problem, I cannot truly empathise with that. The best I can do is empathise with those who have felt rejected, those who have been judged on their looks and behaviour – but no I do not know what it’s like to be a woman.

    Maybe, except that our society and our gender constructs positively reinforce misogynistic behavior, though not everywhere. Kel, I do think that you might be close to getting it, and I could point you to some places that explain it better than I can, if you’re interested.

    If you have anything, swing it my way. I’d be interested in reading it.

  303. #303 SC, OM
    March 29, 2009

    I made a comment about Ann Coulter having sex with D’Souza. There was no sexism intended at all, it was nothing more than a stab at D’Souza – yet I was told what I really meant by other people who put connotations and inferences in which I did not make at all.

    I don’t know anything about this particular situation. Were you told about what you “really meant,” or about the connotations of what you were saying? And again, by whom? With what responses? What was the context, and can you provide a link?

    I was just saying to Emmet last night that I’ve never met an Australian whom I didn’t like, but this alleged post-sexist/if you’re-really-a-feminist-you’d-be-cool-with-it shtick is grating. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen you, personally, question your own remarks in any way.

    What am I not getting? Tell me where what I’ve said has completely missed the mark. Please enlighten me as to the shortcomings in what I’m saying, don’t just throw the words “wilfully ignorant” around as if they explain something.

    It appears you’re not understanding the difference between profanity and derogatory insults, for one thing, or appreciating or elaborating upon the limits of your idea of “context.”

  304. #304 Breakfast
    March 29, 2009

    Oh yeah – That line was from one of the bloggers she links to: http://scienceblogs.com/isisthescientist/2009/03/talk_science_to_me_baby.php

    I’m not even super-convinced it’s a bad thing, on balance, but we should at least fret a little about reproducing that trend, I think.

  305. #305 www.10ch.org
    March 29, 2009

    @#299 Sniper
    “You’ve trampled on my last nerve.”
    You know, I never intended any offense to you, and although I may have been ignorant, the fact is that – I never intended any offense. And if you’re just going to be that way, I guess that’s fine with me.

  306. #306 jrock
    March 29, 2009

    @10ch.org
    The definition of prejudice from an online dictionary(which includes the definition of bigotry in it.)
    An adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts.
    A preconceived preference or idea.
    The act or state of holding unreasonable preconceived judgments or convictions. See synonyms at predilection.
    Irrational suspicion or hatred of a particular group, race, or religion.
    Detriment or injury caused to a person by the preconceived, unfavorable conviction of another or others.

    If you look at her posts you can see shamwow fits within the definition of prejudiced(bigoted).

    Sniper, I did see your previous posts and thank you very much. I really appreciate your comments both to me and directed at Shamwow.

  307. #307 Kel
    March 29, 2009

    Were you told about what you “really meant,” or about the connotations of what you were saying?

    I was told that because I said it, it must mean that underneath I have a deep hatred for women. I have no idea what thread it was on, it was several months ago.

    I don’t know that I’ve ever seen you, personally, question your own remarks in any way.

    Quite possibly, but maybe that’s because you’ve only seen me post here. On an Australian music forum I’m on, I talk very differently on there. This is a different place and I have a different standard of how to talk. I do check my speech on here because I’ve found that some of the things I say are not socially acceptable on here. Thanks to those misogynist labels, I’m moving towards more gender-neutral insults. What would you like to see from me?

    It appears you’re not understanding the difference between profanity and derogatory insults, for one thing, or appreciating or elaborating upon the limits of your idea of “context.”

    I poorly conveyed what I was trying to say in that other thread, and as such I’ve learned from it.

  308. #308 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    Well reading up from the last posts, I’m going to jump in and point out to BeccaStareyes that it is the competition between women for men that drives them to want to dress sexy. Your reference to ‘giving in’ because ‘fighting bullshit’ takes energy makes me think you are blaming the men who are attracted, rather than the women who do the attracting. It seems to me it’s wearing makeup and heels that takes energy.

    Is it the male view that controls Vogue? I don’t think so. It is the women’s desire to cater to the male view that controls Vogue.

  309. #309 Mobius
    March 29, 2009

    @ http://www.10ch.org

    I didn’t say we couldn’t (nor shouldn’t) override the instinct. But the instinct is there. There is going to be a moment of “Hello Nurse!”, then rationality can take over again.

    Where we end up having a problem is when guys can’t or won’t curb their instincts.

  310. #310 www.10ch.org
    March 29, 2009

    #307 jrock
    Beholding this definition critically gives me a pause, and causes me to suspend my judgment. I do not want to prejudicially jump label someone with as grave a label as “bigot” without first “knowledge or examination of the facts.” I am not sure whether shamwowmytounguehurts is a bigot or not, but I do not want to jump to the conclusion that shamwowmytounguehurts is a bigot without proper examination of the facts – otherwise, it would be prejudice.

  311. #311 bastion of sass
    March 29, 2009

    At #196, Wowbagger, OM wrote:

    This is why I’ve developed a preference for communicating with people over the internet; no-one gives a crap what anyone else looks like.

    I’m not sure that I prefer communicating with people over the internet over face-to-face conversation, but I’ve developed some huge intellectual crushes on some of the posters here. It’s the attractiveness of their ideas and reasoning ability that makes me swoon.

  312. #312 SC, OM
    March 29, 2009

    “Either you understand what was wrong with your earlier comments or you don’t.”
    My earlier comments are not relevant.

    Incoherent. I appreciated that you had enough intellectual humility to admit that you had been wrong, and I believed that your response further acknowledged that, but then you went back on it. If you were admitting that you were wrong, OK. If not, retracted.

    I agree that it’s a problem, I cannot truly empathise with that.

    You can fucking try. More than on a personal level – you can get involved with organizations that might broaden your horizons.

    The best I can do is empathise with those who…have been judged on their looks and behaviour [?] – but no I do not know what it’s like to be a woman.

    No – that’s not the best you can do, but you can start with that.

  313. #313 www.10ch.org
    March 29, 2009

    @#309 tmaxPA
    “Is it the male view that controls Vogue? I don’t think so. It is the women’s desire to cater to the male view that controls Vogue.”
    Of course it is the male view that controls Vogue. Women’s desire to cater to the male view is controlled by Vogue. Men, after all, are the ones doing the selection.

  314. #314 shamwowmytonguehurts
    March 29, 2009

    @jrock, I do not consider being obese a moral failing, I consider exposing impressionable children to correctable behaviors that cause harm in the form of increased risk of disability and premature death to be immoral. Obviously, the less control over one’s weight, the less moral culpability. I truly feel sorry for your chronic pain, and I understand that you have less control over your condition because one of the two main strategies for weight control, physical activity, is outside your capabilities.

  315. #315 www.10ch.org
    March 29, 2009

    @#313 SC, OM
    “then you went back on it”
    Then you are wrong. I did not go back on it. Who, now, is the bigot making prejudicial judgements?

  316. #316 John Morales
    March 29, 2009

    Kel,

    Thanks to those misogynist labels, I’m moving towards more gender-neutral insults.

    I remember at one point when I became aware I’d changed my opinion on the merits of political correctness, particularly in regards to language. For that, I needed the realisation that sexism is embedded in our very language, not just society, and that it is insidious.

    Regarding insults, I like a little artistry. Better to insult someone on what you say or how you say it, rather than in the specific terminology.

  317. #317 www.10ch.org
    March 29, 2009

    @#310 Mobius
    “Where we end up having a problem is when guys can’t or won’t curb their instincts.”
    That, of course, is a societal problem, like all kinds of irrationality.

  318. #318 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    Kate@298:

    You seem to be saying that if women flaunt their sexuality, they deserve to get harassed. But women in burkas also get harassed. This is victim blaming, and really not far off from saying that some women deserve to be raped.

    See the problem is you’re going a couple degrees past rational here. The dispute isn’t whether ‘they deserve to get harassed’, but rather what constitutes harassment. If you’re saying a woman can flaunt her sexuality and demand that nobody react or respond to it in any way because even a compliment can be “harassment”, well, that’s just a little head trip. That’s one degree. Nobody is saying any women ever deserves to be raped . That’s two degrees.

    I think you should back off of that kind of rhetoric, or else you’ll end up sounding like someone who is just really really angry that human beings are mammals.

  319. #319 jrock
    March 29, 2009

    @10ch.org #311

    Point taken. However, by making a blanket statement about a whole group of people without taking into consideration individual circumstances found within that group she fits the definition. I had no preconceived notion of her, indeed I have nothing to go on except her posts. So all I can base my judgment on is what was said. To be prejudiced I would have to make a blanket statement based on no information. I have information she provided. If someone calls anyone immoral based solely on looks is prejudiced. We wouldn’t tolerate it if she directed that at any other group, so why are the overweight exempt from common decency?

  320. #320 Sniper
    March 29, 2009

    http://www.10ch.org, shamwow, I wish you joy of each other and think you will be very happy together in Douchelvania.

  321. #321 DLC
    March 29, 2009

    what a complete waste of time

  322. #322 John Morales
    March 29, 2009

    DLC @322, thanks for sharing. My irony meter needed calibrating.

  323. #323 SC, OM
    March 29, 2009

    I was told that because I said it, it must mean that underneath I have a deep hatred for women. I have no idea what thread it was on, it was several months ago.

    And what is anyone to do with this? If some random person allegedly overreacts to one of your comments, I have to defend this in the abstract?

    Quite possibly, but maybe that’s because you’ve only seen me post here.

    Well, yes. I only know what I know. I doubt it represents you as a person, but I have nothing else to go on…

    On an Australian music forum I’m on, I talk very differently on there. This is a different place and I have a different standard of how to talk. I do check my speech on here because I’ve found that some of the things I say are not socially acceptable on here. Thanks to those misogynist labels, I’m moving towards more gender-neutral insults. What would you like to see from me?

    That, quite frankly. And from that, more introspection.

  324. #324 www.10ch.org
    March 29, 2009

    @#321 Sniper
    “I wish you joy of each other and think you will be very happy together in Douchelvania.”
    And now you are on the level of petty insults. Please, you do not want to be there.

    @#319 tmaxPA
    “If you’re saying a woman can flaunt her sexuality”
    I agree that for deliberately flaunting sexuality, it is ridiculous not to expect a response, but when it is not deliberate, then it is all very different. Wearing a mini-skirt, moreover, is not necessarily flaunting sexuality.

    @#320 jrock
    Remember, though, that the definition you provided for bigotry were multitudinous. Okay, you were not a bigot, but shamwow was not saying that being obese was immoral, but leading others to be obese was immoral. Once again, I do not believe that being obese leads others to be obese, but still, these are two different things.

  325. #325 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    314: I’m going to have to ask up front whether I’m supposed to read that as sarcasm. Thx.

  326. #326 Akiko
    March 29, 2009

    I was hired three times by companies because I was a woman. Once because I was the one with the bigger boobs. The other two times because the company looked bad because they had no female scientists or engineers at all. All three times although I was senior management and I was forced to share an office with either the guy who speaks little english, the marketing gal or the new guy that wont last long. Everyone else, including most of the people I supervised, had their own office. The boob hiring position I found out about a few months after being hired. They wanted an attractive female to help the company image with clients (men). Luckily my looks were overshadowed by my caustic personality and it did not interfere with my job all the way to the day I erased all of the files on my hard drive and quit without notice. In every single job, graduate research position and internship I was approached by men, had comments made about my body or was talked down to by subordinates (“Honey I been driving this rig longer than you been alive!”). Like many women in science and engineering I finally got sick of the battle and left the workplace. The last straw was during my last job I was heavily pregnant with my first child and over heard co-workers and bosses discussing what the females at our office might look like naked, including me! I knew then I would never really have the respect in my field I had worked so hard to earn. No matter what I did I would always be female. My apologies to my mom and all the women from her generation that worked so hard to get me into the workplace. I will not urge my daughters to go into the sciences or engineering. The Pornography Culture pushed by marketers and big business in the last 20 years has set women back 100 years.

  327. #327 Kerlyssa
    March 29, 2009

    315: Yet you’d shame them to get them out of the public view because fat=bad, Shamwow.

    You have no idea why any person you see on the street is fat. Defending your default behavior to all fat people just isn’t going to fly. It’s prejudice. You’re engaging in behavior you KNOW is harmful in order to make some sort of nebulously linked gains in general health. Where’s the link between fat shaming and a healthier populace?

  328. #328 www.10ch.org
    March 29, 2009

    @#326 tmaxPA
    “I’m going to have to ask up front whether I’m supposed to read that as sarcasm. Thx.”
    What, you don’t believe that males are the ones doing the selecting for female Vogue, and that somehow, females are able to control what males are attracted to?

  329. #329 SC, OM
    March 29, 2009

    @#223 SC, OM, #224 John Morales
    I guess so.

    Please be more specific.

    It is for most people, it is their pride at stake. People do not want to change their mind, lest they be seen as “weak.” They do not want to bend, for their pride, but what people often forget is that in a flood, the trees that can be more easily are the ones that can more easily survive.

    Please explain. I assumed you were referring to yourself. I may have been wrong.

  330. #330 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    Wearing a miniskirt is not necessarily ‘flaunting sexuality’. But I’m hard-pressed to think of a context where it isn’t.

  331. #331 Sniper
    March 29, 2009

    Where’s the link between fat shaming and a healthier populace?

    There isn’t one, except in the minds of people who either don’t or can’t read.

    But why should should we care why someone is fat? I know plenty of people who eat crap all day and could live on doughnut-and-bacon sandwiches all day and stay thin, but nobody gives a shit about their “lifestyles” (such a stupid, overused word). If somebody “overeats” it’s their damned business, not mine. If somebody has an metabolic disorder, or is on antidepressants, or comes from a fat family, or is fat for any damned reason at all, it’s none of my business.

    Seriously, when was the last time you heard that people who engage in extreme sports shouldn’t reproduce? Has anyone here recently suggested that it is somehow to immoral to have children if you use porn, or watch crap TV, or smoke pot?

    Here’s a suggestion: don’t like looking at fat people? You’re free to turn your fucking head. In fact, anyone who finds him or herself offended by the sight of fellow humans going about their business without harming others is completely and utterly free to turn their heads and look somewhere else.

    Oh, and the first idiot who mentions “overconsumption” gets to turn all their electronic gadgets over to the deserving poor.

  332. #332 www.10ch.org
    March 29, 2009

    @#330 SC, OM
    “Please be more specific.”
    Please explain.

    “I assumed you were referring to yourself. I may have been wrong.”
    An example is a character from Antigone: Creon. Are people stubborn because of pride? I do not know modern psychology, so I cannot be sure, but at least this is what I guess for now.

  333. #333 jrock
    March 29, 2009

    @shamwow #315

    Thank you for the clarification. I still don’t buy your argument. Yes, there are those that engage in self-destructive behaviors, but that isn’t limited to the obese. Making blanket statements about any group is wrong. Sophistic hair-splitting, saying obesity isn’t a moral failing unless you have kids, does nothing to ameliorate that fact. Obese are just like other parents, some are good, some are bad,(and for the most part we’re larger, ha).
    While I agree that parents behavior can influence kids, well, show me someone who doesn’t have a fault or flaw that might possibly be passed on. And as I mentioned before, there is a lot more information on health and healthy lifestyles out in in the public domain than there used to be. Parents are not the only source of information or emulation for children. Schools, media, friends, all influence a child’s development. As for health problems and dying prematurely, well diseases are notorious for being completely oblivious to a persons body type. High blood pressure, which I do not have, is a better indicator of health problems. High blood pressure is not limited to the obese. My father, who happens to weigh about 150, has had multiple heart problems and high blood pressure. My mother is overweight, yet does not have these problems.
    I probably won’t change your mind,but calling good parents that happen to be overweight immoral is wrong to me.

  334. #334 www.10ch.org
    March 29, 2009

    @#331 tmaxPA
    “Wearing a miniskirt is not necessarily ‘flaunting sexuality’. But I’m hard-pressed to think of a context where it isn’t.”
    One context, is, you know, wearing it. Miniskirts are clothes, and wearing them on every-day occasions, as… clothes (in the summer), is one such occasion.

  335. #335 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    10ch: laying on yet another layer of sarcasm doesn’t make your comment any more comprehensible or any more interesting. You need to learn the difference between engaging in conversation and just baiting people.

    Feel free to restate your position if you’d like to discuss it.

  336. #336 SC, OM
    March 29, 2009

    If you’re saying a woman can flaunt her sexuality…

    Please define. Please explain the relevance to the original discussion. Please also list the acceptable responses to said “flaunting.” (If you think context is necessary…well, that’s part of my point.)

  337. #337 John Morales
    March 29, 2009

    10ch @333: “Please be more specific.”

    It means what it says.

    To rephrase: To what do you agree, and why?

  338. #338 Sniper
    March 29, 2009

    Wearing a mini-skirt is flaunting sexuality? Wow, no wonder women are so scared to play tennis or wear a skirted swimsuit.

    You do realize that you’re debating exactly how much freedom women should be allowed, right? The assumption that women are public goods is right there.

  339. #339 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    I’ve never worn a miniskirt. So, no, it’s not just ‘clothes’. Pants are just clothes. A miniskirt is a particularly revealing item of clothing. We’re mammals, our attention is drawn to the sight of uncovered skin of potential mates. It is a display of sexuality. What you would call “flaunting”. A form of flaunting particularly enjoyed, apparently, by pubescent girls in small groups. Their parents don’t make them wear them, I’m pretty sure.

    But of course sometimes they do. We are all aware of the “Catholic Schoolgirl Look”. When worn by an actual schoolgirl, it is not usually (I say not USUALLY) flaunting. Any other time? Of course it is.

  340. #340 www.10ch.org
    March 29, 2009

    @338 John Morales
    “To what do you agree, and why?”
    I think that I have made it clear, but, for all of this inquiring, if it is unclear, then I shall decline to answer this question. I do not feel any obligation to anybody here to make my position clear. Nor do I feel that anybody should care, but if anybody does care, then I say: it is your problem, because I do not care.

  341. #341 SC, OM
    March 29, 2009

    An example is a character from Antigone: Creon. Are people stubborn because of pride? I do not know modern psychology, so I cannot be sure, but at least this is what I guess for now.

    Congratulations on the abstract-comment/classics award. I did Antigone in acting class many, many years ago. What is your point, and how does it refer to your comments on this thread, if at all??

  342. #342 jrock
    March 29, 2009

    @10ch.org #325

    You’re engaging in the same sophistic hair-splitting she is. She directly linked obesity with leading people(specifically their children) to obesity. Sorry, exposing impressionable children to “harmful correctable behaviors” that lead to an increased chance of disability or premature death. As I read it(and I’ll fully admit my bias)-If you are fat and have children then you are immoral.
    Now I can also see that statement as including drug users, extreme sports(to use an example from above), drinkers, smokers, coal-mine workers, soldiers(who fit that increased disability and premature death criteria pretty well), etc. Are all of these people immoral as well? Each engages in harmful correctable behavior that leads to an increased chance of disability or premature death. If they are not, then why?

  343. #343 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    SC@337:
    “If you think context is necessary…well, that’s part of my point.”

    That’s all of my point. It isn’t just what ‘flaunting’ is that is context sensitive. What “harassing” is depends on context, too. And of course the two contexts are related. I was addressing someone else’s comments, not yours, though.

  344. #344 shamwowmytonguehurts
    March 29, 2009

    @332, Sniper, the vast majority of overweight people do not have a metabolic disorder. But millions have, as a result of their obesity, metabolic syndrome, a precursor to type II diabetes and a large risk factor for heart disease. The vast majority of overweight people are that way because they overeat and remain sedentary. Given an environment, 80% of the difference in weight is genetic, but that does not excuse personal responsibility because overeating and remaining sedentary are correctable, i.e., we have control over our environment.

    I never said obese people shouldn’t reproduce. I already explained my position and I’m not explaining it again, so your insanity will just fester unchallenged.

    If you can find me data showing that smoking pot and watching porn in private, or allowing children to watch ‘crap’ tv causes harm to the body or psyche, then I’ll consider those behaviors immoral too. (You won’t find any data)

  345. #345 Kel
    March 29, 2009

    And what is anyone to do with this? If some random person allegedly overreacts to one of your comments, I have to defend this in the abstract?

    You don’t have to do anything. I’m just saying that the word is overused here to a point that really shocks me.

    Well, yes. I only know what I know. I doubt it represents you as a person, but I have nothing else to go on…

    Of course, I cannot expect you to know anything else about me.

    That, quite frankly. And from that, more introspection.

    Is this the place really for more introspection? I can appreciate that it’s needed, but really it doesn’t seem like much opportunity comes up – at least I don’t see an opportunity. I seldom argue from personal experience, because, well, it gets personal. So when I argue I’m trying to do it as if what I personally think doesn’t matter. And I find this a little bullshit, I thought I asked a legitimate question at #200 and #205 about judging people on their intelligence and how it’s different from judging someone on their looks. That was ignored yet people found time to attack me personally. Why?

  346. #346 www.10ch.org
    March 29, 2009

    @#340
    “A miniskirt is a particularly revealing item of clothing. We’re mammals, our attention is drawn to the sight of uncovered skin of potential mates. It is a display of sexuality.”
    So revealing any skin is “flaunting”? How ridiculous. So you are suggesting that anybody who shows her skin is automatically “inviting” others to judge her only by her looks. Ridiculous. By the way, you are implying that mammalian instincts should be the norm, and that we are all about finding potential mates. You know, we are not just any mammal, we are humans. We are sapient. We are not just about finding mates.

    “Any other time? Of course it is.”
    No, it is not. Exposure of the skin is not just for others to look at.

  347. #347 SC, OM
    March 29, 2009

    “To what do you agree, and why?”
    I think that I have made it clear, but, for all of this inquiring, if it is unclear, then I shall decline to answer this question. I do not feel any obligation to anybody here to make my position clear. Nor do I feel that anybody should care, but if anybody does care, then I say: it is your problem, because I do not care.

    ‘Kaaaay.

  348. #348 Sniper
    March 29, 2009

    I won’t address shamwow directly, because hey, bigot, but in case anyone thinks for a second that the statements made in that last post were factual, they weren’t. It’s an asspull. Read the real science and consider what this:

    “Given an environment, 80% of the difference in weight is genetic”

    has to to with shamwow’s assertion that parenting while fat is immoral.

  349. #349 www.10ch.org
    March 29, 2009

    @#342
    “What is your point, and how does it refer to your comments on this thread, if at all??”
    Why do you care?

    @#345 jrock
    The you and I read it differently.

    @#344 tmaxPA
    I understand your point that if someone wanted to wear a miniskirt to expose skin for the sexual appeal, then it is reasonable to expect a response. However, it may just be the case that some people wear a miniskirt for other things, like, for example, just simple exposure to the air on a hot day. And IF people do wear a miniskirt for something else, and do not intend for it to have a sexual appeal, then it is not “flaunting sexuality.”

  350. #350 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    Sniper@359:

    Wearing a mini-skirt is flaunting sexuality? Wow, no wonder women are so scared to play tennis or wear a skirted swimsuit.

    We live in a very civilized society. Because most women are not scared to flaunt their sexuality, you think that means it isn’t happening?

    You do realize that you’re debating exactly how much freedom women should be allowed, right? The assumption that women are public goods is right there.

    The assumption is only that when women are in public they are in public. I’ve never forced any woman to wear high heels. Are they voluntarily declaring themselves to be “public goods” when they do? I think not.

  351. #351 jrock
    March 29, 2009

    @Kel #346

    I’ll give you my point of view on the questions you asked earlier. Judging someone by intelligence means that you’re looking beyond the superficial and should be commended for it. It means you have to do a little bit more than just look and say “Wow”. To get an idea of someone’s intelligence you have to be exposed to their thought processes in some manner, be it conversation, reading something they’ve written,or listening to them in some other context. Effort counts.

  352. #352 Sniper
    March 29, 2009

    The assumption is only that when women are in public they are in public.

    I very much look forward to reading a similarly nitpicky debate about exactly what men should wear in public, what messages they’re sending, and what negative reactions they should expect. Hey, nobody’s forcing to them to wear shorts in 90 degree weather.

  353. #353 SC, OM
    March 29, 2009

    SC@337:
    “If you think context is necessary…well, that’s part of my point.”

    That’s all of my point. It isn’t just what ‘flaunting’ is that is context sensitive. What “harassing” is depends on context, too. And of course the two contexts are related. I was addressing someone else’s comments, not yours, though.

    OK – some relevant context-specific examples, please.

    You don’t have to do anything. I’m just saying that the word is overused here to a point that really shocks me.

    And you’ve defended this assertion not at all. I’m shocked. Shocked, I tell you.

    Is this the place really for more introspection?

    The question makes no sense.

    I can appreciate that it’s needed,

    Then do it.

    but really it doesn’t seem like much opportunity comes up – at least I don’t see an opportunity. I seldom argue from personal experience, because, well, it gets personal.

    No one has to make that opportunity for you. Stop being defensive. Examine your comments.

  354. #354 www.10ch.org
    March 29, 2009

    @#351 tmaxPA
    “Because most women are not scared to flaunt their sexuality, you think that means it isn’t happening?”
    I admit, this is a very complex issue, one about which I am uncertain, but flaunting or not, it is still inappropriate to judge someone solely on their looks, and “looks” are not always directly for the intention of sexual appeal.

  355. #355 Brian X
    March 29, 2009

    My only thought is this: it is a subject that should be off-limits unless the blogger herself explicitly asks for comments.

  356. #356 Wikipedia Protester
    March 29, 2009

    Dare I say it, but it seems the women’s studies majors are running wild.
    I’d complain about their original boilerplate rhetoric their and lack of useful research. I might bemoan the fact that good departments are suffering hiring freezes and staff cutbacks while they are allowed to exist, but I am not in the mood to deal with rank idiots shitting the contents of their minds into my email.

  357. #357 John Morales
    March 29, 2009

    10ch:

    I do not feel any obligation to anybody here to make my position clear.

    Clear.

  358. #358 SC, OM
    March 29, 2009

    “What is your point, and how does it refer to your comments on this thread, if at all??”
    Why do you care?

    At the moment, I truly don’t.

    Good night, all! Sweet dreams!

  359. #359 Nathan
    March 29, 2009

    It’s interesting. More and more in this generation (I’m 22) I find that guys are caring less and less about appearance. Personally, I’ll only date girls who DON’T wear make-up and try and be pretty. It makes them seem as if they aren’t human, but instead some separate species.

    On a side-note, I’m single and am looking for any nerdy tomboys who are interested in a Physics Major student. Anyone interested? =P

  360. #360 Tassie Devil
    March 29, 2009

    Hurrah for Libbie at #85!

    It’s easy for you to say I’m oversimplifying the situation when you haven’t had men–total strangers–walk up to you in public places and say, “Hey, do you know you’re really ugly?” It’s easy for you to say I’m oversimplifying the case when you’re not a 29-year-old woman who has had to do all the asking for dates because no man even SEES her, let alone asks her.

    This has happened to me, too, on a number of occasions. Complete strangers (all male) have walked up to me while I’m out shopping, on my way to an evening out, on my way to work – to tell me that I’m ‘ugly as fuck’ ‘should keep that face under a box’ ‘fucking arse faced’ etc. Politer men don’t say such things, instead pretending that I’m invisible.

    Men, and the majority of women, have no idea what it is like to be ugly and female.

    I was amused by Libbie’s long whine about being ugly. She expects men to approach women but then complains that they prefer to approach good-looking ones. Talk about self-defeating irony!

    Oh no! Inadvertent double-jeopardy irony…

    *dives under desk*

    Damn. On the recommendation of someone on this blog, I bought an irony meter (ACME 1000). Now I know why they don’t come with even a 30-day guarantee.

  361. #361 Nathan
    March 29, 2009

    #361:
    I’m sure there is massive peer pressure to look pretty for women. Usually induced by the public who feels that that should be the case. However, most of my peers, are looking for women who aren’t interested in that sort of thing.

    I’m actually having difficulty finding somebody right now, because all of the women who don’t care about being pretty (that I meet) have boyfriends.

  362. #362 SC, OM
    March 29, 2009

    Libbie and Tassie Devil,

    Before I go to sleep, I wanted to thank you for sharing your stories. I’m so sorry that you’ve had to go through that, and I hope you’ve found or will find happiness. All the best to you both.

