Morning Ed: Gender {2017.04.26.W}

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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213 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    I predict that most people are going to ignore this link set or its going to be a tire fire in the comments section.Report

  2. Avatar pillsy says:

    From the gender gap article:

    Another reason we can be sure society does not reward high risk-taking, is that nobody is happier being dead.

    Dude has apparently never tried driving over the Delaware Memorial Bridge during rush hour.

    Also, I bet half the intended audience is going to check out when they get to the part where he cites Christina Sommers as one of the “card-carrying feminists” that he relies on.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to pillsy says:

      I just commented the same thing over there. Card-carrying (i.e. left-wing) feminists hate Christina Hoff Sommers. I’m not sure there’s another name she could have dropped there that would cause that sentence to have an effect further removed from what he intended. Maybe Donald Trump. Maybe.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Exactly. The problem is that is is dishonest. Using CHS as an example of a feminist is much like using Herman Cain as an example of a civil rights activist or Milo Y as an LGBT rights activist. Furthermore, saying, “I’m not an MRA. I like CHS!” is just silly. The MRAs fucking love CHS.

        So the question becomes: is the author ignorant or does he hope that we are ignorant?Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to veronica d says:

          Christina is a rational feminist.Report

          • Avatar veronicad in reply to George Turner says:

            It turns out you can arrange words in any order you wish, with or without any sense.Report

          • Avatar notme in reply to George Turner says:

            That sounds like an oxymoron to me.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to notme says:

              I listen to her lectures. She’s a staunchly rational feminist, as opposed to the third wave intersectional nutcases we’re plagued with today. She said she knew the movement was going off the rails many many years ago when she went to a feminism conference and the women started screeching at each other about how black and lesbian feminists have more moral authority than straight white feminists, and thus their positions must prevail.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to George Turner says:

                @george-turner — So she says. I’m pretty sure if you asked bell hooks whether black feminist should always “prevail,” she would just give you an exasperated look and then ignore you.

                Some history

                The real issue with black feminism arose during the hight of the second wave, which was largely driven by white, middle-class, well-educated women. At the time, the second wave types were pushing the notion that gender was the single unifying factor of oppression, and thus black women should invest more into feminist social movements, at the expense of specific anti-racism work. Things got ugly over one key issue: rape. The issue was, female solidarity with rape victims. This was a time when many black feminist had vivid, personal memories of white women accusing black men, their friends and family, of harassment and rape. When the black feminists brought this up, the white feminist brushed them off. So the black women formed a separate feminist movement, which is generally termed “Womanism.”

                Obviously gender is not the sole unifying factor of oppression. The radical feminists were deeply misguided.

                (By the way, “radical feminist” does not mean “feminist with strong views you disagree with.” They were a specific movement with specific beliefs. I am not a radical feminist.)

                At the same time many feminist were discovering that their lovely “non-hierarchical” social arrangements didn’t always work very well. Which, no surprise, right! While struggling with this, they also began to struggle with the basic notion of subtle social power and who gets voice.

                This essay is a milestone: http://www.jofreeman.com/joreen/tyranny.htm

                Move forward into the third wave and the interest in intersectionality. The point was, feminists were beginning to see that sexism was only one “axis of oppression.” Furthermore, they noticed that a conference with 85% middle-class white women might not really understand the issues that a poor-raised black woman might face, or a transgender woman, or a lesbian Latina, etc. However, just knowing that “black women get less voice here” actually doesn’t give black women more voice.

                Trying to solve this is actually very hard. The point is, withing the frame of a single conference with a small number of minority women, giving those minority women some formal ability to “speak over” is pretty low risk. It is one conference. There is no danger of a sudden shift of power throughout the fabric of the United States where whites will suddenly be under the thumbs of blacks. (Even is some white people stupidly believe this.)

                On the other hand, if on the subway tomorrow, some black women gets in my face and gives me shit about being transgender, well, she can fuck off.

                That said, this is an ongoing discussion. If you actually take part in online social justice conversations, then indeed this stuff keeps playing out in dysfunctional ways. However, it is dysfunctional because racism is real and deeply entrenched. Furthermore, simple “good faith” is helpful, but not sufficient (for exactly the reasons laid out in the Tyranny essay).

                It’s a dialectic, one that CHS isn’t part of.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to veronica d says:

                Regardless of all that, I’m pretty sure the consensus is going to come down that it’s all the straight white guy’s fault, amirite no?Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Damon says:

                @damon — There is more than one straight white guy in the world, which actually feminism, like most “critical theory,” is terrible at bridging the gap between the actions of individual agents and the nature of collective social identities.

                But then, no one is really good at bridging this gap. Social stuff is hard. Identity is hard. Collective agency is hard. But it matters.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to veronica d says:

                “Collective agency?”

                Sorry, I’m not responsible for anyone else’s actions, either in the current, past, or future. Only my own.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Damon says:

                @damon — I don’t mean “agency” in the sense of “nexus of responsibility.” I mean something else.

                To try to summarize, our minds are optimized to do “social stuff” for small groups. Thus we have theory of mind. However, when we want to talk about larger social phenomenon, things such as gender dynamics or class dynamics, etc., we lack good cognitive tools. Historically, people have tried to “personify” these “abstract forces.” So you get Marx talking about “class struggle.”

                But a “class” is not a thing with a unified brain. It doesn’t work that way. Nor is there some secret cabal of terrible men who form the “patriarchy.”

                But class exists. Feminists name a real thing when they discuss patriarchy.

                When early humans tried to understand why hurricanes struck, they imagined angry gods. This was a plausible cognitive shortcut toward understanding. Now we have science. However, the molecular forces that form climate and weather are not people. The collective entities that form societies are people.

                Social science, Political Science, Sociology, etc., are all legitimately difficult subjects. But all the same, they are worth trying to understand. The notion that, “We’re all just individual actors and there are no larger structures that are not obvious from the nature of an individual” is false.

                We are going to talk about identity. It’s hard to talk about.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Damon says:

                Damon,
                I will blame the straight white guy for failing to portray strong women on Television. But I will do so because television writers are weak people, and thus have a hard time distinguishing between “strong” and “asshole”. And women written as assholes come across way way worse than male assholes.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Kimmi says:

                Heck, remember that thing where they swapped Trump and Clinton, and “male Clinton” did even worse with people than Actual Trump?Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Kimmi says:

                Show me the market research that says viewers want to see “strong women” on TV and that they leave shows in droves when they don’t have that. Otherwise, I’ll assume the majority of viewers are getting what they want.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Damon says:

                Damon,
                You think people do market research on that?
                People like shows with variety, and that’s an easy argument to make.

                Market research is done on how to subtly introduce pornography into mainstream viewing, without getting Miss Priss upset. Fetishes mean consistent viewership.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to veronica d says:

                I could take part in online social justice discussions, but I think I’d rather have anal fissures and a badly infected abscess tooth.

                I think it’s wrong to castigate white males for historically exploiting their superior genetics and intelligence, and indeed, all my ancestors’ victims will have suffered in vain if I just throw away my legacy of privilege and dominance. Since I care about what those victims suffered, I won’t let that happen, and will boldly remind others that they are simply losers, descended from a long line of losers.

                Maybe that sounds harsh, but it’s the logical result of trying to elevate victimhood as some kind of social cachet. If they want to revel in being a loser, I happily play my role as oppressor. To do otherwise would be an insult to them, their family, and all victims everywhere.

                ***

                Be sure to catch my upcoming campus speaking tour. It’ll be a riot!Report

              • Avatar veronicad in reply to George Turner says:

                Oh good grief.Report

              • Avatar veronicad in reply to veronicad says:

                As an aside, let this be an example of the sheer silliness of using CHS as an example of how someone is not an MRA. Cause really, she’s pretty much their fave.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronicad says:

                I’m old enough to remember when Paglia was the favorite of the anti-feminists.Report

              • Avatar veronicad in reply to Jaybird says:

                @jaybird — Those halcyon days.

                Honestly tho, Paglia is at least interestingly terrible. Like, Sexual Persona is full of fun stuff. Back when I wrote erotica, it was a goto source of delicious transgression. CHS, on the other hand, is just sanctimonious and dull.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                Paglia became famous 20 years too early. She was perfectly adapted to the age of Twitter, clickbait headlines, and #slatepitchen in the early ’90s.

                She lost that spark, though. I can’t even imagine someone getting mad about what she says these days.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                Truly, one of the giants upon whose shoulders those we get mad about these days stand.Report

              • Avatar veronicad in reply to pillsy says:

                There is a sense that we’re all a product of our time. The way I see it, Paglia’s intellectual value began and ended with Sexual Persona. Adding the constant distractions of Twitter wouldn’t have helped.Report

  3. Avatar Damon says:

    Gender Gap: Great, someone else telling me how I should live my life and force me into the choices they define as “good”. “Not by women making more, but by men making less.” No thanks.

    “Girls” Ugh.Report

  4. Avatar j r says:

    The gender gap guy is on to something. Here is something that should be obvious, but that lots of people trip all over themselves trying to deny: people segregate themselves or are segregated into varying kinds of work with different tolerances for danger, economic risk, and work-life balance. You can pass all sorts of laws and regulations to try to smooth out those differences, but they will persist in one form or another.

    The people who want to work harder than everyone else will always find a way to signal who they are. If you close the office and make it illegal to answer emails after 8 pm, then those who want to work more are just going to write all their email at home, save them as drafts and send them as soon as the next work day begins.

    If women, of their own accord, choose to privilege less dangerous, more secure work, with greater personal time, I’m not sure why that’s a bad thing. The caveat is, of course, we really don’t know what the mix is between self-segregation and discrimination/socialization. It’s probably not 1 and it’s probably not 0. What that says to me is that we should keep working to open different kinds of work to different kinds of people, but we shouldn’t be in a hurry to completely regulate those differences away. Considering what the economy of the future is likely to look like, we ought to be privileging maximum flexibility in working arrangements as opposed to forcing everyone towards one universally enforced model.Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to j r says:

      @j-r — From a statistics perspective, I can always grab the data, and then grab every possible measurable factor, and then “control for” some set of factors, and then tell any story I want to tell.

