Monday, June 30, 2008

Why would feminists switch voices?

I've had a brief response from the Hoyden about Town feminists, Lauredhel and Tigtog. If you remember, Lauredhel had advocated lesbian separatism as a reasonable "survival strategy" for women:

I don’t see what’s inherently irrational about positing lesbian separatism as being one possible survival strategy in this world.


Similarly, she admitted to cheering on the "radfem separatism" of a group of young American girls who, it was reported, had made a pact to become single mothers:

I agree that I felt a little radical cheer when I heard of their plans to support each other. And I think this is exactly what the mainstream finds threatening about it. Women supporting each other, raising families, deliberately and clearly saying “We can do it”? Nothing like a hint of something that might look a little like radfem separatism to get the Patriarchy frothing at the mouth.


Tigtog also approved of single motherhood for these girls, all of whom were under the age of 16:

This is a model that could actually work really well for these girls.


The Hoyden feminists noticed my posts and responded briefly as follows:

...it’s definitely an overweening matriarchal conspiracy and it’s got Ozcon Mark really worried!

19 tigtog
Jun 25th, 2008 at 7:18 am
I saw reference to that, Helen. But after all, he’s worried about the family-destroying ideologies of two feminist bloggers who are actually happily and productively cohabiting with the fathers of their respective children, because we happen to believe that there are other equally valid family models for raising children. I suspect he spends much of his time worried about overweening shadows.

21 Lauredhel
Jun 25th, 2008 at 11:04 am
I suspect he spends much of his time worried about overweening shadows.

“Hey! Who turned out the lights?”


This is a real switch of voice for the Hoyden feminists. One minute they're cheering on the cause of radical feminist separatism, the next they're taking a "Who us?" position and claiming that I am imagining hostility on the part of feminists toward the family.

Tigtog makes two points in support of her claim. The first is that both she and Lauredhel are happily living together with the fathers of their children. The two feminist women, in other words, are championing the cause of radfem separatism for other women, whilst living in a relatively traditional family arrangement themselves.

Isn't there some kind of warning in this for young women reading Hoyden about Town? Isn't there a message here that the feminists at Hoyden are preaching one thing, whilst choosing another for themselves?

The second point Tigtog makes is that I'm overreacting to the fact that she and Lauredhel "happen to believe that there are other equally valid family models for raising children."

The "other equally valid family model" she is talking about is single motherhood for young teens.

Now it's one thing to accept that teen pregnancies will happen and that the best has to be made of the situation. It's another to claim that it's an "equally valid family model".

How can single motherhood for young teens be equally valid when the mother is left without a husband and the child without a father? Or when the mother has to be supported by the taxpayer? Or when the father is left without the same motivation for work or social responsibility? Or when the child will later have a statistically higher risk of involvement in crime or drug use?

And if single motherhood for young teens is equally valid, then how do you ever draw the line in rejecting something as invalid? How do you, for instance, reject polygamy? I wasn't exactly surprised to find that Lauredhel supported the call by several Australian Islamic officials to legalise polygamy, on the basis that it would help protect the rights of women already living in polygamous relationships.

It's difficult to disentangle all the threads here. We have a case of two feminist women living happily with the fathers of their children who claim that they only want to recognise other relationships as equally valid, but who at their website are strident in their opposition to the traditional family, seeing it as a product of the patriarchy.

(Lauredhel in one recent post describes marriage as a "problem" and writes that "abolishing the concept of marriage or domestic partnership" sounds "superficially attractive" to her.)

So what's going on? One way to explain the feminist attitude is to see it as a consequence of the "neutrality strand" within liberalism. The basic idea of the neutrality strand is that the way to achieve peace, security and harmony is to take a neutral stance toward important goods. Therefore, adopting a neutral stance is thought to be a mark of high principle; from this comes an insistence on non-discrimination, tolerance and equality.

The way to prove your neutrality is to endorse and point to the virtues of "othered" ways of life, particularly those most dissimilar to your own. Perhaps this explains, in part, two happily partnered women describing the "advantages" of single motherhood for young teens.

It's possible, too, to explain the situation in terms of the "autonomy" strand within liberalism. If you want to be free to choose in any direction, then you will want reality to be open-ended - you will want to have a situation in which a whole range of models of family life are "equally valid".

At the same time you will be most hostile to the longstanding, socially sanctioned, mainstream model of family life, as this is the one you will feel is less a product of individual choice or negotiation, and more a result of tradition or custom or social expectation.

The situation is made worse if you accept the claim of patriarchy theory, namely that the institutions of society were established to buttress the dominance of men over an oppressed class of women. This casts a pall of suspicion on the traditional model of family life, as being formed to oppress women.

If somewhat different influences are at play, then the "switching" attitude of the Hoyden feminists is more easily comprehended. The neutrality strand means that they don't like to be labelled as being biased against the existing model of family life or to be thought of as harming the existing model; it also encourages them to prove their neutrality by identifying advantages in models of family life dissimilar to their own.

The autonomy strand explains the willingness to declare an unsustainable form of family to be "equally valid" - there is a need for reality to be open-ended in order for autonomy to be perfectible.

The hostility to marriage and the traditional family, even though it contradicts the claim to be unbiased, can be explained both in terms of autonomy theory (not wanting to be constrained by tradition or social expectation) and patriarchy theory (in which the traditional family is regarded as an institution designed to oppress women).

23 comments:

  1. BTW, the pregnant students in the Boston suburb are now saying there was no pact and that the principle lied. He was apparently under fire before this broke out for authorizing a school nurse to hand out birth control to girls and not tell parents. I suspect that, teenagers being the immature and unfinished beings they are, were less than responsible in taking their pills and so this is the result. He just wanted to save his career, I suppose.

    As for the feminists' claimed attitude towards the family and real attitude, it is a bit of a shell game really.

    Since the feminists are "married" to moral relativism which essentially frees them of the burden of the broken hearts of young women who followed their radically self defined lead, they are also skilled at dodging the bullet of the inevitable unhappy consequences of their progressive plan.

    They create a blue print for a life of misery for their protoges to follow and when the inevitable misery sets in, they just say "you should have known yourself better and realized this wouldn't work," "We stand for choice, we fought to give you the right to choose to make bad decisions, now thank us!"(actually they simply encourage poor decisions in young women, people always had to right to do most of what they promote except abortion), or "at least you aren't a slave in the patriarchy, miserable at home with your kids and housework."

    You should write a book.

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  2. They create a blue print for a life of misery for their protoges to follow and when the inevitable misery sets in, they just say "you should have known yourself better and realized this wouldn't work," "We stand for choice, we fought to give you the right to choose to make bad decisions, now thank us!"

    You've expressed this very well Liesel. I've even read comments by feminists along the lines of "Well, if you were so silly to make that choice, then you deserve what you ended up with" - when the particular choice under discussion had been advocated by feminists as being the moral, non-sexist, "pro-woman" one to take.

    It's interesting too that you mention the influence of moral relativism. I can see how this might be true.

    If you are in the habit of thinking that there is no morality that can be applied across the board, but that everything depends on personal or social circumstances, then it's no doubt easier to persuade yourself that being happily partnered with the father of your children is not a general good, but something that's just right for you, wheareas being a single teenage mother might be right for some other group of women.

    Moral relativism, in other words, can encourage a facile acceptance of whatever people do as being "right for them".