  363. #363 shamwowmytonguehurts
    March 29, 2009

    I just now caught the tail end of Kel’s discussion and don’t feel like following it from the beginning right now, so I apologize if I’m repeating anybody.

    I agree that it is arbitrary to judge placing primary importance on appearance in potential partners as shallow while judging placing primary importance on intelligence to be less selfish and non-superficial. Both appearance and intelligence are wholly biological properties, both influenced by genes and environment. Both properties are desired because of the interest they arouse in the observer’s mind. But low intelligence is largely unchangeable throughout life whereas flawed appearance is amenable to intervention. Yet it’s somehow LESS unkind to reject a person based on a biological trait over which they have no control than over one which they do?

  364. #364 Michael Hawkins
    March 29, 2009
  365. #365 Nathan
    March 29, 2009

    jrock #352
    That is exactly why 83% of Chemistry and Math majors are virgins >.<

    (agreement mode)
    Finding someone who is intelligent requires more than a quick glance to see if you’re attracted to them. Sure, there’s superficial signs (like wearing glasses) that make you think they’re more intelligent, or maybe basing your judgment on how they dress, but ultimately it requires research and conversation. More than just seeing an attractive girl at the bar.

  366. #366 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    So revealing any skin is “flaunting”? How ridiculous.

    Yes, it is ridiculous that you would take my specific example and claim it covers any possible example. That’s one degree.

    So you are suggesting that anybody who shows her skin is automatically “inviting” others to judge her only by her looks.

    I’m suggesting nothing of the sort. That’s two degrees. I’m saying quite clearly that anybody who displays her looks is inviting others to judge her looks. Or, rather, is putting herself in a situation in which it is inevitable that her looks will be judged. Since people can, you know, see her.

    By the way, you are implying that mammalian instincts should be the norm, and that we are all about finding potential mates. You know, we are not just any mammal, we are humans. We are sapient. We are not just about finding mates.

    Nobody ever said anything about “just”. You have a nasty habit of doing that. I am not implying that mammalian instincts should be the norm. I am pointing out that they are the reality. We are mammals. We don’t stop being mammals because we can conceptualize and use language. WE ARE JUST ABOUT SELFISH REPLICATORS, buddy. Wake up and smell the caffeine beverage. Normative is what we make it, but that doesn’t change our instincts.

    “Any other time? Of course it is.”
    No, it is not. Exposure of the skin is not just for others to look at.

    And wearing a miniskirt is not “just” exposure of “the” skin.

    You do understand that men don’t consciously decide when to be sexually attracted, right? We’re talking about what they do about it. If any mention or comment on the occurrence is considered harassment regardless of context, then you’re the one trying to make human nature transcendent over reality, not me.

    If your excuse is comfort or any other thing, there’s no point to the miniskirt. The skirt is there as a display.

    I think the trend I see in our conversation is that you see me as a brutish oaf (my bad) and I see you as desperately wishing that we weren’t mammals, and that women will not always be women, meaning the ones with the womb, and all that that evolutionarily entails. OF COURSE in any social context, we should all turn that off and ignore our instincts, and I say that with no sarcasm intended. But it is worth noting women have as hard a time turning it off as men do, this isn’t a matter of ‘instinctive sexism’. It is, rather, the simple fact that there are two genders. And in humans, they are not identical. In some mammals they are, so perhaps I gave you the wrong idea when I spoke of ‘mammalian instincts’. It appears to me as if women, of their own volition, have as much difficulty making gender-blindness normative as men do.

    That said, there are still the remnants of a patriarchal society to deal with, and there does seem to be a noticeably strong strain of it in the sciences, which seems ironic, if not plain counter-intuitive. My ex-wife told me stories while she was getting her doctorate in cell & molecular biology that practically crippled me with anger. Many similar unconscionable stories are in the comments here. Akiko’s otherwise uncommented-on post at 327 is the stuff of nightmares as far as I am concerned.

    So don’t get me wrong. I am not and never will try to excuse any man who doesn’t take women or a woman seriously because of gender or appearance. Those aren’t the examples we’re discussing, and if you’re going to say that Akiko’s experience means that Sheril was raped because miniskirts aren’t sexy, well, you lost me somewhere.

    ;-)

  367. #367 jrock
    March 29, 2009

    Judging based on anyone’s appearance is superficial. Intelligence has varying degrees, I’ll agree, but at least you have to do a little bit more than just look(unless telepathy has been discovered and nobody told me). And people, unless they have some sort of disability, usually suffer from ignorance, not lack of intelligence. Plus, I also haven’t followed the whole argument, so I don’t know what he exactly means by intelligent. Someone that can have an in depth coherent conversation, someone that has a doctorate degree, someone that has become respected and successful in a chosen field of academia? Exactly what is meant by intelligent in this context would be helpful.

  368. #368 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    Sorry for filibustering, but this is such a damn interesting discussion:

    The assumption is only that when women are in public they are in public.

    I very much look forward to reading a similarly nitpicky debate about exactly what men should wear in public, what messages they’re sending, and what negative reactions they should expect.

    There’s been no such discussion here. You imagined it.

    Hey, nobody’s forcing to them to wear shorts in 90 degree weather.

    Suddenly it’s shorts? Then you concede the point, good.

    I’m serious. Given today’s social norms, there is no time when skin-tight clothes are not acceptable. The skirt, from a decorative flounce to a miniskirt and beyond, is there as a display. A gender-specific display. I’m not faulting any women who wears a skirt, nor am I defending anyone boorish enough to react inappropriately. But I refuse to deny that it is a sexual display.

  369. #369 John Morales
    March 29, 2009

    Troll mode: There’s a stink of consensus around here.

  370. #370 shamwowmytonguehurts
    March 29, 2009

    #368 Okay yes, appearance is by definition a superficial property, it stimulates the visual cortex and activates sexual arousal in a programmed way. And intelligence is multi-dimensional in an abstract sense, in that it allows for creativity and idea expression that can be appreciated in more various and less predectable ways. But it’s equally selfish to place emphasis on either trait in choosing partners, so the contempt that’s often directed at men who emphasize the shallower of the two is undeserved.

  371. #371 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    Final thought: it occurred to me when thinking about Vogue that female fashion might be much less about the ‘pick me’ kind of advertising and more about the ‘don’t waste my time’ kind of thing.

  372. #372 Muzz
    March 29, 2009

    Before this one gets too big: Someone might have said this already, but I’m facinated by this stuff (appropriate male utterances) being talked about again.
    Maybe it’s just the internet social circles I move in, but it seemed like politeness and feminism was pretty much dead about ten years ago. Coincidentally growing with the rise of the ‘Lads Mag’, we have the male self justification of the need for sexual self expression. At least that’s usually the defense given for cries of “cor, nice tits” (or “cor, what a dog!” for that matter) and things of that nature.
    Women bloggers and academic feminists didn’t vanish in that time, but the mood of wider society sure seemed to change. I was at university twice between ’94 and ’05 and what was unforgivable objectification verging on sexual harrassment in ’94 was just something girls had to put up with in ’01. Being ‘uptight’ was out, and a guy who’ll throw you a line is just more in touch with his feelings than others.

    I think all this man-psych stuff is horseshit, but plenty of others can take up that mantle better than me. It’s that shift which I find curious. I dunno if anyone else has noticed it. I hang around gamers mostly, and they, along with comic geeks, are among the worst for this kind of thing (I think girls would get better treatment from a combined union meeting of truckers, mechanics, stevedores and construction workers than they would at a gaming convention). So maybe my view is skewed there, but I saw a lot of unpleasantness be let slide seemingly because “it’s just what guys do” (and I feel as though from another planet about it at times. Never in my life have I felt the need to share my tastes in attractive women with my mates, or sit around bonding through rating nearby females against soft porn pictures in a “hot or not’ game, but apparently it’s de rigeur).
    But in the last couple of years it’s shifted. Even in blokey haunts of mine I’ve started to see a lot more “Guys, grow up” sort of sentiments, from males!, at the appearance ‘babe threads’ and other such stupidity. More and more girls acting like they don’t have to put up with this crap (and here I think there were a lot of young males who really didn’t think there was anything wrong with what they were doing and didn’t give it a moment’s thought, so being told off is a real first. And that impression intruigues me greatly in light of how recently it was a pretty big deal).
    Decorum is making a comeback.
    Maybe the ‘Lads Mag’ philosophy is right and it’ll just mean “the men keep their porn in the garage and so take their drinks there, away from sensitive eyes of the womenfolk”, but it means the polite space is growing and that’s no bad thing if you ask me.

  373. #373 Muzz
    March 29, 2009

    Oh, I forgot this bit: I wonder who the Nobel lauriate Kirshenbaum mentioned was? Whoever they are, they said pretty much the same thing my mum would have said to her. So that gave me a chuckle.

  374. #374 Kseniya
    March 29, 2009

    Muzz, maybe the novelty is wearing off, and the internet is Growing Up.

    Anecdote: When I was 20 I started using a relatively unattractive photo of myself as my primary profile pic over on the social networking site I was using. Unsurprisingly, this led to a noticeable improvement in the quality of my online contacts, interactions and relationships.

  375. #375 Susan
    March 29, 2009

    Jeez. It’s like Patriarchy 101 in here. Thanks for carrying the load once again, SC! Time for a musical interlude?

  376. #376 Gordy
    March 29, 2009

    I posted this on Sheril’s blog too (currently awaiting moderation):

    “I don?t wish to condone the kind of behaviour you highlight here, but I would like to suggest an explanation. One of the remaining gender inequalities is that men are almost invariably expected to make the first move in initiating relationships. It?s one of the ?tests? that a lot of women use when selecting a partner. If men don?t ask, they don?t get. I?m sure it must be both annoying and uncomfortable to be on the receiving end of unwanted propositions, but men who make such propositions are generally more sexually successful than those who don?t. Until that changes, the problem?s never going to go away.”

    (Apologies if this has already been said – I don’t have time to read 376 comments!)

  377. #377 Carolyn
    March 29, 2009

    And the one sided comparisons, “Men don’t get this kind of treatment!” Yeah. Duh! And if they do, they LIKE it.

    I know a lot of men tend to say this, but if you ask them how they’d react if an old/fat/dirty/unattractive to them in any way woman complimented, catcalled or came on to them you quickly get a very different response.

    If you don’t want to, please stop and try to figure out why it is that you think it’s so important for that woman to be told your opinion on her appearance.

    Excellent advice.

  378. #378 CatBallou
    March 29, 2009

    I’m coming into the conversation very late, but the discussion abouy miniskirts amused me. Especially the guys who talk about “instinctive” reactions to the sight of bare skin. That’s not instinct, it’s learned. For much of human existence, and still now in many “primitive” cultures, nudity is the norm. Men see attractive women, yes, but they also see their mothers, grandmothers, and sisters naked or nearly so. The sight of bare skin is not, itself, necessarily arousing. And based on cultural and historic differences about what’s considered attractive, clearly much of that is learned.

  379. #379 SuzieGirl
    March 29, 2009

    @75 True, I have had to stop using the mic as much during public debate in a chat room that I frequent. Suddenly the text changes to comments about my voice and not what I’m saying.

    I’m also find it interesting that there is so much discussion about making allowances for men’s ‘natural instincts’ etc and not the other way around.

  380. #380 windy
    March 29, 2009

    That’s not instinct, it’s learned. For much of human existence, and still now in many “primitive” cultures, nudity is the norm. Men see attractive women, yes, but they also see their mothers, grandmothers, and sisters naked or nearly so.

    As a primitive Finn, I can attest to this…

  381. #381 Frank Oswalt
    March 29, 2009

    So much confusion on what seems to me to be a very simple issue. Here is Frank’s FAQ on the topic.

    1. Does one have to apologize for finding people of one’s preferred sex attractive?

    Of course not. What is in your head is nobody’s business.

    2. Are men hardwired to think of every women they see as a potential sex object?

    Maybe so, maybe not. But they certainly are not hardwired to talk about every women they see as a potential sex object.

    3. So why is it ok for a woman to comment on her own appearance, but not for me?

    Because it is her own choice to comment on her own appearance. Duh.

    4. So, do people have the right to comment on other people’s appearance?

    Absolutely. It is called “freedom of speech”. But they will be seen as sexist idiots by all rational people who will in turn exercise their freedom of speech by calling them sexist idiots.

    5. So why don’t women like my compliments?

    Because sexist comments on other people’s appearance are not compliments.

    6. So you think you can tell me what to do?

    No, I’m just pointing out some obvious truths.

    7. No, you really think you can tell me what to do, don’t you?

    Since you insist, yes, I do.

  382. #382 Kerlyssa
    March 29, 2009

    @380

    My voice is alternately called manly or sexy (it’s a deep voice for a woman.) Unsurprisingly, while one might on the surface seem an insult and the other a compliment, neither party who comments on my voice pays attention to what I am actually saying.

    You want to flatter me, laugh at my jokes. Leave my vocal cords alone.

  383. #383 blf
    March 29, 2009

    The sight of bare skin is not, itself, necessarily arousing. And based on cultural and historic differences about what’s considered attractive, clearly much of that is learned.

    Some years ago, I read in New Scientist (yeah, I know it’s not everyone’s favourite at the moment) a mention of some study which, as I recall, showed that people of both sexes tended to show more skin when they were looking for a partner. However, this was an aside in an article on something else (I can’t recall what, or even when) and so the details were understandably sketchy; e.g., no mention of culture, age, or other factors. Whilst I vaguely recall the authour of the study was mentioned (as in something like ?So-and-so’s study ?Such-and-such? found that …?), I’ve never seen/heard any further reference.

    Does anyone have the foggiest idea what I’m talking about? (And I haven’t read all the comments, so if it’s already been mentioned, please accept my apologies.)

  384. #384 Muzz
    March 29, 2009

    @Kseniya #375.
    Yeah, with any luck. One of the interesting bits though is, from my own inferences anyway, that it’s as though an entire “generation” (not a genetic generation, but a sort of popular culture one about 7-10 years) grew up with “male sexual self expression” (let’s call it, being almost criminally charitable about it) almost completely off the chain. And so recently after my own almost polar opposite upbringing.
    I sympathise with Gordy at #377, but ‘the onus being on the male’ doesn’t really stretch to guys passing lewd comment on every girl they see. That’s as much for the benefit of other males as anything else.

  385. #385 Charles P Cerasus
    March 29, 2009

    I wish people would look past the superficial fact that I am rich. It’s irritating when the first thing people remark about when they meet me is the Ferrari I drive. I’m offended when people make comments about my thousand dollar suits. I’m a person, damn it. Give me the respect I deserve.

    I can’t help it that my parents bestowed on me countless millions of dollars, just as they couldn’t help inheriting millions from their parents; what am I supposed to do, destroy it all? I like being rich. Is it wrong to be so wealthy just because I didn’t do anything to earn it?

    I ask you, how would you feel if poor people were always sniffing around you looking for a handout, just because you can afford to literally burn money? How would you feel if people assumed you were a snob just because you can buy a yacht with small change?

    Certainly it makes attracting people easy, but you have to bear in mind that I don’t know whether they are attracted to me as a person, or just the superficial fact that I own ten luxury houses around the world. Imagine what that does to one’s self-confidence.

    The grovelling managers of five-star hotels (who will cater for my every whim) are not interested in me as a person. They look at me and just see $$$$$$$. It’s so facile.

    Anyway, I look forward to receiving lots of comments in sympathizing with my position. If any commenter does not express understanding, I shall just assume they are shallow, smelly paupers, probably living on government hand-outs. The fact that I earn more money every week than they will earn in their entire lives, doesn’t give them a reason to be jealous.

  386. #386 P.H.
    March 29, 2009

    #378

    I know a lot of men tend to say this, but if you ask them how they’d react if an old/fat/dirty/unattractive to them in any way woman complimented, catcalled or came on to them you quickly get a very different response.

    That’s right; know your place, ugly men. Unless you look like Brad Pit, we attractive women don’t want to hear a word out of you. You should feel grateful that we allow you to even look at us, because we would really rather you didn’t; you see, we know what you’re thinking, even if you deny it.

  387. #387 Kel
    March 29, 2009

    As a primitive Finn, I can attest to this…

    Sauna to an outsider is so weird. And I was just in there with my girlfriend, still feels weird sitting around naked.

  388. #388 Carlie
    March 29, 2009

    I’m always amazed when I find that there are people who think there’s not quite enough fat-shaming in the world already. Gee, given that fat people are told by everyone in society that they don’t deserve to exist, are financially penalized in numerous ways for being fat, and that diets plans are a dime a dozen and advertised everywhere you look, don’t you think that most of them would have done something about it by now if that were possible? Is the fact that 95% of all diets don’t work simply because fat people don’t want to be thin? Go read Rethinking Thin and then come back and spout off about how much you know about metabolism and how unhealthy and lazy fat people are. Meanwhile, this fat person with a fasting blood sugar of 82 and cholesterol of 145 would like to go get to her morning jog.

  389. #389 P.H.
    March 29, 2009

    Carlie, in the eyes of beautiful/svelte/ youthful people, fat/ugly/old people are inferior beings who have no right to offend the attractive people by telling them how attractive they are. They should just wear burkas and keep quiet.

  390. #390 Carlie
    March 29, 2009

    Oh, I have no desire to force people to think I’m attractive, I just want them all to stop telling me how unhealthy I am. By any health measure used, I’m perfectly healthy, and in fact healthier than much of the population. Just fat. I’d like to see how well shamwow’s heart and legs would do carrying around the equivalent of my body weight for a day – poor little muscles couldn’t handle it. Besides, the more studies are done on obesity, the more it turns out that those early studies showing comorbidity with other illnesses are chock-full of confounding factors. Fat people have any number of problems with the healthcare industry that result in worse health outcomes: insurance companies charge them more, so more are likely to go without health insurance and therefore health care, doctors ignore whatever symptoms the fat person has and say it’s all due to being fat so don’t find and treat problems proactively, doctors use the wrong sized equipment and come up with faulty readings (such as blood pressure cuffs), fat people put off going to the doctor because of the extreme fat shaming done to them there (see how well shaming works?), in some cases doctors have flat-out told patients to not come back until they’ve lost weight. That makes incipient problems balloon into major issues, and once the symptoms are so severe everyone has to admit there is a real problem it’s often too late (hello, stage 4 cancer). Then there are those annoying little studies showing that overweight people have longer average lifespans than underweight ones. If the fat person does try to lose weight, that has its own issues. Yo-yo dieting wreaks havoc on bodies for the long haul even after they stop the dieting. Going to the gym is nigh-impossible for any fat person who doesn’t have nerves of steel to put up with the stares and comments. Exercising outside invites drive-by comments; getting yelled at while walking/running isn’t a good motivator.
    I’m sick and tired of being told that being fat is immoral and wrong and why don’t you just do something about it? and it’s OMG so unhealthy and so taxing our healthcare system, when that’s a bunch of bullshit.

  391. #391 Anonymous
    March 29, 2009

    OK, I might be acting like a whatever-the-name-for-somebody-who-doesn’t-have-the-gonads-to-take-sides-in-an-argument-is-called, but I’ll address both sides anyway.

    Men-are-men-get-over-it:
    Ummm, no. Men do not have to act like idiots, it’s their choice. Some scum can’t compliment a woman tastefully, at the right time and place. If they don’t want to be ‘scum’, then they can wait.

    There isn’t a good excuse for it. I know that males shouldn’t feel guilty about being attracted, yes. But I think that what the feminist crowd are referring to is unwanted comments on their appearence, and too much weight on it. Both of those are unnecessary and unprofessional. Keep it out of the workplace and streets.

    Could you say: “Fundamentalist bigots are religious fundamentalist bigots, it’s OK for them to act like morons and bash gays and anyone they don’t like.”?
    I don’t think so.

    Why-do-they-have-to-act-like-morons:
    Well, yes, they do. But intelligent people don’t. So why are you blaming a nonexistent entity called ‘men’? Intelligent people do see women as people, with uses beside attractiveness (but remember intelligence/success is attractive if you’re not a willing moron). Intelligent people use the same scale for attractiveness as they do for success, taking into account intelligence, personality, and yes, looks, but giving it equal weight. Don’t tar us all with the same brush, appreciate that you’re found attractive (but read below), and ignore the idiots.

    Also, you shouldn’t be flattered by stupid comments, but remember that most of the time it’s just pure, mostly harmless (ha) ignorance. Take Hanlon’s Razor into account.

    I saw the ‘I-am-so-ugly’ posts above. I’ve never actually seen many ‘ugly’ people, and most of them can either ‘fix’ their appearence* (obesity, not saying it’s easy to fix), or are in their own attractiveness ‘game’ (old people)/not in any at the moment (also old people). But hey, I live in the UK, it’s a different planet.

    Same with stupid people too. I don’t know any person that I can really call stupid beyond redemption. So I don’t really believe it. It’s just the unfortunate self-esteem/anorexia trap, and yes, it is set by the media, they’re just not doing it intentionally. Hanlon’s razor, again.


    What I’m trying to say is, you’re both making sweeping generalisations, and that’s never good for an argument.

    Oh, and be civilised if you refute my comments, it would be sort of annoying to try to craft a post not to offend anyone and do it anyway. I may or may not reply, anyway.

    * I’m not talking about plastic surgery here, I’m talking about simple things like weight, hair and acne. Plastic surgery is completely unnecessary.

  392. #392 Amph
    March 29, 2009

    Besides, the more studies are done on obesity, the more it turns out that those early studies showing comorbidity with other illnesses are chock-full of confounding factors.

    Not sure.
    Check PubMed and type in ‘Lancet BMI’. Real large meta-analysis shows high bmi reduces your life. But true, pre-menopause women seem to be realtively resistent.

  393. #393 Pete Rooke
    March 29, 2009

    On the issue of fat I will just point out that gluttony is a sin and that saphic love is often, in my opinion, nothing more than an excuse for putting on weight.

  394. #394 colluvial
    March 29, 2009

    As long as this kind of male behavior is part of a successful mating strategy (at least occasionally), it will continue. End of story.

  395. #395 Carlie
    March 29, 2009

    Real large meta-analysis shows high bmi reduces your life.

    But none of them have dealt with the other factors, is what I’m saying. It’s the old “correlation doesn’t imply causation” issue. Until the factors I mentioned (along with others) are unpacked and analyzed, it’s incorrect to say that fat=deadly. You can say that being fat in our society leads to health problems, but it may well be the problem isn’t the fat itself, it’s the way society treats fat people. Focusing on making fat people lose weight would then be missing the point by several leagues, and would never work. However, destigmatizing fat and removing barriers to proper health care for fat people (which includes not beating down their self-esteem to the point of them thinking “gee, I guess I might as well eat cake all day, then, since nothing else I do matters”) might end up with the result of fat people indeed having better health. But then they wouldn’t be getting properly punished for being fat, so can’t have that.

  396. #396 Carlie
    March 29, 2009

    Did Pete just say that women become lesbians so that they can get fat? I…don’t even know where to start with that one.

  397. #397 Amanduh
    March 29, 2009

    Some of you commenting just don’t get it. When you compliment a woman you don’t know on her appearance, it just reinforces the idea that our bodies are constantly on display for men and they are somehow public works of art to be judged. It is especially offensive in a professional or academic setting, because we have something to contribute and all you can see are teh boobz.

    Also, don’t get offended if we don’t respond well to your compliment. I’ve had some random guys on the street fly off the handle because they hit on me and I flipped them off. Sorry if you’re wittle feewings are hurt, but I was minding my own business and frankly don’t give a shit what you think about the way I walk, or whatever.

    Our bodies are OURS, and if we didn’t ask your opinion, keep a lid on it. Kthx.

  398. #398 Pete Rooke
    March 29, 2009

    Amanduh,

    Your MySpace tagline is “never be invisible” and yet you are concerned about people commenting on your visibility?

  399. #399 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 29, 2009

    Ah, good ol’ Pete “total fool” Rooke living up to his epithet again.

  400. #400 Matt Heath
    March 29, 2009

    As of 394 teh Petey is objectively a parody. If he believes himself to be sincere that is merely an effect of his false conciousness.

  401. #401 Amanduh
    March 29, 2009

    Yes, the term knee-roll does seem archaic. I believe I picked it up in reference to horses and ranching.

    Yeah, the knee-roll is part of a saddle.

    It’s part of an English saddle, which is not generally used in ranching.

    Who uses saddle terms for clothing anyway? “Man, my butt crack is showing. Next time I’ll get pants that hit above the cantle”?

  402. #402 dveej
    March 29, 2009

    To be devil’s advocate briefly here: I hear women on this thread saying that they don’t want verbal comments on their attractiveness from strangers. It seems that one way of arranging that is by concealing that attractiveness – and that is what feminists in Islamic countries say when justifying veils and such things.

    So this whole thread basically can be seen as an argument for veiling.

    However, as a gay man, who greatly enjoys looking at men I have never met and whose intellectual credentials, whatever they may be, ALWAYS take a back seat in first impressions to their bodily hotness, I wouldn’t want men to veil up.

    …but if all the straight men knew what we gay guys were thinking, many would probably start a new trend – “boy burkas” or something. My idea – I get 10%!!!

  403. #403 JeffreyD
    March 29, 2009

    I have always found smart women the most attractive, often to the point of not being able to describe the physical appearance. Witness my blog stalking of Her Mollyness, SC (kidding, kidding).

    For the record, have never had a stranger come up to me and compliment me on my appearance. If they did, would assume he/she was a little loony. However, I often make children cry. On the other hand, I apparently have a wonderful voice and have often had women on the phone compliment it, saying they would love to hear me talk all day. Most recently, this included my mortgage banker and a woman at the power company. Truth be told, I always find that a bit creepy.

    Pete, you have slipped off the path again and are wandering around in the twilight. What on earth is the correlation between gluttony and Sapphic love? Also, have yet to hear from you about meeting for a drink in the UK. Busy, hiding, or fearful?

    Ciao y’all

  404. #404 Amanduh
    March 29, 2009

    Pete,

    Yes, in fact, I am concerned about people who think my body is their business. There are more ways than one to make an impact. If you think being visible means lookin hawt for random dudes on the street, you’re the one with the issue.

    I understand this discussion is complex. Try reading more slowly, it might help you understand. Perhaps a visual aid would help, as well.

    http://eighty1.net/images/misc/stopposting/STFU-Stop_Posting.jpg

  405. #405 dveej
    March 29, 2009

    Also, as long as I’m hijacking here: should we smile at strangers?

    Ever? Why or why not? What if they think we are interested in their body?

    …and, what if we are?

    Inquiring concern trolls want to know.

  406. #406 Amanduh
    March 29, 2009

    To be devil’s advocate briefly here: I hear women on this thread saying that they don’t want verbal comments on their attractiveness from strangers. It seems that one way of arranging that is by concealing that attractiveness – and that is what feminists in Islamic countries say when justifying veils and such things.

    Hope you’re being snarky. The problem does not lie with us–we should have the right to walk down the street unveiled. The problem is, of course, with the strangers “complimenting” us. If you think a woman is hot, good for you, just filter what you say.

    Similarly, if I’m in Vent with you about to do a raid, and you hear me ask for fort, filter your urge to scream OMG A GIRL!!!1!11!! :D

  407. #407 Pete Rooke
    March 29, 2009

    Amunduh,

    If I were to smile at you and compliment you on your looks while, say, the train are you really telling me you would be offended? Would you have the right to be offended? Can one reasonably distinguish between disparaging remarks and kind remarks or are they of the same phylum?

  408. #408 dveej
    March 29, 2009

    But, Amanda, sweetie, didn’t you get to the rest of my first comment where I said I’m a fag?

    Care to rethink any or all of your hypothesis now?

  409. #409 Matt Heath
    March 29, 2009

    It seems that one way of arranging that is by concealing that attractiveness – and that is what feminists in Islamic countries say when justifying veils and such things.
    So this whole thread basically can be seen as an argument for veiling.

    Errr.. no it can’t. Or at least it only can in a very silly way. Claiming something is a problem \ne supporting a given solution to it. You may as well say that claiming crime is a problem can be seen as an argument for a police state.

    At a tangent, I’m always slightly surprised that hijab and the like isn’t more common as “forbidden fruit” fetish fuel in the way that nuns habits are.

