Monday, May 30, 2011

How do we explain the slutwalks?

Slutwalk happened in Melbourne on the weekend. Supposedly 3000 took part, though from the video clips it looked more like a few hundred. The Melbourne rally was much like those overseas, though it was distinct in featuring a transgender person who spoke about having been raped both as a man and as a woman.

Why the slutwalks? I've read a few different theories. Laura Wood believes that many of the women protesting are genuinely fearful of rape but are seeking protection from it in a counterproductive way:

what are these women protesting? As I said, they are frightened. There is such a thing as rape, and they cannot process that reality. They have no way of understanding or making sense of it – and so they protest against it, hoping that outrage alone will make it go away. They want a world in which rape does not occur. Such a thing is not possible. However, there is a way to gain some measure of safety. A woman can protect herself against rape not by participating in protests, especially protests defending sluttiness, but by earning the protection of good men. Men protect women against men. The sensible path for a woman in a dangerous world – and the sensible path for women collectively – is to earn the protection of good men. Protection is not a right, but a privilege.

Women earn the protection of good men by dressing modestly, by recognizing the nature of masculinity, and by remaining faithful. Then their safety increases.

Grerp at The Lost Art of Self-Preservation (for Women) looks on it as an assertion of female sexual empowerment. She argues that it's unreasonable for women to dress to get the maximum sexual attention from men and then object when the predictable reaction can't be controlled as tightly as they want it to be:

Women apparently feel that the new frontier of empowerment hinges on their ability to dress like brothel workers and demand others respect them for their bad taste and attention whoring. For this women are marching: to look like the best lay a gold-mining saloon could offer; as in, not obviously diseased.

Uh huh.

Look, let's be honest with ourselves as women. Can we all agree that we don't go out in a pink halter tops and satin hot pants because of the comfort factor? We don't dress that way to impress our girlfriends with our sense of style either. Women dress in miniscule, tight, sexy clothing to get the attention of men. And it is effective. Unfortunately, women can't always control how that attention channels itself. And instead of acknowledging that limitation - that this is a built-in trade-off for guaranteed male attention - they throw a group tantrum, wag a bunch of fingers, and attempt to control the reaction they provoke through chanting, and shaming, and what have you.

Wouldn't it just be easier to wear figure flattering clothing that manages to cover up the essentials? Women looked gorgeous in Edwardian clothing. The success of Mad Men has to hinge in no small part on wardrobe envy - women and men staring at how fantastic people used to look in tailored, buttoned up clothes. Most of the time, with clothes, more is more. Dress decently, and you spare yourself the possibility of trouble.

Bonald at Throne and Altar is sceptical that the issue is really about rape. He thinks the slutwalks are about legitimising female sexual promiscuity:

The rape issue is a red herring. It has nothing to do with the real issue, which is the social legitimation of female promiscuity. These marches are not meant to intimidate potential rapists; they’re meant to intimidate social conservatives. The sluts are only tying together the issues of social disapproval and sexual violence as a rhetorical trick to cast themselves as victims even as they go on the attack...

The sluts are not victims; they are aggressors. Their victim is society itself. Their goal is social approval for female sexual promiscuity. The MRM and “game” advocates (who I have elsewhere criticized) have painted a disturbing but very plausible picture of where widespread female promiscuity will ultimately lead. A few of the most desirable men monopolize women during their young, attractive years. Then after getting old and being discarded by these “alphas” from their harems, women “settle down” and allow themselves to be supported by a “beta provider” husband.

I don't think Bonald's point should be discounted. At the Melbourne rally, a lot of the emphasis was on the idea that there was nothing wrong with being a slut. There were placards reading "Stop slut shaming" and speakers made comments such as "reclaiming the word slut is going to disempower it" and "enough of the judgements about our sexualities".

At Camera Lucida, Kidist Paulos Asrat developed my own arguments in an interesting way. I had noted in a post about Ita Buttrose that in the early 1970s in Australia a group of feminist women accepted the idea of autonomy (of being self-defined rather than defined as women), but that they rejected the radical idea of giving up on heterosexual relationships with men. This was the birth of a "sex positive" feminism in Australia.

Kidist Paulos Asrat believes that this leads to a kind of schizophrenia, in which women don't want to reject feminism by appearing too feminine but in which they still feel a natural need to express their female selves:

I think what is going on is that women secretly yearn for femininity (although I think this is an actual biological reaction and need, rather than an "autonomous desire"). But they cannot succumb to this need for fear of appearing to reject feminism, as Richardson shows above. Imagine the schizophrenic back and forth that must be going on in their minds!

