Instead of completely giving up on "men"....

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Instead of completely giving up on "men"....let's work to help them evolve into beings that FINALLY realize the value of the feminine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_uRIMUBnvw

'Conscious Men' apologize to women for many years of bad behaviour

csernica
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Comments

Are talking about estogen shots? <s>

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louisehartmann
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Not a bad idea Louise....do estrogen shots replace/remove testosterone?

csernica
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

It takes a tremendous amount of time, energy and work to "help" even just one man evolve, with the exception of men like Thom. Most of them are just so dang stubborn, unwilling to listen and always "right"; no doubt a sour byproduct of imperialistic living.

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iamfreespirited
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I am not sure if this is for certain.. And I think thom talked about it.. A little thing called "the big discovery" in archeology.. Statues of women were thought to be playthings of men, but other archeologists felt the women were the deities.. Then sometime after the big discovery, that men made preggos happen, men took over as leaders.. After this the archeological record shows fortress walls being built.. Maybe it’s a coincidence, maybe the populations and technologies made it possible for tribes to know they were competing for common resources.. But this at least implies women are less warlike..

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bobbler
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Since we are on the subject of women....allow me, please, to direct your attention to a documentary I saw on Free Speech TV one day. I was mesmerized by it. I so wish they would run it at least once a week (actually, once a day would be more agreeable to me). It can be purchased, but it is quite expensive...& THAT bums me out, because I would purchase dozens of copies of it to send to everyone I know. If you are a woman, or a man, who cares about women, be it your mother, sister(s), daughter(s), aunt(s), grandmother(s)...you must see this documentary. The title is: "Misogyny in Media & Culture". We need to educate everyone we can about the powerful role the media plays in oppressing women. http://www.mediaed.org/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?preadd=action&key=234

csernica
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Have a look at this link about one ancient excavation of Catal Huyuk : http://www.telesterion.com/catal1.htm . This digsite seems to suggest evidence of "goddess," matriarchal (sp?), matrilineal society. Also, Rosalind Miles is a scholar with amazing data on women's history. Lots of indications that men have not always been so dominant....

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Ajathiel
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Nov. 10, 2010 10:54 pm

Expensive is right. How much is money and how much is misogyny? As a man, I can't know, really. I do know that if there is no natural demand for your product, you have to create it. They pay the media to create the image. Enough people get sucked in to accepting the illusion as reality, especially the young, the money starts rolling in. Demand is created. As far as pushing back, we each know how to do it best with the ones around us. Like Toto, once we pull back the curtain, it becomes obvious.

http://www.antibarbie.com/

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garyej
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I have been using the "You've come a long way, Barbie" to indicate how feminism has been coopted and branded into a continuation of women dressing and grooming for men's fantasies. Commercialized and commodified is not liberated.

What Hedges has to say about today's porn industry in EMPIRE OF ILLUSION is disgusting stuff. It has little to do with sex and is all about misogyny and abuse.

It is hard to overstate the negative in current media images. Both men and women are portrayed in poor sexual images. Not just the beer ads where the boys are even dumber than the bimbos. All the sexual hustle of dating and who is considered "hot" retards mature relationships. And, a culture of individualism that finds any social mutuality difficult does not help couples learn how to use love to work for them instead of working at love. Love does not work that way very well.

A lot fewer women are housewives than when I was born. Two working adults are the norm when they were the exception. Women still do more support while men do more "management." Women still get payed less for comparable work and don't have a lot of their work rated as highly as deserved. And most men are still more adversarial to powerful women than looking to get into a relationship with them.

I am not talking about the insecure feminist whose radical stances are about internal anger. I am talking about the confident and secure powerful who don't have to prove anything as they do what they do. We have few images of such women before us. Even someone who has done amazing things, Tina Fey, plays a fairly insecure character on 30 Rock. Comedy is about such stuff, so no problem. But where are the mature and competent women in our stories?

We still have a long way to go. And, remember, the women are far more mature than the me now.

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I wish I'd seen this post earlier. Instead, I've been focused on another, in the blog post section, which is in response to the same comment by Thom. Anyway, I am absolutely on the same page with Csernica on this subject: http://www.thomhartmann.com/users/writergirl/blog/2011/04/i-thought-i-lo...
http://www.thomhartmann.com/users/writergirl/blog/2011/04/i-thought-i-lo...

Do I need to copy myself here? Hope not.

So glad to read DRC's comments on the subject.

(See The Mismeasure of Woman, Why Women are not the Better Sex, the Inferior Sex, or the Opposite Sex, by Carol Tavris, social psychologist.)

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I think you put it better than I did, although I tend to think those are the symptoms rather than the cause. Ad companies use it because it works. Once sleaze stops selling beer, domains, whatever they stop making money. They stop making money the go to plan b. The dirty little secret is that if adult guys stopped buying the porn, they would not be able to give our sons the diseducation.

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garyej
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

My greatest complaint with the apology is that the perspective of these men in the youtube video seems to cast aspersions on the scientific attitude. They are meshing this with the feminist canard that analytical and logical thinking are "male" and therefore "violative", etc. We should be encouraging more females to develop math and science skills.

Also, misogyny is more correctly described as the view that men have a complete psyche which includes all aspects of what is human while women are trivialized and caricaturized. Again, there is no association between a warlike attitude and a scientific attitude. The mentality required for scientific thought is not at all commensurate with a violent temper. So misogyny arises from warlike attitudes, not the desire to investigate scientific truth. Men have always viewed themselves as having the privelege of choosing to be scientists or poets, explorers or musicians, etc. More careful consideration has to be done as to why and to what extent misogyny and other forms of sexism have occurred in different places at different times.

I recommend the movie "Angels and Insects"

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nimblecivet
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Thanks DRC...I enjoyed & agreed with your well thought out comments. Had not read Hedges "Empire of Illusion". (I will now though)

csernica
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The links to your earlier posts were easily accessible with a simple mouse click. Thanks. I enjoyed (& needless to say) agreed with them.

Especially liked your statements: (I copy them here)

"Women may not be as aggressive as men, on average, but they can learn to assert themselves; men may not be as nurturing as women, on average, but they too can adopt a definition of masculinity that includes care and own that characteristic proudly.

It is not necessary to disenfranchise men to achieve a peaceful, just world. What is necessary is to begin a cultural transformation that gives men permission to be gentle, caring and peace-loving, without a loss of their masculine identity. It is the cultural identification with the values of masculinity that causes war and injustice, not men themselves.