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  3. Mark Richardson,

    I still believe that autonomy theory is based on the disconnected nature of the radical homosexual (lesbian).

    What is constantly pointed out is how destructive these lines of thought are for real everyday women.

    In reality, lesbians, whether biological or behavioral, are not "women" in any true essence as they reject a real woman's defining features. These fundamental features are creators of life and man's eternal compliment.

    Fundamentally, all that feminism promotes is a rejection of these defining features as you have stated in other terms. In fact, it is very much an animus towards such things. This again, I say, is a fundamental feature of the homosexual nature. The lesbian is defined by her emnity and repulsion of heterosexuality.

    This ideology we preside under is the political manifestation of the homosexual nature.

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  4. The way I see it, there is no problem with these teenage girls wanting to become pregnant and be mothers. Young women have had this same desire forever, and it was never seen as a "problem" until quite recently. To me, the only "problem" (and it's a big one!) with the Glouchester Girls is that their desires to become mothers has been wholly divorced from a desire to marry the father of their child.

    If these 15 and 16 year old young women got married to 22 to 25 year old young men who were police officers, construction workers (whatever, as long as they had real jobs), and who could financially support them and their babies, what would be the problem? I submit there wouldn't be one. In fact, in the 1950's or earlier, it would have been seen as par for the course.

    No, the problem is that, under the legal regime now in place, no "respectable" young man would impregnate them, as that would be "statutory rape." And, of course, their high school boyfriends had no intention of impregnating them as that would leave them open to 18 to 22 years of child support that they had no desire to pay to a girl who was, after all, only a temporary girlfriend. That's why these young women had to resort to the town bum to impregnate them. He has no money, and you can't squeeze blood out of a stone. And, even if he were thrown in jail, it would at least mean "3 hots and a cot" for him, which was not necessarily worse than his life on the street.

    Of course, the so-called "feminists" celebrating this story are (big surprize!) completley full of it. Great, these young women wanted to "support each other." But how? Who is going to pay the freight? Their parents? Haven't they already raised one generation of children? The State? Why should the rest of the responsible taxpaying citizens have to pay these women to raise children that they decided to have, even though they knew that (1) they did not have the money to raise them; and (2) there was no responsible father to pay for them either.

    When my girlfriend and I were 19 and sexually active, we went to great lengths to ensure that no baby resulted from our activities. We had no way to pay for a baby, and did not assume that someone else (our parents or the State) would do so for us.

    As I said, the impulse these girls gave in to is quite normal and natural, but, under our current legal regime, the result is disastrous. I don't need to rehearse the figures on children raised by single mothers (the delinquency, the early and destructive sexual activity, the vulnerability to abuse, the increased odds of being a runaway or throwaway kid, etc.).

    Maybe, as an act of "tough love" and to set a clear precedent, these girls should be left to sink or swim on their own, without help from their parents or the State. If they can get jobs and support these kids in a reasonable manner (lol!), they can keep them; if they can't, Social Services should take them to court, have them declared unfit mothers, take the kids from them, and put them up for adoption. Harsh? You bet it is, but what other solution is there?

    Right now, the "perverse incentives" for other young women to follow in their paths are just too high. Misfit girl? No prospects? Too stupid or too lazy or too misguided to do well in school and make a life for yourself? Well, just go to the town bum, have sex, get pregnant and have your parents or the State take care of you! What could be easier? This way, you become a Mom, which, despite all the feminist claptrap to the contrary, is something to be, and yet not have to worry about getting a husband, or even a boyfriend, to help pay for your child and for you to be a SAHM. Or, the laws on "statutory rape" should be revised, and young women who want to be mothers (not every girl can become a doctor or lawyer, like on TV, or even a "Wimyn's Studies" professor!, in fact, the plurality of women in the workplace are either secretaries or retail clerks or some allied or associated worker--who says that's better or more important or more fulfilling than being a mother?) should be allowed to do so by marrying responsible young men who have jobs that provide enough income to support them and their children.

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  5. Did no-one here notice that the blog author was explicitly playing 'devils advocate' in response to the knee-jerk coverage of the press?

    Feminists 'switch voices' because they are multi-faceted human beings exploring an issue, not just parroting a single strictly-defined philosophical outlook. I think that the hostility towards the traditional family unit you identify is an overstatement of what is really skepticism to the entrenched patriarchal norms. Hostility and skepticism are not the same thing. If it were genuine hostility no feminist would ever choose to marry, but some do.

    I'd actually made a comment similar to ruddyturnstone - if the girls aren't considered competent to consent due to their age, how can they be considered competent to care for a child? Putting them into care would be the logical response, though I don't think the purpose of this would be either punishment or setting an example.

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  6. deus,

    The problem with being "multifaceted" is that the more you become it the less you become any kind of identified feminist.

    Skepticism doesn't persuade one to a life of "lesbian separatism." For that, one needs hostility and it is readily identifiable in these "multifaceted" feminists.

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  7. Deus Ex,
    Mark and his echo-chamber have a profound irony deficiency. Since their only setting is high pomposity, they are not really capable of understanding playing with a "what if". Yes, I know they bring up all kinds of doomy hypotheticals in their head-shaking commentary on how the world will go to hell in a handbasket if the hoydens have their way, but to them, they're completely real They do not have a funnybone.

    Unfortunately I often end up giving these people oxygen by responding, (look, I'm doing it again!)

    I'm just tossing up whether to address the approximately 75 distortions, strawmen and other rhetorical practices Mark and others has used here, or go and pack for a seaside break (with the family!)... hmmm... OK, I'm not a complete masochist, I'm out of here!

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  8. Helen, my own experience of trying to debate with feminists hasn't convinced me that they generally take a relaxed, humorous, let's-not-take-what-people-say-too-seriously attitude. In fact, the last time I left a politely worded comment at Hoyden, Lauredhel told me to get lost.

    You complain about an "echo chamber" but unlike many feminist sites I don't censor or discourage opposing views here.

    Most importantly, I think your attitude is one of evasiveness. It is not "ironic" to take logically inconsistent positions. Nor is it true that feminism has such limited influence in the real world that it doesn't matter what political positions feminists take.

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  9. Well for me, being a feminist is only part of my identity as an individual. I'm not trying to be multi-faceted, I am multifaceted. I'm feminist, I'm disabled, I'm religious, I'm british and I'm a writer. About the only thing I don't define myself by is my relationship to a man (true, I don't have one at the moment but all courteous offers will be considered :) ).

    By thordaddy's standard that seems to mean I can't possibly be a 'real' woman... in which case my next boyfriend is in for one hell of a shock. =8-)

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  10. Deus ex, I appreciate the reasonable tone of your comments. But I think you're wrong in what you claim.

    Most of the feminism you read on the internet is based not on "multifaceted personalities" but on a theory, namely patriarchy theory.

    There are some feminists, like Twisty at I blame the patriarchy, who attempt to be utterly consistent in the way they handle the theory.

    However, the theory is hard to live by, as Twisty herself admits, so most feminists make compromises or take unprincipled exceptions.

    In general, patriarchy theory leads feminists to be opposed to the idea of essential sex differences between men and women. It also leads feminists to be opposed to marriage and the traditional family. It also encourages a view of society in which men and women are classes set against each other.

    Deus ex, you wrote that the feminists at Hoyden aren't hostile to the traditional family, but merely skeptical of "entrenched patriarchal norms".

