Busting Myths About Feminism With SCIENCE!

Well, Monday’s April Fool’s joke left such a bad taste in my mouth that I was compelled to hurry up and write this post, which I’ve wanted to write for a while.

Feminist activists are invariably compelled to respond to silly, derailing claims about feminists’ supposed appearance, personalities, sex lives, attitudes towards men. You know the ones. Feminists are ugly. Feminists are angry and bitter. Feminists just hate men. Feminists just need a good lay.

These claims are extremely effective as derailing methods because they compel feminists to respond to these ridiculous, unsubstantiated claims (since they’re personal attacks, basically) rather than the important issues that actually matter.

There are several ways to respond to these comments. One is to simply ignore them. (I immediately delete all such comments from this blog because I don’t consider it productive or worth my time to respond to them.)

Another is to attempt to provide anecdotal evidence to the contrary–“Actually, I’m in a happy relationship with a man.” “Actually, I do shave my legs.” This might be the inspiration for those “This is what a feminist looks like” t-shirts and stickers. This response is tempting–it was a personal attack, after all–but I don’t think it’s ultimately effective. It’s too easy for the derailer to claim you’re lying or that you’re an exception, and besides, the entire conversation has now been shifted to what they want to discuss–your attractiveness or lack thereof.

A third response is to question the question the assumptions latent in the claim. Who cares if we’re not as “attractive”? So what if feminists don’t shave their legs? Is that a problem? I think this is a more effective response than the previous one because it forces the derailer to justify their claims. However, it may also promote inaccurate stereotypes because, well, it sounds like a concession.

The fourth response is my favorite: “Citations or GTFO.” Tell them to prove it. And for good measure, you can cite evidence yourself, because thanks to science, there’s good reason to believe that the crap people say about feminists is simply false. Let’s examine two papers.

Paper 1: Do feminists hate men?!

Did you know that there’s a psychological measure called the Ambivalence toward Men Inventory (AMI)? Well, now you do. Anderson, Kanner, and Elsayegh (2009) administered it to a sample of nearly 500 college students to see if there’s any truth to the constantly-trotted-out stereotype that feminists hate men.

First, a quick background on the types of sexism being studied. Although many people believe that sexism necessarily involves hostile attitudes (i.e. “Women are vain and shallow”; “Men suck at understanding feelings”), attitudes like these are just one component of sexism. The other is benevolent sexism, which may seem positive based on its name, but really isn’t. Benevolent attitudes is stuff like, “Women need men to protect them,” and “Men need women to take care of them in the home.” The AMI is designed to measure both components, HM (hostility toward men) and BM (benevolence toward men). Keep in mind, again, that “benevolence toward men” doesn’t necessarily mean liking men. It means holding attitudes toward men that seem kind or affectionate on the surface, but actually support traditional gender roles. Finally, ambivalent sexism is the concurrent support for both of these seemingly contradictory sets of beliefs.

So, the participants in the study were a large, ethnically diverse sample of college students. The majority (66%) were women. The participants completed the AMI and were then asked to define feminism and state whether or not they considered themselves feminists (“unsure” was also an option). Those participants who provided a definition of feminism that did not include “any reference to equal rights for women, the acknowledgement of inequality between women and men, [or] the need for social change on behalf of women” were excluded from the main analysis of the study. (For instance, a few people defined feminism strictly as being “ladylike” or “hating men,” without any reference to gender equality. I presume that the researchers assumed that these participants simply didn’t know what feminism is and should therefore be excluded from the analysis.)

In general, men reported more BM than women, and women reported more HM than men. This is consistent with earlier research. But when it came to feminists specifically–you already know where this is going, right?–feminists scored less on hostility toward men than did non-feminists. And it’s not because of the feminist guys in the sample, either: “The presence of feminist men alone cannot explain the relatively low levels of hostility toward men in the Feminist category because there was no significant Gender × Feminist Identification interaction on hostility toward men.”

So, not only do feminists not “hate men” any more than non-feminists do; in fact, they hate them less.

Caveats about this study:

  • It turned out that a relatively small percentage of the sample identified as feminist (14%). This, combined with the fact that many people gave shoddy definitions of feminism, caused the researchers to collapse the ethnic categories into just two: white people and people of color. Obviously, this is not ideal.
  • On a related note, because the sample was so diverse (83% of the final sample were people of color), it’s also important to note that, historically, feminism has been a white, middle-class movement. People of color are therefore less likely to identify with it, and that might be why there were so few self-identified feminists in this sample.
  • Also, the participants were all college students. That brings with itself all sorts of problems with generalizing to a larger population, but also, the researchers suggest that younger people are less likely to identify as feminists, so there’s also that.

There are many reasons why the stereotype of feminists as man-haters might persist. First of all, as both this paper and the next one note, there has been a concerted effort to discredit feminism in the media and in the political arena. Second–and this is just a personal thought–I think many people, especially men, have a serious misunderstanding of what the term “patriarchy” means. It does not mean “men are bad and evil and want to oppress women.” It means, “a societal system that, in general, privileges men over women.” Both men and women, of course, are complicit in this system, and that doesn’t mean that men as a group intentionally make it so. (Although some probably do.)

But men hear feminists talking about patriarchy and think that it’s secret feminist-speak for MEN ARE BAD AND EVIL AND I HATE THEIR PENISES and so the stereotypes persist.

Paper 2: Do feminists have crappy relationships?!

Noting that “past research suggests that women and men alike perceive feminism and romance to be in conflict,” Rudman and Phelan (2007) set out to address this question by surveying both college undergraduates and older adults about their romantic relationships. In the first study, they used several hundred heterosexual undergraduates, both male and female, who were currently in a relationship, about the extent to which they and their partners are feminists and how favorably both they and their partners view feminists. The participants also completed a 12-item questionnaire that assessed the health of their relationships; two example questions are “How often do you and your partner laugh together?” and “Do you confide your deepest feelings to your mate?” For each item, participants responded using a 6-point scale. (By the way, since I have access to the full paper and you probably don’t, feel free to ask for details, such as what all 12 questions were, in the comments if you’re curious. I didn’t want to bog down the post with details like that.)

Predictably, women were on average more feminist than men, and the extent to which participants reported that their partners are feminists correlated with their own level of feminism. Overall, there was no correlation, positive or negative, between participants’ feminism and the quality of their relationship. However, women who reported that their male partners were feminists seemed to have better-quality relationships. The authors note, “Because self and partner’s feminism were strongly related, feminism may indirectly promote relationship health, through the selection of like-minded partners.”

Meanwhile, although men who were dating feminists reported more disagreement about issues of equality in the relationship, feminist men reported less disagreement about such issues. It’s important to note, though, that there was still no significant correlation overall between a person’s feminism and the quality of their relationship (as measured by the questionnaire).

In their second study, Rudman and Phelan employed an online survey of older adults, theorizing that perhaps people who grew up during the second wave of feminism would have a different take on relationships, or that older adults would have become jaded in their relationships. They replicated the first study almost exactly, but they added a few questions to the relationship questionnaire, including several about sexual satisfaction. Again, women’s feminism was not related to their relationship health, but their partner’s feminism was positively correlated with relationship health, including the new measures on sexual satisfaction.

To make a long story short, here are Rudman and Phelan’s conclusions:

  1. There was no evidence that, for women, being a feminist is incompatible with being in a romantic relationship (with a man).
  2. The greater the extent to which women reported that their male partners are feminists, the greater their reported relationship satisfaction.
  3. For men, both being a feminist and having a feminist female partner was correlated positively with certain measures of relationship quality.

Now, some caveats:

  • As always with self-report measures, bias may be an issue. Many people may feel a certain amount of pressure to respond positively about their partners and relationships. However, I can’t think of a compelling reason why feminists would feel this pressure more than non-feminists, especially in light of the stereotype that feminists just want to complain about stuff.
  • This doesn’t mean that being a feminist makes your relationships better, or that having a feminist partner makes them better. It could just mean that people tend to select partners who resemble them in various ways, including politically, and that this leads to better relationships. But even then, the stereotype that feminists suck at dating is given no support by this research.
  • One limitation is that the study had participants report their perceptions of their partners’ level of feminism. A better design would be bringing both partners into the lab and having them report their own level of feminism (as well as that of their partner, perhaps, to see if there are disagreements). If you’re dating someone with whom you disagree strongly, you may feel tempted to minimize those differences in your mind in order to alleviate the cognitive dissonance that can result from being very close to someone with whom you disagree strongly.

The researchers conclude:

The fact that feminists are unfairly stereotyped suggests a political motive underlying negative beliefs. Whenever women challenge male dominance, they are likely to be targeted for abuse, and particularly along sexual dimen- sions, perhaps to discourage other women from embracing feminism and collective power (Faludi 1991). Because this strategy appears to be effective (Rudman and Fairchild 2007), it will be important for future research to examine whether educating people might alleviate their concerns that the Women’s Movement has disrupted heterosexual relations. Far from supporting beliefs that feminism and romance are “oil and water,” we found that having a feminist partner was healthy for both women’sand men’s intimate relationships. Contrary to popular beliefs, feminism may improve the quality of relationships, as opposed to undermining them.

Here’s my take on feminism and compatibility between partners: if there’s something you really really dislike about your partner’s political views (or any other kind of views), you may have trouble making a relationship work. That’s just the reality. Blaming this on your partner’s views may be tempting, but it also sort of misses the point. We all have qualities we look for in a partner, some of which are absolutely necessary while others are not. I could never date a conservative or an anti-feminist, but I don’t claim that this is because conservatives and anti-feminists are undateable or can’t be good partners. It’s just because I don’t want to date them.