Women should resent the feminine stereotype as an assault on themselves as whole persons; if I cannot be aggressive sometimes, without feeling ashamed for not being feminine enough, I am going to be less than I am. By the same token, men should resent the masculine stereotype as an assault on themselves as whole persons; if a man cannot be gentle, without feeling like less of a man, he too will be incomplete, only half a person.

A healthy culture needs whole persons, not stereotypes. And I wish Thom would stop perpetuating the testosterone excuse. It is, after all, no excuse at all."

csernica
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Csernica, thanks so much—it’s awfully good to find agreement. Your YouTube link, if easily dismissed as “new-age sentimentality,” or “gay,” by those uncomfortable with themselves, is, regardless, quite healing, at least for me. At times it conflates the “feminine spirit” with women alone, disregarding the yin-yang of us all, but, it took a lot of courage for these men to make the video. Look at the abuse they got for posting it!

Not that I wish to unpack, amicably, the entirety of Nimblecivet's comment, but his phrase, “...the feminist canard that analytical and logical thinking are ‘male’ and therefore ‘violative’” begs a response:

Fewer women pursue careers in science because of the persistent cultural notion that women and girls are illogical and can’t do math. This bigoted belief —owing in part to the polarized definitions of masculinity and femininity— begins to affect girls’ lives, and psyches, from the start. To place the onus for the situation on a “feminist canard” is a canard in itself. Feminists have been trying for years to change an educational and scientific culture that obstructs the advance of women into the sciences.

Feminism —must we need reminding?— is simply “the radical notion that women are people.”

Feminists —and there are all different kinds— honor science where it deserves to be honored, on issues such as global warming, ecology, physics, and other sciences, where social bias and prejudice are less likely to contaminate conclusions. Where social bias, sexism and prejudice are free to contaminate “science,” such as in the social sciences, we must note the vast amount of damage done to women by wrongheaded researchers. If feminists rail against such ignorance, how about looking at —taking seriously— the message, rather than blaming the messenger?

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

This is just my opinion, but feminism died out in the universities largely because it operated as an ideology. An academic discipline must be open to criticism and development to survive and grow and become more effective, until it is superceded or otherwise made irrelevant. Feminism is definitely not irrelevant. Feminism will not make a comeback however unless feminists continue to reform and develop feminism. That's not to say to make it "attractive" similar to the way international capital wants third world countries to make themselves "attractive" to capital by embracing a neoliberal/neoconservative agenda, but to acknowledge that the development of a school of thought means a conversation between parties an aspect of which is the recognition of legitimate criticism, from wherever that criticism may emerge.

As far as the fact that feminism has guided the struggle to open the fields of mathematics and science, again my criticism is not with the messenger, nor with the overall message. My point is that an academic revival of feminism will have to confront the fact that within the feminist discourse a fallacious attitude towards science had, at least for some time, been common. Perhaps this is a moot point, a non-issue at this juncture. But the video in question comes from a perspective that seeks to exploit attitudes towards science that threaten to turn everybody, not just women, away from its development. Feminists should make clear that they reject creating any type of stigma associated with the scientific attitude. Women deserve better than bureousie tantrism. But I don't have a problem with the men in the video themselves. Remember, they asked for constructive criticism from all perspectives.

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nimblecivet
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/14/colbert-armpit-buy-and-cellulite_n_849059.html

Last night's Colbert Report (& the Daily Show for that matter, were so "spot on" on this subject) OY vay....need I say more? My female armpits are unattractive? So help me God....I swear there are times I feel as though I am going to lose my mind.

csernica
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Csernica, my armpits have always been perfect from day one. They're my best feature, but I only expose them to very special people. You can get too much of a good thing, eh? (I wish I could watch the video, but I have a dial-up connection, if you know what that means...but if there's a YouTube copy, that sometimes works for me.)

NC: I imagine it would be a surprise to the many and varied feminists in academia to learn that “feminism died.” But whether feminism in academia has died, or has issues with science, is not my issue, so I’ll leave it at that.

I believe all women and men who believe in equal opportunity and equal rights for women are feminists, even if they don’t identify with the term itself. Feminism is not restricted to universities. If one has a grudge against feminism in the universities, one should not apply that grudge to all feminists, as if all feminists are the same.

You say, “Feminists should make clear that they reject creating any type of stigma associated with the scientific attitude.” Really? So science is not to be scrutinized for whatever flaws it may have; it is beyond criticism? I would question such an authoritarian position. Whatever, let’s say we agree on that— by the same token, I would hope anti-feminists would make clear they reject stigmatizing feminism and feminists, which have suffered an on-going assault, backlash, since the beginning of the women’s movement.

But I’m happy to know women deserve better than “bureousie tantrism.” I feel much better now. ;)

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

You don't miss anything do you?

I don't think a person can be anti-feminist without stigamitizing feminism. Nor does a criticism of "science" mean judging it negatively in a categorical manner.

I know when I was going to school at HSU several women there did not shave their armpits or legs. I wonder if they carried that on into their post-college careers. I heard somewhere that women shaving their body hair originated in the Middle East, but I have to question that as I am assuming that at least the upper classes of Asian/Oriental society featured women shaving their body hair. I have a shaving razor that is one of the old-fashioned non-disposable kinds with a metal body. It works very well. It does not require electricity, and since the razors are replaceable they are also recycleable.

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nimblecivet
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

My wife and daughter are both graduates of Mills College in Oakland where women's education continues unsullied by the distraction of "boys." What makes it important for "boys" not to be there is the need for women to experience the freedom to be themselves. The omnipresent patriarchy comes with "the boys," but not the maturity of an integrated masculinity.

I do not see all male education as anything similar. Taking the "privileged" aside to bond is how the Old Boys Club begins. Because women have never been the power bearers and brokers men have in America, women's education and the culture of its curriculum have been far less career driven. It has made the pedagogy of women's education about the empowerment of these women students and also their understanding of a world to serve. Back in the day, women "served" in volunteer positions, but they often did very big things in those roles. Today, the graduates of all women colleges rank higher in the leadership scale than graduates of co-ed universities.

It is fun to be around confident, intelligent women and not to be considered part of the gender deaf and blind male population. Seeing and hearing the world through their experience is very humbling about my gender. If we have come a long way, we still have a longer way to go.

I have no problem being a feminist. I wonder what the right word for confident masculinity able to relax and enjoy confident femininity might be?

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I am in the midst of watching a documentary right now on Free Speech TV entitled "The Codes of Gender". Another fascinating look into how women & men are portrayed in the advertising world, & it's impact in our culture. It will be shown multiple times again. 4/19 at 8AM. 4/20 at 4AM. 4/21 at 2AM. 4/24 at 8:10 PM.