    Well, Lauredhel, despite being happily partnered to the father of her child, wrote an article recently stating that, as a matter of principle, she was attracted to the idea of "abolishing the concept of marriage or domestic partnership altogether".

    She thought there was a practical stumbling block to achieving this, namely that women as mothers still required some legally protected access to their partners' income.

    But, in terms of principle, not only is she hostile to the traditional family, she would like to see the day when the very concept of a socially sanctioned relationship between men and women is abolished.

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  11. I think the attraction of 'abolishing marriage' stems from disappointment with the slow reform of gender roles within marriage despite thirty years of feminism. Women now work, which is great, but they are still coming home and working 'the second shift' running the household as they've always done. No matter how modern the couple, as soon as children arrives the family dynamic reverts to the 1950s. The book WIFEWORK by Susan Maushart is an amusing exploration of the phenomenon though her tone can be a little bitter.

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  12. "I think the attraction of 'abolishing marriage' stems from disappointment with the slow reform of gender roles within marriage despite thirty years of feminism. Women now work, which is great, but they are still coming home and working 'the second shift' running the household as they've always done. No matter how modern the couple, as soon as children arrives the family dynamic reverts to the 1950s. The book WIFEWORK by Susan Maushart is an amusing exploration of the phenomenon though her tone can be a little bitter."

    Here we go again! Most credible studies show that in two income earner families, the husband and wife contribute pretty evenly to the overall good. Yes they both work outside the home, but the husband usually works longer, harder, for more money, at a more stressful and/or more dangerous and/or more onerous job, with a longer commute, and so on and so forth. Yes, the wife tends to do more of the housework, but that term is often defined to NOT include traditional male work such as mowing the law, fixing and servicing the car, cleaning the gutters, and so forth. These activities are dismissed as "hobbies," and are even included in the "leisure time" that men supposedly enjoy! When these chores are included, the time spent on housework by both husband and wife is close to even, certainly near enough to even to equalize things out overall, given the job differences described above.

    And, in any event, this so-called "second shift" argument is now well known. If women truly are being exploited in this bad old "1950s" way "once the children arrive," they should simply not have those children. Contraception is freely available to married women throughout the Western world, no? If the burdens of child care are too great for women, they need only not have the children in the first place. Yet, for the most part, it seems that women are far more eager than men to have children.

    The same goes for marriage in general. Out in the real world, away from feminist or MRA or any other blogs, it is mostly women who want to get married, but find it difficult to land a mate, not men. Again, if "gender roles" within marriage haven't been "reformed" fast enough for the "modern" gal, she need only remain single to avoid this unfair, still-patriarchal institution and its attendant unfairness. Surely, not even the most ardent feminist would claim that women in the West are being forced to marry against their will.

    Finally, you say that it's "great" that mothers work outside the home. OK, but then who is going to take care of the kids? Even in a perfect, non-patriarchal world, both the husband and the wife would be working a shift and a half, right? That doesn't so great either, but, again, it is women who WANT to get married and have kids. They make their beds, and then they complain that they have to lie in it.

    Women could be the ones starting a "marriage strike." Women could be the ones refusing to reproduce. But, they're not. So, common sense tells me that the lot of womean as wives and mothers can't be nearly as bad as "authors" such as Maushart pretend it is. I guess women just love to play the victim. . .

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  13. And, in any event, this so-called "second shift" argument is now well known. If women truly are being exploited in this bad old "1950s" way "once the children arrive," they should simply not have those children.

    It's worse than the 50's because they are expected to work a full time job ON TOP! Tradition divisions of labour with men in control of the public sphere and women in control of the private sphere as per the 1950s can work well particularly when children are small (the romans had similar divisions yet are acknowledged for the high status of women in their society) but Feminists would argue about how 'free' this choice is for women. There are still very strong societal expectations (rather like your own) that a woman isn't a 'real woman' unless she's married and having children.

    it is women who WANT to get married and have kids. They make their beds, and then they complain that they have to lie in it.

    Yes it is entirely true that many, if not most women genuinely feel this way themselves. I've also met a distressing number of women who don't seem to feel they can exist outside of a relationship and end up putting up with various types of bullying (emotional or physical) as a result. But rather than complain when they do feel exploited, women these days are choosing to keep their children and shed the husband. Then when they have made this alternative choice, YOU complain that they're man-hating lesbian seperatists.

    I guess women just love to play the victim. . .

    . . . in contrast to their long history of social dominance, you mean?

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  14. "It's worse than the 50's because they are expected to work a full time job ON TOP!"

    I guess you missed the part where I said that most credible studies show that the division of labor where both the husband and wife are wage earners is actually, all things considered (like the differences in the jobs, the "outside" work that men do, and so forth), pretty equitable. No, rather than even engage that argument, you just repeat the canard that women have to do a "second shift" while men are living the life of Riley.

    "Traditional divisions of labour with men in control of the public sphere and women in control of the private sphere as per the 1950s can work well particularly when children are small. . ."

    OK

    ". . .but Feminists would argue about how 'free' this choice is for women. There are still very strong societal expectations (rather like your own) that a woman isn't a 'real woman' unless she's married and having children."

    What complete nonsense.

    First, just to set you straight, I couldn't care less whether women marry and have children or not. Nor do I think a woman is any less "real" if she chooses not to. In my view, women, like men, should have complete freedom of choice to marry or not, and to procreate or not. I have no "expectations" in this regard whatsoever.

    Second, femininists "argue" a lot of things, but that doesn't mean their arguments are persuasive. Every thing I see in "society" tells women that they can be whatever they want to be. You want to be a wife and stay at home Mom? Great, according to Salary.com, you're worth 200k a year (or whatever absurd sum they're currently pushing) and everyone, now even including feminists, will applaud this choice. Want to be a working wife and Mom, that's great too--you can have it all, Baby. Don't want kids? Your body, your choice, Sister. Don't want a man either? You go girl! You're a "strong, independent" women. You need a man like a fish needs a bicycle! Want kids but no man, well, that's OK too, we'll come up with government programs to pay for the children you wanted, and had, even though you knew you didn't have the money to pay for them. Western society is organized around giving women every possible option, some of which, like a being a stay at home parent, are almost completely unavailable to men.

    How can a woman be any more "free" than that? What are these "societal expectations" holding her down that you're talking about? That her Mom or Dad tell her to get married and babies? Moms and Dads nag their daughters (and their sons, too, by the way!) to do a lot of things, but does that mean that the daughters are not "free" to disregard that advise?

    It seems to me that it is men, not women, who "society" condemns for not marrying and having children. First, you're an adolescent that refuses to grow up, you're Peter Pan; then, you're selfish and cheap; then, you're a "loser" (or, "gay" or anatomically inadequate, or whatever other charming and baseless accusation can be thrown at you) who "can't get" a woman; then, finally, you're "sad," because you are an aging bachelor living "all alone." No, "You go guy!" for you, Mr. Bachelor. No, you need a woman like a bicycle needs a fish for you, Mr. Bachelor.

    ". . .women these days are choosing to keep their children and shed the husband."

    Yes, they want to "shed" the husband, but not his salary, and not the house that is at least half his, and not his pension, and so on. Husbands are horrible things, I know. So, rather than "shed" them, why don't women just choose not to have them in the first place? A little thing called money, I guess.

    "Then when they have made this alternative choice, YOU complain that they're man-hating lesbian seperatists."

