LW Women Submissions: On Misogyny

Stan­dard Intro

The fol­low­ing sec­tion will be at the top of all posts in the LW Women se­ries.

Sev­eral months ago, I put out a call for anony­mous sub­mis­sions by the women on LW, with the idea that I would com­pile them into some kind of post. There is a LOT of ma­te­rial, so I am break­ing them down into more man­age­able-sized themed posts.

Seven women sub­mit­ted, to­tal­ing about 18 pages.

Stan­dard Dis­claimer- Women have many differ­ent view­points, and just be­cause I am act­ing as an in­ter­me­di­ary to al­low for anony­mous com­mu­ni­ca­tion does NOT mean that I agree with ev­ery­thing that will be posted in this se­ries. (It would be rather im­pos­si­ble to, since there are some posts ar­gu­ing op­po­site sides!)

To the sub­mit­ters- If you would like to re­spond anony­mously to a com­ment (for ex­am­ple if there is a com­ment ques­tion­ing some­thing in your post, and you want to clar­ify), you can PM your mes­sage and I will post it for you. If this hap­pens a lot, I might cre­ate a LW_Women sock­pup­pet ac­count for the sub­mit­ters to share.

Please do NOT break anonymity, be­cause it low­ers the anonymity of the rest of the sub­mit­ters.

[Note from daen­erys- Th­ese two sub­mis­sions might ac­tu­ally be one sub­mis­sion that had some sort of sep­a­ra­tion (such as a line of as­ter­iks). If I pro­cessed them as sep­a­rate when they were sup­posed to be a sin­gle en­try, this is com­pletely my mis­take, and not at all the fault of the sub­mit­ters. Sorry for the con­fu­sion.]

Sub­mit­ter A

Here’s a web­page with more on how mi­sog­yny works, in­clud­ing ex­am­ples in the com­ments of “mansplain­ing” min­i­mal­iz­ing prob­lems.

Un­der the ar­ti­cle, there’s a com­ment about Stieg Larrson’s book, origi­nally named “Men who Hate Women.” To see what mo­ti­vated such a name, I Googled and found this ar­ti­cle about his ex­pe­riences and guilt. Guilt is some­thing that many have felt and tried to as­suage in var­i­ous ways, in­clud­ing ask­ing for for­give­ness. I’ve come to the con­clu­sion that we should never for­give, only de­mand solu­tions, so as not to suffer con­tinual sin­ning and for­giv­ing. With solu­tions comes ab­solu­tion, so for­give­ness is un­nec­es­sary but for al­low­ing the guilty get away with crimes (like the rapists in the ar­ti­cle).

The ar­ti­cle about Lars­son also has a bit about his part­ner’s con­tri­bu­tions not be­ing cred­ited to her, which seems to be typ­i­cal of man-woman part­ner­ships. Be­sides see­ing it in other sto­ries, I’ve ex­pe­rienced it in my own life. I gave my ex much in­put and feed­back for his works, but oth­ers will never know. Mean­while, he triv­ial­ized and hin­dered my work. He re­cently ad­mit­ted to pur­posely dis­cour­ag­ing me from go­ing to col­lege or do­ing well while I was there. I sus­pected as much, like when he guilt-tripped me the morn­ing I had to cram for an AP exam in high school, BSing that my not cel­e­brat­ing his birth­day with him meant that I didn’t love him. This was when he was in grad school—he knew what he was do­ing. He wanted to keep me for him­self, and of­ten said so. That think­ing—a woman serv­ing one men—was a jus­tifi­ca­tion for him to rape, phys­i­cally as­sault, psy­cholog­i­cally ma­nipu­late, and limit me (such as when or what I was al­lowed to write). Similar think­ing ex­ists in other per­sons’ head, in­clud­ing in some women who blame them­selves if their part­ners beat them, cheat on them, etc. But we can’t hap­pily serve one be­ing; we ab­sorb, pro­cess, and op­ti­mize much, much more than one be­ing, who can­not be pro­cessed sep­a­rate from the rest of the cos­mos any­ways. Forc­ing or plan­ning a body to serve just one body (even one’s own body) will in­volve abuse.