Please try to watch it, or program it now if you have a DVR.

csernica
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The NWO is feminizing men all the time with estrogen mimicing plastics and hair gels.

The NWO is doing this to America the same reason the NAZI's put estrogen in Hitler's salad dressing. To tone down and to feminize.

Effeminate slaves are more easier to control than masculine slaves are.

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Volitzer
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Of course to be a woman.

To have constant unrealistic expecatations then be mad at men for not fulfilling them.

To demand equality and yet not to understand anything that goes on in the real world.

Working twice as hard to get half the respect because of the previous statements.

Doubt me try explaining fractional reserve banking to a woman and see how equal she measures up.

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Volitzer
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Csernica, yes! I just saw maybe the last 20 minutes of it. Excellent!

I've also recommended Generation M, Misogyny in Media and Culture on this site, as well as the one on pornography, The Price of Pleasure. All must see!

To NC, correction noted. I should be more direct: You should make clear you reject stigmatizing feminism and feminists. I should not have assumed you were anti-feminist; but, since you put all feminists in the same stigmatizing-of-science camp, how could I tell? I'm thinking disagreements happen here so often because of language—differing meanings attached by different personalities, etc. One step at a time?

I'd like to know what bothered you, or anybody else, about the men on that video...

...OMG, Volitzer...

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Actually in all honesty I started to kind of well up during the video. I admire the hard work of self-reflection and disciplined thought that these men must have done to arrive at the point that they were capable of speaking on behalf of men. Another question I did have though is "Can a person apologize for someone else?"

As far as women being able to explain fractional reserve banking, I wish I could remember the name of the woman that Obama chose to head the.. what was it?... the SEC or something. She was all over the news for awhile. She was the one that called out the impropriety of deregulating the commodities market BEFORE the caca hit the fan.

One step at a time is a good principle.

nimblecivet's picture
nimblecivet
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Elizabeth Warren is who you are thinking of. She came to my mind immediately after reading that comment. I was going to bring her up to that person who posted that comment....but then I figured...what's the point....screw it. That rant was not coherent. Among the odd things being said...I couldn't help but get the impression that it was a tragic attempt at some strange type of poetry or "style of prose". Kind of like a poor Americanized Glenn Beck/Limbaugh form of Haiku?

(Really? Estrogen in Hitler's salad dressing? Hmmmmmm, that must have been part of Dietrich Boenhoeffer's "plan A". Damn.....if only they could have made him an effeminate slave.)

csernica
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Spinning off from "estrogen in Hitler's salad dressing"... long, long ago, an estrogen patch being worn by a member of my family came off during the night, only to be picked up by her husband, when he rolled over onto it in his sleep. Apparently, the thing had enough adhesive on it such that it stayed there on his back and was not noticed by either of them, until they were undressing for bed the following night. Well, he was a good guy anyway, but I wonder how much nicer he was for one whole day.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Here's a story you all might be interested in. Good website/organization/publisher too.

http://www.chelseagreen.com/content/diane-wilson-arrested-in-london/

Have you ever heard of Judi Bari? She organized Redwood Summer and Earth First to save the redwoods in Humboldt County. Her estate won a civil suit after she was car-bombed. One of the people involved in that was Richard Held of the FBI. He used to be involved in COINTELPRO. At some point after the bombing he went on to work as head of security for one of the major credit card companies.

I think maybe one way to approach the lack of effective communication between you and NL is to differentiate between praising the female for male characteristics and acknowledging when a female has defied the expectation of society regarding her gender. You may disagree but I see some Hong Kong martial arts movies as being an example of the latter. I hate to use fiction for my example, but the characters there are not just action heroes but have some depth and development. For example "The Legend" with Jet Li has some interesting interactions between the genders and sexes (along the lines of Shakespeare). American cinema has of course exploited the female action hero along predictable lines, although for a flick I guess you could say "Wanted" with Angelina Jolie is okay. Definitely more feministical than "Crank". I wouldn't recomment watching "Wanted" or "Crank", but I would "Ghost In the Shell" and its sequels (Japanese manga turned movie about a cyborg cop that dives into the "net" to hunt international hackers trying to blackmail governments; also its spooks and dark with cool music). Thanks for the tip re Fuller, its on my list.

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nimblecivet
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Both Judi Bari and Diane Wilson are good examples of women who have earned praise for their human characteristics. Culture has a problem, when masculinity claims all the positive human characteristics, such as courage, energy, strength, persistence, logic, and so forth, leaving the "soft" characteristics to the feminine side. It is nothing short of oppressive, when the male is the standard against which we judge the female. The only way to correct the problem is to distinguish between those characteristics which are strictly male or female —and only a very few would be in that category— and those which we humans all share.

I don't watch martial arts movies, so there's no way in the world I could comment on those. And I don't know what you mean by "feministical." I'm definitely not big on women emulating the more violent, warrior-like aspect of this masculinist culture. It does nothing to correct the imbalance in favor of violence as a value, if women adopt violence as a value as well. Not that women shouldn't "fight," or at least hiss, which is what I do sometimes (Gandhi story re the snake). Sorry, if I missed your point, though.

Btw, I can't watch Angelina Jolie movies either. All I can think is, "How about another lip injection, Angelina?" which I suppose could be plain ol' cattiness, but, darn—I've had enough of plastic celebrities (plastic surgery addicts - - who are another manifestation of oppression and sick values, but that's another subject for another day.).

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Would it have been better if there were no such thing as male and female? That we be asexual? Maybe that all life be asexual? Would it make life easier or better?

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EdBourgeois
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May. 14, 2010 12:24 pm

May I infer from Ed’s comment an impatience with opposition to traditional definitions of masculinity and femininity? If so, he would not be alone. However, his fears would be unfounded, since to suggest wholeness for each gender is not to erase gender differences. It simply means to have a more realistic understanding about all human beings, rather than the current polarization of the genders allows. Thus, shouldn’t his suggestion —all life should be asexual [maybe] — be seen as a reductio ad absurdum argument? (Just wondering, experts)
http://www.theskepticsguide.org/resources/logicalfallacies.aspx

So, Ed, "vive la différence!" still works. Diversity is great. No problem with that.

In case anyone is interested in the snake parable I referred to (it wasn’t Gandhi’s, after all), it’s here: The Snake and the Holy Man
Good advice against absolute passivity, or niceness, it seems to me.

http://www.healingstory.org/treasure/holyman/snake_and_holy_man.html

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

When we were Flower children I thought we had a pretty good start of a new look on considerate relationships. But when the appreciation for children and either and both parents being respected for caring for them turned to day care centers I found myself less interested in the other issues men and women complained about.