  410. #410 D. C. Sessions
    March 29, 2009

    Of course it is the male view that controls Vogue. Women’s desire to cater to the male view is controlled by Vogue. Men, after all, are the ones doing the selection.

    Don’t tie yourself in knots trying to reach a predetermined conclusion. Vogue, Cosmopolitan, etc. push what they can convince women to buy — and the connection between that and what eventually connects to male tastes is at best tenuous.

    There’s quite a bit in the sociology-of-gender literature about the dynamics of women’s fashion, and it doesn’t much resemble the simplistic model you’re trying to make the facts fit. Van Morrison was more nearly correct:

    “And all the girls walk by
    Dressed up for each other”

    Women are not the limp puppets of the Patriarchy, and are quite capable of creating social structures to harm themselves and each other without continuing assistance from men. As $HERSELF puts it, “I don’t need any man’s help to fuck things up.”

  411. #411 DJ
    March 29, 2009

    Carlie, I couldn’t agree with you more! Good comments.

    …nothing else to add, just thought her PoV should be supported.

  412. #412 dveej
    March 29, 2009

    No, actually, Amanduh, you’re right: I’m not advocating for veils, because I do think they are oppressive: both for the veiled AND for the horny guy dogs who wanna see it, man.

    Yes, I do think we horny guy dogs have the right to see it, man.

    And yes, men think about sex on average 10-12 times a minute, or so I’ve read.

  413. #413 rnb
    March 29, 2009

    It hasn’t been in a work situation, but I have had women not get the message I wasn’t interested. I guess I didn’t slap them down hard enough when they approached me.
    It’s pretty damn annoying to get repeatedly approached at one of my usual activities when I’m not interested.

  414. #414 Feynmaniac
    March 29, 2009

    Rooke,

    On the issue of fat I will just point out that gluttony is a sin and that saphic love is often, in my opinion, nothing more than an excuse for putting on weight.

    WTF?

    That’s weird, even for you Pete.

  415. #415 Matt Heath
    March 29, 2009

    And yes, men think about sex on average 10-12 times a minute, or so I’ve read.
    Everyone’s read that. No one can cite it. I’m pretty sure it’s bollocks. If I start thinking about sex, I’ll be thinking about it for at least half a minute; thus if I thought about sex every 6 seconds I’d die with a backlog.

  416. #416 dveej
    March 29, 2009

    Matt Heath, the “forbidden fruit” thing is part of the justification pro-veilers cite in their attempt to sell us non-veilers on the veil.

    By the way, there is absolutely (well, a small, vague, non-specific debatable bit about “modesty” in public) nothing in the Qur`an about veiling. Veiling is NOT Islamic, because it is a continuation of a pre-Islamic custom, which went real well with the culture of the Arabic-speaking peoples who were the first seedbed of Islam.

  417. #417 dveej
    March 29, 2009

    Matt, you mean you don’t think about sex 10-12 times a minute?

    I certainly do.

  418. #418 Rrr
    March 29, 2009

    To once again state what many others already have, shaming does not work. In small doses from close friends/family it can work, but in large doses from society, it will lead to mental illness and suicide/homocide.

    But then again I guess that would solve the overpopulation problem. Ahh, the heck with it, too slow. Let’s just spread som germ that’ll take out all humans, shall we? FFS.
    (yes yes, slippery slope. still infuriating)

    Why can’t we just treat fellow humans like this: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/ian_dunbar_on_dog_friendly_dog_training.html
    We’re supposed to be even more advanced than dogs, so shouldn’t that in theory require less effort if we properly instil good values from a young age?

    (Also, any people here who have problems losing weight [when the overweight isn't because of medication or illnesses] might benefit from reading articles at stumptuous.com and read for instance the articles on scienceblogs that are about how the gut flora affects your body. Lots of useful info. Also, IIRC, a tiny amount of overweight is actually healthier than having no excess fat at all, unlike severe overweight or even downright obesity. I just wish I remembered where I read this.)

  419. #419 CurbYrDogma
    March 29, 2009

    Actually, women are just as visual with regard to being attracted to the opposite sex, as evidenced by young women practically throwing themselves at rock stars and Hollywood actors. But unless men earn such privileged positions, a man’s physical sexuality is usually toned down for the purposes of cooperation with other men, which is what civilization is built on. A man’s ability to earn a living in modern society has superseded the more primitive sexual cues, which is why bozos like Rush Limbaugh (who hardly looks like Brad Pitt) can sit back and make value judgments about women based on appearance and not think of it as a double standard.

  420. #420 Matt Heath
    March 29, 2009

    the “forbidden fruit” thing is part of the justification pro-veilers cite in their attempt to sell us non-veilers on the veil.

    I’m not sure if I’m understanding that right. I thought the argument went “If women wear veils men won’t think about sex when they look them” not “If women wear veils men will let their imaginations take over and develop it into a kink”.

  421. #421 Jack Rawlinson
    March 29, 2009

    I have a problem.

    I get really, really turned on by having women admonish me for sexism and lechery. What’s a poor guy to do?

  422. #422 dveej
    March 29, 2009

    Matt, people use both arguments.

  423. #423 Matt Heath
    March 29, 2009

    dveej: Yes I do mean that. (Kind of wishing I used a pseudonym). I can’t even get my around the idea of thinking about sex and it not holding my attention for more than 6 seconds, so I could have separate occurrences of thinking about it that often. I don’t think I’m going into more details on this :) but I don’t think anyone has any reliable basis for that claim.

  424. #424 Amanduh
    March 29, 2009

    If I were to smile at you and compliment you on your looks while, say, the train are you really telling me you would be offended? Would you have the right to be offended?

    Of course I have the right to be offended.

    That line right there exemplifies everything you think about women. Not only is it appropriate to compliment a woman you don’t know on her looks, she has to smile politely and say thank you, because god knows we don’t have the right to be irritated by strangers not only constantly judging us but opening their mouths as if we asked for their opinion or give a damn about what they say.

    Yes, I have the right to be offended when a stranger compliments me in that way. You have no idea how uncomfortable it would be to hear that and then sit through the rest of the train ride knowing that at least one person is looking at you, judging you, probably thinking nasty things about you and all you want to do is get home in peace.

  425. #425 Rrr
    March 29, 2009

    Also, as long as I’m hijacking here: should we smile at strangers?
    Ever? Why or why not? What if they think we are interested in their body?
    …and, what if we are?
    Inquiring concern trolls want to know.

    Smiling can be done in many different ways. Creepy lecherous smiles should not be given to random strangers. Casual and impersonal happy smiles however are usually a good thing.
    If you’re interested in their body, want to approach them (as opposed to giving them a mere smile and then getting on with your life) and you’re in a setting that doesn’t work as social lube, you’re a bit out of luck.

  426. #426 Ollybeth
    March 29, 2009

    Pete Rooke, if you did that, what would your reason be? To make Amanduh happy? To get her attention? To try and get a date? To demonstrate to your friends that you’re straight?

    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume it would be the first one and you want to make women happy.

    But now – I know it’s hard – try to stop concentrating on yourself and your intentions. You want to make women happy, but some women are saying this sort of comment does not make them happy: that, in fact, they find it offensive. You can’t tell from looking who’ll be flattered and who’ll be offended. Is your desire to say this more important than the possibility that you might give offence?

    Unless a woman specifically seeks out your input on her appearance, or you’re in a position to know that she will find it flattering, err on the side of caution and assume she’s not interested in your opinion.

    And if you’re still trying to come up with ways to get around this rule of thumb, maybe have a ponder about why it’s so damn important for you to be able to tell women you don’t know that you think they’re hot.

    The veils debate is just reiteration of the good old Virgin/Whore dichotomy. Act like private property (Virgin) or we’ll treat you like public property (Whore). I’d rather not be property at all, thanks.

    And how would one measure how often men think about sex? If I ask you to tell me how often you think about pink elephants in the next minute, you’re going to think about pink elephants a lot more than you usually would.

  427. #427 Nanu Nanu
    March 29, 2009

    “think about sex 10-12 times a minute”

    you guys can STOP?

  428. #428 dveej
    March 29, 2009

    Amanduh, exactly!! No woman should have to go through that thing of feeling that someone is staring at them and thinking sexy thoughts!

    Maybe that’s an argument for an OPTIONAL veil – so women who suffer this sort of thing can escape it.

  429. #429 Feynmaniac
    March 29, 2009

    According to snopes the “men think about sex every 7 seconds” claim is false.

  430. #430 dveej
    March 29, 2009

    Feynmaniac, snopes may be right about the claim being false, but I know it’s true for at least ONE guy in this world:
    MOI.

  431. #431 Nanu Nanu
    March 29, 2009

    “think about sex 10-12 times a minute”

    you guys can STOP thinking about sex?

  432. #432 Rrr
    March 29, 2009

    According to snopes the “men think about sex every 7 seconds” claim is false.

    Pretty facepalm that people have to read about it to realize it isn’t true. People busy working e.g. coding or whatever tend to need to pay attention to work. Or was the back of the head supposed to magically think about sex while one is wrapped up in project planning and whatnot. Even out of work there are so many things to think about.

  433. #433 Nanu Nanu
    March 29, 2009

    WOOPS DOUBLE POST.

    Yes I did reload the page.

  434. #434 Muzz
    March 29, 2009

    How did we get from “Guys, shut the hell up ferfucksake” to “Maybe no one should smile at anyone and women should cover up!” exactly?

  435. #435 dveej
    March 29, 2009

    Muzz, I’m not for women being made to feel uncomfortable. But it’s a short step from “don’t talk about how you find me attractive” to “don’t look at me because you find me attractive – it might show on your face, and that would make me feel uncomfortable.”

    Discuss.

  436. #436 Pete Rooke
    March 29, 2009

    @Amanduh & Ollybeth

    I think this goes to the notion of being watched. Eye contact, gestures and body posture, or the rhythm and sound of the voice all provide an insight, in some sense, into our innermost depths – that which we hide away from others, projecting instead our cultivated facade.

    Imagine the bond with another person who is facing you, watching you and communicating with you. And then finding that this attention is unwanted. So I probably agree with you in the end.

    Sartre perhaps overstates the case but one certainly does feel as if they are, in some small way, experiencing the other’s consciousness when making eye contact. This must be the greatest deterrence against philosophical solipsism.

  437. #437 Rrr
    March 29, 2009

    Feynmaniac, snopes may be right about the claim being false, but I know it’s true for at least ONE guy in this world:
    MOI.

    …Sooooo? Why is your sex obsession relevant? I doubt the issue was ever that “nobody is like that”, bell curve and all that, but rather that it isn’t the norm. It is extremely impossible to live in ways that escape all the fetishes and so on. Everything is someone’s fetish.

  438. #438 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    dveej 429:

    That’s a dumb thing to say. That’s like saying “Well if she would only dress better, she wouldn’t have been raped”.

    The onus is NOT ON THE RECIPIENT of the offensive behaviour, but on the person committing it.

    As a gay man I’m sure you can understand that you don’t go up to random guys and flirt with them. Same principle applies here.

  439. #439 Amanduh
    March 29, 2009

    Eye contact, gestures and body posture, or the rhythm and sound of the voice all provide an insight, in some sense, into our innermost depths – that which we hide away from others, projecting instead our cultivated facade.

    Sure, maybe I’m afraid you’ll see into my innermost depths.

    Or maybe I just want to read or listen to music without some creepy guy looking me over. Srsly.

  440. #440 dveej
    March 29, 2009

    Justin, I agree: the onus should NEVER be on a woman for some guy’s being unable to control himself. (That was NOT what I was saying in #429, and if you read it more carefully, you’ll see that.)

  441. #441 Feynmaniac
    March 29, 2009
    According to snopes the “men think about sex every 7 seconds” claim is false.

    Pretty facepalm that people have to read about it to realize it isn’t true.

    Agreed. Just thinking it over during the 7 seconds you aren’t thinking about sex should make you realize it can’t possibly be true.

  442. #442 dveej
    March 29, 2009

    Amanduh, is it only “creepy” guys you want to prevent from looking you over while you read? Or all guys?

    Would it be OK for me, a fag, to check out guys? Does my creepiness figure in to this equation: if I am not creepy, do I get to look?

  443. #443 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    dveej 441:

    Were you being snarky? If so, FAIL.

    So what exactly is your position on this matter? Should guys learn that they have social responsibilities to not act like jackasses? Or should women learn to suck it up?

    I’m with the former myself.

  444. #444 Carlie
    March 29, 2009

    dveej, that’s exactly what you said.

    “Maybe that’s an argument for an OPTIONAL veil – so women who suffer this sort of thing can escape it. ”

    See what you did there? You made it all about what the woman ought to do to avoid being leered at. Never did you mention that the man doing the leering oughtn’t to be doing it.

  445. #445 Amanduh
    March 29, 2009

    dveej, anybody who thinks it’s okay to hit on random strangers or stare at them is, in my book, creepy. I understand admiring attractive people. Do it in a subtle way and think about the feelings of the people you are admiring.

  446. #446 plum grenville
    March 29, 2009

    Posted by: Pete Rooke | March 29, 2009 9:53 AM

    On the issue of fat I will just point out that gluttony is a sin and that saphic love is often, in my opinion, nothing more than an excuse for putting on weight.

    OK, Pete, that does it. You were showing occasional flashes of intelligence, moderation, and even humour that made me think there was hope for you. But this supreme piece of homophobic idiocy puts you in the same league as Banned Barb.

    Go directly to the Dungeon, where I hope you have to subsist on a diet of toenail clippings. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. But do collect 200 IQ points. You need ‘em all. Or just have a brain transplant with a slug. You’ll be more popular, I assure you. As someobdoy or other said, are you the alternative?

  447. #447 Rrr
    March 29, 2009

    But it’s a short step from “don’t talk about how you find me attractive” to “don’t look at me because you find me attractive – it might show on your face, and that would make me feel uncomfortable.”

    Not really. Pretty long step. Looking for too long at anyone unknown has traditionally been a hostile act. Combine that with baring your teeth and that’s a lot worse… A brief look and impersonal, polite smile isn’t really a problem normally, which is pretty different from this.

  448. #448 Robert Bell
    March 29, 2009

    Also, don’t get offended if we don’t respond well to your compliment. I’ve had some random guys on the street fly off the handle because they hit on me and I flipped them off.

    I have a hard time imagining myself responding to a compliment or advance with a gesture deliberately calculated to hurt the other person. Granted, I’ve only been overtly hit on a couple times, and I imagine the situation is different for a reasonably attractive woman.

    Still, unless the advance is really tasteless, I don’t see the point in responding with something other than polite rejection (or reciprocation). I guess you could say that a guy deserves grief for having the audacity to volunteer interest in a woman he doesn’t know by offering a compliment on her physical appearance, so there is a certain amount of “justice” in responding as you do. But I doubt it does much good in actually reforming behavior or altering the social climate, and may be counterproductive (the guys you deliberately aggravate, if anything, may develop an even more resentful and sexist attitude towards women as a consequence of the exchange).

  449. #449 dveej
    March 29, 2009

    Feynmaniac and wanna-be-anon Matt: don’t you think about more than one thing at a time? Ever? The whole breaking down the minute into seconds spent thinking exclusively one thing kind of ignores those of us who can hold two thoughts or more simultaneously.

  450. #450 Feynmaniac
    March 29, 2009

    Pete the Rookie,

    Sartre perhaps overstates the case but one certainly does feel as if they are, in some small way, experiencing the other’s consciousness when making eye contact.

    Something tells me people tried to avoid experiencing Sartre’s consciousness.

    [Okay, that was a little mean]

  451. #451 MAJeff, OM
    March 29, 2009

    dveej, anybody who thinks it’s okay to hit on random strangers or stare at them is, in my book, creepy. I understand admiring attractive people. Do it in a subtle way and think about the feelings of the people you are admiring.

    Yup. I see lots of attractive men on the train or bus. I don’t spend my time ogling them. I may steal a few glances, but I’m not going to stare at them. And, if I feel the need to comment on how hot they are, I do it in a text message to one of my best friends that says something like “I love cute guys on the train!”

    Is it really that difficult? The basic idea here is, “Don’t be an asshole.”

  452. #452 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    Robert Bell 449:

    “Still, unless the advance is really tasteless, I don’t see the point in responding with something other than polite rejection (or reciprocation). I guess you could say that a guy deserves grief for having the audacity to volunteer interest in a woman he doesn’t know by offering a compliment on her physical appearance, so there is a certain amount of “justice” in responding as you do.”

    I think that the main thing that irritates women is the fact that a lot of men just compliment women to show them that all they’re here for is to look good, and/or to make them feel uncomfortable to show who has the power in the situation. It has something to do with the power dynamic of the genders in todays society.

    Obviously my understanding of this is imperfect, perhaps one of the women here can help me clarify?

  453. #453 Pete Rooke
    March 29, 2009

    The only sense that I repudiate that comment is in the fact that I mispelled “sapphic.”

    I really do believe this to be the case. Google “lesbian chicken.” the first two links are videos on YouTube of fat people indulging in the aforementioned activities.

  454. #454 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “I really do believe this to be the case. Google “lesbian chicken.” the first two links are videos on YouTube of fat people indulging in the aforementioned activities.”

    Eww no. Don’t share your fetishes if you aren’t asked to please.

  455. #455 Pete Rooke
    March 29, 2009

    *misspelled

  456. #456 Amanduh
    March 29, 2009

    I have a hard time imagining myself responding to a compliment or advance with a gesture deliberately calculated to hurt the other person.

    When guys are in a group on the street hitting on women, it’s less “I find you attractive and would like to get to know you” and more about power. I can catcall at you and control you, made you look, ha ha, what a hottie, hey where you goin’ baby? You gotta boyfriend?

    Telling guys like these to fuck off usually sticks a spoke right in their Power Wheels.

  457. #457 Matt Heath
    March 29, 2009

    See what I mean, objectively a parody.

  458. #458 DJ
    March 29, 2009

    I can definitely see that random complements to strangers can be considered confrontational, rude or an attack. I guess I would ask then, is the same to be said for initiating conversation with a stranger? I mean I hope not but chances are if someone tries to get to know you it is possible that they may find you attractive. Is this behaviour inappropriate? If so then under what circumstances is it okay to talk to random attractive strangers?

  459. #459 Feynmaniac
    March 29, 2009

    Feynmaniac and wanna-be-anon Matt: don’t you think about more than one thing at a time?

    Actually I’m a terrible multi-tasker. I can usually just keep my thoughts on one thing at a time. However, that’s beside the point.

    The claim that men think about sex every 7 seconds doesn’t appear to have a legitimate source and doesn’t appear to match up to reality. There probably are a few people who do it but average man almost certainly doesn’t.

  460. #460 D. C. Sessions
    March 29, 2009

    RE: #425

    The brush strokes are getting wide again here.

    Thought experiment: you are on a train, and a woman near you admires your coat, asks where you got it.

    Your reaction?

    Now try mutations on this scene. Does it make a difference if she doesn’t ask where you got it? Does it make a difference if it’s your sweater instead of your coat? How about your shoes? (Paging Dr. Isis here.) Hair style? Change the scene to a man making exactly the same comments.

    I’m guessing that most women would be pretty comfortable at one extreme and much less so at another — which suggests that “public comments by a stranger on your appearance” is a bit more nuanced than this conversation would indicate.

  461. #461 MH
    March 29, 2009

    The onus is NOT ON THE RECIPIENT of the offensive behaviour, but on the person committing it.

    Wow, so complimenting someone on their appearance is “offensive behaviour” now?

    Or is it only an offence if the recipient finds the donor physically unattractive?

    Ladies,

    Would you be offended is your favourite Hollywood hunk complimented you on your appearance?

    I was always taught to accept compliments graciously. They are gifts, after all.

  462. #462 MAJeff, OM
    March 29, 2009

    When guys are in a group on the street hitting on women, it’s less “I find you attractive and would like to get to know you” and more about power. I can catcall at you and control you, made you look, ha ha, what a hottie, hey where you goin’ baby? You gotta boyfriend?

    Telling guys like these to fuck off usually sticks a spoke right in their Power Wheels.

    Those who LOVED it when Miranda confronted the cat-calling construction workers in SATC raise their hands.

  463. #463 Feynmaniac
    March 29, 2009

    Rooke,

    Google “lesbian chicken.”

    Oh Petey, I can’t stay mad at you.

  464. #464 dveej
    March 29, 2009

    Rrr, so a “brief, polite smile” is OK, but a lingering glance accompanied with an expression of pleasure would be offensive? How long differentiates these two? And what about a series of brief, furtive glances?
    I’m not trying to be an a-hole here, but I really do think that there is a bit of a definition (some of which varies according to culture) problem between smiling at strangers and staring lecherously: the difference is in the eye of the beheld, it seems to me. That’s why I’m rabbiting on about this. You seem to think it’s all clear and easy to distinguish: I think we should think about these things, both because people shouldn’t have to be made uncomfortable and because people should have some right to look at others sexually and even maybe have some (small?) right to express admiration in a non-oppressive way (or maybe have clear rules of what constitutes oppressive compliments/staring).

    Looking at strangers purely for the physical pleasure it affords one is, indeed, objectification. I think it is also natural, and there should maybe be some room for it, without hurting people or making them uncomfortable. People who think that ANY stranger looking sexually at someone is wrong are, I think, wrong.

    This is a complex subject, but I wish people would discuss it a little so stuff might get … not resolved, but maybe … aired? I dunno…

  465. #465 Pete Rooke
    March 29, 2009

    Feynmaniac,

    Sartre was a notorious womanizer.

  466. #466 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    DJ 459:

    I think MAJeff said it best when he said the rule was “don’t be an asshole.”

    Polite conversation is fine; “Hi, crappy weather eh?”

    “Hey baby, you look hot!” is not.

  467. #467 AnthonyK
    March 29, 2009

    Just a personal take on it, but not being someone who voluntarily gives out sexual signals, or looks for them in others, I find the whole thing rather baffling.
    Clearly, there are a large group of people, male and female, gay and straight, for whom a large part of life is the casual glance at a stranger, followed by the realised possibility of sex. I can’t say that this is necessarily a bad thing – though that beautiful women, in particular, may find the attentions of leering men very unpleasant – it is just the way some people are.
    I’m sure we all know people, and history is full of them, whose brains work at a frighteningly sexual level. They may not even be good-looking in a conventional way, but nonetheless they get a lot of sex, simply by relying on looking for it. (And btw, I am of course entirely talking about adult, fully-consensual sex)
    It’s very odd, it’s not just confined to men, and it represents for me a part of human life that I, personally, will never understand.
    Sigh.

  468. #468 MH
    March 29, 2009

    @#455

    Surely Lesbian chicken is chicken from the Isle of Lesbos?

  469. #469 dveej
    March 29, 2009

    Justin 467, that one is easy. Some more subtle interactions might be less clearcut, and are interesting enough to discuss, I feel.

  470. #470 Muzz
    March 29, 2009

    Posted by: dveej | March 29, 2009 11:21 AM
    I’m not for women being made to feel uncomfortable. But it’s a short step from “don’t talk about how you find me attractive” to “don’t look at me because you find me attractive – it might show on your face, and that would make me feel uncomfortable.”

    No, I think privleging comfort in that way is a pretty big leap. I think we can call it a given that people’s interactions are always going to be a bit nebulous. The most well meaning smile in the world could come off as a sleazy leer if the light is bad or your lips stick to your teeth that one time.
    This is much simpler than that: Males constantly rating women out loud to them, or each other, is a dumb thing to do and has well reported and quite plain repurcussions.
    Yes some girls/women like it and court it. Yes culture has grown such in recent times that both genders accept this kind of expression and incorporate it. But enough reject it and find it unpleasant to be subjected to the ‘kindness of strangers’ all the time.
    It’s not the gamut of behaviour we’re trying to police here. The “OMG you render courtship impossible!”, “What of my precious sexual feelings! They need an outlet!” “You shall return us to the repressed manias of Edwardian times!” that some are extrapolating from this is utter nonsense.

  471. #471 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    MH 462:

    “Wow, so complimenting someone on their appearance is “offensive behaviour” now? “

    Yes it is, if it’s a random person. How would you like it if I (a male) came up to you (I assume another male) and said “Wow you’re really hot!” without any pretext? What if I was really hot? Where would you imagine this conversation would go if you weren’t into it (like 99% of the time)?

    dveej 465:

    “Looking at strangers purely for the physical pleasure it affords one is, indeed, objectification. I think it is also natural, and there should maybe be some room for it, without hurting people or making them uncomfortable. People who think that ANY stranger looking sexually at someone is wrong are, I think, wrong.”

    The rule I use when looking at hot guys:

    DON’T LET THEM NOTICE YOU LOOKING! I think straight males should take that advice too.

  472. #472 Pete Rooke
    March 29, 2009

    AnthonyK,

    I have already outed you as a misogynist on this thread.

  473. #473 DJ
    March 29, 2009

    @Justin #467,

    Of course, I stated pretty plainly that I understood the “don’t be an a-hole” idea with regard to complimenting someone.

    Frankly, I’ve never in my life just complemented a random stranger. If I find someone appealing I will make an effort to introduce myself and get to know them. I’m just curious if, knowing that people often introduce themselves because they find a person attractive, does this make that type of social interaction inappropriate? If so, then how to meet people?

  474. #474 MAJeff, OM
    March 29, 2009

    Yes it is, if it’s a random person. How would you like it if I (a male) came up to you (I assume another male) and said “Wow you’re really hot!” without any pretext? What if I was really hot? Where would you imagine this conversation would go if you weren’t into it (like 99% of the time)?

    In other words, how would he feel if you transformed him into “the woman” in that social setting?

  475. #475 Feynmaniac
    March 29, 2009

    Sartre was a notorious womanizer.

    Well, he was French.

  476. #476 Matt Heath
    March 29, 2009

    don’t you think about more than one thing at a time? Ever?

    Hmm depends on value of “think” I guess. If my mind wanders off from what someone is saying I can usually recover there words from my subconscious a few seconds later so that’s some form of multi-tasking but usually my lack of focus takes the form of one burst of thought followed by another.

  477. #477 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    MAJeff 475:

    “In other words, how would he feel if you transformed him into “the woman” in that social setting?”

    Indeed ;)

    Dj 474:

    “Frankly, I’ve never in my life just complemented a random stranger. If I find someone appealing I will make an effort to introduce myself and get to know them. I’m just curious if, knowing that people often introduce themselves because they find a person attractive, does this make that type of social interaction inappropriate? If so, then how to meet people?”

    No one can tell your intentions unless you state them. If you want to strike up a conversation with someone you find attractive, more power to you.

  478. #478 D. C. Sessions
    March 29, 2009

    So what exactly is your position on this matter? Should guys learn that they have social responsibilities to not act like jackasses? Or should women learn to suck it up?

    All of the above?

    Not defending inappropriate behavior, but there’s a judgment call indicated. Some inappropriate behavior falls into the “shit happens” category, and absent a reasonable expectation that a reaction will actually change someone’s behavior in a positive way, extinction [1] (or just dealing with it like the dogshit on your shoes) is probably the best plan.

    Is that the way a perfect world would be? Of course not — but we don’t live in a perfect world and sometimes the best we can do is the lesser evil.

    [1] Behavioral psych term of art. Bear in mind that sometimes the whole purpose of inappropriate behavior (think three-year-olds) is to draw a response.

  479. #479 Rrr
    March 29, 2009

    Feynmaniac and wanna-be-anon Matt: don’t you think about more than one thing at a time? Ever? The whole breaking down the minute into seconds spent thinking exclusively one thing kind of ignores those of us who can hold two thoughts or more simultaneously.

    If you’re busy with something, the many simultaneous thoughts usually mainly related to what you’re doing as well as more important things that quite impact your life.
    Example of some likely simultaneous thoughts one might have if drawing an art piece. “Needs more blue” “5H” “More shadow” “(Hope grandma’ll get well)” “Meeting at five” “Less blue there”. The more automatic chores you do the less you’ll think of them and more about other random things. This still doesn’t mean anyone will spend a lot of time obsessing about other unrelated things when they’re focused on stuff that actually requires brainpower.

    …Wait what, am I being called Matt? ?_?
    What. If so, you seriously fail at comprehending what anonymous means.

  480. #480 MH
    March 29, 2009

    How would you like it if I (a male) came up to you (I assume another male) and said “Wow you’re really hot!” without any pretext?