Similarly, if you hate feminism, don’t date a feminist. Every non-feminist guy I’ve met has a story about That One Meanie Feminist Who Got All Pissy When He Tried To Pay For Her Dinner Like A Real Man, and while I clearly make fun of these guys, I also sympathize with how uncomfortable and frustrating it is to try to date someone whose worldview just keeps clashing with yours in every conceivable way.

So don’t do it. Someone who’s better for you will come along.

And all of us feminists can just happily date each other.

Oh, and while we’re talking about myths, here’s an easy one to bust that requires no research papers. It’s amazing, by the way, how many self-described skeptics just adore Snopes but have never managed to find their way to this page.


Anderson, K., Kanner, M., & Elsayegh, N. (2009). Are feminists man haters? Feminists’ and nonfeminists’ attitudes toward men. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 33(2), 216–224. doi:10.1111/j.1471-6402.2009.01491.x

Rudman, L. A., & Phelan, J. E. (2007). The interpersonal power of feminism: Is feminism good for romantic relationships? Sex Roles, 57(11-12), 787–799. doi:10.1007/s11199-007-9319-9

Busting Myths About Feminism With SCIENCE!

95 thoughts on “Busting Myths About Feminism With SCIENCE!

  1. 1

    Here’s a nice suggestion for busting myths – with science: provide evidence of the patriarchy (the feminist theory version), preferably from a peer-reviewed study, proving that there actually is such a thing as a society that teaches young men to oppress and subjugate women (even to the detriment of their own).

    Busting myths with science: provide evidence of “rape culture”, from a peer-reviewed study, several to be on the safe side, proving that we live in a culture that glorifies rape, that considers the aggression of men to be “sexy” and so on and so forth. (The little you can find of “rape culture”; I go by the article “Rape Culture 101” by Melissa McEwan from Shakesville.) If the scientific method could be honoured on these subjects, where they’re not just showcasing singular instances of rape and concluding it’s a “culture”, I would appreciate it, but it would also have to take into consideration the various other “cultures” that we inhabit. Like murder.

    1. 1.1

      “proving that there actually is such a thing as a society that teaches young men to oppress and subjugate women”

      That’s not what patriarchy is in fact the body post addressed that very point. “I think many people, especially men, have a serious misunderstanding of what the term “patriarchy” means. It does not mean “men are bad and evil and want to oppress women.” It means, “a societal system that, in general, privileges men over women.” Both men and women, of course, are complicit in this system, and that doesn’t mean that men as a group intentionally make it so.”

      Then we have papers like: “Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students.” Moss-Racusin 2012 in PNAS.

      Which showed “female applicants were rated lower than men on the measured scales of competence, hireability, and mentoring (whether the scientist would be willing to mentor this student). Both male and female scientists rated the female applicants lower.”

      Note both male and female scientists rated applicants with identical resumes lower if they gender was changed from male to female.

      Bargh 1997 shows that we’re not always aware of the effects stereotypes play on our perceptions or actions.
      Serbin et al 2002 shows that children as young as 2 showed more surprise when adults inconsistently with gender roles.

      Google scholar: 1830 results for the search “rape culture”. Maybe start with Burt 1980 “Cultural Myths and Supports for Rape” journal of personality and social psychology.

      Consider the above as a possible starting point.

      For a modest fee and expenses to get access to the papers (I’m afraid I don’t currently have access through a larger institution) I will work on a paper summarizing the more relevant parts of the research on either the effects of societal gender stereotyping and its effects on behavior pertinent to the ideal of patriarchy or societal prejudices associated with rapists and rape victims in relation to rape culture. But that’s all I have the time to spend on this subject this morning.

  2. 2

    Here’s a nice suggestion for busting myths – with science: provide evidence of the patriarchy (the feminist theory version), preferably from a peer-reviewed study, proving that there actually is such a thing as a society that teaches young men to oppress and subjugate women (even to the detriment of their own).

    Sure thing, fake rationalist.

    And everything about Abortion laws in the USA and Republicans trying to make them

    1. 2.1

      4 crippled non-links and 1 working link that doesn’t even contain the word “patriarchy” ?
      THAT is your overwhelming scientific evidence for the existence of the feministic idea of the “patriarchy” ?

      What an excellently elusive entity that must be… but then again, aren’t all conspiracies that way?

      [u]I freely admit:[/u]
      What baffles me the most is that you didn’t (or couldn’t?) link to radical feminist literature to prove your point.
      I hope that’s because you’ve silently understood that feminist “research” has got nothing to do with science… at least in that regard, there seems to be some hope.

      But wait.. there’s even more:
      [b]I can predict 3 future NY times bestselling books:[/b]

      1) The Kaboom femilogical argument for the existence of the patriarchy
      2) PZ’s wager.
      3) The fine-tuning of the hypo-agency: Why blatant misandry is misogyny in disguise.

      Take it easy, I’m just having a good time.
      FTB is so much like the ebaumsworld comment section, just wwwwwayyyy too funny to miss…

      1. Wait, you think the word ‘patriarchy’ is necessary? Look, jackass, I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but patriarchy is a description of structural biases that support men at the expense of women. Apparently, you are too stupid to google for 20 seconds and find abundant evidence (And a non-straw definition) so here’s my links, working properly:


        There’s no ‘conspiracy’. It’s not an overt plan thought up by the Men in Black or whatever, it’s inertia from millenia of oppression. Only anti-feminist know-nothings maintain that it must mean a conspiracy, so they can pretend the obvious structures aren’t what we mean.

      2. From The Concise Encyclopedia of Sociology, edited by George Ritzer and J. Michael Ryan:

        Originally used to describe autocratic rule by a male head of a family, patriarchy has been extended to describe a more general system in which power is secured in the hands of adult men. Canadian sociologist Dorothy E. Smith (1983) describes patriarchy as “the totality of male domination and its pervasiveness in women’s lives.” Others further point to the ways in which patriarchy secures economic and social privileges in the hands of men.

        […]Certainly, contemporary scholars are quick to view patriarchy as a system that impacts both men and women. In this context, patriarchy is understood to be a system in which economic, political, and ideological power is secured in the hands of some men (specifically: white, educated, heterosexual, financially secure, able-bodied adult men) and denied to others. In this way, an understanding of patriarchy contributes not just to an understanding of women’s lives but to the ways in which power is distributed to all members of a family, group, organization, or society.

        By this definition, the existence of patriarchy in contemporary American society is certainly a falsifiable hypothesis. If patriarchy did not exist, women would hold just as much (or more) political power than men. They would have just as many elected and appointed political positions. They do not.

        If patriarchy did not exist, women would have just as much economic power as men. They would hold just as many executive positions in business, would earn just as much money on average, and would have as much wealth as do men. They do not.

        If patriarchy did not exist, women would have just as much cultural influence as men. They would comprise an equal proportion of influential writers, artists, Hollywood producers, and so on as men. They do not.

        If patriarchy did not exist, women would be just as likely to be hurt or killed by a man as men are to be hurt or killed by a woman. They are not.

        Patriarchy does not mean that there are no ways in which women are advantaged relative to men. It just means that such advantages are the exception, not the rule. Further, the ways in which men are disadvantaged tend only to apply to men who do NOT fit that category mentioned in the definition: men of color, poor men, disabled men. By that definition, patriarchy accounts for this, too.

        It’s important to remember, too, that patriarchy is a sociological term. It does not refer to physical reality in the same way as, say, “global warming” or “evolution” do. But just like with global warming and evolution, you can find evidence to support the theory of patriarchy, as I’ve just described. You can also find blatantly denialistic claims that none of this evidence actually exists, when it clearly, undeniably does.

        1. Your evidence of the patriarchy is to look at gender disparity of certain crimes and positions and conclude that we live in a society that favours men? That we live in a society of men teaching other men to favour men and not women? Wow.

          Does the United States actually have a statute that says that women are supposed to be disadvantaged and shouldn’t hold power politically? No. It does not. It used to – about a hundred years ago. There are several countries in the world that does not grant the same privileges held by women in the West to women in, say, the Middle East. But in the United States, if you have the drive — just like any man — you can achieve a powerful position in politics. There’s no law to hold you back, there’s no societal pressure that women shouldn’t go into positions of power.

          Is Hillary Clinton’s failure to become president an example of the patriarchy?

          However I specifically asked for a peer-reviewed study on *specifically* feminist theory patriarchy, providing evidence that there actually is such a thing, not opinion. Because there happen to be fewer women in executive positions in business does not prove the claim of patriarchy. Because there happen to be – and I can’t believe I’m writing this – more men murdering women than women murdering men does not prove the claim of patriarchy. (I mean, for crying out loud, are you really arguing that patriarchy exists because there aren’t enough murderous women? Besides, shouldn’t these murderers be given special treatment on the merit that they’re men? I guess not, since most of them [at least in the US] are put away for a very long time. Some patriarchy.)

          If this evidence for the patriarchy undeniably exists than *undeniably* there should be peer-reviewed studies documenting it, no? (Which logically should go back more than a few years considering the patriarchy is something that has apparently been inherent in our society for centuries. No pressure.)

          1. So you’re claiming patriarchy – that is, institutional structures that benefit men at the expense of women – don’t exist because the law of the land no longer enshrines them. If that was actually important to the point at hand, I’d probably fucking care, but it isn’t, and I don’t.