      “Women earn less.”

      “Men take more dangerous jobs.”

      “Women earn less even for jobs requiring advanced degrees, even in medical and scientific fields.”

      “Men work harder.”

      “No one works harder than nurses.”

      “Men are attracted to higher status, competitive careers.”

      “As women enter a career and out compete men, then the career gradually loses its social status.”

      Etc. Rinse repeat.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d says:

        Yhis is just saying that the issue is quite gnarled, which means regulations will be at best ineffective except along certain margins, & at worst rife with negative unintended consequences.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to veronica d says:

        “From a statistics perspective, I can always grab the data, and then grab every possible measurable factor, and then “control for” some set of factors, and then tell any story I want to tell.”

        So statistics are meaningless? Sounds good. Unfortunately, it’s the equal-pay advocates who started the conversation by citing statistics, so, I guess maybe it’s not so good to go around telling people that statistics are meaningless? Because then the whole argument goes foof and disappears in a puff of logic?Report

        • Avatar veronicad in reply to DensityDuck says:

          So statistics are meaningless?

          I’m pretty sure that isn’t what I said. Plus, given that a big part of my job and my paycheck involves doing statistics very well, I can assure you I don’t think they are meaningless.

          As an aside, I wonder how often the discourse tactic of reading a comment and saying, “So what you mean is X” (or variation) isn’t followed by deliberately stupid nonsense?

          Asking for a friend.Report

          • Avatar veronicad in reply to veronicad says:

            Setting aside snide Internet forum nonsense, Judea Pearl has written much about the need for clear “structured models” that include “extra-statistical information.” What he means, of course, is that you need transparent theories on how you expect the data is being generated, in other words, what natural process accounts for the data. You can test these models (see his book on Causality). In some cases, you can even weakly determine the graphical structure of the models (although it will almost always be underdetermined). What you cannot do is ignore this fact and get good insight.

            This doesn’t mean you don’t do statistics. It just means that getting good knowledge from data is hard.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to veronicad says:

              So taking this & what you said above, I can conclude that the equal pay movement isn’t working with much in the way of meaningful statistical models either.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                @oscar-gordon — Well, stuff like this is interesting: https://www.axios.com/the-shape-of-income-in-america-2375260710.html

                The debate comes when we decide what factors to control for. Anti-feminists claim, “But risk! Hazard pay!” However, that doesn’t explain the differences in the upper income levels. Then they say, “Competitive nature!” or “Pregnancy!” However, competitive nature is perhaps part of the problem and pregnancy is — well, do you not want women free to pursue families?

                For SoCons, of course, the answer is precisely that they cannot quite shake the view of male-as-public/female-as-domestic, even if clever SoCons know how to skirt around this brute fact.

                Much of this rests on a meta-framework that “This is just the cold logic of capitalism and thus not sexist.” However, the answer to that is obvious: perhaps the cold logic of capitalism is structurally sexist.

                From a mathematical frame, this is similar to the argument, “My machine learning algorithm isn’t racist because I didn’t include ‘race’ as a variable, even though it confuses black faces with apes…”

                Behind this is the notion that, “So long as I’m not being deliberately racist/sexist/etc., then I’m not guilty of sin, and thus the real-world outcomes of the system are above critique.”

                I disagree with this entire frame. Sin is not the issue here. Structure is. The ideal of free markets is they are a pure meritocracy seeking maximal utility. This, however, is not how economies actually work.

                The economic independence of women is critically important. It gives us the capacity to forge our own paths through life. It gives us the capacity to choose marriage on our own terms, to choose family on our own terms, etc. This is not just about pay.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d says:

                This is not just about pay.

                Exactly! And yet pay is the metric by which that freedom is measured. Not total compensation, including benefits that are hard to assign a dollar value to.

                I’m not saying there is no pay gap[1], but I do think that in the aggregate, it’s an absolute bear to measure.

                [1] I am betting there are pay gaps in certain fields were managers are given considerable freedom to set pay rates, and those gaps are less about sexism specifically, and more about corporate culture that is still shaking loose the attitudes of the Mad Men era. Even after all the Boomers are dead and gone, you still have to work through all the Gen-Xer’s who were trained by the Boomers before pay gap was even a thing. This shit doesn’t turn on a dime, I don’t care how many equal pay acts you pass.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Oscar,
                The way I heard it, most of the pay gap now is “experience based” (aka women taking time off around having kids).

                Now, either we say that women magically get experience while not being at the office, or we acknowledge that we’re never going to fix this.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Kimmi says:

                No, but that is pretty measurable, so it could be controlled for. If there isn’t much difference in compensation between the women who only took 4-6 months of maternity leave, and the woman who stepped away for 5+ years, then I can say that the experience justification is BS.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Oscar,
                In our weekly “Ask The Fed”
                https://www.stlouisfed.org/Publications/Regional-Economist/October-2011/Gender-Wage-Gap-May-Be-Much-Smaller-Than-Most-Think

                Enjoy! (I just started skimming, but it looks like circa ten years ago, we’ve got about a 5 percent pay gap once you take out most of the confounds)Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                And yet pay is the metric by which that freedom is measured. Not total compensation, including benefits that are hard to assign a dollar value to.

                Maybe. But it’s common for those to improve with pay, and using pay as a proxy for them seems likely to point you in the right direction.

                It may be that the intangibles shake out that way. But unless I’m missing something, that’s a question to answer, not (as in the linked article) an answer in and of itself yet.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

                Yes, pay is a proxy. It’s an indicator that says, “Hey, we may have a problem here” It is not a good measure since total compensation includes a lot of things that are, and are not, easily converted to dollar amounts.

                To put it another way, we can say, “70 cents on the dollar is likely unfair to women. However, given that women probably value different means of compensation for equivalent work, hitting strict parity in the aggregate is unrealistic, so what is realistic?”

                If we look at a company at compare the measurable compensation levels of men and women in very similar situations (same job title, similar experience levels, similar domestic arrangements), we should have something very close to parity, and if we don’t, then that company needs to start explaining how it sets compensation. If you want to close the gap quickly, this is pretty much how it has to happen, organization by organization.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I used to work for a company, a large one, that was very clear on it’s compensation:

                1) It was the policy to have every employee at the mid point of their job title market rate. An annual survey was conducted for the market the specific operating company worked in that determined “market rate”.

                2) Your performance rating.

                3) Items 1 and 2 went into a matrix (freely avail to anyone who wanted it, and also give out during performance reviews). If you made 90% of the market rate for your title, regardless of your performance, you were not getting much in pay increase. Oppositely, if you were below market mid point, regardless of your performance, assuming it wasn’t a negative rating, you’re going to get more money until you hit the mid point.

                Everyone knew where they stood, and the company handed out the market rate survey date with your increase.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                @oscar-gordon — I think you underestimate all the subtle ways sexism inhibits the advancement of women, and much of it from men who would not consider themselves sexist. In fact, I suspect on balance it is the “good guys” who cause more total harm, only because (I like to think) they vastly outnumber the actual sexist jerks.

                This cartoon illustrates what looks like to a woman: https://medium.com/matter/the-ping-pong-theory-of-tech-world-sexism-c2053c10c06c

                There is a sense that, in STEM, a random woman is assumed incompetent unless she can prove otherwise. By contrast, a random man is assumed basically competent until he proves otherwise.

                That said, competent women exist. Such women can, with sufficient effort, prove their competence. Thus the men don’t quite understand that they apply a double standard.

                “I don’t think women are incompetent. I’m totally cool with Becky.”

                (I suspect this is a very similar dynamic to Ta-Nehisi Coates’ notion of “twice as good.” I’m talking about gender, but race matters also.)

                A while back I suggested a compound interest metaphor, which illustrates how all this “little stuff” can add up to measurable differences. The problem is, of course, it is damn hard to quantify the little stuff.

                So it goes.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to veronica d says:

                I think you underestimate all the subtle ways sexism inhibits the advancement of women, and much of it from men who would not consider themselves sexist. In fact, I suspect on balance it is the “good guys” who cause more total harm, only because (I like to think) they vastly outnumber the actual sexist jerks.

                Actually, I’m not (my wife is a first line manager at the Lazy B, I hear about it every day). What we are both saying is that the sexism in question is not the Mad Men kind of blatant sexism, and it isn’t even the sexism that simmers darkly under the surface of people. It’s sexism that is deeply entangled into modern corporate cultures and has been for decades. It is unconscious attitudes that value one set of behaviors over another because historically that set was successful, and those cultures haven’t had time to accept that there are other behavior sets that are also successful.

                Because it is so entangled into the culture, you can’t quickly mandate it away, at least not without having the government micromanage how private companies set their pay rates. And while business would probably tolerate such for the workforce, the higher up the hierarchy you go, the more resistance to such policies you’ll find, which means more creative ways to get around such policies, and more potential for regulatory capture.

                So firm up the numbers, set realistic targets that try to account for different value systems, and use a light regulatory touch (or don’t, but I am willing to bet that a tough approach will not get you meaningful results any faster). The problem will self correct as older generations pass out of control.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to veronica d says:

                v,
                “Twice as good” … sure. Sometimes.
                Inherent biases may make men better than women at certain tasks, though, and that can be quantifiable.
                Is it good, then, that more men get those tasks, and that a woman needs to be better to even get those tasks? No, but it may not be fixable.

                Liberals want to think that everyone is exactly the same, carbon copy, except for Culture and all that. It’s simply not true.

                We don’t always get to fix everything.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to veronica d says:

                v,
                We do have economic independence and power. If we didn’t, abortion would go away as soon as the Republicans could possibly push it.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to veronicad says:

              “This doesn’t mean you don’t do statistics. It just means that getting good knowledge from data is hard.”

              So statistics can never fail, it can only be failed? Right.