As I wrote above, one way young women can avoid this schizophrenia is by sporadically, and in a limited way, adding feminine touches - such as having children, but avoiding caring for their children, or wearing lipstick, but pursuing high profile, and highly demanding, careers...

One thing I've noticed here is that young women are wearing extremely short skirts, and now in spring, they're donning very short cut-out shorts, often (as though this will help) with dark tights. These skirts are dark, dreary, and ugly. At least the sixties brought color and pizazz with mini-skirt fashion.

My assessment of this depressingly ugly trend (many of the girls are over-weight, so we are forced to look at bulging body parts as well) is that it's that schizophrenic attempt at reconciling femininity with autonomy: I will dress how I want, but I will also look like a girl. It is the "sex positive" (to use Ricahrdson's coinage) compensation of reconciling femininity with autonomy. But all they end up looking is like prostitutes, which is the last thing - consciously, at least - they're after.

One major point of evidence for this argument is the tendency for female fashions over the past 40 years to swing back and forth between grunge and the overtly sexual. There hasn't been a consistent fashion trend for women to relax into a feminine dress style which emphasises elegance or beauty.

I'll finish by going back to Bonald's argument that the slutwalks are really about legitimising female promiscuity. Why would feminist women want to do this?

I can think of a number of reasons, but I'd like to focus on two. The first is that women are at a peak of their sexual power in their 20s. Some women might, therefore, resent moral restraints on their sexuality at this time. In particular, they might conceive that they are using their sexuality to "trade up" amongst men as much as they are able.

What these women need to understand is that a sexual free-for-all will ultimately be harmful to them. Their window of sexual power is relatively short-lived. If there are to be no moral restraints, then men, on finding that they have the advantage of sexual power in their 30s and 40s, will be in a position to "trade in" or "double up" when it comes to women.

There is, in other words, a purpose to the traditional restraints on sexuality. They are not there simply as a patriarchal imposition on women.

A second reason "progressive" women might have to advocate promiscuity is that the new, trendy life script is for women to defer marriage and family until their 30s. If family formation is delayed for this long, then people are not likely to be chaste in the meantime. The 20s will be thought of as a time for more casual sexual relationships.

The odd thing about this is that many of the women deferring marriage and family, effectively leaving it last and to the last minute, still see it as an important fulfilment in life, something they don't want to miss out on. And yet they are risking never getting there by leaving it for so long.

It's not just that they are leaving motherhood till the dying moments of their fertility. They are also undermining a culture of family life amongst men. Men face a choice early in life. They can enjoy the company of their mates whilst pursuing erotic sexual encounters with women - and this is not an unappealing lifestyle for many men. Or they can set aside the urge toward promiscuity in favour of the higher goods of a loving and secure relationship with a wife, experiencing love and respect as a husband and father, making an adult contribution to society and their own tradition by raising a family and so on.

But what happens if the higher goods are withdrawn as an option because women want to leave family formation until something close to middle-age? What if women seem to mostly be offering casual relationships, with sex being the main thing on offer? It shouldn't then be surprising if fewer men in society develop into reliable family men. The family man culture will gradually decline.


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  2. Mark,

    Excellent points by Laura Wood, grerp, Kidost, Bonald and yourself.

    "Or they can set aside the urge toward promiscuity in favour of the higher goods of a loving and secure relationship with a wife, experiencing love and respect as a husband and father, making an adult contribution to society and their own tradition by raising a family and so on."

    Women in their 20s view these men as losers because these men are deemed to have lost out on something valuable by not embracing and succeeding in the whole 'social scene'.
    If women, by and large, get to pick winners and losers among men then gamers will always be winners and the rest losers.
    Since the gamers are winners in the eyes of women, they start preaching the gospel to other men, and so the vicious cycle continues.
    All this only goes to show the abject lack of power that the majority of men have in relation to the rest of society.

  3. a transgender person who spoke about having been raped both as a man and as a woman.

    Being raped once may be regarded as a misfortune; being raped twice looks like carelessness.

  4. Great post, and I agree these walks are about legitimising female s*xual promiscuity.

    Also, Unamusement Park has pointed out, the organisers seem to hold a number of delusional feminist beliefs (eg. that r8pe is about power).

  5. Feminists see rape as politically advantageous. The more women are raped, the most justified their misandry and totalitarianism becomes. That's why they vehemently oppose measures that reduce rape and practically dare women to get raped. They also want to expand the definition of rape and have no problems with false rape accusations destroying the credibility of real victims (which they'll then complain about).

    Their demand that rape must simply vanish from existence is all smoke and mirrors. They don't want it to vanish, and they know it cannot vanish. It's good to demand impossible things because you know your demands will never be met, so you can continue complaining until the end of time.