            Is Hillary Clinton’s failure to become president an example of the patriarchy?

            It didn’t have to be, but given the execution, it most certainly was – just as despite Obama being elected, the elections contained plenty of evidence for continuing racist structures. Basically every piece titled “Is America ready for a black/woman president?” is a good start, where people opine about how these people aren’t suited because – doesn’t matter.

            However I specifically asked for a peer-reviewed study on *specifically* feminist theory patriarchy, providing evidence that there actually is such a thing, not opinion

            Do you know what the feminist theory of patriarchy actually is? Did you actually look at the studies? Some of them go into the ‘why’. I realize anti-feminists are basically sociology’s creationists, but you should probably do a better job than stamping your feet and insisting that clear supporting evidence isn’t.

            And no, those aren’t the only places women are biased against by the culture, I just don’t really deal with Creationists so I wasn’t going to devote more than a minute to the database searches.

            If this evidence for the patriarchy undeniably exists than *undeniably* there should be peer-reviewed studies documenting it, no?

            I just linked them. To my unsurprise, you’re pretending they don’t document patriarchy, because they don’t use the word, because they’re answering specific questions about the patriarchy.

        2. You have to be patient with young Pitchguest. He’s just coming to terms with the idea that playing with an unconscious teenager’s genitals is actually rape…http://freethoughtblogs.com/amilliongods/2013/03/21/big-red-steubenville-whores/comment-page-1/#comment-78688

          Asking someone who is just beginning to understand what was wrong with that comment (he has, to his credit, admitted it was wrong and apologized) to grasp the meaning of big words like “patriarchy” is expecting a lot.

          Baby steps…

          1. Look, Rutee (Can I call you Rutee?), since we’re going to be condescending, I realise that your dogma prevents you from looking at facts correctly and changing your views accordingly, but the studies you linked were first of all fucking bargled so I couldn’t well look at them, and second of all they don’t even tell you anything about the fucking patriarchy. The study by Linda Wirth (the third one down) is even referring to gender inequality *in general*, i.e *not just about men.* Is that what the patriarchy is? Is it a conscious effort by men to deliberately make “institututional structures at the expense of women” or is it unconscious? Because correct me if I’m wrong, but haven’t you… sorry, *people like you* also said “patriarchy hurts men too”? What’s that all about? Isn’t it a system for men *by* men? I’m confused.

            It can’t be that the patriarchy is a class system, could it? Because I’m pretty sure I’m not rich enough, tall enough or handsome enough to be able to say I’m perpetuating it. Maybe I’m one of those sorts that the “patriarchy” hurts too? Hm? What do you think?

            Oh, and I’m not an anti-feminist thank you very much, but it’s nice of you make assumptions. I just do feminism differently than you do. There are different branches of feminism, you know, in case you didn’t know. It’s not just about one way. Ever heard of Christina Hoff Sommers? I imagine her feminism is quite dissimilar from yours. And there are plenty others. Paula Kirby? Feminist. Harriet Hall? Feminist. Sure, they might not be considered feminists in *your eyes* but then again I don’t inhabit your McCarthyist tendencies.

            If there is a study for documenting patriarchy, *specifically* documenting it, then it should damn well fucking reference it, if not in the title then at least in the study itself. Isn’t it like if Darwin in the Origin of Species would not mention evolution at all, or natural selection, or anything do with what he was *actually* documenting? I mean, what the fuck are you talking about? I can link to you studies about instances favouring women and not men, would that be proof of anything? Certainly if a patriarchy were to exist, then professions would favour men across the board, except in the study by Linda Wirth (you know, the actual fucking study you cited), they’re not. Not in the slightest. In fact, in Scandinavia (that is to say, where I’m from), senior management positions are actually dominated *by women.* Holy fucking shit.

            A direct quote in the study by Linda Wirth, “Breaking through the glass ceiling”, great study,

            “On the other hand, the Scandinavian countries have high initial participation by women and a greater proportion occupying senior management positions. Women are twice as likely to obtain senior management jobs in Scandinavia than in other areas in Europe.”

            Does that mean that Scandinavia is exempt from patriarchy? According to many women here in Sweden — feminists, of course — it is not. But what do I know. I’m not a feminist. If you have some more studies that actually documents patriarchy (bonus points if it is peer-reviewed and not partisan), that would be nice. I would be very interested in seeing them. And if they’re not written yet, I can wait. I’m still young.

  3. 3

    pitchguest: Yes, if we could find the patriarchy gene, with SCIENCE, that would be faboo. Then we could eradicate that one gene, and move on with our lives! *eyeroll*

  4. 4

    Re: 1

    ” ‘(…) and that’s how evolution with common descent works.’

    But, but, you still don’t know how you get everything from nothing! Evolution is false!”

    Nice goal post moving!

  5. 5

    Hey PG if you think a review of the scientific literature on Patriarchy (Add Kyriarchy as well BTW) and rape culture is needed… Go fricken do it! Write a blog post de-constructing the papers and any flaws you see.

    Strangely this post is about two specific myths that may not be your favourite ones, but tough luck, do your own work. You comment looks like a massive derail!

    What do you think of these myths? Are the ones you previously believed or have you encountered ppl who believe them?

    I’ve certainly come across plenty of PGs friends at the pit who trot out the feminists hate men or more simply are “misandrists” rubbish. So thanks for the interesting debunk, hopefully bigger and better studies with larger, more diverse groups will be conducted as its a common meme.

      1. FORESHADOWING *ominous music plays*
        Sometimes I forget that you haven’t written that post yet because we’ve already talked about it so much and I got all of my fanboy squeals out already.
        Seriously, people, it’s going to be a hella cool post and you will possibly cry a skeezed-out cry at human psychology when Miri shares the article with you. Tell your friends*.

        *(Mostly tell them not to make rape jokes)

        1. Actually, not to give away TOO much, but one of the studies seems to suggest that men who are very low in sexist attitudes don’t have this effect. They can hear and even enjoy rape jokes without that altering their attitudes toward rape itself. But I’ll have to reread the study.

      2. I bet PG will comment on that post… My psychic sense is telling me he will find it not compelling or ignore it completely to raise some totally unrelated objections… Can I apply for the Randi million now?

    1. 5.2

      Yeah, I’ll write a post deconstructing peer-reviewed papers/studies on patriarchy. Shame that these papers/studies don’t seem to be in this realm of existence. I could just as easily disprove the existence of an all-powerful, all-seeing, all-merciful god, than I could the existence of patriarchy. If you get my meaning.

      Maybe you ought to take care of your daughter (or son or whatever) instead of stirring shit up on the internet. I realise this will deprive you of your seemingly only entertainment right now (besides creating block bots on twitter which apparently causes people to get their accounts suspended), but it’ll be much more productive than trolling people for reactions. For instance, I thought it was pretty funny when you said to EllenBeth Wachs that PZ’s post about Adria Richards was to “get the misogynists out of the woodwork.” Which is why EllenBeth disagreed with it, I suppose, you simple-minded imbecile?

      Am I derailing? The piece is called “busting myths about feminism with science” and Miri mentions “patriarchy.” The feminist theory version of patriarchy has not been proven scientifically, and as such has not had its myth busted – with science. So I figured it was a salient point to bring it up, how a study could bring the debate of its existence to an end, and especially how the study depicting it should be peer-reviewed — preferably several — precisely so you *wouldn’t* be able to dismiss it. However, as ever, I am able to admit I’m wrong. If you have incontrovertible evidence that the feminist theory version of patriarchy is a reality, then by all means, provide it and prove me wrong. I’ll shut up and you won’t hear (or see) me mention it again.

      1. Well it seems Rutee is covering the paper thing above so I won’t bother…

        I’m glad you take note of what I do and say PG, makes my heart swell with pride. Not sure if you have old info about @the_block_bot as its got no ones accounts suspended. As perfectly evidenced by the pittizens blocking it and reporting for spam en masse – its still there.

        Did you not get the Adria thing as well? Quelle surpise! PZ’s title was purposely challenging to the misogynistic view that *she* was in the wrong, to criticise a woman who has been attacked over a minor point is MRA/misogynist 101. Deflect from the attack and horrible misogyny and focus on what something she did “wrong” (Hindsight being 20/20 n all)…. I’m guessing this is a favourite tactic of yours. Actually I’m not as I’ve seen it enough from you. So nice try but no I wasn’t calling Ellen-Beth a misogynist 🙂

        “The feminist theory version of patriarchy has not been proven scientifically” … “proven scientifically”… Do you understand the scientific method PG? Just because Miri has provided a couple of papers in the defence of two concepts that does not make them “proven”… You know what is the best evidence scientifically that something is not true? Negative evidence, Miri gives some hypotheses in this thread that would falsify Patriarchy. Usually your lot just assert it is dogma with no possibility of falsification, seems you are not going that route. So why don’t you toddle off and prove the negative and become a hero of the mens rights movement!

        I reckon PG could be the narrator/actors in the last pane of this cartoon – someone posted on B&W and it made me laugh!
        Although one flaw for him personally as it is *very* important that the pesky wimmin listen to him and appreciate his great intellect…. I can’t think why this is the case for some atheist men, they take the view that our *culture* is set up through a misogynistic history (One they probably accept given its rooted in christianity) to systematically oppress certain groups and take that very personally. Terms that sound vaguely like blaming men/them seem to be big triggers, Patriarchy is definitely male, mansplaining is anti-catnip.