    I would say “Thanks”! It’s been decades since anyone paid me a compliment, so it would be very much appreciated, even though I’m straight, and even if you looked like the elephant man.

    What if I was really hot? Where would you imagine this conversation would go if you weren’t into it (like 99% of the time)?

    It has no need to go anywhere. It takes two to have a conversation.

  481. #481 Matt Heath
    March 29, 2009

    “Wait what, am I being called Matt? ?_? ” I don’t believe so; I believe it was a reference me slightly regretting entering this particular conversation under my own name.

  482. #482 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “I would say “Thanks”! It’s been decades since anyone paid me a compliment, so it would be very much appreciated, even though I’m straight, and even if you looked like the elephant man.”

    And what if this started happening on a regular basis? Would you continue to be so very cheery about it? What if the men who complimented you was bigger than you? A group of men?

    Would you start to feel uncomfortable?

  483. #483 JeffreyD
    March 29, 2009

    As fascinating as this blog, and this thread, have been today, the Cafe is closing and I am hungry.

    Pete, I notice you have ignored me again. So, the offer to meet for drinks is officially withdrawn. I was pretty sure you would not come through on it, sad, but expected.

    This thread reminded me of what I taught both sons and daughters: treat others as people, do not expect them to know what you think, try not to be an asshole, but do not put up with others being an asshole to you.

    Ciao and night y’all

  484. #484 plum grenville
    March 29, 2009

    DJ:

    If so then under what circumstances is it okay to talk to random attractive strangers?

    Why the hell is it so important to you to have the right to talk to random attractive strangers, DJ? Are you that desperate for social/sexual outlets?

    Why does what you want matter more than what the potential recipient of your conversational largesse wants?

    As an introvert, I wish it were socially acceptable to wear a light or button which said, “Not interested in social discourse right now.” I’d just as soon not have to deal with the chat of store clerks either.

  485. #485 DJ
    March 29, 2009

    I am tempted to think there is in some cases a disconnect. That some males indeed think they are starting a conversation to get to know someone they are attracted to by paying them a compliment, instead of what they are in fact doing; alienating and hurting a stranger, ending the conversation.
    I of course am just pulling this idea out of my posterior and have no evidence to support it.

  486. #486 SC, OM
    March 29, 2009

    And, if I feel the need to comment on how hot they are, I do it in a text message to one of my best friends that says something like “I love cute guys on the train!”

    :P

  487. #487 DJ
    March 29, 2009

    @plum grenville #485,

    I get the sense you are attacking me for asking a reasonable question. Is it the use of the word “attractive”? I don’t use the term attractive to seperate groups, but rather to highlight my assertion that people find others attractive and then make an effort to engage in conversation. Please don’t take my honest inquiry as an invasion of your right to privacy, I respect that you may not want to meet people. But how to know that without as you say a light or button? I guess respectable, non combative discourse where one party indicates disinterest and the other acknowledges their wishes.

  488. #488 MH
    March 29, 2009

    And what if this started happening on a regular basis? Would you continue to be so very cheery about it? What if the men who complimented you was bigger than you? A group of men? Would you start to feel uncomfortable?

    I’m not going to deny that excessive attention (of any type) can be threatening, but we’re talking about smiles and compliments here. If I was complimented on a regular basis, it might get a little tiresome, but I would see it as a downside to being attractive (as in that situation, I would assume that I was attractive). It certainly wouldn’t make me feel suicidal.

    I’m sure Michael Palin gets tired at people quoting Life of Brian lines at him, but I bet he never tells them to fuck off.

  489. #489 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “I am tempted to think there is in some cases a disconnect. That some males indeed think they are starting a conversation to get to know someone they are attracted to by paying them a compliment, instead of what they are in fact doing; alienating and hurting a stranger, ending the conversation.”

    I think that may be true for the first time, but I would like to think that people learn from the reactions they get, what to do and not do in social situations. So a repeat offender is just being a jackass, whereas I would be more lenient with someone who’s just learning social interactions.

  490. #490 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “I’m not going to deny that excessive attention (of any type) can be threatening, but we’re talking about smiles and compliments here. If I was complimented on a regular basis, it might get a little tiresome, but I would see it as a downside to being attractive (as in that situation, I would assume that I was attractive). It certainly wouldn’t make me feel suicidal.”

    Ok, let’s throw in one more factor. Let’s say that there was a high incidence of straight men getting raped.

    Would the dynamic change for you then? Even if it was just “smiles and compliments”? Especially in large numbers?

  491. #491 Matt Heath
    March 29, 2009

    I’m sure Michael Palin gets tired at people quoting Life of Brian lines at him, but I bet he never tells them to fuck off.

    It’s not fair to expect everyone to live up to the standards of the Nicest Person Who Ever Lived

  492. #492 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “straight men getting raped.”

    Sorry just men. Forget the straight part.

  493. #493 MH
    March 29, 2009

    Justin, are you really trying to say that a man shouldn’t smile at a woman because she might think he wants to rape her?

  494. #494 DJ
    March 29, 2009

    @ Justin #490,

    Makes sense. Perhaps some individuals are receiving a poor education in social interaction? Or maybe they are just jackasses as you say. I don’t know, but it is an interesting question.

  495. #495 MAJeff, OM
    March 29, 2009

    I’m sure Michael Palin gets tired at people quoting Life of Brian lines at him, but I bet he never tells them to fuck off

    Public figure vs. private citizen.

    Fail.

  496. #496 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “Justin, are you really trying to say that a man shouldn’t smile at a woman because she might think he wants to rape her?”

    No, what I’m asking you is how would you react if you took all these factors into account.

  497. #497 MH
    March 29, 2009

    It’s not fair to expect everyone to live up to the standards of the Nicest Person Who Ever Lived

    Ha ha, true.

  498. #498 AnthonyK
    March 29, 2009

    AnthonyK,

    I have already outed you as a misogynist on this thread.

    Oh really? I guess I must be a misongynist then. If you say so. No point in arguing, is there?
    Sorry everyone!
    Pete, no one fucking cares what you think, period. Double period. You are an unwelcome presence here. Your inanity, the poor level of your intellect, as pointed out by numerous posters (and indeed, our saintly “boss”) and the repellent nature of your views, probably make you unwelcome everywhere, but doubly so on a blog where reason and wit are at a premium.
    You are a lying twat. You come here for some wanky religious reason of your own, defending the word of God against infidels, or some such nonsense, presumably with the idea of getting a few more Jesus-beans to plant that heaven-bound beanstalk.
    Your religious views mask an evil, anti-democratic, and, yes, misogynistic outlook on life – as evidenced, repeatedly by your defence of the worst and most out-dated aspects of Catholic doctrine.
    You really are an appalling waste of proteins, a disgrace to thought, and of all the boils who infest Pharyngula, the one who most needs lancing.
    Cordially, if misogynistically, yours
    AnthonyK

  499. #499 Carlie
    March 29, 2009

    Justin, are you really trying to say that a man shouldn’t smile at a woman because she might think he wants to rape her?

    Of course he isn’t. However, if a woman does then engage in conversation with him, and he follows her off at the next stop and rapes her, it’s all her fault because everyone knows you shouldn’t talk to strangers.

    Why do you people feel it’s necessary to be able to tell a woman you think she’s attractive? Why is your opinion so important to share? If you’re trying to strike up a conversation with a woman, there are a million better ways to do it. Bring up the weather, bring up local news, chat about how long the bus is taking to get here. Don’t talk about how hot you think she is. If you don’t want to talk, but just want to compliment her, in god’s name why? What service to humanity do you think you’re providing by sharing your opinion on how she looks? What reason do you have for wanting to do this?

  500. #500 Amanduh
    March 29, 2009

    DC, I think most of us are assuming complimenting a woman’s appearance means (in this conversation) comments about her body or comments of a sexual nature. Someone telling me my shoes are really cool is a little different. They may be attracted to me and trying to initiate conversation in a nonthreatening way, which I respect.

  501. #501 Neander1700
    March 29, 2009

    It must be HORRID to have men tripping over themselves to talk to you, give you compliments, ask if you need assistance, and offer to buy you things. So irritating. It’s like when those mean photographers bother famous celebrities. If I were a filthy-rich rock-star (or your average attractive woman) I certainly would be irritated to have people constantly fawning over me and adoring me.

  502. #502 MH
    March 29, 2009
    “Justin, are you really trying to say that a man shouldn’t smile at a woman because she might think he wants to rape her?”

    No, what I’m asking you is how would you react if you took all these factors into account.

    Errr…:

    Ok, let’s throw in one more factor. Let’s say that there was a high incidence of straight men getting raped.

    Would the dynamic change for you then? Even if it was just “smiles and compliments”? Especially in large numbers?

    Certainly looks as if you are trying to create such a straw-man argument.

  503. #503 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “Certainly looks as if you are trying to create such a straw-man argument.”

    How is it a straw man? It’s a fact that women get raped in large numbers (1 in 4). It’s a fact that women get harassed in public on a regular basis. It’s a fact that there’s a power dynamic between the genders.

    You’re unwilling to admit that your gestures make women uncomfortable and that means you fail at basic empathy.

  504. #504 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “It must be HORRID to have men tripping over themselves to talk to you, give you compliments, ask if you need assistance, and offer to buy you things. So irritating.”

    Certainly creeps me out when people do it to me.

  505. #505 MH
    March 29, 2009

    It must be HORRID to have men tripping over themselves to talk to you, give you compliments, ask if you need assistance, and offer to buy you things. So irritating. It’s like when those mean photographers bother famous celebrities. If I were a filthy-rich rock-star (or your average attractive woman) I certainly would be irritated to have people constantly fawning over me and adoring me.

    Yeah, much worse that people averting their eyes, and distancing themselves from you, and actively avoiding any interaction with you to the point of pretending you don’t even exist.

    I never realised I was so lucky!

  506. #506 D. C. Sessions
    March 29, 2009

    Looking at strangers purely for the physical pleasure it affords one is, indeed, objectification.

    I suspect you’re still overgeneralizing (that, or I profoundly object.)

    Counterexample: babies. Another counterexample: children at play. (Yeah, Aqualung. Get serious.)

    My own personal counterexample: the late Bettie Page. Offhand, I couldn’t tell you what kind of figure she had in all of those photos — I only remember the smile. Damn, what a smile! There was someone who was having fun with being alive and it just glowed out of her. You’d have to be made of stone, male or female, straight or gay, to not feel some empathic happiness just looking at that smile.

    So, since all of this started with a face shot of Sheril: sorry, not quite in Bettie’s league but a very nice smile anyway — I’m glad she’s enjoying life, and seeing that photo lifts my spirits a bit too. It’s good being human and it’s good being able to share a bit of the good parts of being human.

    Thus endeth today’s lesson.

  507. #507 Carlie
    March 29, 2009

    AnthonyK:

    “I guess I must be a misongynist then.If you say so. No point in arguing, is there?”

    AnthonyK, one paragraph later:
    “You are a lying twat.”

    LOL denial FAIL.

  508. #508 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “Yeah, much worse that people averting their eyes, and distancing themselves from you, and actively avoiding any interaction with you to the point of pretending you don’t even exist.”

    A suggestion? Maybe if you didn’t leer at them they wouldn’t react that way?

  509. #509 Amanduh
    March 29, 2009

    It must be HORRID to have men tripping over themselves to talk to you, give you compliments, ask if you need assistance, and offer to buy you things. So irritating.

    Iseewhatyoudidthar.

    Seriously, it is irritating. I am not by any means a supermodel, but when I worked at an office I walked to and from the bus every day, and I’d get catcalls and crap ALL THE TIME. It’s not about admiring women. It’s about demeaning them. It reminds us, every day, that our bodies are supposed to exist for the viewing pleasure of others. Don’t even get me started about asking if we need help. I appreciate assistance when I need it, but it always makes me wonder–would he have helped me if I were a man? What if I weighed 500lbs?

  510. #510 Amanduh
    March 29, 2009

    Who watches stranger’s babies and kids purely for the physical pleasure it gives them? I mean, besides priests.

  511. #511 MH
    March 29, 2009

    A suggestion? Maybe if you didn’t leer at them they wouldn’t react that way?

    Fuck you and your assumptions.

  512. #512 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “Fuck you and your assumptions.”

    I’m sorry, you were so busy defending the practice, I thought you must engage in in on a regular basis. It’s not that big a logical leap.

  513. #513 MAJeff, OM
    March 29, 2009

    Why do you people feel it’s necessary to be able to tell a woman you think she’s attractive? Why is your opinion so important to share?

    Just because it needed to be said again.

  514. #514 AnthonyK
    March 29, 2009

    LOL denial FAIL.
    Who said I denied it? If I am a mysogenist, especially if Pete Rooke says so, so what? I’ll be the good sort of mysogenist then, the sort who actually values all genders and types of people as equal and somehow worthwhile. Except religious lying religious apologists. They can go fuck themselves.

  515. #515 Amanduh
    March 29, 2009

    AnthonyK doesn’t get it, Carlie. :D

  516. #516 Ollybeth
    March 29, 2009

    It must be HORRID to have men tripping over themselves to talk to you, give you compliments, ask if you need assistance, and offer to buy you things. So irritating.

    Well, yeah. Especially when you don’t know what he expects from you in return for his attention. Especially when you know how quickly “Hey there pretty lady” can turn into “Hey, I’m talking to you, bitch” can turn into following you home. Especially when it happens constantly. Especially when you’re 14 years old and he’s in his 30s. Especially when you’re alone and he’s got a gang of friends with him.

    Can people please stop being defensive long enough to hear what we’re trying to tell you?

  517. #517 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “AnthonyK doesn’t get it, Carlie. :D”

    Gotta love life’s little ironies.

    On a different note, I’m curious as to this:
    “As an introvert, I wish it were socially acceptable to wear a light or button which said, “Not interested in social discourse right now.” I’d just as soon not have to deal with the chat of store clerks either.”

    I thought there were things to do that indicated you don’t want to talk to people, like reading, or listening to Ipods… How effective are those at reducing interaction?

  518. #518 Rrr
    March 29, 2009

    dveej, my main point isn’t that looking at someone with sexual desire is wrong, but to blatantly show it is, unless you’re in a setting where this sort of thing is a good thing. People do need to be able to take some weirdness, but the same way that is the responsibility of people being viewed, the (and no, I am not claiming someone can’t both look at others and be looked at) viewers have the responsibility of not doing this too blatantly and disruptively. Looking isn’t as bad as random commenting, too.

    Seconding

    Why do you people feel it’s necessary to be able to tell a woman you think she’s attractive? Why is your opinion so important to share? If you’re trying to strike up a conversation with a woman, there are a million better ways to do it. Bring up the weather, bring up local news, chat about how long the bus is taking to get here. Don’t talk about how hot you think she is. If you don’t want to talk, but just want to compliment her, in god’s name why? What service to humanity do you think you’re providing by sharing your opinion on how she looks? What reason do you have for wanting to do this?

    though I’d like to modify it to gender neutral. I’ve seen it be done by too many women as well. I was at a dinner party with a lot of drunken women once, and when the poor (not bad looking) male caterers/servers walked in with more food they got catcalled and a lot of inappropriate comments as well as some fondling. It was fucking terrifying and disturbing. I would have felt as nauseous no matter if it had been men behaving that horribly inappropriate or women. That group of women had even complained at another meeting about how they were objectified, so the blatant hypocrisy was truly disturbing. They were otherwise interesting and fun company. That event took a big chunk out of my trust for my fellow human beings, which wasn’t that great to begin with because of my childhood. I just wish I had spoken up, but I was a bit drunk being shocked beyond belief at the time, and the party ended shortly after that (the dessert was being served when the by then those intoxicated women behaved that badly).

  519. #519 Carlie
    March 29, 2009

    Can people please stop being defensive long enough to hear what we’re trying to tell you?

    Exactly. Over 500 comments, and it can basically be boiled down to:
    “I like telling women they’re pretty.”
    “They generally don’t like that.”
    “Um…so?”

  520. #520 AnthonyK
    March 29, 2009

    AnthonyK doesn’t get it, Carlie. :D

    Yeah, what are you implying? Who told you?
    Bastards. *sulk*

  521. #521 D. C. Sessions
    March 29, 2009

    Who watches stranger’s babies and kids purely for the physical pleasure it gives them? I mean, besides priests.

    Sorry, I’m not into dualism [1]. Pleasure is pleasure, it’s all biological. Even if you presume dualism, I defy you to tell the difference between someone who’s smiling for “physical pleasure” from someone who’s smiling from “spiritual pleasure.”

    [1] Especially, fer FSM’s sake, on PZ’s blog.

  522. #522 Amanduh
    March 29, 2009

    Umm, I don’t watch other people’s kids for any type of pleasure, physical or otherwise.

  523. #523 Rrr
    March 29, 2009

    I should add, that those waiters were clearly extremely disturbed with and unhappy about the situation, in spite of being mostly if not all straight males (I know this because they were at the same uni edu program as what I was, some the same class).

  524. #524 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “Exactly. Over 500 comments, and it can basically be boiled down to:
    “I like telling women they’re pretty.”
    “They generally don’t like that.”
    “Um…so?””

    LOL I’d like to add a few lines…
    “So stop doing it!”
    “But I like telling women they’re pretty.”
    Repeat ad nauseum

  525. #525 DJ
    March 29, 2009

    @Carlie #520,

    I would disagree just a bit. I think that some here are finding this enlightening. And I also think your earlier observations on obesity were quite intelligent and informative.
    Not all of us here are quite as stubborn as you imply, though I see there are some that are.

  526. #526 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    CatBallou@379: A very good point. But it doesn’t matter so much what is ‘learned’, the instinct is there to learn it, you see? It is very true that it is almost entirely culturally dependent what constitutes a sexual display. Making it more, not less, true that miniskirts are en mass sexual displays, as gender-specific clothing. Even more of a sexual display then nudity, which can, as you point out, be gender neutral.

    If anyones getting the notion, btw, that I think how genders display or react to displays is immutable or unvarying in humans, let me dissuade you. I’m not trying to say anything controversial when I point out that it is the women who are both wearing makeup heels and miniskirts, and wondering why men react to it. I’m not saying that any reaction is thereby blameless. I am saying it is context-dependent as to how normative it is.

    SuzieGirl@380: What is ‘the other way around’? You don’t see people talking about how most men routinely overcome their instincts or don’t make inappropriate comments? Yes, interesting, that. Or did you mean you don’t see much castigating them for having those instincts instead of explanation about how they have those instincts? Well, that’s just the discussion we’re having, I think, not evidence of patriarchy.

    Amanduh@398: Point taken. And I’m seeing a theme. Odd-looking people, fat people, women…, everyone gets to resent being part of how humans are often judgmental, callous, and ignorant. Not to mention boorish. And only white men do this, and we know that because they’re still mostly in charge. Bastards. I mean, the word “boorish” itself just means “white male”, doesn’t it?

    Be advised all that I’m a much stronger feminist than you could possibly imagine based on my comments here. But I am also involuntarily drawn to contrary positions. Also, I’m a white male who is a worst-case scenario for successful mating behavior, so I’ve got my own issues I’m dealing with. ;-)

  527. #527 AnthonyK
    March 29, 2009

    Umm, I don’t watch other people’s kids for any type of pleasure, physical or otherwise.

    No, not in today’s world. But interestingly, when Gerald Durrell set up his zoo in Jersey, he deliberately built the children’s playground next to the gorilla enclosure. Why? Because the gorillas loved to watch the little children play. I thought this was both clever and sweet.

  528. #528 Amanduh
    March 29, 2009

    DC, I get the feeling you are being deliberately difficult. Objectification is looking at another adult and admiring them purely for the pleasure it gives you–usually sexual. Is that clear enough? It doesn’t apply to animals, or children, or actual objects. Usually when someone sees a playing child, their hearts are lightened by how happy the child is, and they may even reminisce about their own childhood. There is a difference between that and staring at a woman’s hips because they attract you sexually.

  529. #529 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “I would disagree just a bit. I think that some here are finding this enlightening. And I also think your earlier observations on obesity were quite intelligent and informative.”

    Rational dissent and inquisitiveness is appreciated and encouraged! :)

  530. #530 AnthonyK
    March 29, 2009

    Umm, I don’t watch other people’s kids for any type of pleasure, physical or otherwise.

    No, not in today’s world. But interestingly, when Gerald Durrell set up his zoo in Jersey, he deliberately built the children’s playground next to the gorilla enclosure. Why? Because the gorillas loved to watch the little children play. I thought this was both clever and sweet.

  531. #531 maureen
    March 29, 2009

    I have news for you, Justin. There are men out there so stupid, so sure that their need for power or sex over-rides all other considerations that no amount of reading, no amount of iPods – one plugged into every orifice – would stop them.

    I remember one particular case. I was running a job club and one of the clients was a woman who designed IT security systems for the financial sector. She had been very successful but because she was also dyslexic producing written material to support her job application was hard work.

    Along comes Mr Prick-on-Wheels. He decides to chat her up and she gives all the negative signals anyone has ever imagined. Then she told him in words of one syllable to get lost. Next day, same scenario and so forth for a couple of weeks during which I told him just what she had been telling him but with no attempt at allowing for his sensitivities. It was clear he had none.

    After two weeks I threw him out of the club and as my body was propelling him through the door he was whining, “but I was only being nice to her, it’s not fair.”

    Most women could tell you a similar tale but, remember, it is not down to us whether you guys ever grow up. You have to take responsibility for that yourselves. Many here have done so – the others are hereby prescribed some of SC’s patent deep introspection.

  532. #532 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “Most women could tell you a similar tale but, remember, it is not down to us whether you guys ever grow up. You have to take responsibility for that yourselves. Many here have done so – the others are hereby prescribed some of SC’s patent deep introspection.”

    You’ll find no disagreement from me there, I was just curious as to how effective those techniques were in reducing unwanted attention. Of course the onus is on the guys to stop acting like jackasses.

  533. #533 Tabby Lavalamp
    March 29, 2009

    At about comment #236, I gave up and skipped to the end so forgive me if this has changed between that post and now, but while it’s difficult to tell through aliases what sex a person is, it seems to me the only people who aren’t seeing the problem here are men. To those men – if all the women in these comments are telling you there’s a problem, could it be that, I don’t know, there may be a problem?
    And no, the problem isn’t who you personally are attracted to (Kel in particular seems to keep coming back to this).
    Look, you’re attracted to who you are attracted to. That’s fine. The problem here isn’t that, it’s about appropriateness of comments in context. IN CONTEXT.
    If I’m buying a new outfit and you tell me I look great it in, wonderful! If I’m meeting you for the first time as a colleague or a peer at a conference, the first thing out of your mouth shouldn’t be how great I look (if we’re old friends, that’s different, and I can’t help if people can’t see how obvious this is).
    Look at it this way – if you were to meet, say, PZ Myers or Richard Dawkins, assuming you don’t get all fan-ish over them, how would you greet them? No matter how attractive you find a woman, greet her the same way!
    Here’s the thing, don’t greet the person as a man or a woman but as a fellow human being.
    Equality – it’s not such a tough concept.

    Pete Rooke wrote:

    On the issue of fat I will just point out that gluttony is a sin and that saphic love is often, in my opinion, nothing more than an excuse for putting on weight.

    Oh Pete. This is why I didn’t vote for you in Survivor. You have earned the scorn heaped upon you and so many of your posts hurt your cause so much that we need to keep you around as an example.

    Kel wrote:

    There would be some aspects where that is true, but I would find it a bit incredulous to think that the women’s magazines that perpetuate these gender roles and push the barbie image of beauty are for the most part run by women. Cosmopolitan has a woman editor-in-chief for example.

    Eagle Forum is run by Phyllis Schlafly and it’s usually the mothers who take their daughters in to have their genitals mutilated. Women buying into the patriarchy isn’t news, just as any traditionally oppressed group having members who try to buy into the oppression isn’t news. Using it as an example that it’s all okee-dokee just doesn’t work, and I’ve seen guys use examples like this to put equal blame on women for misogyny.
    Oddly enough, it’s very rare these days to see people use, for an old example, Amos’n’Andy as a example that blacks are equally responsible for racism, or that African-American stereotypes are hunky-dory.

    It’s no surprise how blind people are to misogyny. One only needs to look back at the recent presidential election you all had. No matter what you think of Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin (and I disagree with particularly Palin on soooooo many issues), they were attacked as much for being women as they were for their platforms. Unless there’s nothing misogynistic about Hillary nutcrackers, Citizens United Not Timid, or “Barbie” Sarah.

    Misogyny is alive and well, and sorry if it bothers anyone that it’s wrong to tell the pretty ladies how beautiful they are when the context is inappropriate.

    Also sorry if this is disjointed and way outdated by the time I hit Post. I’m at work and it’s been so crazy here that it’s taken me a good hour or more just to write this.

  534. #534 Kseniya
    March 29, 2009

    Peewee Rooke wrote:

    On the issue of fat I will just point out that gluttony is a sin and that saphic love is often, in my opinion, nothing more than an excuse for putting on weight.

    Wow! In one master-stroke of a sentence, Rooke incinerates every shred of goodwill he may have accrued to day. Nice work, Pete. Now I remember why I always held you in such low regard. You’re a mean-spirited fool whose capacity for compassion and willingness to learn are non-existent.

  535. #535 AnthonyK
    March 29, 2009

    I think one of the problems is that most men are not regularly subjected to unwanted sexual attention, ever. Consequently, they can’t see how horrible it is. Add to that (sexist again!)a man’s lesser empathy and the vastly greater importance he places on the turgidity of his member, and you have a recipe for just the kind of behaviour women complain about. I don’t think it’s primarily a male thing, but more a my-dick-is-more-important-than-your-dignity kind of thing.

  536. #536 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    Muzz@435:

    How did we get from “Guys, shut the hell up ferfucksake” to “Maybe no one should smile at anyone and women should cover up!” exactly?

    This well illustrated by Amanduh@425:

    If I were to smile at you and compliment you on your looks while, say, the train are you really telling me you would be offended? Would you have the right to be offended?

    Of course I have the right to be offended.

    Amanduh may have the right to be offended when a stranger compliments her looks, but she doesn’t really have a reason. It is true that most of our social interactions are, well, social interactions, not uncontrolled instinctive responses. So it makes some sense that women, finding that the danger of a loss of dignity in any particular interaction is entirely theirs, complain. But Amanduh’s problem with what happens to her internal dialog when a stranger compliments her is, really, a problem for her.

    There is some validity to the right wings complaints about overly “touchy feely” approaches to social ills. I don’t think you’re going to be lowering the number of rapes that happen by ensuring men are too scared to compliment a woman in public.

  537. #537 Carlie
    March 29, 2009

    DJ – thanks. That’s the reason a lot of people keep posting over and over on these threads; not necessarily with hope that the belligerent will stop and think, but that maybe someone reading will either take something to heart, or bring up another angle we haven’t thought about and challenge our assumptions too. I find the creationist-bashing threads very instructional in that regard, too.

    Umm, I don’t watch other people’s kids for any type of pleasure, physical or otherwise.

    I do. I love watching kids – I’m definitely a kid person. But I don’t go up to children and start talking to them, and I don’t flat-out stare at them. We all know that’s a Very Bad thing to do. It’s an interesting parallel to the current discussion.

  538. #538 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “Amanduh may have the right to be offended when a stranger compliments her looks, but she doesn’t really have a reason.”

    According to whom? You? Congratulations, you just performed “Amanduh’s a woman, wtf does she know?” manoeuvre. You must be so proud.

    “There is some validity to the right wings complaints about overly “touchy feely” approaches to social ills.”

    As opposed to the right winger approach of “fuck you I do what I want!”? Seriously?

    “I don’t think you’re going to be lowering the number of rapes that happen by ensuring men are too scared to compliment a woman in public.”

    Way to miss the point. The point is not to make men “afraid” of complimenting women, but to make them see that they’re being jackasses when they feel as if everyone is entitled to their (the man’s) opinion.

    You don’t need to compliment someone in public, and if they feel offended by it, that’s their right and you should respect that. End of story.