    I don't know where you're getting that from. Look, marriage is an oppressive institution for women, right? Women have to do a "second shift," right? Gender roles are evolving too slowly to suit the tastes of the "modern" gal, no? Well, again, I ask you, why then are women getting married? Why do they complain if no one will marry them?

    And, believe you me, I couldn't care less if they established themselves as "separatists." The problem with the young women from Glouchester was that they had no way to pay for the commune they envisioned themselves living in. They have no jobs and no job skills.

    But, if a group of women in their mid to late 20's, who had jobs, decided to establish a "separatist" women-only commune, who would stop them? Why don't women do just that: rent or buy a house or apartment together, go out and get impregnated by strangers or by sperm donors, and raise the kids on their own? These "separatists" women could then apportion the wage work/housework/child care work in any way they thought fair, far, far away from the patriarchal exploitation of evil men. Again, who or what is stopping women from doing this? It would be perfectly legal and there are plenty of women who are making enough money to swing it financially.

    If women did try this, however, I think what they would find is that, like in anything that involves more than one person, there are some human beings who are willing to do more than their share of the work, there are some human beings who are willing to do their share, but only their share, and there are some human beings who aren't willing to do their share, and will shirk and take advantage of the others. They would find that gender really has nothing to do with it.

    In any event, women are emphatically NOT seeking this solution. No, they whine and complain that they can't get married, then, when they do get married, they whine and complain about how "unfair" marriage is. Then, they institute most of the divorces, make out like bandits in family court, and still whine and complain that they "should have" gotten more. Meanwhile, and despite what you say, or what some feminists "argue," they were perfectly free all the while to NOT marry and live on their own, or to set up the patriarch-free alternative living arrangements that I described, if children were desired.

    You talk about marriage being "abolished." Why? I would find the life of a monk to be oppressive. Does that mean I think that monastaries should be "abolished?" Of course not. They're just not right for me. Why can't women treat marriage that way? It's a voluntary instititution. Don't like it, don't join it.

    Nor is marriage an institution like slavery, where the exploiters (ie the slaveholders) had to be convinced or coerced to give up their relationship with the exploited (ie the slaves). If women are exploited in marriage, they merely have to refrain from getting married, and, within a reasonably short period of time, there won't be any such thing as marriage. It will simply die out, without being "abolished."

    It seems to me that the lifestyles of single men and women in their mid-20's to 40's, the time period when women seem to be seeking marriage, are much more egalitarian and free from the possibility of expoitation than marriage is. Boyfriend and girlfriend each earn their own wages, pay their own rent and other expenses, have their own dwellings, cars, bank accounts, etc. Both are free to end the relationship at any time. If either party, but, OK, let's say the man, starts acting like an asshole or stops doing his share or whatever, the woman is free to give him his walking papers right then and there. But, this is precisely the relationship that these women are anxious to end, and replace with marriage. . .

    ". . . in contrast to their [women's] long history of social dominance, you mean?"

    Women were subject to social dominance throughout history, I agree with that (although I don't think it's quite the whole story). But, that time period has long since passed, at least in the West. Women are no longer dominated; they are no longer "the victim." Yet the whole discussion about marriage shows how wedded they are to playing that role. . .

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  15. I guess you missed the part where I said that most credible studies show that the division of labor where both the husband and wife are wage earners is actually, all things considered (like the differences in the jobs, the "outside" work that men do, and so forth), pretty equitable. No, rather than even engage that argument, you just repeat the canard that women have to do a "second shift" while men are living the life of Riley.

    No, but I know that we tend to assign credibility to the studies that agree with our own viewpoint. I am keeping in mind that we are both talking in generalisations here, as each marriage dynamic is different. I do agree that mowing, servicing the car and cleaning gutters DO NOT constitute leisure time. (DIY can constitute a hobby as can cooking, but this is above and beyond those chores essential to maintaining the household system).

    I am not saying that men are living the life of riley - they're working their nuts off in full time jobs which are indeed higher paid and might have longer hours and dirtier conditions. My point is that their partners will be working just as hard for less money, status or chance of advancement (sometimes just because they might have children) but will then come home and still be responsible for the management of the household. If something goes wrong with the kids, the 'default parent' is invariably Mum. Occasionally women have the higher paid job but many men feel uncomfortable when their partner seems to be outperforming them professionally, and there seem to be VERY few who are happy 'house-husbands', though once the children are over two there is absolutely no reason why men can't do the job just as well. Childbearing is biologically determined, housekeeping is not.

    First, just to set you straight, I couldn't care less whether women marry and have children or not. Nor do I think a woman is any less "real" if she chooses not to.

    Apologies, for a moment there I had you confused with thordaddy who feels he has the authority to define what constitutes a 'real' woman. Will write 100 times "Conservatives are not all the same, Conservatives are not all the same..."

    Yes, they want to "shed" the husband, but not his salary, and not the house that is at least half his, and not his pension, and so on. Husbands are horrible things, I know. So, rather than "shed" them, why don't women just choose not to have them in the first place? A little thing called money, I guess.

    That seems awfully cynical. Husbands are not horrible things, if they were women wouldn't marry them or live with them in de facto relationships. Childrearing works best as a couple - it is possible to successfully do it single handed but a lot harder. I'd personally only consider child bearing within marriage because it is a formal gesture of commitment that would make me feel secure enough to make such a huge personal investment. And I'm not talking about money. Some people see it as an antiquated institution and a modern irrelevance but they don't seem to be in the majority. Many like myself still value the religious aspect of making a promise before God. Even when first marriages fail, there's a pretty high takeup of second attempts.

    I think the reason that marriages are less secure is due to the fact that historically, families and households were often successful only at the expense of the welfare and wellbeing of the wife. Women will put up with a lot for a long time, but eventually are no longer willing to do that, hence the rise in divorce petitions.

    Women aren't opting out up front because they are at least trying to make the ideal arrangement work - sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't depending on the tolerances and expectations of the individual partners. You can't actually know until you try.

    Even feminists are split between those who believe that there IS a successful model of marriage and family that doesn't operate at the woman's expense, we just haven't found it yet, and those who believe the institution is inherently flawed and would be happy to see it abolished. There is not one Feminist opinion on this, there are many - all framed by our various personal experience.

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  16. Deus ex, regarding your last comment:

    I'm not saying that men are living the life of riley

    This is one area in which theory often conflicts with reality. According to patriarchy theory society has been set up so that men as a dominant class can enjoy an unearned privilege at the expense of women as an oppressed class.

    Logically, therefore, men should be living the life of riley - and this is what the more theoretically inclined feminists, such as Twisty, assume to be true.

    Here is Twisty in her own words:

    "Thus, marriage is "work" ... but it is woman who has to do most of it; the dude merely has to show up at the wedding."

    Here is one of Twisty's commenters:

    "I want everything, just like men get to have, except without having an easy life buttressed by inequality."

    Imagine being a man and making big sacrifices for your family, only to find that it's assumed that you're a privileged oppressor who has it easy.

    Here is your second point:

    "[women] will be working just as hard for less money, status or chance of advancement .... but will then come home and still be responsible for the management of the household"

    There are a number of grounds to question this. First, are money, status and career advancement the primary goods we should aim at in life?

    A lot of women think not and so don't base their life choices on achieving them - which is the main reason women don't on average have the same career outcomes as men.