Due to how our bod­ies work, a per­son tends to not re­spect a part­ner who is fo­cused on pleas­ing just that per­son. Some poor souls are caught in a vi­cious cy­cle of dot­ing on their part­ners, who in turn, don’t love them much or dis­re­spect them and even­tu­ally leave, giv­ing im­pre­cise, use­less ex­pla­na­tions like “the per­son isn’t in­tel­lec­tual enough,” as can be seen here. “Some­one who loves you” doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily love You, but rather a nar­row un­der­stand­ing of You. In other words, you don’t love a per­son you don’t know.

The men who abuse women and claim they love those women do not know those women, any more than my ex un­der­stood my work for the-world-as-I-know-it, which is quite differ­ent from the world-as-he-knows-it, a world where women are whores when, to me, many women are slaves to idiots who don’t know what’s good, like peo­ple who per­ceive rape as cool or fun. My ex wrote a song called, “Son of Whore,” ba­si­cally say­ing his mother and other moth­ers are whores, and also called me a whore, though he was the one forc­ing sex on me. On other oc­ca­sions, he claimed I was the love of his life. You might think my ex was a so­ciopath, but no—he’s a nor­mal male, work­ing as a uni­ver­sity pro­fes­sor. His think­ing, like most hu­mans’, is out­dated or out of touch with re­al­ity; his map mis­rep­re­sents the ter­ri­tory. So now he has to deal with los­ing the love of his life, whom he nei­ther re­ally knew nor loved. Plus, he has to deal with my cor­rec­tive writ­ing to pre­vent him from harm­ing an­other per­son. In that way, I’m still self-sac­ri­fic­ing to make him and his work bet­ter. How sub-op­ti­mal of me when I should be fo­cus­ing on work helpful to more peo­ple.


Sub­mit­ter B

[note from daen­erys- I think I some­how lost the links in this one. Very sorry!]

“Note that with a lot of the above is­sues, one of the biggest prob­lems in figur­ing out what is go­ing on isn’t pur­pose­ful mi­sog­yny or any­thing.”

Those LWers who define ra­tio­nal­ity as for “win­ning” can play self-serv­ing games. I’d like to think there’s no such thing as pur­pose­ful mi­sog­yny, but PUA liter­a­ture (in ad­di­tion to other things my body has ab­sorbed in my life) has left no room for that naïveté. To be clear, by “mi­sog­yny” I don’t mean “ha­tred of women,” which is a use­less defi­ni­tion ex­cept for deny­ing it ex­ists. Some PUAs point out they “love” women, like some anti-gays point out they love gays and that’s why they’re try­ing to pre­vent gays from com­mit­ting sins and thereby damn­ing them­selves and/​or in­vok­ing God’s wrath to­wards so­ciety. Similarly, PUAs and MRAs can be­lieve them­selves to be sav­ing the world from ir­ra­tional women. They have fal­la­cious util­ity-max­i­miza­tion ra­tio­nal­iza­tions, like some­one I per­son­ally know who jus­tified mo­lesta­tion of his biolog­i­cal daugh­ter, with ex­pla­na­tions from “she likes it” to [para­phras­ing] “it’ll has­ten the child’s pu­berty changes and in­crease her bust size to make her more at­trac­tive to po­ten­tial male mates.” Other fam­ily mem­bers, in­clud­ing the vic­tim’s biolog­i­cal mother (abuser’s wife) and pa­ter­nal grand­mother ac­cepted the abuser’s ra­tio­nal­iza­tions, and hence did not in­ter­vene. The mo­lesta­tion es­ca­lated into rap­ing the child, which the fam­ily mem­bers ex­cused. I’ve seen similar sto­ries in the news, where a naïve con­sumer of such news might be at a loss for why per­sons close to the abuser didn’t in­ter­vene (e.g. San­dusky’s wife).