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EdBourgeois
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May. 14, 2010 12:24 pm

Thom continues to blame the bad behavior of powerful males —sex abuse and rape scandals— on "testosterone," or that coupled with power, etc., etc.

I can only assume he means this word —testosterone— only in a symbolic sense, rather than the literal sense. Otherwise, he grants testosterone an uber-power to corrupt and undermine good judgment, which we know is false, given the many, many men who manage to respect women despite having as much testosterone as any abusive male. (Surely, Thom does not mean to imply that powerful men who do not abuse women have less testosterone?!)

As a symbol of hypermasculinity and our society’s indoctrination about the value of macho, however, the word fits, as code. I only hope he makes the distinction, so that we can shake off the indoctrination and evolve toward a more enlightened view of what it is to be a man—or, what it is to be human, for that matter. Otherwise, he unintentionally spreads Pride of Testosterone, which breeds humanity's worst behaviors, from war, to Wall Street greed and corruption, to...well, you-name-it.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I'm a guy and am lucky to have two very cool older sisters that I looked up to growing up and that seemed to help in keeping my masculinity in check.

Stereotyping is often sticky business. Not all guys are jerks, just like not all girls are Sarah Palin, Paris Hilton, or Miss South Carolina. The majority of any sub-group may demonstrate predictable flaws.

I've often noticed that when one is treated rudely by one's own race, the knee jerk reaction is to deem them an inconsiderate jerk, not a white jerk, or whatever tends to be the dominant culture. If someone from another culture does likewise, the knee jerk reaction is to deem them a (insert race or worse, racial slur) jerk and a temptation to blame their behavior at some degree on their race.

I have many friends that are female and when a fellow female behaves badly, it is merely personal to the individual. But like the racial example, when a female notices bad behavior in a man, often the behavior isn't attributed to the individual and is to their gender.

Overall, there are a lot of jerks out there of all cultures and genders, and a lot of descent people as well. Society has given certain genders and cultures a raw deal, and societal changes alter slowly.

P.S. My own personal temptation to sterotype would like to (to my shame) mention a generality which is the point that maybe if less females decided to enter into relationships with the less evolved of us guys and eventually marry them, maybe more men would learn a system of good behavior reward and a disincentive for bad behavior. As it stands, being a jerk usually gets you more money and the ability to be a better provider and hence the view that over all the complaints of their bad behavior, they still know that they get the girls.

Maybe when the "Nice guys finish last" sterotype is ended, so will the negative male stereotype.

Ümläüt
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Baldness is very sexy, don't you know.

And OMG Volitzer indeed! The fear of the "feminized man" is both sad and funny. There is all that 19th Century macho militarism being recirculated with the same "manly Jesus" rejecting that softie girlie man.

As a freak show of masculine insecurity and religious perversion, it has had a long run on the world stage. Wanna be's and tribute bands are pathetic in this case.

I will be in the Bay Area later this month so my wife can go to her 45th at Mills. The reunion tshirts are a hoot with biceps flexed. Strong women with a sense of humor are so sexy! We will also get to Willie Mays Park across the bay. Missed the Giants the last time because of 9/11.

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

We need to celebrate the full range of gender expression, even the overlaps (feminine men, masculine women), if that isn't too clumsy a characterization. I worry for the kids who don't fit the stereotype of Barbie and Gonzo-Ken— such awful confusion and shame in that territory. And depression, apparently.

I chanced on Oprah last week (never watch). I didn't stay long, but her guest was Cher's daughter/son, Chaz, and I'm sorry, but I was horrified. Call me a bigot, but when did she get the idea she wasn't just fine as a masculine girl? When did she get the message that her "true identity" was male, and she would never be happy until she actually became one? (Doesn't it take more that testosterone pills and surgery to be a man?) My guess is that it was a combination of mom's extreme devotion to surgery for maintaining her extreme femininity, plus society's polarized stereotypes of masculinity and femininity. She didn't fit either, did she? So she altered herself to fit the "norm."

I'd love to be broad-minded on all subjects; but sex change is where I draw the line. I'd rather change society and make sure kids get the message they are beautiful just the way they are to begin with.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

"Call me a bigot but,..."

Do your concerns make you a "bigot"? Your comments are centered around certain specific actions which people take and are not framed to imply a qualitative judgement of the person, just the action.

I agree that challenging gender norms as they currently stand is important. Maybe its true that we live in a fetishistic society, brought about by the technology of mass media, advertising, processes of social condtitioning, etc. Of course in the end, it's a free country and people have to decide what's right for themselves.

Quote Zenzoe:

(Doesn't it take more that testosterone pills and surgery to be a man?)

I wonder if today's society has maintained any sort of archetype of adulthood which conveys any degree of substance at all. Any attempt at consistency of judgement seems to have been lost. I think a lot of mixed messages are sent from often different sources and people don't realize how contradictory their attitudes are. But that's just my opinion since I think that it all comes back to behavioral psychology. But I don't have a good social vantage point to judge by; TV ads and my a-hole boss isn't enough to judge by. Maybe Chaz would make a great manager. The younger generation seems to have a different attitude about these things.

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nimblecivet
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Joy 05
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Sep. 9, 2011 12:55 am
Quote Zenzoe:

I'd love to be broad-minded on all subjects; but sex change is where I draw the line. I'd rather change society and make sure kids get the message they are beautiful just the way they are to begin with.

Amen to that!

I would equate this to a pacifist entering the military but not getting directly involved in the fighting. You can keep to your personal moral subtext within a larger frame of reference that others have defined as moral. Many people do this daily on a less grand scale by the clothes and make-up they choose NOT to wear or the actions they choose NOT to perform or the words they choose NOT to speak.

By what criteria are open-minded liberals required to accept sex change? Not to pick on trans-gender, but where do you draw the line on these issues. At what point during a pregnancy, would an abortion be considered immoral? At conception or the day before birth? Obviously, a given personal moral subtext within a larger societal moral framing is always at play.

Isn't a sex change less harmful than an abortion and thereby less immoral?

Back to the point of the OP, men are vastly different than women in many ways. But, for no other reason than the physical differences, I've always felt that men's views on abortion are null and void which by default makes women's choice legal.

I believe that the more women we have in higher places in our society, the better off we all are. As long as they do not have to become more man-like in the process (figuratively and literally).