    There are men who are careerist because they have competitive personalities; there are other men who are careerist because it optimises their chances to attract women; and there are large numbers of men who are careerist because of a responsibility to support their families financially.

    Women are freer than men to reject careerism in favour of working at a job they enjoy and selecting the hours of work they find least stressful. In effect, women are rejecting the idea that careerism (i.e. working for money, status or advancement) is the primary good in life.

    I think they are right to take this attitude.

    The number of families in which the husband and wife both work the same hours at equally demanding jobs, and in which the wife then comes home to a second shift whilst the man has personal leisure time would be a small minority of cases.

    Most studies of overall hours worked by men and women show a remarkably similar number of hours worked when both paid and domestic work are combined.

    "Once the child is over two there is absolutely no reason why men can't do the job just as well."

    Here you are more conservative than the feminist mainstream. In Europe feminists are agitating for a model of the family in which the mother would look after the baby for the first nine months, the father for the second nine months, and then the state for the remainder.

    The only concession European feminists are making to biology (for the time being) is allowing the mother to have the first nine months. There are plans to coerce fathers, via the tax and benefits system, to take an equal amount of paternity leave.

    Why have European feminists taken things this far? Because it's logical for them to do so: they see careerism as the primary good and motherhood as subordinate. Therefore they think equality and social justice require that men do as much of the "subordinate" role as women.

    Husbands are not horrible things ... Childrearing works best as a couple...

    Agreed, but again the theory conflicts with your observations. According to the theory, men have established gender and social institutions to lock women into oppression and to deny them human status.

    If the theory is true, then husbands are, in fact, horrible. They act to oppress their wives, and they are motivated not by love or duty but by privilege and power.

    That's why Lauredhel et al, are sometimes moved to advocate lesbian separatism and the abolition of marriage and domestic partnerships - theoretically, this makes sense, even if personally they are living happily with the fathers of their children.

    I think the reason marriages are less secure is due to the fact that historically, families and households were often successful only at the expense and welfare and wellbeing of the wife. Women will put up with a lot for a long time, but eventually are no longer willing to do that, hence the rise in divorce petitions.

    I don't think this argument works. If women in the past had to put up with too much, then the divorce rate should have been higher during this period of mistreatment. If women are being treated better now, then the divorce rate should be falling. But it's the other way around.

    I think, once again, you are actually more conservative in your underlying beliefs than the mainstream: you still believe in the worth of marriage at a time when the foundations of marriage are being eroded.

    It's possible you will find yourself disappointed with the ultimate outcomes generated by liberal and feminist theory. Society is heading in a direction which will further destroy things you appear to value.

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  17. "No, but I know that we tend to assign credibility to the studies that agree with our own viewpoint."

    Who's "we?" Don't include me in your failings. What you are really saying is that YOU simply disregard all evidence that doesn't confirm your preconcetions.

    "I am not saying that men are living the life of riley - they're working their nuts off in full time jobs which are indeed higher paid and might have longer hours and dirtier conditions. My point is that their partners will be working just as hard for less money, status or chance of advancement (sometimes just because they might have children). . "

    Then your "point" is ill-informed. Women do not, on average, work "just as hard." Women, again, on average, CHOOSE the easier job, with the shorter hours, and nicer commute, and cozy, indoor workspace, where hard physical labor is not required, and which is not dangerous, or dirty and so on. That's why they get paid less. As for having children, if that means that they spend months or years out of the workplace, it is only fair that they make less money. Wages are typically based on seniority and skills; if women choose to work less, and therfore acquire less seniority and fewer skills, they will be paid less. I see nothing wrong with that whatsoever.

    In short, the "wage gap" argument that you are making here is no more credible than the "second shift" argument you have been making so far. It has been shot down a million times in a million different studies. But, I know, "we" will "tend" to discount all those studies because they don't agree with what "we" want to be the truth. Facts are gender biased against women!

    O, to be a feminist, and have a handfull of phony arguments to rely on. No matter how many times they are debunked, "we" can just trot them out over and over again as if nothing had happened. . .

    ". . .but will then come home and still be responsible for the management of the household."

    Again, your simple repetition of this "second shift" myth is not an effective argument. This is not some established fact, that you can just keep reciting over and over again and expect to be believed,or even taken seriously. It is a contention made by biased, feminist "authors," and that's all it is.

    "If something goes wrong with the kids, the 'default parent' is invariably Mum."

    And, it seems to me, this is the way most women want it. They don't like it if the father tries to "usurp" their position as the primary care giver. Again, women want it both ways, and want to complain about it. On the one hand, "o, poor me, I have to take care of the kids all the time," on the other, "I'm the mother, they're MY children, and you're not doing right. . ." Waa-waa-waa.

    In addition, and I realize that this is getting tedious, but I'll repeat ad nausium until you respond to it, if the wife and mother deal is so bad, why do women keep signing up for it? Why do they keep demanding it? Why is there no female "marriage strike?" And, if men refuse to do their share of the child care, why don't women simply refuse to have the children? Or, have them in the all-female group commune that I descrbed last post?

    "Occasionally women have the higher paid job but many men feel uncomfortable when their partner seems to be outperforming them professionally, and there seem to be VERY few who are happy 'house-husbands'. . ."

    I think this is a myth. That there are, in fact, plenty of men who would be happy to stay home and take care of the kids while the wife works. Nor do I think that men are "uncomfortable" if their wives make a lot of money. The reality is that most women look to marry "up," they are the ones not "comfortable" having a husband who earns less than them. Similarly, while many women want to be, and some demand to be, stay at home parents, very few women want, or will tolerate, having a stay at home father for a husband. Again, choices that are really available to women are only theoretically available to men. Yet the feminists have the gall to claim that women are less "free" than men.

    ". . .though once the children are over two there is absolutely no reason why men can't do the job just as well. Childbearing is biologically determined, housekeeping is not."

    I agree with this.

    "Apologies, for a moment there I had you confused with thordaddy who feels he has the authority to define what constitutes a 'real' woman."

    No problem, apology accepted.

    "Will write 100 tmes 'Conservatives are not all the same, Conservatives are not all the same...'"

    Actually, I am not a conservative. I am more of a left-libertarian. As I have tried to indicate to you, I have no interest in forcing sterotypical "gender roles" on anyone. Nor am I someone who is worried that society will collapse if these roles change over time. My position on the "gender wars" is that men and women should be treated equally, and that the differences between them biologically should not be translated into legal differences except as absolutely necessary. In this, I think I am more in keeping with the original, "equality feminists" than I am with "conservatives."

    "Women will put up with a lot for a long time, but eventually are no longer willing to do that, hence the rise in divorce petitions."

    Nonsense. Women, on average, file for divorce for the most frivolous of reasons. Most petitions don't even allege adultery, abuse, addiction, or any such heavy duty grounds. No, "incompatibility" or "I've grown out of love" and such, are the reasons given by women. Women want divorces because divorce is a good deal for women. With divorce, as I said, they "shed" the husband but retain access to his income and resources.

    "Women aren't opting out up front because. . ."

    . . .they want a man to marry them, impregnate them, and financially support the children and themselves as SAHMs. The rest is BS. Again, go out in the real world and listen to ordinary women. Listen to the secretaries and cashiers and clerks who make up the bulk of women in the work force. They want a man to "take them away from all this." They've found out,as men have always known, that life in the workforce, contrary to the bill of goods sold to them by the feminists, generally sucks, except for an elite few executives, professionals and "creatives." These women want a man to bring home the bacon, so they won't have to, and so that they can stay home and take care of the kids. That's what most women who seek marriage want.