So, “mi­sog­yny,” to have a defi­ni­tion that points to real phe­nom­ena, can be said to be apolo­get­ics of abus­ing fe­males, with mes­sages (not just in nat­u­ral lan­guage) or ac­tions any­where from seem­ingly be­nign and ra­tio­nal to full out de­mean­ing or vi­o­lent. And many fe­males’ brains ac­cept and in­ter­nal­ize such mes­sages and ac­tions, hence ex­cus­ing the abusers, blam­ing the vic­tims, for­giv­ing abuses rather than tak­ing ac­tions to pre­vent them, or even let­ting them­selves be abused (un­der some no­tion that the dy­nam­ics are un­change­able). In this news piece on a school spank­ing and in its com­ment field, you can see ex­am­ples of peo­ple ra­tio­nal­iz­ing hit­ting kids and/​or let­ting them­selves be hit, even though, as one com­menter pointed out, we don’t use cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment on pris­on­ers.

My grand­mother used to beat my younger brother to vent her frus­tra­tions with the world, in­clud­ing hav­ing to serve ev­ery­one while my grand­father stayed on the couch in front of the TV all day be­cause he wouldn’t do “women’s work” and he was re­tired from “men’s work.” Her brain ra­tio­nal­ized the beat­ing as nec­es­sary for dis­ci­plin­ing my brother, even though the only “dis­ci­plin­ing” effects were to force my brother to finish eat­ing what she served him. She has come to re­gret what she did, but I’m not sure she’s aware of the dy­nam­ics be­hind what hap­pened, in­clud­ing the pa­tri­ar­chal in­equity and her brain’s im­pre­cise nar­ra­tive about mak­ing my brother well-be­haved.

In case you don’t have much his­tory with abuse, per­haps the phe­nom­ena I’m dis­cussing will be more con­crete to you if you’ve had ex­pe­riences deal­ing with men’s porn and med­i­tate on those ex­pe­riences. This ar­ti­cle, “Be­ing Porn,” refers to women in­ter­nal­iz­ing and en­act­ing men’s porn views, rather than try­ing to en­lighten men so they make bet­ter use of re­sources and don’t be­come or stay ad­dicted to porn. To be fair, though, it’s difficult to en­lighten oth­ers if one is not good at brain-hack­ing her­self. For ex­am­ple: On the HLN chan­nel, there was a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions epi­sode on an Evan­gel­i­cal Chris­tian ex-mil­i­tary man who, ad­dicted to porn, used vary­ing ex­cuses like ‘it’s re­search to save our sex life and mar­riage’ when­ever she tried to get him to stop. Fed up, she asked for di­vorce, and in­stead of go­ing through the pains of di­vorce, he mur­dered her and their daugh­ter (age 6) in their sleep, put their bod­ies in the dump­ster at his work­place and pre­tended they went miss­ing. Cases like that illus­trate how apolo­get­ics can get out of con­trol (talk about af­fec­tive death spirals), with a per­son op­er­at­ing on wrong con­fab­u­la­tions upon wrong as­sump­tions, while other not very en­light­ened per­sons (like the wife and the Evan­gel­i­cal church she tried to get help from) can­not effec­tively en­lighten the outta con­trol per­son.

Given that brains perform apolo­get­ics, how ra­tio­nal can we be in cul­tures based more on some men’s analy­ses than on oth­ers’ analy­ses, esp. when oth­ers’ analy­ses par­rot so much of those men’s—in cul­tures like LW’s? There’s po­ten­tial for your fe­male nar­ra­tives pro­ject to change LW’s stupid (read: “low-effort thought”) analy­ses, if the women don’t end up af­firm­ing what the men have already said. I’ve seen at least one LW woman use some men’s stupid analy­ses of creep­iness as ex­clu­sion or dis­like of low-sta­tus or unattrac­tive per­sons. Such over-sim­plified anal­y­sis doesn’t ac­count for what I know, which in­cludes not be­ing creeped out when an unattrac­tive guy touches me in a pla­tonic man­ner and be­ing a lit­tle creeped out when an at­trac­tive col­lege dor­m­mate poked me on Face­book and then just stared at me for a long time at a so­cial func­tion—even my gay guy friend in­den­ti­fied that be­hav­ior as creepy. (The be­hav­ior could’ve been called “rapey eyes” if the guy wasn’t shy but rather ob­jec­tify­ing me, like I’ve seen some men do. I give them back the evil eyes to re­mind them to do no evil, and they turn away in shame. I first learned of the evil-eyes’ effec­tive­ness when I got an­gry at bul­ly­ing of my brother when I was first grade.