              “Then they say…”

              That’s how conversation works, yo. You do not just shit out a truth turd on someone’s plate and except it to not be criticized. And, yes, as you bring someone to a deeper understanding of your arguments, they will discover things to be critical of that they did not recognize before. And you need to respond to those things. If you want your argument to be “this is right because it’s what the numbers say and numbers aren’t ever wrong”, then “he was a big meanie who made me cry” isn’t a valid response to criticism.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to veronica d says:

        “Numbers are like people. They’ll say anything you want if you torture them enough.”Report

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I’m generally not s Freddie fan but his posts on Girls does bring something up about Internet headline writing that bothers me:

    A lot of it seems to be command language and this just really rubs me the wrong way. I’ve seen it done on the left and the right (BSDI!!) but the headlines are “X is the Y you NEED to read, watch, listen to, buy right now.” Or this “Is what we are all thinking right now….”

    What is it about the Internet that turns everything into a command?Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Clicks. Every headline has to be an advertisement.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to pillsy says:

        Yup, we’re back in the jungle.Report

      • Avatar Francis in reply to pillsy says:

        “it’s OK for you to be you but remember that you are not the cosmos”

        The advertisement is for the non-existence of interventionist gods, because Freddie apparently wrote that seriously and was not struck down by lightning.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to pillsy says:

        Yes, but there is a perverse incentive behind the need for the headline to be an advertisement. Websites work very hard to make their best researched, most thoughtful long form articles look just like squibs with little more than a hyperlink. They don’t think they are doing this. They think they are making those squibs look like long form articles. They are wrong about this.

        Back in the old days, the reader had plenty of contextual clues apart from the headline before actually reading the article. Often the length of the piece was immediately visible. Even apart from that, publications tended to maintain consistent formats. The readers understood that an article on the front page was being treated differently from one on page three, which was in turn different from one on page eighteen–much less the editorial section.

        Most of that has been stripped away on the web. Now the headline often is all the reader has to decide whether or not to click on the actual article. Hence the headline inflation, a/k/a clickbait.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      This goes back to the whole “Matter of Taste” vs. “Matter of Morality” thing.

      I’ll use olives as an example because I hate olives.

      Imagine a new restaurant. It’s called “The Tapenade”.
      They specialize in olive dishes. Green olives, black olives, and all the olives in between. Get baked chicken with black olives! Steak tartar with green olives! Have a gimlet with Three Olives-branded vodka and maybe have an olive as the garnish!

      At this point, I’m saying “that’s all well and good, I hope you have a nice time when you go there.”

      But, suddenly, someone shows up and says “OH MY GOSH! YOU HAVE TO GO TO THE TAPENADE! IT IS THE NEW IT PLACE AND EVERYBODY WHO IS ANYBODY IS THERE!”

      Fair enough, enthusiasts gonna enthuse. “I’m sorry. I don’t like olives.”

      And at this point shit, as they say, gets real.

      Suddenly I’m in a conversation where I have to defend not liking something that I don’t like and “Sorry, I don’t like olives” is insufficient. “What’s wrong with you that you don’t like olives?” “Don’t you understand that this restaurant is the new awesome restaurant?” “Did an olive kill your father or something?”

      I’m down with the restaurant not being for everyone.

      Hey, you know what? I’m 100% okay with the restaurant doing well. I’m never going to go there, but if you like it? That’s great. Have fun. Enjoy your meal.

      But if, suddenly, there’s a social expectation that I go to this restaurant? And not merely go, but order a dish? And not merely order a dish, but eat it? And not merely eat it, but talk about how much I enjoyed the subtle nuances of olives?

      I will actively hope that the restaurant fails. Every piece of news that I hear that the restaurant is doing poorly will make me smile inside. Every piece of news that I hear that the restaurant is doing well will depress me somewhat. How this restaurant is doing will morph from “eh, I don’t freakin’ care” to something that is intertwined with how my day is going.

      What is it about the Internet that turns everything into a command?

      There’s a whole bunch of people out there who do not believe in matters of taste.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

        Wait, you don’t like olives… hmmn.Report

        • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Marchmaine says:

          Can we really trust someone who doesn’t like olives? Indeed, someone so bereft of shame as to openly and proudly brag about not liking olives? Can we, as decent hard-working members of society, tolerate this? You bring the pitchforks and I’ll bring the torches.Report

          • And so, once again, “We just want olives to be sold at the supermarket like the other food” evolves into “EVERYONE MUST EAT OLIVES”.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

            Today I gave my four-year old olive tree (which we named “Olive”) to a new neighbor. It is about 3 feet high but pretty lopsided, perhaps because it has to winter indoors.

            What the world needs is a team of scientists that genetically splice olive genes into a highly cold tolerant tree so we can grow olives all the way into Canada. That would force olive oil prices to plummet, thus breaking our dependence on Mediterranean and Middle Eastern oil supplies.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

        I think this is one of the things I was complaining about with the socially conscious media criticism stuff the other day. I don’t have a problem with such criticism—when it’s done well, I think it’s useful and interesting.

        But it routinely turns into a way for people to turn matters of taste into matters of morality. Sure, it’s somewhat harder to navigate than something like, “Do you like olives?” but at the end of the day, “How much does ${SOCIAL_ISSUE} affect your enjoyment of this movie?” really is a question of taste.Report

  6. Avatar Marchmaine says:

    Freddie’s article on Particularity was particularly good.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

      It was yet another article of his that agreed that we were talking about a matter of morality but it would be EVEN MORE moral if we did it the way he wanted instead of the way other people wanted.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

        Well, but…

        This is where you lose me on the Matters of Taste/Morals sub-arguement… I feel like I’m just not getting the shorthand right.

        Is it that Taste/Morals are just a postmodern will to power self-define? Or is it that Taste and Morals are totally real, but we get Taste and Morals confused? or is it that you sometimes get your taste in my morals, and vice-versa (which is just a sort-of unreflexive #1)?

        I confess to my only partially grasping what seems to everyone else some sort of defined point.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

          “If you’re going to virtue signal, that’s great. BUT! You should signal your virtue like *THIS* instead of like *THAT*. Also, you should signal this virtue as well and maybe tone down your favorite virtue a little.”Report

        • Avatar Francis in reply to Marchmaine says:

          Taste — something we like, but we’re okay with other people feeling differently.

          Morals — something that is so important to us that we’re not okay with people feeling differently.

          Note: the level of specificity at which one conducts one’s morals analysis is itself a matter of morality. That’s why Due Process / Equal Protection analyses tend to meta-analysis relatively quickly. (and why originalism is as useless as any other tool of interpretation. Sure, the argument goes, the writers of the 14th Amendment did not specifically conceive of same-sex marriage as a matter subject to the amendment, but they did have a concept of what Equal Protection means that when applied to the facts of the case result in the conclusion that same-sex couples must have access to the same state privileges as opposite-sex couples.)Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Francis says:

            How do we adjudicate between Taste and Morals?

            That’s 99% of Jaybird’s dichotomy… why do your morals impose obligations on my taste?

            This is the heart of MacIntyre’s critique of Emotivism.

            At best we all agree that X is Taste and Y is Morals. Increasingly, all things are matters of Taste, and all things then become matters of Morals… and since all Morals are matters of Taste, then making sure my Tastes are elevated to Morals is the political struggle of our time.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

              “Aesthetics” is what I’ve usually seen as the camel’s nose.

              While it’s true that this is a matter of taste, don’t you agree that even among matters of taste it is possible to say that *THIS* piece of ephemera is better than *THAT* piece of ephemera?

              And doesn’t it follow that, given a limited something something that we have an obligation to reward artists who create the better than those who create the worse?

              And given that we have an obligation to reward artists who create the better, aren’t you failing in your obligations when you choose to listen to Counting Crows?Report

              • Avatar Francis in reply to Jaybird says:

                no, no and no.

                Despite the kvetching seen in this blog’s comment section, I think that there is in fact broad agreement in this country as to what are matters of taste and what are matters of morality.

                Sure there are some hot-button issues — abortion, pot and same-sex marriage are perennial favorites. But your comments on this thread suggest that our society is facing an existential crisis: “given we have an obligation …”, the Tapenade comment, etc.

                If you’re talking about Freddie’s world, I agree. My own take on Freddie is that he argues that his way is the one true way and everyone else is doing it wrong. But no one is forcing you or me to read Freddie, much less to agree with him.

                It’s not the restaurant’s fault that a number of its reviewers insisted that it’s the most important new restaurant anywhere in the world in the last decade. They just want to sell food and make enough money to keep the doors open. Instead of wishing them ill, just ignore the idiots trying to impose their tastes on you. Think of all the TV you don’t watch, movies you’ve missed, books you haven’t read. Do you really care that other people find them important?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Francis says:

                If you’re talking about Freddie’s world, I agree.

                I believe that I was.

                It’s not the restaurant’s fault that a number of its reviewers insisted that it’s the most important new restaurant anywhere in the world in the last decade. They just want to sell food and make enough money to keep the doors open. Instead of wishing them ill, just ignore the idiots trying to impose their tastes on you. Think of all the TV you don’t watch, movies you’ve missed, books you haven’t read. Do you really care that other people find them important?

                And so I go back to this:

                I’m down with the restaurant not being for everyone.

                Hey, you know what? I’m 100% okay with the restaurant doing well. I’m never going to go there, but if you like it? That’s great. Have fun. Enjoy your meal.

                But if, suddenly, there’s a social expectation that I go to this restaurant? And not merely go, but order a dish? And not merely order a dish, but eat it? And not merely eat it, but talk about how much I enjoyed the subtle nuances of olives?

                I will actively hope that the restaurant fails. Every piece of news that I hear that the restaurant is doing poorly will make me smile inside. Every piece of news that I hear that the restaurant is doing well will depress me somewhat. How this restaurant is doing will morph from “eh, I don’t freakin’ care” to something that is intertwined with how my day is going.

                Report

              • Avatar Francis in reply to Jaybird says:

                As a matter of curiosity, just how many ‘restaurants’ are you hoping to fail, and what are their names?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Francis says:

                For the most part, only the ones that involve me being told that I must go there or I’m somehow bad.