    "Even feminists are split between those who believe that there IS a successful model of marriage and family that doesn't operate at the woman's expense, we just haven't found it yet, and those who believe the institution is inherently flawed and would be happy to see it abolished. There is not one Feminist opinion on this, there are many - all framed by our various personal experience."

    Oh, if only you knew how little I cared what "feminists are split" by! What makes you think anyone else in the world, man or woman, gives a fig whether a particular feminist wants mereley to "reform" marriage, or "abolish" it?

    My point all along is that marriage is already "an institution that does not operate at women's expense." Again, and for the millionth time, if it were, why would women marry? Why do women who have trouble finding a husband pine for one? Why don't women form all-female communes instead?

    Do you see people lining up to be slaves, or indentured servants, or convicts? Statuses that suck are usually avoided, if possible.

    What feminists are theorizing is simply irrelevant to the issue. Most women want to get married. My experience is that people generally know more about what's good for them than egg-headed, elitist professors, especially professors of academically worthless and intellectually bankrupt specialties such as "wimyn's studies."

    It is men who are on a "marriage strike," not women. If marriage needs to be reformed, it is to make it into "an instiution that does not operate at MEN'S expense." If not, there won't be any need to worry about "abolishing" it, because it will simply cease to exist.

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  18. This is one area in which theory often conflicts with reality. According to patriarchy theory society has been set up so that men as a dominant class can enjoy an unearned privilege at the expense of women as an oppressed class.

    I'd say evolved rather than 'set up' due to very practical issues of hygiene and childbirth prior to the advent of contraception. This yes, oppressive standard, was then enshrined in law that for a long time defined women as chattel. That changed in the victorian era.

    In Europe feminists are agitating for a model of the family in which the mother would look after the baby for the first nine months, the father for the second nine months, and then the state for the remainder. The only concession European feminists are making to biology (for the time being) is allowing the mother to have the first nine months.

    In mainland Europe (and particularly the Scandanavian countries) they have much better access to high quality childcare that makes this possible (the UK hasn't had childcare that comprehensive since WWII). It hasn't been going on for long enough to determine whether this is detrimental or beneficial for child development (though my instinct says the former) I can only assume that the idea of making men take paternity leave is so that both partners face the same 'hit' in career if they choose to have children. It may be more fair but I'd rather promote the uptake of flexible working so that childcare is easier to juggle between both parents and neither are penalised.

    First, are money, status and career advancement the primary goods we should aim at in life? A lot of women think not and so don't base their life choices on achieving them - which is the main reason women don't on average have the same career outcomes as men.

    But even those who do want to concentrate on career usually don't have the same career outcomes as their male peers. It's been well established that equal pay is still a myth regardless of the legislation that was meant to ensure it and for those few women who have made it to the top work-wise it has meant giving up the chance to have children. Feminists like myself wonder why women are forced to make this either/or choice but men are not. I agree entirely that men are also subject to social pressures that make it easier for women to do the economic 'dropping out' but we're also actively encouraged to bail by continuing discrimination in the workplace.

    If women in the past had to put up with too much, then the divorce rate should have been higher during this period of mistreatment. If women are being treated better now, then the divorce rate should be falling. But it's the other way around.

    Women in the past simply died in harness. Until very recently divorce was only available to the very richest - most women either didn't have or didn't feel they had the option at all (decent women didn't, was the feeling). Now that there is a genuine choice, women are exercising it.

    Who's "we?" Don't include me in your failings. What you are really saying is that YOU simply disregard all evidence that doesn't confirm your preconcetions.

    Ruddy hell, ruddyturnstone... that all human beings tend to prefer evidence that they agree with is pretty well established, first-year psychology stuff. I think every fair minded person will acknowledge at least the possibility of bias.

    Women, again, on average, CHOOSE the easier job, with the shorter hours, and nicer commute, and cozy, indoor workspace, where hard physical labor is not required, and which is not dangerous, or dirty and so on. That's why they get paid less.

    The majority of employment opportunities now exist in the service sector - skilled manual work has dwindled so much that physical labour tends not to be required of anyone. The work is notoriously casual (so employers save money on employee privileges), often seasonal and poorly paid. In the UK many men who would formerly have been skilled manual workers in industry or manufacturing prefer unemployment than work on those terms leaving women to be the only ones working at all in some areas (again, this tends to be a class specific effect). The only life threatening occupations I can think of are in the military, police or emergency services ... where women serve alongside their male colleagues with distinction.

    Women want divorces because divorce is a good deal for women. With divorce, as I said, they "shed" the husband but retain access to his income and resources.

    I'm not sure the argument that 'all women are gold-diggers' has any more foundation than 'all men are bastards'.

    In addition, and I realize that this is getting tedious, but I'll repeat ad nausium until you respond to it, if the wife and mother deal is so bad, why do women keep signing up for it?

    For the same reason that theory conflicts with evidence as Mark has pointed out. We are talking in generalisations. Patriarchy or any other type of social theory works at a macro-level to describe general social trends and attempts to explain them. Marriage or any other type of personal relationship works at a micro-level and is a result of individual negotiation. Feminist or not I would no more live my life based solely on a social theory than I would invest my money based on an economic one. At the micro-level they're inherently unreliable which is why we're constantly examining where our personal experience supports the theory and where it differs, hence the switch in voices.

    As I said, basically you can't know for sure whether your marriage will be one of the successful ones until you've got married and tried it. That's why women are still getting married. We're just incurable optimists. ;)

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  19. "I'd say evolved rather than 'set up' due to very practical issues of hygiene and childbirth prior to the advent of contraception. This yes, oppressive standard, was then enshrined in law that for a long time defined women as chattel. That changed in the victorian era."

    Yes, any talk about marriage being a "patriarchal" institution is at least 100 years out of date. As for women being defined as "chattel," there is a recent post on this site demolishing that feminist canard.

    "I can only assume that the idea of making men take paternity leave is so that both partners face the same 'hit' in career if they choose to have children. It may be more fair. .. "

    Why isn't it "more fair" to let parents decide for themselves which parent takes leave? Why is enforcing a one-size-fits-all standard on a particular family "fair?" Do you just assume that women are being pressured into taking the leave? It's much more likely that women WANT to take the leave, and these governments now won't let them.

    ". . .but I'd rather promote the uptake of flexible working so that childcare is easier to juggle between both parents and neither are penalised."

    (Sigh).

    If a worker chooses to have children, and chooses to spend time out of the work force, that worker, male or female, is not being "penalized" if he or she falls behind similiarly situated workers in terms of seniority and skills acquired. If a worker took a year off to go to Tibet to study Buddhism, when that worker came back, would you say that he is being "penalized" if his contmeporaries had climbed further up the corporate ladder? Having and raising a child is a worthy activity, but, it takes time, time that has not been devoted to one's career. From the point of view of the employer, and one's fellow empolyees, it would be unfair to pretend otherwise.

    "But even those who do want to concentrate on career usually don't have the same career outcomes as their male peers. It's been well established that equal pay is still a myth regardless of the legislation that was meant to ensure it. . ."