  539. #539 AnthonyK
    March 29, 2009

    One other thing that I think women have going for them is that (obviously based on fact) they are not implicated in pedophilia. This makes it much easier for them to get jobs in childcare, or rather, that men find it more difficult, and more suspicion is directed their way. It almost seems as if any man who likes kids and wants to work with them must have a sexual reason for it.
    However – disclosure, I’m a teacher – in reality the situation isn’t quite that bad, it’s just that the shortage of men in teaching – particularly primary teaching – has that as a partial influence on it. The sexualisation of childhood is one of the most horrible things that pedophiles have done to the rest of us.

  540. #540 DJ
    March 29, 2009

    @ tmaxPA #537,

    I’m not sure I understand what you are saying…

    Are you saying that a female doesn’t have reason to be offended by random complements? I would argue that there is ample evidence to suggest otherwise, incidence of rape, stalking, harassment, sexual or otherwise. There is plenty of data out there to put anyone on edge when being confronted by strangers.

    I’m still interested in determining the best way to communicate with strangers in settings such as the bus or subway. Obviously standard conversation starters that you would use with anyone apply… but is it disingenuous to do that when you are trying to determine personality and intellect for the purposes of mate choice?

    I know, totally OT, social interaction is just interesting to me. I interface with strangers all day at my part time job.

  541. #541 MAJeff, OM
    March 29, 2009

    I’m still interested in determining the best way to communicate with strangers in settings such as the bus or subway

    Well, last Friday I used the BSO concert we had just been at–the Prokofiev and Shostakovich were AMAZING!

    (I’m still kicking myself for not getting a phone number)

  542. #542 Tabby Lavalamp
    March 29, 2009

    dveej wrote:

    To be devil’s advocate briefly here: I hear women on this thread saying that they don’t want verbal comments on their attractiveness from strangers. It seems that one way of arranging that is by concealing that attractiveness – and that is what feminists in Islamic countries say when justifying veils and such things.

    So this whole thread basically can be seen as an argument for veiling.

    However, as a gay man, who greatly enjoys looking at men I have never met and whose intellectual credentials, whatever they may be, ALWAYS take a back seat in first impressions to their bodily hotness, I wouldn’t want men to veil up.

    …but if all the straight men knew what we gay guys were thinking, many would probably start a new trend – “boy burkas” or something. My idea – I get 10%!!!

    Just out of curiosity, how many of these straight men you’re checking up do you go up to and compliment on their looks? At a business setting, how often are you introduced to a man and the first thing you to is tell him how attractive he is?
    Or is doing such a thing inappropriate or even possibly dangerous?

  543. #543 Karey
    March 29, 2009

    As a woman who walks to the bus stop and back every day I get cat calls all the time, but I don’t feel demeaned or lessened by these events, as I don’t take mental illness personally. No one who does things like that is really a viable human making a pass at you, they’re just crazy people shooting off at the mouth. Its not very balanced I think to derive meaning about your life from such people.

  544. #544 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    441/442: I don’t have a reference, but IIRC, the actual statistic was that men, on average , think about sex one out of every six minutes. Meaning that the average male thinks about sex a total of three hours out of the day.

    And, yes, human males think about sex A LOT. Human females do, too, but what they think about sex is a lot different from males.

    Two things to bear in mind: we don’t know what the researchers considered ‘sex'; is thinking about hugging thinking about sex? And also too, ‘male’ and ‘female’ aren’t really the exclusive categories we tend to assume they are. For ANY arbitrary collection of gender-significant characteristics, a statistically significant number of the opposite gender (in all other regards) will have that characteristic. This goes for everything from the Y chromosome to wanting to wear high heels.

    Additionally, I’d like to say to Amanduh that for the vast majority of us who have never in all of our lives had a stranger give us a compliment on our appearance, and perhaps for some who have, the experience needn’t be as trying as you make it sound.

    I can’t tell you how it roiled my emotions when my (well kept but not in my mind attractive) aunt told me how nice my ass looked in my dress blues. Not all of it bad. But that’s extra icky, of course, because she’s my aunt. Now, you might say I’d be a better person if it didn’t matter whether she was attractive. I’d dispute your notion of what precisely a ‘person’ was, and whether the issue isn’t whether it matters, but whether or not I admit it matters (or claim it matters.)

    Having opened up that can of worms, I’m wondering if this thread is really going to suck up the entire weekend.

    I’ll check back later. ;-)

  545. #545 karen
    March 29, 2009

    #218 Quidam, they’re two different women. The woman referred to in the current discussion is Sheril Kirshenbaum, the woman in the video at the blog for which you provide a link is named Amber Culbertson-Faegre.

  546. #546 Tabby Lavalamp
    March 29, 2009

    Oops! I messed up the close quote in my last post, and to the best of my knowledge I’ve never been a gay man. My comment starts at “Just out of curiosity…”

  547. #547 Quiet Desperation
    March 29, 2009

    Oh boy! 500+ posts of generalizations. Whee!

    I must be some sort of mutation. I don’t give a gnat’s fart about all this crap, and yet I manage to treat people well. And this is in spite of me being a black hearted misanthrope who laughs with glee at the current economic disaster.

    This is all part of the usual overreaction people have to things that bother them in our pampered Western lives. If someone acts boorish, ignore them. Ganging up on them won’t change anything.

    Yeah, I know I’ll also be ignored because I refuse to accept the holy writs of hand wringing. That’s the price of being in the vanguard.

  548. #548 D. C. Sessions
    March 29, 2009

    DC, I get the feeling you are being deliberately difficult.

    No, I’m deliberately pointing out that human society is difficult. Pretending that you can boil down the chaotic consequences of mammalian evolution, adaptation to an artificial environment radically different from that our ancestors evolved in, self-awareness, etc. etc. — to boil that all down to black and white generalizations is no more reasonable than pretending that you can boil it all down to a few words on stone tablets.

    Objectification is looking at another adult and admiring them purely for the pleasure it gives you–usually sexual.

    That’s sad. Seriously.

    I can’t speak for you, but I like looking at people: old, young, male, female, fat, skinny, tall, short — they’re human. John Donne and all that — I look at them and feel connected. Hang out at the park some spring day and watch people tossing a Frisbee around — it’s fun to watch because they’re having fun doing it and we’re social animals who get reward from identifying with members of the troop (or pack, or …)

    I truly do not want to live in a world where it’s socially unacceptable to visually participate in being human.

    Is that clear enough? It doesn’t apply to animals, or children, or actual objects. Usually when someone sees a playing child, their hearts are lightened by how happy the child is, and they may even reminisce about their own childhood.

    And you think that seeing an old man enjoying a game of chess in the sun can’t give us the same innocent pleasure? That’s sad.

    There is a difference between that and staring at a woman’s hips because they attract you sexually.

    Whether you believe it or not, it’s not always about sex — or at least, not any more than other things are. Evolutionary reductionism isn’t a very useful model for social ethics.

  549. #549 uncle frogy
    March 29, 2009

    I have not read the whole thread yet but Imust say I am thinking of how this one has a similarity to the other one concerning atheism, academia and IQ. That there are many different characteristics that you can use to differentiated people they all seem to overlap each other.
    Even if you are “perfectly well adjusted” does not mean that anyone else is. Nor does it preclude you from having a hidden agenda even one you are not consciously aware of. I myself have to watch out for my own reflexive responses as I would assume do the others I encounter and I try not to take it personally. Does this mean that we should not engage in this kind of discussion? Absolutely not! How are we ever going to learn anything with out asking questions especially of ourselves?
    sex in the west does seem to be problematic I would assume it is similarly a problem elsewhere also. Does that not seem amazing that something that is that important could be at the same time so disruptive?

  550. #550 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “Yeah, I know I’ll also be ignored because I refuse to accept the holy writs of hand wringing. That’s the price of being in the vanguard.”

    Like congratulations that you don’t care about the well being of others. You’re so morally superior. Here’s a cookie. It’s almond flavoured.

  551. #551 AnthonyK
    March 29, 2009

    Oops! I messed up the close quote in my last post, and to the best of my knowledge I’ve never been a gay man
    Yeah, blockquote fail is the reason so many people seem to say odd or silly things here! (not a snark) Intersesting one though.
    I wonder, do gay men, and straight women, look for the same things in a man’s body? Are gay pinups the ones women also go for?

  552. #552 DJ
    March 29, 2009

    @ Quiet Desperation # 548,
    This comment thread is certainly not a waste of time. I agree there is much generalization, but in this case maybe that simplifies the discussion? This is a science blog, it is perfectly reasonable that people would try to understand the root causes of boorish behavior here. I’ll grant you that it is a disorganized round-about way of getting to the meat of the issue, but it’s a comment thread after all.

    It’s not an overreaction to care about respecting fellow human beings of the opposite sex. I’m glad you treat people well and I hope you respect them. The two don’t always go together.

  553. #553 Quiet Desperation
    March 29, 2009

    Like congratulations that you don’t care about the well being of others.

    Thanks! It took a lot of work, both on my part in deconstructing the plastic “moralities” of our modern world, and the part of many endless millions of others acting like complete tools day in and day out.

    You’re so morally superior.

    No, I just don’t give a damn anymore. Sorry.

    Here’s a cookie. It’s almond flavoured.

    Aw, was that an arsenic reference? So mean.

  554. #554 Tabby Lavalamp
    March 29, 2009

    AnthonyK wrote:

    Are gay pinups the ones women also go for?

    I know I’ve see pinups of otherwise attractive men that held no interest for me because they seemed – and I can’t think of any way to explain why unless they’re with another man – gay. Now I’ve been unfortunately attracted to gay men before (in that unreciprocated attraction is always unforunate), but there is something about the pictures that say this man isn’t out to attract me.

  555. #555 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    Cyanide actually but at least you got the point.

  556. #556 D. C. Sessions
    March 29, 2009

    Here’s a cookie. It’s almond flavoured.


    Aw, was that an arsenic reference? So mean.

    Science FAIL.

  557. #557 Quiet Desperation
    March 29, 2009

    This comment thread is certainly not a waste of time. I agree there is much generalization, but in this case maybe that simplifies the discussion?

    I didn’t say it was waste of time. I just find it an amusing symptom of our oh so modern culture. It’s probably a good thing that we can wring hands about this stuff and instead of where our next meal is coming from or if the local strongman’s (strongpersons?) enforcers will take a fancy to a family member.

    This is a science blog, it is perfectly reasonable that people would try to understand the root causes of boorish behavior here. I’ll grant you that it is a disorganized round-about way of getting to the meat of the issue, but it’s a comment thread after all.

    OK.

    It’s not an overreaction to care about respecting fellow human beings of the opposite sex. I’m glad you treat people well and I hope you respect them. The two don’t always go together.

    I try. That’s all anyone can do. That’s why I think I’m a mutant. :-) I just do it. I don’t need to read or write treatises on it. Kind of like the theme from the book “Everything I Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten”. It’s all so obvious. Yeah, some don’t get it, and there’s reasons they don’t, whatever they are, and little is going to change that other than time and the slow crawl of humanity’s sociological advancement.

  558. #558 AnthonyK
    March 29, 2009

    explanation – almond = (possible) cyanide, not arsenic. Incidentally, is it possible to get potassium cyanide from almonds?

  559. #559 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “Incidentally, is it possible to get potassium cyanide from almonds?”

    No, but you can get HCN from them.

    “Bitter almonds may yield from 4?9 mg of hydrogen cyanide per almond.[10][11] Extract of bitter almond was once used medicinally, but even in small doses effects are severe and in larger doses can be deadly; the cyanide must be removed before consumption.[12]“

  560. #560 Quiet_Desperation
    March 29, 2009

    @Justin: Ah, right, cyanide. So your point that I deserve to be poisoned for having an opinion you don’t like? What a perfect human being you are, Justin. I mean that.

  561. #561 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “Yeah, some don’t get it, and there’s reasons they don’t, whatever they are, and little is going to change that other than time and the slow crawl of humanity’s sociological advancement.”

    Look I don’t mean to be rude (my attempt at cyberpoisoning notwithstanding) but how exactly do you think that society advances? Were we just sitting around one day and were like “Oh, black people are no longer slaves. Fancy that!”? Or, “hmm when did we let women vote? Oh well.”? No it had to be fought for long and hard. This is merely part of the gruntwork.

  562. #562 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “Ah, right, cyanide. So your point that I deserve to be poisoned for having an opinion you don’t like? What a perfect human being you are, Justin. I mean that.”

    Is that handwringing I see? Is that only justified when you personally are offended? How lovely.

  563. #563 Quiet_Desperation
    March 29, 2009

    Is that handwringing I see?

    Not really, no. Perhaps I should have referred to you as a *typical* human being. There is nothing particularly extraordinary about your comment wishing harm upon another for an opinion. I haven’t wrung hands over that aspect of humanity in 25 years.

    Is that only justified when you personally are offended? How lovely.

    LOL! Whatever, Justin. You’re in just another person living in a finely tuned reality distortion bubble. I gave up trying to pierce those long ago due to the lack of a sufficiently powerful particle accelerator. Have a good life, kid. Steer clear of suspicious cookies.

  564. #564 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “Not really, no. Perhaps I should have referred to you as a *typical* human being. There is nothing particularly extraordinary about your comment wishing harm upon another for an opinion. I haven’t wrung hands over that aspect of humanity in 25 years.”

    Yes clearly it didn’t affect you in any way since you actually decided to comment on it instead of laugh it off as the joke it was meant to bed. Hilarious, truly an individual you are. Just like everyone else! :)

    “LOL! Whatever, Justin. You’re in just another person living in a finely tuned reality distortion bubble.”

    Do explain, I would LOVE to hear how I’m distorting reality!

    “I gave up trying to pierce those long ago due to the lack of a sufficiently powerful particle accelerator. Have a good life, kid. Steer clear of suspicious cookies.”

    Oh yawn. Here’s a ladder, use it to get over yourself!

  565. #565 Quiet_Desperation
    March 29, 2009

    No it had to be fought for long and hard. This is merely part of the gruntwork.

    I never said fighting wasn’t part of the slow crawl. But there *is* a difference between enslavement/voting rights and idiots making boorish comments. The big problems can be legislated away with enough will on the part of the people. The others, well, lacking mind control rays, all that’s left is education and time. You savvy? You could start passing laws against certain speech, but is that a road you really want to go down? I don’t, and I’ll fight long and hard against that sort of law.

  566. #566 AnthonyK
    March 29, 2009

    the cyanide must be removed before consumption

    I like that.
    “Kids, you’ve eaten all the nuts!”
    “Hey Anthony – did you remember to remove the cyanide?” “What? I thought that was your job!”
    And poisoned child mayhem amusingly ensues…

  567. #567 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    As for me wishing you death, I cannot believe I have to explain this joke.

    Offering someone an almond flavoured cookie: Not a threat, I’m not advocating you eat the cookie, nor do I say that it’s poisoned or that I want to you die. Do what you want with it. The joke is in the possibility of it being poisoned.

    Contrast this to: “You suck, people like you should be shot.”
    A common refrain from some right wingers I come into contact with. I hope you can appreciate the difference.

  568. #568 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “The others, well, lacking mind control rays, all that’s left is education and time. You savvy?”

    Social conventions are every bit as binding as law (for most people). When we change the social conventions we change the way people behave.

    How do you think we change social conventions? By education yes, but by voicing our outrage and our opinions in the public sphere. This is part of that.

  569. #569 Quiet_Desperation
    March 29, 2009

    Yes clearly it didn’t affect you in any way since you actually decided to comment on it instead of laugh it off as the joke it was meant to bed. Hilarious, truly an individual you are. Just like everyone else! :)

    No, just bored. It was this or go do yard work with a mildly tweaked lower back. :-)

    Do explain, I would LOVE to hear how I’m distorting reality!

    Well, everyone distorts reality. It’s part of being human. And I’m just yankin your chain, bro. You *did* try to cyberpoison me after all. ;-) Retaliation is not hand wringing. Winston Churchill said that, I think. :) Or Stalin. Someone like that.

    Oh yawn. Here’s a ladder, use it to get over yourself!

    Ladder? I need a rocket for that!

  570. #570 Amanduh
    March 29, 2009

    DC, that’s exactly what I mean. “Objectification” is generally used to describe viewing others for sexual pleasure with no thought put into their person or how they may react to your stares. Watching an old man play chess in a park and enjoying how happy he is or watching a beautiful woman read in a library and wanting to meet her is NOT objectification and I never said it was. In these instances you are considering the whole person and respecting them, not just mentally undressing them and/or yelling “nice rack!”

    Do you understand the difference? Or will it take several more reiterations?

  571. #571 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “Well, everyone distorts reality. It’s part of being human. And I’m just yankin your chain, bro. You *did* try to cyberpoison me after all. ;-) Retaliation is not hand wringing. Winston Churchill said that, I think. :) Or Stalin. Someone like that.”

    I could make the argument that voicing one’s outrage against inappropriate comments from strangers counts as retaliation. :P

  572. #572 Quiet_Desperation
    March 29, 2009

    A common refrain from some right wingers I come into contact with. I hope you can appreciate the difference.

    OK. I’m not a right winger. Or a left winger. Or a winger of any kind. I didn’t even like the band Winger.

    Well, now I’m just getting weird. Maybe I should go do that yard work. The Desperation Compound doesn’t clean itself.

  573. #573 Rick R
    March 29, 2009

    AnthonyK @ 552- “I wonder, do gay men, and straight women, look for the same things in a man’s body? Are gay pinups the ones women also go for?”

    Speaking as a gay man, I would say body is only one thing (and not necessarily the most important factor) that I notice or enjoy looking at. And like many people here I’m sure, I am constantly surprised by finding someone attractive I wouldn’t have thought myself interested in.
    That being said, I’ve always been interested in unusual types. For example, if you’re under 35, you aren’t on my radar.
    Do gay men and straight women find the same qualities in men attractive? Features and whatnot? To make a generalization, I’d say no. The differences would probably split along gender lines. Gay men have a lot more in common with their straight counterparts than they do with women.
    All of the women I know who are fans of the TV show “Lost” become weak in the knees over Sawyer. Me? Matthew Fox. Any day of the week.
    But my sister can’t get enough of Desmond. So much for generalities.

    This conversation has been fascinating for me to read, because I have never in my life gone up to a strange man in public and commented on his looks (outside of a social arena encircled with dayglo tape clearly marked “gay”). The idea is inconceivable.

    It’s like I live in a different world than y’all do.

  574. #574 Tabby Lavalamp
    March 29, 2009

    All of the women I know who are fans of the TV show “Lost” become weak in the knees over Sawyer. Me? Matthew Fox. Any day of the week.
    But my sister can’t get enough of Desmond. So much for generalities.

    Your sister isn’t the only one. I certainly appreciate Desmond very, VERY much.

    Yet I still wouldn’t go up to him and say, “You are a very attractive man.” I would let him know I appreciate his work on Lost though, which I do.

  575. #575 AnthonyK
    March 29, 2009

    (outside of a social arena encircled with dayglo tape clearly marked “gay”)

    Oh is that were all the gay men are? My bad. I thought they were just crimescenes ;O

  576. #576 D. C. Sessions
    March 29, 2009

    DC, that’s exactly what I mean. “Objectification” is generally used to describe viewing others for sexual pleasure with no thought put into their person or how they may react to your stares.

    You’re moving the goalposts — for instance, you’re going back and forth on whether it applies to children; likewise, there are lots of ways to “objectify” people that don’t involve sex. Slavery comes to mind, for instance. However, the immediate issue is that you’re turning “objectification” into a purely subjective “sin of the heart” matter and making it impossible to judge behaviorally.

    Now, maybe it’s my upbringing sneaking in here but one of the first things I can remember firing my BS detectors was Christianity’s inclusion of stray impulses as “sins” that would get you roasted forever. Smelled a lot like being set up to fail, that.

    Watching an old man play chess in a park and enjoying how happy he is or watching a beautiful woman read in a library and wanting to meet her is NOT objectification and I never said it was.

    Yes, as a matter of fact you did: “Objectification is looking at another adult and admiring them purely for the pleasure it gives you.”

    In these instances you are considering the whole person and respecting them, not just mentally undressing them and/or yelling “nice rack!”

    Die gedanken sind frei.

    If I’m walking down a sidewalk and pass you going the other way and I smile at you, is that a Bad Thing? Bear in mind that you have no objective way of knowing whether:

    * It’s a beautiful day,
    * The outfit you’re wearing reminds me of someone I know and like,
    * I’m not really smiling at you; I’m just high as a kite,
    * I just got a honking bonus for hard work well done,
    * You remind me of a long-ago lover and bring back happy memories,
    * I just received word that The Ex-Wife From Hell was in a bad wreck,
    * You make a nice picture against the background I see behind you,
    * I always smile at everyone I meet just because it makes the world a better place,
    * I really am undressing you mentally,
    * My daughter just received her PhD,
    * It’s not you I’m undressing, it’s the little kid behind you …
    * etc.

    All you have is the smile. How does it make you feel?

  577. #577 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 29, 2009

    On the issue of fat I will just point out that gluttony is a sin and that saphic love is often, in my opinion, nothing more than an excuse for putting on weight.

    * Isn’t “gluttony” supposed to mean “excess” and/or “addiction”?
    * What do you mean by “sap[p]hic love”? Surely not what I think you mean!?! [Edit: well, see below. <sigh>]
    * Who in the First World would like to put on weight?

    <headshake>

    Amunduh,

    If I were to smile at you and compliment you on your looks while, say, the train are you really telling me you would be offended?

    It would mean ? unambiguously ? that you’re seriously interested in starting a relationship with her. So, if that’s not the case, don’t do it.

    Why else would you do it after all? Why else would you say such private thoughts aloud?

    Imagine the bond with another person who is facing you, watching you and communicating with you. And then finding that this attention is unwanted. So I probably agree with you in the end.

    Nooooo. Imagine someone taking a photo of you and then wanking while looking at that picture. In your presence, and knowing that you sit in front of them.

    That’s why such attention is unwanted. The kind of constant stare described by Amanduh basically just skips the photo and the laying of hands, but all the rest is the same as in my analogy.

    Sartre perhaps overstates the case but one certainly does feel as if they are, in some small way, experiencing the other’s consciousness when making eye contact. This must be the greatest deterrence against philosophical solipsism.

    I don’t think there is any argument against solipsism, except for the principle of parsimony. Not that I care, though ? if I’m the solipsist, my imagination is consistent enough that science still works :-)

    I really do believe this to be the case. Google “lesbian chicken.” the first two links are videos on YouTube of fat people indulging in the aforementioned activities.

    <headdesk>
    <headdesk>
    <headdesk>
    <headdesk>
    <headdesk>
    <headdesk>

    I’ll try to do this slowly and calmly. (HARGNNNNN!!!!!)

    Pete, you’ve made an inductive inference: you took a sample of two and generalized from it. But induction doesn’t work. It’s unscientific.

    Also…

    * Why did you google that?
    * Why on the planet do you tell us that you googled that? I mean, I don’t care about your, er, preferences, but why don’t you want to keep them private?!?
    * So fat lesbians exist. Fine. How on the planet do you get from that premise to the conclusion that female homosexuality is an excuse for wanting to be fat?!?!?

    You’re a very strange person, Pete. You must have had a thoroughly disturbing childhood.

    Sometimes I wonder if you should seek professional help.

    Oh, BTW, why “chicken”? I thought the term was “chick”? Or did you actually mean to look for what comment 469 suggests?

    …This being Pete, maybe he did actually google for a chicken recipe. :-| What do I know. But in that case, Pete, you should have told us that, in order to avoid misunderstandings.

  578. #578 Kel
    March 29, 2009

    If only getting fat meant turning into a lesbian, instead I’m still stuck in this man-body. And I’m with David, who the fuck actually wants to get fat in modern society?

  579. #579 AnthonyK
    March 29, 2009

    A while ago, at Christmas, I complimented a female colleague, and friend, saying simply that she was looking well. I though no more about it. A few months later, the next time I saw her, she told me that as a result of my remark, she had run off, spent the next two hours crying in her car, and had been so upset that she hadn’t been able to speak to me since.

    What do you make of that? There was an explanation, kind of logical, but whatever it was, a perfectly innocent remark, meant nicely, truthfully, and without a hint of trying to pull her, ended up causing such a distressing misunderstanding.
    I guess that’s a reason for being so careful about what you say – though in this case, it really was not my fault.

  580. #580 Tercel
    March 29, 2009

    Yes, you definitely missed the point. It is not about finding some women attractive. It is about seeing women as ONLY things to marry, and look at, and nothing more.

    Of course, that’s never really the argument, is it? Most compliments about an attractive woman are not in any way coupled to the implication that their attractiveness makes them less valuable in other ways. Most of the time, nobody is claiming that they are “ONLY things to marry, and look at, and nothing more.” When they are, please, be angry about it. But when a compliment is just a compliment, it is completely unreasonable to pretend otherwise simply to justify some good ‘ol feigned outrage.

  581. #581 thalarctos
    March 29, 2009

    Pete, if you’re ever up for banishment, Survivor-style, again, I really hope you’ll play the “lesbian chicken” card in your bid for immunity. Just that, no long-winded insane pseudo-rationalizations of anything else. I’ll vote for you to stay on that basis, just for the fully-unconscious entertainment value you provide.

    DC, you’re the one who’s moving the goalposts. No one’s saying you can’t think something, objectification or not, although overtly moving the goalposts from 1) women clearly objecting to actions to 2) claiming they’re objecting to supposed thought-crimes is a well-worn anti-feminist trope.

    To be very clear, it’s the mistaken assumption that random female strangers care to hear about every thought a male has about their attractiveness, or lack thereof, that this post is about. Think whatever you want to; who cares? But if you act on the thought, you’re taking a real risk.

    As someone pointed out above, you don’t tell people about it every time you feel the urge to defecate (at least, I hope not!), which is also a perfectly normal, natural desire. Most people manage to learn this growing up; if some guys don’t, they’re the ones with the problem. I mean, really, in what universe is “mmmmm……wo-man” an appropriate reaction to a scientist writing on scientific issues?

    I am encouraged, though, by how many males get it nowadays, compared to when the women’s movement first emerged. If I listed all the male commenters here whose comments I look forward to reading, knowing that I can trust them not to make me wade through their misogyny, I’d inevitably omit some accidentally. So I’ll just say I think there’s critical mass here, with PZ and like-minded male allies, and strong female commenters, which it’s why it’s one of the best places on the Web to hang out, and let it stand at that.

  582. #582 thalarctos
    March 29, 2009

    I mean, really, in what universe is “mmmmm……wo-man” an appropriate reaction to a scientist writing on scientific issues?

    Appropriate public reaction, I mean. Like I said, as long as you just think it, who cares? It’s this compulsion to share one’s private thoughts, regardless of whether or not the sharee wants to hear them, that is problematic.

  583. #583 Falyne
    March 29, 2009

    Guys, look, let’s be rational about this. You can disagree with our hypotheses as to why, but all evidence clearly indicates that when women receive comments on our appearance, positive or negative, from either total strangers or professional colleagues, we often have a negative emotional reaction. In light of this objective fact, regardless of why it is fact, you have three options:

    1.) Deny reality, and continue to make random unwanted comments. This runs a greater-than-normal chance of chronic podophagy and looking like a douche.

    2.) Declare reality to be silly, and argue that women should not have the reaction that they do. This runs a greater-than-normal chance of looking like a condescending asshole.

    3.) Accept reality, and modify your behavior to not provoke negative reactions. This runs a greater-than-normal chance of looking like a decent fellow.

    The ball is in your court, gentlemen.

  584. #584 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 29, 2009

    I can’t tell you how it roiled my emotions when my [...] aunt told me how nice my ass looked in my dress blues.

    Wow! That’s creepy. :-o

    This is all part of the usual overreaction people have to things that bother them in our pampered Western lives. If someone acts boorish, ignore them. Ganging up on them won’t change anything.

    If you had actually read those 500 comments instead of just complaining about them, or if you had ever witnessed anyone being bullied in school, you wouldn’t have stupidly ignored the possibility of them ganging up on you.

  585. #585 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 29, 2009

    A while ago, at Christmas, I complimented a female colleague, and friend, saying simply that she was looking well. I though no more about it. A few months later, the next time I saw her, she told me that as a result of my remark, she had run off, spent the next two hours crying in her car, and had been so upset that she hadn’t been able to speak to me since.

    What do you make of that?

    :-o

    On the one hand, I really do think you shouldn’t have said it. Telling someone you’re romantically and/or sexually interested in them, when you actually aren’t, is just stupid*; and if you really are, then… that’s not something I have any experience in, but in that case you should probably start the conversation with something else, so as to make sure she likes you when you get to the topic.