                The good news is that most restaurants close in the first year. Even the new hipster ones that are really hot for a month or so.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Francis says:

                “Do you really care that other people find them important?”

                When people said that the recent Ghostbusters remake looked dumb, did you think they were saying it because they had made an honest evaluation of its potential aesthetic merit and found it lacking, given the time and effort involved compared to other films? Or did you think they were saying it because they were fat nerd virgins upset that Icky Girlz were trying to take their stuff?Report

              • Avatar Francis in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Having not seen the movie, I was not in any position to independently assess.

                That said, I think both (a) that red-pillers, MRAs, and various forms of toxic masculinity are way too common around the internet and have successfully chilled substantial numbers of women in participating in online communities AND (b) that some forms of pushback go way way too far in ascribing evil motivation to people who have an honest difference of opinion.

                I find the easiest way to avoid both sides is to curate carefully where I go and what I read.Report

              • Avatar veronicad in reply to Francis says:

                I thought the Ghostbusters movie was entertaining enough, although nothing to get excited about. On the other hand, my one friend “in the movie business” actually worked on the thing. He wildly hated the final product. Evidently his was not an isolated opinion.

                On the third hand, the “manoshpere” and assorted gamergate-esque detritus hated the movie on its first announcement, solely because the female cast. In other words, they really are the misogynistic fuckheads we say they are.

                On the fourth hand, reverse stupidity isn’t smart. Just because an army of cretinous dipshits hated the movie for bad reasons doesn’t make it a good movie.

                On the fifth hand, there is room in the world for dumb mediocre movies. Acting as if Ghostbusters is sacrosanct is silly. The original movie was delightfully idiotic. The follow ups can be delightfully idiotic as well.

                Zuul would no doubt agree.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to veronicad says:

                V,
                Can your friend explain to you why the hell the Ghostbuster movie flopped?
                Because you sound like you’re critiquing its public relations strategy, which had absolutely zero to do with its failure at the box office.
                You really shouldn’t take propaganda made by the “MILF Sale!” guy from Spirit Airlines and say “See! They’re DUMB!” (okay, what you actually said was they were mysogynistic fuckwads. But my point is that you’re listening to propaganda just like they were. And reacting just as you were expected to. So are the fuckwads. Being manipulated isn’t a good thing.)Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Kimmi says:

                I mean it was a sorta OK movie and didn’t get great word of mouth as a result. It came out during the summer when there’s a lot of competition for blockbusters.

                So it not doing great at the box office is not so surprising.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to pillsy says:

                pillsy,
                It didn’t do “great” at the box office because it got Banned From The Box Office.

                Apparently the chinese don’t particularly like people making comedies about ghosts. Seems offensive to them.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Kimmi says:

                I think it flopped because it was mediocre and remakes of beloved movies are often a tough sell. They need to get some positive buzz to overcome the, “Come on, man. You’re doing what?” initial reaction. It might have done better if there was no original Ghostbusters to weigh it down. It’s a very different movie and a perfectly fine mediocre screwball comedy, but it started out in a hole.

                It more or less confirmed my opinion that Paul Feig is a mediocre comedy filmmaker who has been wildly successful because he has attached himself to a handful of very talented comedy women.

                In fact, he did what comes up a lot of the time when gender pay gaps are brought up. I hear, “If there really was a systemic gap, some entrepreneur could make a killing hiring women at a discount and kill the competition” a lot, and while I don’t find it particularly compelling, Feig seems to have found a handful of undervalued female comedic actors and ridden their coattails to stardom. So maybe they’re something to that argument in special cases.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                tf,
                BEEP! You failed the quiz, which was understanding the box office and economics of movie-making in general.

                Ghostbusters was a massive flop because it got Banned from the box office.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Kimmi says:

                By secret people who only talk to you. I know.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                tf,
                You can pull the PR firm working on ghostbusters. An interview may prove more difficult to arrange (and costly!). Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

                http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/08/ghostbusters-box-office-loss

                What, I can cite sources if you want…Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Kimmi says:

                Citing your sources? Please, don’t threaten me like that.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                I rarely post stuff from assassins. And even so, they’re retired.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to veronicad says:

                “Acting as if Ghostbusters is sacrosanct is silly.”

                Congratulations, you’ve turned a matter of taste into a matter of morality.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to DensityDuck says:

                By saying something’s not sacrosanct?

                That’s not usually how it goes.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to pillsy says:

                “You shouldn’t care so much about this, and it really says something about you that you do.” That’s a moral judgement.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Like @jaybird , I read it as, “You have (already) turned a matter of taste into a matter of morality.”Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to DensityDuck says:

                @densityduck — Feel free to explain how.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Isn’t that the other way around?

                Let’s use the whole gay thing as an example.

                Some people are gay.
                Get over it.

                It’s not right, it’s not wrong, it’s just another way to be.

                But when it comes to the whole issue of letting other people be, you suddenly can find yourself in a matter of morality. Forcing people to lie about themselves is a matter of morality and it’s IMMORAL to do that. Hurting people because they don’t agree with you on who they ought to love, force them into therapies to try to change them or fix them? That is a matter of morality and it’s IMMORAL to do that.

                People should be allowed to like what they like and not like what they don’t like and it’s okay so long as they’re not hurting anybody.

                And it’s okay to not like the new Ghostbusters.
                Treating liking Ghostbusters as if it were a matter of morality is a mistake.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to veronicad says:

                Yes, but the reboot wasn’t delightfully idiotic. There were some moments when I smiled, but generally, it came off as BORING.

                It was worth the price I paid to rent it. Nothing. The g/f got it at the library free.

                In all fairness, the original movie wasn’t hilarious…Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Damon says:

                @damon — It’s okay not to like the movie. Did I suggest otherwise?Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to veronica d says:

                Nope, you didn’t. But frankly, what the “manosphere” thinks seems to be important to you for some reason. Who the F cares what they think, especially about a movie?Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Damon says:

                Damon,
                I care. My friend made money off the whole fracas. Did I mention he’s a troll? Yeah, making trouble is a moneymaking endeavor. Imagine that.

                And in the end, the PR didn’t matter worth JACK SHIT. Movie was a total box office flop, and V (and probably you) don’t understand why.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Kimmi says:

                Kimmi,
                I know why I didn’t think it was funny. Frankly, the opinions of others matter little to me when it comes to movie reviews and such.

                Iron Man 3 was apparently a big hit. I didn’t think so.

                Ah, if only my troll skills were greater….maybe I could make more money for less time in the office 🙂Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Damon says:

                Damon,
                The key to being “Pot Smoking Elmo” good is being able to convince others that your bad ideas are absolutely brilliant.

                http://mashable.com/2011/09/19/netflix-qwikster-twitter/#OGQEk1uEy5qSReport

              • Avatar Francis in reply to Kimmi says:

                Some fine day — like the Tuesday after I quit / get fired and have really nothing better to do — I’m going to figure out a way to search every Kimmi post where she states that she has a friend.

                Kimmi, I’m happy that you have a lot of friends. But it’s gotten to the point that I no longer believe a word you write.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Francis says:

                Francis,
                Up to you whether or not you believe me.
                I do, however, cite sources.
                https://www.dailydot.com/business/pot-smoking-elmo-qwikster-netflix/Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Damon says:

                @damon — The reasons to care about the “manosphere” are simple:

                1. I’m a feminist. The “manosphere” is a fairly energetic group of anti-feminists. It makes sense to pay some attention to what they are saying. First, they might occasionally issue a meaningful critique. I can learn from those. Second, even their bad arguments are worth knowing, because I indeed hear them on forums such as this.

                2. There is a “tip of the iceberg” notion; namely that sexism is endemic in society. Sexist beliefs are not limited to the most grotesque. Thus, the “manosphere” reveals what many men think, but do not say aloud. In other words, these guys are not creative, merely vulgar.

                3. Given that I’m a woman, it is useful for me to pay attention to PUA/redpill culture spaces. Women should know what “negging” is. We should know what “dread game” is. Men indeed use this stuff, some knowingly, based on what they read somewhere, some intuitively, based on their sheer talent at manipulation and abuse.

                4. Given that I am “weird nerd,” it is useful for me to pay attention to those aspects of the “manosphere” that appeal to lonely, socially awkward men. Male resentment is a real thing in nerd-space. While it is easy enough to wall myself off into feminist/queer social space, and I have friends who do, I am interested in what is going on in math-space, and compsci-space, and so on. Much of that means communicating with non-queer/non-feminist men. Some of those men are complete turds. Some are great. I like to understand the contours of my social world.

                (I recall the first time I encountered a “weird nerd who hates women and treats them terribly.” At the time, I didn’t get it. Seriously, I was befuddled. How could this be? I also was a weird, socially awkward nerdling, but hating women? It didn’t compute. But as the years went by, I saw more and more of these guys. Feminist “nice guy” discourse developed. Elevatorgate happened, then gamergate, etc. For me this was not “Those guys over there, distant from me.” It was “These guys beside me who I thought might be my friends.”)

                5. Trainwrecks are entertaining.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to veronica d says:

                “It’s okay not to like the movie. Did I suggest otherwise?”

                You didn’t like the movie because you found it aesthetically lacking.

                I didn’t like the movie beca–“BECAUSE YOU’RE AN MRA SEXIST CISHET SHITLORD WHO THINKS BETA CUCKS ARE POISONING ENTERTAINMENT TO SATISFY THEIR FETISH?”–okay well I didn’t say anything like that, bu–“SHUT UP, WE ALL KNOW WHY YOU DIDN’T LIKE IT.”Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Sure, that’s a fair presentation of what I am saying. (Which, irony or something. Good heavens.)Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to DensityDuck says:

                DD,
                Depends on their ethnicity.
                OBVIOUSLY.Report

          • Avatar j r in reply to Francis says:

            Morals — something that is so important to us that we’re not okay with people feeling differently.

            Morality isn’t about what you feel. It’s about what you do. It’s about how you perceive; how you think; how you act and how you react. Good moral action will of course affect how you feel about things, but only after you’ve gone through the process of addressing all those other things first.