  6. 6

    “provide evidence of the patriarchy (the feminist theory version)”

    Here’s a thought; how many politicians are women, compared to the number of men?
    How many women are in leader positions in businesses, schools, or even charity organizations compared to the number of men?

    That men are currently more privileged than women is rather hard to argue against – at least, it is if you have the slightest bit of political awareness.

    Whether this is because of the past – men in leadership positions have, essentially, been grandfathered in, and we’re just waiting for them to retire – or a current on-going struggle that needs our attention, is a bit harder to precisely address.

    I know that women currently counts as the majority of university graduates in the US – something like 52% (I think) of all doctorates are awarded to women. Girls also consistently out performs boys in schools, all the way from Primary School to College.

    1. 6.1

      Here’s a thought; how many politicians are women, compared to the number of men?
      How many women are in leader positions in businesses, schools, or even charity organizations compared to the number of men?

      See, this is always a good one to ask. Because either one is forced to admit that the system really IS skewed against women, or they start to claim that men are just better at being leaders than women. And that’s sexist. Unless you suggest that men are better leaders than women because they’ve been taught to be better leaders through social conditioning, which, again, leads to the conclusion that the system is skewed against women.

      1. But isn’t the argument they make is that women *choose* not to be in leadership positions [citation needed]? I guess that would run into the same problem of “Sexist or admit Patriarchy.”

        You also could make the argument that it’s due to random chance. Coincidences happen, after all. But I think that’s a rather hard pill to swallow (and you would expect it to swing back and forth between male and female majority). To be honest, I haven’t actually heard that argument from such people.

        1. But isn’t the argument they make is that women *choose* not to be in leadership positions [citation needed]? I guess that would run into the same problem of “Sexist or admit Patriarchy.”

          I think that’s what Michael Shermer was trying to get at. But yes, it’s still sexist because it presumes that there’s something inherently different about men and women that makes men leaders and women followers.

          You also could make the argument that it’s due to random chance. Coincidences happen, after all. But I think that’s a rather hard pill to swallow (and you would expect it to swing back and forth between male and female majority). To be honest, I haven’t actually heard that argument from such people.

          I think anyone who took Stats 101 could easily do the significance test that would demolish that theory. 😛

  7. 7

    One man’s (limited) anecdata: One great thing about dating feminist women is that they tend to be very clear about what they want and don’t want. Many non-feminist women seem to consider the “mixed message” as an art form, at which some excel to discomfiting degrees.

    1. 7.1

      Very true. In my experience, non-feminist women tend to believe (perhaps because they’ve been taught by well-meaning friends and parents) that men need to be “trapped” into relationships via special “tricks” such as “playing hard to get.” Feminist women tend to understand that even if this works in some men, these aren’t the men we want to date, anyway.

  8. 8

    Thanks for the study summary. Anecdotally, I have had pleasant partnerships with feminists. There were times when I dated non-feminists and I’d get conflicting sexist remarks: “You’re a man, so you’re supposed to do x.” But then, “Oh, it’s just like a man to do x!”

      1. That isn’t how I was before I was a feminist, but I was only not a feminist because I didn’t yet know that we weren’t all equal. My general approach to the Things Men Are Supposed to Do was to insist on doing them myself. Nicely, but firmly.

        (I also did not have any romantic relationships pre-feminist awakening. If I had, they might well have been frustrating, though maybe not because I’m not straight. I think sexist patterns of thought and behavior would tend to poison different-sex relationships more than same-sex ones, though I know same-sex relationships are not magically immune to patriarchy either.)

  9. 9

    Please consider me clueless.

    What’s wrong with:

    holding attitudes toward men that seem kind or affectionate on the surface, but actually support traditional gender roles

    I think that eliminating all people who “support” traditional gender roles as defined feminists is using a rather wide scythe.

    If someone has a benevolent attitude towards men and “supports” traditional gender roles, how does that by definition disqualify them from being a feminist? By that reckoning, my mother is not a feminist. And I can assure you, nothing is further from the truth.

    I think a drill-down would certainly be in order, and I hope the researchers did that.

    “The place of the woman is in the home”…not feminist.

    “Men are better at being the bread winners of the family” … not feminist.

    “Women who choose homemaking/child care as a career path should be supported as much as women who choose business careers” … feminist.

    1. 9.1

      What’s wrong with: “holding attitudes toward men that seem kind or affectionate on the surface, but actually support traditional gender roles”

      What’s wrong with that is that it presumes that men and women are inherently different in terms of their proper “place” in life. If women need men to protect them, that means women shouldn’t be independent enough to protect themselves. If men need women to tend house for them, that means that men aren’t capable of doing so themselves, and that it’s women’s job to do it for them.

      I think that eliminating all people who “support” traditional gender roles as defined feminists is using a rather wide scythe.

      If someone has a benevolent attitude towards men and “supports” traditional gender roles, how does that by definition disqualify them from being a feminist? By that reckoning, my mother is not a feminist. And I can assure you, nothing is further from the truth.

      Again, it’s not about having a “benevolent attitude” towards men. It’s not about believing that men are awesome and fun and wonderful. It’s about believing that, in some ways, men NEED A Woman to set them straight or take care of them or whatever. In the end, that’s not actually very flattering to men at all.

      Feminists don’t want to “eliminate” anybody. We want to eliminate harmful ideas. And in this case, there’s a huge difference between, “I’d prefer a relationship in which I [a woman] stay home and raise the children while my husband works,” and “I think that women should stay home and raise children while their husbands work” or “I think that women are inherently better at taking care of the home and children than men are.”

      Do you understand this difference?

      For instance, I need a partner who gives me a lot of space, including the space to have other partners if I want to. But does that mean that I think this is the “proper” or “natural” way for relationships to be? Hell no! It’s just what works for me.

      Likewise, in my life I never want to be a stay-at-home mother. It just doesn’t appeal to me at all. But that doesn’t mean that I believe that women as a whole “ought” to work. I ought to work, because that’s what’s right for me.

      So if your mother decided, for herself, that the lifestyle that works best for her involves what could be described as a “traditional” gender role for women, that’s completely fine as long as she doesn’t believe that all women should do it the way she does. And even then, I’m not really so interested in labeling people as “feminist” or “not feminist” as I am in labeling ideas, policies, and beliefs as such. Your mother might have had a whole ton of feminist ideas but still have the decidedly anti-feminist idea that a woman’s place is in the home. (Besides, in this study, having these benevolent sexist attitudes didn’t “disqualify” you from being a feminist. The researchers were just looking at who has more of them, women or men, and feminists or non-feminists.)

      Feminism isn’t about who stays home and who works. It’s about ensuring equal opportunity for men and women. You can go your whole life without working for pay for a single day, supported entirely by your husband’s earnings, and still be a fantastic feminist if you believe that all women should have the opportunity to do everything that men have the opportunity to do, including work outside the home. That doesn’t mean every single woman needs to take that opportunity.

      1. Feminism isn’t about who stays home and who works.

        Yes, I think that was my point. I’m sorry you misconstrued it. My hope is that the study authors made the distinction. It seems from the description that those who expressed “support” for traditional gender roles were assigned a “non-feminist” label. At least that’s my reading of it – not having gone to through the entire study methodology.

        I’m not disagreeing with the conclusions of the study, FWIW.

        I just think that the authors may have assigned too many people to the non-feminist category.

        1. So, the way the study worked was this:

          The study classified you as a feminist if you said you were a feminist. The study classified you as NOT a feminist if you said you were not a feminist.

          Meanwhile, a separate section asked you to define feminism. Defining feminism incorrectly by the standard of the study didn’t get you labeled as “non-feminist.” It just got your data thrown out of that part of the analysis, because that part of the study depends on participants knowing what feminism IS. If they don’t know what it is, well, the results aren’t going to be valid.

          Now, in order to “correctly” define feminism, all you had to do was mention something about gender equality in there. The researchers specifically stated that you could ALSO include something inaccurate in the definition as long as you got that part. So, if someone said, “Feminism means that you hate men and advocate for equality between men and women,” you’d still be considered correct and your data would still be included. If you simply said “feminism means hating men” or “feminism means being feminine,” your data would be thrown out.

          So, if someone said, “Feminism means supporting traditional gender roles,” their data would probably have been thrown out, because that’s just objectively NOT what it is. But note that the researchers never asked the participants any questions about whether or not they personally support traditional gender roles or whatever. They only asked them to define feminism itself.

          Does that make sense?

    2. 9.2

      It’s the difference between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome.

      Some insist that equality of opportunity is not true equality; we MUST have equality of outcome.

      Others say that the genders are simply too different for that to be possible without so-called ‘affirmative action’, i.e. hiring/choosing someone on the basis of their gender, instead of their skills and experiences.

      Women are currently roughly 52% of all doctorate recipients in the US, but they are grossly underrepresented in STEM fields, and grossly overrepresented social sciences and health care (I think) – is this the result of equality of opportunity or a symptom of continued inequality?

      Personally, I think it’s a mix of the two.

      1. Some insist that equality of opportunity is not true equality; we MUST have equality of outcome.

        And some people aren’t so fucking stupid they have to be told that it takes more to ensure an equal opportunity than merely to make sure no one will tell you to your face that they’re not hiring you because you’re a woman.

    3. 9.3

      How did you get from a definition of benevolent sexism to thus they are not a feminist?

      Especially when
      1. The paper defined feminists as “any reference to equal rights for women, the acknowledgement of inequality between women and men, [or] the need for social change on behalf of women”
      2.the paper says that feminist women show less (not no amount but less) HS and BS then non feminist identifying women?