The evil-eyes was just part of the in­dig­na­tion ex­pres­sion, and uses of it made bul­lies stop in their tracks. This re­minds me of an an­gry-look­ing de­ity in some East Asian cul­tures, icons of which are cus­tom­ar­ily put in places of busi­ness. I used to won­der why, but now I see it may be to re­mind peo­ple to do no evil.) Back to the dor­m­mate…I de­cided against get­ting in­volved with him, as I already had a bf and a lot of stress­ful things to deal with, and the dor­m­mate (with his pos­si­ble ob­ses­sive de­sire and my body’s pos­si­ble com­pli­ance de­spite my bet­ter judg­ment) would com­pli­cate things.

My creepy/​dan­ger alert was much higher at a meet­ing with a high-sta­tus (read: sup­pos­edly util­ity-gen­er­at­ing, which in­cludes at­trac­tive in the sense of pleas­ing or ex­cit­ing to look at, but mostly the util­ity is sup­posed to be from ac­tions, like work or play) man who was sup­posed to be my boss for an in­tern­ship. The way he talked about the pre­vi­ous in­tern, a fe­male, the sleazy way he looked while rem­i­nisc­ing and then had to smoke a cigarette, while in a meet­ing with me, my father (an em­ployer who was abu­sive), and the in­tern­ship pro­gram di­rec­tor, plus the fact that when I was walk­ing to­wards the meet­ing room, the em­ploy­ees of the com­pany, all men, stared at me and re­marked, “It’s a girl,” well, I be­came so creeped out that I didn’t want to go back. It was hard, as a less ar­tic­u­late 16 year-old, to ex­plain to the in­tern­ship di­rec­tor all that stuff with­out sound­ing ir­ra­tional. But not be­ing able to ex­plain my brain’s pri­ors (in­clud­ing abuses that it had pre­vi­ously been too naïve/​ig­no­rant to warn against and pre­vent) wasn’t go­ing to change them or de­crease the avoidance-in­duc­ing fear and anx­iety. So af­ter some awk­ward at­tempts to an­swer the in­tern­ship di­rec­tor’s ques­tion of why I didn’t want to work there, I asked for a place­ment with a differ­ent com­pany, which she couldn’t do, un­for­tu­nately.

Given all my data, I can say ap­prox­i­mately that iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of creep­iness is a brain mak­ing pre­dic­tions about some­one’s brain (could even be one’s own brain, be­ing in­tro­spec­tive about whether you’re be­ing creepy) run­ning on a stupid/​un­en­light­ened/​un­wise apolo­getic pro­gram that could pos­si­bly es­ca­late into ac­tions un­pleas­ant or of low util­ity to the tar­get and/​or to him/​her/​one’s self (e.g. en­ergy-wast­ing, abuse, heart­break, etc.). This anal­y­sis is backed up by data from stud­ies I link to in this com­ment.

Back to LWers’ analy­ses. Tony Rob­bins said on an epi­sode of Oprah’s LifeClass that women tend to be too af­firm­ing, rather than challeng­ing like men. While I’d like to think that’s not true, since my body’s ten­dency for as far back as I can re­mem­ber has been to challenge wrong or un­nec­es­sary con­fab­u­la­tions (I have to re­mind my body to be pos­i­tively re­in­forc­ing of good ac­tions), Rob­bins was talk­ing about the same kind of phe­nomenon I’m writ­ing about here, which in effect, amounts to women not do­ing more to move peo­ple to be­come less wrong. Un­like Rob­bins, though I’d say that this is in part due to women us­ing men’s ex­pla­na­tions, with men be­ing less challeng­ing than apolo­getic. I reg­u­larly have to counter BS from men in my life or on­line. The Chi­nese equiv­a­lent of “bul­lshit” trans­lated into English is bull fart. Not that fe­males don’t make info-poor, self-serv­ing ab­strac­tions in pub­lic lan­guage.