    * Yes, as I’ve mentioned near the beginning of this thread, it was once required by politeness. I’d have come across as impossibly rude 100 years ago. I suppose this stupid, stupid attitude still lingers on in some people.

    On the other hand, crying for two hours nonstop is, well, not normal. I suppose your colleague 1) got several emotions at once, causing her to cry, and 2) is one of those few people who are capable of crying for hours. I remember when my sister was prevented (by a closed door) from exacting revenge on my brother and cried for three hours without interruption.

    Did she go on to explain why she had cried that much?

  586. #586 Nanu Nanu
    March 29, 2009

    David #586:
    “Telling someone you’re romantically and/or sexually interested in them”
    I read it as a casual “you’re looking well/healthy” sort of thing you’d say to anyone regardless of gender.

  587. #587 windy
    March 29, 2009

    * So fat lesbians exist. Fine.

    Not in Pete’s video, they are straight girls playing “lesbian chicken”. They are not even pretending to be lesbian. Another fail!

  588. #588 DJ
    March 29, 2009

    I guess I should get back to the other things I need to get done today. Hopefully the conversation here is fruitful.

    Guess I’ll check in later if possible.

  589. #589 Carlie
    March 29, 2009

    I would have wondered at the response to the “you’re looking great” comment too, until I met people for whom that really is a terribly triggering statement. One has battled anorexia for years, and if she hears it when she’s eating she assumes they’re lying to cover up how fat she looks, and if she hears it when she’s in anorexic mode it will spur her to try even harder not to eat because it’s working so well. Another was battling cancer, felt like all hell, and was stunned with horror that people thought her broken, emaciated, hair-falling-out body was something to be complimented on and striven for. It’s so hard to know what might be going on with someone else. That’s one reason why if you don’t know them at all, any comments on their appearance are unwelcome. Someone you know, but not well enough to know that, though, is trickier. I think in that case you aren’t at fault, but then know better not to say it again.

  590. #590 Amanduh
    March 29, 2009

    DC, these are all quoted from me re: objectification:

    comments about her body or comments of a sexual nature

    looking at another adult and admiring them purely for the pleasure it gives you–usually sexual

    viewing others for sexual pleasure with no thought put into their person or how they may react to your stares

    DC, I have made myself extremely clear that “objectification”–IN THIS THREAD/CONVERSATION–refers only to the SEXUAL OBJECTIFICATION OF ANOTHER ADULT HUMAN.

    Smile at me all you want, douchebag. Just don’t get offended if I don’t smile back. I have a feeling you’re one of those NiceGuys(TM) who get pissy when a woman doesn’t respond to their compliments/advances, cause you were just being Nice and what a bitch!

    I’m really, really done trying to explain this. Guys, why risk pissing off a woman you may have romantic interest in by complimenting her in a way she might think is creepy? Why compliment a woman on her looks if you aren’t interested in them in that way? Why why why must you impose your opinion on people who don’t know you and didn’t ask for it?

  591. #591 gypsytag
    March 29, 2009

    You people are all idiots.

  592. #592 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    Not for nothing, but Amanduh@457 is again, making sense but losing points. What, young males acting rudely? What better to wound her tender ego.

    It reminds us, every day, that our bodies are supposed to exist for the viewing pleasure of others.

    Let us remind you you’re on Pharyngula, where we are forced to take a cold hard look at the truth of what you say. Not that your body is supposed to exist for the viewing pleasure of others; but that its form, and the very fact that humans perceive such a thing as attractiveness or beauty, does in a very real way exist to, well, attract. Whether it is “supposed to” is a mind game you’re playing. Frequent confabulation of your social unease at catcalls in public and your general anxiety about being physically sexually assaulted points out that you don’t want safety. You want dignity.

    And, yeah, more social dignity for all women. Even the ones who wear makeup and high heels.

    But it all, unfortunately, has the ring of kabuki theater, social interaction-style. When all is said and done, she’s right, of course, being creepy is, well, creepy, and a lot of women are rightfully concerned about their physical safety in a way that most men simply can’t imagine.

    But wanting everyone to be positively Vulcan in our non-mammalness just isn’t going to work.

  593. #593 D. C. Sessions
    March 29, 2009
    If I were to smile at you and compliment you on your looks while, say, the train are you really telling me you would be offended?

    It would mean ? unambiguously ? that you’re seriously interested in starting a relationship with her. So, if that’s not the case, don’t do it.

    Oh, dear. Does that mean that all of those conversations I’ve observed where women are complimenting each other on hair, nails, clothing, etc. were actually lesbian flirting?

    Dang. That’s really stressing me out, now, over all the times I’ve admired some of my colleagues’ new hairstyles or new clothing acquisitions. What am I going to tell $INDIAN_COLLEAGUE when she comes back next month with a load of new outfits?

  594. #594 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    Tabby@534:

    And no, the problem isn’t who you personally are attracted to (Kel in particular seems to keep coming back to this).

    Actually, it is. As the long bits in the latter 400’s show, where any particular woman’s line of harassment is has far more to do with the context than anything else. Had Mr. Boorish from #532 managed to overcome her resistance, it would’ve been a romantic story about true love instead of a creepy story about an egotistical man.

    But of course women resist; men want sex all the time, and they can’t afford it, even if they’d want it too.

    I gotta tell you, if I were attractive and constantly harassed on the street by strangers, well intentioned or not, I’d figure out a way to look less attractive, and I wouldn’t blame the hoards of inept admirers and would-be rapists, I’d blame myself for not having the fortitude to stand up to it. But then, I was raised to think that I should think that way because I am a male. I’m sorry, NOT EVERY URGE TO TAKE CARE OF AND PROTECT WOMEN IS MISOGYNY. You might think, you might insist, that it inherently hurts your dignity to be “objectified”. But another thing I was taught was that nobody can take your dignity involuntarily.

  595. #595 Tabby Lavalamp
    March 29, 2009

    Had Mr. Boorish from #532 managed to overcome her resistance, it would’ve been a romantic story about true love instead of a creepy story about an egotistical man.

    That brings up an issue with romantic comedies and why I tend to avoid so many of them. What’s seen as “romantic” in them would be stalker behaviour in the real world.

    I gotta tell you, if I were attractive and constantly harassed on the street by strangers, well intentioned or not, I’d figure out a way to look less attractive, and I wouldn’t blame the hoards of inept admirers and would-be rapists, I’d blame myself for not having the fortitude to stand up to it.

    You’re doing a good job of blaming women who are just too darned attractive for not uglying up enough to avoid unwanted attention. You’re coming just short of suggesting burqas here.

    I’m sorry, NOT EVERY URGE TO TAKE CARE OF AND PROTECT WOMEN IS MISOGYNY.

    I’m sorry, but unless the woman in question is related to you, yes it is. It assumes that women need protecting and taking care of. Note: This isn’t the same as coming across a person, any person, male or female, in need and helping them out.

    You might think, you might insist, that it inherently hurts your dignity to be “objectified”. But another thing I was taught was that nobody can take your dignity involuntarily.

    Like the dignity of those in human pyramids at Abu Ghraib? I’m sorry, but that’s just bullshit.

  596. #596 AnthonyK
    March 29, 2009

    The solution as to why the woman cried for 2 hours when I told her that I thought she was looking nice was that she mistook the intention of my remark.
    The background what that in a horrible series of events at my place of work, this woman had been someone who had said things which led to a colleague, and friend of mine being sacked. Some people, though not me, blamed her for this – I thought she was honest but mistaken. It also seemed, or could seem, as if she had profited from his departure by taking over some of his responsibilities. I’d been off work, so had no influence or input on any of this.
    So, when I said “Hi, Sally, nice to see you, you’re looking well”, what she heard was something like : “oh there you are, you fucking bitch, you’re looking happy now that you’ve shafted Tom and got his job.”
    Hence her tears. (I gave her a huge hug and kiss when I found out – we are still friends).
    I really couldn’t possibly have seen it coming. And yes, with a friend or colleague – even a man – I would still compliment them if I thought they deserved it.
    I am left, having read this interesting thread, wondering how one should go about getting sex with a beautiful stranger who fancies you.
    Paying for it is one option, though being rather old-fashioned I find this less romantic.

  597. #597 maureen
    March 29, 2009

    Surely, tmaxPA, the truth about 532 is that every word he spoke, every move he tried made it less likely that she would ever speak to him, let alone melt romantically into his arms.

    But he had no way of receiving, let alone processing, feedback – a major deficiency in human relationships, don’t you think.

    Even faced with two very angry and very articulate women he was looking for a way to prove to himself that one more boorish gesture would reveal the beautiful truth – that he was irresistible!

  598. #598 Marc Abian
    March 29, 2009

    NOT EVERY URGE TO TAKE CARE OF AND PROTECT WOMEN IS MISOGYNY

    Huh? No one said anything about protecting anyone, unless you think telling someone they look nice counts as protecting them

    nobody can take your dignity involuntarily.

    So? It doesn’t have to strip them of their dignity to be a disrespectful/unwelcome comment.

    if I were attractive and constantly harassed on the street by strangers, well intentioned or not, I’d figure out a way to look less attractive

    Blaming the victim.

    men want sex all the time

    No.

  599. #599 D. C. Sessions
    March 29, 2009

    I am left, having read this interesting thread, wondering how one should go about getting sex with a beautiful stranger who fancies you.

    Being rather old-fashioned myself, I would suggest modifying the “stranger” part before (long before) introducing the “sex” part.

  600. #600 thalarctos
    March 29, 2009

    That brings up an issue with romantic comedies and why I tend to avoid so many of them. What’s seen as “romantic” in them would be stalker behaviour in the real world.

    QTF. Music, too–I love the music of Édith Piaf and Billie Holiday, but goddamn if I would ever live my life the way the protagonists of their songs do!

  601. #601 thalarctos
    March 29, 2009

    QTF

    Or, QFT as that should have been, if I weren’t so simultaneously sleep-deprived, hypercaffeinated, and on deadline…

  602. #602 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    I think tmaxPA is going for route 1 AND 2 simultaneously from Falyne’s succinct post @ #584

    It takes a certain amount of flair to both deny reality AND claim reality to be silly.

    Oh, and men do not want sex all the time. We are not dogs, and even if we did, there’s a thing that humans possess called rationality to help us behave in ways that are not rife with douchebaggery.

  603. #603 Lee Picton
    March 29, 2009

    Beauty is such a problematic gift. A young woman I have known since she was a child, got a full scholarship to Cal Tech. (She since has gotten her PhD from MIT). Beautiful, stacked, an athlete, and brainy, she was deeply resented by the typical CalTech nerds who proceded to make her life miserable. She ended up shaving her head and dressing in the ugliest clothing possible in a futile attempt to deflect attention from herself. She was never accepted, even when she got the full ride to MIT, surely an indication of superior intellectual talent. In the end, she dropped out of the rat race, married, and is now having doing volunteer work and being a homemaker.

  604. #604 Marc Abian
    March 29, 2009

    Ok you broads, I have a question.

    Are you upset when a person you know compliments you on a new haircut? In my experience, women I know well are very happy to get the compliment and quite unhappy that if I don’t notice.

  605. #605 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    Justin:

    Way to miss the point.

    Who’s point? Your point? I’ve been mostly ignoring your comments, they don’t really add much to the discussion.

    You don’t need to compliment someone in public, and if they feel offended by it, that’s their right and you should respect that. End of story.

    Here we’ve got a problem. Because “it offends me” is simply not enough reason for someone to stop doing something. Ever. I no more respect it when you say it then I do when the religionists say it. And I think you need to examine just how parallel your attitude is.

  606. #606 Tsu Dho Nimh
    March 29, 2009

    Falyne @584 said:

    all evidence clearly indicates that when women receive comments on our appearance, positive or negative, from either total strangers or professional colleagues, we often have a negative emotional reaction.

    You are not entitled to speak for “women” in general, and I don’t recall giving you permission to speak for me. Speak for yourself, not “women”, “womyn”, or me.

    I have no problem with compliments about my hair, clothing, shoes, etc. Nor do I immediately leap the Grand Canyon to arrive at the conclusion they are only interested in “one thing”, as #578 assumes. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. I accept it as a compliment. I accept that my grace and beauty has brought ephemeral joy to their dreary meaningless day.

    If they offer me an insultingly personal comment, it’s my choice to accept it or not. As the Buddha said, “He who is angered by the words of a fool is a bigger fool.” And if they make unwanted physical advances, their dangly bits get to meet the distal end of my femur.

    Amanduh @591 said:

    Why compliment a woman on her looks if you aren’t interested in them in that way?

    It is YOUR assumption that a compliment means the guy wants to have sex with you.

    Let’s examine the assumption: Maybe the guy is a photographer and sees color and light and likes the way light reflects off your hair. Maybe he’s in the fashion business and thinks you did something interesting with a scarf. Maybe he was brought up to believe that saying complimentary things to people would make them feel good.

    Maybe you could try not assuming that douchebags (and that’s a strange insult to apply to a male, isn’t it) are more common than pleasant male humans.

    By assuming that all intentions are innocent until prioven otherwise, I have met many interesting people, and only had to flatten a few of them.

  607. #607 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “Who’s point? Your point? I’ve been mostly ignoring your comments, they don’t really add much to the discussion.”

    THE point.

    And I’m so glad you could turn your attention toward me at long last. I’m ever so grateful.

    “Here we’ve got a problem. Because “it offends me” is simply not enough reason for someone to stop doing something. Ever. I no more respect it when you say it then I do when the religionists say it. And I think you need to examine just how parallel your attitude is.”

    Hilarious. Ok so that means I can randomly insult you at any time of my choosing, or make you feel uncomfortable at whim? What do I care if you’re offended? That’s some grade a douchebaggery.

    There’s a difference between criticizing someone’s belief system and doing something that you know makes them uncomfortable on a a personal level just because you can.

    It’s a shame you can’t see that. I feel sorry for you.

  608. #608 Lee Picton
    March 29, 2009

    When the spawn was dating using match.com (he had a very hectic career schedule), he made the acquaintance of an interesting woman through the emails they exchanged. However, she refused to send him a picture, but he didn’t care, she sounded so great anyway. When they finally met, he reported later, “Mom, I think *I* was the blind date!.” She turned out to be supermodel beautiful, a woman who had only heard all her life how staggeringly beautiful she was, she learned to distrust advances of any kind. They ended up married (and divorced a few years later, but that’s another story). On at least one occasion, when they were out together, a stranger got between them just to tell her she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. The spawn allowed her to handle it herself which endeared him to her, and set the stage for an interesting courtship.

  609. #609 AnthonyK
    March 29, 2009

    So, DC you’re saying that “Hello darling, what do you think of this” is best not said on the first meeting?

    Possibly old, but a would-be Lothario had decided on the best chat up line for his dancing partner. Pulling her close he said “How do you like your eggs in the morning?”
    Pushing him off she said: “Unfertilised, you bastard!”

  610. #610 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    DJ@541:

    I’m not sure I understand what you are saying…

    Sounds like we’re making progress. ;-)

    Are you saying that a female doesn’t have reason to be offended by random complements?

    Yes, I am. They have the right to be upset, they don’t have the right to be offended. Or some other fine hair splitting to assure you I’m not being extreme.

    I would argue that there is ample evidence to suggest otherwise, incidence of rape, stalking, harassment, sexual or otherwise.

    And I would dispute that this is evidence which pertains to things that are not those things. Being offended and being harassed are not the same thing, and being sexually forward and sexual assault are not the same thing.

    I’m again thinking back to someone posting about how vulnerable a FOURTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL would be BY HERSELF with a crowd of men. I’m willing to be so non-progressive as to say that this is a question of parenting, and that does not require me to hold the men blameless should anything happen. You might fantasize about a human society where the most innocent of waifs can walk in the most disadvantaged of neighborhoods without a thought to their safety. I don’t.

  611. #611 Tsu Dho Nimh
    March 29, 2009

    Please see my comment about the Buddha.

    It’s only an insult if I decide to take you seriously … and most people who run on insults aren’t worth the time it takes to care.

    I don’t give people that sort of power over my thoughts and feelings.

  612. #612 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “Yes, I am. They have the right to be upset, they don’t have the right to be offended. Or some other fine hair splitting to assure you I’m not being extreme.”

    Gosh that reality, SO SILLY hahah! I’ll just do what I want. Hey you there! You, the one crying after being catcalled for two blocks! Suck it up you silly waif!

  613. #613 Falyne
    March 29, 2009

    I’m not in any way speaking for women in general, or you in the specific. I’m saying it’s evidentially clear that women often have negative reactions. YOU may not, but many women do. Ultimately, I’m arguing that, given that fact, it’s generally in a man’s best interest not to comment on a woman’s looks in a professional (or random stranger on the street) context. That’s all.

  614. #614 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “I’m again thinking back to someone posting about how vulnerable a FOURTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL would be BY HERSELF with a crowd of men.”

    When walking home from school all young girls must have a male escort or at least a burqa…

    Is that what you’re saying tmaxPA? Sure sounds like it!

  615. #615 Tassie Devil
    March 29, 2009

    High Society:

    “that’s a lovely dress – do you think I could talk her out of it?”

    That said, when I have been to formal balls, it is pretty much de rigeur for a man to tell all his female friends that they are looking absolutely gorgeous.

    Context, guys, context.

  616. #616 D. C. Sessions
    March 29, 2009

    “Here we’ve got a problem. Because “it offends me” is simply not enough reason for someone to stop doing something. Ever. I no more respect it when you say it then I do when the religionists say it. And I think you need to examine just how parallel your attitude is.”

    Hilarious. Ok so that means I can randomly insult you at any time of my choosing, or make you feel uncomfortable at whim? What do I care if you’re offended? That’s some grade a douchebaggery.

    Nice try at putting words in someone else’s keyboard. I’ll write this slowly so you might be able to follow it:

    No, you shouldn’t (“can’t” is not on the table) “randomly insult [someone]” because that’s rude and generally disruptive in a civil society. Your insult is under your control.

    Your victim’s being offended, however, is not. In fact, it may well be a total minefield, because offense is a product of hir history, tastes, etc. Which is why “not being offended” is not privileged and “not being groped” is — there are conventions against the latter, but there isn’t even a conceivable possibility of a convention against the former.

    Now, you may argue that you don’t mean “not offended” that way, that you actually mean something more precise (such as, “not being crudely propositioned by a total stranger.”) If so, then I would strongly suggest that you acquire the skills necessary to write what you actually mean rather than leave it up to others to divine your intent — because expecting others to divine your benign intent is exactly where this all started and it FUCKING DOESN’T WORK.

  617. #617 Falyne
    March 29, 2009

    Uh, yeah, if you’re saying that it’s a “question of parenting” if a teenager is allowed to walk by herself anywhere a pack of assholes would form, that’s…. more than a little bit problematic. In the first place, packs of assholes harass female passerby in the NICEST of neighborhoods, too, and harassment can lead to credibly threatening behavior anywhere, too.

    Hell, I live in fucking gentrified Chelsea, in NYC. The majority of males around aren’t interested in me (or any other woman) at all. There’s a college dorm with a 24-hour guard on my block, and a precinct the next over. I’m 24, not small, and could handle quite a bit of a fight. And yet, some dude on the street stands behind me catcalling as I’m searching for the key to my building at 2 am? That’s not “words will never hurt me” time, that’s “freaking scary” time.

  618. #618 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “No, you shouldn’t (“can’t” is not on the table) “randomly insult [someone]” because that’s rude and generally disruptive in a civil society. Your insult is under your control.”

    And you shouldn’t randomly compliment someone you have no business to compliment because it’s rude and generally disruptive to civil society. That was the point I was trying to make.

    “Your victim’s being offended, however, is not. In fact, it may well be a total minefield, because offense is a product of hir history, tastes, etc. Which is why “not being offended” is not privileged and “not being groped” is — there are conventions against the latter, but there isn’t even a conceivable possibility of a convention against the former.”

    So wouldn’t it be best to err on the side of keeping the peace?

    “If so, then I would strongly suggest that you acquire the skills necessary to write what you actually mean rather than leave it up to others to divine your intent”

    I’m sorry, my intent was plainly clear had you read my comments from before.. “because expecting others to divine your benign intent is exactly where this all started and it FUCKING DOESN’T WORK.”

    EXACTLY so stop making remarks about their appearance to total strangers! They don’t know what you’re after so STFU!

  619. #619 Sven DiMilo
    March 29, 2009

    Speaking as the loving parent of an almost-13-year-old girl, this thread is scary and depressing.

  620. #620 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “And you shouldn’t randomly compliment someone you have no business to compliment because it’s rude and generally disruptive to civil society. That was the point I was trying to make.”

    That should be “compliment based on their looks”.

    One more thing. If you don’t understand what I’m writing, you should ask to clarify instead of flying off the handle. I mean gosh, tmaxPA gets tonnes of do overs and I get called out for one slightly (and in my opinion not very) unclear post?

  621. #621 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    thalarctos@582:

    I mean, really, in what universe is “mmmmm……wo-man” an appropriate reaction to a scientist writing on scientific issues?

    The one with the Internets. I consider the commenter to have been doing a personal service, in a way, by alerting Sheril to the facts about a) who has access to the internet, which is to say everyone, not just smart and/or polite people, b) the great degree to which every civilized male masks their inner thoughts. The real point is, if this were a scientist writing on scientific issues in a context of science, she should have continued her policy of not posting a picture. She’s smart. She knows that people actually do behave differently depending on how you look. She wanted to ‘express her true self’ or some such. Well, mission accomplished. She’s a blogger writing about science, not a scientist seeking peer review.

    Again, the complaint seems to be that it is unfair and unjust that women are “judged on their looks” (which is to say how men [and other women] react to them varies based on how closely they approximate an imaginary ideal of an attractive woman.) Well, we didn’t design the system that way. Nobody did. That is, however unfortunate or unfair you may consider it, the way the system evolved. Sure you can say that it shouldn’t be normative in social interactions. But you have very little chance of that having any effect unless you at the same time seek to understand it as an adaptive behavior, rather than focusing only on how it subjectively makes you feel.

    Seriously. Can we get a break, please, from the “if you don’t condemn catcalls then you justify rape”? If your argument rests on the idea that men should be able to act rationally, you’re going to have to do the same.

    Another commenter thought it ironic that such a central part of our existence as sex should be so complicated. That’s like saying it is ironic that water is wet. What, somehow things that are central to our existence get more simple?

  622. #622 Carlie
    March 29, 2009

    Justin beat me to it, but it’s worth repeating:

    “because expecting others to divine your benign intent is exactly where this all started and it FUCKING DOESN’T WORK.”

    Which is EXACTLY WHY YOU SHOULDN’T COMMENT ON A STRANGER’S BODY.

  623. #623 Tsu Dho Nimh
    March 29, 2009

    #618 some dude on the street stands behind me catcalling as I’m searching for the key to my building at 2 am? That’s not “words will never hurt me” time, that’s “freaking scary” time.

    I’m friendly, not naive or stupid. My self defense teacher said it’s a good idea to make sure you have the key in your hand BEFORE you get to the door, so there is no searching.

    And have your can of bear spray in your left hand. “Bear spray” can be any annoying eye-irritant spray you wish that is legal in NY, from Windex to the real grizzly-deterring brands with a 40-foot range

  624. #624 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “But you have very little chance of that having any effect unless you at the same time seek to understand it as an adaptive behavior, rather than focusing only on how it subjectively makes you feel.”

    An adaptive behaviour to what exactly? And how would you rationalize this in a context other than how it makes the victims feel? Hmmmm

    Ok I have one, you’re infringing on the person’s security of person whenever you make an unwanted attempt at a pass or whatever you want to call it. If someone doesn’t invite you into their space, you don’t belong there. Can you understand that?

  625. #625 Carlie
    March 29, 2009

    The real point is, if this were a scientist writing on scientific issues in a context of science, she should have continued her policy of not posting a picture.

    Yeah, dammit. If she wanted to act like a scientist, she should have worn a burqa. Did you think perhaps she posted her picture so that other scientists might better recognize her at meetings and such? That networking is a part of being a scientist, and she’s trying to use her science blog to do so? That she was trying to simply give a face to put with her name?

  626. #626 Sniper
    March 29, 2009

    If your argument rests on the idea that men should be able to act rationally, you’re going to have to do the same.

    But it’s feminists who hate men. Right. If men can’t control their basic impulses, perhaps they shouldn’t be making decisions in the public sphere.

  627. #627 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    Oh noes Carlie! By calling tmaxPA out on his misogyny you’re no longer “adding to the discussion”. And will be ignored! A fate worse than death! *gasp*

  628. #628 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    “The ball is in your court, gentlemen.”

    The problem is, you are not talking to the gentlemen who display this behavior. I’ve always lamented the nature of things just as much as you. The difference, I think, is how much we believe we can change the nature of things.

    I remember when I was a teenager. I am a gentleman, always have been. So I never did what many if not most other boys were doing. Which is to constantly pressure and cajole every female available to engage in some form of sexual behavior. At least as far as the anecdotal evidence of my experience goes, the results are conclusive. Only boys who pestered got some. And girls who kept coming back for more pestering were the ones giving it to them. I found the boys’ pestering obnoxious. I found the girls’ refusal to avoid the boys scary.

    And so again, I say, although I do not care how a rape victim was dressed or how she behaved or what part of town she was in, to the victim of some simple boorish degradation by calling attention to her sexual attractiveness, I ask, were you in heels and mascara?

  629. #629 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “I remember when I was a teenager. I am a gentleman, always have been. So I never did what many if not most other boys were doing. Which is to constantly pressure and cajole every female available to engage in some form of sexual behavior. At least as far as the anecdotal evidence of my experience goes, the results are conclusive. Only boys who pestered got some.”

    So you’re basing your entire life’s outlook toward women based on what happened in HIGH SCHOOL? That is messed up. Like seriously. You are aware that people for the most part don’t act like children when they grow up right?

  630. #630 Carlie
    March 29, 2009

    to the victim of some simple boorish degradation by calling attention to her sexual attractiveness, I ask, were you in heels and mascara?

    tmaxPA, you are a total douche. And I very rarely trot out that word. 630 comments, and you willfully still have no clue. I wonder if anything could possibly ever get through to you.

  631. #631 www.10ch.org
    March 29, 2009

    @#629 tmaxPA
    “to the victim of some simple boorish degradation by calling attention to her sexual attractiveness, I ask, were you in heels and mascara?”
    There you go. You think that all attempt to show any “sexual attractiveness” is an attempt to attract simple boorish degradation? I think not. When men dress nicely, for example, they are not inviting boorish degradation. Perhaps they want to be seen well, and appear nice, but they are not inviting boorish degradation.

  632. #632 Sniper
    March 29, 2009

    to the victim of some simple boorish degradation by calling attention to her sexual attractiveness, I ask, were you in heels and mascara?

    There is a hidden tax on women in the workforce, especially corporate or public situations. Women are expected to wear mascara and heels to look “professional”. Indeed, in some places a full manicure and jewelry is also expected. Also, for women there’s no professional equivalent of the business casual comfort of khakis and a button-down.

    Ah, what’s the point. Anyone who thinks women bring harassment on themselves by wearing eye makeup is hopeless.

  633. #633 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    maureen@598:

    the truth is that your recollection of the event seems far more egotistical than his would have been. This isn’t about how annoyed you were, or how successful he was in this attempt . But how many attempts he makes, and how successful any one of them is. It seems you may be claiming he was “egotistical” mostly because he wasn’t so emotionally fragile he gave up prematurely. You may claim it was for-ordained that he wouldn’t win her over and it become a real-life romantic comedy ending. Neither he nor you had no way of knowing that then or now, so as far as I can see, his behavior was entirely “appropriate”, from a social perspective.

    We are all allowed to be just a little bit boorish. It’s called “the pursuit of happiness”.

  634. #634 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    I love how tmaxPA doesn’t debate anyone actually here, but talks to people far up in the thread, as if he would like to get the last word in.

  635. #635 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “It seems you may be claiming he was “egotistical” mostly because he wasn’t so emotionally fragile he gave up prematurely. You may claim it was for-ordained that he wouldn’t win her over and it become a real-life romantic comedy ending. Neither he nor you had no way of knowing that then or now, so as far as I can see, his behavior was entirely “appropriate”, from a social perspective.”