            Put another way, let’s say that the sight of two men holding hands and showing romantic affection for each other causes a feeling of revulsion in you. You’re not choosing that feeling. It’s the result of a whole bunch of other factors that need to be addressed if you want to change that feeling.

            More importantly, the least effective way of getting everyone up to a modicum of good moral action is to go around policing people’s feelings. And yet for both reactionaries and SJWs, that has become one of the primary ways of engaging with people who think differently.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

          It’s not a defined point. In fact, as far as I know Jaybird is the only one advocatin for this view. It’s f***ing crazy, bro!

          On the analysis side. it seems to me the problem with Jaybird’s view is that it reduces morality and taste into an indistinguishable morass of purely subjective preferences which admit of no further analysis. I think it’s a huge mistake, myself, but I haven’t seen anyone on this board (other than DD who seems to parrot Jaybird) supporting the idea. So if you’re confused about the distinction it may be because it doesn’t make any sense other than at a meta-cultural level. People critiquing critiques of critiques of views which they don’t agree with. But that’s where Jaybird makes his hay.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

            I have a handful of ideas of how something might be objectively morally better than something else, but they make a handful of untestable assumptions about the universe.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

              It’s one thing to say that morality shouldn’t determine policy because it’s not testable, it’s another thing to say that morality doesn’t exist because it’s not testable. Different domains of analysis.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                I’m pretty sure that morality exists, even if it’s only an emergent property of a handful of other emergent properties.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Sure, but in your view the emergent property of morality isn’t different in kind from the emergent property of liking Cherry Garcia ice cream.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                No, I think it is different in kind.

                It’s just not measurable.

                Heck, liking Cherry Garcia is more measurable than morality. You can measure endorphins.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Stillwater says:

                “liking Cherry Garcia ice cream.”

                If you like Cherry Garcia then you like Ben & Jerry.

                Ben & Jerry are advocates for a certain political philosophy.

                Therefore, you must also be such an advocate, or at least you are favorably disposed towards viewpoints of that particular political philosophy.

                Since you are favorably disposed etc., I can make certain conclusions about your attitudes towards deeply-held moral issues, and come to a judgement about your worth as a person based on your moral stature (or lack thereof).

                And that is how a matter of taste becomes a matter of morality.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Isn’t there ice cream made by people who *DON’T* support Mumia Abu-Jamal? Shouldn’t you be buying *THAT*?Report

          • Avatar j r in reply to Stillwater says:

            I don’t know why Jaybird has fixed on to this taste v morality distinction. Personally, I think that he is on to something, but that specific distinction is rather arbitrary. And that is a problem, because it’s not particularly effective to criticize others on the grounds of arbitrariness when you’re own framework is equally as arbitrary. I also agree that Jaybird does have a habit of critiquing critiques instead of saying meaningful things about the primary phenomenon. But again, I think he is onto something.

            So, I’ll offer a different critique that I believe gets to the heart of Jaybird’s concerns. The overwhelming majority of conversations about morality or ethics on the internet have not much to do with morality or ethics. That is, when people criticize something as immoral or unethical on the internet, they are almost never doing so from a meaningful religious, philosophical, sociological, cultural or other viewpoint or making use of a coherent ethical framework.

            Rather, when people invoke morality on the internet, they are most often declaring things immoral because they are associated with the outgroup, don’t lead to the favored outcomes, or at best, go against that person’s un-interrogated moral intuitions.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to j r says:

              When the primary phenomenon is related to pop culture, there is very, very, very little that would be a meaningful thing to say about it.

              It’s like reviewing chewing gum.

              Ah… but when the reviewer of the chewing gum starts discussing the importance of associating Fruit Stripe’s ephemeral flavors with a buzzword salad… well, at that point, something much more interesting than pop culture is going on.Report

            • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to j r says:

              I think it was wise to ascribe the dichotomy mentioned above, which makes this thing less than arbitrary. If arbitrary in the sense that it is socially undefinable then this is probably so, but arbitrary in that people have semi rigid to very rigid preferences as individual constructs then no, not arbitrary.

              That presents a problem with policy, in that there is no clear social objectivity to be produced from rigidly prefered individual constructs. Humans vary.Report

            • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to j r says:

              @stillwater and @j-r … Yeah, I concur with JR that there’s something there, there… as I mentioned above it’s an essential part of MacIntyre’s critique of Modern ethics. I’m mostly curious as to whether everything is Taste (which validates MacIntyre – and we’re doomed) or whether we’re so confused between Taste and Morals that we can’t discuss one without slipping in to the other (which also validates MacIntyre – and there’s hope).

              As a detoxified deontologist ex-libertarian I’d guess that JB sees more things as taste than morals… but the distinction between all Taste no Morals and confusing Taste with Morals is an important one, seems to me, at least.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Ha, how are you guys modeling something like ‘Honor’?Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Joe Sal says:

                You seem to ask this question with another question in mind… why do you ask about honor in this context?Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Well it’s kind of a dichotomy thing or maybe just a spectrum. A trespass upon honor may be no big deal to one person, but may be a pistols at dawn issue to another. Honor is one of those things that is out there as a individual construct, and you never know just how any particular person holds it.

                The parameters of it also appear to change over time and by location.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Joe Sal says:

                “Honor” is a social construct.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Jaybird says:

                Can it exist without a greater society, and if so what would that mean?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Joe Sal says:

                As much as any social construct exists without a greater society.

                As an echo in those who remember the greater society, I suppose. As something that could well be selected for in other circumstances prior to it.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Joe Sal says:

                It’s like there is a undetermined firewall between individual constructs and social constructs. Sometimes the social construct tunnels in and becomes a individual construct, and sometimes it starts as a individual construct and is allowed to tunnel out.

                What is it? Learned behavior, some kind of conditioning? What is the filter we use to move these things, and to what degree do these things manifest as a taste or a moral standing?

                The reasoning, the logic of it, human.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Joe Sal says:

                Think about it in the context of human evolution.

                I know, we like to think we’re past such a crude thing.

                We like to think a lot of things.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Jaybird says:

                The great span of evolution typically has us closely involved with only 5 to 30 people. For nearly 60,000 years our experience of social rarely grew to 50-100.

                We had social constructs, we had individual constructs, but these things developed only to the limits of a small group. There was the intimacy to know the people around us in depth. We saw each other, each a rare, but recognized individual.

                In a few millenia to stretch that evolution to populations of hundreds of millions, to billions, we don’t know the depths of each others individual constructs. In a way, I don’t know if we see each other anymore, at least in the way we used to. The ability to parse a persons taste or moral position, how is that affected by swimming in a ocean of people?Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to j r says:

              “I don’t know why Jaybird has fixed on to this taste v morality distinction. ”

              Because discussion of morality have a sense of the imperative about them that matters of taste do not.

              Like, if me not thinking “Get Out” is good is just because it’s a movie I don’t like, that’s fine, but if what if me not thinking “Get Out” is good is because my feelings of white supremacy are threatened by seeing black people in leading roles? What if me saying that I didn’t like “Get Out” is indicative of some larger moral failing in American culture?Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to j r says:

              The battle over the remake of Ghost Busters is a good example of this phenomenon. To not be for the remake with full enthusiasm meant you were one of the most patriarchal and reactionary men, who of course don’t have girlfriends and can’t get laid, in some quarters. To look forwards to the remake meant you were a social justice harpie fake nerd in other corners. The point was simply to signal your tribe and your virtue through your tribe.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to LeeEsq says:

                EXACTLY!
                This was a Public Relations Trolling Event.
                Brought to you by the guy who made those “MILF Sale!” ads for Spirit Airlines.

                …and the movie flopped regardless, and everyone around here is too chauvinistic to understand why.Report

  7. Avatar Kimmi says:

    A woman who pursues sex (or more accurately, assesses her own value extrinsically by way of male attention) is not Maleficent (who is after power, and possibly has a “not dying” thing like Voldemort). More likely, you’re seeing slutty behavior — Dressing for Looks, and Actively trying to Have Fun (and, it should be clear, I’m not ragging on this behavior).

    Speaking of which, I’m pretty sure that most guys don’t want to cold-ask girls out. Everyone finds that creepy. We have a subtle system of handshaking where the guy pursues, and the girl can say “I’m looking for someone”, and it’s really not terribly fun for socially awkward people on either side. But it’s definitely not “one-sided” to the point of silliness.Report

  8. Avatar veronica d says:

    On the women wanting sex stuff. First, hormones really do seem to affect libido. Plus, it’s more than just libido. It is also “chemistry.” As a personal example, I’m not interested in inhibited sex. But to be uninhibited, I really have to crave how a person smells, looks, feels, etc. There are all kinds of weird sensory modalities that can shut me down. Plus, libido still matters. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood. Likewise, it helps a lot if I actually like a person. I prefer relationships over “hookups.” Not always. I’ve had hookups. But I’ve had more relationships.

    I wish I got to have more sex. On the other hand, I seem to get as much sex as I actually want. It’s complicated. People are complicated.

    Being desired is validating. On the other hand, sometimes I just want to curl up with tea and a good book. Leave me alone. My vibrator works quite well.

    I have a “cuddle date” on Thursday.

    #####

    I doubt the “dating game” operates at anything near a Pareto optimal. On the other hand, it is hard to influence the behavior of millions of people. It is hard to predict the effects. It is hard to work our way through the minefield of insecurities and compulsory gender roles and all of that.

    Women (some of us) indeed desire sex. We also (some of us) desire relationships. We also have our dignity.

    There is an imbalance in the dating game, which one can see clearly by looking at my fiancee’s OkC inbox. But then, my OkC inbox is quite a bit more dismal. So it goes. She’s young and pretty. I’m not. But then, I have her. Those thirsty dudes on OkC don’t. Who wins?