      Your examples also seem to show a conflation of supporting someone who chooses a traditional gender role with supporting the existence of such gender roles themselves which I’m also not sure really follows.

      Maybe you should reread the post cause I really don’t see what you’re building this off of.

    4. 9.4

      I apologize if this is considered a thread derail. It’s the use of the word “supports” that I think is my issue.

      It’s a word you see in the faux medicines/nutraceuticals being hawked every minute of every day on TV. “Supports” colon health. “Supports” heart health. What does that mean, exactly? Turns out, nothing, because “these statements have not been evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration. Not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or condition.”

      So, “supports” traditional gender roles can mean anything from “women should be barefoot, pregnant, and silent in church” to “my husband takes out the trash and I load the dishwasher (and we’re both happy with that negotiated arrangement) and then we both jet off to our equal-paying jobs as corporate lawyers”.

      1. I apologize if this is considered a thread derail.

        No worries!

        So, “supports” traditional gender roles can mean anything from “women should be barefoot, pregnant, and silent in church” to “my husband takes out the trash and I load the dishwasher (and we’re both happy with that negotiated arrangement) and then we both jet off to our equal-paying jobs as corporate lawyers”.

        Not really. “Supporting” traditional gender roles implies, well, supporting gender ROLES. As in, there are specific roles that each gender ought to fulfill. NOT “Well, I personally prefer to do X in the home while my husband does Y.”

        1. Ah. Now we’re at the “is-ought” boundary. Which I think is a good deal sharper and cleaner.

          Yes, totally agree. Thanks for working me through that.

  10. 10

    So, I hesitate to feed a troll, and I never studied Women’s Studies, or anthropology, or sociology, or any related discipline, but I have read about some really interesting research dealing with the idea of rape culture, and what makes a culture a rape culture, by an anthropologist called Peggy Reeves Sanday. She talks both about whole societies and also about social microcosms like college campuses. (Here is an article she wrote about the differences between campuses where there are a lot of rapes and campuses where there are few or no rapes). I can’t find a free version of her article about rape-prone vs. rape-free societies (abstract is here, for any of you who are college students whose university subscribes to that journal; there’s also this Google Books snippet from an anthology of essays about rape), and I’m not sure to what degree her descriptions of individual cultures that she hasn’t studied are valid (like, she references the Yanomami as notoriously violent and rape-prone, when actual Yanomami spokespeople dispute that characterization and blame it on one anthropologist who published a famous book about them and his idee fixe of what human nature is), but she does find a pattern across the 150-some cultures she looks at.

    Anyway, here’s the pattern she found: societies where rape is endemic tend to have 1) male-dominated social structures, where men have most of the political, economic, military, cultural, religious, familial, and whatever other kind of authority there is; 2) religions centering around male deities; 3) attitudes of contempt toward women, which boys learn as they grow up and become men — part of becoming a man is repudiating one’s ties to the female world of one’s mother and sisters; 4) recent history of migration, famine, warfare, natural disaster or some other horrible external stressor; and 5) an unstable relationship with the natural environment.

    Is any of that sounding familiar to anyone?

  11. 12

    On the way feminist versus non-feminist men viewed feminist women; I think part of this is that non-feminist males (and women likely too) probably self-select into social groups and subcultures that contain few feminist people. That group has totally different norms for how men and women interact – they’ve got a script about how things are supposed to go. Men who are used to that script will probably find interactions with women who have thrown out the script (for good reason) to be difficult and frustrating since all of a sudden, they don’t have a clear idea what to do. They return to their like-minded cohorts with stories about how terrible it was to interact with feminists. (Of course, this has all the legitimacy of me saying that everybody in China is well-educated since everybody I talked to in Shanghai was college educated. Since I can’t speak Chinese, I didn’t talk firsthand to most people…)

    I got a taste for this sort of ‘subculture problem’ when I did a stint of attending a church for a month or so, just to get firsthand experience of what happened there. The place took pride in not being anti-woman (at least compared to someone worse) but it definitely seemed like a place where men and women were not equal. “Discussions” in which everybody was ostensibly an equal participant turned into sessions where different guys took turns dominating the conversation. If a woman talked, a man would emerge as a self-appointed interlocutor and rather than simply speaking her mind, the guy would question the woman. Nowhere was there a rule that ‘men run discussions’ but there might as well have been. Oddly, this type of shit usually pisses me off, but I was trying to keep a low profile as an undercover atheist, so it worked out okay. But I thought of how a member of this subculture would handle a night at the pub with my same-sex partner and our friends… they’d just shut down, with no idea how to interact with anybody .Nobody would laugh at their jokes about how women like to shop and men don’t like to ask directions.

    This isn’t to make excuses for people like that, or to imply we need better “feminism 101.” Feminism and gender studies aren’t arcane disciples that an ordinary person can’t help to penetrate if they apply a little bit of effort and I think the ignorance tends to be willful.

    This also seems consistent with the rubbish that anti-feminists write about “o the poor men because of feminism.” The men I know don’t have a problem with feminism or feminist women. They think equality for women isn’t here yet, it’s a big deal, and think there’s something odd about women who aren’t feminists.

  12. 13

    The thing is, there is no reason a woman can’t be powerful. Green, is what the corrupt people of power speak. My question is why women WANT to be part of the corrupt people in power? If you truly want to be corrupt too, just bribe your way there and hope someone else doesn’t beat you at the corruption game.

    Also I would like to point out, that if there was patriarchy in America that it is not a product of law. nothing in the law itself gives preferential treatment. So if and when a guy gets a job over a woman because they are a man, I just want to point out that… there is nothing within law that can, nor should, be done. Sexism may be highly irrational and a load of crap, but we live in America where you can hold any opinion you want and say what you want. As well, you can decide to use your property how you want as long as you don’t infringe upon another person’s rights. But see when you go to a place to get hired, that place is the property of someone, and they hold the right to not hire you for whatever reason they want. It’s their loss, but it’s their right too. Should they be judged as wrongful? Yes. But they can be wrongful since technically they are keeping their fist from touching your face, so to speak. They are exerting their rights to an extent that does not actually breach yours IMO.

    Now you can however fight bigotry by educating the youth and teaching them the logical skills they need to be intelligent, rational and skeptical people. As well by contributing to the world and promoting progress. So then you are fighting bigotry by trying to let it die off, trying to prevent seeds from being plants.

    Is there patriarchy? Maybe, but it isn’t rooted in law. It’s rooted in culture… it’s a social patriarchy rather than a governmental or legal one. So it cannot be fought through law, it can only be fought through culture and social. Just wanted to point this out. I mean there is obviously some legal battles regarding women’s rights to be had, like Abortion, but that is not a part of patriarchy. If men could get pregnant, abortion would be illegal for them too.

    Last but not least: I do not think that even if there is patriarchy, that there is anyone who does it intentionally. The evidence for this, is that the SAME system that probably produces patriarchy also produces bias AGAINST men TOO. For example, there is obviously gender roles for men that you’ve acknowledged. As well, a man is more distrusted than a woman and this is actually a part of culture with the whole “women and children first” thing because they are somehow more inherently innocent than men and more deserving of being saved apparently. A man can be raped, and most people will be skeptical of it. There is a bias towards women as parents, opposed to male parents. A woman is far more likely to win a case for claiming full rights to the kids. Somehow the outdated concept of matrimony still exists, and is just as biased towards women as ever. Then child support, men almost always are the ones having to pay it, etc.

    Gender roles alone are enough proof that the system is biased both ways. Which goes back to the corruption, those in power divide and conquer and they don’t care that I am male. They want me to bow down as much as they want any woman to. They also wouldn’t by hurt in the slightest if a woman was president, or in some other powerful position. The only ones who are powerful but not corrupt, show their true motives by benefiting humanity… like bill gates.

    1. 13.1

      The Patriarchy is not deniable at this point. It is obviously there.

      There are laws that are in place that are clearly patriarchal. Examples would be all the fights against providing sexual health medicine to women. There’s the lack of maternity/paternity leave. It is extraordinarily lazy to assert that patriarchy is not rooted in law. Would you like more specific examples, or would you prefer to rescind your baseless assertion?

      Patriarchy in general refers to culture. Feminists have no problem saying that partriarchy affects men too. They say this all the time. This does not mean they are equal in weight or equal in their societal effect. Women who are in power are hated and men in power are lauded. This constant decree of “WHAT ABOUT THE MENZ” is why it’s basically impossible to talk about women’s issues online. Men are constantly derailing subjects to talk about men. It’s friggin’ annoying. Stop it.

      Seriously, just observe conversations online. You talk about men’s issues and they talk about men. You talk about women’s issues and they will always get derailed into talking about men.

      And I haven’t even gone into the massive beneficial economics of feminism.

  13. 14

    C Thomas.

    I agree that things are often biased against men, but if you think of patriarchy as a system that privileged *some* men over all other people, you can realize why some men get pissed and shit on. Working class men get shoved into dangerous jobs to benefit a bunch of guys in suits behind desks, and the notion of ‘rugged masculinity’ makes men feel obliged to accept shitty dangerous jobs rather than protest. Men with stable jobs create a climate of economic security for working class men and then portray them as lazy, vulgar and prone to criminality. Women are perfectly capable of obtaining political power and being tools for the patriarchy at the same time.These aren’t revolutionary insights, probably any woman who considers herself a feminist (or a guy too) will have encountered them or thought of them already on their own.