    No means no and GET LOST means GET LOST! The male’s behaviour in that story was entirely inappropriate. The fact that you don’t take a woman’s opinion at face value says a lot.

  636. #636 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    Justin;

    You are obviously trying to be more than a little bit annoying. Get over yourself.

    “Oh, and men do not want sex all the time. We are not dogs, and even if we did, there’s a thing that humans possess called rationality to help us behave in ways that are not rife with douchebaggery.”

    Sorry, buddy. From personal experience, and widely confirmed evidence, we are dogs who want sex all the time. As long as it is with constantly new women. I look forward to the day when you stop behaving in ways that are rife with douchebaggery, but I’m not going to pretend or lie about the fact that men are male apes. For that matter, women are female apes. All of your higher faculties and all of our civilization and all of our values and morality can fade to dust or be vaporized in an instant, the only thing that is really important to our biological existence is that we keep fucking.

    All adolescents, male and female both equally, are always going to do everything in their power, without even necessarily knowing they’re doing it, the instinct is so strong, to fuck each other. There is no society we will ever build which will prevent it. There is literally nothing in this universe that will deter us from getting our freak on. So please, forgive me for not taking too seriously how offended some women get when they get hit on. Welcome to the planet. And really, don’t expect sympathy from me when you mock someone and claim they’re too self-involved because they were persistent in chasing after the wrong chick.

  637. #637 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    Ok so that means I can randomly insult you at any time of my choosing, or make you feel uncomfortable at whim?

    You can try. Doesn’t look like you could pull it off, but best of luck.

    What do I care if you’re offended? That’s some grade a douchebaggery.

    That’s just what I was thinking.

  638. #638 Carlie
    March 29, 2009

    Ok, I’m calling whatever the misogynist douchebag equivalent of a Poe is on tmaxPA. No one could actually believe what he just wrote.

  639. #639 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “You are obviously trying to be more than a little bit annoying. Get over yourself.

    Why do you care what I do? You don’t have the right to be not annoyed ;). Besides your outright refusal to debate anyone who can actually answer you back in real time is telling.

    “Sorry, buddy. From personal experience, and widely confirmed evidence, we are dogs who want sex all the time. As long as it is with constantly new women. I look forward to the day when you stop behaving in ways that are rife with rward to the day when you stop behaving in ways that are rife with douchebaggery, but I’m not going to pretend or lie about the fact that men are male apes.”

    Speaking as a male, I call bullshit. And second, if men are just “apes” we should treat the gender as such. What a self hating way to view yourself, as nothing better than an animal. For shame.

    “[T]he only thing that is really important to our biological existence is that we keep fucking.”

    Our biological existence is not our entire existence. We have higher reasoning faculties for a reason!

    “All adolescents, male and female both equally, are always going to do everything in their power, without even necessarily knowing they’re doing it, the instinct is so strong, to fuck each other.”

    Yes and?

    “So please, forgive me for not taking too seriously how offended some women get when they get hit on. Welcome to the planet. And really, don’t expect sympathy from me when you mock someone and claim they’re too self-involved because they were persistent in chasing after the wrong chick.”

    Oh boo hoo that poor woman getting creeped out when I really just want to hump her leg!

    If someone is not into it, you walk away. If you can’t get that VERY SIMPLE RULE through your thick skull I don’t know what hope you have of staying out of prison. USE YOUR BRAIN AND NOT YOUR CROTCH FOR ONCE!

  640. #640 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “You can try. Doesn’t look like you could pull it off, but best of luck.”

    You’re right, one has to be smart enough to understand that one is being insulted…

  641. #641 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    Justin; #615

    Still trying really hard to be a prick, I see.

    Am I to suppose you are advocating that fourteen year old girls be encouraged to go off by themselves to meet groups of men?

  642. #642 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “Still trying really hard to be a prick, I see.”
    Well I’m still just a pale shadow compared to you, but hey we all need role models!

    “Am I to suppose you are advocating that fourteen year old girls be encouraged to go off by themselves to meet groups of men?”

    No, and I never said that. However, a 14 yr old girl who is walking to school should not be subject to catcalls or “compliments” on her looks from men old enough to be her father.

  643. #643 MAJeff, OM
    March 29, 2009

    disingenuous misogynists are such fun!

  644. #644 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 29, 2009

    disingenuous misogynists are such fun!

    They don’t have a clue, and couldn’t find one with maps and GPS systems.

  645. #645 thalarctos
    March 29, 2009
    I mean, really, in what universe is “mmmmm……wo-man” an appropriate reaction to a scientist writing on scientific issues?

    The one with the Internets.

    Res ipsa loquitur: the thing speaks for itself.

  646. #646 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 29, 2009

    I read it as a casual “you’re looking well/healthy” sort of thing you’d say to anyone regardless of gender.

    Would you? I wouldn’t unless asked or unless there’s another very specific reason (like the person was recently ill and probably wonders, or something). I wouldn’t even get the idea that I could.

    But then, I’m capable of talking to people for an hour without asking for their name, because I’m just not interested in it… :-|

    Oh, dear. Does that mean that all of those conversations I’ve observed where women are complimenting each other on hair, nails, clothing, etc. were actually lesbian flirting?

    That looks like a remnant of Victorian-style politeness. See near the start of this thread.

    men want sex all the time

    Speak for yourself.

    Anyone who thinks women bring harassment on themselves by wearing eye makeup is hopeless.

    And, frankly, a bit strange. Though still less kinky than the foot fetish. (Heels? Seriously? Is that where you look? I mean, the 19th century is over, you can see a lady’s ankle now…)

  647. #647 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    If someone doesn’t invite you into their space, you don’t belong there. Can you understand that?

    When “their space” is in public, we have a conflict. No, sorry, PEOPLE ARE ALLOWED TO SPEAK TO YOU OUTDOORS. They do NOT need your permission. It doesn’t MATTER if you are a frightened vulnerable practically paranoid 14 year-old rape survivor or not. We simply don’t live in the kind of EMOTIONALLY safe world you wish we did, Justin.

  648. #648 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “When “their space” is in public, we have a conflict. No, sorry, PEOPLE ARE ALLOWED TO SPEAK TO YOU OUTDOORS. They do NOT need your permission. It doesn’t MATTER if you are a frightened vulnerable practically paranoid 14 year-old rape survivor or not. We simply don’t live in the kind of EMOTIONALLY safe world you wish we did, Justin.”

    And when you tell them to fuck off or get lost then they have the imperative to do so. From your previous posts it seems you don’t believe that obvious fact.

  649. #649 blueelm
    March 29, 2009

    Akiko @ 327 I just want to say I feel you. I work in an area that is male dominated and I fell into it accidentally because I happen to be good at it. I also happen to be female and considered attractive. In fact, I used to model. At the risk of being attacked here I’m going to say to all the “ugly” girls on here that having a random and often disgusting man grope you and inform you that he’d like to put his penis in you doesn’t feel any better than being called ugly. I’ve had it both ways because before I was pretty I was ugly, and I’ll be ugly again when I still have a good 40 or more years to live. IT’S PART OF THE SAME SICK DYNAMIC.

    Sorry for the all caps, but it really has to be said. It’s all part of what amounts to a fucking disease within our culture IMO. And yes, we cut off almost half our potential at the root by trapping each upcoming generation of women in this bullshit.

  650. #650 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    “Yeah, dammit. If she wanted to act like a scientist, she should have worn a burqa.”

    It is not my understanding that scientists commonly wear burqa. Nor do they submit head shots with their papers for peer review.

  651. #651 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 29, 2009

    What a self hating way to view yourself, as nothing better than an animal.

    I actually disagree with that one, even though the rest of your comment bears repeating till tmaxPA grows some empathy.

  652. #652 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “It is not my understanding that scientists commonly wear burqa. Nor do they submit head shots with their papers for peer review.”

    No but they have their pictures freely available, especially if they’re teaching or working for certain companies. Do the males typically receive this attention? No.

    Dishonesty much?

  653. #653 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    “I actually disagree with that one, even though the rest of your comment bears repeating till tmaxPA grows some empathy.”

    I can see where you’re coming from actually… An interesting discussion to be had at least ;).

    Anyhow it will have to wait. I have to work tomorrow and I need to be up early. Someone take over for me!

    *tag!*

  654. #654 Carlie
    March 29, 2009

    Nor do they submit head shots with their papers for peer review.

    No, but most of them do have to have pictures on their university web page. And depending on how good of a sport they are, they might get suckered into being in promo pictures for the college. Since scientists work with cool-looking lab stuff and it’s a small school, my other female colleague and I get tapped for this kind of thing fairly frequently. Does that mean our appearance is up for grabs and we should put up with whatever shitty comments people want to throw at us?

    Ooo, Comic Sans. I wish I knew how to code in Comic Sans for tmaxPA quoting.

  655. #655 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    Oh sorry for the link in my name. I’m using my friend’s computer and her stuff is saved the browser… oh well.

  656. #656 D. C. Sessions
    March 29, 2009

    It is not my understanding that scientists commonly wear burqa. Nor do they submit head shots with their papers for peer review.

    Overgeneralization. At least one presenter at ISSCC was an Iranian woman, and authors for the JSSC typically have pictures of their faces published along with their personal summaries.

    Customs, patently, vary.

  657. #657 blueelm
    March 29, 2009

    Note to all the guys worrying about compliments. A compliment is a compliment. It should be personal and genuine and you should be familiar enough with the person to make it, or keep it distant enough not to be creepy. A good rule of thumb to follow is to ask yourself if it is something you would appreciate being complimented on. A good compliment is usually one that is made about something the other person has done, a choice they made, or something that they clearly care about.

    As far as looks go, this is why “Your new haircut is pretty” is a compliment, but “You’re so pretty, why aren’t you married?” is not. “I like those glasses” is pretty neutral, bonus points for actually saying something descriptive about the frames. “You remind me of Kim Kardashian (giggles or pounds fist with a colleague)” is not. Most importantly looking down at a female colleague then looking back up at a male one with a grin and saying “good choice!” is not complimentary.

    Secondly it isn’t what one single person says, but rather the cumulative effect.

  658. #658 thalarctos
    March 29, 2009

    Does that mean our appearance is up for grabs and we should put up with whatever shitty comments people want to throw at us?

    Some people clearly think so. I know two female undergrads in the same research group who turned down offers of grad study at a certain institute of technology because of the reputation that particular department has for sexual harassment of female students, and for having a chair that doesn’t particularly care about cracking down on it.

    Upthread, the analogy of a tax on female professionals was drawn. I think that analogy is a very good description of what happens when female students have to choose how much sexual harassment they’re willing to put up with as a condition of graduate study. Some fight back, and others decide the struggle’s not worth it.

    Guys like tmaxPA either don’t know what toll this crap takes, or they don’t care. At some point, though, determined ignorance becomes indistinguishable from malice, so it really doesn’t matter.

  659. #659 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    “If your argument rests on the idea that men should be able to act rationally, you’re going to have to do the same.”

    But it’s feminists who hate men. Right.

    When did I say that?

    If men can’t control their basic impulses, perhaps they shouldn’t be making decisions in the public sphere.

    That would make sense only if you assume that women can. I wouldn’t expect this to be any more gender-specific than intelligence or musical talent. Still, being able to resist blurting out something inappropriate based on the strongest of biological motivations doesn’t seem on the same order as organizing governments or industry.

    To Justin @630: ah, dear, sweet Justin. Poor, sweet, naive, stupid Justin. Just because I used an anecdote from my past to illustrate a point, doesn’t mean I base my undestanding of the issue solely on that experience. M’kay?

    And to Carlie @631: I’m not sure what you think is supposed to ‘get through to me’ or what clue you think I’m missing. I think you stopped rationally considering my words because of something I said THAT YOU TOOK WRONG. Go back and read them all from the beginning.

    I wish I could say I am shocked to be called a misogynist on this thread but I’ve been posting on the Intertoob thingies way too long to have not been well aware that was going to happen. It is way too easy to read any explanation of the extent as normative, which is to say you think I’m somehow not in favor of men acting civilized, or that I’m a misogynist because I will insist that miniskirts are a sexual display.

    Some of you people really need to grow up.

  660. #660 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    Justin@635: Just trying to catch up from all the piling on everyone’s doing. Yowza, what fun.

    Sniper: “Anyone who thinks women bring harassment on themselves by wearing eye makeup is hopeless.”

    The discussion way up thread (perhaps you have forgotten, or perhaps you really don’t care and just want to get your dander up over ANYTHING I say, no matter what it is, now that you’ve identified me as teh bad guy) was over how context-sensitive the term ‘harassment’ is.

  661. #661 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 29, 2009

    Carlie, the good Rev. BDC explains it here.

  662. #662 BMS
    March 29, 2009

    Anyone call bingo yet?

  663. #663 blueelm
    March 29, 2009

    “All adolescents, male and female both equally, are always going to do everything in their power, without even necessarily knowing they’re doing it, the instinct is so strong, to fuck each other.”

    What the fuck are you talking about? I spent my HS years wearing multiple button down sweaters, hair in a bun, and old-lady shoes in the hopes that I would be judged on my academic merits. I wanted to be as far as possible from the “in pictures” me and the last thing on my mind was sex. All I wanted was to be taken seriously as an artist, and liked as a person. It’s not all sex, dude. There’s a lot more to life and some of us are even aware of it. Besides, there’s something seriously wrong with saying all this kind of person or all that kind of person. It’s pretty much bound to be wrong!

  664. #664 Justin
    March 29, 2009

    I couldn’t resist popping back to check in on the thread and I find this:

    “To Justin @630: ah, dear, sweet Justin. Poor, sweet, naive, stupid Justin. Just because I used an anecdote from my past to illustrate a point, doesn’t mean I base my undestanding of the issue solely on that experience. M’kay?”

    Anecdotal evidence is not proof of any trends or a reliable source for information.

    FAIL

  665. #665 tmaxPA
    March 29, 2009

    OK, fine, that’s enough. You’ve all degenerated into meaningless babbling. I wish I was only unsurprised and disappointed, but the fact is that I am angry.

    “Guys like tmaxPA either don’t know what toll this crap takes, or they don’t care. ”

    You haven’t a clue. Fuck you and the horse you and your jackass friends rode in on. I’ve never said a single god-damned word that should give any reasonable person justification for saying that, and I’ve refuted it specifically in several comments. Go back and read it.

    I hope mynabird got her damn books home OK. See you freaks tomorrow.

  666. #666 windy
    March 29, 2009

    I wish I could say I am shocked to be called a misogynist on this thread but I’ve been posting on the Intertoob thingies way too long to have not been well aware that was going to happen.

    So you knew what was going to happen and you flaunted your opinions anyway… you opinion-slut in an internet-miniskirt!

  667. #667 Sniper
    March 29, 2009

    Anecdotal evidence is not proof of any trends or a reliable source for information.You haven’t a clue. Fuck you and the horse you and your jackass friends rode in on.

    You have no right to be offended.

  668. #668 Carlie
    March 29, 2009

    I find it hard to believe that anyone could be quite that self-delusional. I almost wish tmaxPA hadn’t flounced off to bed or we could see if poking him more would make him even more incoherent.

    Thanks for the link, Nerd!

  669. #669 bugland
    March 29, 2009

    Has anyone else noticed how obsessed tmaxPA seems to be with 14-year-old girls?

  670. #670 D. C. Sessions
    March 29, 2009

    Guys like tmaxPA either don’t know what toll this crap takes, or they don’t care.

    Tactical advice: don’t attempt to read minds. It’s a rathole.

    Concentrate on behavior: “Too damn many guys, like several here, aren’t helping any.” The “aren’t helping any” is ambiguous but (usefully) implies that they may be actively part of the problem.

  671. #671 BMS
    March 29, 2009
  672. #672 thalarctos
    March 29, 2009
    “Guys like tmaxPA either don’t know what toll this crap takes, or they don’t care. “

    You haven’t a clue. Fuck you and the horse you and your jackass friends rode in on. I’ve never said a single god-damned word that should give any reasonable person justification for saying that, and I’ve refuted it specifically in several comments. Go back and read it.

    You know, most people who don’t want to be thought of as misogynistic wouldn’t defend sexist comments at a scientist’s professional site as “appropriate”.

    YMMV, of course.

  673. #673 plum grenville
    March 29, 2009

    tmaxpa @ 622:

    Again, the complaint seems to be that it is unfair and unjust that women are “judged on their looks” (which is to say how men [and other women] react to them varies based on how closely they approximate an imaginary ideal of an attractive woman.) Well, we didn’t design the system that way. Nobody did. That is, however unfortunate or unfair you may consider it, the way the system evolved. Sure you can say that it shouldn’t be normative in social interactions. But you have very little chance of that having any effect unless you at the same time seek to understand it as an adaptive behavior, rather than focusing only on how it subjectively makes you feel.

    tmaxpa, who exactly do you think it is who doesn’t understand that men’s tendency to judge women by their looks ultimately derives from evolution? What more do we need to understand about the subject before we exercise our tendencies for empathy and moral reasoning and self control (also derived from evolution) to create a society more to our liking?

  674. #674 Brachychiton
    March 29, 2009

    Has anyone else noticed that TmaxPA is an anagram of the brand name of a feminine hygiene product? Do we have Prince Charles at the keyboard?

  675. #675 prismatic, so prismatic
    March 29, 2009

    heh, menassgill would be a more appropriate anagrammatic nym, under the circumstances.

  676. #676 Akiko
    March 30, 2009

    I have never met any hetereosexual white man who was afraid of being raped or killed by someone who made a comment about their looks or looked at them in a lustful manner. The only people I know who have felt they might be hurt or killed only because of how they look are women and minorities. That is why allowing sexism is so dangerous. It is similar to looking the other way when encountering racism. If people are not corrected they will take it further. It never ends well. 1 in 3 women and girls in this country are victims of sexual assault at some time in their lives. Even the elderly women. This is a real problem and the solution starts with each of us not allowing the “boys will be boys” attitude. Pornography has emasculated our men in this country turnign them into perpetual teenagers peeking through the keyhole and dehumanized our women. And the corproations who push are laughing all the way to the bank.

  677. #677 toth
    March 30, 2009

    I have to wonder if she knows what “misogynistic” means. It doesn’t mean “superficial compliments”.

  678. #678 blueelm
    March 30, 2009

    This is what we are afraid of when men “compliment” us. Personally, my heart starts beating. What if he follows me to my car? Who will believe me even if I live? If some one from work rapes me I’ll lose my job if I say anything. I’ll never be seen for myself again. Not all men are like that, but the men who are do enough damage to keep us all half paralyzed with fear. The little “compliments” are just reminders of why that fear is real. They don’t seem significant until you consider the bigger picture. We aren’t typical animals, a big part of our success comes from controlling our impulses.

  679. #679 Jeanette
    March 30, 2009

    This thread is finally slowing down? Popular topic.

    I like receiving compliments on my appearance… if they are in fact compliments (vulgarities are not), they’re given in social situations, and they’re not coming from complete strangers. Inappropriate comments can be threatening or demeaning. Is that really hard to figure out? Isn’t that just common sense?

    About Pete Rooke: I think that guy’s sometimes amusing. In this thread he’s gone on an old-farty fashion police rant, which was just misogynistic and annoying. But he’s also used language that suggests that women in his world are into pony play, and done a fair job of promoting lesbianism. Strange and interesting.

  680. #680 blueelm
    March 30, 2009

    Jeanette: Pete fascinates me. I’m a little afraid of him, but I feel better knowing we don’t live near each other. Don’t forget that he also commented on some one’s myspace, which implies he… looks us up.

  681. #681 Quiet_Desperation
    March 30, 2009

    David Marjanovi?:or if you had ever witnessed anyone being bullied in school, you wouldn’t have stupidly ignored the possibility of them ganging up on you.

    Or that the possibility was rather outside the discussion at hand, but never mind.

    And *I* was regularly bullied throughout my school years because I was ugly (still am- getting compliments on looks is a phenomena I have never personally experienced) and suffered from clinical depression and other neurological disorders which made me standoffish.

    That was the beginning of my black hearted misanthropy. I guess it gave me a fairly thick skin and, I admit, little empathy for what strikes me as a moderate annoyance on the Wheel O’ Mortal Sins.

  682. #682 Fiisi
    March 30, 2009

    This thread reminds me to one of my favorite movie scenes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4ijc-P5nhc

  683. #683 Pete Rooke
    March 30, 2009

    @ blueelm

    I spent my HS years wearing multiple button down sweaters, hair in a bun, and old-lady shoes in the hopes that I would be judged on my academic merits.

    I would be more likely to compliment someone who wasn’t fishing for compliments and actually respected themselves as an individual as opposed to someone flaunting their bodies as a makeweight in an academic battle. Confidence in this respect is really attractive.

    I wanted to be as far as possible from the “in pictures” me and the last thing on my mind was sex. All I wanted was to be taken seriously as an artist, and liked as a person. It’s not all sex, dude. There’s a lot more to life and some of us are even aware of it. Besides, there’s something seriously wrong with saying all this kind of person or all that kind of person. It’s pretty much bound to be wrong!

    Here in England I’ve found that many young girls desire only to get pregnant, to a father who will later abandon them, and then live off the reasonably modest benefits the state provides in a council house.

  684. #684 Sven DiMilo
    March 30, 2009

    I think it’s pretty clear that there are no actual women in Pete’s world.

  685. #685 Pete Rooke
    March 30, 2009

    Sven DiMilo,

    roughly 50% of the people I meet in my life are women.

  686. #686 Samantha Vimes
    March 30, 2009

    Wow, some of the commenters here don’t have a clue.

    First commenter to really piss me off… No it’s not okay to judge people by their health (as indicated by appearance). Asthma isn’t caused by a character flaw, but it makes people pale and drawn. PCOS isn’t a matter of choice, but it can effect weight and cause acne. Cancer can make children bald– I guess it’s okay to despise them, though, they must have done something wrong? Geez, Louise, you do NOT really mean you think it’s perfectly fine to judge people by their appearance because it means they are healthy or unhealthy and therefore worthy or not. You mean you judge them on their appearance because all you think about is who you want sex with.

    Middle person to piss me off… no, women don’t all care about how much money their potential mate makes. We’re actually human beings who have emotions. You shouldn’t even assume all women, or all men, actually want kids– in this modern era of medical science, there are things like condoms and birth control pills that make it optional, and women can pick a guy because he’s cute and she can afford him, and men can fancy a woman’s intelligence and sense of humor. You pine for the days of universal deference to the Patriarchy, but sadly for you, women have the right to own property and have careers.

    Final person to piss me off before I had to skip to the end and comment… No, life isn’t easier for women, just because the lucky few who are genetically prone to fit the modern beauty ideal can spend a bunch of money on clothes and beauty supplies to attract a rich husband. Even for the few women who do that, their trophy status wears off as they age and they are discarded in divorce. They can even get in trouble when a faithful husband is disabled or downsized in a bad economy.
    More likely the woman who makes a career as arm candy, without developing her mind, will be used and cast off without marriage ever coming up. “Contrary to popular opinion,” as Mr. Bennett said, “men do not want silly wives.”
    In fact, the modern trophy wife needs a degree and a background career of her own, even if they plan for her to devote herself to supporting his career or raising his kids.

    And I think I broke off less than 20 comments in. I can’t stomach any more of this stupid. You want to get defensive about judging people by their looks? Fine, just say it comes naturally and you don’t care what women think about your manners. It’s a good defense for other things, like men unzipping it and urinating on lampposts, right? Except that no, even though urinating freely is a natural thing, men are intelligent and can refrain from doing so, waiting to get to a restroom.
    You can learn to treat women as human beings first, making advances only after making friends.
    In actual experience, men who find me genuinely attractive do pursue friendship first and then let me know how they feel about my looks. Men who start off with compliments and other advances are usually attempting to intimidate. Sexual harassment is about bullying, not intimacy.

  687. #687 maureen
    March 30, 2009

    To the few here who lack the emotional intelligence to keep up, this is why I was angry.

    I had a moral (and a contractual) duty to keep good order. These shenanigans going on in the middle of a small office were disrupting everyone’s work.

    I was walking a tightrope – trying to ensure that the woman had my support without undermining her own confidence in her ability to handle that idiot.

    I was getting no work done – one-to-one work was of poor quality because I always had one eye over my shoulder, group work during that time was impossible.

    The guy in question was doing no work at all – something for which, in the end, I would be held responsible.

    Somewhere, deep in my unconscious, was the memory of giving evidence in court when I had accused someone of indecent assault and the fact that the whole of his defence was that I had spoken civilly to him previously and that therefore ….. The women here will know where that sentence goes next and not a few of the men.

    Normally I would scrub what I’ve just written – far too much use of the first person singular, far too much concentration on how it felt but if it will help just one person to think that all this is an actual person negotiating a difficult situation then maybe I can depart from my usual standards.

    What this conversation is not – despite various efforts to drag it down – about is a commodity called women, freely available on a street near you. Certainly, there is one person here who really should stop reading boddice-ripper* novels and another who should just get out more.

    * soft porn, if that term is not widely recognised

  688. #688 Pete Rooke
    March 30, 2009

    Samantha Vimes,

    all of the societal problems disappear if we maintain the sex only comes only after marriage.

    Sexual advances in public (compliments etc) would prove to be, for the most part, irrelevant.

  689. #689 dreamstretch
    March 30, 2009

    So is a “Babes of Scienceblogs” calender out of the question?

  690. #690 MAJeff, OM
    March 30, 2009

    If a compliment were to come from Rooke, I’d be afraid the next words out of his mouth would be, “It takes the lotion out of the basket…” because he was prepping to bind a book.

  691. #691 Wowbagger, OM
    March 30, 2009

    Pete Rooke, cluelessly opined:

    all of the societal problems disappear if we maintain the sex only comes only after marriage.

    Except for the fact that married men have been known to, on occasion, beat their wives. Luckily, if they’re Christians, they’ve got scripture on their side!

  692. #692 Kel
    March 30, 2009

    all of the societal problems disappear if we maintain the sex only comes only after marriage.

    Yes, because the world were non-virgins were stoned at the door of their father on their wedding night was the utopia we should all dream of…

  693. #693 Feynmaniac
    March 30, 2009

    Rooke,

    all of the societal problems disappear if we maintain the sex only comes only after marriage.

    Pete do you have evidence that this is true or even practical? Historically, it may have been more likely for people to have sex only after marriage yet we had slavery and women had no rights. In medieval times you were guilty until proven flammable.

    Also, despite all the power your church had and continues to have they have done a piss poor job at fighting the human instinct for sex. Hell, they don’t seem to be able to quell the sexual desires of their own clergy.

  694. #694 Katharine
    March 30, 2009

    *comes out of lurking*

    Piece of advice for the men? Guide your penis with your brain. Not the other way around.

    To those men who already do this, I salute you.

  695. #695 SC, OM
    March 30, 2009

    Quiet Desperation:

    I must be some sort of mutation. I don’t give a gnat’s fart about all this crap, and yet I manage to treat people well.

    Sure you do. That’s why you repeatedly appear on these threads dismissing or mocking people’s legitimate concerns, apparently just for your own amusement. …Unless you don’t consider your posts here a form of human interaction, or don’t consider us people.

    And this is in spite of me being a black hearted misanthrope who laughs with glee at the current economic disaster.

    You’ve mentioned your misanthropy in almost every one of your posts for several months. I have no idea why you feel compelled to do so.

    This is all part of the usual overreaction people have to things that bother them in our pampered Western lives.

    …I didn’t say it was waste of time. I just find it an amusing symptom of our oh so modern culture. It’s probably a good thing that we can wring hands about this stuff and instead of where our next meal is coming from

    Glad you’re amused. Of course, you’re also laughing with glee at the people who are wondering where their next meal is coming from, or who have lost their life’s savings, or been evicted from their homes, so you don’t have much of a leg to stand on here, do you? And I’ll fill you in on something: Many poor people also care about being treated decently. I posted a link a while back to an article about women in a South African city who are fighting harassment and sexual violence at taxi stands and from taxi drivers. These are poor women.

    or if the local strongman’s (strongpersons?) [*rolls eyes*] enforcers will take a fancy to a family member.

    Look, you twit, these things are not unrelated. It’s about power, and these are but different manifestations of patriarchy.