    I’m on a mixed-gender, mixed-sexuality Facebook forum, where people post hilariously awful dating profiles and chats. Most poke fun at men. Some poke fun at women. Occasionally, someone will post a profile, to which the crowd will respond, “Oh wait, actually that person seems really cool. I’d totally swipe right.” It’s interesting to see the dynamics.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d says:

      I’m really against posting other people’s bad profiles and chats even if they happen to be creeps and steps to protect anonymity are taken. It just seems so mean spirited to look and gawk at lonely or horny people making mistakes. It goes against the cardinal rule of the Jews “do not do unto others what you yourself would find hateful.”Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to LeeEsq says:

        @leeesq — This is not a “nice guys of OkC” type board. It’s more “guys trying to neg women” or “openly racist profiles” or “that white girl with dreds begging for drugs” and so on. Anyway, I call it found art.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to veronica d says:

      v,
      really kinda object to putting quotes around “chemistry” when it’s something that’s been pretty thoroughly researched and understood.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to Kimmi says:

        You mean “researched,” right?Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d says:

          I’m sick and tired of hearing about chemistry. It’s not a reliable indicia of a good relationship. It’s not even a good indicia of short term heat. Some people don’t have any chemistry with anybody and would like away to get into relationships though.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

            Chemistry is like STEM.

            It’s a good fallback if you don’t have intangibles.

            Better to have the intangibles and, holy crap, if you have the intangibles *AND* a STEM degree, we’re talking six figures right out of college.

            You don’t have the intangibles, though. You’d better have the STEM.

            Though, of course, “chemistry” is something that I’ve seen wax and wane and disappear entirely and using it as a foundation for a relationship is a recipe for divorce, perhaps even acrimonious divorce.

            But, all things considered, if the choice is between “having it” and “not having it”, it’s better to have it.Report

            • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird says:

              Chemistry is a terrible basis for a relationship. It’s a great basis for sex.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d says:

                Divorcing “sex” from “relationships”.

                What Could Possibly Go Wrong?Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird says:

                @jaybird — “Sexual” is not the same as “romantic.” For example, one of my poly partners is asexual. We nevertheless have a romantic relationship. Similarly, I have friends, a couple, who are both fairly asexual. They’ve had sex, but mostly they find it weird. They seem quite happy to be romantic without the pressure.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d says:

                I tend to see “romantic” as implying “relationship” unless we’re talking about some weird and seriously unhealthy self-involved infatuation at someone who has a superficial similarity to the tulpa someone is already in love with.

                I should probably rephrase. Nothing wrong with having a relationship without sex.

                Sex without a relationship, though… what could possibly go wrong?Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird says:

                @jaybird — What could go wrong? Well, there is pregnancy. STIs. Your partner could kill you and eat your brain. A few others.

                But honestly, I’ve had a few casual hookups. Most have been “FWB” situations. One recently was a random I met (through FB of course) last time I was on the west coast, although she and I had enough mutual friends that I wasn’t so worried about the brain-eating scenario.

                The sex was really good, actually some the better sex I’ve had. (She does porn, so, few inhibitions and many skills.) There were really no downsides, except the fact she has a sort of mutual-hate thing going on with one of my current partners, which kinda saddens me. We might have become friends.

                Blah.

                Anyway, casual hookups happen all the time. The risks seem manageable.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to veronica d says:

                “I’ve had a few casual hookups. Most have been “FWB” situations. One recently was a random I met (through FB of course) last time I was on the west coast, although she and I had enough mutual friends that I wasn’t so worried about the brain-eating scenario.

                The sex was really good, actually some the better sex I’ve had. (She does porn, so, few inhibitions and many skills.) There were really no downsides…”

                But hey keep telling us about how you aren’t privileged.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to DensityDuck says:

                @densityduck — When have I ever said I’m not privileged?

                I work for Google for crying out loud. I’m obviously privileged.

                I am also a member of a widely hated minority. This limits my life in a whole bunch of ways. I get harassed just for existing in public. Politically, I get the lovely “privilege” of being “divisive issue.” On and on. Furthermore, I’m not young. The person you see now is the result of struggle. Honestly, being neuro-weird and trans probably stole about a decade of my life, in the sense that I was alive and breathing, but I could not thrive. The psychological pain was unbearable.

                It was unbearable at the time. I quit high school, cuz stuff. I drifted, got abused, did dumb shit, fell into a psychological pit, dealt with a pretty hellish existence. It’s hard to explain.

                I survived. I never stopped learning math. Now I’m me. It’s kinda amazing, actually.

                The nature of privilege is complicated. You attack strawmen.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d says:

                DensityDuck’s might be referring to the seeming reluctance of the Social Justice advocates on the Internet to treat great love and sex lives as a form of privilege. There are very good reasons to do this because nobody wants to turn love/sex into entitlement and there isn’t really a lot that you can do for people with bad love/sex lives accept offer sympathy and maybe let them complain about it.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Lee,
                That’s not at all true. My friend writes self-help books. They sell well.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to LeeEsq says:

                It is very difficult to treat intimacy as a social justice issue precisely because there is no practical way to “redistribute” it without literal sexual slavery. Furthermore, given the history of social and sexual control of women by men, you can expect women to have rather little patience with stuff about the “friendzone” and “nice guys finish last,” etc. Just, nope.

                That said, there are ancillary issues that are certainly social justice related, for example: bullying, access to mental health treatment, compulsory gender roles, etc. On the other hand, saying, “I’m a victim because no one will sleep with me” is a deeply broken discourse. Women are correct to slam the door.

                (That article is from Feb 2002, fifteen years ago, but we’re still having this conversation.)Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d says:

                This reads like wanting to have your cake and eat it to. A desire to have all the aspects of traditional masculinity that you like, get rid of what you don’t like, and be able to shed all traditional feminity to.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to LeeEsq says:

                What are you even talking about?Report

              • Avatar veronicad in reply to LeeEsq says:

                @leeesq — Huh?Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronicad says:

                The entire article on nice guys. To large extent a lot of reason why many men are having trouble with women is because they lack confidence and as a result don’t come across as traditionally masculine in the right way. This is incompatible with wanting to get rid of traditional gender roles.

                I don’t think that most people want to get rid of traditional gender roles wholesale. What most people want is more opportunistic. They want to selectively get rid of or selectively enforce traditional gender roles as it suits them.Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to LeeEsq says:

                There’s a wealth of difference between “traditionally masculine” and “confident.” I’m a guy totally uninterested in men sexually, but I don’t want to hang out or talk to a sad sack guy with no confidence in himself either.Report

              • Avatar veronicad in reply to LeeEsq says:

                @leeesq — Insecurity is not a gender role. Nor are gender roles in finite supply. If I use seven units of “femininity” and three units of “masculinity” (whatever that means), it deprives you not at all.

                You seem to think women reject you because you’re not “masculine” enough, but I doubt that is the case. After all, you (to some degree) embody a very classic masculine type, the “cerebral man of leisure with refined tastes.” This is not classically feminine. The point is, the idea that you play against gender roles is simply not true.

                You clearly have a “problem,” but I don’t think it is the problem you think it is.

                Although you differ in many obvious ways from the typical “sad nerd incel” type, inasmuch as you don’t wear a fedora (it’s a trilby!) or fetishize sex with My Little Pony characters, but still, I do wonder if you low-key share some of their pathologies.

                My friend Rob wrote some really interesting stuff about this the other day. One part that struck me:

                To get back to the main point, I think there is a subcategory of straight men who get convinced that “romance” in the intimate, connecting-with-another-soul sense is actually impossible, because actual heterosexual relations just consist of people performing extreme gender roles at one another, with all the resulting from-Mars/from-Venus failures to connect. They feel unable to open up about this because this kind of mushy talk would just mark them further as terminally unmasculine. If they encounter the Nice Guy discourse, it just looks like more evidence of this. Depending on who they are, there might be simple changes they could make that would put them in a good position in the dating world, but these changes look suspiciously like “be more masculine” and just induce further despair.

                Go back and read what you wrote. It’s not a crystal 100% match, but still, gosh.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronicad says:

                Insecurity might not be a gender role but insecurity can come across less badly in some women that it does in men. In women a lack of confidence can come across as vulnerable and that can trigger a protective of instinct in more than a few men. It can, not always though, be a source of attraction. For a man insecurity always comes across badly.

                There are many women I know who see themselves as progressive feminists but can also post on social media in full seriousness that men are pursuing the gender because they view the early part of the relationship as their exclusive possession.

                You wrote that intimacy can’t be treated as a social justice issue because you can’t redistribute it. Your right to the extent that you can not and should not make people do things they don’t want to do or be with somebody they don’t want to be with. What you can do is get rid of bull like men are the naturally pursuing gender and stop this bloody emphasis on chemistry and instant attraction. Some men including myself are not and will never be naturally or even artificial pursuers and don’t like the chase. A system that recognizes this might help.Report

              • Avatar veronicad in reply to LeeEsq says:

                @leeesq — Can you explain what this means:

                There are many women I know who see themselves as progressive feminists but can also post on social media in full seriousness that men are pursuing the gender because they view the early part of the relationship as their exclusive possession.

                I’m not sure what “pursuing the gender” is precisely. Who sees the “early part of the relationship as their exclusive possession”? What does that mean?

                Honestly, I’m baffled.

                What you can do is get rid of bull like men are the naturally pursuing gender and stop this bloody emphasis on chemistry and instant attraction.

                I don’t know a single feminist who thinks men should be the natural “pursuers.” On the other hand, when feminists find themselves in mainstream dating market, they are playing under the same constraints as everyone else. It sucks, but 1) feminists do indeed criticize it, and 2) you seem to assume we have some ultimate power to fix it. We do not. That said, there are plenty of women who hate the idea of “the chase” and don’t want anything to do with it.

                You do realize that “the chase” is a different dynamic from, “So I matched with this dude on OkC. Anyway, we’re meeting for lunch Tuesday. He seems nice.”

                I work at a big tech company full of weird nerds. It seems like at least half are married or in LTRs, even some of the really weird guys. Do you imagine they somehow are master of “the chase”? I cannot even picture that. It’s comical.

                Again, your problem is not what you think it is. The way things work are totally not how you think they work.