    However, the idea that private regimes of power ought to be exempt from government intervention isn’t a universally agreed upon moral principle. Part of the reason is that ‘property rights’ themselves are a social contract, not some Platonic ideal that has existed IN AETERMUM. They’re socially constructed and negotiated, and I think it’s perfectly defensible to put limits on them.

    I could go on about property rights – apparently, it was okay to kill people and take their land up until when? When white people got dominion over the whole 50 states? Then all of a sudden a bunch of white guys get this idea in their heads that, after wasting a native population through violence, that acquiring property through forceful seizure is somehow unjustified. We didn’t all pop into the world with equal opportunities to acquire property under some fair, impartial gain. Current property relations emerged from violent conquest and blatant theft and seizure and the use of government to suddenly ‘claim’ that some land belonged to one person or agency instead of another. I guess that’s why I don’t buy the absoluteness of property rights businesses – it’s all acquired under some set of arbitrary rules, often enforced by the people who just flat out took everything at gunpoint first who would just hate for anyone to beat them at their old game.

    Measures existed to prevent people other than certain classes from obtaining capital in the past. So, should we fix that, or just tell people tough shit because their ancestors weren’t so good at stealing.

    You might want to investigate the political philosopher Thomas Hobbes. I’m not in total agreement with Hobbes on all counts and he is from a long time ago, but his basic idea was that the law exists to mediate between people with unequal power, and that the law should be used to protect those who have less power from those who have more. Hobbes didn’t limit ‘power’ to just government, but economic and even (it was relevant in his time) ecclesiastical power. Claiming people are in any sense ‘free’ or ‘equal’ when huge power differentials exist is just ridiculous, a meaningless abstraction that doesn’t exist.

    Freedom doesn’t exist unless all forms of power are regulated. Absolute property rights makes property owners feudal lords and the rest of the population serfs. I don’t want to live under feudalism.

    I want to add, before the Above Poster lashes into me, that I’m an entrepreneur. I don’t have much power, but I have a little. The government SHOULD regulate how I treat potential and actual employees, and if the government decides to make me the Absolute Ruler over my Fief, the vast mass of proles without property ought to overthrow the government and put some justifiable restrictions on me. Why should government just exist as a sort of hit-squad with guns for property owners? I mean, if it does, it’s basically just like living in the Company Town, which isn’t a world I’d like to support. The Properties Classes may not like it, but if you expect people to consent to a government, it should be one that offers everybody something.

  14. 15

    Does the United States actually have a statute that says that women are supposed to be disadvantaged and shouldn’t hold power politically? No. It does not. It used to – about a hundred years ago.

    And you think the fact that something is legally allowed means that automatically, magically, there are no social attitudes and issues which work against that something actually happening?

    For goodness sake. The anti-feminists who claim ‘but it’s now illegal to be sexist! Therefore there’s no sexism any more!” are just so clueless.

    There’s nothing in law that says an out gay person couldn’t be President of the USA. Is the fact that it hasn’t happened evidence that gay people just aren’t trying? Or that society doesn’t automatically snap in line with legislation?

    1. 16.1

      Hehe so a comedians expose of a Nordic institute of less than 10 workers is somehow equated to the whole of feminism and gender studies being busted… BY SCIENCE, w00t!… Better pack up ladies, Tiberius has proven you are all complaining about nothing!

      Anyway, despite the obvious flaws in reasoning that makes someone conclude the end of feminism and gender studies based on one small institution that may or may not be crappy… The feminists here are not even pushing the same “dogmatic” view ascribed to this institution, that ALL gender differences are down to cultural constructs not biological differences.

      I don’t want to put words in peoples mouths but my impression is that the feminists in FtBs/Skepchick etc are *sceptical* about claims that gender differences are primarily biological in nature. So saying “Its a guy thing” won’t get you any cookies over here. The null hypothesis (here at least, imo) is that gender difference is cultural until evidence is presented that shows a biological basis. This is breaking from the previously accepted view which has asserted that gender differences are primarily biological which has in turn not been that good for women. They don’t do thinky, as Ophelia said, so why bother trying to make it more attractive?

      If the reports coming out of that story are true, I’ve seen it before, and they really were pushing an extreme view that *all* differences *must* be considered cultural despite evidence to the contrary. Then I doubt many feminists on FtBs/Skepchick would be particularly complimentary about them. But I also doubt they are going to pack up their bags and go home because one institute got it wrong.

      1. The other problem with “all gender differences are….” is that differences between genders almost always fall on a continuum. It’s not true, for instance, that “men are taller than women,” even though the average man within any particular ethnic group is taller than t

        1. Ah c’mon, don’t play dumb. You know exactly how the fairy tale goes …
          “gender differences are social constructs .. etcblalalies”
          Well, that shit has been debunked now. Well done. Do I hear applause from the skeptics at FtB?

          And yes, that silly comedian brought down a bogus political agenda institute, funded with 75+ million dollar each year. He exposed their work as not only unscientific, but anti-scientific, deliberately ignoring real scientific knowledge to continue lying about their own “research”…

          Just imagine how proud a speaker at TAM would be if he/she could say the same…

          1. You didn’t listen – why would there be applause for something they already knew? I know you are very proud of it, try popping over to one of the more sceptic focussed blogs and announce a 2 year old “debunk” of bigfoot. You won’t get any applause there either. The fact, if it is, that one research institute was following a hard line approach of all gender differences are social constructs has no bearing on this blog network or this blog post.

            Why do you seem to think it does?

          2. why would there be applause for something they already knew?
            It depends on who you mean with “they” ?

            If you mean : The dogmatic frauds at the institute:
            Yes, they knew the truth and chose to suppress it. That’s what frauds do.

            If you mean : The 4 scandinavian countries which funded with institute with taxpayers’ money and the media and politicians who were subjected to false information and policy recommendations :
            No, they didn’t. But now they do.

            I think that’s objectively better than going after spiritual mediums or other quacks for the gazillionth time.

  15. 17

    Sorry about that. The average man within any particular ethnic group is taller than the average woman. But First Lady Obama and the late Princess Diana of Wales are both considered attractive women, while being taller than the average man in their societies. Likewise, when I spent time with the Kuna Indians, nobody saw me as unwomanly or them as unmanly, although I was taller than any man I met there.

    So any generalization about gender differences will necessarily fall afoul of some people.

    I’m quite sure Miri, Greta, Ophelia, etc. are aware of that. So the idea that “all gender differences are…” is a fail on more than one level.

    1. 17.1

      tiberiusbeauregard is still thinking FtBs are “dogmatically” ignoring his great revelation… Looking forward to his next post 😀

      Spending time in Panama (?) with the Kuna Indians sounds interesting!

      1. Oh no no, you’re not ignoring it (after all, FtB isn’t identical to A+) but you easily wave it off as if it were nothing, or close to nothing …

        In reality, that brave little man has exposed a pseudo-scientific political myth hat had devoured hundreds of millions of dollars in its course and corrupted the lives of millions of children and parents.

        And make no mistake – the very same myth is still upheld in lots of other european societies and causes an equal amount of damage.

  16. 18

    Alright I have one question… someone quoted you saying this, “If patriarchy did not exist, women would be just as likely to be hurt or killed by a man as men are to be hurt or killed by a woman. They are not.” They represented you as meaning that more women are hurt by men than the other way around. That there aren’t enough women hurting and killing men… If this is what you meant (although the way you phrased it says that women are less likely to be hurt), I want to point out that you CANNOT use current statistics to prove this. Many men don’t report abuse, etc, and women are less likely to be investigated while men are more likely to be looked at for violent crime, so yes, more men are caught than women, but there is no reason to think that women are so much less violent, or “bad” than men. That statement is erasing a lot of male victims. If what you meant was that patriarchy is responsible for it being so much less acceptable to hurt a woman, I also think this is wrong. You’d be equating all sexist stereotypes and expectations with patriarchy. Sexism!=Patriarchy… especially Sexism that hurts men. Sexism isn’t always about women. All patriarchy refers to is a society in which men are the sole ones in power. We had a patriarchy,… this? It’s not a patriarchy. Yeah, there are still bigoted people and people who think men should be in X positions only but this entire country is not a patriarchy.

  17. 19

    Example of patriarchy. The official twitter feed for SkepTech reserves the right to block non-attendees from using the #skeptech hashtag, including men. Thank the flying spaghetti monster.

    Not an example of patriarchy. More women murdering men.

    1. 19.1

      Nice try. You can’t block someone from using a hashtag on Twitter. You can, however, filter people out of a feed if you don’t want to see them anymore, and nobody has the right to be paid attention to by those who don’t want to pay attention to them.

      Go home, try again.

      1. It’s a fair cop. However to get back to the subject of patriarchy, you never answered my question. Are you arguing we live in a patriarchal society because (among other things) there aren’t enough women who murder men? The syntax of your original statement kind of threw me (sorry, I’m not a native speaker, it’s my third language), but that’s what it sounded like. Was that what you were saying?

        It’s this one, in case you’re wondering:

        If patriarchy did not exist, women would be just as likely to be hurt or killed by a man as men are to be hurt or killed by a woman. They are not.

        Looking forward to your response. Thanks.

        1. “Are you arguing we live in a patriarchal society because (among other things) there aren’t enough women who murder men?”

          There’s a certain amount of slant in your framing that comes off as dishonesty and certainly fallacious reasoning. http://www.fallacyfiles.org/loadques.html Have you considered the other possible formulations of the issue such as “Too many men murdering women”?