Laborisgood's picture
Laborisgood
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Zenzoe, I was surprised at your "line drawing" regarding gender orientation. Your posts have been enlightened and humane in the area of sexuality, and while I appreciate your concern about cultural influence v. healthy personal identity, a lot more is going on in the truly transgendered than cultural discomfort.

I know a few who have changed gender, and when they declare that they feel at home and real in their changed bodies and had not felt that way before, I believe them. I don't see them fooling themselves to justify an unnecessary procedure. I see them finding themselves.

The seriousness of what is involved to follow through on what is clearly a lot more than a whim or an idea ought to have some moral weight. Cross dressing is a totally different thing and should not be confused with deep gender disorientation. Do you think trannies have not tried the easy stuff to see if it would be enough?

Anyway, it goes both ways. Some of the most liberated trannies are women. If you object to women with 'masculine" characteristics becoming male, do you think the guys who are really women ought to keep out of the girl's club? I think this is a stupid place to draw a line because it is about other people's lives, minds, consciousness and identities. I see no reason to judge those who find "themselves" in any human identity or guise. Unless they are doing evil to others or harming themselves to the point of being a danger, I think we have little business saying anything and would do better to listen and learn.

I do not judge what I do not understand, and gender disorientation is not my issue. Child rapists need to be stopped, but I have no idea why anyone would want to rape a child. I do not let my lack of understanding turn them into monsters instead of the demon-possessed tragedies they are. In the same manner, I see no reason to draw lines where I do not feel comfortable with the decisions made by others about their lives.

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Shoot—and I thought I could just briefly listen at the door to the conversational hum at TH.com, and then get back to work. But no-o-o-o...

Quote Laborisgood:

...At what point during a pregnancy, would an abortion be considered immoral? At conception or the day before birth? Obviously, a given personal moral subtext within a larger societal moral framing is always at play...

Isn't a sex change less harmful than an abortion and thereby less immoral?...

...I believe that the more women we have in higher places in our society, the better off we all are. As long as they do not have to become more man-like in the process (figuratively and literally).

Laborisgood, I’m always glad to find agreement, but I’m not sure how we agree, except for the general aversion to surgical sex changes. (I don’t use the word “transgender.” It is too easily confused with less drastic expressions of gender identity, compared to surgery. I want to be specific.) So, yes, and thanks. However, I get the impression our reasons for the aversion are different.

The comparison with abortion confuses the issue, for me. I see no point in comparing the two, but I also do not see either abortion or sex change as harmful to others or immoral, so I don’t understand the need for your question.

Your approval of women in high places is all well and good; however, the qualification that women should not become more “man-like in the process” is a problem, at least to my mind. First, where is it written that the activities and characteristics of men in “high places” are activities and characteristics owned strictly by them? And, what is a masculine woman by birth to do, to satisfy your qualifications? Take more estrogen, smile and giggle a lot, never get tough, always defer to males? This is the whole point—women conforming to male notions of femininity oppresses women as whole persons. What’s the good of being in high places, if you cannot fly free? Sure, it’s nice if women —and men, for that matter— can retain The Feminine, as an aspect of wholeness; but to impose femininity, denying The Masculine side, is a requirement we should drop.

Yin/Yang all the way. Okay?

Quote DRC:

Anyway, it goes both ways. Some of the most liberated trannies are women. If you object to women with 'masculine" characteristics becoming male, do you think the guys who are really women ought to keep out of the girl's club? I think this is a stupid place to draw a line because it is about other people's lives, minds, consciousness and identities. I see no reason to judge those who find "themselves" in any human identity or guise. Unless they are doing evil to others or harming themselves to the point of being a danger, I think we have little business saying anything and would do better to listen and learn.

I do not judge what I do not understand, and gender disorientation is not my issue. Child rapists need to be stopped, but I have no idea why anyone would want to rape a child. I do not let my lack of understanding turn them into monsters instead of the demon-possessed tragedies they are. In the same manner, I see no reason to draw lines where I do not feel comfortable with the decisions made by others about their lives.

I respect your opinion, DRC, as always, but I don’t know where you get the idea my position judges —is hostile to— the people who are not comfortable with their natural, biological sex identity and thus decide to mutilate themselves. On the contrary, I have compassion for them, for the pain that drove them to such. My response to these people is not so much horror, in fact, as it is sadness. I am sad for the self-loathing expressed by their choice, even though I support their right to make it.

You are correct in your implication that my opinion lacks direct knowledge of the phenomenon; for that, I apologize. In the best of all possible judgments, I would hope to be fair and open to reality. Somehow I can’t help feeling, however, those who accept discomfort of one’s biology, as a good reason to change one’s biology, themselves deny reality.

You might think my characterization —“mutilate”— is loaded, and cruel, or whatever. I don't. As reality has it, Chaz had breasts and female genitalia—uterus and the rest of it. She chose to cut it all away. It, to her mind, didn’t belong, didn’t fit. So, to the trash bin with it! I ask you, DRC, how much self-love is there in that?

I feel the same way about male-to-female sex change. I see all of it as, for some, the only bearable response to the unbearable confusion and pain gender polarization and sexist gender standards create for vulnerable psyches. Living in such pain demands only one answer: You can’t fight it; so join it.

The same day I saw Chaz on TV, I saw a 10-year-old girl (if you want to know what’s going on in your culture, check out daytime TV; but don’t linger. You’ll get sick.) whose mother had agreed to indulge her daughter’s wish to look just like so-&-so celebrity, to have lip injections for puffier lips, and plastic surgery. This was the child’s most ardent wish; she felt it deep within, knowing, in her fantasy, all the other children in her school and neighborhood would never again bully her, but rather would love her for looking just like a famous person.

Hello? This is not just one misguided girl; plastic surgery on kids is nearly epidemic now, nearly catching up to adults. And, sorry, I do not see much difference between the motives of kids wanting to be celebrity look-a-likes and the motives of those who experience the unacceptability of their natural, biological bodies and wish to relieve themselves of their self-loathing.

Dismiss my opinion as “stupid” if you like, DRC; I am not budging. Hormone shots and fake junk do not a man or woman make. Plain and simple. To think it does is a delusion, a fantasy.

Not that I think indulging in fantasy is immoral or harmful. It’s great. I would never ban sex change operations. People can do as they like. And I will be polite. But don’t ask me to pretend they are not pretending, not deluding themselves, with gratitude from the doctors who make a bundle off their fantasies.

:-)

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Plastic surgery on kids? I'm not sure if that is legally possible, Zenzoe--and the reason has to do with what I know of the issue of circumcision--and medical malpractice.