                Chemistry and attraction are real. That won’t change. We’re primates. On the other hand, personality matters. Physicality matters — which is not just your looks, but also how you use your body to express yourself. Many small things matter. Most people find love, a wide variety of folks with all kinds of body shapes, personalities, athletic makeup, disabilities, and indeed a spectrum of “chemistry.”

                Do you assume that no woman will ever feel instant chemistry and attraction to you?

                I used to think that. In fact, I expressed this belief in my every motion, my every glance. I wrapped myself in an aura of self-sabotage. Then I stopped doing that.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronicad says:

                What it means is is that the men do all the heavy lifting in the early stages of the relationship. They identify who they like, approach, ask, and plan nearly every date and take the entire initiative and that men like this and wouldn’t have it any other way. You might think that “no true feminist” but people are hypocrites. There are people I know who lambast misogyny and post earnestly about the wage gap, etc but still really believe that the man should be the won doing all the traditional work in building a relationship.Report

              • Avatar veronicad in reply to LeeEsq says:

                @leeesq — Yeah, go reread the Rob’s paragraph above, about str8 couples “performing gender roles at each other.” So yeah, some people, both women and men, regardless of their feminist status, enjoy playing within the traditional gender roles. That will not change. But so what? They get to have their happiness on their own terms. In the end I doubt their relationships are quite so gender stratified as you imagine.

                That does not imply that you need to be that way. It does imply, however, that you are unlikely to date those particular women. So it goes. I know quite a few women who have zero interest in that sort of thing. They exist. They are not common, but neither are men like you.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronicad says:

                I’ve reads the piece. I see no need to support a system that requires some people to be saints so that other people get to be sinners. Judge not be but prepared to be judged strictly and harshly and do not be resentful of others but expect to be treated as lame because of your lack of success is not just.

                I’m a lawyer and my hobby is dance including participating in competitions. This is a career and a hobby that requires confidence and going out of my room a lot. It never seems to be enough. I can not seem to generate romantic interest. Women do not see me that way. I have no chemistry regardless of how well I dance, how funny or insightful I am, etc. it is never enough. I am tired of being a monk effectively. Yet, the only solution is to do more of the thing that gets me frustrated until it works out or until I die while I feel surrounded by people who refuse to compromise on even the most minor thing.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to LeeEsq says:

                There is a weird strand of entitlement here wherein you seem to think your commitment and talent in dance ought to yield you romantic success.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kazzy says:

                You are totally misinterpreting what I wrote. The assumption in Veronica’s link is that people who are having a hard time of it romantically are just hermits who spend their entire time in their rooms when not doing work or chores. Its why it talks about having the confidence to get out of their room. This isn’t the case. There are plenty of people who get out and do what they are supposed to and end up falling flat but everybody keeps doing the song and dance about confidence because it keeps the burden on whom they consider the right party to place the burden on.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to LeeEsq says:

                The assumption in Veronica’s link is that people who are having a hard time of it romantically are just hermits who spend their entire time in their rooms when not doing work or chores.

                It’s… not.

                The article is highlighting a problem that arises because “confident” is entangled with “masculine”. Lots of positive traits are entangled in with gender roles! It doesn’t mean that they aren’t positive traits or that finding them appealing just means you want someone who will perform their gender role.

                Regardless of whether it speaks to your particular challenges with dating, it mentions that “build confidence and put yourself out there” is applicable advice for men and women, and indeed I’ve had female friends over the years who’ve had problems for just those reasons.

                And TBQH, straight guys tend not to find the kind of clinginess and neediness described in (say) the @veronica-d ‘s Friend Zone article terribly appealing either. Pretty much everybody has insecurities and needs reassurance from time to time, but letting them all hang out during (or before) a first date is not so appealing.

                Hell, as much as the “Friend Zone” thing is a stereotypically male thing, it’s not like women are magically immune to it.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to pillsy says:

                Regardless of whether it speaks to your particular challenges with dating, it mentions that “build confidence and put yourself out there” is applicable advice for men and women, and indeed I’ve had female friends over the years who’ve had problems for just those reasons.

                Yes, yes, yes, and dammit I wish more men understood this.

                It goes like this: someone flirts with me. Okay first, are they really flirting with me? Really really? Couldn’t be! Not me! No way!

                If I think this way, what kind of attitude do I project?

                Okay, so two kinds of people:

                The first kind senses my discomfort and backs off. I assume they didn’t really like me. They assume I didn’t really like them.

                But I did like them, a lot.

                The second kind either fails to sense my discomfort or actually doesn’t care. They continue to press. Maybe they’re attractive, and dammit I’m lonely.

                Which kind of person do I end up dating? How do you imagine it works out?

                (By the way, this is very biographical. My heart has scars that will never fully heal.)

                The point is, oh my fucking crispy sticks, being insecure sucks for everyone. It sucks a lot. It sucks for ten thousand miles.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to veronica d says:

                I know someone who likes dating/having sex with confident women who weren’t looking for relationship/sex.
                Confidence is always attractive.

                And you can be interested, even flirty, while not really believing that the other person is flirting with you.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to LeeEsq says:

                “There are plenty of people who get out and do what they are supposed to and end up falling flat…”

                But see… this thinking is exactly part of the problem. Dating and romantic relationships are not a formula. There is nothing you are “supposed to do”. Yea, sure, everyone will have advice… some of which may be helpful and some of which may not and much of which is misaligned from the goals of specific individuals.

                As long as you are thinking, “I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing and falling flat,” you are likely going to continue to fall flat. It presupposes that there is a direct cause-effect relationship between your actions and the response of potential romantic partners and, somehow, your causes are not eliciting the correct effects. No. That isn’t how it works.

                You can’t simply say, “Well, I check the ‘dance’, ‘funny’, and ‘insightful’ boxes AND STILL NO ONE WILL DATE ME!”

                It doesn’t matter how well YOU think you dance or how funny or insightful YOU think you are. What matters is that you check the boxes of the people you are interested in.

                I dare say that maybe trying to be/do what you’re supposed to be/do is the cause of your problem.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to LeeEsq says:

                “Saints” and “sinners”? What the heck? Did you get that from the article? Because Rob is hardly the type to use a saint-vs-sinner model.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Lee,
                I haven’t met you. But if you think you’re not generating any romantic interest, then you might be wrong. Or you might be setting your sights on people that are “out of your league.”
                (People don’t get to kvetch if they’re constantly looking at romantic interests more than ten years different from them).Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Don’t be the monk, be the pirate.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Lee,
                Awww… Women love to mother lost little boys. No, really, they do.

                Chemistry and instant attraction exist. The way to combat them is to remind people that relationships built on them END BADLY, not pretending that they don’t exist.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to LeeEsq says:

                I want to hammer on this, cuz oh boy!

                Insecurity might not be a gender role but insecurity can come across less badly in some women that it does in men.

                This is true, exactly in the sense that overt insecurity in women is a predator magnet. Which is to say, “negging” works. “Dread game” works. However, they do not work on everyone. Instead, they prey on existing insecurities.

                In short, you might say, “Well at least she gets attention.” Sure, but at what cost? From what kind of men?

                The issue is that women are expected to be demure, passive. Now, this is hogwash and plenty of women hate it. On the other hand, some women like it. Many more like it precisely in the context of dating (cuz gender roles), but not from random men, nor in non-romantic situations. So it goes.

                However, the point is, if you observe a woman with decent social calibration operating in the mainstream dating world, you will see her “playing gender roles” at her partner, and likewise he at her. You might think, “Well, she must be insecure, because she’s blushing and laughing at his stupid jokes.”

                (Which actually sounds like hell to me and dammit I’m glad I’m bisexual so I don’t have to put up with that nonsense. But still, some women like it. Some women put up with it only because they are attracted to men. This doesn’t make them less feminist.)

                But she is not insecure, not necessarily. Instead, they are acting out a weird social ritual, one they perhaps find enjoyable in this context.

                After all, some feminists are full on sexual submissives. Some are very much not.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to veronica d says:

                “When have I ever said I’m not privileged?”

                Well there was two lines later in that comment 😐Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to DensityDuck says:

                @densityduck — Honestly, this is where I question either your basic intelligence or your good faith.

                Try this wildly difficult concept: it is possible to be privileged in some ways but disprivileged in others.

                Wow! Did I blow your mind?

                Seriously dude, you’re an unserious person.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to veronica d says:

                ” it is possible to be privileged in some ways but disprivileged in others.”

                Oh, you are so close. So close. One day we’ll get you there. I mean, you’ve already said the words; now we just have to get you to understand that the world is a beach, rather than an infinite series of sandboxes.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to DensityDuck says:

                @densityduck — Oh good grief, get over yourself.

                First, those are terrible metaphors. Society is nothing like a beach nor a series of sandboxes. Furthermore, if I understand what you are trying to say, it is a false dichotomy. It doesn’t work like that at all. People are complicated. Societies are even more complicated.

                Honestly, people like @damon and @j-r are often (in my view) wrong, but at least they are clearly intelligent and fair-minded. Arguing with them is a basically pleasant experience.

                You, on the other hand, well — holy moly man. You strive for the @notme level of clueless and insipid.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to veronica d says:

                “People are complicated. Societies are even more complicated.”

                rrrrrrgh YOU ALMOST GET IT

                but the whole point of the game is that the only way to lose is for someone to tell you how to win.Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to DensityDuck says:

                @densityduck — Okay go ahead and explain. This should be interesting.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

                See everything, and nothing, that happened since humans started counting as homo-sapiens… though now that I think about it sex definitely (and relationships probably) extended into Homo heidelbergensis or Homo neanderthalensis.

                So to answer your question, rudely, with a question: how do you define all of human history. A positive or a negative?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

                The arc of history is long, but it bends.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to North says:

                North,
                A negative. The world will end in fire. Sorry to burst your bubble.Report

          • Avatar Kimmi in reply to LeeEsq says:

            Lee,
            Opposites attract. You’ve heard that, right?
            Well, then they get divorced (nearly always with small children).