    No, these women are not afraid of rape at all. They relish it.

  6. Agree with the comments by Kiwiguy.

    Women at their sexual peak aged 20 something? But doesn't Cosmopolitan magazine assure us women are at their sexual peak aged 38? While, apparently, medical science insists women hit their sexual peak at age 18 to 22.

    Question: Do men want to marry and breed with a 38 year old with a history of slutty sexual behaivour, or a 22 year old virgin?

  7. But what happens if the higher goods are withdrawn as an option because women want to leave family formation until something close to middle-age?

    I would argue that today's legal environment, where marriage empowers your wife to strip you of your assets and income, fear of that outcome shares significant responsibility for killing family formation. The more that feminists demand laws that give unmarried women the same rights as married women to steal from men, the less women will be able to satisfy their dreams of marriage and family. I can't help but think this harming of women to serve feminist goals is intentional. The loudest and most vocal of feminists are often the lesbian separatists, who quite explicitly state that women can only be free and "authentically female" in the complete absence of men.

  8. The Melbourne rally was much like those overseas, though it was distinct in featuring a transgender person who spoke about having been raped both as a man and as a woman.

    The atmosphere is getting freakier and more decadent by the minute. We have out of control minorities, transgenders, sluts, hyper-individualists and whatnot. What's next? I hope in the future I may contribute to the conservative cause through some sort of rallying of conservatives throughout the world against liberalism besides serving God and building a family.

  9. Are there any liberal blogs discussing this? I would like to ask them if they are in favour of muslim immigration given their rather restrictive views on female clothing.

  10. They would probably tell you that Muslims who come to the West are the liberal ones, or that the restrictive clothing is completely optional and voluntary. Or more likely they'll just call you a racist troll and ban you.

  11. ***Or more likely they'll just call you a r@cist troll and ban you.***

    Heh, very true. They're not really big on diversity of opinion if it challenges their sacred principles.

  12. ""Heh, very true. They're not really big on diversity of opinion if it challenges their sacred principles.""

    Nor are they that big on varying opinions amongst themselves.

    "Democratic centralism" is supposed to only exist on the Marxist fringe, but the mentality exists throughout the broader left.

    To them anyone who disagrees is evil or stupid. They must be, otherwise they wouldn't disagree.

  13. .....[Men] can set aside the urge toward promiscuity in favour of the higher goods of a loving and secure relationship with a wife, experiencing love and respect as a husband and father....But what happens if the higher goods are withdrawn as an option because women want to leave family formation until something close to middle-age?...

    That was exactly my frustration. I was willing and probably more or less ready to marry at 19, yet could not manage to do so because none of the women of my generation had that mindset. I couldn't attract any serious matrimonial interest til my mid 30's, and that's a real hardship for us no-sex-til-marriage religious types.

    The women in question mainly shared my beliefs, or claimed to, at least...but extended celibacy isn't all that tough for women. However, it is hell on earth for men. Fighting the curse of late marriage is therefore a social justice issue for men.

    My single years were best described by inverting the common wisecrack about not buying a cow when milk is free. In my case, free milk was given away everywhere, but nobody would sell me a cow! (No, my wife does not look like a cow...don't misread me!)

    For what it's worth, my eventual wife also was unwillingly single til her 30's. She didn't deliberately wait -- like so many of her generation did. Instead, she was more or less forced to by a series of personal tragedies. We are happy now but we both wish we had found each other much earlier in life.

    Her brothers married their high school sweethearts, lucky bums. I pray my sons will be similarly blessed.

  14. I'm called Aurelia. Hi!
    These girls have been raised in a porn-promoting society. Women as sexual objects have been presented to them as the only acceptable view. Just watch ANY movie from the eighties on: you'll always, always have a sex scene. The woman in the story removes her clothes at some point, period.
    And porn has been praised, over and over and over for decades by the ruling medias, so to these girls, the slut is the desirable, approved woman. What do you expect? To them, a slut is a woman, and a woman is a slut. Only, they are not, but don't know what else to call themselves.
    So they demand rights for sluts. There you are.
    Here in France, serious (and older) feminists are apalled by these slutwalks, Femen, Pussy Riot, you name them, all these daughters of the porn generation who are destroying feminism by labelling themselves what men hate and despise most, what they cannot and will not listen to: a braindead, aggressive slut.

    So what do we do?

    1. I object to this characterization of men seeing women as sex "objects". Just because I like the way a woman looks and find her sexually attractive does not somehow turn her into an object for me. She is a sexually desirable female human.
      Healthy men are not sexually attracted to objects.
      You don't see men going around humping rocks or toasters do you?