At one point in time (about 20 or so years ago), the American Pediatric Association put forth the policy that there was no medical reason for circumcision. Once they did that, especially in California, parents started suing their doctors for circumcising their sons even if they had signed a surgical release form to have it done. How is that possible you might ask (I asked)? If there is no medical reason for the intervention, then, even the parents signed release cannot remove the liability on what would now be considered an assault on the child since the American Pediatric Association had put forth that policy of no medical necessity for circumcision. Now, the APA has backtracked some with the HIV/AIDS era and the statistical data that uncircumcized men are more likely to acquire and transmit sexually transmitted diseases more often than circumcized men (supposedly, as the explanation goes, having something to do with the irritation that the 'uncleansed' foreskin can harbor and, in that, have a more direct conduit into the bloodstream than what a circumcized male would have--causing little 'microbleeds' that more effectively acquire and transmit bloodborn, especially viral, sexually transmitted diseases as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis)--and now the American Pediatric Association says there 'may' be a medical indication for circumcision (and leaves the decision to have it done up to the parents and practitioner as it was before all the hoopla). But, the whole point of that issue is, as I understood it, absent a medical necessity, parents cannot sign a consent for an unwarranted assault on their child even through a licensed practitioner....I would think that plastic surgery would fit that description in a minor....notwithstanding some issues that may warrant plastic surgery like cleft palates--but, then, there may be seen a 'medical necessity' in those type of procedures.....but, not in any otherwise physically intact child, I don't think.

Now, I guess the parents could go out of the country for this 'plastic surgery' (so the practitioner--and the parents once the child reaches an age and 'disagrees' with their acts--could avoid the liability)--just seems a little extreme to do so, however,....

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

You may be correct, Kerry. But then why is so much of it being done? I have a feeling, where profit is to be had, the law can be circumvented. (also, botox and lip injections are not surgery, but fit the issue I referred to—conforming to fashion and standards of femininity. Even if "children having plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons" is not happening, not real, which I believe it is, I've used it as analogous to the psychological dynamics of sex change.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pediatric_plastic_surgery

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/cosmetic-surgery-answer-bullying/story?id=13255540

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1049624/Children-having-cosmetic-surgery-escape-school-bullies-surgeon-reveals.html

“According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, more than 36,800 cosmetic surgery procedures were performed on Americans 18 and under last year. News stories reveal that many teens are now asking for breast implants–a 24 percent increase since 2002–as a Sweet 16 or high school graduation present.” http://www.micheleborba.com/blog/2011/01/02/seven-troubling-kid-teens-trends-of-2010/

http://theweek.com/article/index/213926/is-plastic-surgery-the-answer-to-bullying

http://www.masslive.com/bullying/index.ssf/2011/04/parents_turn_to_cosmetic_surgery_such_as_otoplasty_to_protec.html

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

Laborisgood, I’m always glad to find agreement, but I’m not sure how we agree, except for the general aversion to surgical sex changes. (I don’t use the word “transgender.” It is too easily confused with less drastic expressions of gender identity, compared to surgery. I want to be specific.) So, yes, and thanks. However, I get the impression our reasons for the aversion are different.

The comparison with abortion confuses the issue, for me. I see no point in comparing the two, but I also do not see either abortion or sex change as harmful to others or immoral, so I don’t understand the need for your question.

I did not bring up abortion to confuse the issue, but rather to clarify (from my persepctive). I do not directly evangelize for religion, politics or anything else. I do see both sex-change and abortion as wrong. Perhaps the word immoral can be taken as a loaded one. That does not mean that I would vote Republican because they claim to be on the right side of this issue or believe abortion should be illegal. That just happens to be another place where I "draw the line" as you said of sex change. I do not think sex change should be criminilized either, but it (like abortion) is something I would strongly urge against if someone were to seek my advice. I would consider both sex-change and abortion to fall into the "mutilation" category.

I too respect DRC's opinions as much as any, but on this issue I disagree. More than anything, the concept of "drawing the line" is really the point that I latched onto more than my personal stance on sex change. We have to draw lines somewhere do we not (as DRC rightly pointed out with child rape)? I've always felt that the argument that something that isn't harming others is acceptable to be a bit wishy-washy. If we are harming ourselves, but not others in some action, is that acceptable behavior? I know I've opened up the abortion can of worms, but I'd rather not even go down the road of debating whether that is harmful to anyone.

We can all draw our own lines that do not agree with others as long as we respect others and do not insist that our lines are absolutely correct for all and should become the law of the land. Yet there are still some absolutes such as murder, rape, etc that nobody can rightfully defend.

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Laborisgood
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Laborisgood, I appreciate your temperate comment.

The abortion issue relates to this thread only tangentially, and so I will not make much of your opinion that abortion falls into the mutilation category, except to say I disagree, and why: Mutilation means an injury that deprives a person of a body part, to be concise. A fetus is not a body part of the mother (if it were, it would have exactly the same genetic code); no abortion removes a body part of a person, nor physically injures a person, unless it is a botched abortion. If you're going to tell me that a fetus during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (when abortion is legal) is a person, then we don't share an understanding of what it is to be a person.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

For a temperate and respectful conversation about such loaded topics, I thank you. I guess, I draw the line on respect for conscience lacking unimpeachable evidence that I am countenancing pathological behavior. "Danger to self or others" is narrowly drawn, not just continued smoking is bad for you. That it is a danger to others justifies the public ban, and the public health costs make taxing it ok. But none of this applies with abortion or the issue of gender identity.

The issue of when life begins has several theological answers. The biological evidence is ambiguous, as it is with death. So are most of the moral arguments when we get out of the culture war fundmentalism and hyperbole.

We can all hold a high moral vision of motherhood and the mother's love that makes a birth joyful. We can add fathers to the equation, and life-partners, etc. Define your essential community. We can expect that both the culture and the conscience of the pregnant woman will support "life" in the best sense. But where does anyone other than she get to decide? Does an abusive spouse get a vote?

When the community can support the birth and the mother to make the decision free of punishments and other negativities, it might get a strong hearing in the courts of conscience. "Inconvenience" is such a judgmental word. Whose call is it? I stick with the woman because nobody else has sufficient standing in that court.

In the case of gender identity, I suggest that the issue is much more personal and complicated than either of you is allowing. Both genders can express their repressed "others" within the bounds of cultural acceptance generally understood. Gender identity is about more than being more than the caricatures we are given in gender roles. Others have let me know this, and given the evidence of the being, I accept what I see rather than dismiss what I would not accept. Theresa is no longer Steve. She is not running away from anything other than not being herself.