    Here in the US, we don't even have equal pay legislation, and the only "myth" is that there is a "wage gap" based on anything other than the career choices that women make. Every study has "well established" the conclusion that women (all of this is on average) tend to seek the less stressful, lower paid occupations, and, within occupatoins, they tend to seek the less stressful, lower paid, specialties, and within specialties, the less stressful and lower paid sub-specialites. Women avoid work in remote, rugged areas, where the pay is higher. For jobs that pay by the hour, women choose to work fewer hours, often not even working the full 40 hour week, and eschewing overtime, which pays time and a half, or more. And so on and so forth.

    ". . .and for those few women who have made it to the top work-wise it has meant giving up the chance to have children. Feminists like myself wonder why women are forced to make this either/or choice but men are not."

    (Sigh, again).

    Men who make it "to the top" are also forced to choose between work and children. Yes, they can be fathers, but they can't spend much time with their children. They can't take paternity leave. They can't say at 4 PM, when a "crush" is on at work, "sorry, gotta go, the kids have to be picked up" the way many working Moms do. A woman, if she really wanted to, could make it to the top and be a mother too, IF she took the minimum time off work before and after giving birth, did not take maternity leave, and did not make her children, rather than her career, the center of her life. That's how men can be fathers, but not be on a "Daddy track" the way most mothers are on a "Mommy track." They continue to put their career first. And, needless to say, most women choose to put their children first. No one forces them to.

    Again, having and raising children takes time and energy, energy that cannot be devoted to career. Employees that don't have children, or whose spouse is the primary child care giver, or who hire nannies from the day the child is born, devote that extra time and energy to their jobs, and get rewarded accordingly. There is nothing unfair about that.

    You've been sold a bill of goods by the feminists. You can't really "have it all." No one can. Life is finite, and is about making choices. To some extent, if choose to do one thing, you can't do another. You can't be a hard-charging executive AND pick up the kids up from school every day at 4 PM. You can do one, or the other, but not both, whether you are a mother or a father.

    "I agree entirely that men are also subject to social pressures that make it easier for women to do the economic 'dropping out' but we're also actively encouraged to bail by continuing discrimination in the workplace."

    Again, here in the US, "discrimination" against women in the workplace subjects an employer to severe consequences in court. So much so, that, with "sexual harassment suits" (especially of the "hostile environment" type) employers bend over backward, using what we call "affirmative action" to make sure that women are recruited, retained, and promoted. Often, women are chosen over more qualified men for just this reason.

    "Women in the past simply died in harness."

    Actually, it's men who died, and still die, "in harness." Men hitch themselves up to a plow and pull for 40 and 50 years for the benifit of their wives and children. It is men who are much more likely to go directly from their harness into an early grave, while women live to a ripe old age.
    Women only had a lower life expectancy in previous centuries because of childbirth.

    "Until very recently divorce was only available to the very richest - most women either didn't have or didn't feel they had the option at all (decent women didn't, was the feeling). Now that there is a genuine choice, women are exercising it."

    Yes, divorce is now a great deal for women, and they are choosing it in droves.

    "Ruddy hell, ruddyturnstone... that all human beings tend to prefer evidence that they agree with is pretty well established, first-year psychology stuff. I think every fair minded person will acknowledge at least the possibility of bias."

    No shit, really? The point is that you simply cannot point to this common failing as an excuse for disregarding evidence when it is repeatedly pointed out to you. People lie all the time too, does that mean that lying should have an established part in this discourse?

    On the substance of the matter, you were the one who introduced the concept of the "second shift." I pointed out to you, and now Mark Richardson has to, that most studies show that concept to be a crock. It is not a valid counterargument for you to say, "Well, I'm biased, just like everyone else, so I'll ignore that."

    "The majority of employment opportunities now exist in the service sector. . .physical labour tends not to be required of anyone. . .The only life threatening occupations I can think of are in the military, police or emergency services ... where women serve alongside their male colleagues with distinction."

    Wow, could you be more wrong from top to bottom? First of all, the arduous physical labor and dangerousness is only part of the story. Again, and, again, on average, women choose the less stressful job, the job with the less onerous hours, the job with the pleasanter work environment, the job not located in a remote or rugged area, the job without the nasty commute, and so on and so forth. Women choose the easier, nicer, but also lower paying, jobs. Mark Richardson has given you some cogent reasons for this difference in choice.

    As for dangerous work, go look at some statistics! Coal mining, construction work, sanitation work, commercial fishing and so on are all still dangerous occupations, and are still almost entirely male. The overwhelming majority of workplace deaths(I am talking over 90%), are suffered by men. Women don't take these jobs because they are dangerous. Men take them because they pay a lot. Then, women complain that the jobs they gravitate to don't pay as well.

    Oh, and as for the Armed Forces, again, speaking for the US, women are not allowed in combat. Whether they serve with "distinction" or not is open to question, but that they don't do the same dangerous "work" as men is simply a fact.

    "I'm not sure the argument that 'all women are gold-diggers' has any more foundation than 'all men are bastards.'"

    Of course all women are not gold diggers, but the legal regime in place in family court throughout the West allows women to act like gold diggers, if they choose to. And many do.

    "Marriage or any other type of personal relationship works at a micro-level and is a result of individual negotiation. . . I would no more live my life based solely on a social theory than I would invest my money based on an economic one. At the micro-level they're inherently unreliable which is why we're constantly examining where our personal experience supports the theory and where it differs, hence the switch in voices. As I said, basically you can't know for sure whether your marriage will be one of the successful ones until you've got married and tried it. That's why women are still getting married.

    "We're just incurable optimists."

    But, if it were an established fact that marriage is, as the feminists believe (according to you), an institution that "operates at the woman's expense," wouldn't we expect to see at least some reluctance to marry on the part of women? If women are typically, or generally, or usually, subordinated in marriage, one would think they would hesitate to marry. Yes, there is always a chance they might end up with a "good master," but why take that chance?

    Obviously, the simpler, more persuasive explanation is that marriage is NOT an institution that "operates at the woman's expense."

    And, "the swithch in voice" is attributable to exactly the reason the blogger said it was. Marriage is a good deal for women. Even these feminists know this, and you know they know it because you can judge them on what they do, not what they say. According to "theory," marriage "must" be a patriarchal institution that exploits women. In practice, in their own lives, they know it's not. So, they tell the Glouchester Girls to go live the miserable life of the theory, while they live the reality with their supportive husbands.

    They're not "optimists," they're hypocrites.

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  20. This yes, oppressive standard, was then enshrined in law that for a long time defined women as chattel. That changed in the victorian era.

    Deus ex, I often read this claim about women being chattels. I don't see how it can possibly be true. A chattel is moveable property, like furniture. It can be bought and sold and disposed of as the owner likes.

    I'm not sure any society has ever existed in which women as a class were treated as chattels. Has there ever been a time when men owned women as property? Could a man at any time simply sell his wife on the market? Were there "woman shops" where men could trade in female chattels? Could a man lightly dispose of a woman at his will?

    The answer to these questions, surely, is no.

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  21. Deus ex, I often read this claim about women being chattels. I don't see how it can possibly be true. A chattel is moveable property, like furniture. It can be bought and sold and disposed of as the owner likes.

    Mark, a chattel is any type of property other than real estate and in English Common Law from the thirteenth century onwards a married woman was indeed the property of her husband. (Not a 'feminist canard' Ruddyturnstone, historical fact). Until victorian times rape was considered a crime against property rather than person (that is, rapists were prosecuted for the damage done to the other man's property rather than hurting a woman) and marital rape wasn't recognised - the marriage contract was understood to mean that a wife had no right to refuse.