          1. Right. However, that *is* what she is saying, though, isn’t it?

            The idea being presented is that patriarchy is based on (among other things) the fact that there aren’t as many women hurting or killing men as there are men hurting or killing women. Now I would’ve thought that the fact there aren’t as many murderous women as there are men would be a good thing, but it appears — unless I’m reading her wrong — that women want equality in that particular area as well? As it happens, there are more men raping women than there are women raping men. Unfair?

            I have trouble understanding why more men having a murderous streak is an example of disenfranchisement. Men who murder aren’t given special treatment. In the United States, you end up in prison for a long time, sometimes forever and sometimes it’s cut short by lethal injection. I’m curious of the injustice of the sexes being perpetuated here. Apart from the women being murdered obviously, which is reprehensible, but even that sort of proves my point (if that’s not too crass). If men often and repeatedly commit vile acts, and men are put away for a long time and they’re constantly seen as the villains in society, then aren’t men shooting themselves in the foot if it’s a society by men, for men, *favouring* men?

            Terribly illogical if you ask me. I can recognise that there are gender disparity in certain professions and so on without a radical change in ideology, but if you tell me that the gender disparity is due to a system favouring men at the expense of women and one of the reasons is that *less women hurt and kill men*, I would call bullshit. And madness. The documentary that tiberiusbeauregard linked from 2010, Brainwash by Harald Eia, was interesting. You should watch it. Part 2 is apt for the discussion of gender roles.

          2. Lets consider this… currently some nations in africa, south asia and the middle east there are a number of violent assaults involving the throwing of acid to disfigure. There are over 1000 of these a year and globally 80% of the victims are women. To say that this is a sign of a patriarchal gender based problem does not mean that the desired solution is more men being victimized that’s ludicrous. You’re entire framing is incendiary and fallacious and “terribly illogical if you ask me”. Not all problems or disparities need to be solved by raising numbers.

            It can be an example of disenfranchisement for a number of reasons. Women are more then twice as likely to be killed by an intimate acquaintance then are men. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1635092 Husbands and boyfriends killing their partners has more then a hint of patriarchy.

        2. Sorry, I’m out of town and don’t have much computer access. I merely meant that in a society with no power imbalance between men and women, men would be about as likely to be killed by women as women are to be killed by men. Currently, the latter is much more likely.

          Your suggestion that I want more women to kill men is so strawmanny and laughable that I’m almost loath to address it. No. I want fewer men to kill women. In fact, I want fewer people to kill people in general. And while even an equal society would obviously have murder, the rates of murder would not be gendered. Violence by men against women will not be institutionalized and accepted as “just the way the world is,” any more so than any other violent crime.

          1. No, Miriam. My original question was, ‘are you arguing that patriarchy exists because there aren’t enough murderous women?’ I didn’t say ‘want’.

            In an equal society, the rates of murder would not be gendered? Funny. Do women lack the ability to hurt or kill men *now*? Are they prohibited from wielding knives or guns? Prohibited to drive? I’m curious to what you think women are really capable of. Has it never occured to you to look at the statistics of murder rates of women by men and ask questions for why that is, that perhaps it’s genetic and men simply have a greater tendency towards violence than women? Or anything else for that matter? Because if I’m not mistaken, the statistics of murder also show that *men* gets the short end of the stick when it comes to being murdered *by other men*, not women.

            But you look at it and you conclude blindly that it’s due to a social system of male domination?

            And who said violence against women would be institutionalized and accepted as “just the way the world is”? Is it instutionalized and accepted *now*? I can tell you right now, the country where I’m from don’t take violence against women lightly. And if statistics by Linda Wirth are to be believed (thanks again for the link, Rutee), women here aren’t exactly disenfranchised either. High-ranking officials, doctors, lawyers, twice as likely to achieve senior management positions than men. And yet, patriarchy rages on. I’m curious why a patriarchal society that favour men at the expense of women would give women so much freedom, and ultimately what the benefits are.

            Oh, and believe it or not, I *also* wish for a society where people wouldn’t murder other people.

            michaeld: My “framing” was based on Miriam’s “framing”, hence you should consider hers equally incendiary and ludicruous. And I never suggested “raising numbers” and I certainly didn’t suggest it as an alternative solution, nor did I suggest an alternative solution at all. Really now. For your many accusations of strawmanning, you can’t seem to not make some yourself. As for the African, Asian and Middle Eastern contingent, I thought I made it clear that I’m talking about the so-called “Western” societies, ie. North America (US and Canada), South America (Argentina, etc) and most parts of Europe. Places which have attained relatively egalitarian principles. If you want to add the Middle East into the equation, then it’s entirely different. I would imagine in the Middle East they *do* have a form of patriarchy, a sort of cast-off from the ancient “rule of the father” mixed in with their authoritarian, misogynist religion (anything that tells you to treat women like chattel aren’t very fond of women), and I would imagine that culture *would* favour men.

            But you’re not honestly suggesting that the culture of the Middle East is anything like the culture of, say, the United States, now are you? I think not. So you would have to relinquish that part of the world if you want to have an honest debate about the culture that permeates the “West”, and in the “West” the evidence doesn’t speak for a society (or societies) favouring men over women.

  18. 20

    Gee Pitchguest. Your reading of Miri’s comment is not only extremely charitable, it’s pretty damn close to a strawman. “There are too many men murdering both men and women” rather than “there are not enough women murdering men (and women)” seems to be a better possibility, but hey. Maybe that’s just me.

    When you look at who does the murdering and violence in a society, it’s an indication of power structures, which is, I’m going to take a totally wild in-the-dark stab at this, but it may just possibly be what Miri referred to? I dunno.

    Maybe it’s just random, right? What a HUGE coinkydink. Men hold most of the positions that represent societal power over others, men commit most of the violence in our societies, and there were until relatively recently (historically speaking) actual laws that prohibited women from freely participating in society in the same way that men could – and in fact there are still some of those present even today. Yet I’m sure that that has no actual effect on the whole system, right Pirchguest? The moment some laws were changed it all just snapped to rights!

    1. 20.1

      “There are too many men murdering both men and women” rather than “there are not enough women murdering men (and women)” seems to be a better possibility, but hey. Maybe that’s just me.

      If you were actually looking for structural prejudice against a certain group, you’d be asking for a couple of different questions…

      – Is there a group of people who becomes the victim of violence more often than others?
      – Do authorities participate in violence against that group ?
      – Do authorities protect this group against violence as much as they protect other groups against violence ?
      – Do authorities punish violence committed against members of this group less intense than violence against members of other groups ?

      In short: Is violence against this group trivialised by a society’s power structures or not ?

      That might be a first step to getting some factual insight on the matter…

    2. 20.2

      Yes, maybe that is a possibility. But that’s not actually the argument being proposed, is it? I suggest you read the comment by Miriam again.

      And once again I’ll say that if more men commit violence and murder than women, and they don’t receive special treatment because of this and may actually end up dying prematurely themselves, in a society that allegedly favours men at the expense of women, then they are shooting themselves in the foot. If men were above it all, wouldn’t they attempt to paint women as the villains and not men?

      A power structure? Okay. It’s a power structure where the men remove themselves from power. Kind of counterproductive, wouldn’t you say? Miriam would only have a point if men were allowed to murder women freely at will with little to no consequence. They are not. They are given harsh sentences, even death. Now why would a society built up for men, by men, do this? It makes no sense. The only point she seemingly has is that men murder a lot more than women do, murder a lot more women than women murder men. Now, again, why would that be an example of disenfranchisement? It means that men are more often murderous bastards than women are, that women are able to control their murderous tendencies or lack them altogether. To the reputation of women, that’s a good thing, no?

      Very well, name a few things that women are prohibited to do in today’s egalitarian society. Off the top of my head, signing up for the draft in the United States comes to mind, and perhaps in other (Western) countries as well, but other than that?

      I must still stress that nowhere during this discussion did any of you link to studies supporting the feminist theory version of patriarchy. Surely with the *plethora* of evidence you must have at your beck and call, it should be child’s play to prove me wrong, shouldn’t it? Compare it to, say, evolution. How many peer-reviewed studies have there been for the scientific theory of evolution? Hundreds? Thousands? Tens of thousands? And it’s only been a little over 150 years ago since the publishing of the Origin of Species. The patriarchy, not the ancient “rule of the father” but the feminist theory version, has allegedly existed for much longer than that. Hundreds of years? Thousands? How is it that no one documented it until very, very recently? Seems unlikely that during all that time no one would notice they live in a society that favoured men at the expense of women. Wiki says feminist theory describes “patriarchy” as an “unjust social system oppressive to women.”


      Why, then, did our society move to a more egalitarian society? If it’s a society that favours not just men, but specifically white heterosexual men, then why would the majority vote motion to disenthrall black men from slavery, from their inability to vote, and eventually their inability to integrate into society as a whole? Why would it motion to provide rights for gay people, and why in particular would it motion to provide rights to women? Why? I have a theory. It’s not a very good theory, but it’s the best one I’ve got. And that theory is: it’s all bullshit. I can’t test it, namely because there’s nothing I can test it with, but I imagine that 99% of it is absolute horseshit. It’s 99% because I can’t be positively sure it’s not absolute horseshit, so on a scale of 1 to 7 where 1 is very strong belief and 7 is none, I’m a 6. Maybe 6.9 to be more accurate.