She is far from the only whole human being trannie I have known. I am truly humbled by the mysteries of human sexuality, but gender identity and orientation are only about different, not wrong. Sexuality itself is a lot more than behavior, and only when power is vastly out of balance and mutuality not present do I think we have major concerns justifying intervention.

If you want to break the gender images of Ken and Barbie or GI Joe and Charlie's Angels, if you want equal treatment for "girlie men" and "bull dykes," I will do anything I can do to help. But I can also see why individuals would tire of being out of the demographic image mainstream, so let's retire the "hot hetero" cartoon culture and discover a much more interesting world. In the meantime, let conscience, yours and others, guide your thinking and how you regard the thinking of others.

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I don't think legal rights of personhood start until birth--and I think, if we face nature and cultural history honestly, there are good reasons for that. However, as my point to Lon-Paul on the thread Lon-Paul created about Ron Paul's position on abortion (basically that Ron Paul thought abortion was 'unconscionable'--but did 'leave the decision up to state's rights and each state to decide this'--a post and thread that 'suddenly disappeared' I believe shortly after Lon-Paul came back on line), if we are to say that fetuses have a legal right to personhood starting at conception, then, even as the deliberations of Roe v. Wade considered at that time, if 'life with rights' begins at conception instead of at birth, then we cannot let the states play nilly-willy with that 'right to life'--and, even at the time of the Roe v. Wade deliberations, the Supreme Court, using the 14th Amendments' premise of not letting any state 'deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,' would need to knock down all the laws in states like California and New York that already allowed abortion all the way to term. 'Individual rights' (used to) preempt 'state (or federal) rights' in some Supreme Court decisions on the constitutionality of laws (still do if that 'individual' is a corporation....). If the belief is truly 'legal rights to life starting at conception', then, there should be no leeway in allowing any abortion law (outside of any issue as if it comes down to 'the mother's life vs. the fetus's life'--and, then, that might be difficult). While I don't agree with that premise (because I don't believe legal rights start at conception), I do agree that, if that is, indeed, the viewpoint to be held, it cannot be 'altered' by state or federal regulation to remove such a 'right to life'--I still do think that 'individual rights' preempt any state or federal regulation to alter them.....and, it cannot be 'played both ways' and have any real basis to its morality or veracity in judgment (Jesus' admonition against hypocrites comes to mind once again)....but, enough of that at this point, I guess....

Zenzoe, I am no lawyer, but I am a practitioner, and we were taught that even touching someone without consent (and, at least in my above example on circumcisions, without a 'medical necessity' in minors) could be considered 'an assault'--much less poking needles in them, or cutting them, or doing any intervention upon them. I'm not sure about this issue on 'relieving bullying' that is mentioned in some of your connections--is that a 'medical issue'--or a cultural, maybe even criminal, issue? While I have no problem with what adults consent to with respect to their own personhood (and actually see no compelling reason to prevent sex-change operations in such adults if that's what they want), I do have a problem with this idea that 'plastic surgery on the body' somehow relieves 'mental or cultural impositions against it' in the developing and volatile psyche that adolescents can exhibit. There are other ways many of such issues should be addressed before operating on them for no real 'medical reason'....

Kerry's picture
Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

DRC, anyone who makes a drastic, unconventional choice would hope to have a friend like you, one who hears with his heart and believes what he hears. And I can understand why you would advocate for conscience as a guide for thinking about those who are so different from us all. You wish to be part of a compassionate, enlightened world, one where wisdom guides us all.

I hope you will also apply the same to me, by realizing that my opinion on sex changes does not necessarily deny conscience, or “hearing,” or “belief;” this is not an either/or issue— “either acceptance, or intolerance.” I don’t think it’s that simple.

I hear “I am not myself in this body,” and I believe “I feel more like myself in this new body.” It’s not that I cannot hear and cannot believe. I hear and believe. And, if you knew me, you would know I am quite kind to others in person and would never injure an Other with my personal thoughts on the subject of their sex change. Instead, I would accept them for the person they present to me, especially since their choice is not mine to criticize; one’s body belongs to oneself. Anyway, it’s no skin off my nose, as we say.

This does not obliterate the complexities. Conscience guides my thinking, as in the above paragraph, but truth also guides my thinking. Truth is up there with conscience as a value in my book, and so we have complexity. I trust you do not ask me to deny truth?

I believe a person who feels in agreement with their “true gender,” after a sex change. I don’t question what people feel. It’s their truth to own, not mine. However, I cannot join them in the denial of their original bodies, which gave them authentic, biological sexuality, as opposed to gender. While I agree that sexuality is more than biological behavior, it is also not divorced from it; one’s biological sexuality flows intimately within and around the self as profoundly as any aspect of the self, or soul. As truth has it, remove sex organs, and you remove authentic, biological sex from a person. As truth also has it, attempts by surgeons to duplicate nature’s masterpieces of sexual organs and functioning may do for show, but not for real. For example, a biological woman, with intact anatomy, has female orgasms, which means, among other good stuff, highly pleasurable contractions of the uterus. I ask you: Does Steve have a uterus? (Incidentally, this is the reason I think ONLY cancer or some extremely dire condition calls for hysterectomy; way too many of those are done unnecessarily, in part because many doctors are ignorant of female sexuality.)

Yes, one does not have to be functioning sexually to be a “real” woman or a “real” man. I would agree with that. However, can a being who has had their original sex organs removed still claim to have the sexual identity of a man or woman? Gender identity may exist, but not sexual identity. I think it’s important for folks who long for a sex change to understand what they’re giving up. That’s all.

Can you hear me, DRC, when I tell you I am offended by the notion a woman can be created by some surgeon’s idea of Woman, the notion that all it takes to be a woman is to have a space to accommodate a penis? I am supposed to identify this Other (in my true heart of hearts), as being a female, just like me? But I cannot do that! Instead, I do believe modern medicine has created third and fourth genders, so that now we have males, females, quasi-males, and quasi-females. Sorry, but that’s how I see it, if you want my truth.

You refer to “trannies,” in a loving, respectful way. That’s nice, but it doesn’t change the reality.

So this gets to much of what we’re talking about here, which is what it is to be a woman, or a man, sexually; or what it means to identify with female or male gender, and the multifarious ways of expressing such.

As I have said before, I would never ban sex change operations. But don’t ask me not to see the complexity, or the tragedy: If my son were to tell me he wanted a sex change, I might listen and believe him; but in truth I would be heartbroken, not because of some attachment to “normalcy” or conformity, but because he would be denying the truth of his own body, which is no less than his psyche, and because I would lose the boy/man/child I love with all my heart. It would be a death in the family, for HE would be gone forever.