    I try. That’s all anyone can do.

    No, you don’t, and no, it isn’t.

    That’s why I think I’m a mutant. :-) I just do it. I don’t need to read or write treatises on it.

    Right. As some may recall, this is the same Quiet Desperation who made that joke about Sarah Palin.

    Yeah, some don’t get it, and there’s reasons they don’t, whatever they are, and little is going to change that other than time and the slow crawl of humanity’s sociological advancement.

    As others have pointed out, social change is something in which we are not entirely passive.

    I never said fighting wasn’t part of the slow crawl.

    Well, it doesn’t appear that you are.

    But there *is* a difference between enslavement/voting rights and idiots making boorish comments.

    Again, they’re related. Really, how difficult of a concept is this to grasp? Do you honestly think an environment of verbal “sexual forwardness” and the mentalities to which it contributes have nothing to do with physical assaults, from groping to rape? With the maintenance of a patriarchal system?

    The big problems can be legislated away with enough will on the part of the people. [How the hell do you think this will is built?] The others, well, lacking mind control rays, all that’s left is education and time. You savvy? You could start passing laws against certain speech, but is that a road you really want to go down? I don’t, and I’ll fight long and hard against that sort of law.

    How original. You don’t like something and want to change it. You must be proposing legislation or thought control. This is education, and if left to “time,” things can get far worse.

    AnthonyK:

    One other thing that I think women have going for them is that (obviously based on fact) they are not implicated in pedophilia. This makes it much easier for them to get jobs in childcare, or rather, that men find it more difficult, and more suspicion is directed their way.

    I agree that this is a problem, and it’s a shame for men who aren’t pedophiles have this barrier to overcome. But it should be noted that pointing to our overrepresentation in child care – “women’s work,” which is valued and remunerated accordingly (by which I mean these are among the lowest-paid jobs around, in the US at least) – as something women have “going for” us is, well, a bit problematic.

    By the way, it is the poorest women (especially members of minority groups) working in the lowest-level jobs who have the least clout in fighting against unwanted “sexual forwardness,” sexual harassment, and sexual violence. This is why they’re so often targeted.

    I think one of the problems is that most men are not regularly subjected to unwanted sexual attention, ever. Consequently, they can’t see how horrible it is. Add to that (sexist again!)a man’s lesser empathy and the vastly greater importance he places on the turgidity of his member, and you have a recipe for just the kind of behaviour women complain about. I don’t think it’s primarily a male thing, but more a my-dick-is-more-important-than-your-dignity kind of thing.

    What you’ve described is – contrary to what you parenthetically implied – the effects of a patriarchal system. You’re suggesting an essentialist interpretation of differing levels of empathy and responses to sexual arousal, but these can be sociologically explained as well. Studies (one was discussed a while back here on Sb – I can link to it if anyone’s interested) are showing that empathy decreases with increases in power over others. It is socially shaped.

    Also, while it’s generally thought that people have to change their attitudes before they alter their behavior, I’ve found in my own research that the reverse is true – how we think about and relate to other people often results from changes in our behavior towards them. I do believe that if people would make an effort to stop themselves from behaving in this way, it would over time have an effect on their attitudes (and also likely lead to an improvement in their relations with members of the opposite – or any – sex). Decency is a habit.

    tmaxPA:

    In fact, it may well be a total minefield,

    And yet, somehow, it isn’t. All human relationships are complicated. But virtually every man in my large extended family, all of those with whom I’m friends, and the majority of those I’ve encountered professionally (and here!) manage to navigate their interactions without coming across as creepy or threatening assholes. Everyone censors themselves to some extent (however consciously), but if you find that you have to do this constantly, consciously, the odds are good that you’re an asshole.

    And when I read something like, “I am left, having read this interesting thread, wondering how one should go about getting sex with a beautiful stranger who fancies you,” I can’t take it seriously.

    ***

    The only argument people like tmaxPA utimately have to fall back on – and they almost always do, if they haven’t opened with it – is “it exists” or “that’s just how things are” (often coupled with “I’m as concerned about it as you are, really!”). This is generally followed by “Things are not going to change” (I even had someone on a recent thread tell me that “c***” would never disappear from British street slang – because of course nothing has more solidity or permanence than street slang). Look, there’s an enormous amount of variation, historically and cross-culturally – in social norms. Gender roles and practices of social interaction are not simply reflections of some essential biology. They are largely cultural products which are subject to change, including directed change. Some of us here are trying to contribute to changing them for the better. If you agree with the goal but wish to go about it differently, feel free to do so. If you think our focus is wrongly directed, feel free to fight the battle on different fronts.

  696. #696 Leigh Williams
    March 30, 2009

    tmaxPA

    I wish I could say I am shocked to be called a misogynist on this thread but I’ve been posting on the Intertoob thingies way too long to have not been well aware that was going to happen.

    Quelle fucking surprise, buddy. You ARE a misogynist and a damned unpleasant fellow, to boot.

    You were redlining all along, but you blew the engine when you analyzed that situation with the guy who got throw out of class after two weeks of harassing another student thusly:

    It seems you may be claiming he was “egotistical” mostly because he wasn’t so emotionally fragile he gave up prematurely. You may claim it was for-ordained that he wouldn’t win her over and it become a real-life romantic comedy ending. Neither he nor you had no way of knowing that then or now, so as far as I can see, his behavior was entirely “appropriate”, from a social perspective.

    Hmmm, I would think that “NO. Go away!”, reiterated six or seven times and then reinforced by the instructor, was a real big indication that he had no chance.

    But apparently, for you and other massively egotistical horndogs like you, it’s never NO until the Mace gets sprayed. Thus you can’t tell normal courting from creepy stalking — or rather, you assert that they’re the same thing.

    How’s that workin’ out for ya?

    And what is up with the weird miniskirt fetish?

  697. #697 catgirl
    March 30, 2009

    Wow, I only read the first hundred or so comments, and already I’m disappointed. It seems like a lot of people are trying to come up with flimsy justifications for their misogyny. And more than a few of the commenters seem to be a little insecure about their manhood and think that women have so much power. The simple fact is that a lot of the evo psych stuff is pseudoscience. It’s just a flimsy rationalization that buys into the stereotype of women wanting money from men and men wanting sex from women. The simple fact is that it’s not hard-wired. As women make more money and have more opportunities for a career, women’s priorities for looks over money in a partner have been steadily increasing. From an evolutionary viewpoint, women who want “healthy” men would have offspring that survive better, especially if she can contribute significantly to providing for them, which most women do. It’s fairly easy to come up with an evo psych justification for almost any opinion. And let’s be realistic. No one ever looks at an attractive person and likes them because they are “healthy”.

    I came onto this thread expecting mostly rational people to comment, but instead I saw a bunch of people complaining about being too PC, and using rationalizations to justify misogyny in society. It’s also dissapointing to see so many people who don’t seem to understand how evolution actually works and how complex it is.

    And all of this was before Pete Rooke even posted. It seems that he’s a little jealous that he didn’t win the Survivor:Pharyngula game, and now he’s trying to prove just how much of a troll he can really be.

  698. #698 thalarctos
    March 30, 2009

    Here in England I’ve found that many young girls desire only to get pregnant, to a father who will later abandon them, and then live off the reasonably modest benefits the state provides in a council house.

    You’re going off the rails again, Pete.

    I’m telling you–sticking with “lesbian chicken” is a strategy that’s going to pay off much better in the long run.

  699. #699 Quiet Desperation
    March 30, 2009

    As some may recall, this is the same Quiet Desperation who made that joke about Sarah Palin.

    You know it’s creepy you even remember or care anymore about that. I apologized at the time. If that’s not enough, well, who cares. We all can’t be faultless like you, but, well, one can dream.

  700. #700 SC, OM
    March 30, 2009

    The simple fact is that a lot of the evo psych stuff is pseudoscience. It’s just a flimsy rationalization that buys into the stereotype of women wanting money from men and men wanting sex from women. The simple fact is that it’s not hard-wired.

    A lot of it doesn’t even seem to make sense. I’ve read that in hunter-gatherer societies the bulk of the calories are provided by gathering, and from what I’ve seen both hunting and gathering are group activities. I don’t think a person’s children would be allowed to starve because he or she wasn’t the best spotter or tracker or shooter or whatever. Other primates – the ones that aren’t vegetarians – seem to be opportunistic hunters of very small creatures, and this appears to be done by both males and females. It’s not as though they’re sending out rifle-armed hunting parties. Where is the path leading from this to women allegedly being biologically hardwired to want a man with money? My knowledge may be limited, but I just don’t get it.

  701. #701 SC, OM
    March 30, 2009

    As some may recall, this is the same Quiet Desperation who made that joke about Sarah Palin.

    You know it’s creepy you even remember or care anymore about that.

    *spittake* Yeah, you make a disgustingly insensitive joke and I’m creepy for remembering it.

    I apologized at the time.

    Look, IIRC I didn’t even participate in the discussion of it at the time. I’m pointing it out now because that act, among others, belies your claim to an effortless decency. It also poses a problem for your argument that efforts at consciousness-raising are of little use. You didn’t apologize for it, or likely see anything wrong with it, until others called attention to it.

    We all can’t be faultless like you, but, well, one can dream.

    Lame. I’ve never once suggested that I’m faultless. I’m anything but.

  702. #702 AnthonyK
    March 30, 2009

    But it should be noted that pointing to our overrepresentation in child care – “women’s work,” which is valued and remunerated accordingly (by which I mean these are among the lowest-paid jobs around, in the US at least) – as something women have “going for” us is, well, a bit problematic.

    .
    I agree. It is, in part, a justification for not taking childcare (or general care) work by men. Thank heavens for equal pay legislation! And yes, the “rewarding” in a personal way, aspect of such jobs is a factor in why I do it, but their low status – connected with them being “women’s work” (very much in inverted commas) – is a scandal. This is changing, however. Another aspect is that in general care work requires a lower level of education – in part because carework, practically speaking, calls on innate skills of compassion which are not much improved by formal education.
    A little personal anecdote, about the “it must be very rewarding” aspect – I remember taking a kid out for a walk once, when I was working at a daycare centre for children with learning difficulties. I wanted to take him with me, I wasn’t told to. He was 14, severely learning-disabled, non-verbal, and in diapers. I held his hand and took him to the local shop. I felt, I must say, somehow privileged to spend time with him – he had, I thought, an aspect of humanity to him which I was proud to associate with – and one which I felt shouldn’t be hidden away. I took him into a church, on my way there, then into the shop, then back home. I talked to him. I, obviously, wasn’t the least embarrassed to be seen with him, in a situation where any adult could see exactly what was going on. At that time, I was profoundly grateful that I (and he) should be able to have such an experience.
    It wasn’t quite so nice a little later on, when another kid, left alone for a while, smeared shit all over his room, but hey that’s life!

  703. #703 Akiko
    March 30, 2009

    MAJeff
    “If a compliment were to come from Rooke, I’d be afraid the next words out of his mouth would be, “It takes the lotion out of the basket…” because he was prepping to bind a book.”

    I laughed so hard at that I snarfed my coffee!

  704. #704 AnthonyK
    March 30, 2009

    all of the societal problems disappear if we maintain the sex only comes only after marriage.

    Fuck’s sake, Rooke, you really are a disgrace. Even if this sentence weren’t so badly written that it is almost incomprehensible, it is complete bollocks.
    NEWSFLASH “societal problems” exist before, during, and after marriage.
    What a complete wanker you are.

  705. #705 SC, OM
    March 30, 2009

    Thank heavens for equal pay legislation!

    Uh, what equal pay legislation? :(

    Another aspect is that in general care work requires a lower level of education – in part because carework, practically speaking, calls on innate skills of compassion which are not much improved by formal education.

    I’m surprised that you, who have worked as a teacher and child-care worker, would say that. There’s no such thing as an “innate skill.” I worked as a babysitter/nanny several years ago (I was offered the job solely because I’m female), and it was quite clear to me that I lacked the relevant skill set, although I did the best I could. Even properly caring for dogs, which comes much more naturally to me, requires developing skills through either formal or informal training. Barbara Ehrenreich in Nickel and Dimed describes well what is really required for a number of “low-skilled” and low-paid jobs, but I think child care is one area in which I wouldn’t count on “innate” compassion to be sufficient. Compassion is, for example, of litte use in an emergency situation. Much that is involved in caring for and educating small children, even those without special needs, involves extensive training. (Incidentally, “men’s work” that requires equally little formal education is compensated better – here at least, where we don’t have “comparable worth” laws.)

  706. #706 Janine, Insulting Sinner
    March 30, 2009

    It seems that The Free Republic is debating if granting women the right to vote destroyed the republic. I will not link to Freep but instead to Pam’s House Blend. When Pam does this, she pulls out some very juicy Freeper quotes.

    Yes. I firmly believe it was a major step towards the destruction of America.

    Well I can think of a few women that shouldn’t be in office. And I’m ok with my wife being able to vote, as long as she votes for who I tell her too. :)

    It’s dangerous to make broad generalizations. But it is true. Women tend more to think emotionally than men do. And our government today would be much more conservative had women never been allowed to vote.

    Ann Coulter has said that if women couldn’t vote, we’d never see a Democrat in the White House again.

    That certainly changed the whole course of elections.

    I would say the bigger change occurred when all people could vote and not just land owners. Our problems today can be pointed to opening up voting to people who have not clue as to economics.

    Dammit! People who do not own property are the most irresponsible people!

  707. #707 Russ Finley
    March 30, 2009

    Women are just men with boobs, right? That is why they love porn so much. The idea that men and women may be as different in their internal wiring as they are in their external looks is preposterous …; )*

    http://www.biodiversivist.com

    *Sarcasm alert

  708. #708 SC, OM
    March 30, 2009

    Finley, no one even has to go to your link to know you’re an ignorant fool.

  709. #709 AnthonyK
    March 30, 2009

    Yeah, OK, I’m not really arguing with you. We so have equal pay legislation in the UK, and in Europe generally. The innate skills thing, well, I assume (and please don’t shoot me down over this!) that women, being so much more intimately acquainted with child care, have even higher levels of empathy than men do, which is not to say all women, or all men. I found, when I started working in child care, that I did have a high level of “natural” concern for my charges, and to be honest I was surprised at the intensity of my feelings. However, in some respects, this makes it initially more, rather than less difficult, because a high level of personal concern is not necessarily helpful – it’s noticeable, for instance, that new recruits in my current line of work – difficult, socially-damaged adolescents – are sometimes so outraged over the home and social circumstances of our charges that they are ineffective in dealing with them, certainly where firm authority is concerned. You can be so blinded by rage that a child’s mother is an alcoholic prostitute that you forget the child’s needs. Overcoming this requires long experience, and even then one is still prone to it.

    Anyway, sorry for the long post talking about me. But, as you can understand, part of my life’s journey is working with life’s fuck-ups, and it may give me a slightly skewed attitude to other people’s problems. And being a philosophically minded atheist, I don’t have the pablum of religion to explain the pain!

  710. #710 SC, OM
    March 30, 2009

    AnthonyK,

    I appreciate your response, and really respect what you’ve chosen to do.

    Only one thing:

    The innate skills thing, well, I assume (and please don’t shoot me down over this!)

    Of course I’m going to try to shoot you down! How could you even request such a thing?!

    :)

    that women, being so much more intimately acquainted with child care, have even higher levels of empathy than men do, which is not to say all women, or all men.

    The problem wih this is* that you’re suggesting that people who are involved in caring roles tend to develop their capacity for practical empathy (although certainly not all). I would tend to agree with this. But because not all women are “intimately acquainted with child care,” this doesn’t apply in a general way. And, as you suggest, even if such a greater innate capacity did exist it wouldn’t necessarily be of particular value, and may even be detrimental in ways, in certain caring roles. I would prefer to entrust children and others who need care to people who are compassionate and know what the hell they’re doing.** The first may have innate individual and also social bases, but the second is fully learned. Skills are learned. The reason I’m so insistent on this is that when “caring” is reduced to a set of emotional responses it’s all too easy to devalue the amount of practical knowledge required for these jobs and thus to devalue them altogether (more of a problem here where we don’t have legislation to counteract it).

    *If you’re making an essentialist biological argument, I don’t think it’s well supported. If it is the case, I think it’s trivially true, given the powerful social influences on the development of empathy, for people of both sexes.
    ** This is true not just of people working with children but those helping refugees, victims of natural disasters or of torture, sick people,… Compassion is usually broadly necessary, but certainly not sufficient.

  711. #711 AnthonyK
    March 30, 2009

    I think we are in agreement – and I’m desperate not to make a mistake which implies a demeaned role for women *insert insecure, cringing emoticon* – but for obvious reasons I am interested in these dilemmas.
    Re: training – if it is ever truly effective in this field, then the stuff I’ve received is woefully inadequate. Apart from some narrow stuff to do with legislation, and fucking health and fucking safety (let’s not go there!) nothing can train you for the circumstances you find yourself in. No amount of equality training or theoretical stuff on whatever is the current theory of, say, disadvantage, really prepares you for a child who, it seems, won’t accept your help, and where anger management is useless because, essentially the child is managing their anger – by getting angry. I think you need to see a good few cycles of kids growing and changing before you have a real appreciation of the slow nature and long-term consequences of your input, including apparent failures.
    It’s all a question of aptitude and experience, as you might expect. And also, as you might expect, religious beliefs seem to be irrelevant to fitness for this line of work (although, guilty secret, if anyone thought fit to put on their application form that they were heavily involved in some church or other, I would take a dim view – if only because thinking it is relevant suggests a tiresome apologist)

    So I have a dim view of training in this line of work, as psychology can be so irrelevant and bullshitty – and bullshit is a real enemy of good practice.

    Luckily, I love my job, and find these irrelevancies to be just that.

  712. #712 Quiet Desperation
    March 30, 2009

    Yeah, you make a disgustingly insensitive joke and I’m creepy for remembering it.

    Yes, a bit, but you’re right. No one should be allowed to make a dumb mistake, and should forever be judged by that dumb mistake. I deserve to burn in hell. Oops, wait, there is no hell. Hmmm. We’re back to the poison cookie, I guess. I’ll take Mrs Field’s extra large chocolate chip with hemlock, please.

    (QD takes bite of cookie, swoons, and passes from this mortal coil. And there was much rejoicing.)

  713. #713 SC, OM
    March 30, 2009

    Re: training – if it is ever truly effective in this field, then the stuff I’ve received is woefully inadequate. Apart from some narrow stuff to do with legislation, and fucking health and fucking safety (let’s not go there!) nothing can train you for the circumstances you find yourself in. No amount of equality training or theoretical stuff on whatever is the current theory of, say, disadvantage, really prepares you for a child who, it seems, won’t accept your help, and where anger management is useless because, essentially the child is managing their anger – by getting angry. I think you need to see a good few cycles of kids growing and changing before you have a real appreciation of the slow nature and long-term consequences of your input, including apparent failures.

    I don’t think we disagree. When I spoke of education and training, I was including (and in this case implicitly emphasizing) experiential learning and on-the-job training. My point was to make the distinction between innate and learned.

  714. #714 SC, OM
    March 30, 2009

    Yes, a bit, but you’re right. No one should be allowed to make a dumb mistake, and should forever be judged by that dumb mistake. I deserve to burn in hell.

    Give it up, man. I didn’t participate in the discussion at the time, and didn’t bring it up on any occasion prior to responding to your claims about yourself. That you own up to it, are embarrassed about it, and prefer that it not be raised actually speaks well of you.

    (QD takes bite of cookie, swoons,

    As someone who frequently swoons, I am offended. ;)

  715. #715 AnthonyK
    March 30, 2009

    *to himself* – phew, I think I got away with it – nice tits love! Wahey! – hey, is this thing on?

    Jokes!

  716. #716 maureen
    March 30, 2009

    AnthonyK,

    It’s great that you have chosen this work and that you so much enjoy it so I’m quibbling and definitely not trying to knock you. OK?

    This empathy thing – the brain certainly has the hard-wiring to make it possible but there’s a lot of training, too, just not in the workplace. As far as I can work out the hard-wiring is there for men as well but sometimes it is trained out of the lad at an early age.

    I remember when my training began – when my Dad became chairman of the local council – no power, no budget but an awful lot of tea-and-cake level entertaining – and I was taught to look around a room – see who needed another cup of tea, a piece of cake, who was sitting in a draught or uncomfortable too close to the fire – at about age 5! I won’t bore you but there were further stages. I never did get the hang of housework though and still haven’t – another thing that’s supposed to be totally natural for women.

    Yes, we do have marginally better equal pay laws than the US but it took the 1984 amendment to bring in the concept of work of equal value. It has been utterly useless at tackling the places where discrimination is systemic or really closing the pay gap. Sad to say, the minimum wage as low as it was probably did more on that last one.

  717. #717 Quiet Desperation's Dead Corpse
    March 30, 2009

    That you own up to it, are embarrassed about it, and prefer that it not be raised actually speaks well of you.

    (gurgling, decaying noises)

  718. #718 AnthonyK
    March 30, 2009

    Empathy – nature + nurture, surely?
    I think, totally OT, that this can be encouraged by such activities as reading novels, where the skill is central to the enjoyment. And it feels to me as though posting here and interacting with so many smart, anonymous strangers helps me too. Well, that and the opportunity to be (I hope) eloquently rude to the hypocritical religious monsters who come and troll here!

  719. #719 Jeanette
    March 30, 2009

    @ blueelm: I didn’t realize he went to that kind of trouble, so that is a little bit creepy.

    @ Pete Rooke: ‘K, don’t do that. And I think thalarctos is right: work the lesbian chicken angle. That “women should not wear pants and nobody should have sex out of wedlock” stuff is too mean-spirited to have any entertainment value.

    @AnthonyK: Child care is definitely NOT an innate skills thing. Those of us who have been successful at avoiding exposure to the noisy, smelly little creatures don’t have the vaguest idea what to do with one of those, no matter what sex organs we were born with.

    I thought it was interesting in this thread to hear from women who complain about feeling bad about inappropriate “compliments” on their appearance, and women who complain about feeling bad about insults because they aren’t generally considered “pretty.”

    I experience both extremes at the same time. It’s truly bizarre. Men I don’t know hit on me and tell me how sexy I am, and on rare occasions men I don’t know call me a dog or a pig. It confused me a lot through school and into younger adulthood, because I thought one extreme or the other had to be “true.” But I think it must be that I’m not “hot” or “ugly,” but precisely the very most ordinary-looking a woman can be, so that beauty or lack thereof really is entirely in the eye of the beholder.

    I’ve gone to extremes in both directions (being “feminine” and rejecting “femininity” in appearance) down the years, trying to adapt. And for women who do experience either of those extremes, know that the opposite extreme is generally equally hurtful, so there’s really no way to win except to refuse to accept anyone else’s view of you and forge your own self-image.

  720. #720 Ralph Johnson
    March 30, 2009

    Boy, that Sheril sure is smart. And cute, too!

  721. #721 Quiet Desperation
    March 30, 2009

    (angelic music and shaft of golden light)

    Aw, crap, I’ve been resurrected. :-(

    I just can’t catch a break.

  722. #722 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 30, 2009

    Carlie, the good Rev. BDC explains it here.

    It doesn’t only work with <p>, but also directly with <blockquote> (but only for the first quoted paragraph!) as well as with <a> and with <span> <span> is what you need when you want to change the font of part of a paragraph.

    Pornography has emasculated our men in this country turnign them into perpetual teenagers peeking through the keyhole

    Er… what?

    I mean… anything that says “in this country” is almost certainly wrong to start with…

    Here in England I’ve found that many young girls desire only to get pregnant, to a father who will later abandon them, and then live off the reasonably modest benefits the state provides in a council house.

    You cannot possibly be serious.

    all of the societal problems disappear if we maintain the sex only comes only after marriage.

    Sexual advances in public (compliments etc) would prove to be, for the most part, irrelevant.

    First of all, that would take a miracle. And yes, I mean it. I don’t mean to say “it’s improbable”; I mean to say “that would take a miracle”.

    Secondly, as I’ve already told you, I don’t think people should marry if they don’t know each other inside and out.

    As some may recall, this is the same Quiet Desperation who made that joke about Sarah Palin.

    ?

    I would say the bigger change occurred when all people could vote and not just land owners. Our problems today can be pointed to opening up voting to people who have not clue as to economics.

    :-o

    Just… wow. I had no idea this attitude still existed in any alleged First World country, or in fact had existed there any time during the last, say, 50 years.

    :-o

    But I think it must be that I’m not “hot” or “ugly,” but precisely the very most ordinary-looking a woman can be, so that beauty or lack thereof really is entirely in the eye of the beholder.

    Just for the sake of SIWOTI completeness, it is in principle possible that you are in fact both extremes at the same time. That’s because ? for some people at least ? beauty is a property of the face and the face only, while sexiness is a property of (part of) the rest of the body; all combinations appear to exist somewhere out there.

    But it’s more likely that it’s, as you say, just a case of beauty being in the eye of the beholder, which it very, very much is. To a lesser degree, so is sexiness.

  723. #723 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 30, 2009

    OK, don’t bother showing me the Palin joke. I wanted to take that out when I read comment 715, and then I forgot.

    Also, the first line of comment 723 is a blockquote fail.

  724. #724 Janine, Insulting Sinner
    March 30, 2009

    David Marjanovi?, there is a lot about the United States that you do not know about. Sadly, there is a sizable minority that would welcome an idealized version of theocracy where the blacks are kept on the land, women are kept in the house and everyone respects god on the pain of death. You can find them at sites like The Free Republic.

  725. #725 AnthonyK
    March 30, 2009

    To a lesser degree, so is sexiness.

    Sexiness is in the groin of the beerholder.

  726. #726 nails
    March 31, 2009

    one of the most striking things about this thread is how everyone assumes beauty to be a consistent thing that signifies health…. a small amount of study into beauty and its history will prove this notion false. even weirder is how beauty is automatically associated with being sexual when that has not been something automatically tied to sexuality in many periods of history. What is physically desirable has been as far from consistent and you can get, and so all the nonsense about how its something ladies should just get used to is foolish. Different groups of women would have to get used to it, and what do you know, the social prescription for beauty happens to have ties to the social prescription for behavior at the time. Its another tool of sexism and oppression for women.

    Also I find it seriously ironic how everyone responded to the charge that ugly women are ignored… when they share experiences of being ignored in society they are told to stop whining by the people who devoted a lot of time to the plight of the attractive woman PZ referred to in his initial post. If you need proof of the kind of bs they were referring to, its all available here in this thread. just… wow.

  727. #727 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 31, 2009

    Sadly, there is a sizable minority that would welcome an idealized version of theocracy where the blacks are kept on the land, women are kept in the house and everyone respects god on the pain of death.

    I knew all that. I’ve even been to Free Republic once (many years ago, and never again ? it was way too sickening). I just didn’t know this particular classism still existed.

  728. #728 Janine, Insulting Sinner
    March 31, 2009

    David, I can sympathize with where you are coming from. You know that these kind of people exist. You do not want to acknowledge it because you want to think better of people.

  729. #729 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 31, 2009

    I didn’t know that just this one particular sort of people existed. :-)

    (…And… probably… dozens more such abominations. But I’m not going to try to find that out.)

    Of course I want to think better of people, but… as T. H. Huxley said…

    Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.

    <sigh>

  730. #730 Vagrant
    April 2, 2009

    It’s interesting that, in a 729 post thread largely about the importance of respect, no one called out post #268, in which http://www.10ch.org asserted that ‘possibly’ most men are pigs.

    And frankly, everyone here who believes that unwanted public comments are a prelude to rape and murder really should look at the statistics of how many women are raped by strangers vs how many are raped by people they already know.

  731. #731 Cara
    April 6, 2009

    Well, do you think that it should be less normal? I think that judging people based on their appearance, as a way of judging their health, and thus, their personal responsibility to themselves, is a good thing, and encourages people to stay healthy, lest they be judged as “unhealthy” by others.

    What complete rubbish.

  732. #732 Cara
    April 6, 2009

    And frankly, everyone here who believes that unwanted public comments are a prelude to rape and murder really should look at the statistics of how many women are raped by strangers vs how many are raped by people they already know.

    Question. If a woman is raped and murdered by a commenter who STARTS STALKING HER, does that count as her being raped and murdered by a stranger or an acquaintance?

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