LW Women Submissions: On Misogyny

by [anonymous] 7 min read10th Apr 2013473 comments


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.