Btw, Kerry, not that it's a big deal to you, but I hadn't seen your post, when I started writing this, and I haven't really had a chance to give it a proper read. I'll be back—now to breakfast.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Kerry, regarding abortion, including your assertion that California allows abortion all the way to term, a few of the facts:

"Forty-one states have laws banning most post-viability abortions (AL, AZ, AR, CA, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, WY)" https://www.msu.edu/user/schwenkl/abtrbng/stablw.htm

"Nine more states have parental consent or notice laws on the books that are not enforced (AK, AZ, CA, CO, IL, MT, NV, NM, SD)"

"Forty-six states have laws that permit certain medical personnel, health facilities, to refuse to participate in abortion on the basis of conscience or religious conviction (AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY"

Incidentally, I agree with the laws banning post-viability abortions, except where the life and health of the mother is at stake. I don’t know if California makes an exception for this, but it should.

I also agree with your statement, “and we were taught that even touching someone without consent (and, at least in my above example on circumcisions, without a 'medical necessity' in minors) could be considered 'an assault'--much less poking needles in them, or cutting them, or doing any intervention upon them,” and I would hope we understand youngsters are not of an age to give informed consent. However, it appears plastic surgeons are in fact “touching” minors, though I haven’t been able to find exact laws governing the area. I’m thinking of calling a plastic surgeon tomorrow to get the facts.

I also appreciate this: “I do have a problem with this idea that 'plastic surgery on the body' somehow relieves 'mental or cultural impositions against it' in the developing and volatile psyche that adolescents can exhibit. There are other ways many of such issues should be addressed before operating on them for no real 'medical reason'...” Although, I can see how certain extreme abnormalities of birth might be addressed by plastic surgery, without harm to the patient, or to the notion of common sense, or self-love. It’s all a matter of balance, right?

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/11/pm-apology-to-alan-turing:

"Gordon Brown issued an unequivocal apology last night on behalf of the government to Alan Turing, the second world war codebreaker who took his own life 55 years ago after being sentenced to chemical castration for being gay."

...

"His sentence – and he was faced with the miserable choice of this or prison – was chemical castration by a series of injections of female hormones."

I have to wonder what relevance "line drawing" and refusal to "accept" the choice of another person has insofar as "line drawing" and "acceptance" is actually expressed, through choices of friends, employees, weighing in on the subject from a philosophical perspective, etc.

If a person acts a certain way which society characterizes in a certain manner, is that person somehow guilty of reinforcing society's attitudes even if that person has a different perspective than that which describes the social norm? Why would a person who physically alters themselves be any more or less guilty of reinforcing negative social attitudes about gender?

Perhaps you have passed by persons who have undergone gender reassignment but you were not aware of it. Even if you interacted with someone you may not have realized that it was the case that the person had undergone this process. Often the earlier in their life a person does so the more "passable" the person is. Is a person who is not passable somehow more "guilty", if that's the right word, of reinforcing negative gender concepts? If so, is that not fundamentally a judgement of their character, with the physical alteration of their body being an "enhancement" of their "gender crime"? Is there a necessary correlation between altering one's physical characteristics and some sort of psychopathology?

You can't have it both ways; either a person is or is not capable of making this decision, and if you accept that they are then you accept that they are the authority on the truth of the matter. Even allowing the possibility that a person who makes such a decision is doing so without sufficient self-knowledge or awareness, the possibility of such a occurance also rests upon the premise that of the possibility of its opposite, that the person may be doing so with sufficient self-knowledge and awareness. I think the arguments put forth here to justify a negative opinion of gender reassignment are faulty as they lead to the above lines of questioning when you follow through with their logical and emotional premises, which demonstrates their absurdity and self-contradictory nature. In short, no person who makes a decision in their right mind is hurting themselves or society. Again, if a person feels that they are expressing themselves in a way which society judges negatively, to judge that person negatively reinforces the false opinion of society. The question is really an ethical one; is the person capable of making an informed decision?

nimblecivet's picture
nimblecivet
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Nimblecivet said: "You can't have it both ways; either a person is or is not capable of making this decision, and if you accept that they are then you accept that they are the authority on the truth of the matter. "

Nonsense.

Plenty of adults, who are capable of making decisions, good decisions and bad, go ahead and make bad decisions, for themselves and for others; and you can bet they consider themselves the authority on the truth of the matter, whatever it was.

For example: Sometimes grown ups decide to drink and drive, thinking themselves perfectly capable of driving safely, and thinking themselves the one true authority on whether they are drunk. Unfortunately, often the police disagree, especially after the drunk has plowed into another driver and killed somebody.

Celebrities have facelifts, feeling sure surgery will make them look better, and declining anyone’s advice to the contrary, because they are the "ultimate authority on what’s best for their own face." Unfortunately, too often they end up looking like shrink-wrapped carp on a stick. Yes, they should do whatever makes them happy; but don’t tell me they have the only “true” opinion on the matter.

Groups of people also often think they are the one true authority on all sorts of matters, when sometimes they are engaging in horrific practices, such as torture. For example: female genital mutilation on young girls. Well, a tribe of adults is “capable of making decisions,” which I accept; but do I think they are the authority on the “truth of the matter?” Certainly not!

Somehow we’ve come to realize that the human mind is not infallible; sometimes people make mistakes. Sometimes an outsider can see better what is tragic about a choice, even when the person on the inside looking at him or herself cannot see this truth.

But my position isn’t about “judgment” in the sense of hate. I agree this is an ethical question, that if a person is capable of making an informed decision, they should be allowed to have their operation. I make no objection to that. What is in question, for me, is whether a person can make an informed decision, if (1), they do not know all of the consequences of their choice, and (2) if they are under psychological coercion imposed by their own, subjective mental dynamic, that is, if they are suffering psychologically from low self-esteem about their gender. I think any ethical plastic surgeon, or surgeon, in general, will suggest psychological counseling for a patient, before agreeing to provide a sex change operation.

What I find illogical and faulty is the notion that we must "tolerate" all things, no matter what. Sometimes we think we're being tolerant, when we're being indulgent instead.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Currently Chatting

The GOP war on workers has killed again...

It’s time to stop the conservative's war on working people in America.

Since the birth of our nation, conservatives have always been wary of average working-class Americans having too much political or economic power. John Adams, the second President of the United States and a Federalist (precursor to today’s Republicans), was very wary of the working class, which he referred to as “the rabble.”

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