    Here in the US, we don't even have equal pay legislation, and the only "myth" is that there is a "wage gap" based on anything other than the career choices that women make.

    Well in the UK, the Equal Pay Act came into force in 1970 because women were being paid less than men doing exactly the same job. Not because they tended to earn less 'on average'. Despite this, there are councils in Scotland right now facing huge compensation bills because they continued to underpay their female workers until very recently. It's a matter of opinion whether a 40-year old man working as a school gardener has a heavier or dirtier job than a 40-year old woman working as a Care assistant in a council nursing home.

    The Office Of National Statistics has found that half of the jobs done by women are part-time compared to one in six for men - which I agree will have a major effect on average pay rates - but there is still a lot of debate as to whether 'typically' female work is automatically undervalued. The former Department of Trade and Industry discovered that as women move into traditionally male areas, average earnings go down (and when men move into traditionally female work areas, average earnings go up) which suggests gender-based discrimination may still be a factor. And if gender-based work patterns and choices are the only cause of pay differential, why is this difference greater in the private sector than the public sector (could it be more rigorous application of anti-discrimination measures by government bodies)?

    I'd be extremely surprised if similar things weren't also happening in the US.

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  22. Sorry forgot to mention, it was the second Married Women's Act (of 1882) that changed the status of women in the UK.

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  23. "a chattel is any type of property other than real estate. . ."

    Yes.

    ". . .and in English Common Law from the thirteenth century onwards a married woman was indeed the property of her husband. (Not a 'feminist canard' Ruddyturnstone, historical fact)."

    No. Could a husband legally sell or lease his wife? Was it legal for a husband to kill his wife? Of course not. Cows are chattel. The owner of a cow may indeed kill or sell it. It simply was never the case that, under the common law, a husband could treat his wife like a cow (sell her, lease her, slaughter her, etc.).

    A woman's, especially a wife's, status was definitely subordinate under the common law. But the legal theory was much more akin to one of wardship, relating to the alleged "incompetence" of the wife, than it was one of absolute ownership. The law treated the wife much like the law still treats children. The legal theory held that a married couple constituted one "person," for purposes of the law, and that the husband spoke for that "person" (the way the board of directors speaks for the legal "person" of a corporation). But, it was also true under the common law that a husband owed certain legally enforceable duties, like support, to his wife. Again, if the wife were truly a "chattel," there would have be no such duties. Contrast this to true chattel: the owner of a cow was NOT obligated to support that cow. In fact, there were a whole series of reciprical obligations and rights that flowed between husband and wife under the common law. None of which would have obtained if women were in fact considered as merely a "chattel."

    That theory is a feminist canard, just as I said it was.

    "Until victorian times rape was considered a crime against property rather than person (that is, rapists were prosecuted for the damage done to the other man's property rather than hurting a woman) and marital rape wasn't recognised - the marriage contract was understood to mean that a wife had no right to refuse."

    Exactly, the husband could recover monetarily for the rape of his wife because the rapist had usurped his exclusive, contractual right to have intercourse with his wife. Similarly, a husband could not be charged with the crime raping his wife because the marital contract was interpreted as meaning the wife had retained no right to refuse. Obviously, the legal theory in both instances is contract, not chattel property. The husband didn't buy the wife, as a man might buy a cow, but enterted into a contract with her, which gave both of the parties certain rights. One of which was the right of the husband to intercourse with his wife, and to bar all others from that intercourse.

    Moreover, under your theory of rape being strictly a property crime, it would not have been the case that the rape of a single or widowed woman was a crime. Butit was. These women had no "owners." They were clearly not "chattel," unless you are going to argue that all women at common law were "chattel," and that every woman must have had an "owner." But no one, not even the feminists, claim that. A father did not "own" his daughter as a piece of chattel. And nobody at all "owned" a widow.

    "Well in the UK, the Equal Pay Act came into force in 1970 because women were being paid less than men doing exactly the same job. Not because they tended to earn less 'on average'."

    I'll grant that might have been the case in 1970, but it has long since ceased to be the case in the US and the UK.

    "Despite this, there are councils in Scotland right now facing huge compensation bills because they continued to underpay their female workers until very recently. It's a matter of opinion whether a 40-year old man working as a school gardener has a heavier or dirtier job than a 40-year old woman working as a Care assistant in a council nursing home."

    No, it's not a matter of "opinion." It's a matter of free market valuation. The market sets the value of different types of labor. It's always easy to find one particular case where a man, or a woman, has a job that seems to pay "too much" or "too little." But, on average, the market sets the wage based on factors that are not open to question--most people do not want to work dirty, dangerous, jobs, with long hours and lousy commutes in remote areas and so forth. The employer can't find a qualified worker unless the pay reflects those negative condidions.

    As for the Scottish councils, from what I can gather, the issue was not that there was a gender-based pay differential for workers doing the "exact same work." Rather, some bureaucrat or court decided that different jobs should be considered the same, and simply equated, by fiat, one set of jobs with another.

    "The Office Of National Statistics has found that half of the jobs done by women are part-time compared to one in six for men - which I agree will have a major effect on average pay rates. . "

    Yes.

    " - but there is still a lot of debate as to whether 'typically' female work is automatically undervalued. The former Department of Trade and Industry discovered that as women move into traditionally male areas, average earnings go down (and when men move into traditionally female work areas, average earnings go up) which suggests gender-based discrimination may still be a factor."

    But, there is now absolute equality of opportunity. There is no more "man's work" and "woman's work." Nothing is stopping women from being ice road truckers and coal miners. In fact, in the city I live in, there is a governmentally funded program to induce women to take up non-traditional work (like construction jobs). But women simply don't want to do this work. They want the nice, clean easy job. But, the secretary in the Seattle office of the ice road trucking company is simply not worth as much (in a free market) as the ice road trucker.

    As for women entering men's professions and the wages going down, that is probably a result of there now being more qualified applicants for the same number of jobs. Again, supply and demand. Similarly, I think you have the cause and effect wrong in the case of men entering women's professions and the wages going up. Men are probably entering these professions because the wages are going up, not vice versa. Anyway, the opposite theory simply makes no sense. Do you really think a firm will start increasing salaries across the board for a particular type of job just because men are making up a growing part of the applicant base? Even assuming that it is men who make all these decisions on the behalf of the firms, men would never show such solicitude for their fellow men!

    "And if gender-based work patterns and choices are the only cause of pay differential, why is this difference greater in the private sector than the public sector (could it be more rigorous application of anti-discrimination measures by government bodies)?"

    That's one way of explaining it. What I would say is that public employers are more subject to the hectoring of feminists than are private employers. A public employer might bend to the phony agument that one type of jop is "just like" another, when the former is dominated by women and the latter by men. Also, it's not the public employer's money that's at stake. So, OK, sure, pay the secretaries as much as the truckers, what do we care, the taxpayers are picking up the check anyway.

    "I'd be extremely surprised if similar things weren't also happening in the US."

    Here in the USA, every study worth its salt has shown the so-called wage gap is in fact a result of the different choices that men and women make with respect to work. In fact, some studies have shown that single, childless women actually make more money than their single, childless male colleagues doing the exact same job.

    In conclusion, your "wage gap," just like your "second shift" theory and your "women were chattel" theory, is a feminist canard with no basis in fact.

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