            Similar people stay together.Report

        • Avatar Kimmi in reply to veronica d says:

          https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200801/scents-and-sensibility

          Nnnnope. The truly good scents are costly, of course (and by which I mean “out of your price range” most probably).

          And that’s an american centric argument. most Europeans don’t mind being somewhat naturally scented.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to veronica d says:

        I’ve never been on Tinder… functionally monogamous since 2000… is it really that horrible?Report

        • Avatar veronica d in reply to North says:

          @north — Honestly, I haven’t tried it. It’s mostly str8. I, a mostly lesbionic trans, would likely not fare well. That said, it seems to function as an ego-destroying meat market.

          That said, I like the idea of the place. You swipe right or swipe left, based on first impressions. That’s it. Easy peasy. Then, only if both parties mutually swipe right, they can they contact each other. In theory that seems like the sort of thing that will (to some degree) reduce approach anxiety. Likewise, it saves women from the endless-inbox-of-thirsty-creeps that you get on OkC.

          At its best it could function as highly time efficient speed dating online.

          Sadly, it’s full of actual random humans.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to veronica d says:

            Makes sense, thank you.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to veronica d says:

            There is one called Bumble where only women can initiate conversations. Same swipe/match system, but then the woman has 24 hours (or 48 if the man extends) to initiate a conversation. The idea is to put women more in the driver’s seat, lessening harassment, and taking a bit of pressure off guys. I don’t know if it has options for people who aren’t seeking hetero relationships, but it does seem somewhat more serious than Tinder.Report

            • Avatar veronicad in reply to Kazzy says:

              @kazzy — I’ve heard of it. I’m not sure how many people actually use it. That said, it seems like a good idea. On the other hand, every nerd in the world thinks they can “solve” dating with one neat trick. However, dating remains hard.

              It’s almost as if social stuff is actually hard.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to veronicad says:

                @veronicad

                I played around on it a bit and made some decent connections though never followed through because I’m still figuring out what the fuck I want to do plus BOYS!!!

                I do appreciate the lack of pressure but get frustrated if someone I really liked from pics/profile doesn’t reach out. Then again, it’s not like me saying, “‘Sup?” would have suddenly made them interested. Oh well.

                I don’t see any of these apps as “solving” dating. They are a means of connecting people. Nothing more, nothing less. People date. Not apps. It is still up to the humans involved to make it work (and probably fail miserably and in spectacularly hilarious fashion).

                Also, congrats on the engagement!!!Report

              • Avatar veronica d in reply to Kazzy says:

                Thanks.

                I’ve heard that Bumble support LGBT folks, in which case it basically works like Tinder. I doubt I’d have much luck there.

                I keep meaning to fire of OkC again, just for lulz.Report

              • Avatar Kimmi in reply to veronica d says:

                Was OkC the one that my friend put up a Pizza Hut ad on?Report

            • Avatar Brent F in reply to Kazzy says:

              I’ve found Bumble to have a smaller base of users, but for a guy it had a much higher likelihood of a good outcome from a match and the user base was skewed closer to the sort of person I’d be interested in. So more pleasant to use, but about equal usefulness for a good end result as Tinder, and much more reliant on being in an area with a sufficent sized user base. That the women don’t have to maintain such high bullshit filters does make a significant difference.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Brent F says:

                Being in NYC definitely works to my advantage. I’ve heard it said (but have not sought verification) that the numbers actually favor men here. The women here have much to offer and don’t want to bother with the dregs of the guy world, who make up their fair share. Add in men who are turned off by successful ambitious women and the pool of desirable women outpaces the pool of men they’d be willing to date.Report

        • Avatar Brent F in reply to North says:

          In this genre of writing, Tinder generally serves as a synecdoche of a much wider experience because its pretty widely known and identifiable.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to veronica d says:

      OT, but – your fiancee, you say? I am perhaps way way out of date on this, but congratulations!Report

  9. Avatar Kazzy says:

    @veronicad

    Off topic, but I took my kids to a Drag Queen Story Hour at the local library today and ended up having a fascinating conversation with them afterwards. And… I realized I was woefully unprepared for it as drag culture is something I haven’t learned about as much as I clearly should have. I’m sure I can reach out to the group but need to be prepared to continue the conversation tomorrow and was wondering if you might happen to know of any good online resources on the subject? I realize that drag may represent different things to different people, but specifically I’m trying to find the best way to describe what drag is to 4-year-olds (e.g., “A drag queen is a man who likes to dress like a woman sometimes” versus “A drag queen is a man who likes to pretend to be a woman sometimes” versus “A drag queen is a man who likes to wear dresses and makeup sometimes” etc.) Once we get into the broader conversation surrounding gender norms and stereotypes, I’m pretty comfortable. But drag culture has never come up before and I failed to do my homework!

    To be clear, I know you aren’t drag and don’t expect you to speak for the culture, but just thought you might know about possible resources. I checked GLSEN and they had pretty limited information on the subject that was aimed at older kids.Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to Kazzy says:

      @kazzy — To talk about drag as a social phenomena involves two topics:

      1. The nature of persona and theatricality

      2. Gender roles, particularly when exaggerated.

      However, an individual queen is not a “social phenomena.” She’s just a person.

      My advice: first, take the persona at face value, not in some overcompensated “fakey” way — we all know she’s a queen — but just casually. Her name is “Vivacious” (or whatever). She is a “she” (unless she says otherwise). Second, assume that being a queen is a rather uninteresting aspect of her life.

      Of course, it probably isn’t. In reality, drag is probably quite important to her. On the other hand, you’re not part of drag culture. She no doubt gets to talk “drag stuff” plenty with other queens. Don’t be a “tourist.”

      In other words, if she wants to talk about drag — in the drag 101 sense — let her drive the conversation. Otherwise, just talk about normal stuff. Certainly don’t bring up her “boymode” life, unless she does. As I said, take the persona at face value. When she is in “face,” that’s really her.

      If you have nothing in common, then you have nothing in common.

      For kids, gosh I have no idea. Maybe “Drag queens are people who like to dress up in dramatic, colorful costumes, like Disney characters, because they find it fun. Sometimes they perform shows on stage where they sing and dance. Sometimes they read books to kids.”

      Kids understand dramatic, colorful costumes. They also understand fun.

      If they ask about the “gender thing,” I suppose you might say, “Drag queens sometimes dress up as the opposite gender because it’s fun.”

      Also, your kid can ask the queen. In fact, they probably should. Whereas “dumb questions” from adults can be tedious, any queen who volunteers to work with kids is probably quite prepared to answer questions from the kids.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to veronica d says:

        @veronica-d

        Thanks. We definitely should have thought about structuring a dialogue with Harmonica Sunshine herself. And there may still be an opportunity to do so. I’ll explore some other resources and take your advice here with me when I talk to the kids again.

        What was really interesting was the varied responses they had. Some were certain she (she?) was a man because of her voice. Others were certain she was a woman because of her makeup and outfit. Some didn’t know. Many didn’t care… they just thought she was dope! (Important to note, my school is in the West Village, directly across from a bar that regularly hosts drag shows and around the corner from Stonewall, so these kids have an atypical — and remarkably awesome — exposure to the LGBTQ world.)

        I was reminded of the time we rode the elevator with the woman I’m 99% sure is trans in my building. She dresses and presents incredibly feminine… always in dresses or skirts, large breasts, always well made up and hair perfectly done… but also has some characteristics that, well, are why I’m pretty sure she is trans. Anyway, we were in the elevator with her one day and Mayo was at the height of his, “I must observe, evaluate, and comment upon every individual I come across,” phase. I see him looking her up and down and the gears turning in his mind. I’m preparing to help support whatever he might say, both in helping him learn and modeling proper respect for all people.

        “I like you… I like you… I like you red lips!” he calls out. She smiles, says thank you, and we reach our floor.

        And it hit me… for a 3-year-old… nothing about her read as trans. She was as woman as woman gets. Kids literally see the world through such a different lens that we have to keep that in mind. So many kids see a drag queen and just think, “Uh… yea, no shit that’s what a woman looks like. Have you watched any of the crap media they make for me these days?”Report

        • Avatar veronica d in reply to Kazzy says:

          @kazzy — Yeah, having a kid gender me correctly is really nice, since they being super honest.

          One time getting on the train this little girl looked up at me and said, “Wow! That’s a biiiiig woman!”

          Ha! You got that right kiddo.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to veronica d says:

            @veronica-d

            A few weeks back Mayo told me about how Zazzy had a penis (I forgot why we were talking about penises but we were talking about penises). I informed him that she did not. He responded that maybe she could. I said that it’s true that anyone could have a penis but that I knew for a fact that his mother did not.

            “She showed me.”

            Sigh. That kid will make up any lie to avoid admitting he’s wrong. But, hey, he’d be cool seeing his mom’s penis so that seems like a good attitude to have.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Kazzy says:

      Show them old Bugs Bunny cartoons. Miss Bugs is pretty classic…..

      Although honestly, there’s so many flavors of drag and performance types that I’d have no idea how to explain it either, beyond “They’re entertainers. Entertainers put on different types of shows. You’ve got comedians who tell jokes, singers who sing songs, dancers who dance — drag’s a type of show that mixes a lot of those up.”

      (As they’re four, you probably don’t need “To various levels of success and/or failure”.)Report

  10. Avatar JS says:

    veronica d:
    @j r — From a statistics perspective, I can always grab the data, and then grab every possible measurable factor, and then “control for” some set of factors, and then tell any story I want to tell.

    “Women earn less.”

    “Men take more dangerous jobs.”

    “Women earn less even for jobs requiring advanced degrees, even in medical and scientific fields.”

    “Men work harder.”

    “No one works harder than nurses.”

    “Men are attracted to higher status, competitive careers.”

    “As women enter a career and out compete men, then the career gradually loses its social status.”

    Etc. Rinse repeat.

    When you control for various factors, you’re not “telling any story you want”, you’re illuminating different components of a complex system. There’s nothing inherently contradictory about a population pay gap that disappears (or even reverses direction) when controlling for some factors or for some subgroups. The challenge is finding a model/theory that fits the observed data.Report

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