      1. Patriarchy isn’t a massive male conspiracy to keep women down. It’s not intelligent nor intentional. Patriarchy is bad for both men and women. And in fact Miri has even blatantly written about this.

        As the definition describes, it is a “social system,” not a “law system.” So it’s disingenuous to say that because women are allowed to do things, we have no social issues. Showing discrimination and bias against feminism and women in society is evidence of patriarchy. It’s also incredibly disingenuous to think that a social phenomenon is as scientifically hard as something as the Theory of Evolution. Now I’m starting to think that you aren’t arguing honestly at all.

        Your last paragraph is one of the dumbest things I have ever read. There isn’t a limited number of rights to go around. Treating women equally to men doesn’t remove rights from men, it just gives additional rights to women. But even if that were the case, where rights are some sort of zero-sum game, that still wouldn’t work. You ALSO assume that people vote in their own self-interest, and this has also been shown to wrong time and time again.

  19. 21

    “Relatively recently” — not even historically speaking– the equal rights amendment missed being ratified because the supreme court “remembered” that the fourteenth amendment guaranteed equal rights to women as well as racial and religious minorities. That was the late 1970’s. Now, one justice–Scalia– is saying the 14th doesn’t apply to women after all. So equal rights aren’t just recent, they are not on firm ground even now. Given what Republican legislatures are doing to women’s rights in the various states, a Republican-nominated supreme court could easily say, “oops, sorry. If you want equal rights, you’ll have to start the whole, arduous slog for your own amendment all over again.”

    And Pitchguest, really, that bizarre misreading of Miri didn’t make it look like you were either dishonest or super-dumb. It made you look both dishonest and super-dumb.

    1. 21.1

      It can’t well be a “bizarre misreading” if she haven’t yet clarified what she meant.

      But how would you interpret it?

      “If patriarchy did not exist, women would be just as likely to be hurt or killed by a man as men are to be hurt or killed by a woman. They are not.”

      1. I would not interpret it to mean that Miri (or anyone ) is actually in favor of more murders, as long as they are committed by the right people. I don’t believe you really thought she is in favor of women committing more murders.

        And, actually, this is a perfect example of how patriarchy can hurt both women and men. It’s terrible for women, of course, if they’re murdered. But things are often pretty grim for the male murderers, as well. Can’t you see that the whole society would be better off if the rate of murders committed by men fell to the same low rate as murders committed by women?

        1. But it’s fatuous that patriarchy hurts men too if it’s a system that’s based on favouring men at the expense of women.

          Also I didn’t say that she was actually in favour of more murders, I asked if she thought patriarchy was based on one of those ideas.

          Of course the whole of society would be better if murders would diminish. Did I suggest otherwise? However that’s not what patriarchy is. According to Wiki, patriarchy is a social system for men oppressive to women, according to Miriam it’s a system of male domination that pervades women’s lives and according to Rutee Katreya it’s an institutional structure that favours men at the expense of women. Has nothing to do with the tendency of men to hurt or kill women.

  20. 22

    This is an exercise in frustration. It looks to me like Pitchguest will willfully misunderstand anything I or anyone posts on patriarchy. I’ll try once more. Patriarchy is always good for SOME men– the ones who get to be patriarchs. The men who don’t get wives because the patriarchs get four (in Muslim countries) or the ones who work in majority-women jobs and have to live on women’s pay, or the ones who would like to work a particular job but can’t because “real men aren’t– nurses, nursery school teachers, whatever….” Those guys are better off in a more egalitarian society.

    There is a real tendency for people to imagine themselves in pleasant conditions. Men think of themselves in the patriarchal positions, the way white Southerners imagine their ancestors as Rhett Butler or Scarlett O’hara. They don’t imagine the toothless, scurvy-riddled white sharecroppers who were held down by racism right along with blacks– although that was who a lot of white Southerners really were.

    I don’t expect Pitchguest to get this. But that is how any structural inequality in society really works. Some people in the favored group benefit, while all but a very small segment of the disfavored group– and a surprisingly large chunk of the supposedly favored group– are disadvantaged.

    1. 22.1

      “I don’t expect Pitchguest to get this” … Indeed! But he will explain at length how you just don’t get it as his special bat-power means he trumps any number of sociology PhDs/professors/etc.

      Its weird as any other area of science sceptics will defer to the experts in the field. In the case of feminism and social science no one knows more than spotty sceptics sat at their computer screen tapping away in their boxers and eating pizza while whacking out their latest YouTube vid.

      In regard to the Miri quote about murder, you can be pretty confident there is a vibrant conversation on the Slymepit about how teh evilz fad-fems on “FfTBs” want more women to kill men. That is just too juicy to bother with reading for comprehension. You are just paraphrasing Solanas as far as PG and his pals are concerned, every mention of Patriarchy, rape culture or intersectionality are like a pickaxe to the balls (copyright @FakeRobotGamer ;D )

      1. To oolon: Heheh. If people don’t pick up that you’re basically being a massive shit-stirrer, whose main occupation seems to be trolling, than they’re far too dim to understand nuances to do with their precious patriarchy.

        Now to clear up one other thing. For the last time, oolon, it’s not a Batman avatar, you fatuous nincompoop.


        1. Here’s some real shit stirring for you – did you actually get the artists permission to use his work for your avatar?

          Are you claiming the Slymepit is far too sensible to say things like that? You listened to the podcast with Reap right? Where Renee, Reap, Al and Brian were discussing how there are feminists that want to kill all men. When I pointed out the obvious flaw in that it was moderated to just kill 90% of them and keep the rest for breeding 🙂

          1. Just someone at your old forum was talking about the deviant art copyright policy and how you must be the original artist, or…. So I was shit stirring to see if you’d shoot me down with proof that your not-batman avatar was created by you. As I’m sure you wouldn’t be so naughty as to breach copyright on an artists work O_o?

            Or are you referring to my kill all men feminist example…? You heard my podcast with Reap I thought, although possible you didn’t get that far as it was pretty boring.

  21. 23

    I think any study of college student attitudes merely reflects college student attitudes. As a 50+ woman I would respond differently. My dad was a deadbeat dad, and some of the men I dated were quite sexist in their expectations. I broke up with two guys who expected me to be housewifey even though I had made it clear I wanted a career. People were quite patronizing about my ambitions when I was a kid. Oh sure you say that now, but just wait until you find the right man. Of course you’ll want kids. You don’t need to study physics. You’ll just get married and have babies anyway, etc.

  22. 24

    Deleting childish comments from your own blog is reasonable. In oral argument situations, like a TV panel discussion, I think the best response is to say “We’re trying to have a grownup conversation here, are you going to act like a man, or a boy?” Make the guy look childish (because he is, DUH), instead of letting yoruself be dragged down to his level.

  23. 26

    … it’s not a Batman avatar, you fatuous nincompoop.

    It looks like a cross between Batman and Mickey Mouse. Which seems appropriate given the level of your comments here.

  24. Ed

    I would point out these aren’t really examples of ‘hard science’ even though one of the journals was published in a journal of psychology. The cited studies are more akin to sociological investigations and such studies can’t conclusively refute or disprove a certain opinion regarding a group of people. The strongest conclusions such studies can legitimately make is that the study of certain groups in certain societies show that some commonly asserted statements in regards to feminism can be brought into question. As such studies deal with contingent sociological facts (for instance it is possible to imagine a society organised in such a way where a significant percentage of the self identifying feminist population did have a more negative view of men). Not that I believe this to be the case or even likely to ever be the case, in fact I can see reasons for why it would unlikely to be the case.

    All I’m trying to say is that 1) Your overstating the scientific nature of these studies, 2) Your conclusions are to wide reaching and broad in regards to what the data shows.

  25. 28

    Explanation – patriarchy is not just said to benefit *men* at the expense of women, but it benefits *some men* at the expense of all women and all other men.

    Let’s say the norm is that men MUST be the providers for their families. Patriarchy teaches that men who can’t foot the whole bill and whose wives must work are somehow deficient as men. This means that the owner of the factory or mine is certainly a ‘real man’ and his workers (who are probably getting shitty pay) feel like they are less than fully successful at being men since they are unable to provide as well as their bosses.

    Now, let’s think of another male virtue – doing dangerous, physically different work. The owners of factories and mines are working in safe, comfortable air-conditioned offices. The people whose work makes them wealthy work in tough, dangerous conditions. Since these men already feel kind of bad, as men, for not being affluent, they will willingly put up with crap conditions on the job since they feel like it’s some sort of compensation. They may not openly advocate for a safer workplace since they’re conditioned to want to ‘prove’ their manhood by ignoring danger.

    So the whole idea of men as being providers and of facing danger end up serving the interests of a male jackass sitting in a room doing nothing but watching his bank account expand. He’s likely even outsourced the actual ‘planning how to screw workers’ to someone else.

  26. 31

    I thought that you were going to talk about the oppression of women and busting the myths of seemingly updated stances against it in certain situations, not talk about supposed misconceptions on feminists. There is an article that talks about feminist myths, as in the myths that feminists have. If you can lead me to anything that confronts those issues, then I’m willing to listen.

    1. 31.1

      Dude, chill out. If I’d wanted to talk about myths about feminist issues, I would’ve called this “Busting Myths about the Wage Gap” or “Busting Myths about STEM Abilities” or whatever. I don’t owe you blog posts on whatever you’d like. I’m not even entirely sure what you’re asking for, but if you want more information about feminism, go here or here or here, or just Google it. And try to act a little less entitled.

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